Sunday, October 12, 2008

La fin de la seizième semaine

Over the last week and a half we have shifted our focus from being exclusively on dance to begin also to look at French history and culture. In class sessions we have discussed pre-history and Roman Gaul, and we’ve just begun to look at the medieval period. Our study of Roman Gaul was made stunningly real by a walk through the Roman amphitheatre and Odeon (smaller theatre) on Fauvriere hill that overlooks Lyon from the top of the “vieux ville” or old city. Lyon began as the Roman city of Lugdunam in 43BC; in fact, the Emperor Claudius was born in Lugdunam, which became the capital of the “three Gauls.” We were also able to see La Cathédrale St. Georges and the Fauvriere Basillica. On the weekend we took a short train ride south to the city of Vienne, another important city of Roman Gaul, to see the “Vinalia,” a recreation of a Roman wine harvest festival complete with togas and grapes squashed by feet! (We bravely tasted the juice!) I’m including here some photos: the amphitheatre, Sarah looking out at Lyon from the top of Fauvriere hill, and the group in front of the Temple d’Auguste et de Livie in Vienne. Also, thanks to Courtney we have a little video clip of wine-stomping and a shot of a “Roman Banquet.” (We all thought that they must have developed indigestion from reclining while eating…)

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