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Google Maps, Lasers Reveal Vatican Catacombs

Soulskill posted about 5 months ago | from the lasers-will-reveal-a-lot-of-things-if-used-correctly dept.

Technology 84

Nerval's Lobster writes "The Vatican, while notoriously secretive about things buried in its vaults and archives, is being as public as the digital age allows it to be about the nearly completed restoration of catacombs early Christians used as secret churches as well as burial sites. Contractors, archaeologists and art experts spent the past five years restoring the Priscilla catacombs under the Vatican using lasers, among other techniques, to restore frescoes painted on the walls of the burial chambers. The Vatican unveiled the work Nov. 19 with a press conference in the Basilica of San Silvestro outside the burial tunnels, accompanied by a virtual tour of the Priscilla catacombs provided by Google Maps. The basilica is divided into an area for religious services and another that acts as a deposit for sculptures and artifacts dug up during excavations of the catacombs and other areas underneath the Vatican."

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84 comments

About time... (0)

QQBoss (2527196) | about 5 months ago | (#45470657)

Tom Hanks needs the cash, Da Vinci Code Part 2, coming up!

Re:About time... (4, Informative)

SeaFox (739806) | about 5 months ago | (#45470675)

Tom Hanks needs the cash, Da Vinci Code Part 2, coming up!

I guess you missed Angels and Demons [imdb.com] when it came out three years later?

Although, it should be noted that they changed the order of the plots for the film adaptations. The Da Vinci Code is originally the second book in the series after Angels and Demons.

Re:About time... (0)

QQBoss (2527196) | about 5 months ago | (#45470825)

Ah, crud, yeah, I heard about the book, but I have been living in China since just before it came out and don't pay much attention to decadent Western media. ;-)

Re:About time... (1)

unitron (5733) | about 5 months ago | (#45471421)

Ah, crud, yeah, I heard about the book, but I have been living in China since just before it came out and don't pay much attention to decadent Western media. ;-)

But that's the best kind!

Re:About time... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45472091)

The great firewall of China allows slashdot through? I wouldn't think so.

Re:About time... (1)

khallow (566160) | about 5 months ago | (#45472845)

The Da Vinci Code is originally the second book in the series after Angels and Demons.

I heard Da Vinci Code was just a rewrite of the story of Angels and Demons, and is basically the same story with somewhat different elements. And the latter was published only because the former did so well.

All I can say is that it was rather challenging to suspend disbelief when I was reading Angels and Demons due to the contrived plot devices (I counted at least three deux ex machinas that were integral to the plot) and several telegraphed plot twists.

Re:About time... (1)

SeaFox (739806) | about 5 months ago | (#45476653)

They do have very similar overall plots. I think Angels and Demons was slightly better. Today DaVinci Code is likely the more successful of the two because of Oprah's Book Club making it one of their reads, and then the media/religious right getting all up in arms with how it portrayed the Catholic Church. I don't think Oprah had people read the first novel.

I just found out last night there is now a fourth book in the series -- published just this year. I don't recall liking the third novel as much as the first two because of the main antagonist character.

Re:About time... (1)

swillden (191260) | about 5 months ago | (#45471693)

Tom Hanks needs the cash, Da Vinci Code Part 2, coming up!

Yeah, because Captain Phillips has only raked in $100M (great show, BTW, and Hanks does an awesome job).

So, will it be a new map for CoD or BF4? (1)

G3ckoG33k (647276) | about 5 months ago | (#45470711)

That would be not only awesome but soo unexpected!

Re:So, will it be a new map for CoD or BF4? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45471027)

That would be not only awesome but soo unexpected!

The one thing that kept popping into my head while moving around the Google view was "Wow, they've really improved the graphics in Dungeons of Dreadmor, haven't they?"


You are in a catacomb. To the North is a locked gate, to the East is a small chamber, to the South is a long hall with wooden benches, and West is a narrow passageway.

- Move West

You are in a narrow passageway. To the North is a narrow passageway, to the East is a large hall. There are Tourists here.

- Hit Tourist with brochure

You can't do that!

