In the morning we rode our charter bus a couple hours south of Naples to Paestum, a prosperous ancient Greek colony famous for its three beautifully preserved Doric temples, dating from about 600-450 BC.
Then we traveled back up to Naples to visit the National Archaeological Museum in the heart of the city, where we saw many familiar faces.
Artemis of Ephesus (a great example of syncretism–the combination of a local Asiatic goddess with a classic Greco-Roman deity). What are those symbols of fertility on her torso? Scholars can’t agree on the answer…but we decided they were buffalo mozzarella balls.
Hercules, tired but triumphant after accomplishing his 11th labor (stealing the Apples of the Hesperides). Ask one of our travelers about why this is a great example of Hellenistic (as opposed to Classical) sculpture!
Magna Mater, Cybele–the Great Mother, an eastern goddess imported to Rome during a state emergency. One of Ms. Cody’s faves. Her chariot is drawn by lions and her priests are eunuchs wielding rattles!
Some famous mosaics: it was fun for students to recognize the original version of this mosaic (depicting a cat attacking a bird) from the poster we have in the Latin classroom in the Chapel.
We subjected this world-renowned mosaic of Alexander the Great defeating Darius III at the battle of Gaugamela to an in-depth art-historical analysis. Ask one of our travelers what they remember about Alexander and his three most famous battles!
A much-needed snack in the museum shop
Dinner: the best pizza restaurant on Via dei Tribunali in downtown Naples.
Back to the Vesuvian Institute, where we reflected on our day outside in the garden against the magical backdrop of Naples Bay lit up like a diamond necklace in the night and the great, brooding volcano.
Writing in our scrap books in the Institute common rooms before bed.