12 December


flying carpets as masterplan? . . . . the site tonight exactly 8 years ago:

The current discussion on architectural language reminds me of a small exhibit at Quondam online earlier this year. In a general sense, the display deals with the 'language' and meaning of architectural planimetric forms, while specifically the display deals with the 'master key' that unlocks the long held mysteriousness of Piranesi's Ichnographia Campus Martius (i.e., the large plan of the Fields of Mars). And in hyper-contextual terms, the display refers to the two rapes that generated Rome: the rape of the Vestal Virgin Rhea Silvia by the god Mars, which in turn produced Romulus and Remus, and then the rape of the Sabine women, an attack planned by Romulus in order to further populate his newly founded namesake urbs. That's rape, then rape reenacted, then Eternal City! What better way to institute a 'place' then with the notion "like father, like son."

1.  Introduction 
2a. Renaissance: Assimilation and Architecture
2b. Michelangelo: the First Metabolist
2c. The Baroque and the Enlightenment: Assimilation and Metabolism Together
3.  The Metabolization of History I--Learning from Piranesi's Campo Marzio
4.  The Metaboization of History II--the Architecture of K. F. Schinkel
5.  Purism as Ultimate Assimilation
6.  Towards a Metabolic Architecture
7.  Osmosis and Electro-Magnetism: an Outside Inside Architecture

Dec 12, 13 10:08 pm
chatter of clouds

Family Tree

Interestingly, the lineage of Romulus and Remus, is set-off by the much more distant rape of Electra by Zeus (Jupiter), one of the Pleiads, daughters of the more primordial Titans. So, not only is it a case of like father like son, but the very lineage owes itself to rape. 

It is also said that the discovery of Rome might have happened somewhere nearer the middle of the family tree - circa Aeneas.

Another interesting connection, browsing though the web...

There is  an interesting beginning, middle(ish) and end (up to romulus & remus) to this lineage. Each of which is mediated by the intrusive progenitive activities of one of three gods: Jupiter/Zeus, Venus/Aphrodite, Mars/Ares. (Although, to note, that Ares was altogether a different sort of God in the Greek myths and was not as esteemed as Mars was within the Roman context - also Ares did not rape). 

Also, embedded in the narrative is the creation of two cities by the movement of the same object, Athena's Palladium :from Olympus to Troy, and then Troy to Rome. 

1- Troy: Raped by Zeus, Europa, no longer a virgin and distressed, flees to Athena/Pallas effigy. Being no longer a virgin, she desecrates the Palladium. Zeus himself hurls the now desecrated Palladium off Mount Olympus and it lands in Troy. Alternatively, Electra herself takes it there and gives it to her son, Dardanus. Although Troy (Ilium) is more immediately associated to his son, Ilus, he is the forefather and the founder of the people starting with Dardania. Thus, the creation of Troy starts with the geographical implant of the Palladium and the region's safety and existence will be thereafter guaranteed by this it.

2. Rome: Trojan Wars. The second expatriation of the Palladium. Two versions. We stick to the one involving Aeneas, son of Anchises and Venus/Aphrodite, who first sleeps with his father by guile. Another deception (yet not a rape). Aeneas, the Trojan warrior escaping Troy after its destruction by the Greeks,  brings with him (or is given by Diomedes, Odysseus' partner in the Greek's conquest of Troy through its decimation and the very removal of its guarantee of safety, namely) the Palladium to Rome. (other versions stating that it finds its way there) 

So, it seems to me that the lineage is a travelogue from Troy to Rome, propelled, energized by the divine intrusion of Jupiter, Venus and Mars. Troy begins with a divine rape, its end coincides with divine love (Aphrodite), and Rome then begins with a divine rape. Two cities, two rapes and the Palladium. 

Dec 13, 13 12:50 am
chatter of clouds

More linear association:

Apparently, the Palladium would have found its place in the Temple of Vesta. 

And guess who made sketches and etches of the temple? 

Dec 13, 13 1:03 am
chatter of clouds

gosh, its amazing the amount of material on internet. anyway, here it is on the plan.

Dec 13, 13 1:11 am
chatter of clouds

Actually, I think Piranesi's drawing above is not of the Temple of Vesta in Rome but of the Temple of Vesta in Tivoli. 

But he did (?) draw the the remaining columns of the Temple of Vesta withi Roman forum  (correct me if I'm way off) as below

Dec 13, 13 1:41 am
chatter of clouds

oh and i found this, its quite cool

The Forum

you click on the temple of vesta and

The Temple of Vesta

Ok, I got carried away but, well, it started with the divine rape... and I might have ended up raping your thread (apologies). 

Dec 13, 13 1:44 am

tammuz, it looks as if the Temple of Vesta is not within the Piranesi perspective 'view' of the Roman Forum. The three columns with entablature belong to the Temple of Castor and Pollux, and the round Temple of Vesta would be right in the center of the view within the clearing in front of the two tiny figures. I'm guessing the temple base was still buried in Piranesi's time, and the few columns of the round temple that are in the Forum today are a reconstruction of 20th century vintage. Note, too, how the church facade seen through the three columns does not exist in our time.