Re:So, will it be a new map for CoD or BF4? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45472333)

After you moved west, wouldn't "to the East" be a catacomb and not a large hall? :P

Re:So, will it be a new map for CoD or BF4? (1)

stderr_dk (902007) | about 5 months ago | (#45472779)

You are in a narrow passageway. To the North is a narrow passageway, to the East is a large hall. There are Tourists here.

- Hit Tourist with brochure

You've been eaten by a grue.

FTFY!

Took the virtual tour, could clearly see graffiti (5, Interesting)

volvox_voxel (2752469) | about 5 months ago | (#45470719)

I wandered around via the virtual tour, but all the shelves were empty. .. I wonder what happened to the remains? It was curious to read the graffiti of names and dates, and the ancient signs on the wall but wasn't able to recognize all the writing, It looked like their was more than one language used for the official lettering. I saw dates like 1862, 1920, 1952, etc . Graffiti has been a part of human experience for a long time, and is one way historians can estimate how literate the average population was of an ancient civilization.. Did you know that we have access to the words and thoughts of the citizens of Pompeii and Herculaneum?

Re:Took the virtual tour, could clearly see graffi (4, Interesting)

giorgist (1208992) | about 5 months ago | (#45470933)

The writing you could not decipher was Greek

Re:Took the virtual tour, could clearly see graffi (4, Funny)

Dodgy G33za (1669772) | about 5 months ago | (#45471275)

Did it say "I for one welcome our roman overlords?"

Re:Took the virtual tour, could clearly see graffi (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45473553)

Did it say "People called Romanes they go the house"?

Re:Took the virtual tour, could clearly see graffi (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45477747)

I suggest you use Google maps to see where the Vatican is...
as a hint the main eclesiastical title of the Pope is Bishop of ...

Re:Took the virtual tour, could clearly see graffi (0)

unitron (5733) | about 5 months ago | (#45471423)

The writing you could not decipher was Greek

It's all Greek to me.

: - )

Re:Took the virtual tour, could clearly see graffi (1)

umafuckit (2980809) | about 5 months ago | (#45472829)

The writing in the catacombs shown in the link you mean? It looks closer to the Byzantine script than Greek proper: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greek_minuscule [wikipedia.org] Notice that the script in the catacomb tour contains a letter that looks like a Latin "C" Greek (ancient and modern) doesn't have such a character. It was, however, present in the Byzantine script.

Re:Took the virtual tour, could clearly see graffi (4, Interesting)

cervesaebraciator (2352888) | about 5 months ago | (#45473295)

There's nothing particularly Byzantine about that letter that looks like a "C". It's called a lunate sigma [wikipedia.org] and it's been around since the Hellenistic period. And the scripts written in the crypts are not miniscule; they're very decidedly majuscule. One is rather unlikely to find Greek written in miniscule in a 2nd-4th c. Roman catacomb, given that Greek miniscule would not be invented for another five centuries.

Now, if you happen to have a little Greek, you might have come to the conclusion that these scripts must be Byzantine since your Attic Greek textbook uses letters that look quite different. But the fact is that modern printed Greek, whether classical, koine, or Byzantine, uses a post-classical script. With the invention of printing, printers created a miniscule script similar to that found in the Byzantine manuscripts they were using. Unless you're working specifically on paleography, none of your textbooks or printed editions are going to use a classical script.

Re:Took the virtual tour, could clearly see graffi (1)

umafuckit (2980809) | about 5 months ago | (#45474115)

Ah, thanks for the clarification. :)

Re:Took the virtual tour, could clearly see graffi (1)

cervesaebraciator (2352888) | about 5 months ago | (#45474859)

NP. I get info so often from folks on Slashdot (I'm only an amateur nerd, not a professional) that I'm always excited to share about things closer to my own specialty.

Re:Took the virtual tour, could clearly see graffi (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45471517)

Graffiti should be of no surprise. Walk around the ruins in Rome. There's graffiti everywhere. And let me tell you, back then, you had to be dedicated to your graffiti. Carving it in stone is a hell of a lot harder than spraying it on with paint!

there are no remains in Roman catacombs (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45472183)

The catacombs existed because you couldn't bury bodies within the walls of Rome. At some point, (300-400 CE, I think, presumably post Constantine), all the bodies were removed and reburied elsewhere.

