Link to Italy Tour Photos

March 30, 2012

One of our tour members, Jared Hagan, of Colorado, has posted a great representative sampling of his photos from our recent Italy tour.

Panorama of Amalfi Coast. Photo by Jared Hagan.

You may see Jared’s photos here. These photos are outstanding; many of these would be useful in biblical teaching. Included are several panoramic views, such as that above of the Amalfi Coast, as well as night shots. This view is of the town of Amalfi as seen from the pier; the Amalfi Cathedral is in the right center.

Click image for larger view.

Emperor Claudius, cont’d.

March 29, 2012

Our photo today features a statue of the Emperor Claudius, taken last week at the Vatican Museum in Rome.

Statue of Emperor Claudius. Vatican Museum. Photo by Leon Mauldin.

Museum info placard: “Found at Lanuvio in 1865, this piece originally decorated the theatre in this Roman settlement. Claudius, emperor from  37 (sic) to 54 AD, is shown as Jupiter, wearing the civil crown of oak leaves and with the eagle at his feet.”


(1 August 10 BC – 13 October AD 54), was Roman Emperor from 41 to 54. A member of the Julio-Claudian dynasty, he was the son of Drusus and Antonia Minor. He was born at Lugdunum in Gaul and was the first Roman Emperor to be born outside Italy. Because he was afflicted with a limp and slight deafness due to sickness at a young age, his family ostracized him and excluded him from public office until his consulship, shared with his nephew Caligula in 37. Claudius’ infirmity probably saved him from the fate of many other nobles during the purges of Tiberius and Caligula’s reigns; potential enemies did not see him as a serious threat. His survival led to his being declared Emperor by the Praetorian Guard after Caligula’s assassination, at which point he was the last adult male of his family.

Despite his lack of experience, Claudius proved to be an able and efficient administrator. He was also an ambitious builder, constructing many new roads, aqueducts, and canals across the Empire. During his reign the Empire conquered Thrace, Noricum, Pamphylia, Lycia and Judaea, and began the conquest of Britain. He took a personal interest in law, presided at public trials, and issued up to twenty edicts a day. However, he was seen as vulnerable throughout his reign, particularly by the nobility. Claudius was constantly forced to shore up his position; this resulted in the deaths of many senators. These events damaged his reputation among the ancient writers, though more recent historians have revised this opinion. After his death in 54, his grand-nephew and adopted son Nero succeeded him as Emperor (Wikipedia).

Scroll down and read our previous post to see some scriptural reverences to Claudius in the NT book of Acts.

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In the Reign of Claudius

March 27, 2012

In the early days of the New Testament church, there was a prophet named Agabus in Antioch of Syria. He “stood up and began to indicate by the Spirit that there would certainly be a great famine all over the world. And this took place in the reign of Claudius” (Acts 11:28). Claudius reigned AD 41-54. Claudius was Tiberius Claudius Nero Germanicus.

He is again mentioned in Acts 18:2-3. The context is that of Paul’s labor of preaching the Gospel in Corinth:

And he found a Jew named Aquila, a native of Pontus, having recently come from Italy with his wife Priscilla, because Claudius had commanded all the Jews to leave Rome. He came to them, and because he was of the same trade, he stayed with them and they were working, for by trade they were tent-makers.

This edict which expelled the Jews from Rome was issued in AD 49.

Emperor Claudius. Vatican Museum. Photo by Leon Mauldin.

In his book, The Roman Emperors, Michael Grant writes:

Claudius, we are told by the biographer Suetonius, was completely heterosexual–a rare phenomenon among Roman rulers. He was tall and well build and had an impressive face and handsome white hair. However, he also stammered, slobbered, ran at the nose, suffered from a persistent nervous tic, and frequently ate and drank himself into a stupor. He slept badly at night, but during the daytime would often nod off while presiding over a lawsuit. Pliny the elder added that the corners of his eyes were covered by hoods of flesh, streaked with small veins and sometimes suffused with blood (p.33).

Not the most complimentary of descriptions. We have an earlier article w/photos re: Roman Emperors during the Gospels and Acts here. Click image for larger view.

Pantheon by Night

March 23, 2012

We had the occasion to do a few night shots while in Rome. The Pantheon was built to honor all gods of Rome. It was rebuilt (having previously burnt) by Emperor Hadrian AD 126. The dome measures 142 feet high by 142 feet wide, and was the largest freestanding dome until the 20thcentury.

Pantheon at Night. Photo by Leon Mauldin.

The twelve pantheon deities in Roman mythology were Jupiter, Juno, Neptune, Minerva, Venus, Mars, Apollo, Diana, Mercury, Vesta, Ceres and Vulcan.

Pantheon in Rome. At left is a portion of the Fontana del Pantheon. Photo by Leon Mauldin.

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Safely Back Home

March 22, 2012

I’m happy to report that my group had a safe return flight back to the states today. Three of our number stayed an extra day and are to fly back tomorrow.

A great trip, lots of good memories; good folks to share the experience with.

For tonight I’ll share a group photo that was made yesterday morning. This is along the Via Sacra. You can see the Arch of Titus in the distance. You can also see the beautiful weather I’ve referenced more than once during this trip.

Group Shot in Rome, with Arch of Titus in Background.

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Temple of Jupiter at Pompeii

March 21, 2012

Today completes our tour of Italy. We have been blessed in so many ways throughout this trip. The weather has been ideal. Tomorrow we are to leave the hotel about 3:00 AM for the airport at Rome. In the days ahead I hope to sort through the photos and share some on this blog.

Sunday afternoon we had the occasion to visit Pompeii. Pompeii is a city “frozen” in time by the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius, AD 79. Though this is not a “biblical city” it preserves scenes from a Roman city in the AD 1st century, and thus has tremendous value to us. Thus it helps us to see the setting for the biblical world in the early New Testament era.

