September 22, 2015
Angels or Demons? Rome for non-catholics and/or non-believers: : from 25,00 euro per person!
Written By Admin
Some 2000 years ago a group of jewish came to Rome to convert the pagans to an apparently new religion: they were saying they were following the message told by a palestinian guy called Jesus.
Of course at those times there was no recording, so another guy, Paul (Saulo) had to pay a visit or write to most of the early christian communities to impose the only admitted version of what that Jesus guy had said.
For some three centuries the christians were hardly tolerated by the pagans, why? Because they offended the pagan gods! Just imagine the situation: the romans at those times thought that everything: power, richness, health, success, victories etc everything was in the hands of the gods! If the gods want it you’ll make it otherwise..forget about! So it was necessary to please those gods all the time and in many ways: praying, doing animal sacrifices, bringing gifts to the temples..etc. These christians arrived and started saying: “You know, there is no god in your temples, only stones! Yours are fake idols!”.. Imagine what the feeling of the pagans could be!!! Christians offended and hirritated the sources of all private and public success!! Therefore there were sometimes fightings betweeen pagans and christians, although last ones were a real small minority: the roman authorities had much bigger problems to take care of! Historian say now that some 2000 christians maximum were persecuted in the range of about three centuries!!! Being rome based on total freedom of religion one more or one less god who would care?
In the third century Diocletian deemed that the expansion of the christians had to be stopped and, for the first time, wrote a law against them! The next emperor, Costantine, on the contrary thought it would be more convenient to ask the support of their god and then: legalized christianity! Next step (you know public relations?) was to offer tax relieve to all christian business and therefore many many converted!! Costantine is one of the first example of the generosity and goodness of christian leaders: a part a lot of competitors one day he decided to kill his wife and her son..!
During the Middle ages the Popes little by little transformed themselves into kings and/or Emperors: parties with naked boys and girls were common as well as wifes, lovers and children, lot of children named “nephews”..!
In the 18th century many italian patriots fighting for the creation and unification of Italy were executed by the Popes in the squares of Rome as an example of what would happen to all those crazy guys dreaming about freedom!
Let’s go explore Rome in a “non-catholic” way: for example: Everybody is saying that the church of St. Peter’s is built on the tomb of the apostol Simon, nick-named Peter: well, there is no historical evidence that Peter ever even “came” to Rome!! Whose that tomb and those bones belong to?
Everybody knows very well that Hitler killed some 6 millions jewish but…how many people know that jewish were already persecuted by the Popes in Rome since the 15th century? And that they were confined in one of the poorest areas of Rome, below the river Tiber level so very often flooded???
Let’s go discovering all these places with wide open eyes: as per their predication the catholic church should be on the side of the poors so…what all those beautiful palaces built by popes and cardinals have to do with this? What the Bank of the Vatican? What all their gold, treasures etc?
Let’s find it out togheter…:-)
As a trail, but just as a trail, we are going to follow the footprints of Angels and Demons: the places we are going to see are more or less the same (much more, has to be said..:-)), but…wherever there are, we are also going to discover the signs left by the oppressive and debauched one thousand-and-half-years-old papal dominion. By the Piazza del Popolo, there is not only the Church Of Santa Maria del Popolo where, in the book and in the movie symbologist Robert Langdon finds the first of the four altars of the “Path of Illumination” where he discovers the first cardinal, Cardinal Ebner, dead, suffocated with dirt, eaten by rats and branded with the word “Earth.” In Piazza del Popolo is also located a a plaque set in 1909 by a democratic association that recalls that this was one of the papal favourite places for public executions! This plaque, in particular, reminds of two patriots sentenced here in 1825, their capital punishment being ordered by the pope, without evidence nor defense!
From Piazza del Popolo we are going to walk along via del Corso through the beautiful palaces built by the roman noble families to show the richness and the power of their peerage: but..how did they built up their patrimonies? Have you any idea of…how things work with the “mafia” families? Well, if you watch carefully in the mirror of the past you would see no much difference!!! You would see all this “noble” people killing each other, living in dark fortresses to defend themselves from the military attacks arranged by some other noble guys,hiring killers and mercenars to mantain and expand their dominions, organize orgies and parties with male and female prostitutes, having lovers, wives and children, nick-named, of course, nephews (from this comes the word nepotism..!), jeopardising and exploiting lower classes…Main goal of the family being…to have one of its members elected cardinal or, why not: pope! This would have really represent the first prize of the lottery!!! To obtain it they needed relationships, support from one of the existing powers in the rest of Europe: emperors, kings etc, that’s were wars between Guelfs and Ghibellins came from, official or secret alliances with other families: you give me your vote now, if I get elected I’ll reward you with a good position, a title, may be one that before belonged to an enemy family…Once a member was elected pope, well, the power and the richness of the family shooted up and they got the money to built..the family palaces…Of course to built and to decorate them they needed to hire architects, painters, artists…that’s why they were named with the title of “Mecenates”! But..how much blood flows from those walls…!
On the way we are going to ” kneel” in front of the Pantheon (first place visited by Langdon searching the tomb of Raphael, but finding out he should have looked for the tomb “made” by Raphael): the Pantheon is/was the roman temple dedicated to “all” Gods, a symbol of roman freedom of thinking and tolerance for different customs and believes: later the christians condemned free-thinking, predate the Pantheon and most of other roman remainings, but saved some of them, Pantheon included, only under the condition that they were transformed in symbols of the new power: the new and only religion!
Once we reach the Piazza Navona, the place where, going back to the movie, Langdon understands this being the last church of the “Water” altar, but the assassin murders the officers that took Langdon there and drops the fourth cardinal, Cardinal Baggia, into the Fountain of the Four Rivers. However, Langdon saves the cardinal, who tells him the location of the Illuminati’s lair: Castel Sant’Angelo. On the way to the Castle we are going to pay homage to the statue of Giordano Bruno, the philosofer burned at the stake alive in piazza del Campo de’ Fiori because of his ideas. The Castle of Saint Angel was also a place for public execution, famous “boia” being Mastro Titta, famous real victim Beatrice Cenci, whose ghost is said to walk along the wall when there is full-moon, famous more or less fantastic character Puccini’s Tosca, who committs suicide jumping from the castle terrace: the heads of the victims were hanged to the walls as a warn to the people of Rome to stay quite, not to dare rebelling to the papal authority…Linked to the Vatican by a wall named “Passetto”, the Castle has been used several time when the popes were in danger: famous ones when Charles the Fifth let his Lanzichenecchi punish pope Clemens the Seventh in 1527 and the one when Rome was finally conquered and libearted by the Italians on the 20 of September 1871: did you know that it’s only from this date that jews were allowed to freely circulate in Rome?
The film ends with the new Pope walking out on the balcony to the cheering crowd in St. Peter’s Square. Our walk, on the contrary, will continue up the Gianicolo Hill where signs of the battle between Garibaldi’s Patriots and french papal mercenars are visible: that battle represents a defeat of freedom, but Garibaldi’s equestrian statue appears and stays firm on the top of the hill reminding the Vatican, just there down the hill, who at the end the winners were, who the losers.
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