It's very different from the charnel houses and catacombs of Paris in this way.

Re:Took the virtual tour, could clearly see graffi (2)

cusco (717999) | about 5 months ago | (#45473545)

There is even graffiti from the masons who built the Egyptian pyramids, and on many ancient monuments you can see the mark of the individual stone masons on different pieces of construction signing their portion of the work. In two of the cathedrals in Spain, Santiago and another one (Salamanca?), I saw the mark of the same mason (or perhaps family of masons) on multiple columns.

Re:Took the virtual tour, could clearly see graffi (1)

neoritter (3021561) | about 5 months ago | (#45476295)

In the case of those Cathedrals, I'd assume it's the mark of their guild. Wasn't the guild system popular around that time period for such work?

Re:Took the virtual tour, could clearly see graffi (1)

cusco (717999) | about 5 months ago | (#45476515)

Different areas in the cathedral have different marks which, according to the staff at the Catederal de Santiago, signified the team that built that section of wall or column. The Stone Mason Guild would have been responsible for all the work crews, I'm not sure if there were a different guild responsible for the details and decorations in the stonework but I don't think so.

The Gift Of Constantine Makes The Vatican A Fraud (-1, Flamebait)

Freshly Exhumed (105597) | about 5 months ago | (#45470753)

No, not the Keanu Reaves film, the Gift (or Donation) of Constantine is an acknowledged fraud that the church of Rome used as a pretense for claiming legitimacy of Vatican power:

http://en.wikipedhttp//en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gift_of_constantineia.org/wiki/Gift_of_constantine [en.wikipedhttp]

Believe in the Vatican all you want, but I cannot join you in that.

Re:The Gift Of Constantine Makes The Vatican A Fra (0)

Freshly Exhumed (105597) | about 5 months ago | (#45470761)

Copy and paste error, so here's the link again:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gift_of_constantine [wikipedia.org]

Re:The Gift Of Constantine Makes The Vatican A Fra (1)

Decker-Mage (782424) | about 5 months ago | (#45470771)

I have a little problem with articles that get basics about Roman government wrong. Not that I have anything invested in any case.

Re:The Gift Of Constantine Makes The Vatican A Fra (1)

Freshly Exhumed (105597) | about 5 months ago | (#45474415)

I was hoping to read what you meant. If you're taking about the Wikipedia article I would say that you could engage in the Talk section regarding improving it, if you haven't done so already.

Re:The Gift Of Constantine Makes The Vatican A Fra (2)

Sockatume (732728) | about 5 months ago | (#45470943)

True, but it rather ceased to be relevant a few centuries ago. I know Slashdotters like to bear grudges but this is ridiculous. I also think it's cute that you think Slashdot of all places "believes in the Vatican".

Re:The Gift Of Constantine Makes The Vatican A Fra (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45470981)

Slashdot of all places

Angels are real. Including the mean ones that deal with your kind. They monitor Slashdot for unbelievers.

Re:The Gift Of Constantine Makes The Vatican A Fra (2)

VortexCortex (1117377) | about 5 months ago | (#45471597)

True, but it rather ceased to be relevant a few centuries ago. I know Slashdotters like to bear grudges but this is ridiculous. I also think it's cute that you think Slashdot of all places "believes in the Vatican".

Mouthbreathing Neanderthal scum. If it wasn't for the cataclysmic sacrifice of nearly all of my brave anaerobic ancestors during World War O [wikipedia.org] your caustic remarks wouldn't even be possible.

Re:The Gift Of Constantine Makes The Vatican A Fra (2)

cervesaebraciator (2352888) | about 5 months ago | (#45473333)

I also think it's cute that you think Slashdot of all places "believes in the Vatican".

Or that Catholics do believe the papacy because of the Donation of Constantine. It was a Catholic priest who identified the forgery, and that over five centuries ago. Anyone who thinks this is a challenge to Catholic beliefs doesn't understand Catholicism.

Re:The Gift Of Constantine Makes The Vatican A Fra (1)

Freshly Exhumed (105597) | about 5 months ago | (#45474351)

It was the Roman Catholic church that suppressed the knowledge of the fraud over and over again, yet individuals within and without the Church continued to explore the meaning of the Gift of Constantine since it is so central to the basis of belief in the Vatican.

