"Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare..."
October 8, 2018 9:34 AM   Subscribe

Some of the most remarkable lost artefacts from the ancient world were the titanic wrecks of the Nemi ships. In their 1st century heyday they held gardens, palaces & baths in a floating wonderland. But barely a decade after their recovery, they were lost forever.
posted by gwint (13 comments total) 35 users marked this as a favorite
Wow. I never heard of these. Those pics are pretty impressive. Great post!
posted by Thorzdad at 9:54 AM on October 8, 2018 [2 favorites]

This is a perfect example of a Twitter thread that should have been a blog post
posted by timdiggerm at 10:00 AM on October 8, 2018 [15 favorites]

I was just coming here to post that thread. Blew my mind.
posted by saladin at 10:02 AM on October 8, 2018

What a sad and tragic loss. Thanks for sharing it!
posted by OrangeDisk at 10:36 AM on October 8, 2018

Threadreader link.
posted by nicwolff at 11:07 AM on October 8, 2018 [2 favorites]

I can check off the "learned something new today" box on my todo list. Yay!
posted by COD at 11:13 AM on October 8, 2018

The same ships provided the mosaics stolen from the Naval Museum in the forties that wound up as a coffee table in Manhattan.

I was just recently reading Caligula's Barges and the Renaissance Origins of Nautical Archaeology which covers the first scientific efforts to check out the lake and its treasures. Interesting book. (There is thought to be a third boat as yet undiscovered, but being looked for. Stay tuned....)
posted by BWA at 12:18 PM on October 8, 2018 [2 favorites]

Mussolini ordered the whole lake to be drained. Engineers reactivated an ancient Roman cistern that together with a pump reduced the water level by 20m.
Frivolously, Lake Nemi and Mussolini's excavation is part of the setting for the first book in a delightful SF&F series about early air flight and magic by Melissa Scott and Jo Graham, Lost Things. (Or the first three books in an omnibus.)
posted by clew at 1:09 PM on October 8, 2018 [2 favorites]

I've often wondered about the origin of the phrase "wretched excess".

I think we have, here, an excellent candidate.
posted by Twang at 4:16 PM on October 8, 2018

Wow, thanks for posting about this - that bronze hand reaching outward? downward? across the box - what is that about? wiktionary tells me something about 'warding off bad luck'; didn't seem to work for Caligula.
posted by unearthed at 11:15 PM on October 8, 2018

That's certainly something. Thanks for injecting some awe into an otherwise dreary day, gwint!
posted by Harald74 at 1:57 AM on October 9, 2018

What a sad and tragic loss. Thanks for sharing it!

Losing a piece of the past is sad, but I don't know that I would call it tragic - given their history and the thinking behind their restoration, it's not a bad idea to torch a symbol now and then.
posted by each day we work at 6:15 AM on October 9, 2018

Would have been an awesome dive if still at the bottom (or not, there was probably a lot of sediment deposited on top of it).
posted by WaterAndPixels at 9:38 AM on October 9, 2018

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