The Roman Forum is not delineated within the Ichnographia Campus Martius, but Piranesi did draw a reconstructed plan of the Roman Forum within volume one of La Antichita Romane--that plan is nowhere close to what we know the plan to be today.

"The Vestals, priestesses of the goddess Vesta, whose temple was opposite their house, were selected among the daughters of patrician families between six and ten years of age.

They were exempt from the common law, had many privileges and great political importance, often interposing to save a life, or to restore harmony at times of crisis. They sat in seats of honour at public games and were almost the only citizens allowed to drive within the walls. Their duty was to watch by night and by day the sacred fire in the Temple, and to guard the Palladium. If the fire was allowed to go out, the Vestal in charge was scourged for her carelessness; if she violated her vow of chastity, she was condemned to be buried alive."

The place where Vestals were buried, the Campus Sceleratus, is delineated within the Ichnographia Campus Martius, but, unless you are looking at an actual engraving of the Ichnographia, you are not likely to discern its label:

I believe that I once read somewhere that it was a criminal offense to murder any virgin in Rome, thus the quandary of how execute a fallen Vestal, hence live burial at the Campus Sceleratus.

By the way, the small exhibit at Quondam mentioned above was innuendo.


What I find interesting is that the notion of a god having sex with a virgin is at the very foundation of Christianity. Here's something a wrote just over 10 years ago:

Re: Bib. for Cyrillona's Mariology?
2003.08.09 13:32

Thank you for the Graef citation. If Graef does indeed confuse Immaculate Conception with Annunciation/Incarnation, then this is one more example where such a mistake is made within modern scholarship. I have become very intolerant of this mistake after finding it several times within contemporary architectural theory texts. I even see this presence of misinformation compounded because it implicates not only authors, but editors/review peerage as well. This mistake needs broad/public attention within the realm of scholarship simply to cease the perpetuation of its existence.

It is the Annunciation, as reported by Luke 1:26-38, where a series of events are clearly described.

1. (26) The angel Gabriel is sent by God to Nazareth. The presence of an angel already constitutes a miraculous event, a theophany.
2. (27) The angel is sent to a betrothed virgin named Mary. Here Scripture clearly states that Mary is a virgin and that she is promised in marriage to Joseph.
3. (28) In greeting, Gabriel exalts Mary; "the Lord is with thee" reiterates the theophany, thus Mary's being "full of grace" and "Blessed among women" is Divinely sanctioned.
4. (29) Mary is troubled by such a greeting, signifying her overall innocence in this situation.
5. (30) Gabriel assures Mary of her safety within the theophany taking place.
6. (31) Gabriel 'announces' to Mary that she will conceive and subsequently give birth to a boy, Jesus.
7. (32-33) Gabriel Highly exalts the nature of Mary's announced offspring, indeed to the point of infinity.
8. (34) Mary exclaims confusion at the announcement, while she herself proclaims her virginity.
9. (35) Gabriel tells Mary the Holy Spirit will come upon her, the Most High will overshadow her, and the Holy One to be born will be called the Son of God. Gabriel essentially announces the soon forthcoming of the Trinity, a complete theophany.
10. (36) Gabriel then announces the Precursor, John the Baptist.
11. (37) "for nothing shall be impossible with God."
12. (38) Mary's ultimate reply, "Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it done to me according to thy word," is extremely important on two counts. First, it is at the moment of Mary's complicity that the Incarnation (the Word becoming flesh) occurs. (Note Gabriel efficiently departs as soon as his task is complete.) Second, without Mary's complicity, the Incarnation would have been the result of a rape, not at all unlike the sexual relationship between Mars (a divinity) and Rhea Silvia (a Vestal Virgin), another reported theophany which progenerated Rome.

After the Annunciation/Incarnation comes the Visitation, where John the Baptist, when he for the first time is in the presence of the Incarnation, takes a noticeable pre-natal leap.


Piranesi further 'played' with the Pagan/Christian inversion of god and virgin via the Templum Martis/church of S. Agnese in Agone. 3181

A lot of all the above was way in the back of my mind during the ZHA World Cup Stadium as vagina discussions. I wonder if Piranesi's spiraling mock sea-battle stadium within the Ichnographia Campus Martius, the Naumachia Domitiani, will become the inspiration for a new stadium designed within the next decade or so.

Also, I'm currently re-reading Tafuri's Architecture and Utopia, and I have a heightened awareness of the avant-garde architectural lineage that Tafuri sees the Ichnographia Campus Martius as the protogenitor of. I think it's now possible, however, to 'fabricate' a whole other avant-garde architectural lineage once one understands what the Ichnographia Campus Martius is really all about.


Dec 13, 13 7:48 pm

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