Re:The Gift Of Constantine Makes The Vatican A Fra (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45474689)

It isn't even remotely central to the basis of belief in the Vatican. Hell, there isn't even any such thing as "belief in the Vatican". Catholics believe in the foundation of the Church that grew from foundations laid by St. Peter. The Vatican is a giant building that effectively is the administrative aspects of the Catholic Church; you don't "believe" in it, it just is.

But no one has taken the Gift of Constantine seriously for over 500 years. No one suppressed any knowledge of fraud, it was simply believed to be true until the Renaissance Era where betters scholarship practices were developed and determined it couldn't possibly be true, and it was the Catholic Church that was the first to admit it was a forgery.

But no one takes this seriously at all. However, Constantine IS revered for the Edict of Milan, which has a lot more to do with the growth and strength of Catholicism than any sort of "gift". I think you're trying to hard to dredge up some sort of grudge or conspiracy.

Re:The Gift Of Constantine Makes The Vatican A Fra (1)

cervesaebraciator (2352888) | about 5 months ago | (#45475081)

AC has this right. The basis for papal claims to religious authority are not founded on the Donation of Constantine, though the document was used many centuries ago to bolster claims to temporal authority. References to the document don't even appear in the sources until the eighth century, long after the bishop of Rome had begun to build more universal claims upon his succession from Peter. Indeed, apostolic succession--not any grant of authority from an emperor--has been the foundation of episcopal authority at least since the second (cf. Irenaeus of Lyons) and arguably since the first (cf. Clement of Rome) century.

No Catholic, therefore, will need to reference that spurious document to support his faith in the authority of the Roman bishop. The fact that the Donation was accepted at all was an effect rather than a cause of the broad acceptance of papal authority in the West.

Re:The Gift Of Constantine Makes The Vatican A Fra (1)

Freshly Exhumed (105597) | about 5 months ago | (#45474303)

I think it "ceased to be relevant a few centuries ago" only to some Roman Catholics. Use words like "cute" all you like, but you'd be unfortunately implying that a major event in the history of the Roman Catholic church and indeed the western world was not worth considering when discussing today's Vatican.

Re:The Gift Of Constantine Makes The Vatican A Fra (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45477765)

well it's actually not especially sane to disbelieve in the Vatican, it is an actual physical locale

Re:The Gift Of Constantine Makes The Vatican A Fra (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45471351)

How can you not believe in the Vatican?
It's like not believing in the pentagon.
Whether you believe it or not, it still exists.

Re:The Gift Of Constantine Makes The Vatican A Fra (1)

Freshly Exhumed (105597) | about 5 months ago | (#45474389)

Yep, when a newspaper says Putin phoned Washington you find yourself wondering which of millions of people in the State of Washington, Washington, DC, Washington University, etc. etc. he might have been having a nice chit-chat with.

Google Confirms (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45470759)

The Sky Wizard must be real!

Depends where you point it... (-1, Troll)

boundary (1226600) | about 5 months ago | (#45470823)

Sadly the child rapists still elude technology.

Re:Depends where you point it... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45471127)

Sadly the child rapists still elude technology.

Not near as much as it evades taxes, which is the primary reason most "churches" exist today.

It's pretty much the entire reason Scientology exists. Only a tax accountant would see the sanity in a work of science fiction suddenly being deemed as a religion, falling under that legal definition and enjoying all of the tax benefits while spouting "faith" via coercion and manipulation.

Come to think of it, that sounds a lot like most religions...

Such Vatican, Much Archeology. Wow (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45470939)

Such Vatican, Much Archeology. Wow

well .... (-1, Troll)

thephydes (727739) | about 5 months ago | (#45471005)

Until the vatican can admit that priests molested children, and that they were complicit in those behaviours, frankly I don't give a flying fuck about the catacombs or anything else related to Catholicism. The Pope and his mates can go and fry in hell as far as I'm concerned. Yes, mod me down - I don't give a fuck about that either.

