Tag-Archive for » dining Rome «

History of Bathing from Rome to Japan

Roman people are known for their baths. They brought this practice to countries of Gaul and Britain. Roman mansions have their own small private versions of bath houses. Rome provided public baths which could be used for a cheaper cost. Because of the attractiveness of their baths, they add in hot and cold areas, average temperature sprawling areas with assortment of additional services like drinking, dining, and exercise. There was a period in the Roman history that baths were separated by gender, but eventually bathing was mixed.

The Jewish culture practiced a ritual of bathing that has been passed down to modern Jewish people. Ritual cleansing baths are called mikvot, which has its roots in the classical era and have been seen in some archaeological excavations at numerous areas, including Masada. In these rituals, the entire body of the individual must be completely submerged in water. The water to be used must come from a river, spring or rainwater.

During the 4th to 5th century, the priests of Christian churches denounced public baths. Bathhouses includes mixed facilities, and Christians believed women should not bathe in the presence of men. Virgins were especially discouraged from bathing in the nude.

Romans spread the bathing practice to the Islamic countries through the Medieval times and the Renaissance period. Roman bathing was promoted by Islamic writers. The “Turkish Bath” was the main characteristic of Islamic custom, they have retained the Roman culture of initially cleaning the body, after that is soaking and socializing. The Islamic religion requires frequent bathing; when water supply was low, other substances like dust and dirt were utilized for ritual ablution.

Japanese baths have great similarity with Roman baths. The western writers asserted that Japanese soaking baths began during the widespread employment of Japanese hot springs. Because of the location of Japan being positioned amid two volcanic restraints, the country tenders innumerable natural thermal baths. Public bathing custom rooted way back in 552 A.D. and until the daybreak of Buddhism. Bathing doesn’t only cleanse the body but also the skin, and also brings fortune.

Bathing is a communal ceremony in most religions. Some writers say that bathing was more about socializing than hygiene.

Bathrooms in monasteries frequently had isolated screened-off area for individual bathers. Bathers bathed in cold water, so they would wear an undershirt and it would be done only once a week. This practice is used to prevent the physical pleasures of bathing which the priests are anxious about.

My Journey to Rome

I decided to share my impressions about the trip to Rome as my emotions still linger…

The decision to go to Italy was made shortly before the journey, so we didn’t have much time to prepare for that. But we managed to organize the trip as quickly as possible. And, as it turned out, we planned everything very well.

Rome covered us in the suffocating heat as it’s extremely hot in Rome in August. We wanted to hire a taxi but didn’t like the faces of the drivers approaching us, so we decided to take a suburban train called “Leonardo Express”. I should say it’s rather comfortable and inexpensive.

We came to the Roman train station quite late but luckily our hotel was really close by. The heat didn’t lessen…we had a feeling of being in a steam room…So we were particularly glad to take a shower and to fall asleep after a long busy day.

Got up very early, we rushed to the canteen. But we were extremely disappointed with the breakfast…coffee and a stale croissant…Finishing the scant breakfast we took our cameras and went to the lobby to wait for our guide with who we have preliminarily exchanged emails.

I should say that we decided to entrust the organization of all the excursions to our guide so that we could completely devote ourselves to enjoying Rome. The guide sent us several variants and we chose two complete days – one in Rome and the other in the Rome suburbs.

Rome…we looked round the major churches and basilicas of the Italian capital. It’s useless to try to describe all the magnificence of the Rome masterpieces, it’s a kind of thing that one should see with his or her own eyes…but a person needs not only spiritual nourishment. So at 2 o’clock we got very hungry. Our guide phoned somewhere and quickly drove us at a tiny restaurant where we were waited for! We paid very little and ate very much. The Italian food we were treated was so nice that I still remember its flavour! We didn’t want to leave the place but the Vatican was ahead, so we rushed into the car and pretty soon reached the destination. Again I’m not going to describe you what we have seen. Come and take a look by yourselves!

After the Vatican we bid farewell with our guide and strolled along the streets by ourselves. Then we returned to the hotel and had a bath. A restaurant followed. We were disappointed as the dinner costed us 120 EUR what was MUCH more than we left at noon in a restaurant we went to with our guide. Besides the dinner was not that tasty.

The next day we went out of town. The sky was cloudy so, tired of heat, we welcomed the coolness. The rout led us through the ancient settlements up into the mountains. It is a very unusual feeling to look at the city from such a height. Rome was at our feet…

And again from the lofty to the earthy. We were hungry. This time we had a very hearty dinner. We were treated to the dishes made of boar meat. Besides we were lucky that our chef was in good spirits, so with a smile on his lips he betrayed us many secrets of the Italian cuisine…now I know the recipes to surprise the guests!

On the way back we saw a Bridge of Suicides, the Pontifical Residence, drank water from the spring, looked at the functioning aqueduct which is more than 2000 years old…after a long and busy day we didn’t feel a bit tired.

At night we took a plane home…we’ll certainly come back!!!

Contributions of Ancient Arabian and Egyptian Scientists on Astronomy

Md. Wasim Aktar

Deptt. of Agril. Chemicals, Bidhan Chandra Krishi Viswavidyalaya, Mohanpur, Nadia, West Bengal, India.

Astronomy (‘Ilm al-Hay’ah) or the science of formation (i.e. of the heavens) deals with such things as the structure of the heavens, the number and configuration of the stars, the signs of the zodiac, the distances of the stars, their size and their motions. It also deals with the compilation of planetary tables, the catalogue of stars for the making of calendars and similar tasks.

The Arabs took a keen interest in the study of heavens. They developed this interest firstly, because they had once worshipped heavenly bodies, (1) and secondly, because the dwellers of the desert who usually traveled at night in connection with trade, war and migration from one place to another, found the direction of their journey with the help of the stars. The clear sky of the desert gave them a chance of making precise observations. Thus there was some locally acquired knowledge of the fixed stars, the movements of the planets and the changes of the weather.

After the advent of Islam, the Muslims had to determine the time of the prayers and the direction of the Ka’bah to turn their faces towards it at the time of prayers. For this purpose it was necessary to know the altitude of the sun and the latitudes and longitudes of all the places where the Muslims lived. The same need arose for the orientation of the mosque. This gave a religious impetus to the study of astronomy and the allied subjects such as astronomical geography and mathematics. On the other hand, the Muslims, who once carried on flourishing trade all over the world and occasionally launched Jihad, had to travel on the land and the sea. As an aid to travel, navigation and meteorology, a by product of navigation, they needed star maps. The necessity of such maps was also a cause of their interest in astronomy.

