The historical importance of Lake Nemi resides primarily in the particular geological activity that produced it. In fact originates from large Lazio Volcano emerged beginning with about 600 thousand years ago, precisely in phase “hydromagmatic” started roughly 200 thousand years ago. It is certainly not what it was in this period shape and texture of the Italian peninsula, and especially the area of ??Lazio primordial; the presence of marine fossils in the mountains immediately behind the Pontine Marshes and the volcanic area, suggest the existence of an ancient sea, from which it would then emerged the volcano. The oldest dates regarding human findings in the peninsula is, at present, about 800 thousand years, attributed to the so-called Homo cepranensis found right in Lazio, in the province of Frosinone, belonging to a strain of Homo erectus. While near Isernia was found one of the largest fossil beds of wildlife in Europe more or less dating back to 700 million years ago. In particular this discovery describes a peninsula with very similar characteristics to a savannah, where excelled elephants, lions, mammoths, rhinos, bison, bears, saber-toothed tigers and many other species yet. Still remains of Neanderthal man were found near Rome in Saccopastore dated 120 thousand years, and at the Circeo promontory. In the Colli Albani emerged lithic finds of Homo sapiens of the Upper Paleolithic corresponding to 40 thousand years ago, a time when you consider all the other extinct prehistoric human species, in full of the last Ice Age. Around the seventh millennium. C., also based on historical accounts especially in the Naturalis Historia of Pliny the first century. AD, the shape of the Italian peninsula was to “folia quernus” that is similar to an oak leaf.
Prehistoric Italy: according to Pliny and according to current geological surveys
Recent geological surveys confirm this finding, describing a region, the Tirrenide, that, at the end of the last Ice Age coinciding approximately 8 \ 10 thousand years ago, was connected to occidenteall’isola Elba and Corsica-Sardinia to the complex, while in southern united Sicily, Malta and Gozo. To the east occupied much of the Adriatic, with the mouth of the Po almost behind the coasts of Abruzzo. The depth of the Tyrrhenian Sea was lower than 100 \ 120 meters, which made the plains of Latium much broader than the current ones. At this stage various populations were present throughout the peninsula and especially in Lazio, but, according to authors Greek and Roman classics, colonization in Italic land would take place thousands of years before. Was described as the “Saturnia Tellus,” or the land of Saturn, the place where he flourished the first and oldest human civilization through the work of Saturn from the lineage of the Titans, given the of the oldest, in turn father of Zeus or Jupiter and of the Olympian Pantheon or Latin. According to ancient sources, around 28 \ 30 thousand BC became ruler of the whole world during the Golden Age, founded the capital of his vast kingdom Saturnia on current Capitol and the Palatine, ruling the planet with men creating an advanced civilization in every sector knowledge. Architectural element characteristic of this era would be the megalithic constructions abundant especially in Lazio, but also present in Tuscany, Umbria, Abruzzo and South, but also present in the Mediterranean, Egypt, South America. Stone blocks weighing tens and hundreds of tons were transported as fruscelli sometimes for tens of miles to create walls, gates, sacred structures and often enigmatic. Thus were built the ancient city of Alatri, Ferentino, Anagni, Arpino, Formia, Orbetello, Amelia, the Ggantija Temples in Gozo, the Platform of Baalbek in Jordan, but also the Great Pyramids of Egypt and the ancient cities of the South America as Cusco, Machu Picchu, Tiahuanaco, Ollantaytambo, where you encounter datings that predate the history of thousands and thousands of years.
The walls of Alatri
Baalbek: monolith at a quarry
Ollantaytambo, Peru: door and megalithic walls
It ‘was during the Golden Age of the Lake Nemi becomes a sacred place of primary importance for the cults meanwhile established, especially for the worship of the Great Mother, key figure for the whole of humanity. The lake takes on a sacred symbol to many ancient civilizations on every continent maintained that in the millennia that followed, as well as the volcano becomes for all the peoples of the earth the “holy mountain” symbol of Creation. On this great civilization would at some downed a catastrophic event of a global clearing in a moment the work of thousands of years and almost mankind: the “Great Flood”. Following this event broke the power of the Latium Volcano eruption and the Tyrrhenian volcanic chain, causing the separation of Sicily from the rest of Italy, the sinking of Tirrenide, incessant rains diluvial for decades and increase of more than one hundred meters of the Tyrrhenian Sea .
