A Not So Funny Thing Happened…

A Not So Funny Thing Happened

Evaluating Ewald Ernst’s statement that Rome was engulfed by a “cataclysm” in 234 CE is an intriguing journey that picks its way through the triage of the Settled History of Rome.

In reality, the destruction of the aqueducts happened swiftly, and with a power no humans had at their disposal.

This happened, in 234 CE, only eight years after the last system had been completed under Alexander Severus in 226 CE.

At the same time, Rome’s population was reduced from nearly one million to no more than 50,000.

The cataclysm had struck with such force that more than half a millennium passed before Europeans could begin to slowly regain the technological competence of imperial Rome.

Toppling of Rome’s Obelisks and Aqueducts – Ewald Ernst – August 2014

The journey begins at the Roman Form which is “a sprawling ruin of architectural fragments” in the centre of Rome.

The Roman Forum (Latin: Forum Romanum, Italian: Foro Romano) is a rectangular forum (plaza) surrounded by the ruins of several important ancient government buildings at the center of the city of Rome.

Citizens of the ancient city referred to this space, originally a marketplace, as the Forum Magnum, or simply the Forum.

It was for centuries the center of Roman public life: the site of triumphal processions and elections; the venue for public speeches, criminal trials, and gladiatorial matches; and the nucleus of commercial affairs.

Here statues and monuments commemorated the city’s great men.

The teeming heart of ancient Rome, it has been called the most celebrated meeting place in the world, and in all history.

Located in the small valley between the Palatine and Capitoline Hills, the Forum today is a sprawling ruin of architectural fragments and intermittent archaeological excavations attracting 4.5 million sightseers yearly.

View of the Forum Romanum

Many of the oldest and most important structures of the ancient city were located on or near the Forum.

The Roman kingdom’s earliest shrines and temples were located on the southeastern edge.

These included the ancient former royal residence, the Regia (8th century BC), and the Temple of Vesta (7th century BC), as well as the surrounding complex of the Vestal Virgins, all of which were rebuilt after the rise of imperial Rome.

Other archaic shrines to the northwest, such as the Umbilicus Urbis and the Vulcanal (Shrine of Vulcan), developed into the Republic’s formal Comitium (assembly area).

This is where the Senate – as well as Republican government itself – began.

The Senate House, government offices, tribunals, temples, memorials and statues gradually cluttered the area.



The Settled History narrative provides no explanation for this “sprawling ruin of architectural fragments” and simply “over time” relocates “the center of Roman public life” to the adjacent Trajan’s Forum that was “inaugurated in 112”.

Over time the archaic Comitium was replaced by the larger adjacent Forum and the focus of judicial activity moved to the new Basilica Aemilia (179 BC).

Some 130 years later, Julius Caesar built the Basilica Julia, along with the new Curia Julia, refocusing both the judicial offices and the Senate itself.

This new Forum, in what proved to be its final form, then served as a revitalized city square where the people of Rome could gather for commercial, political, judicial and religious pursuits in ever greater numbers.

Eventually much economic and judicial business would transfer away from the Forum Romanum to the larger and more extravagant structures (Trajan’s Forum and the Basilica Ulpia) to the north.


Trajan’s Forum (Latin: Forum Traiani) was the last of the Imperial fora to be constructed in ancient Rome.

The architect Apollodorus of Damascus oversaw its construction.

This forum was built on the order of the emperor Trajan with the spoils of war from the conquest of Dacia, which ended in 106.

The Fasti Ostienses state that the Forum was inaugurated in 112, while Trajan’s Column was erected and then inaugurated in 113.


However, the opaque Settled History narrative then curiously returns “the political center to the Forum” to the Basilica of Maxentius [“the largest building in the Forum”] in 312 AD.

The reign of Constantine the Great… saw the construction of the last major expansion of the Forum complex – the Basilica of Maxentius (312 AD).

This returned the political center to the Forum until the fall of the Western Roman Empire almost two centuries later.


The Basilica of Maxentius and Constantine (sometimes known as the Basilica Nova – meaning “new basilica” – or Basilica of Maxentius) is an ancient building in the Roman Forum, Rome, Italy.

It was the largest building in the Forum.

Construction began on the northern side of the forum under the emperor Maxentius in 308, and was completed in 312 by Constantine I after his defeat of Maxentius at the Battle of the Milvian Bridge.


