The Equestrian Statue of Marcus Aurelius
This is one of the two known surviving bronze statues of pre-christian roman emperors. It is over 1800 years old, and has stood in open air up until the 1980s.
It was common practice in late roman times to melt down bronze statues and the only reason this survived is that for a long time people mistakenly believed it was a statue of Constantine.
Interestingly it stood in front of the papal seat of power for seven centuries, before it was moved to Piazza del Campidoglio
It’s hard to put into context how big Rome was under the roman empire and how far it fell but maybe illustrating it with the Lateran palace helps. It was the seat of papal power between the 8th and 14th centuries and had Marcus Aurelius’s statue in front of it
it was a suburban environment with vineyards and gardens until Rome started encroaching on it again in the late NINETEENTH century.
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