Monday, July 11, 2016

Roman Stuffs

One of the cool things about the bike route from Vienna to Budapest is that it took us through the ancient Roman province of Pannonia, giving us many ruins and points of historical interest to stop and look at.  I like ruins; the older the better :)

Trailside map of Pannonia showing route from Vienna (on far left) to Budapest (Aquincum) on right, along the Danube.

In some regions, like the area around Carnuntum, the capital city of Upper Pannonia, there were even designated bike signs pointing one toward sites both big and small.

Entrance to the small military amphitheater at Carnuntum

Can you tell Nim had fun climbing around?

We were hit by a deluge of rain on the way over to the reconstructed Roman villa and museum, and spent longer than there we might have otherwise, just hoping the kiddo would dry off, warm up, and/or cheer up.

It worked :)

The room demonstrating a heating system helped,

as did Chad's fish faces.

The rest of the trip was sunny, and we continued to see Roman ruins along the side of the bike trail.  This is what remains of Kelemantia, a Roman military camp from the 2nd to the 4th century.

If you poke about, there are ruins everywhere.  This excavation was amidst the buildings adjacent to the Royal Palace in Budapest.

I would have liked to go to the  site at Aquincum (the capital of Lower Pannonia, near Budapest), but by the time we made it back to Budapest, we had been riding outside in the 95 degree humid heat for days, and somehow a nice air-conditioned museum seemed more appealing than an outdoor site, so we contented ourselves looking at the artifacts in the Hungarian National Museum instead.  A large part of the lower floor of the museum was dedicated to Roman artifacts found in the area.  (This museum gave us the added benefit of seeing regional stuff from later periods of history too.)

There were definitely lots of carvings of historical and battle scenes.  I suspect Nim absorbed more than she wanted to about the history of Marcus Aurelius, who was big in these parts of the empire back in the 2nd century ("What -- more about the rain miracle???") and all the political ins and outs of how one rises to leadership in the Roman Empire. ("What, another adoption scene???")

Very cool inscribed metal military diploma.  PhD diplomas would be much more interesting objects if they were constructed like this!

Carvings were not all politically oriented -- there was quite an interesting series of sarcophagi from the region near Budapest, tracing the impact of Roman art and culture on the preexisting community of stone carvers.  I like the prevalent grape vine motifs. 

On the subject of wine, none of us were aware that Bacchus' attendants included two large cats.  We missed our cats...

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