Unlike a number of the elaborate metropolis’ and statuary left behind by the Incan people the rings at Moray are relatively simple but may have actually been an ingenious series of test beds. Descending in grass-covered, terraced rings, the rings of rings vary in size with the largest ending in a depth of 30 meters (98 feet) deep and 220 meters (722 feet) wide. Studies have shown that many of the terraces contain soil that must have been imported from other parts of the region. The temperature at the top of the pits varies from that at the bottom of the ringed pits by as much as 15 degrees Celsius , creating a series of micro-climates that not coincidentally match many of the varied climate conditions among the Incan empire. It is now believed that the rings were used as a test bed to see what crops could grow where. This proto-America’s-Test-Kitchen is yet another example of the Incan ingenuity that makes them one of the most remarkable of declined societies in the planet’s history.
Julius Caesar dedicated the Temple of Venus Genetrix in Rome on this day in 46 BCE. Caesar traced his ancestry to Aeneas, son of the Roman goddess of love and beauty. In dedicating the temple to Venus Genetrix, Caesar drew attention to her role as mother. Typical of Roman temples, the sanctuary was raised on a high podium and held a cult statue of Venus as well as portrait statues of Caesar himself. The original temple was destroyed by fire in 80 CE and was rebuilt by Emperor Domitian and restored by Trajan. Three columns survive from the second temple.
Temple of Venus Genetrix, rebuilt by Trajan 113 CE, Rome
Plan of Imperial Fora, Rome
Silver denarius of Julius Caesar, reverse: Aeneas carrying palladium and his father Anchises, 47-46 BCE. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art: Rogers Fund, 1908.170.80
The Church of St. Nicholas in Densuș is among the oldest and most unusual sacred buildings in Romania, and almost certainly the country’s oldest still-used Orthodox church.
It likely dates from the 13th Century, although the original structure on that site may have been built much earlier. Since no written documentation of its founding survives, its exact age is disputed. Theories about the structure’s origins abound, including that it was built on the site of a pagan temple, or served as a mausoleum for a Roman general. The Late Romanesque construction is curiously piecemeal, giving the impression that it was built in several stages, also incorporating stone from the nearby ruins of Roman Sarmizegetusa (Ulpia Traiana).