History of St. Peter’s Basilica

St. Peters Basilica

History of St. Peter’s Basilica

It is said that St. Peters is the largest church in the world; I believe I have heard the same statement made about St. John the Divine in New York City. Perhaps it would be best to state that it is the largest Catholic Church in the world.

St. Peters was originally built on the grounds of a pagan cemetery next to Nero’s Circus. It was on this site that the Apostle St. Peter was crucified about 67 AD. His body was taken to the cemetery and entombed. The remains of that cemetery are still visible beneath the Basilica. Excavations that took place between 1939 and 1950 unearthed the tomb and the remains of St. Peter.

Pope Anacletus, who succeeded Peter, had a small temple built over the tomb. As you can imagine it became a place of worship for the early Christians who came here in spite of the danger of being persecuted by the Romans. The persecutions came to an end with the reign of Constantine who brought official recognition to the church through the Edict of Milan in 313.

In AD324 Constantine built a large ornate Basilica over the cemetery and part of Nero’s Circus. Extensive excavation was required to level ground, move graves, and tear down Nero’s Circus. Throughout the next few centuries the Visigoths, Vandals, Saracens, and Normans sacked the Basilica. Even though the church was being destroyed throngs of pilgrims continued to assemble for worship, after all, it was the resting-place and reliquary for St. Peter.

In 1506 Pope Julius II began the construction of a 120 years project that was to culminate in the completion of the new and existing Basilica of St. Peters. The greatest artists of this era worked toward completion of this magnificent monument to man’s faith in God. Can you imagine hiring Bramante, Raphael, Michelangelo, Fontana, Della Porta, Bernini, and Maderno? I imagine many of these superior artisans donated their time and work for the honor and glory of God.

It’s beyond understanding to think of all these legendary artists working to bring this magnificent structure into existence.

How many of you have visited St. Peter’s? Were you as impressed as I was?

Next we’ll visit the Basilica.

This is an excerpt from my book Fulfillment is a Place, a trip taken by my son and I to fulfill my desire to travel Europe. The book is .Available through Amazon Books

Rome

 

We enjoyed cruising the Mediterranean and visiting the islands of Poros, Hydra, and Aegina.

Acropolis

By the time we got to Poros my face was really sunburned. With my fair complexion I had to get a cap to shield me.

Actually, I was in search of protection from the sun. My face was starting to redden and I could feel my forehead burning. I searched the many souvenir shops for The Cap. It had to be the perfect cap, one that fit both my demeanor and me. It must be a cap with attitude that shouted to on-comers as it approached them. I finally found it, it was bright, it was my favorite shade of yellow, and it had emblazoned across the front where everyone could see it, POROS.

I wore The Cap proudly. It was my badge; it stated that I had been to Greece. When Mark rejoined me and saw The Cap He merely smiled, murmured something unintelligible, and humored me.      image009

The next day we departed for Rome.

Rome

The train station in Rome Stazione Terminin Roma was huge. On the wall of the main concourse was a map listing all services available and their location. On the first floor was a bar and restaurant. On the lower level were more conveniences, a barbershop, hairdresser, showers, and a lounge. ATM’s and money exchange stations were readily accessible.

We stopped at the Information Center to get a city map and directions to our hotel, The San Remo. I would recommend the San Remo to anyone visiting Rome. It was near the train station, subway, and St. Mary Major Cathedral.

This is an excerpt from my book Fulfillment is a Place, a trip taken by my son and I to fulfill my desire to travel Europe. The book is .Available through Amazon Books

 

Athens

We finally arrived in Athens and found our hotel. It was located in the old section of Athens called “The Plaka” and our room had a view of the Acropolis. We grabbed a bite and began walking and walking uphill till we reached our destination 515 feet above sea level. Displayed before us were the temples:                                                                             Acropolis

The Propylaea means foregates; this was the entrance to all. This structure was completed in 431BC.

Next was the Erectheum (Okay, grow up. I heard some giggles over the name) completed in 407BC. The most famous feature were the Caryatids, statues of maidens used as columns.