There was a group of astronomers who believed in the influence of heavenly bodies on the terrestrial affairs, and the fate and future of human beings. According to them, the prognostication of sub-lunar events from the revolution of the heavens, the signs of the zodiac in the ascendant and the motion of the planets was possible. The science dealing with such influences was termed as Astrology (’Ilm-Ahkam al-Nujum). Astrology, as a part of astronomy, was studied and developed by ancient Babylonians. The study of this art or science was then made in Greece and Rome, a few centuries before the opening of the Christian era. It was also cultivated in India, China and Egypt. From the 7th to the 13th century it was further developed by the Muslims and later on by the Europeans. In the 14th and the 15th centuries, the astrologers had great influence on the kings of the European countries. (2) The orthodox Muslims did not believe in the influence of the heavenly bodies on fate or the future of human beings.

The regular study of astronomy and mathematics was begun at Baghdad in the second half of the 8th century during the reign of the second ‘Abbasi Caliph Al-Mansür. After that the patronage and generosity of other Muslim rulers, particularly of the seventh ‘Abbasi Caliph Al-Ma’mun, provided stimulation to the astronomical and mathematical researches of every kind. Indian, Persian and Greek astronomical works were translated into Arabic, and for making the astronomical observations the observatories were established by the caliphs and private persons at various places in the Muslim world. Astronomy was studied with great interest with the result that the number of Muslim astronomers raised surprisingly in a short period of time, and by the end of the 10th century, a large number of eminent Muslim astronomers gathered in Baghdad. In the 11th and the 12th centuries astronomy flourished in Muslim Spain where a good deal of creative and original work on this branch of science was done.

The Muslim scientists attached utmost importance to accuracy in observations and calculations, without caring for the length of time needed for it. Thus sometimes their astronomical researches extended for more than forty years. Due to this desire of accuracy the Muslims did not accept as such the astronomical tables or measurements of Ptolemy, a great Greek astronomer and mathematician. They only accepted his planetary theory just to provide a basis for astronomical research. They themselves conducted astronomical researches in Baghdad, Samarqand, Nishapur, Cordova, Damascus and Ray, and after making a careful study of the heavens they not only corrected and amplified Ptolemy’s astronomical tables, but also compiled a number of new ones and drew up new star catalogues. On the basis of fresh observations, the Ptolemaic system was repeatedly criticized by the Muslim astronomers, particularly those of Spain.

The investigations on astronomy were continued, and till the end of the 11th century, nearly all the original and creative work was done by Muslims, and even the works of non-Muslims were written in Arabic. Astronomy reached its highest in the 13th and 14th centuries. In the 12th century, the Christians and Jews started the work of translation from Arabic into Latin and Hebrew, and began to conduct research in this field. But until the end of the 13th century, no mathematical and astronomical work comparable to that of the Muslims could be produced by the Christians or Jews. It is interesting to note that in the 12th century, while Ptolemy’s astronomical work, Almagest, after a thorough study and research, was subjected to severe criticism by Muslims particularly those of Spain, the study of this work was begun in the Latin world.

Besides compiling the astronomical tables, the Muslims prepared celestial globes on which the positions and magnitudes of the stars were represented. The globe is of Greek origin, but since Ptolemy’s time there has been a continuous improvement on it. The Muslim scientists also wrote comprehensive books on astronomy and mathematics, and also composed treatises on various branches of this science.

The Muslim astronomers also prepared the star maps to preserve the old astronomical knowledge, and to use them as an aid to travel, navigation and meteorology.

A great incentive for the study of astronomy came from an Indian astronomical work called Siddhanta which was brought to the court of Baghdad by a Hindu named Kanka. Kanka met Ya’qüb Ibn Tãriq in 767 who was one of the greatest astronomers of his time. Ya’qüb Ibn Tãriq introduced him to the Caliph Al-Mansür.(3) Kanka showed the book to the Caliph who ordered Muhammad Ibn Ibrahim Al-Fazãri to translate it into Arabic.(4) He also ordered that a work based on Siddhanta should be composed, which could serve as a reference book for the Arabs. Muhammad Ibn Ibrahim took this responsibility and prepared a book which was called by the astronomers as Sind Hind al-Kabir (the great Siddhanta). (5) It was used until the time of the Caliph Al-Ma’mun. Then Al-Khwãrizmi, who was one of the greatest scientists, prepared a summary of this book. He also compiled astronomical and trigonometrical tables according to the combined methods of Indians, Persians and Greeks. These tables were revised by Maslamah al-Majriti (c. the second half of the 10th century). They gained so much popularity that they were used even in China. In the 12th century, the translation of these tables was made into Latin. (5) Al-Khawarizmi glimpsed in his works on astral motion and the force of attraction the law of universal gravitation.

The astronomer Ibrahim Ibn Habib al-Fazãri was the first Muslim who constructed astrolabes. He composed a poem on astrology, and compiled a Zij (calendar) according to the Arab method. He also wrote on the use of astrolabes and on the armillary spheres. (6)

In 762-63 the Persian astronomer and engineer, Naubakht, together with Masha’ Allah (Latin Macellama, Macelarama, Messahala), made a survey before the building of Baghdad. Masha’ Allah (d. 815 or 820) was one of the earliest astronomers and astrologers, who flourished under the Caliph Al-Mansür. (7) Naubakht (d. 776-77) was the author of a book on astrological judgments entitled Kitäb al-Ahkam. (8)

During the reign of the Caliph al-Ma’mun, the important work of translation of Ptolemy’s Almagest from Greek into Arabic was completed. The Caliph was very anxious to get it translated correctly. It was translated several timed. Many commentaries on it were written. Its summaries were also made. The Minister Yahya Ibn Khalid Barmaki was the first to get it translated. A group of scholars wrote for him a commentary on this book, but he did not like it. He appointed Abu Hasan and Salman who were attached to the scientific academy called Bait al-Hikmah (The house of wisdom) to write a commentary on it.(9) The Almagest represents the best example of Greek classical works on astronomy. It served as a basis for the later astronomical works. Al-Hajjaj Ibn-Yusuf was one of the first translators of the Almagest. He made this translation on the basis of a Syriac version. (10)

The Caliph al-Ma’mun (169-218 / 786-833) was very fond of philosophy and science. The more he got acquainted with the interesting problems of science, the more his interest grew in the practical work. He built an observatory at Baghdad in his Bait al-Hikmah and another in the plain of Tadmor (Palmyra). In these observatories the fundamental elements of the Almagest like the inclination of the ecliptic, the length of the solar year, and the precession of the equinoxes were verified. Observations on the celestial motions were carried out and geodetic measurements were made. (11)