Re:well .... (1)

TheP4st (1164315) | about 5 months ago | (#45471243)

Until the vatican can admit that priests molested children, and that they were complicit in those behaviours, frankly I don't give a flying fuck about the catacombs or anything else related to Catholicism.

That is your loss, despite all the atrocities caused by and within religion, the Vatican is well worth a visit just to marvel at the amazing artworks and architecture that it contains, and if you are so inclined to get filled with disgust over the massive amounts of wealth that have been spent in the name of some bearded dude in the sky.

That you now can "visit" a tiny part of it without lining the pockets of the Catholic church is in my opinion a win, win situation. For added realism fill a jar with some soil from a cellar to sniff during your virtual tour.

Re:well .... (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45471477)

You should considered actually going to the Vatican then. Because as somebody who has been there, other than the cost of going to Rome, the entry price to the Vatican was $0. They don't charge to go there unless you want to pay 5 euros to take the elevator to the top of st. peters. You're not required to buy anything from their shops. But at no point on visiting, are you required to pay them anything to look around st. peters, look at the tombs of the popes, look at all the art, etc, etc, etc. So you'd hardly be lining their pockets.

Re:well .... (2)

TheP4st (1164315) | about 5 months ago | (#45472595)

I did go there last december and had to pay an admission fee. I cannot remember what the fee were, but now the full admission ticket is 16 euro. http://mv.vatican.va/3_EN/pages/z-Info/MV_Info_Orari.html [vatican.va]

Re:well .... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45473161)

As someone who is there now, the price you're quoting is for the museum. the price the GP is quoting is for St. Peters. The religious end of the spectrum is free for all, as long as you don't count the time you're waiting in line against the cost. The collection of strangely non-christian art is available at a price, which is likely going towards restoration, seeing how the constant (and MASSIVE) flow of people takes its toll on the artifacts. I saw more than a few people climbing on statues, which makes me wonder how anything is left even remotely intact.

Re:well .... (1)

Nimey (114278) | about 5 months ago | (#45472875)

Do I misremember or are you required to buy paper clothing to enter certain buildings if your clothes don't meet dress code?

Re:well .... (1)

cervesaebraciator (2352888) | about 5 months ago | (#45473399)

Yes, they have what amounts to a paper shawl, though I don't recall what they charge for it. When we visited, my wife and I were familiar with the dress code and since her shoulders were covered it wasn't an issue for us. We did loan her head-covering to a young lady, however, who used it as a shawl to get through without buying the paper version.

Re:well .... (1)

umafuckit (2980809) | about 5 months ago | (#45472881)

I'm pretty sure I had to pay to see the Sistine Chapel and associated museum area. It's terribly good of them not to charge you for going to church at St. Peter's, though.

Re:well .... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45471467)

Not to overshadow this recent development of priests with short eyes;, but if you got as far as;"catacombs early Christians used as secret churches as well as burial sites", you've run into something much more heinous. It was the Catholics who ordered these early Christian "gnostics" killed. They HID in these catacombs to avoid detection. Didn't work...
Now I'm all for castrating and executing priests and all, but, being killed trumps getting your pooper poked. Let's not forget all those who; were Jews and Pagan during the Inquisition, were accused of heresy and witchcraft, or just generally got in the way of the Vatican over the years.
Obviously not what Christ had in mind when he told Peter to head the Church. I think it went south even before Constantine, which leaves us with only the Rastafarian sect of the Coptic church as being the only representation worth a shit.

Re:well .... (0)

Circlotron (764156) | about 5 months ago | (#45471545)

The Catholic Church has a long history of torturing and killing people for daring to peer into the Bible, and worse, teaching it to others. That being the case, it logically means a/ they hadn't succeeded in changing it's contents as some people claim, and b/ as a consequence there is stuff in it they really really really don't want people to see. Hence they parade a long list of relics, saints, statues, pictures, supposedly "holy" men, and whatever else they can think of to keep the attention of the faithful away from the book they hate.

Re:well .... (1)

dywolf (2673597) | about 5 months ago | (#45471699)

Yes...they're trying to sto people from reading the book they read frm every weekend, the most published and read book on the planet. And the church is trying to stop them from doing that which they do every weekend...in church....

It's a close call, but you may actually be stupider than thephydes, the troll that started this thread.