Lazio: volcanic chain
This further cataclysm would occur between the fifth and the second millennium BC, perhaps with phenomena in several occasions, causing mass migration of peoples settled, both towards continental areas internal to the sea, especially to Greece and Egypt. Over the centuries there were in turn migrations towards the Italic land, especially Caucasian strain that merged with indigenous peoples, including the Pelasgians, Sicilians and proto Umbrians. Lazio Old saw the presence of the Latins since the second millennium BC, from their term “Latus” due to the large flat areas of this region, from which he derived the name of “Latium Vetus” to specify the territory later occupied, delimited north from the Tiber, from Prenestini Mountains to the east, to the south by Lepinis, with annexed the Roman countryside and the Pontine Marshes. The Lazio Volcano and the complex of Colli Albani stand at the center of the region consists, in an undeniable strategic position, innumerable centers founded or restarted a new development: Ardea, Aricia, Tusculum, Lanuvium, Circei, Cabum, Norba, … .. The thirteenth century. BC witnessed the arrival of Aeneas from Troy exile conquered by the Greeks on the coast of Lazio, a really important in the destinies of the ancient world. Teams up with Latino king of the Latins in the war against the king of the Round Rutuli that are defeated, bride Lavinia daughter of Latino and founded the city of Lavinium the hills above the coast, whose acropolis stood near the present village of Pratica di Mare. Ascanio or Julio, son of Aeneas and Creusa, thirty years after he founded the Alban Hills Albalonga where will reign for almost forty years, becoming the founder of the King of Rome. Enea will be revered and considered the founder of Roman Civilization, the imperial family of Augustus the gens Julia direct descendant of the Trojan hero in the shape of Julo his son, Troy considered by the Romans the Motherland. The great shrine of Aeneas built in the sacred area of ??Lavinium composed of the XIV are dall’Heroon and for centuries has been the most important place of worship of the nations of Latin and Italian peoples. During the hegemony of Albalonga the sanctuary of Diana at Lake Nemi became administrative and religious center of the people that are part of the Latin League in Nemus Dianae, the sacred grove dedicated to her in the volcanic basin of the lake, Rhea Silvia last descendant of the Kings of city ??will give birth to Romulus and Remus, the twin sons of the god Mars, who founded Rome.
Roman Ships: before and after reconstruction
In the Republican and Imperial Sanctuary reached its peak growing through terraces overlapped and assuming the character of true “Civitas Religious”, was a place of pilgrimage for all ancient peoples and connected thanks to the thick Roman road system with every corner of ‘ empire. The presence of two beautiful Ships Sacred scrolls from the Julio-Claudian imperial family, represented the meeting of the Diana cult-Isis in the place of origin of the sacred to the Great Mother, the complex of imperial residences that almost completely embraced the two lakes, made the Lake Nemi and the surrounding area a Wonder of the Ancient World. A disastrous earthquake that hit around the fifth century. and the end of the Roman Empire decreed the abandonment of the great shrine of Diana that is not converted to the nascent Christian worship, over the centuries will relentlessly plundered all the wealth and works of art, finished in princely residences, private collections and clandestine, museums all over the world. It does not fall into oblivion worship Diana-Isis, overcoming struggles and wars of religion in every age, from tens of centuries retains all its power and charm in the heart of the nations.
Lazio volcano with lakes Albano and Nemi
The basin of Lake Nemi, is shown in prehistoric times the origin of a cult fundamental of human civilization: the Great Mother or Mother Nature, “Source of Life” .In protohistoric, VII-VI sec.aC, worship, dedicated to a deity with healing powers, continuation of the original meaning, took place in a simple sacred glade in the woods, the Lucus. The beginning of the first phase monumental, goes back to the VI-V sec.aC, the area becomes Office of the cities that make up the Latin League, for special occasions civil and religious. With Diana, sylvan deity, the place begins to take on a value planetarium, myths and legends come together mainly by Greek tradition.
S ir Lawrence Alma Tadema-1860 Death of Hippolytus
The Nemus Dianae is the Sacred Grove, where the Sanctuary dedicated to Diana, and home to the bloody rite of Rex Nemorensis, Priest of the Goddess, which replaced the predecessor after killing him in a duel. The construction of the Sanctuary, continues through the end of the sec.aC II beginning with the construction of a terraced complex. To date, no one has a certain fact of the surface occupied, but certainly much of the northern basin of the lake. It is estimated extension of approximately 400,000 square meters, with at least 8-10 floors above and below the ground level. It was one of the most important and popular shrines of antiquity, including not only the temple dedicated to Diana, but are and shrines for the worship of the other gods of the Pantheon Latino.
