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Romans (Civ2)

In the third phase they sold these goods in many Italian cities, including Rome, Ravenna and Pavia. This triangular cycle of medieval Amalfitan traders made many families wealthy, sustained the social and political status of the nobility and promoted the rise of families from the lower classes and created new social classes. Their sound economy prompted the Amalfitans to decide to govern themselves, with their own leaders and laws.

The aristocratic elective republic slowly turned into a sort of ducal monarchy that was ruled for years by the same dynasty. The only cities were Amalfi and Atrani, seats of the commercial aristocracy and the civil and ecclesiastical authorities. The continuous profits from shipping and trade later saw the emergence of two new cities, Scala and Ravello, which became dioceses and were governed by a rising aristocracy. They also gained their own officially recognised aristocratic seats, as Amalfi had.

Many families from the area around Castellamare di Stabia and Tramonti moved to these two new aristocratic towns to go into shipping and trade so as to become part of the nobility. The Amalfitans also had "virtual colonies" in the main North African cities, along the Syrian-Palestinian coast and in the Byzantine Empire had houses, shops, warehouses, streets, fountains, churches, monasteries and in some cases hospitals such as the ones in Jerusalem and Antioch, founded by the wealthy Amalfitan Mauro de Comite Maurone.

The Order of the Knights of St. The order looked after pilgrims and the sick and protected from all oppressors. Fishing was a major industry in the area, as the waters of the Amalfi Coast were a mare piscosum, a sea abounding in all types of fish. Red coral was also collected and then worked in Scala. From the 15th century it was made into Pater Nostros, rosary beads for the clergy. This industry later moved to Torre del Greco and Torre Annunziata with great success. The old songs of the coral workers are still known today amongst the older generations of fishermen from Praiano.

It was active from to and supplied the raw material for the forges in Amalfi, Maiori and Pogerola. In the same area, the abundance of water lead to the establishment of a significant paper mill industry, which lasted until the middle of 19th century. The cultivation of lemons along the coast was introduced from the Orient in the Early Middle Ages and by the 10th century the towns of Cetara, Maiori and Minori abounded with lemon groves. Later on the terrace gardening of lemons spread along the whole coast thanks to an intricate irrigation system of stone canals and "fish tanks" or water pools.

They produced limongelli piccoli , cetrangoli and marangoli that were exported to many regions in Italy. But at the heart of the Costiera is a fourth jewel, Praiano , a less hectic and more authentic town, where many discerning tourists have begun to stay, using it as a base for their Amalfi Coasting.

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The Very Best Roman Ruins in Italy - Trip Historic

In the heart of the Amalfi Coast lives a family that for generations has had two passions: good cuisine and literature. From the Romans to the Amalfitans A few miles of coastline still preserve the signs of century of history and culture By Amalfi Coasting. The aristocratic elective republic slowly turned into a sort of ducal monarchy that was ruled for years by the same dynasty The Dukedom of Amalfi covered the entire coast from Cetara to Positano, the hill towns of Tramonti, Scala and Ravello, the mountain town of Agerola, the area around Castellamare di Stabia and Capri.

You see them here.

You go up to the so-called Gardens of Augustus, and then up to a spot where you can see these particularly well. They are the landmark spot on the island of Capri, and they have survived coastal landslides and sea erosion, to look as wonderful as they still do today. And this is, of course, the photo op on the island.

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The villa that I want to show you is again the best preserved villa of Tiberius on Capri. You have to walk essentially. The streets are such that there are no cabs or cars that can get you there. You have to make it on your own. And there are two paths. Now here is a plan of the Villa Jovis. The architects have taken advantage of developments in concrete construction to create a series of barrel vaults in tiers, and those barrel vaults in tiers are where—are the cisterns of the villa, where the water was kept to supply the baths and the kitchen and so on, of the villa.

There are the cisterns again and the way in which a pavement has been placed on top of those tiers of barrel vaults, to create a very large court.

You can see a series of columns, four in total, that you see as you make your way into the entranceway of the villa. Along this side of the villa, which is the southern side of the villa, you see the baths—not surprisingly placed on the southern side—extensive bath structure for the emperor. And you can see the shape of that aula.

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And it should remind you of the second phase of the Villa of the Mysteries in Pompeii, where we also saw that attractive bay window with the panoramic views, out beyond. The panoramic views were much more spectacular here than even from the Villa of the Mysteries, because as I think you can see also from this site plan, that this is located right at the edge of a promontory. There were a series of rooms for the emperor himself, and including also an imperial loggia, where he could walk out and get some attractive panoramas privately on his own.

There was also a triclinium or dining room where the emperor could dine and could look out again over views that were possible from this particular locale.

Augustus, Res Gestae

The successor to Tiberius was a man by the name of Caligula. Caligula became emperor at the death of Tiberius. And we see a portrait of him here, on the right-hand side of the screen, just again to give you a sense of the man. He had a very short—he was very young when he became emperor of Rome—he had a very short reign, only three years. And he was somewhat unbalanced, and it was not long after he became emperor—oh, by the way, he was very popular when he was a boy; he was a prince, very popular.

He used to run around the military camps with his family, in a little military costume, and he wore these distinctive military boots called the caliga , which is how he got the nickname Caligula, from those boots. He was extremely popular with everyone, and everyone was quite excited when he became emperor of Rome. But his power went to his head. He became a despot, and he spent most of his time cavorting with his three sisters.

And he also did strange things like conduct faux wars essentially, faux wars with faux enemies: for example, his war against Britain, so to speak. And he also spent a good deal of time trying to work it out so that his horse, Incitatus, could become a senator. He was occupied with all of that and really not that much with architecture. And again, he was only emperor for a very short time, so there was a limit to what kinds of architectural contributions he could make. I mean, he made some, and in fact one of them is particularly important, and I want to emphasize those to you here.

So again, Caligula was emperor between 37 and 41 A.

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He had little public building. Again, he continued the tradition of Tiberius, and that is in having much more interest in private villa architecture than in public architecture. If he had been emperor longer, perhaps his contribution would have been greater. And he did build a couple of new things, including two new aqueducts and a circus located near what is now Vatican City. But his main interest was villas outside Rome.

He built a number of those. And later on, according to Pliny the Elder, Rome was ringed with the villas, not only of Caligula, but also of Nero. So these were going up apace around the city of Rome itself. The single most important contribution though that Caligula made, and it is very significant, is to alter the recipe for Roman concrete construction was altered. What they did was make the decision to lighten it up, and they did that by taking the stone rubble that had been used in the mixture of concrete for some time, taking that stone rubble and dispensing with it, getting rid of it, because it was too heavy, and mixed the liquid mortar instead with a very porous, yellow tufa, and also with pumice, which is a soft light stone resembling cork.

So when you think of replacing heavy rubble with something that resembles cork, you get the sense that that is going to lead to lighter domes; lighter domes are going to lead to domes that are able to span greater spaces. So this is no small accomplishment. This is very, very significant. The other development under Caligula that I want to make reference to really has more to do with religious practice, but it also has an important impact on architecture, and that is the impact of mystery cults on Roman religion.



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