Re:well .... (1)

neoritter (3021561) | about 5 months ago | (#45476445)

Do you know what a Saint is and why Catholics pray to them?

Re:well .... (1)

Circlotron (764156) | about 5 months ago | (#45478273)

Do you know what a Saint is and why Catholics pray to them?

A better question might be why do Catholics in fact pray to saints? If they actually read the Bible they would be familiar with Jesus' words when he said "When you pray, say, 'Our Father in heaven, may your name be kept holy." Luke 11:2. There is no room there for praying to anyone else. If they were addressing a saint they would be disregarding the words of the one they claim to follow.

Re:well .... (1)

neoritter (3021561) | about 5 months ago | (#45482485)

So you quoted me and then said I should ask the very question I asked? What? Your comment is why I asked the question. People don't get what Saints are and why Catholics pray to them. First there are four distinct forms of prayer. Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, and Intercession. The words themselves are pretty self-explanatory. Second, a Saint is simply put, a person that we know is in heaven. Through miracles or some other sign by God. The Catholic stance on this is, they do not make Saints only recognize them. Last, when you pray to a Saint, it is an intercessory prayer. You are asking the Saint to pray for you to God. To Catholics (and other denominations), if you can ask a living person to pray for you, then you can ask person who is in heaven as well. Because those who are were given everlasting life. Now you argue something from scripture and even though Catholics do not believe in sola scriptura, I'll give you these pieces from the Bible that back this belief up. Luke 16: 19-31 indicates that the dead can pray for the living. John 11:25 - Those who believe in Christ, though they are dead will live. Romans 8:38-39 Nothing can separate you from the love of God. Hebrews 2:11 - He that sanctifieth and the those who are sanctified are one. Hebrews: 10:10 - Jesus is the sanctifier. 1 Timothy 2: 1-5 - The type of prayer and Jesus is the mediator of God and men.

Re:well .... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45472467)

Obviously not what Christ had in mind when he told Peter to head the Church

This mistranslation still cracks me up.

Re:well .... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45474751)

Except that there *isnt* a rastifarian sect of the coptic church, among 1000's of other made up wrong things in your statement..

Re:well .... (1)

neoritter (3021561) | about 5 months ago | (#45476425)

Wooh dude, I'm not going to get into it with the rest of your rambling, but let's be clear. The Inquisition (those sanctioned and carried out by the Church) only applied to heretics, i.e. Christians. You can not be a heretic if you were never Christian.

Re:well .... (1)

dywolf (2673597) | about 5 months ago | (#45471691)

let me guess, you probably also believe that Obama was directly responsible and complicit in:
- an IRS office in the midwest (and just that office, and no others) investigating tea party groups with names like "tea party for action" when filing for the "nonpolitical, nonprofit" tax exempt status?
- selecting the contractor who created healthcare.gov, but no other contractors, based on a 1000$ donation made years ago, amidst the other nearly 2 billion in campaign donations he recieved?
- forcing the Marines to wear "girly hats" when the manufacturer went out of business?

No, I just cant go on. It's just too funny.
And you're too stupid.

Re:well .... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45473589)

Yes, mod me down - I don't give a fuck about that either.

Yes you do care. Or you would not have responded and wrote that.

If you definition of "i do not condone things" is to protest something you probably would never see/do anyway I for one applaud you in how 'brave' you are. I mean something you probably would have never done anyway you are now not going to do *and* get to feel self righteous about it. I mean that takes real balls, big steely ones. I am stunned at how amazing you are. You are a true soldier in the cause of humanity. We should follow your lead. We should march over there and burn it all down. Orrrrrr I think you are a self righteous idiot no better than those who claim to be of the church and do those things. Which of these do you think is true?

Your loss. I would love to go see all of that stuff. I will never in a million years be able to afford the trip (the museums/churches all of it is in is free). Its not like renaissance quality paintings and carvings just litter the streets here in the states. I practically trip over them going to work down my driveway. They are everywhere!

Don't be Evil (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45471193)

Are the "lasers" attached to sharks?

Real life Eyes of the Beholder dungeons!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45471783)

Did you find the final boss room???
I got lost after a few turns!

