The Same But Different
The Pope’s Throne in the apse of the Archbasilica of Saint John Lateran.
My last stop on my five weeks in Italy. The Archbasilica of St. John Lateran is the Cathedral of Rome, the seat of the Pope as the Bishop of Rome. The basilica, on the site of the oldest church in Rome, was rebuilt or redesigned a number of times. Sections of the apse mosaic date to the 4th-6th centuries. The mosaic stonework on the walls and floor is medieval.
Nothing says power, superiority, importance, command like size. The bigger, the better when it comes to religion, government, or a combination of the two. Ancient Egypt was one of the first civilizations to demonstration the power represented in size.
An avenue of sandstone sphinxes stretches over 1.5 miles from the Temple of Luxor to the Temple of Karnak. At one time, over 1300 statues lined the road, which was used annually for the Opet Festival honoring the ancient Egyptian god Amun, his wife Mut, and their son Khonsu. The the sacred pathway was used as early as the 15th century BCE. The pharaoh Nectenabo I (380-362 BCE) built the existing avenue and lined it with sphinxes bearing his name. Most of the sphinxes have human heads, but some earlier statues near Karnak have rams heads. In 2004, the Egyptian government began a massive excavation and restoration project to restore the road and its sphinxes, many of which had deteriorated, been buried in the sand, or used for other projects by the Romans and others. Large sections of the avenue linking the two temples have been completed.
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