Farnese Hercules. The exhausted Hercules has one more labor.

Naples Archaeology Museum

After seeing Pompeii we took the train back to Naples. These people were taking pictures at the Pompeii train station.  Wedding photos, perhaps.

photos at the Pompeii train station
photos at the Pompeii train station

In Naples we caught the metro and walked up the hill to the Naples Archaeology Museum.

First we saw the Farnese collection, Roman statues unearthed from the Baths of Caracalla and collected by Cardinal Alessandro Farnese.  In addition to art, Farnese helped make nepotism infamous.  Nepotism is derived from the Latin nepotis for nephew.  Taking vows of chastity, a pope usually didn’t have children. Lacking sons, popes would appoint nephews to church positions.  Alessandro Farnese was appointed a cardinal at the age of 14, by his grandfather Pope Paul III. When the Baths of Caracalla were excavated in 1546, Farnese acquired the best pieces for his art collection.

The Farnese Hercules shows the exhausted Hercules after completing eleven of his twelve labors, stealing the golden apples of the gods.  Leaning on his lion cape and club, he has just learned that he must return the stolen apples and descend to hell.  The 10-foot statue is a third-century, Roman copy of the Greek bronze original.

Farnese Hercules.  The exhausted Hercules has one more labor.
Farnese Hercules. The exhausted Hercules has one more labor.

The Farnese Toro shows a woman being tied to a bull. In ancient Greece a king left his wife for another woman.  The former queen later bore twin sons, who, when grown, killed their father and tied the other woman to a raging bull, to be dragged to her death. This 13-foot marble statue is also copied from a Greek bronze. Badly damaged, the statue was restored by Michelangelo after the pope persuaded him to do so.

Toro Farnese.  Woman being tied to bull in revenge.
Toro Farnese. Woman being tied to bull in revenge.

The originals of the dancing faun statue and the Battle of Alexander mosaic are in the Archaeology Museum.

original dancing faun
original dancing faun

Alexander the Great is the confident, bare-headed horseman on the left.  Darius III of Persia is in the chariot on the right.  The mosaic was discovered intact in 1831.  The missing areas were damaged when the mosaic was moved to Naples.

original mosaic after Greek fresco – Battle of Alexander over Darius

We returned to the train station in the evening.  It had been a long day, and we were all tired.  There was an earlier train back to Rome, but we would have to buy new, expensive tickets to ride that train. We decided to use the money for dinner.

We looked for a restaurant near the train station.  There was a lot of construction, and  few people were walking after dusk.  We found a restaurant; the food was better than expected.

We had been warned about pickpockets in Naples.  We saw a lot of shuttered businesses, and unemployment is very high.  As we were walking back to the train station after dinner, one of our friends noticed guys loitering and watching pedestrians and that a guy came up and walked behind him.  Our friend moved his backpack to his front, and the guy went away.

We returned to Rome on our scheduled train without incident.


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I enjoy travel, art, food, photography, nature, California native plants, history, and yoga. I am a retired software engineer. The gravatar is a Nuttall's woodpecker that visited our backyard.

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