The original need for secrecy... (5, Informative)

dtjohnson (102237) | about 5 months ago | (#45471843)

St. Peter's square is the site of the old "Circus of Nero" chariot racing track. The roman's (emperor Nero) martyred St. Peter along the "spine" of the old chariot racing track in 67 as entertainment for the chariot race attendees and then buried the body in a little cemetery located next to the track (which was handily located to clear out the victim(s) from the night before to prepare for the new day's activity.) St. Peter was held in high esteem by the early Christians of that time and they secretly excavated near his burial site in order to construct a memorial shrine, to have a place for Christian worship, and to allow other Christians of the time to be buried near St. Peter as they were martyred. As the centuries passed, and Christians were no longer persecuted, churches were built over the site of St. Peter's burial, leading to the newest one, the present St. Peter's basilica which was constructed approximately 400 years ago. St. Peter's grave is located directly under what is now the altar.

Re:The original need for secrecy... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45474929)

God damn it, I HATE reading the scribblings of those who move their lips when they read. "The roman's (emperor Nero) martyred St. Peter" says that St Peter was a martyr who belonges to the Romans. That god damned grocer's apostrophe makes the literate have to go bakc and re-read the sentence because it stops the sentence from making sense until you figure out that the writer is barely literate and never read a book that he wasn't forced to.

WTF are you people doing on slashdot? How in the hell can you be a nerd and never read books??

A hint to the educationally impaired: you do NOT use an apostrophe to denote a plural. EVER. God damn it, where do you fools pick that shit up, 4chan? The only two uses for an apostrophe are posessives (The Roman's martyred St Peter) or a contraction (St Peter wasn't a Roman martyr).

You should have learned this in the 4th grade for FSM's sake!!

Re:The original need for secrecy... (1)

neoritter (3021561) | about 5 months ago | (#45476531)

If you're going to go on a rant about grammar, at least get it right. You do use the apostrophe to denote a plural in very limited cases. I'll give you two examples. You use them to form the plural of an abbreviation that combines upper and lowercase letters or has interior periods. Example: The department graduated five M.A.’s and two Ph.D.’s this year. You use them to form the plural of lowercase letters. Example: Mind your p’s and q’s.

Re:The original need for secrecy... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45495133)

Impotent pedant rage!!!!!!

(it would be all caps, but lame lameness filter)

The obelisk (1)

Pseudonymus Bosch (3479) | about 5 months ago | (#45476857)

And the obelisk in Saint Peter's Square was "acquired" in Egypt by the Romans to decorate the spina. Later some pope decided that it would suit very well his new square.

Not under the vatican (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45472107)

The Priscllla Catacombs are off Via Salaria, near the big park that has Villa Ada in it. A good half hour walk, at least, from the Vatican. All of the catacombs are "outside the wall" in any case.

Perhaps they mean "under the control and supervision of the Vatican"?

Re:Not under the vatican (1)

cervesaebraciator (2352888) | about 5 months ago | (#45473513)

People are sloppy in the use of the term "Vatican". A good example of this is in one of the sorriest books written by a modern, professional historian [wikipedia.org]. The author constantly and annoyingly uses "Vatican" as a metonym for the papacy when talking about a period centuries before anyone would have so employed the term.

Re:Not under the vatican (1)

Freshly Exhumed (105597) | about 5 months ago | (#45474483)

War on metonyms! From now on, you decree that nobody must ever refer to Microsoft as "Redmond" or to any of the various organizations of the U.S. government as "Washington". Let's end the richness of the English language here and now!

Back to reality. The Roman Catholic Church itself uses the term Vatican as a metonym.

Re:Not under the vatican (1)

cervesaebraciator (2352888) | about 5 months ago | (#45474969)

Um... I didn't say using Vatican as a metonym was wrong. I only object to doing so when it's anachronistic, especially in what purports to be a work about history. It's like talking about the American war for independence as a battle between Washington D.C. and London.

The language does not become richer by the sloppy use of poetic language. In fact, I agree with Orwell in "Politics and the English Language" [github.io] that using figures of speech after we've lost a sense of the what the figure indicates does not enrich the language so much as it impoverishes thought.

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