Thursday, October 3

Rome: An Arch Comment?

Ruins of the Roman Forum from Palantine Hill.
From the Palantine Hill most everyone scopes the ruins of the Roman Forum. The Arch of Septimius Severus (here center right) fascinated me. The thing went up in 203 AD in celebration of Rome's defeat of the Parthians. 

Why my interest? Well the Parthians were essentially the Persians and for some 400 years (247 BC to 224 AD) ruled in most directions from the center of what's now Iran beating up the Romans pretty badly until stopped by Rome's emperor Septimius Severus who pushed them back west of the Persian Gulf - hence the Arch.  

Pendulums swing and now Persian successors in Iran are once again rattling swords toward the West (and vice versa). But, what tickles my imagination is nations' desires to build grand arches. People stand around and photograph London's Wellington Arch, Paris's Triomphe, Germany's Brandenberg, Shimbashi's Victory Arch, St. Petersburg's Victory Arch... on and on.  

 Whyzatt? And why are they all so stereotypical? 

The one up above is far from the world's oldest but after almost two millennia it's a curious model for so many of the rest. It also stands as a reminder of the joint emperors, brothers Caracalla and Geta, who erected the thing and inscribed it with tributes to themselves. After Caracalla got Geta murdered he had ego stuff carved over all references to his brother. So, like most commemorative arches, this one too is all about blood. 

Blood arches are among the things that make me think that: Because you can do something is no reason to do it. Y'know? 
GEEK STUFF: Took this from the place everyone stands on Rome's most famous hill with my Canon 7oD through Old Faithful... my EF-S17-85mm. Pre-processing? Well a multi thousand mile trip plus a hired guide through the ancient city. Post-proccessing? In PSCC 2019 I wiped away the original colors and brushed back my own colored feelings then made a big bunch of trash and debris in the lower left-hand corner go away with artsy negative space.


Cedric said...

Hmm... I'll be there next year.
Arches have always been extremely symbolic, surely you don't want to take that away from our pitiful and insignificant human existence, do you Ted? You know, not all arches gruesomely symbolise bloodletting. Take the world's most famous ones for example ;)

Ted said...

Sorry about the delay... apparently I can no longer make comments with my iPhone. I really appreciate your thoughts Cedric. Just a tech gremlin, again.... AAARGH...

You write, "Surely you don't..."

Well no, I’m just bored with arches and the Herculean attempts by artists, and particularly photographers, to find some novelty in them. Or profundity. They seem to be quarried out. Can’t arcitectural sculptors find some new voice for recognizing triumph? Artists, like me, are sort of applying tech gimmicks to present the things so they’ll pop, but finding little more than craft to lean upon since the wonder in these things has been so thoroughly mined. Art needs to have something new to sing rather than merely replaying the golden oldies. Sooooo... :-/