Romans across the city this week remembered the anniversary of the rastrellamento within the Jewish ghetto in Rome on October 16, 1943 carried out by 365 Nazi officers at the order of SS Captain Theodor Dannecker. Italians often refer to it as 'la spietata caccia agli ebrei' (“the ruthless hunting down of the Jews”). During the raid, 1,022 Jewish Romans were gathered and sent to the Collegio Militare in Palazzo Salviati in Trastevere, just a few hundred meters from Vatican city and the papal residence. Most of these Romans were sent to Auschwitz on sealed trains that left from Tiburtina station. Most would die in the gas chambers there. Only 15 men and 1 woman survived the camps and returned back to Italy alive.
Years of restoration work on the Palatine Hill and in the Roman Forum which—together with the Colosseum—now make up the Parco Archeologico del Colosseo has been coming to fruition over the last few years. After decades of sporadic work, rusting scaffolding, and locked gates, a fabulous flurry of activity has yielded an ever greater number of visitable sites.
Many of these are accessible as part of the SUPER ticket, which provides access to the Palatine Hill and the Roman Forum (but not the Colosseum), and includes access to eight excellent “bonus” sites: Santa Maria Antiqua, Temple of Romulus, Palatine Museum, the Neronian Cryptoporticus, the Aula Isiaca and Loggia Mattei, the Houses of Augustus and Livia, and—most recently—the Domus Transitoria.
Over the past year I have had the amazing opportunity of being a Rome Prize Fellow in Ancient Studies at the American Academy in Rome. In this month’s blog, as a sort of farewell to the city, I briefly discuss my own research on holidays and festivals in ancient Jewish literature and the research I completed in Rome. I also briefly describe the evidence of the intersection and interaction of Jews, Judaism, and Rome found in the city.
The Circus Maximus, the Colosseum, and the Roman Fora. What could be more Roman? These sites typically exemplify the power of the ancient Roman Empire and its lasting impact on the modern world. These are some of the definitive sites to visit on any trip to the eternal city, but how did these sites contribute to imperial propaganda and memory?