The Basilica of Maxentius and Constantine in the Roman Forum

It seems safe to say that the Roman Forum only became a “sprawling ruin of architectural fragments” [“for the most part buried under debris”] at some point after 312 CE.

An anonymous 8th-century traveller from Einsiedeln (now in Switzerland) reported that the Forum was already falling apart in his time.

During the Middle Ages, though the memory of the Forum Romanum persisted, its monuments were for the most part buried under debris, and its location was designated the “Campo Vaccino” or “cattle field,” located between the Capitoline Hill and the Colosseum.


It also seems safe to say that the Settled History narrative for the Roman Forum was only completed in the 20th century after the site had been “fully excavated”.

Originally the site of the Forum had been marshy lake where waters from the surrounding hills drained.

This was drained by the Tarquins with the Cloaca Maxima.[citation needed]

Because of its location, sediments from both the flooding of the Tiber River and the erosion of the surrounding hills have been raising the level of the Forum floor for centuries.

Excavated sequences of remains of paving show that sediment eroded from the surrounding hills was already raising the level in early Republican times.[citation needed]

As the ground around buildings began to rise, residents simply paved over the debris that was too much to remove.

Its final travertine paving, still visible, dates from the reign of Augustus [63 BC-14 AD].

Excavations in the 19th century revealed one layer on top of another.

The deepest level excavated was 3.60 metres above sea level.

Archaeological finds show human activity at that level with the discovery of carbonised wood.

Artists from the late 15th century drew the ruins in the Forum, antiquaries copied inscriptions in the 16th century, and a tentative excavation was begun in the late 18th century.

A cardinal took measures to drain it again and built the Alessandrine neighborhood over it.

But the excavation by Carlo Fea, who began clearing the debris from the Arch of Septimius Severus in 1803, and archaeologists under the Napoleonic regime marked the beginning of clearing the Forum, which was only fully excavated in the early 20th century.

Remains from several centuries are shown together, due to the Roman practice of building over earlier ruins.


The Settled History narrative very reasonably argues that “the flooding of the Tiber River” has slowly been “raising the level of the Forum floor for centuries”.

The Forum Romanum or Magnum, as it was called in late times to distinguish it from the imperial fora, occupies a valley which extends from the foot of the Capitoline hill to the north-west part of the Palatine.

Till the construction of the great cloacae it was, at least in wet seasons, marshy ground, in which were several pools of water.

The Encyclopaedia Britannica – Eleventh Edition – 1911

Indeed, recent excavations at the Sant’Omobono church [which is about one hundred yards away from the Tiber River] have discovered the foundations of a temple about 7 and a half feet below the water table.

Map of the Roman Forum

Archaeologists excavating a site in central Rome say they’ve uncovered what may be oldest known temple from Roman antiquity.

Along the way, they’ve also discovered how much the early Romans intervened to shape their urban environment.

And the dig has been particularly challenging because the temple lies below the water table.

At the foot Capitoline Hill in the center of Rome, stands the Medieval Sant’Omobono church.

Today, the Tiber River is about a hundred yards away.

But when the city was being created, around the 7th century B.C., it flowed close to where the church now stands, where a bend in the river provided a natural harbor for merchant ships.

Archaeologist Albert Ammerman, who has excavated numerous sites in Rome, calls it a “mission impossible.”

“They’re digging at the very bottom of this trench, at about 7 and a half feet below the water,” he says.

Archaeologists Unearth What May Be Oldest Roman Temple – Silvia Poggioli – 2014

However, the Settled History narrative very conveniently forgets to mention [or explain] that the Roman Forum was found “buried some twenty feet below the modern surface”.

The ancient Forum lay until a recent period buried some twenty feet below the modern surface, and, with the exception of a few columns which still reared a part of their height above the Campo Vaccine, the situation of its monuments was unknown.

The Roman Forum; a topographical study – 1877 – Francis Morgan Nichols

Campo Vaccino

The Settled History narrative also forgets to explain the [roughly] three and a half metres of mud debris that was “submerging a good half of the ground floor arches” of the Colosseum.

The Colosseum remained outside the centre of the medieval city, which was concentrated on the banks of the river. Further earthquakes in 801 and 847 probably made more damage. The amphitheatre started being overgrown by plants and trees, and there are even stories about wild animals – even wolves – roaming the site.

