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November 25, 2011     Post-Gazette
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November 25, 2011

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Page 2 POST-GAZETTE, NOVEMBER 25, 2011 Stir00 by Prof. Edmund Turiello Nostra of the more interesting aspects of our ancestry.., our lineage.., our roots. HADRIAN'S TOMB, CASTEL SANT' ANGELO Getting back from last week's issue to a serious note and showing all due respect to this most gifted emperor, I must say there is little doubt that the most famous of all ancient Roman tombs is the mausoleum that Hadrian built for him- self and the succeeding members of his family. He started construction on. the tomb himself in 130 A.D. but it was completed a year after his death by Antoninus Pius. The structure is almost 300 feet wide and over 150 feet high. The exterior face of the entire structure, includ- ing a cone-shaped roof was faced with white marble. There were beautiful marble statues round the roof and a bronze quadrigae (chariot drawn by four horses abreast) at the summit. A central chamber held the sarcopha- gus (stone coffin) of Hadrian; its base was later destroyed by fire and the lid is now used as a .fountain in the Baptistry of St. Peter's Basilica in Rome. Pope Gregory was walking barefooted as he was con- ducting a penitential pro- cession through the streets of Rome to pray for the ces- sation of a plague which was ravaging the city in 590 A.D. He beheld a vision of Michael the Archangel sheathing his sword while standing on the uppermost part of the mau- soleum. This vision coin- cided with the end of the plague and the structure has been called Castel Sant' Angelo since that time. A covered passageway to the Vatican was built by Pope Nicholas Ill in 1277, and this permitted the tomb to be used by future popes as a place of safety during the times when the city was under siege. The mausoleum has always been used by the party in power as a strong- hold. At least one pope and many others were murdered within its walls. Antonio da Sangallo designed the octagonal dungeons, which were added to the corners of the lower floors. Pope Julius It added the front loggia, Pope Leo X erected a Chapel here, and Pope Clement X remained in safety within its massive walls during a seven month siege upon Rome. The tomb has been plundered by the Vandals and the Goths, and its beau- tiful statues were used as missiles from the parapets. It has been hammered by all the machines of warfare, despoiled by robbers, and remodeled by engineers, during the past centuries. Majestically it stands today overlooking the Tiber, one of the great landmarks of the city. Its history is almost the history of Rome. Although some writers, including myself, have cast the shadow of suspicion on the manner of his accession to the imperial throne and upon a small portion of his moral character, Hadrian's death marked the passing of one of the most versatile and gifted figure s in all of Roman history. Good show Publius! NEXT WEEK: Antoninus Pius J THE FREEDOM TRAIL FOUNDATION WILL00 OFFER HISTORIC HOLIDAY STROLL One of the best times to stroll the Freedom Trail is during the holidays, when the streets are sparkling and the window displays entic- ing. Visitors can enjoy this festive atmosphere once again on The Freedom Trail Foundation's Historic Holi- day Stroll. This merry 90-minute tour is offered Thursday through Sunday at 3:30pro now through January 2012. Led by a costumed tour guide dressed in 19 a century Dickensian garb, visitors learn how holiday traditions evolved in Boston while ex- periencing highlights of the American Revolution. The tour concludes with the chance to warm your bones with hot chocolate, tea or wine and Boston Creme Pie offered at the historic Omni Parker House Hotel. Guests can also take ad- vantage of great shopping opportunities at one of the museum stores, where visitors will enjoy 10-20% off "traditional" gifts for loved ones or themselves at three Freedom "i'rail sites: Old South Meeting House, Old State House and Old North Church. RISTORANTE & BAR Traditional Italian Cuisine 415 Hanover Street, Boston 617.367.2353 I Mount Vernon Street Winch 781.729.0515 Pivote Function Ioorns fop any Occasion Donato Frattaroli donato @ "This tour is a wonderful way to experience revol- utionary history on the Freedom Trail during the off-season," said Mimi La Camera, President of The Freedom Trail Foundation. "History comes alive, espe- c.ially during the holidays when the atmosphere in Boston is reminiscent of the 19 th century. The Holiday Stroll makes visitors feel .like characters in "A Christ- mas Carol" set against the unique backdrop of the Free- dom Trail and the American Revolution." The Historic Holiday Stroll is offered to the public Thursday through Sunday (days can be arranged for a private tour, with some limi- tations) and begins at the Bostix Booth at Faneuil Hall at 3:30pm. The cost includes a 90 minute his- toric tour, shoppfng dis- counts and refreshments at the Omni Parker House. Tickets can be purchased at or by calling 617-357-8300. Res- ervations are required 25 hours in advance. For events going on in Massachusetts this FALL, check out the Massachusetts Office of Travel & Tourism Web site at For a complimentary Massachusetts Getaway Guide, call 1-800-447-MASS, ext. 300. Res Publica by David Trumbull The Wheels on the Bus Go 'Round and 'Round On September 11, 2001, al-Qaeda terrorists used airliners to attack the United States. On March 11, 2004, al-Qaeda- inspired terrorists set off a series of coordinated railway train bombings in Madrid Spain. And, just before the busy Thanks- giving travel season this year, the Transportation Security Administration warned U.S. police departments of a cred- ible threat of terrorist attacks on city buses. Yes, according to Fox News, intelligence garnered from Osama bin Laden's compound in Pakistan shows the al-Qaeda leader was con- sidering using buses as weapons. A decade ago al-Qaeda was -- literally -- flying high, and into some of the tallest buildings in America, symbols of American financial wealth. Now they are reduced to taking the bus. What next? Thumbing a ride? Actually, thumbing a ride sounds more like the "Occupy" movement, which wants everything, and now[ - As long as somebody else pays for it. Humor -- the capacity to laugh at our problems and even at our foes -- sets us ordinary Americans apart from those -- far too many of them -- who are so earnest about their grievances. Can you imagine al-Qaeda making jokes about the "Great Satan?" And as for the crowd down in Dewey Square -- I have never before seen a political gathering so devoid of any sign of humor. Beware of people who take their politics seriously. That's what gave us international socialism (Soviet Commies) and national socialism (German Nazis). And both gave us the bloodiest century in the history of the human race. Americans love political and topical humor. Many get their news from the Tonight Show monologue, Saturday Night Live, the Daily Show, and Colbert Report, perhaps more than from the "real" news. If that is true, then we are in good company. The ancient Athenians' often held up as an example Of the most perfectly engaged citizens in a Democracy, got their current events and news from the bawdy comedies of Aristophanes. Recently I was in Washington, D.C. and had the opportunity to see the Library of Congress exhibit Hope for America: Per- formers Politics and Pop Culture. The exhibit focuses on the ,,areers' of Bob Hope and other entertainers who chose to involve themselves in the political climate of their times. The funny men and women featured in the exhibit served party, cause, and country and in the end made a difference in__the,--pollticl life of the nation. So al-Qaeda is going to take the bus. Well, ff Richard Reid, the unsuccessful "shoe bomber" of December 22, 2001 and Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the Christmas Day 2009 "underwear bomber" -- who succeeded only in setting fire to his pants -- are typical, I guess we must conclude that al-Qaeda will be on the short bus, if you know what I mean. S T@J/600 $ Per uunce' 24( 781-286-CASH We Buy Diamonds, Gold and Silver Jewelry'Cj We Buy Gold and Silver Coins j  X 345 Broadway, Revere Serving the Community for 33 Years Hours lO-5:3O pm every day. Saturdays unti13:30 pm Call 617.783.2300 1 353 Cambridge S}reef. AIIsfon Open Daily 11A/00- FREE Parking Visil" us at {he Original Regina on Ihacher Sfreef in I'he North End