Al-Ma’mun ordered Ahmed, Muhammad and Hasan, who were eminent scientists and his courtiers, to measure in collaboration with other court scientists the length of the terrestrial degree and the circumference’ of the earth in some vast planes. The planes of Sinjar and Tadmor were selected for this purpose. The astronomers stayed at a place and noted with the help of instruments the altitude of the North. Pole, and pitched a nail there. Then tying a long rope with the nail, they carried the rope in the direction of the North. Where the rope ended they pitched another nail and tied another rope with it, and proceeded in the same direction. They continued this process as well as observations on the altitude of the North Pole, until on reaching a particular spot they noticed that the altitude of this Pole had increased by one degree. The distance they covered was also measured, which was found to be 56 2/3 miles. From, these observations it was inferred that for each terrestrial degree the distance covered on the earth amounts to 56 2/3 miles. The same operation was repeated in the direction of the South where at one spot they noticed that the altitude had decreased by, one degree. The distance covered was the same as in the first case. Now on multiplying this distance by 360 which is the total number of terrestrial degrees, the circumference of the earth was found to be equal to 20,400 miles, and the diameter equal to 6,500 miles. (12)

The chief of astronomers who carried observations under al-Ma’mun was Sanad Ibn ‘Ali. He was a Jewish convert to Islam. He constructed an observatory (Kanisah) at the back of the Shamãsiah Gate at the palace of Mu’izz al-Dawlah in Baghdad. An astronomical table and some writings on astronomy and mathematics, including a book on Arabic numerals, are ascribed to him. (13)

‘Ali Ibn ‘Isa al-Astur1ãbi who flourished in Baghdad and Damascus in the first half of the 9th century, took part in the measurement of the length of the terrestrial degree ordered by al-Ma’mun. He made astronomical observations at Baghdad and Damascus from 829 to 833. He was the famous constructor of astrolabes; hence the nickname al-Asturlãbi (maker of astrolabe). He wrote a treatise on astrolabes, which is one of the earliest works on this instrument. (14)

Yahya Ibn Abi Mansür also took part in the observations made at Baghdad in 829-30, and compiled the astronomical tables called Ma’munic tables. Like the tables of Habash these, too, are a collective work of ‘various astronomers. Al-Marwarudhi, who also flourished under al-Ma’mun, made solar observations. (15)

In the 9th century astronomy flourished in the East, Astronomical researches were conducted in the observatories of Baghdad, Damascus and other places. More original and improved work was done in the second half of the 10th century. The elaboration of trigonometry, which was considered to be a branch of astronomy at that time, was also continued. A great attention was paid to the construction of good astronomical instruments, especially to the spherical astrolabe which was newly introduced at that time. Hamid Ibn ‘Ali was a famous constructor of spherical astrolabes. Jãbir Ibn Sinan was also a maker of this as well as of other astronomical instruments. According to al-Biruni, he was the first to make a spherical astrolabe. Al-Nairizi wrote on this instrument an elaborate treatise which represents the best Arabic work on this topic. In this treatise the author, after giving the introduction, describes the instruments, and gives its applications. Beside this work, al-Nairizi compiled astronomical tables. A great scientist al-Mähani made for 33 years (833—886), a series of observations on lunar and solar eclipses and planetary conjunctions. Another astronomer of this time Ahmad al- Nahâwandi, who flourished at the time of Yahya Ibn Khalid Ibn Barmak, made astronomical observations at Jundishapur and compiled tables called Mushtamil. (16)

After carrying out astronomical observations for ten years (825 to 835) Habash al-Hãsib compiled three astronomical tables. The first were according to the Hindu method (based on Siddhanta). The second called Al-Zij al-Mumtahan (the “tested Tables”) were according to the Arab method. They were very important and were probably due to the co-operative efforts of al-Ma’mun’s astronomers. The third called Al-Zij Al-Saghir (the small tables) was commonly known as the Tables of Shah. Habash al-Hãsib determined the time of the solar eclipse of the year 829. He was the first to determine time by an altitude (in this case, of the sun). This method was generally accepted and adopted by Muslim astronomers. (17)

The most illustrious scholar of this age, and one of the greatest astronomers of Islam, was ‘Abd Allah Muhammad Ibn Jãbir Ibn Sinan al-Battãni (Latin; Albategnius, Albatenius). His ancestors were Sabeans of Harran, but he himself was a Muslim. He carried out astronomical observations of a wide range and with remarkable accuracy for about 41 years (877—918). He determined many astronomical co-efficients, like the precession 54.5” a year, inclination of the ecliptic 23° 35’, with great accuracy. He noticed an increase of 16° 47’ in the longitude of the sun’s apogee since Ptolemy’s time. This led to the discovery of the motion of the solar apsides and of slow variation in the equation of time. Al-Battãni proved the possibility of the annular eclipses of the sun. He also wrote many astrological works. His main work is a large astronomical treatise including the astronomical tables. His tables contain a catalogue of fixed stars for the year 880—81. His work is an advance on that of al-Khwãrizmi, and shows more divergence from Indian methods. Observations regarding the first appearance of the new moon, the length of the tropic and sidereal year, the obliquity of the ecliptic, the lunar anomalies, the parallaxes, etc., are more complicated and more accurately made by al-Battãni than by al-Khwãrizmi

Al-Battãni’s astronomical treatise was translated into Latin and Spanish in the 12th and 13th centuries respectively. It exerted a great influence on the European scholars of the middle Ages and Renaissance. (l8)

Thãbit Ibn Qurrah (d. 901) who was a physician, mathematician, astronomer and translator from Greek and Syriac into Arabic published his solar observations made at Baghdad. He particularly determined the altitude of the sun and the length of the solar year. (19)

The astronomer and mathematician Wijan Ibn Rustam al-Kühi wrote many astronomical and mathematical works, including a treatise on the construction of the astrolabe. He was the head of the astronomers working in 988 at the Buwayhid Sharaf al-Dawlah’s observatory. (20) His co-worker Ahmad Ibn Muhammad al-Saghâni was the inventor and maker of astronomical instruments. Abu’l-Wafã is said to be the discoverer of the variation, the third inequality of the moon; a discovery which was later ascribed to Tycho Brahe. (21)

‘Ali Ibn al-Husain al-’Alawi (d. 985) showed a remarkable accuracy in observations. He compiled astronomical tables which remained very popular for at least two centuries. (22)

Now we come to a famous astronomer of the 10th century, named Abu’l-Husain ‘Abd al-Rahman al-Sufi. He was born in Ray (Persia) in 903, and died in 966. He was a prominent astronomer of the medieval times. His knowledge of both the Islamic and Greek astronomy, particularly uranometry, was comprehensive. He was the first to observe the change of the colour of stars, the change in the magnitude of stars, the proper motion of stars, the long period variable stars and the Southern constellations which have been wrongly ascribed by modern astronomers to some later ones.