The ground level had slowly risen over the centuries, thus submerging a good half of the ground floor arches.


The arches are 4.20 m. (13’9″) wide and 7.05 m (23’1″) high on the ground floor; on the upper floors they are only 6.45 m (21’2″) high.


Everything about the Roman Colosseum


Settled History also fails to mention that downtown Rome was blanketed in mud and has a remarkable heritage of toppled obelisks and broken aqueducts.

A look at Rome’s aqueducts reveals no less enigmatic destructions than suffered by its fabulous collection of obelisks.

More than 10 Obelisks from Egypt were erected in Rome.
They all were toppled in 234.
Only the obelisk close to Old St.Peter’s kept its vertical position.

A look at Rome’s aqueducts reveals no less enigmatic destructions than suffered by its fabulous collection of obelisks.
Fresh water was so widely available for Romans that even many villae rusticae (agricultural estates) received spring water via aqueducts.

None of these marvelous constructions – erected and working for over half a millennium – was still functioning in the 4th c. CE.

Combined they could transport 1.6 million m3 of water per day into the metropolis.

Toppling of Rome’s Obelisks and Aqueducts – Ewald Ernst – August 2014

Downtown Rome in the 15th century,

The city of Rome harbours the most obelisks in the world.

There are eight ancient Egyptian and five ancient Roman obelisks in Rome, together with a number of more modern obelisks; there was also until 2005 an ancient Ethiopian obelisk in Rome.


The Ancient Romans were strongly influenced by the obelisk form, to the extent that there are now more than twice as many obelisks standing in Rome as remain in Egypt.

All fell after the Roman period except for the Vatican obelisk and were re-erected in different locations.


The Vatican Obelisk is the only obelisk in Rome that has not toppled since ancient Roman times.


Sometime between the 8th and 12th centuries CE, the obelisk of Psametik II and Augustus fell or was smashed down, broke into 5 pieces, and became buried.

After rediscovery, excavation, and repair with rose granite taken from the badly damaged Column of Antoninus, it was reerected in 1792 by Pope Pius VI in Piazza Montecitorio, where it still stands.

Obelisk of Psametik II and Augustus reerected by Pope Pius VI in Piazza Montecitorio

Overall, there appears to be plenty of evidence that Rome experienced a catastrophe around 234 CE especially when it is remembered the Crisis of the Third Century, which began in 235 CE, ushered in “plague”, “civil wars, foreign invasion, and collapse of the monetary economy”.

Severus Alexander (Latin: Marcus Aurelius Severus Alexander Augustus; 1 October 208 – 19 March 235) was Roman Emperor from 222 to 235.

Alexander was the last emperor of the Severan dynasty.

He succeeded his cousin Elagabalus upon the latter’s assassination in 222, and was ultimately assassinated himself, marking the epoch event for the Crisis of the Third Century – nearly fifty years of civil wars, foreign invasion, and collapse of the monetary economy.


The Crisis of the Third Century, also known as Military Anarchy or the Imperial Crisis, (AD 235–284) was a period in which the Roman Empire nearly collapsed under the combined pressures of invasion, civil war, plague, and economic depression.

The Crisis began with the assassination of Emperor Alexander Severus at the hands of his own troops, initiating a fifty-year period in which 20–25 claimants to the title of Emperor, mostly prominent Roman army generals, assumed imperial power over all or part of the Empire.

The Crisis resulted in such profound changes in the Empire’s institutions, society, economic life and, eventually, religion, that it is increasingly seen by most historians as defining the transition between the historical periods of classical antiquity and late antiquity.


Gallery | This entry was posted in Catastrophism, History. Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to A Not So Funny Thing Happened…

  1. Pingback: Lacunar Amnesia in Archaeology | MalagaBay

  2. Pingback: The Mystery of the Missing Oak Trees | MalagaBay

  3. Pingback: Ravenna Revisited: Greek Termination Event | MalagaBay

  4. daveyoung52 says:

    Great information,pretty great play/movie.

  5. Obelisk is so popular because it commemorates the expulsion from Eden\Aten and the birth of Eve. Eve grew at the tip of a column of first crust, then plasma filled, glowing, magma. Probably the dancing man was visible along this Tree of Life, atop the World ountain.

    Phallus also.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.