When the owner of a Queens building complex covered with graffiti art tore it down, it was an act of commerce—the land is now slated for a high-rise development. But to the 23 artists whose graffiti graced the buildings’ walls, it was a crime against art. Now, they’ve banded together in what could become a landmark lawsuit.
Researchers exploring the depths of volcanic Lake Nemi in Italy are hoping its waters have one more secret to give up.
A diving team is hunting for the remains of one of Roman Emperor Caligula's massive floating palaces. The infamous ruler, who briefly presided over ancient Rome some 2,000 years ago, is said to have used the barges to host wild orgies, cruel games, and other depravities associated with his reign. As such, the ships were outfitted with elaborate comforts ranging from marble floors to extensive gardens and even temples.
"He built Liburnian galleys with ten banks of oars, with sterns set with gems, particolored sails, huge spacious baths, colonnades, and banquet-halls, and even a great variety of vines and fruit trees; that on board of them he might recline at table from an early hour, and coast along the shores of Campania amid songs and choruses," wrote Caligula's biographer Suetonius. "He built villas and country houses with utter disregard of expense, caring for nothing so much as to do what men said was impossible."
After Caligula's assassination after only three years on the throne, his party boats were scuttled and sent to the bottom of Lake Nemi. For centuries, fishermen reported snagged nets and hooks that would occasionally bring up pieces of the boats.
It wasn't until the early 1930s, under the orders of Italian dictator Benito Mussolini, that Caligula's party boats once again saw daylight. Using an old Roman drainage tunnel that at one time provided irrigation to farms below Nemi, engineers lowered the lake's level by 66 feet.
Two vessels, measuring 230 feet and 240 feet in length respectively, emerged from the mud.
The ships and their artifacts astonished both archeologists and naval experts alike, shedding new light on the advanced construction techniques of the Romans in the first century AD. Besides an anchor design that was originally thought to have only been invented in the mid-19th century, the researchers also found an elaborate pump system.
Both of Caligula’s Nemi ships contained several hand operated bilge pumps working like modern bucket dredges, the oldest example of this type of pump ever found. Piston pumps on the two Nemi ships supplied hot and cold running water through lead pipes. The Romans used the hot water for baths and the cold water for fountains and drinking water. This piston pump technology later was lost to history and not rediscovered until the Middle Ages.
While the Italians successfully recovered both vessels from the bottom of Nemi, their subsequent study and display was short-lived. On May 31, 1944, Allied bombs struck a German anti-aircraft battery near the Lake Nemi Museum. The explosion generated a fire that destroyed the remains of both ancient ships.
Despite the loss of two of Caligula's barges, rumors persisted that a third, larger vessel remained safely hidden under Lake Nemi.
Pentecost is a festival which celebrates the descending of holy spirits to the disciples of Jesus Christ after his ascension. The Pentecost Sunday is celebrated every year on the 50th day after Easter, 10 days after the ascension of Jesus Christ. A mass is held in the morning in the Pantheon and followed by a red rose petals shower afterwards.