Abd al-Rahman al-Sufi was patronized by the Buwayhid ruler Adud al-Dawlah (949—982) who was a great patron of astronomy, and had built an observatory at Shiraz. Al-Sufi wrote for the ruler a book on uranometry, entitled Suwar al-Kawàkib (The book of the fixed stars). In this book he gives a complete description of the constellations of the heavens. He also gives the position of each star of the constellations, illustrating with pictures. The book contains 55 astronomical tables along with illustrations of 48 constellations in 96 diagrams as seen in the heavens. The artistic value of the pictorial illustrations in the Mss. of this work is very great, and represents one of the best examples of the Persian miniature paintings. Al-Sufi has not only corrected the errors of observations in the work of his predecessors like al-Battãni, but also, pointed out many faulty observations found in Ptolemy’s Almagest. He defined carefully the boundaries of each constellation, and recorded the magnitudes and positions of stars after making new observations.

The Suwar al-Kawàkib is one of the three masterpieces of observational astronomy of the medieval times; the other two being the catalogues of Ibn Yünus and Ulugh Beg prepared in the 12th and 15th centuries respectively. It is an addition to the Muslims’ knowledge on uranometry. The later astronomers, like al-Biruni, Alfonso, Prince of Castile, Khwãjah Näsir al-Din Tusi, Prince Ulugh Beg and Jai Singh II, based their catalogues of stars on this authentic catalogue. This work was translated into Latin, French and Persian, and a commentary on it was written in Spanish.

It served as a basis for later works in Western Europe. The modern astronomers like Hauber, Down, Argelander, Ideler, Schellerup and Knobel had made an extensive use of it.

Al-Sufi prepared a fine celestial globe. Several celestial globes which cover the period from the 11th to the 18th century show the star positions and magnitudes according to al-Sufi. He showed a remarkable accuracy in the design of the astrolabes. He wrote a treatise on this instrument. In this treatise he throws light on the astronomical techniques as practiced it that time. (23)

Another great astronomer and one of the greatest Muslim astronomers was Abu’l-Hasan Ali Ibn Abi Said ‘Abd al-Rahman Ibn Ahmad Ibn Yünus al-Sadafi, generally known as Ibn Yünus. He was well versed in Arabic literature, poetry and history, and had knowledge of many other subjects. He belonged to Egypt where he died in 1009. He was a courtier of the Fatimi Caliph al-‘Aziz Billah (975—996). He got a chance of working in a well-equipped observatory which was the part of a Muslim academy of science, named Dar al-Hikmah (the house of wisdom) founded in Cairo by the Fatimi rulers. He made astronomical observations, and by the order of the Caliph al-‘Aziz he compiled the astronomical tables. The work of compilation of these tables was begun in 990 during the lifetime of the Caliph, but it was completed after his death under his son al- Hakim (966—1020). Hence they were named after him Al-Zij al-Kabir al-Hakimi. In these tables he entered his observations about the eclipses and conjunctions, old and new, improved values of astronomical constants (inclination of the ecliptic, 23° 35’; longitude of the sun’s apogee, 86° 10’; solar parallax reduced from 3’ to 2’; precession, 51.2” a year). He gave an account of the geodetic measurements which were carried on by the order of the Caliph al-Ma’mun in the ninth century.

Ibn Yünus in his astronomical tables (written in 4 volumes) corrected the errors of observations in the astronomical tables of his predecessors. The people of Egypt relied on these tables. It is said that after their compilation the use of all the previous tables in the world was given up. Even the astronomers of China greatly utilized them. The translation of a large part of the tables, except the chronological section, has been made in French in 1804.

Beside these-tables, Ibn Yünus has composed many books. One of these is Jadawil al-Samt (the tables of direction), and the other is the Jadawil al-Shams wa’l-Qamar (the tables of the sun and the moon). (24)

A famous astronomer of the 11th century, who belonged to Cordova (Spain), was Abu Ishaq Ibrahim Ibn Yahya al-Naqqàsh, commonly known as Ibn al-Zarqàli or al-Zarqàli (Latin: Arzachel). He was also an eminent astronomer of this century. He lived from 1029 to 1087. He was the best observer of his time, who made astronomical observations for about 19 years (1061—1080). He invented an improved astrolabe called Safihah (Saphaea Arzachelis) on which he also wrote a treatise. It was translated into Latin, Hebrew and many vernaculars. Al-Zarqàli was the first to prove explicitly the motion of the solar apogee with reference to the stars. According to his calculations it was equal to 12.04” per year (the real value being 11.8”). He edited the planetary tables called Toledan Tables. These tables were probably the result of the observations made in Toledo by him and by a great observer Ibn Said in collaboration with other Muslim and Jewish astronomers. They were translated into Latin and enjoyed much fame. (25)

A famous astronomer, mathematician and poet, ‘Umar Ibn al-Khayyãm, reformed the old Persian calendar which had been replaced by the Islamic calendar after the Muslim conquest of Persia. This reformed calendar was called Al-Tàrikh al-Jalãli after the name of the Saljuq Sultan Malik Shah Jalal al-Din who in 1074-75 called ‘Umar Ibn al-Khayyãm to his observatory for making this reform. Many interpretations have been given to it. Each interpretation is accurate to a certain degree, but at any rate ‘Umar’s calendar was probably more accurate than the Gregorian (Christian) calendar. Three interpretations, the second of which seems to be the most accurate, are being quoted here along with the authority giving the interpretation and the resulting error.

1. Al-Shirãzi’s interpretation: 17 intercalary days in 70 years;’ error. 1 day in about 1540 years.

2. Ulugh Beg’s interpretation: 15 intercalary days in 62 years; error, 1 day in about 3770 years.

3. Modern interpretation: 8 intercalary days in 33 years: error, 1 day in about 5,000

(in the Gregorian calendar there is an error of 1 day in 3330 years). (26)

The greatest astronomer of the 12th century, who also belonged to Spain, was Abu Muhammad Jãbir Ibn Aflah. He was born or lived in Seville. He vigorously criticized the Ptolemaic theory of planets, and wrote a book on astronomy entitled Islah al-Majisti (the correction of the Almagest). He was of the view that the lower planets Mercury and Venus), at least, must have visible parallaxes. Venus may happen to be exactly on the line joining the sun and the earth. The most important part of his book is the introduction on trigonometry. The book was soon translated into Latin and Hebrew. Jãbir Ibn Aflah is said to be the inventor of the astronomical instrument called turquet (torquetum) which contains two graduated circles in two perpendicular planes. The same invention has also been ascribed to two other persons, namely, Frances of Leige (11th century) and Näsir al-Din Tusi (13th century). The turquet was introduced into the Latin West by Regionomentus. It gained a great popularity in the 15th and 17th centuries. (27)

Another astronomer of the time was Abu’l Qãsim Hibat Allah Ibn Husain al-Badi’ al-Asturlãbi. He was also a physician, mathematician, poet and litterateur. He was the greatest expert of his time in the knowledge and construction of astrolabes; hence his nickname al-Asturlãbi. In 1120—30 astronomical observations were made under his direction, and astronomical tables were compiled. The observations were carried out in the palace of the Saljuq Sultan of Iran, Mughith al-Din Mahmud (1117—1131). The tables were dedicated to the Sultan, and were called after him the Mahmudic tables. Al-Asturlãbi was very much praised by Muslim biographers. He died in Baghdad in 1139-40. (28)

In the 13th century there flourished in the East a great scholar of Persian origin, named Abu Ja’far Muhammad Ibn Muhammad Ibn al-Hasan, Näsir al-Din al-Tusi al-Muhaqqiq, (the researcher). He was born in Tus (Khurasan) in 1201, and died in Baghdad in 1274. He was a philosopher, mathematician, astronomer and physician. He was one of the greatest Muslim mathematicians and scientists. He wrote both in Arabic and Persian. It is said that he knew Greek as well. He joined the Mongol service, and was later made administrator of the Waqf revenues.

