In its heyday, the Classical Roman city of Baia was the hedonist Las Vegas of the time, but now its remains are partying beneath the waves.
A prominent resort city for centuries, Baia catered to the recreational whims of the rich and powerful among the Roman elite. The city, which was located over natural volcanic vents, was famous for its healing medicinal hot springs which occurred all around the city and were quite easy to build spas over. Some of antiquity’s most powerful figures such as Nero, Cicero, and Caesar were known to have visited the city and a number of them actually built permanent vacation villas there.
Unfortunately the good times were not to last and the city was sacked by Saracens in the 8th century and by 1500, the remains of the formerly luxurious town were abandoned. After the city remains were emptied, the water level slowly rose due to the same volcanic vents that were once a draw to the area, and most of the ancient ruins were drowned under the shallow waters of the bay.
Today the ancient remains of Baia can be visited in one of the world’s few underwater archeological parks.
Egyptian Turquoise Glass Inlay of Akhenaten, New Kingdom, Amarna Period, Dynasty XVIII, c. 1353-1336 BC
The Amarna Period was an era of Egyptian history during the latter half of the Eighteenth Dynasty when the royal residence of the pharaoh and his queen was shifted to Akhetaten (‘Horizon of the Aten’) in what is now Amarna. It was marked by the reign of Amenhotep IV, who changed his name to Akhenaten (1353–1336 BC) in order to reflect the dramatic change of Egypt’s polytheistic religion into one where a sun-god Aten was worshiped over all other gods. Aten was not solely worshipped (the religion was not monotheistic), however, it was close as the rest of the gods were worshipped to a significantly lesser degree. The Egyptian pantheon of the equality of all gods and goddesses was restored under Akhenaten’s successor. Other rulers of this period include Amenhotep III, Smenkhkare, Neferneferuaten, Tutankhamun, Ay, and Horemheb.
It is an engaging exhibit, curated from the holdings of the Institute. I wish it would have been curated a bit more engagingly, meaning the items seem to jump from medium to medium. There needed to be a bit more historical information as well as explanation of the significance of the finds. For example, the exhibit held a small Hellenistic coin which had a picture of a crocodile. The museum information card focused on the crocodile, but the significance of the coin is the words which accompany the image of the crocodile: Aegyptus Capta. This coin signals the end of the Hellenistic Age in Egypt and the rise of the Roman Empire. It is an important coin, but I think it gets lost in the design choices made by the curator. Nevertheless, a trip to see the exhibit is well worth your time:)
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