Pillaging Italy's precious history
"I almost had a heart attack," says Casasanta, one of Italy's most successful tombaroli, or tomb robbers. "I knew I had discovered something very beautiful and very valuable."
Casasanta, his son and an associate working a small Caterpillar power shovel were digging in broad daylight at an archeological site east of Rome called l'Inviolata. He discovered the temple site in 1970, when he pulled 63 statues, illegally, from the earth. But none compared to his find 22 years later.
The first to emerge from the dirt was the goddess Minerva, followed by Juno and then Jupiter. The most powerful gods of the Roman pantheon sat together in a six-tonne marble sculpture — the only example ever found in which the gods of the Triad, a symbol of state power in ancient Rome, are intact.
Casasanta whisked what is now known as the Capitoline Triad to his antiquities shop in Rome. He cleaned it, crated it, and sold it to a Geneva collector for $3 million (U.S.).
comments powered by Disqus
- ‘Bite-sized’ history textbooks used in the UK accused of ‘dumbing down’ the subject: should we be worried?
- Tut’s beard glued back on like a bad craft project
- Smithsonian working to finalize deal for new site in London
- The voices of Auschwitz
- What countries teach children about the Holocaust varies hugely
- From his perch in Saudi Arabia, Princeton’s Mark Cohen says Jews and Muslims should remember they used to get along
- Duke honors historian John Hope Franklin with year-long series of events
- What New Left History Gave Us
- Marcus Borg, Liberal Christian Scholar, Dies at 72
- Richard Hofstadter’s insights into the "paranoid style in American politics” lauded in the NYT