While he was administrator he resided at Maragha in Asia Minor (1259—1274). Here he made astronomical observations in an observatory established by the Mongol ruler Hulagu Khan II after he had defeated the last ‘Abbasi Caliph, al-Mu’tasim, in 1258. A library was attached to it. It is said to have contained 4, 00,000 volumes which the Mongol armies had collected in Syria, Mesopotamia and Persia. Näsir al-Din was the first director of this observatory. He was succeeded by two of his sons.

Näsir al-Din was well acquainted with the knowledge of the Greeks. He wrote about 64 works on many subjects. Here we shall, consider only some of his astronomical and astrological works. The most important astronomical work of Näsir al-Din is the Tadhkirah fi ‘Ilm al-Hay’ah (The description of astronomy) which is a condensed summary of astronomy. To explain it many commentaries and super commentaries have been written. The work enjoyed much popularity, it consists of four chapters. The second chapter, beside other things, contains interesting criticism of the Ptolemy’s Almagest in which he showed a great ingenuity. The criticism chiefly concerns the anomalies of the moon, and the motion in the latitude of the planets (particularly Mercury and Venus) ; also the proposition of a new system to replace the complicated Ptolemaic machinery of deferents and epicycles. His new and forceful criticism of astronomy as well as of other Muslim astronomers helped Copernicus in making his reform’. Näsir al-Din wrote one treatise on the five quadrants and two treatises on astrolabe. He also wrote two treatises on calendar.

Näsir al-Din made observations in the observatory at Maragha which was well equipped with good astronomical instruments. He prepared new astronomical tables called after the Mongol ruler, Al-Zij al-Ilkhäni. Nasir al-Din asked the ruler to give him a period of 30 years to compile the tables, because it was the shortest period during which the planetary cycles were completed. But the ruler refused, and gave him only 12 years to accomplish this task. Nasir al-Din tried a succeeded in completing the tables within this time. They were based upon new observations. But the use of the earlier ones had also been made.

The Zij-i- Ilkhäni was originally written in Persian. It consists of four books dealing respectively with (a) Chinese, Greek, Arabic and Persian Chronology; (b) motions of the planets; (c) ephemeredes and (d) astrological operations. The translation of the Zij was made into Arabic, and commentaries on it were written. Finally, a sort of supplement to it was compiled by Jamshed Ibn Mas’üd al-Käshi (d. 840/1436), the first director of Ulugh Beg’s observatory in Samarqand. These tables enjoyed a great popularity in the East including China, and were, continued to be used even after the compilation of new tables by Ulugh Beg in 1437. (29)

A contemporary of Nasir al-Din, Mu’ayyid al-Din al-Urdi al-Dimashqi also took part with him in compiling the tables. He was a Syrian astronomer, architect and engineer. He started his career as a technician in Syria. He did some hydraulic work in Damascus, and also constructed there an astronomical instrument for al-Mansür Ibrahim (King of Hims, 1239—1245). In about 1259 he went to Maragha, and helped Nasir al-Din in organizing the observatory and compiling the tables. It seems that the instruments, remarkably precise, were constructed under his supervision in the foundry attached to the observatory.

Al-Urdi was the author of a treatise in which he also described the instruments used in the observatory of Maragha, and explained their use and construction. The instruments are as follows:—

(1) mural quadrant (2) armillary sphere (3) solstitial armil (4) equinoctial armil (5) Hipparch’s diopter (alidade); (6) instrument with two quadrants (7) instrument with two limbs (8) instruments to determine sines and azimuths (9) instruments to determine sines and versed sines, (10) the perfect instrument (a universal instrument) (11) parallactic ruler (after Ptolemy).

Al-Urdi was also the author of two other treatises; one on the construction of a perfect sphere and another on the determination of the distance between the centre of the sun and the apogee. He compiled astronomical tables, and wrote on Ptolemaic astronomy.

In 1279 or 1289 al-Urdi’s son Muhammad made a celestial globe. It consisted of two brass hemispheres separated by the ecliptic. Its diameter was 140 mm. It had a horizon circle. Two movable half circles were attached to the zenith point by a pivot. These circles are graduated and are used to determine the declination and right ascension of any star. Forty-eight constellations, the equator and the ecliptic are inlaid with silver or gold. It is preserved in the mathematical salon of Dresden. (30)

The works of Muslim astronomers were later translated into Latin, Hebrew and vernaculars by the Christian and Jewish scholars, some of the technical terms including azimuth (al-Samt), Algol (Alfol), Achernar (Akhir al-Nahr), passed into the European languages. The names of many stars such as akrab (Aqrab), Algedi (al-Jadi, the kid), Altair (al-ta’ir ,the player), Denab (dhanb, tail), Pherkad (Farqad, calf), Adara (‘Adhrah) Aldebaran (al-dibràn), which are of Arabic origin, also passed into these languages. The stars being countless in number, their separate study is not possible. They were, therefore, divided into various groups, and the groups were named after the things and animals with which they resembled.


1. Briffault, Robert , The Making of’ Humanity, Lahore, 1980, p. 187.

2. Encyclopedia Britannica, London, Vol. II, p.575.

3. Abu’l Hasan Ali Ibn Yusuf , Al-Qifti , Tàrikh al-Hikmah,’ Leipzig, 1903, p. 265.

Sarton, George, Introduction to the History of Science, Washington 1927, vol. I. p. 530.

4. Ibid.

5. Ibid, p. 563.

6. Al-Qifti, op. cit., 57.

7. Ibid., p. 327.

Sarton, op. cit. p. 531.

8. Ibid.

9. Ibid. p. 557.

Haji Khalifah, Kashf al-Zunün, Istanbul, 1943, vol. II, p. 1594.

10. Sarton, op. cit., p. 562.

11. Ibid, p. 558.

12. Shibli Nu’mani, Al-Ma’mun, Agra, 1894, pp. 49— 50,

13. Ibn Nadeem, Al-Fehrist, Matba’ah al-Rahmaniyah, Cairo, n.d.. p. 383.

14. Shibli Nu’mani, op. cit. pp. 49—50

Sarton, op. cit. p. 566.