Temple of Diana-plant of the archaeological
The monumental complex, consisted of a large terrace bordered upstream by a wall with niches, which is still the structural part visible, and downstream by a wall built in triangular niches. At the end of the sec.aC and beginning of the next one, we realized, at the western end of the wall niches, a number of cells Donariè, so-called because of the presence in many statues and herms, currently exhibited in the Museum of Nottingham and Copenhagen.
Temple of Diana: area Nicchioni
In the complex there eregevano shrines to various deities, environments for Priests, spas, and a Temple, conventionally attributed to Diana and currently incorporated in a farmhouse of the eighteenth century. West of this, with a slightly different approach, there was a small theater, currently buried, dated between the sec.aC and III century AD, probably occurred where the duel ritual for the succession of Rex Nemorensis.
Temple of Diana Nemi: Cells Donariè
Recent excavations have unearthed two columns, one of which plastered in red, and a wall with painted decoration fake pillars perspective. A stretch of Via Virbia leading to the shrine, is visible within the company the Garden of Diana. On an upper terrace was found exedra and a series of rooms, confirming the hypothesis that the sanctuary of Diana also extended on the upper terraces. Like other Latin Sanctuaries, as Fortuna Primigenia in Palestrina, and Juno, Gabi. The area, after the advent of Christianity, was dropped from the IV-V century AD From the seventeenth century. was intensively excavated, and needless to say that most of the artifacts ended up abroad, in museums and private collections in Copenhagen, Paris, Nottingham, Palma de Mallorca, Berlin, Boston, Philadelphia. A small part has remained in Italy, in the Castello Ruspoli and Ship Museum in Nemi, National Roman Museum and Villa Giulia in Rome.
Salomon Corrodi, 1860. The Circeo from Lake Nemi
This place has inspired an incredible amount of artists; writers, musicians and painters, from time immemorial. Dante’s Divine Comedy, makes many quotations, perhaps due to the Alban Hills. The most important and best known is certainly the “Dark forest”; a reference to Nemus “… wild forest … that in the very thought renews the fear!”. Moreover, Sir James G. Frazer, Scottish anthropologist, concocted around the ritual of Rex Nemorensis, the Golden Bough, a masterpiece of historical and religious literature. For over a century, these places are a must on the Grand Tour, in which generations of young nobles and scholars from all over Europe crossed the Italian peninsula, to complete their training. And so were: Gogol, Stendhal, Goethe, Byron, Dumas, Chekhov, Dickens, Massimo D’Azeglio and many others. Leaving writings, poems, hundreds of paintings inspired by the beauty of Lake Nemi.
Temple of Diana: aerial view of the Podium
The emissary of Lake Nemi is an extraordinary work that still preserves intact the charm of the ancient works that hide mysteries yet to be solved and represents a real Unicum at the archaeological world. To understand the magnitude of this, just think that is developed for well 1,653 meters, with a height difference between the entry and exit of about 13 meters, connecting Lake Nemi to the plain of Ariccia. There are no reliable data and documents relating to its construction, it’s certainly not the Roman era, although it could be improved and maintained efficiently over the centuries. Its realization is probably the work of ancient civilizations local, unknown to archeology official, and of which we have lost the track, perhaps long before the dating attributed starting more or less from the X-IX century BC In later times the exhaustion of ‘volcanic activity, there are changes in the level of the lake, so that at certain times, for both the heavy rains and the richness of the tributaries, the water could overflow from the basin itself. Many might be the reasons for the construction work, among other things valid today. First, the regulation of the water of the lake in order to have dry areas to be allocated to human settlements and cults, given the immense significance of the sacred lake basin. So the waters of Lake Nemi, considered sacred, gave rise snaps in, the sacred river of the ancient peoples of Latium, which after reaching Ardea, flows into the Tyrrhenian Sea, at the site of Castrum Inui, home dell’Aphrodisium, according some traditions, where Aeneas landed, and still came up in order to reach Lake Nemi and more generally the Alban Hills, where it will be founded Alba Longa. The wonderful atmosphere in which you are immersed, with the ability to cross it completely from side to side, it gives the feeling of living an ancient and magical rite of initiation, making its exploration of a unique event to discover clues, unravel the fascinating mysteries still unsolved that it retains.
Non è certo quale fosse in questo periodo forma e consistenza della penisola italica, e soprattutto del territorio del Lazio primordiale;
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