Scroll and Tablet Blog

Posted on May 18th, 2024 in Faculty, We Have Thoughts On That... by Elizabeth W. Thill | Tags: ,

At the time of writing, Dr. Andy Findley is escorting a group of IU-Indy students through Rome as part of Herron’s Italian study abroad experience. Presumably, he at some point shared their itinerary with me (Dr. Thill), but I don’t remember, because my life is chaos and my mind is an often-cleaned whiteboard with no working markers. Also, I am always insanely jealous whenever someone is in Rome and I am not, so there might be a bit of spite forgetting as well. Regardless, rather than doing the professional thing and having him formally present their activities when he gets back, I have decided to post his pictures and guess where he is. For those of you old enough to remember the OG Where in the World is Carmen San Diego?, welcome to my version of “Where in Ancient Rome is Dr. Findley?”

This is an easy one. I can see the Arch of Septimius Severus, the Temple of Divine Vespasian and Titus, and the Temple of Saturn, so Dr. Findley is in the neighborhood of the Forum Romanum. However, his face is in shade, so he is clearly not in the Forum itself. Today the Forum consists of an open space that features nothing much more than blocks of concrete (i.e. the remains of temple podium foundations), so it has all the creature comforts and temperature considerations of a circle of Hell. He must be in the viewing platform of the Capitoline Museums, which is built in the Republican Tabularium. For those of you who don’t know what the Tabularium was, welcome to the club, neither do scholars.

Speaking of the Capitoline Museums, this one is also easy. Here Dr. Findley is in the Capitoline Museum atrium, posing in front of the dismembered remains a portrait of the emperor Constantine, like some antique serial killer. Although this portrait was probably re-cut from an original portrait of the emperor Maxentius, after Constantine defeated him in battle, stole his basilica, and then recarved his portraiture to represent Constantine himself, like some antique serial killer. In fact, the line between “Roman Emperor” and “sociopathic serial killer” is always a hard one to draw.

Speaking of easy and Constantine, this is Dr. Findley in front of the Arch of Constantine. This arch was built using materials from earlier emperors’ monuments. Theories as to why this was done include “the ancients were poor and thrift store shopping;” “they were hipsters putting together a carefully curated vintage aesthetic;” “this somehow has to do with the establishment of Christianity over paganism because everything does;” and “I don’t know, we will never know, stop asking me.” Fun facts: Dr. Findley is the author of the article on the Arch of Constantine, and Bailey Evans is the author of this blog’s article on the Arch of Constantine.

Here Dr. Findley is in the Vatican Museums, posing in front of one of his future victims, the Prima Porta Augustus. This statue commemorates Augustus’ great victory over the Parthians: he demanded they return some sacred sticks they had captured from the Romans, and the Parthians shrugged and said “sure, fine, you guys are weird.” Then to celebrate, someone made this statue for Augustus, which features a bunch of dense symbolism on his shirt, like one of those band t-shirts where you only get the references if you went to all the concerts.

In this picture, Dr. Findley reveals the connection between the “Pantheon the Building” and the real mythological pantheon that rules the universe: Disney.

I don’t know where this is. The Temple of Venus and Rome? Can you walk in there now? Could you always walk in there?

Is it bad that I recognized this location, not from the sculpture, but from the mosaic on the floor (it’s the Galleria Borghese)? This seems like a good place to end, on a picture puzzle I solved using the floor and some posts—OG Carmen callback!

Want to see more pictures of Dr. Findley in Rome, while presumably learning more about Rome itself? Enroll in CLAS-C 361 Ancient Roman Revolutions, coming up Fall 2024, no pre-reqs or previous experience required. Can’t get enough of Ancient Greece and Rome? Earn a Classics Minor in just 15 credits!