ROME RENEGES ON GLADIATOR TOMB,
OKAYS HIGH-RISE OVER A VILLA
AS Italy sinks into political and economic chaos, Rome has gone back on plans to save the so-called "Gladiator's Tomb", notwithstanding international appeals led by the American School in Rome, and Russell Crowe's intervention....
And ... a high-rise complex will soon be built over the ruins of a Roman Patrician villa where priceless Niobic statues were unearthed only weeks ago.
The recently unearthed tomb of the famous general from the time of Marcus Aurelius who was the inspiration for the character played by Crow in GLADIATOR, will be re-buried because authorities said they cannot afford to restore it.
Crowe spearheaded an effort to raise money to have the tomb restored.
But, after initially agreeing to save it, the authorities have now reversed that approval and will re-bury the tomb after all, saying the economic crisis in Italy makes it impossible to allocate funds for such "peripheral" projects.
Archaeologists had barely recovered from that surprise announcement when they learned of plans to construct a huge concrete high-rise complex over the villa of Marcus Valerius Messalla Corvinus, a rich Roman general who was patron to Ovid.
The discovery at the villa of SEVEN EXQUISITE STATUES representing Ovid's retelling of the myth of Niobe made headlines in January.
Ironically, Messalla has gone down in history as a man who despised political capriciousness. He famously said, "I am disgusted with power."