11/10/12

Foto Finish: Time


This week's optional theme for Foto Finish is "Time"  I had to dig into the archives for this one.  Here's my entry:


When I was in Rome several years ago, I shelled out some bucks to have an individualized guided tour of Rome.  I only had a few days there, and with so much to see, I asked an American expatriot guide to take me around.  There was a significant language barrier in Italy, with few people speaking English, and so I was glad to have someone who could show me around in my native tongue.  One of the places he showed me was the Basilica of St. Mary of the Angels and the Martyrs where I saw this, The Meridian of Santa Maria degli Angeli e dei Martiri.  It's a sort of year-long sundial.  There is a tiny hole located on the side of the basilica that allows a beam of sunlight to penetrate the cathedral walls casting a lighted point onto the Meridian.  Why?  Here's what Wikipedia has to say about it:

At the beginning of the eighteenth century, Pope Clement XI commissioned the astronomer, mathematician, archaeologist, historian and philosopher Francesco Bianchini to build a meridian line, a sort of sundial, within the basilica. Completed in 1702, the object had a threefold purpose: the pope wanted to check the accuracy of the Gregorian reformation of the calendar, to produce a tool to predict Easter exactly, and, not least, to give Rome a meridian line as important as the one Giovanni Domenico Cassini had recently built in Bologna's cathedral, San Petronio. This church was chosen for several reasons: (1) Like other baths in Rome, the building was already naturally southerly oriented, so as to receive unobstructed exposure to the sun; (2) the height of the walls allowed for a long line to measure the sun's progress through the year more precisely; (3) the ancient walls had long since stopped settling into the ground, ensuring that carefully calibrated observational instruments set in them would not move out of place; and (4) because it was set in the former baths of Diocletian, it would symbolically represent a victory of the Christian calendar over the earlier pagan calendar.

Interesting, huh?  To read more about how it works, you can click on this link for an explanation.  These sorts of things are very interesting to me.

For next week's theme, I think I'll go with "Look Down".  What do you see?

Now it's *time* (ha!) to show me your images.  Here's Mr. Linky:

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6 comments from clever and witty friends:

Celtic Thistle said...

Great photo Barbara, and such an interesting background. Thanks!

gpc said...

Beautiful, and how smart of you to get a private guide. I wish I'd done that when I was there!

Denise :) said...

How beautiful is that? I think it takes touring some of the European countries to truly get a sense of "time" ... we've only inhabited the Americas for such a short period, comparatively! :)

Kate said...

Interesting story and picture. It's amazing what a little envy does for progress isn't it?

Snoodles said...

Cool! I'm a history nut, too, so that kind of thing cranks my tractor. (Wish we were neighbors and could travel around and have fun together! LOL)

quiltzyx said...

I think 'scientific' things make such interesting pictures! I wouldn't have even thought about getting a personal guide - brilliant!