15. Ibid.

16. Sarton, op. cit.. p. 585.

17. Al-Qifti, op. cit. p. 170.

18. Ibid, p. 280.

Sarton, op. cit. p. 5858.

19. Ibid., p. 599.

20. Al-Qifti, op. cit. p. 351.

21. Sarton, op. cit. p. 666.

22. Ibid.

23. A1-Süfi, ‘Abd al-Rahman, Swar al-Kawàkib, Hyderabad, preface by M. Nizamuddin, and J.J. Winter, pp. 1-7.

24. Al-Qifti, op. cit., p. 226.

25. A1-Qifti, op. cit., p. 230.

26. Sarton, op. cit., p. 758,

27 Ibid., p.759

28. Ibid, vol. II, part I, p. 206.

29. Ibid., part I, p. 204.

30. Al-Baghdadi, Isma’il Bãshã, Hadiyyat al-‘Arifin, Istanbul, 1951, vol. II, p. 131.

31. Sarton, op. cit. vol. II, part II, p. 1005.

32. Ibid., pp. 1013-1014.

I Love Italian Wine and Food – The Calabria Region

I Love Italian Wine and Food – The Calabria Region

Calabria is the toe of the Italian boot. It is located in the southwest corner of Italy, with 500 miles of coastline on the Ionian, Mediterranean, and Tyrrhenian Seas. Its total population is about 2 million. The countryside is mountainous, and prone to earthquakes. For centuries peasants worked very hard to eke out a living from its poor soil. During the last century over a million people left Calabria to seek a better life in Northern or Central Italy or overseas.

Historically, the region’s first name was Italia, probably from the Italic tribes that inhabited the area. Over time, Calabria has belonged to the Greeks, the Romans, and the Byzantines. Others who lived in the area include Armenians, Bulgarians, Catalans, Goths, Spaniards, Normans, and Bourbons. Talk about multiculturalism.

While Calabria has been poor, its agricultural production is important. For example, it is the source of about 25% of Italian olive oil. Other agricultural products include vegetables, especially eggplants, peppers, tomatoes, artichokes, asparagus, and mushrooms. Its citrus fruits and figs are special. There is plenty of wheat for pasta, country-style bread, focaccia, and pizza. The main meat is pork, and some Calabrian salami is famous. Other meats include lamb and goat. The seas yield anchovies, cod, sardines, swordfish, and tuna. Cheeses include Caciocavallo Silano and Crotonese, reviewed below. Christmas and Easter are accompanied by traditional desserts. You won’t go hungry in Calabria.

Perhaps you haven’t heard of Calabria’s cities including Cosenza, Reggio di Calabria, and the regional capital, Catanzaro. The largest of the three, Reggio di Calabria, has fewer than 200 thousand people. But big cities are hardly a requirement for good wine. Few would ever claim that Italy’s best wines come from Rome, or the surrounding area. Hills and mountains, sunny days and cool nights, maritime breezes, low rainfall, and poor soil are all factors that can lead to excellent wines. Calabria definitely has winemaking potential.

Calabria devotes about sixty thousand acres to grapevines, it ranks 13th among the 20 Italian regions. Its total annual wine production is slightly less than twenty million gallons, giving it a 15th place. About 91% of the wine production is red or rosé (a bit of rosé), leaving 9% for white. The region produces 12 DOC wines. DOC stands for Denominazione di Origine Controllata, which may be translated as Denomination of Controlled Origin, presumably a high-quality wine. Only 2.4% of Calabria wine carries the DOC designation. The region is home to almost three dozen major and secondary grape varieties, half white and half red.

Widely grown international white grape varieties include Chardonnay, Trebbiano, and Malvasia. The best known, strictly Italian white variety is Greco Bianco, which makes an excellent sweet wine that is very hard to find outside of the region. In general, Calabrian white wines are difficult to find in North America.

Widely grown international red grape varieties include Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. The best known strictly Italian white variety is Gaglioppo, whose flagship wine, Ciró we review below. Keep your eyes open for wines made from the indigenous Magliocco red grape.

Before reviewing the Calabria wine and cheese that we were lucky enough to purchase at a local wine store and a local Italian food store, here are a few suggestions of what to eat with indigenous wines when touring this beautiful region.
Start with Pitta Chicculiata, Pizza with Tuna, Tomato, Anchovies, Black Olives, and Capers.
Then try La Carne ‘Ncantarata dei Fratelli Alia, Pork Loin in Honey-Chili Glaze. For dessert, indulge yourself with Fichi al Cioccolato, Chocolate-Covered Roasted Figs.

OUR WINE REVIEW POLICY While we have communicated with well over a thousand Italian wine producers and merchants to help prepare these articles, our policy is clear. All wines that we taste and review are purchased at the full retail price.

Wine Reviewed
Librandi ‘Duce San Felice’ Ciró Reserva 2001 13.5% alcohol about $15

Some claim that Ciró is the oldest existing wine. It is said to come from a wine consumed by victorious Calabrian athletes on their return from the Olympics well over 2500 years ago. This DOC wine grows in the low hills near the Ionian Sea in eastern Calabria not far from the Sila Massif plateau. If you ask me, the geographical characteristics worked out quite well for this wine.

Ciró is made from the indigenous Gaglioppo red grape, which has a light-colored pulp and very thick skin. In spite of the grape skins, this wine contains light tannins. Personally I found the tannins excellent, they melted into the food and I say this as someone who is not overly fond of tannins. I tried this Ciró with barbecued boneless beef ribs marinated in a somewhat spicy tomato sauce and loved the way the fruit flavors accompanied the food. Sometime after the meal I reread the wine store’s review and agreed with their quote “…This Librandi has tangy texture with complex, juicy red fruit, and overall it’s very attractive. It’s just great for barbecued meats…”

Crotonese is a pure sheep’s milk cheese found in Calabria. It is made in 4 pound wheels with a very light rind. Its color ranges from pale yellow to creamy yellow. Crotonese is an excellent grating cheese. Another recommendation is to slice it thinly and drizzle olive oil, especially Calabrian Crotonese olive oil, over it. Its flavor is both salty and sweet, and is mildly sharp. I tried it for lunch with a mixture of humus (ground chickpeas) and processed vegetables, toast, and the Ciró Reserva. The wine and cheese flavors blended well. Another recommended wine for Crotonese cheese is the classic Tuscan Brunello di Montalcino at about three times the cost of this Ciró.

