Córdoba, Andalusia, Spain

Córdoba is a city located in the South of Spain, in Andalusia, capital of the province of the same name; located on the river Guadalquivir. Its historical centre is a UNESCO heritage. In 169 BC, it was occupied by the Romans and we can still find several monuments dating from that period. After the collapse of the Western Roman Empire the city passed into the hands of the Vandals and the Visigoths also having a brief Byzantine interlude. In 711, the Muslims conquered the city and it became the administrative and political centre of Muslim Spain. Throughout the 10th century, it competed with Baghdad by the size and its magnificence. It was one of the most populated cities of the West (year 1000), it had more than 600 mosques and 900 public baths. The city or Medina was surrounded by a wall beyond which the suburbs (rabad) developed and there was also a Jewish neighbourhood. The main monument is the Great Mosque. The craft was very present, they worked the leather, they manufactured paper and books and they also worked in the textile industry. It was a fairly cultured city. Around the years 1030 the Caliphate began to collapse, in 1086 the town was occupied by the Almoravids and in 1149 by the Almohads; its long decline began. Ferdinand III of Castile took over the city in 1236 but its decline continued. Muslims were still tolerated in the first decades of the Castilian domination and the Grand Mosque was converted into church under the rank of Cathedral. To see: the Cathedral, the Synagogue (one of the three Spanish synagogues remaining from the middle ages), Fernandine and Alfonsine churches (13th century), the Alcazar, the Church of Santa Marina, the walls encircling the city with its towers of origins Muslim and Christian, the Roman archaeological remains. the Muslim archaeological remains, the Roman bridge, the Judería (Jewish quarter), even as several gardens and parks among others.

Tips

In the Cathedral, there are small streets with typical patios, take a good walk, you will appreciate. If you’re there in May, you will find flowers everywhere.
If you like photography, please feel free to take beautiful images by going to the Roman Bridge especially in the sunset.
A good way to get there is by train, you can reach it from Madrid (1 h 45). from Barcelona (5 h 30) and from Sevilla (1 h 10). Once arrived, you count with a bus service.

« The Lupercal » February 15, celebration in ancient Rome, the origin of Valentine’s Day

To understand the origins of the St-Valentine, we must go back to the time of ancient Rome. Spring began on February 5, it was for the Romans a moment of purification and expiation of all the sins they had committed against their gods. On this occasion, the houses were traditionally cleaned. After sweeping interior parts, was sprinkled with salt and wheat. It is this rite of purification (februa) which is at origin of the word “February”.

Lupercalia

Every year on February 15, the Romans made a pagan worship of the Roman she-wolf who suckled Romulus and Remus in the cave of “Lupercal”. The popular festival of the Lupercalia (Lupercalia) was a tribute to Faunus, the god of nature and fertility, also called Lupercus. This festival was held on the slopes of Palatine Hill in memory of Romulus who had traced formerly the city wall by digging a furrow with a plow around this mountain.

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This festival included three highlights:
the sacrifice of a goat
race Luperci
a great final banquet

The sacrifice

The College of Luperci comprised the son of the oldestfive aristocratic families, descendants of the founders of Rome. The ceremony took place symbolically in the cave of the Lupercal. Having sacrificed goats, we drove two young men at the altar. The priest touched their foreheads with the bloody knife and wiped them with wool pads soaked in milk. After which the young people had to laugh.

The race

Then the two youths launched a race through the city. Having toured the Palatine to purify the old site, they spread through the city, laughing and drinking.
The Luperci, half naked and covered only of the skin of the sacrificed goats, hitting spectators with goat skin strips. Lashed young pregnant women with strips of skin from a slaughtered goat. It was believed that this could induce fertility and reduce the pain of childbirth.

The love lotery

Other rituals took place linked to Juno, the goddess of Women and Marriage. The stage had been set for a festivity around the theme of Love. The Lupercian festival was a celebration of sensual pleasure, a time to meet and court a prospective mate.

La Saint-Valentin

The Lupercian festival was one of the most famous of all Roman festivals. The Christian popes long tried to eradicate this custom but it wasn?  Until 495 AD that Pope Gelase I managed to ban the pagan ritual. He supplanted the Roman festivity with a church-approved celebration of Saint Valentine that was to take place the day before, on February 14th

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‘The age of anxiety’, exhibition, Capitoline Museums, Rome

The exhibition ‘the age of anxiety’, fourth round of the ‘Days of Rome”, wants to offer the opportunity to illustrate the major changes that have marked the era between the reign of Commodus (180-192 ac) and that of Diocletian (284-305 ac).
The exhibition focuses on the profound changes that have marked the 3rd century ac., century traditionally considered ‘crisis’ of the Empire, but containing some of the most fruitful buds actually intended to change forever the next era and to open the doors to late ancient society. The title of the exhibition is inspired by a work of Eric Dodds, entitled “the pagans and christians in an age of anxiety”, published in 1965, dedicated specifically to the 3rd century a.c. Dodds was a friend of the Anglo-American poet W.H. Auden, who had published the age of anxiety in ‘ 47, poem able to highlight the void of existence during the period of the second world, characterized the conversion or return to Christianity and the willingness to adhere to a religious belief of a ‘leap of faith ‘. The exhibition tells the religious and spiritual crisis generalized that in a climate of generalized anxiety has led to an abandonment of traditional religions and more massive adherence to the worship of the gods of the East: Isis, Cybele and Mithras, Sabazio. In addition to them, of course, Christ. Anxiety derived from some concrete problems and materials: civil wars, financial and economic crisis, famine, epidemics and perennial pressure of the barbarians on the frontiers. The hope of a secure future was so widespread and urgent to feed those which ancient historians call an expectation of security. relating mainly to the figure of the Emperor, in theory, the guarantor of justice, the military security of the Empire and also the supreme religious authority. The collapse of the social and economic benchmarks have always had as main effect the daily life of the people, who so quickly and gradually, face the anguish of the real. Among the most significant works of this era are included the ‘colossal portrait of Probus’ or ‘bust of Decius’ of the Capitoline Museums, the extraordinary «statue in bronze of Trebonianus Gallus» from the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the statues of individuals like the philosophers of the Villa of Dionysos at Dion; the three statues male at full length, beautiful, dating from the 17th century which are housed in the Casino del Bel Respiro della Villa Doria Pamphilj in Rome (statue of “Toga”, statue of “Hunter” and statue of “nudity”). In private portraits continues the fashion of portraits of individuals or the emperors in ideal bodies, referring to female as Venus, Demeter, Fortuna, as in “statue of Omphale” deities or heroes such as Hercules, which allow an improvement of clear quality and the exploits of the victim by the assimilation of their heroic virtues: see the “bust of Commodus as Hercules” or “the statue private as March”. Exposed for the first time together, works of extraordinary artistic level, amounted to about two hundred. Imposing statues in marble and bronze, life-size, in some case of colossal size, busts and portraits, marble reliefs, sarcophagi, urns, decorations in mosaics and murals, as well as of the precious silverware table, architectural elements and altars, allowing you to enjoy the taste of an era full of reflect on the formal evolution and the figurative themes presented by objects decorating urban spaces and private ones (houses and tombs).

Tips

The exhibition takes place from January 28th to October 4th 2015 in the Capitoline Museums, from Tuesday to Sunday; Piazza del Campidoglio 1-00186 Rome.
Open from 9:00 to 20:00; the ticket office closes one hour before and it is closed on Mondays.
You can make a visit with audio guide that you can find in different languages.