For more than two thousand years fountains have provided drinking water and decorated the piazzas of Rome. During the Roman Empire, in 98 AD, according to Sextus Julius Frontinus, the Roman consul who was named curator aquarum or guardian of the water of the city, Rome had nine aqueducts
which fed 39 monumental fountains and 591 public basins, not counting
the water supplied to the Imperial household, baths and owners of
private villas. Each of the major fountains was connected to two
different aqueducts, in case one was shut down for service.
After the fall of the Western Roman Empire, the aqueducts were
wrecked or fell into disrepair, and the fountains stopped working. In
the 14th century, Pope Nicholas V
(1397–1455), a scholar who commissioned hundreds of translations of
ancient Greek classics into Latin, decided to embellish the city and
make it a worthy capital of the Christian world. In 1453 he began to
rebuild the Acqua Vergine,
the ruined Roman aqueduct which had brought clean drinking water to the
city from eight miles (13 km) away. He also decided to revive the Roman
custom of marking the arrival point of an aqueduct with a mostra, a grand commemorative fountain. He commissioned the architect Leon Battista Alberti to build a wall fountain where the Trevi Fountain
is now located. Alberti restored, modified, and expanded the aqueduct
that supplied both the Trevi Fountain as well as the famous baroque
fountains in the Piazza del Popolo and Piazza Navona.
One of the first new fountains to be built in Rome during the Renaissance was the Fountain in Piazza Santa Maria in Trastevere
(1499), which was placed on the site of an earlier Roman fountain. Its
design, based on an earlier Roman model, with a circular vasque on a
pedestal pouring water into a basin below, became the model for many
other fountains in Rome, and eventually for fountains in other cities,
from Paris to London
Adventure game fact: The God Machine tower in Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis (LucasArts, 1992) was designed to resemble Gustave Doré’s illustrations of Satan in Hell’s icy center in Dante’s Inferno.
Not only that, the architecture of the God Machine contains three distinct faces, recalling Dante’s description of Satan’s three-faced visage:
If he were then as lovely, as now foul, and yet upraised his brow against his Maker, well it may be that from him all ills flow.
O, what a wonder did it seem to me when looking on his head I saw three faces! The one in front had vermilion for hue;
the other two were each joined to this, above the center of his shoulder blades, and reunited at his forehead’s crest.
The face at right was colored white and gold; the one at left was dark to look upon, like those who come from where the Nile flows.
Beneath each face there fluttered two vast wings, Such as were fitting for a mighty bird. No ship I saw ever had sails as wide.
In other words, the Fate of Atlantis developers weren’t just depicting Atlantis here: they were also depicting the center of Dante’s Hell, AKA Cocytus.
PS: It’s not common knowledge, but both Hal Barwood and Noah Falstein at various times worked on versions of The Dig.
PPS: In the above quote, Dante alludes to the fact that the Nile’s source was then unknown to Europeans, and would remain undiscovered until the 19th century.
In the Fountain of the Four Rivers in Rome’s Piazza Navona, sculptor Gian Lorenzo Bernini made a similar allusion by draping a heavy veil over the figure personifying the Nile, hiding his facial features.
i made it safely to rome, italy! i wanted to share some of my favorite photos that i’ve taken as well as feature my bullet journal which kept track of the flights i took to get here (look at all those delays)
[ top right: fountain of the four rivers (piazza novano) ; bottom left: trevi fountain ; bottom right: colosseum ]
01/?? bernini appreciation - fountain of the four rivers, rome
“So strong was the sinister influence of the rivals of Bernini on the mind of Innocent that when he planned to set up in Piazza Navona the great obelisk brought to Rome by the Emperor Caracalla, which had been buried for a long time at Capo di Bove for the adornment of a magnificent fountain, the Pope had designs made by the leading architects of Rome without an order for one to Bernini. Prince Niccolò Ludovisi, whose wife was niece to the pope, persuaded Bernini to prepare a model, and arrange for it to be secretly installed in a room in the Palazzo Pamphili that the Pope had to pass. When the meal was finished, seeing such a noble creation, he stopped almost in ecstasy. Being prince of the keenest judgment and the loftiest ideas, after admiring it, said: "This is a trick … It will be necessary to employ Bernini in spite of those who do not wish it, for he who desires not to use Bernini’s designs, must take care not to see them.” (x)
15 Febbraio 2015: Fountains in Rome - Fountain of the Four Riversand theTrevi Fountain.
The Fountain of the Four Rivers designed by Bernini for the Pope at the time, was really really beautiful. I feel like I may say that about everything I see in Italy, cause it’s true. But this fountain had so much meaning, and didn’t have a single flaw. Bernini was seriously a genius. Each of the men on the fountain represent a different river (at the time they only knew of 4 continents, so each ‘river’ was representing one river from each continent). All I can remember at this point was the man with the cloth covering his face was to represent the Nile, since no one knew what the Nile’s source was. Our tour guide even mentioned that the 4 men also could’ve represented the 4 continents reactions to the Catholic faith which is quite interesting.
Unfortunately, the Trevi fountain has been under restoration, so the water wasn’t turned on and much of it was covered. But we still got to walk up close to it, throw a coin, and learn about what was under the covers.
the image on the left is the inside of the Pantheon. the dome is made of concrete with a central opening to the sky. it is still the world’s largest unreinforced concrete dome. since the Renaissance, the Pantheon has been used as a tomb – painter, Raphael is buried there.
the image on the right is of Piazza Navona, a city square in Rome, Italy. in the center is the famous Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi or Fountain of the Four Rivers. the Piazza is featured in Dan Brown’s Angels and Demons movie.