Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Climbing the Colosseum & the Vatican

A marvellous clip from Rome, 1930.

The title of the first part of this clip is "The feast of Saint Anthony, Patron Saint of firemen". This is Anthony the Abbot, the 4th Century anchorite, not Saint Anthony of Padua, the Franciscan preacher to fish. Anthony the Abbot is the patron saint of firemen because he once suffered from and cured himself of Herpes Zoster, or shingles. In Italian, this is also known as 'the fire of Saint Anthony". (For an extensive list of the occupations and ailments for whom he is patron, see below.) The firemen are raising a ladder along the truncated brick outer wall of the Colosseum. As far as I can tell, they are doing this because it is there.

The next part of the clip is entitled "Mounting the illuminations on Saint Peter's". Why the man is swinging on a rope between the columns of Bernini's colonnade is not made clear. I assume it is normal R&R for electricians. Clambering up onto the cross on top of the lantern is more relevant to the job. Health and Safety obviously didn't have the clout in Mussolini's Italy that they have now.

**Saint Anthony the Abbot's patronage is to be invoked against and for (apply as best suits the occasion): pestilence; amputees; animals; basket makers; basket weavers; brushmakers; Burgio, Sicily; butchers; Canas, Brazil; cemetery workers; domestic animals; eczema; epilepsy; epileptics; ergotism; erysipelas; gravediggers; graveyards; hermits; hogs; Hospitallers; monks; Mook, Nederlands; pigs; relief from pestilence; Saint Anthony's fire; skin diseases; skin rashes; swine; swineherds

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