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Dies Veneris A Roman Themed Day

Thursday was our first day in the Istrian city of Pula in Croatia. Friday was our first full day in this most interesting city and it turned out to be a Roman Themed Day.

Excavation of a Roman Road

Romans named the days of the week after the seven known planets, which had been named after Roman gods - Friday being Venus. Dies Veneris, is the “day of Venus" named after the Roman goddess of love and beauty.

A Statute of a Roaring Roman Lion

The first part of the day was spent visiting the Roman amphitheatre. During the Roman Imperial period, 1st – 3rd centuries, the greatest classical monuments in Croatia were built in Pula. The most magnificent is the Amphitheater popularly called the Arena.

Arena

During the rule of Emperor Vespasian, in the 1st century AD, the Amphitheater was built and used for entertainment purposes including fights and battles of men and animals, and for the execution of Christians.

Wild animals still roam here

The ground plan is elliptical, its size being about 130 m x 105 m, and 32 m high, which ranks it as the sixth largest Roman amphitheater still existing today. The Arena could once hold up to 23,000 spectators, whereas today it can seat some 5,000 people.

A sanctuary for wild flowers

Pula in Roman times possessed all the major achievements of Roman civilization including its water supply and sewage systems.

The museum underneath the arena

There was the Forum, which was the administrative, commercial and religious centre, capitolium with temples (in the Forum), two theatres, a large city cemetery (mentioned by Dante in his “Divine Comedy”), and houses which were richly ornamented with mosaics and marble.

The Arena

The city was fortified by walls and was entered through some ten gates. Only some of the gates have been preserved and are observable until now The Triumphal Arch of the Sergi is situated at the end of the street (Via Sergia) leading eastwards from the Forum. This triumphal arch leaned against the city gate (Porta Aurea) so that only its western, visible side was richly decorated.

The Triumphal Arch

Having visited the Arch we made our way back to our apartment via the Forum, where preparations were being made for the second half our Roman Themed Day. We had been invited to witness and take part in a Roman Wedding ceremony.

Wedding Preparations

How appropriate Friday, Dies Veneris, was for the evening’s event ‘Pula Superiorvm’. The “day of Venus" was named after the Roman goddess of love and beauty and how apt this was for the celebration of a Roman wedding.

Craftsmen at work

The activities began around 6:00pm. First of all we observed various Roman craftsmen hard at work employing their traditional skills.

The Gladiator School

We we were then introduced to a small school of Roman Gladiators by a Roman citizen. If only Thomas our grandson had been here! He loves history and likes gladiators.

The Bride and Preparations

Susanna , our granddaughter would have loved seeing the bride and all the preparations for the wedding.

Entertainment

Gordon, our son, would no doubt have appreciated the acting and musical content of the evening. There was even a group of wandering minstrels with traditional musical instruments.

Wedding Feast

All of us would have enjoyed taking part in the wedding feast.

Announcements

One Roman citizen reminded us of the solemn promises that were made and of the requirement for a life long commitment to one another. He said that nothing changes!

Sunset

Once again we made time to watch the sun set over Pula’s harbour, where God willing on Saturday we will set out on an excursion around the neighbouring islands.

The Perfect End to the day

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