The First Art Newspaper on the Net Established in 1996 United States Friday, August 22, 2014


Cash troubles threaten 'Gladiator' tomb in Rome despite a plea from Oscar-winning actor Russell Crowe
File photo of Russell Crowe arriveing at The Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts Awards, Friday, Jan. 27, 2012. AP Photo/Katy Winn.

By: Eleanor Ide

ROME (AFP).- The tomb of the Roman general who inspired the film "Gladiator" risks falling into oblivion despite a plea from Oscar-winning actor Russell Crowe to save it, as recession-hit Italy struggles to preserve its archaeological jewels.

"It's incredibly sad, this is an extraordinary site. Its fate has caught the eyes of the world," said Daniela Rossi, head archaeologist on the dig that unearthed the tomb of Roman general Marcus Nonius Macrinus.

Rossi's team in 2008 uncovered fragments of the tomb under thick strata of mud and clay.

Their remarkable discovery of a stretch of ancient Roman road lined by tombs in an industrial wasteland outside Rome sparked four years of painstaking excavation and restoration projects, costing some 700,000 euros ($929,000).

But Italy's battle to stave off the debt crisis has seen the government impose austerity cuts which have shaved 20 percent off the budget for maintenance of Italy's ancient sites -- from the Colosseum to Pompeii -- since 2010, and funds for the tomb dig have dried up.

With an estimated two million euros needed to finish cleaning up the site and protect it from air pollution and winter ice, the city said the only option was to rebury the tomb to preserve it.

The news sparked an online campaign by the American Institute for Roman Culture to keep it open, prompting Crowe -- whose character in the 2000 film was based on the real-life Macrinus -- to join the fight to save the tomb.

Crowe's appeal, Rossi said, was what forced the city to re-think its approach and the ruins will no longer be re-interred -- though they are being covered up under protective fabric, with no guarantee that work at the dig will start again in the spring.

"It was media pressure which finally put a halt to the idea of reburying the site. Crowe's intervention was generous and I hope it has changed the tomb's future," Rossi said.

Next to the tomb, delicately-carved marble columns and terracotta tiles line a stretch of perfectly preserved Roman road -- the ancient Via Flaminia, which runs north along the Tiber river and bears the marks of the soldiers and merchants' carts which thundered in and out of the capital each day.

The land now belongs to the Bonifaci real estate group, which reportedly aims to build three luxury apartment blocks on the site, though it is considering "sponsoring a project to improve the area" around the tomb, which it would keep apart from the houses.

"We are in talks to try and secure funding from the landowners, but it's far from a done deal and we're not counting on being able to uncover the site again," Rossi said.

"They have at least promised that whatever happens, they will not build on top of it," she added.

Macrinus ruled swathes of what is now Central Europe and Turkey after a number of military victories under Emperor Marcus Aurelius.

Unlike the film character, the successful general was not then made a slave and never became a gladiator under Aurelius's son Commodus.

ide/dt/jhb


© 1994-2012 Agence France-Presse



Today's News

December 30, 2012

Mexican archaeologists find 60 arrows estimated to be more than 4,000 years old in Sinaloa

"Uruk: 5000 Years of the Megacity" set to open in 2013 at the Pergamonmuseum in Berlin

The Andy Warhol Museum launches first limited edition of rare and historic images

Watch Nights mark Emancipation Proclamation 150th at the National Archives with a midnight display

Digital Public Library of America and Europeana launch joint migration exhibition

National Museum for Women in the Arts presents Fabulous! Portraits by Michele Mattei

Don't Smile: Exhibition on the humour of art on view at Kunstmuseum Liechtenstein

Simon Lee Gallery Hong Kong announces an exhibition of paintings by Bernard Frize

Cash troubles threaten 'Gladiator' tomb in Rome despite a plea from Oscar-winning actor Russell Crowe

Museum of Arts and Design presents first museum exhibition exploring the design of perfume

New work by artist Paul Cowan on view at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago

Second annual Palm Springs Fine Art Fair unites 50 plus galleries and art enthusiasts

Most successful 17th century delft maker showcased at 2013 winter antiques show at Aronson Antiquairs

U.Va.'s Old Cabell Hall mural expands to encompass a lifetime of learning

After a century, US Arabs look for pieces of past

Al Hoash announces third release in its series of publications on Palestinian art

Ketterer Kunst's top results of 2007, 2010 and 2011 excelled; Best annual balance for 2012

Most Popular Last Seven Days



1.- Mystery over massive Alexander the Great-era tomb unearthed in northern Greece

2.- An ancient money box containing a large rare hoard of coins found in Israel

3.- Robin Williams' portrait installed today at the National Portrait Gallery in Washington

4.- The Baltimore Museum of Art announces three new contemporary exhibitions in fall

5.- New Aspen Art Museum designed by architect Shigeru Ban opens to the public

6.- New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art launches 82nd & Fifth app in 12 languages

7.- MoMA online-only publication features new research on Pablo Picasso and Cubism

8.- Volunteers needed for massive Smithsonian digitization project

9.- Tate Britain welcomes home John Everett Millais's Ophelia and Rossetti’s The Beloved

10.- Bogart estate: Hollywood golden age icon Lauren Bacall dead at 89 in New York



Museums, Exhibits, Artists, Milestones, Digital Art, Architecture, Photography,
Photographers, Special Photos, Special Reports, Featured Stories, Auctions, Art Fairs,
Anecdotes, Art Quiz, Education, Mythology, 3D Images, Last Week, .

 

Founder:
Ignacio Villarreal
Editor & Publisher: Jose Villarreal - Consultant: Ignacio Villarreal Jr.
Art Director: Juan José Sepúlveda Rmz. - Marketing: Carla Gutiérrez
Special Contributor: Liz Gangemi - Special Advisor: Carlos Amador
Contributing Editor: Carolina Farias

Royalville Communications, Inc
produces:

ignaciovillarreal.org theavemaria.org juncodelavega.org facundocabral-elfinal.org
Founder's Site. The most varied versions
of this beautiful prayer.
Hommage
to a Mexican poet.
Hommage
       

The First Art Newspaper on the Net. The Best Versions Of Ave Maria Song Junco de la Vega Site Ignacio Villarreal Site