Additives Helping the Food Processing Industry

Despite the point that food additives have gained much of its importance in past few years, this is a fact that in some form or the other it has been used for centuries. The process of preserving and processing food came into existence when the man first learnt to protect food from nature for longer period. Initially, processing methods included only salting and drying. The first food products to be used as processed or preserved food was meat and fish. Egyptians used colors and flavorings to process their food and make them even tastier than before while the people of Rome used saltpeter [scientifically named potassium nitrate], spices and colors to enhance the life of the food and increase the beauty of the food. Now days, chefs all around the world frequently use baking powder as a raising agent or thicking agent and colors such as cochineal to change normal food into processed food which is tasty, healthy and enjoyable to eat. The overall intention of food processing stays the same as of your mom i.e. to provide healthy and tasty food

In the rapid evolution of food processing industry in the last 50 years, many food additives came into existence that can perform number of functions to make a food item look and taste better. Some of these additives have become very popular due to its very common use in our daily lives. These are emulsifiers in margarine, sweetener in low-calorie food products and also many other preservatives and anti-oxidants. These additives not only make food to look beautiful and taste better but they also cut down the speed of product spoiling time and rancidity.

We have talked so much about food additives but do not know what actually it is. A food additive is basically a food substance not generally eaten alone as a food regardless of whether or not it has some nutrition to offer for humans and also not used as a main ingredient in food. The use of additive is basically conducted for some technical purpose and that too in the manufacturing, processing, preparation, treatment or transportation. It is also expected to show its existence by naturally reacting with food items and enhancing them from every aspect. Many food additives are naturally required by food products but some are additionally added to augment the taste and appearance of that food stuff. This is the technical purpose that leads to the facts that they are food additives.

Food additives have an important role to perform in this multifaceted food processing industry. We know that cooked or raw both kind of food is subjected to natural changes once it comes in contact with environmental procedure. Additives help food maintaining its original composition and thus keeping itself worth eating for longer.

It’s only because of additives that the range of processed food is increasing and the list of menu is getting longer in super-markets, specialist food joints or when you go out eating. This is not the end and people are surrendering more and more to their taste buds and asking for more variety of processed food. These expectations of consumers can be completed only by use of ultra-modern food processing technologies and not to mention the food additives also which are grown and invented through innovative minds and meticulous and strict testing.

Rome’s Best Restaurants

Rome caters to a variety of tastes and preferences, each of them distinctly Roman! From the casual Roman tavern (also known as a trattoria or osteria) to the trendy upscale restaurants, each offers a different perspective of Roman wine and cuisine.

MET, which is found near Ponte Milvio, is one of Rome’s trendiest hotspots. The minimalist table decor alternates between white, black, and chocolate brown. The menu is suitably varied to cater to different tastes.

Maccheroni, the most popular Italian dish in the world, is the name of one of the best trattorias in Italy. Located in an ancient neighbourhood in the Piazza delle Coppelle, it maintains a warm, rustic atmosphere. The menu is an offering of traditional (and homemade) Roman cuisine. It also includes regional specialties.

Roscioli is considered by locals to be the city’s best enoteca (or wine bar). Here you’ll be served fresh bread and specialty wines each day according to Roman tradition.

You can’t come to Rome and not try the pizza. For authentic Roman pizza and local wine, visit the Montecarlo. It is located close to the Piazza Navona, and its noisy, fun atmosphere is loved by both locals and tourists.

Quinzi & Gabrieli is arguably the best seafood restaurant in Rome. Having been established in a 16th century building, the restaurant features three rooms with vaulted ceilings, an open front kitchen, and a terrace that overlooks a typical Roman square. The food is cooked in full view of the patrons, and the seafood comes directly from the fish tanks into the pots. A few choice ingredients are used to bring out the flavour of the fish.

La Pergola in the Rome Cavalieri Hilton Roof Garden is one of Rome’s best gourmet restaurants. It has been awarded a three Michelin stars and was founded by executive chef Heinz Beck. The cocktail bar with its views of the Eternal City and St. Peter’s dome is widely acclaimed. The restaurant has a frescoed ceiling and cherry wood interiors to add to the gourmet experience. In the summertime, you could also enjoy alfresco dining on the adjacent terrace.

For something off the beaten track (as far as Italy goes), try something completely different. SOMO, a Japanese/fusion restaurant, is one of the best non-Italian restaurants in Rome. The special lighting and intricate Japanese interior design give this restaurant in historic Trastevere a special touch. The restaurant is open everyday except Monday for evening meals between 7.30 pm and 12.30 am.

Tips for visiting Rome – Part 4

The Short Roman Holiday: When planning a trip to Italy, many travelers favor itineraries which allow them to experience a number of different cities. A typical 10 day vacation plan may include three or even four different “stops”. Rome often tops the list of “must see” Italian destination cities. But with only a few precious days to explore, the biggest dilemma is how to plan a complete and memorable Roman experience during a short stay.

Plan your arrival: If Rome is your first stop, a good plan will help make your first day more than simply recovery from an overnight, transatlantic flight. Making your ground transportation arrangements ahead of time can minimize the stress of arriving in a foreign environment. Only slightly more expensive than a pre-arranged shuttle from the Rome airport, an advanced reservation for a private driver will provide someone to greet you, help you with luggage and provide the most direct (and relaxing) route to your hotel. We pre-booked with Rome Shuttle Limousine with good results.

Less can be more: In a few short days, you can’t see it all. It becomes a choice between “checklist” tourism and a true cultural experience. If you want to deepen your experience rather than just skim the surface, consider identifying a theme. A culinary theme, for instance could take you from neighborhood gelaterias to sumptuous rooftop dining overlooking the city lights; quaint, family trattorias to open air markets with fresh artichokes and artisan cheeses. Other themes might include sacred spaces (churches and cathedrals) or a photo-tour of parks and gardens. Another option would be to choose one or two main sightseeing excursions, and fill out the remainder of your days with casual exploration and chance encounters.

Utilize Shortcuts: Many museums and historic sights offer, for a small fee, an opportunity to skip the line. For a visit to the Vatican Museums, for instance, a “skip the line” reservation can save you from an hour or two of standing in line. Options are available for guided tours, of course, but some companies, like online” Viator, offer a less expensive option than provides quicker entry while still allowing you to tour the vast museums at your own pace.

Make it personal: There is no better way, in my mind, to enhance a vacation than to spend a bit of time meeting, observing and interacting with locals. This is more likely possible when you get away from the major tourist attractions.

A Center of Culture and Religion

There are palaces, universities, and basilicas. Modern Rome also hosts the Cine Studios, which is a film and television studio complex second only to Hollywood. When it comes to music, Rome boasts the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia which is an internationally acclaimed conservatory of music. Visitors who enjoy museums should examine the National Museum of Rome at all of its four locations. In addition to the museum, no visitor to Rome should miss visiting the Vatican.

The National Museum of Rome.

The National Museum of Rome is divided into four main sites. The sites are: Crypta Balbi, Palazzo Altemps, Palazzo Massimo alle Terme, and Baths of Diocletian. The Crypta Balbi site has three floors. The basement consists of archeological remains, and can only be viewed with a guide. The ground floor shows ‘archaeology and history of an urban landscape.’ The first floor shows the development of Rome from the fifth century to the tenth century (AD).

