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Published: November 2nd 2019
Upstream Lyon in the Sunshine
Saone River in the foreground, Croix Rousse district in the background. Sunlight!
About yesterday's picture of the pink baptismal bath tub. Sorry didn't realize my captions were going to be chopped so radically.
Sooo, the rest of the story about that baptistry font. It rests outside what would have been the entrance to a 4th c. church. WHICH in its turn was located next to the site of the first known Christian church outside Rome. We know about this from the story of a martyr in 177.
The first known church outside Rome? Strikes me as remarkable. No?
Well, the very idea seems to have pissed someone off. The font, plaster smoothed over brickwork, has a protective covering. It keeps off both the weather and the vandals - or their modern successors. The ballistic plastic has been beaten with a large rock on three of eight sides. The historic plaque which quietly mentions the significance of the site, in both English and French, has been so thoroughly scratched up that you can barely read it. We have seen no other comparable damage anywhere else.
Wonder what that's all about?
Now, back to November 2! Finally, you say? Huh. Okay, so you're right. News? THE SUN CAME OUT! I
have PICTURES to PROVE IT!
Here are some of them!
By the way, Susan tells me that the cathedral on the hill (the Basilica, in fact. Need to watch my nomenclature) has not always been beloved of the locals. She read one account which compared it to an elephant lying on its back with all four feet stuck in the air. Yeah, I can see that!
The place was built at about the same time as Montmartre in Paris, which has inspired similar criticism. Both were built in the aftermath of France's defeat by the Prussians in 1870, a war in which Paris was so thoroughly besieged that the inhabitants had to resort ot eating the animals from the zoo. Parisians, who had suffered terrible deprivation, were split in their response to losing. Those who thought the old ways should be overthrown created the Paris Commune to put the nation back on course to greatness. Among other acts, they burned down the Hotel de Ville (the city hall). Those who thought that the defeat was a message from God telling it to abandon the regrettable tendency towards liberalism. They brought in the army. Eager to prove that
I can see for miles and miles and miles and miles
From right beside the Basilica. Same view the Romans had. Excluding the buildings and the people.
it could, despite its losses, still manage to slaughter a lot of armed civilians and/or those who might have been armed. Or who might have thought about being armed. Or appeared to know someone who might have been armed.
Or were just standing on the street corner when the arrest sweeps went by.
Montmartre was built as a sign that Paris (and therefore all of France) was going to go back to respecting civil, religious and military authority - or else - and all would be well! (This message brought to you by the same band of humorists who gave you World War I).
Lyon, on the other hand, built its Basilica to give thanks that it - the city of Lyon - had not been subject to the depredations of the invaders. Even if parts north and west had been. Which sort of set the tone for the next two wars with the Germans. Although Lyon managed to redeem itself by being a centre of massive resistance to the Germans at a substantial cost to itself.
But that was later. So up went the cathedral, right on the spot where the Romans established their first
Not the battle of Lepanto, but shiny!
We couldn't even guess what was supposed to be going on in this one. Take your own shot!
fort. The view is truly commanding from up there. Literally. And since the clever old Romans could aqueduct like nobody's freakin' business, they had no problem in bringing in enough water for the hilltop fort from 80 or 100 km away. By the time they were through, Lugdunum, was the capital of north Gaul and held hundreds of thousands of people. They could get 10,000 in one outdoor theatre for dramatic productions and 3,000 in the odeon which was just for musical performances. The usual Roman stuff: baths, circuses, bread and a whole lot of military might.
I gotta admit I found the interior of the basilica to be as visually overwhelming, and as overdone as the exterior. No mere frescos here, no sirree Bob! MOSAICS adorn the walls, gleaming gold and silver in the sunlight, GIANT mosaics, honkin' great bit huge mosaics. Like somebody decided that if something was worth doing, it was certainly worth overdoing.
Okay. I got no problem with mosaics. They look shiny and sparkly and they just do not fade. Usually, I'm a fan. But . . . one vast work recreates the victory of the allied Christian naval forces over the Ottoman
Turks. In 1571. Do the math. Three centuries before.
And the connection to Christ the Redeemer would be what? Hm?
Musta missed that bit.
Great location for a photo opp, though!
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