The second temple of Mars, positioned on the west side of the Tiber at the foot of the Vatican Hill, sits within a hexagonal area labeled Apparatorium Triumphatorum -- the place of preparation for the triumphal march. In front of the temple and place of preparation is the decagonal Area Martis, which an euripus (canal/moat) encloses on two sides, and it is here that Piranesi indicates the beginning of the Triumphal Way. Besides the obvious ceremonial importance of the Area Martis, this place is also distinct within the Ichnographia: its ten-sided perimeter is the only such shape throughout the entire large plan. Significant also is the plan of the Templum Martis, whose ichnography resembles male genitalia. The deliberate connection between Mars and overt masculinity is unquestionable. Moreover, the Templum Martis, the Area Martis, and the beginning of the Triumphal Way together establish a principal axis, one of the three major axes present within the Ichnographia. This axis extends from the top of the Vatican Hill straight down to the bank of the Tiber across from the tomb of Augustus, and is not only great in length, but also rich in symbolism. Represented here is the mighty thrust of Mars, the dominance of Romulus, and hence the source of Rome and its unparalleled pride.
The Templum Martis (top) is surrounded by a hexagonal place reserved for the preparation of the triumphal march. The Area Martis (below) is a large space in front of the Templum Martis and the place where the Triumphal Way begins (indicated in red).
The long axis running through the Templum and Area Martis (center) extends from the Nympheum Neronis atop the Vatican Hill (upper left) down to another Nymphaeum on the west bank of the Tiber (lower right).
eros et thanatos
Pagan - Christian - Triumphal Way
in the thick of reenactment season
I purposefully walked from the front door of the Philadelphia Museum of Art down the Benjamin Franklin Parkway to the far side of Logan Circle and then back to the Art Museum. I did this to get a real sense of the scale of the virtual axis of life within Piranesi's Ichnographia Campus Martius.
In reality I was walking across the forecourt of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, then down the steps that Rocky made famous running up, then across Eakins Oval, where the largest painting in the world once was, then down a tree covered allee along the south side of the Parkway stretching for three long blocks, then around Logan Circle, and then back in the direction I came although this time along the north side of the Parkway.
In virtuality I was walking through the Nympheum Neronis high on the Vatican Hill, through the Porticus Neronianae, through the Templum Martis (Temple of Mars), through the Area Martis where the Triumphal Way begins its "march" (this is around where the Rodin Museum is on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, and, as luck would have it, where the route of many of today's Philadelphia parades begin), then I walked around Hadrian's tomb, and then I walked back.
The whole walk took about 40 minutes, and if I had gone all the way to the LOVE sculpture at JFK Plaza across from City Hall, the walk back and forth would have taken just about an hour. ... I made mental note of most of the memorials on and along this stretch of the Parkway--Washington Memorial, Civil War Memorial, WWI Memorial, a plaque in the cement on axis at Logan Circle states that the trees along the Parkway were planted on honor of the soldiers of WWI, and a Shakespeare Memorial in front of the Free Library.