Temple of Jupiter at Pompeii

Our photo shows the Temple of Jupiter in Pompeii at the north end of its forum.  You can see Mt. Vesuvius in the background.

Jupiter was the most important divinity in Ancient Rome.
While at this site we had a group photo made.

Group Photo at Pompeii.

The eruption  began about midday on August 24, AD 79. It was a catastrophe for the inhabitants of the small cities who had lived for hundreds of years in the fertile lands under Mt. Vesuvius. Apparently no one had suspected the mountain of being a potential volcano. Though some escaped, thousands were killed when the vast eruption blew off the top of the mountain. Pompeii was covered with 17 feet of volcanic matter, and nearby Herculaneum was covered to a depth of up to 70 feet!

Vesuvius’ eruption has proved an immense blessing to posterity, for it has preserved—almost ghoulishly—intact the houses, artifacts and corpses of two prosperous, fashionable towns as the Roman Empire neared its zenith. Bread has been left preserved in ovens, meals left ready on tables, scurriloius election notices for the forthcoming curia (council) elections—“Thieves support Vatius for aedile!”—survive on the walls. Inside the houses the bodies of lovers have been found in doomed embrace, while in the streets looters were overwhelmed with their booty. Without that terrible day, our knowledge of ordinary Roman life would be far less vivid (Nigel Rodgers, Roman Empire, p.356).

More to come!

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Greetings from Rome

March 20, 2012

We arrived in Rome last evening (Mon) and opted to do a night tour of some ancient sites in Rome. I will look forward to sharing some photos with you.

Prior to arrival in Rome, we used Sorrento as our base for two days to see Pompeii and the Amalfi Coast.

As previously mentioned, Sunday morning we met with brethren at Poggiomarino. Our bus driver had never been there before. Meeting with these good folks was truly a highpoint of our trip!

Our Group Along with Poggiomarino Church. Photo by David Deason.

Thanks for following Leon’s Message Board. I hope to post more when we get in this evening.

BTW, we are so thankful for the good weather with which we have been blessed. Good temps and sunshine. Good days for photos!

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Sorrento to Amalfi and on to Rome

March 19, 2012

We had a great day beginning with worship at Poggiomarino, and then to Pompeii for the afternoon. We were able to take some good photos, but I was still unable to post photos on my WordPress site when we arrived at our hotel Flora last evening. Hopefully that will change tonight!

This morning we leave Sorrento for the Amalfi coastline. After lunch we are to make our way to Rome where we will be for the duration of the trip. I’m glad to report that all are currently well, and we are learning a lot, and enjoying the beauty of the country, as well as its people.

Greetings from Sorrento

March 17, 2012

UPDATE: Now in Rome, able to upload photos. Inserting some photos to “catch-up.”

Today we traveled 300+ miles, from Florence to Sorrento. Along the way we were in the area of the ancient Appian Way. In Acts 28:18ff., Paul traveled a portion of the Appian Way when as a prisoner he was en route to Rome. The Appian way was one of the earliest and strategically most important roads of the Roman Republic.

That ancient route is marked with Umbrella Pines.

Appian Way Marked by Umbrella Pine Trees. Photo by Leon Mauldin.

By late afternoon we arrived at Sorrento.

Sorrento in Southern Italy. Photo by Leon Mauldin.

Natural Beauty in Sorrento Area. Photo by Leon Mauldin.

We are looking forward Sun AM to meeting with brethren who comprise Chiesa di Cristo at Poggiomarino. After a period of worship we are to visit the ruins of Pompeii.

The internet somehow is not cooperative in uploading photos tonight. Hopefully tomorrow.

Florence American Cemetery

March 16, 2012

Today was spent in the area of Florence, Italy, famed for Michelangelo’s David, among so many other works of art. The visit to the Academy of Fine Arts was interesting.

We also made a short visit to the Florence American Cemetery.

The Florence American Cemetery and Memorial site in Italy covers 70 acres, chiefly on the west side of the Greve “torrente.” The wooded hills that frame its west limit rise several hundred feet. Between the two entrance buildings, a bridge leads to the burial area where the headstones of 4,402 of our military dead are arrayed in symmetrical curved rows upon the hillside. They represent 39 percent of the U.S. Fifth Army burials originally made between Rome and the Alps. Most died in the fighting that occurred after the capture of Rome in June 1944. Included among them are casualties of the heavy fighting in the Apennines shortly before the war’s end. On May 2, 1945, the enemy troops in northern Italy surrendered.

Above the graves, on the topmost of three broad terraces, stands the memorial marked by a tall pylon surmounted by a large sculptured figure. The memorial has two open atria, or courts, joined by the Tablets of the Missing upon which are inscribed 1,409 names. Rosettes mark the names of those since recovered and identified. The atrium at the south end of the Tablets of the Missing serves as a forecourt to the chapel, which is decorated with marble and mosaic. The north atrium contains the marble operations maps recording the achievements of the American armed forces in this region.

The cemetery is open daily to the public from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. except December 25 and January 1. It is open on host country holidays. When the cemetery is open to the public, a staff member is on duty in the Visitor Building to answer questions and escort relatives to grave and memorial sites

Florence American Cemetery. Photo by Leon Mauldin.

Here is a photo of the above mentioned monument:

Monument at Cemetery. Photo by Leon Mauldin.

This afternoon some of us went to San Gimignano, a medieval town in a beautiful setting. I asked this family if I could take their photo.

Italian Family in San Gimignano. Photo by Leon Mauldin.

Tomorrow is a full day of travel, from Florence to Sorrento.

Click on images for larger view.


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