The Palazzo Altemps houses many statues and works of art, including sculptures of eastern deities. There is also a private theater which currently houses special exhibitions. The Palazzo Massimo alle Terme houses a sarcophagus and mummy, including amber and jewelry artifacts that were found with the mummy. There are also sculptures and ancient coins at the Palazzo Massimo alle Terme. The Baths of Diocletian includes sculptures from bathhouses, a former chapel, and a sixteenth century garden.

Vatican City ‘A Nation in Rome, Italy

Vatican City is the world’s smallest nation, occupying just under half a square kilometer of Rome’s real estate. In addition to housing the Pope, the Vatican contains perhaps the most famous house of prayer of all time. The Sistine Chapel, located in the Apostolic Palace, is the site of the art of Michelangelo. The ceiling of the Sistine Chapel shows scenes from the Bible, beginning with nine stories from the book of Genesis in the highest part of the chapel. Perhaps the best known scene of the chapel is the picture of God creating Adam. On the walls, Botticelli painted three scenes; Scenes from the Life of Moses, The Temptation of Christ, and The Punishment of Korah.

Visitors to the Sistine Chapel can enjoy the breathtaking artwork from 9am to 6pm in the winter, and 9am to 7pm in the summer. Visitors should be aware that the place is considered a holy place and therefore, there is a dress code. Visitors should wear long pants or skirts, not short skirts or shorts. Additionally, those wearing sleeveless shirts are not welcome in the Chapel.

Another popular tourist attraction is the Vatican Museum. There is a cafeteria at the Vatican Museum, but dining options are limited within Vatican City. Likewise, there are no overnight accommodations for visitors, so you’ll need to go back into the city of Rome for sleeping arrangements.

Travel destinations: Rome, Italy – Part 8

Rome is a city with two faces, one side an Americanized, tourist

heavan, and the other is the real side, the locals Rome. I intend to give an insight to the real Rome, the one i think everyone should visit at least once.

Sometimes it’s not the obvious things that strike you about a city. It might be a detail, like the scent of cherry blossom in spring, the leisurely walking pace, or the way Italian banks seem geared towards keeping people out. In Rome, for example, the Colosseo is a top tourist priority – but so is crossing the road in one piece. At first this might seem a vain hope, as cars and motorinos are often reluctant to stop even for those waiting at crossings. But it becomes a lot easier if you observe the local technique, which is to stride out purposefully, all the while staring the oncoming driver or motorcyclist in the eye.

A little inside knowledge also helps make sense of other local stimuli, from soccer graffiti to stray cats; and mastering Roman habits such as not drinking cappuccino after lunch and not leaving tips of more than five per cent will do wonders your self-esteem.

Coffee is serious business in Rome and has little to do with the Americanized genre peddled in London or Seattle by lookalike chains.

Go for tradition over variety when drinking the brew in Rome.

Visitors to Rome are often surprised, and sometimes shocked, by the number of stray cats that roam the city, these cats are well looked after by volunteers.

Rome and motorinos, motorinos; the two wheeled motorized bikes, are a symbol of Rome. I definatly recommend a ride round the city to see the sights (especially by night)

Rome’s nightlife exsists primarily in the piazzas, these are squares in which the locals ‘hang out’, sing, dance and chat. Best places to visit; Piazza Popolo and Piazza di Spagna.

Market shopping is the way of the locals, nothing beats a good bargain. Of course market stools aren’t for everyone, head to Via del Corso, close to piazza venezia and the colosseum, an entire street full of stores.

Take a sip from the fountains of Rome, ancient aqueducts bring water to Rome all across the city, the water is the same stuff we buy bottled with a huige price tag…one difference, in Rome, It’s free!

Romans en masse, Romans are good at high-density living. It breeds habits that may appear rude or discourteous to those frm more sedate cultures, but that are often determined by sheer force of numbers. Queuing three of four abreast is often the only way not to spill out of the door and down the street: but you can be sure that everyone in the queue knows exactly who came in after them.

The Roman style, understand "Bella figura" and you’re halfway to understanding the Romans. Bella figura is a little bit presence, a little bit self-respect and a little bit being careful not to let the side down. It’s what carabinieri motorcycle cops are communicating when they lean against their Moto Guzzis in jodhpurs and wraparound shades; it’s what makes kids from the depressed outer suburbs dress up on Saturday night as if they were in Beverly Hills. The opposite is "brutta figura", to show oneself up. In Rome, it’s not so much what you’ve got, it’s what you project.

Go a head, visit the colosseum, the forum, eat pizza and go to the clubs but go to Rome and do as the Romans do and you’ll enhance your experience.

Emergency contacts/telephone numbers;

general emergencies – 113

fire emergencies – 115

road assistance – 116

How to choose Discount Lodging in Rome

In order to find discount lodging in Rome, one needs to first become familiar with the term pension. A pension is like a hotel, only it tends to be smaller. In addition, the price of the room at a pension includes the price of meals.

Some tourists who seek discount lodging have chosen to request mezza pension, which means half-pension. This means that the tourist will pay for eating at the pension for only one meal a day (in addition to breakfast). Whichever arrangement the tourist selects, she or he is guaranteed a comfortable accommodation with an informal atmosphere.

Once the visitor to Rome has located good, discount lodging, then she or he will want to take-in the City’s many sights. Plan any sightseeing with an eye to the discovery of Rome’s many churches and museums. Moreover, do not forget to include a trip to the Colosseum.

The visitor to Rome might want to spend some time within the discount lodging reading-up on one or more of the places that could be part of a sightseeing expedition. One way to get a feel for ancient Rome is by reading Emperors and Gladiators by Thomas Wiedemann. This book offers a very positive picture of early Roman civilization. Anyone who has read this book will realize that the Colesseum did more than just pandering to the masses.

Rome has so much to see that one is foolish not to obtain a map. The visitor to Rome should then study that map, most likely within the confines of some discount lodging. The map should show where the tourist’s accommodation sits, in relation to Rome’s monuments, churches, museums and other places of interest (such as the catacombs).

Once the tourist has chosen the places of interest that she or he wants to visit during a tour of Rome, then that tourist should consult with the operators of the discount lodging regarding the best mode of transportation. A tourist can view Rome on foot, by autobus, by underground or by taxi.

As the tourist departs from his or her discount lodging, that traveler will probably be unprepared for the true wonder of Rome. That first exposure to Rome has left an impression on many travelers. Fenimore Cooper wrote that when he first saw Rome he felt like a compatriot who first visits town, perplexed with the whirl of sensations and the multiplicity of the objects.

A tour through Rome is like paying a visit to another time. It is a way to have a close-hand look at the magnificent skills of the ancient architects, sculptors, and painters. It forces the tourist to re-examine his or her perception of Rome. It will leave that tourist with the desire to return and to plan for a longer stay at some sort of discount lodging.