AcropolisAcropolis

Finally The Parthenon completed about 432BC. It was designed to honor Athena for assisting them winning a battle over the Persians. It is said that Pericles (he of the   Golden Age of Pericles) supervised       much of the construction.

As we were departing the Acropolis we saw a small hill with a memorial in front of it. The placard said this was the site where in AD50 Saint Paul spoke to the Athenians about The Unknown God; for a rerun of this speech refer to youtube  Oops, I meant Acts 17:22-34.

250px-Ariospagos

One more temple I could never forget is The Temple of the Olympian Zeus. This colossal structure was completed in 132 AD. Today it is little more than 15 columns in the middle of a cinder lot. But what columns, these are God-sized columns. They reach! They stretch! No, the appropriate word is, they soar 90 feet upward reaching toward Zeus himself. Remember that the columns of the Parthenon are only 34 feet tall, these are three times that height.

Acropolis

My main comment on these ruins is, “If we had sights like these, we’d probably tear them down and build parking lots.

More to come

 

Departure

 Departure

Mark and I were very much alike. We were analytical, liked to travel, enjoyed art and statuary, and—oh yes, we both enjoyed the finer things in life. He had been to Europe after high school and now it was my turn.   

02_Don_and-Mark    01_europe-map-route

Map of my Fantasy trip

Departure day was finally here. We were finally on our way. Make connection at JFK and wake up in the morning in Athens. Sounds good doesn’t it?

Our intensive planning had not included a problem with the East Coast radar grid and our plane leaving without us.

There was a convention in New York and all hotels were full. I ended up getting a reservation at the Crown Plaza in White Plains. I had never been to White Plains and neither had our cab driver. So here we were on our first day of the trip in a cab driven by a foreigner to a place we’ve never been and we hadn’t even left the country.

Have you ever planned something extensively and then watched it fall apart? It reminds me of the oft-repeated adage, “When you’re up to your neck in alligators, it’s hard to remember that your initial task was to drain the swamp.”

I guess since I retired, I forgot how to drain a swamp.

The next morning we returned to NYC and discovered that you can ride a train from White Plains for $10 instead of the $120 we had paid the cab driver.

We walked around NYC for several hours and returned to the airport. Since all of us had been rebooked the flight was really full and we were jammed into the “cough—cough” smoking section. Hopefully tomorrow would be a better day.

More to come

More Time

Going back to the start. “It was time.” Time for what?

I had retired early with the expectations of enjoying life, and with enough frequent flyer miles for two first-class tickets to anywhere in Europe.

One evening these plans were dashed when my wife told me she was afraid to fly that far. I pleaded, cajoled, threatened, — and gave up. Of course I managed to throw this at her occasionally.                                                                                                  Anger

Jackie could tell I was upset but she couldn’t overcome her fears.         .

Then she came up with a brilliant idea. She called my son Mark and asked him if he could travel to Europe with me. He said if he could sandwich it in with work and Law school he’d certainly go.

Mark was able to get the time off and we started our plans. This would be the best trip of my life! The fulfillment of all my travel hopes and dreams, “Fulfillment is a Place”.

So “What time was it? It was time! Time to Start, time to Plan, time to Do!

 

Have you ever wanted something so badly, it seemed that you could taste it?

Tell me about them. This a family blog so keep it clean 😉

It was Time

It was time!                  MC900019961

This is the opening sentence to an eBook I recently published on Amazon.

Fulfillment is a Place, is a travel narrative that I originally published with B&W photos; who can afford color printing costs? However, the technological improvements made to the Kindle Fire and other readers have now made it possible to use color photos in our publications.

I didn’t realize how much work I was getting into. I took advantage of the opportunity to workdo some editing and then went to the photo albums. After selecting photos I scanned them to digital format.

This little clip is supposed to represent Sisyphus rolling the stone up the hill (kinda poor isn’t it, best that I could do).

The next problem was identification; I knew what the pictures were but how do I tell you.

In a printed book the photos are inserted with a description that stays in place (with the photo). The flexibility of eBooks make this impossible. Fonts can be made larger or smaller thus captions can be separated from the photo.

So what’s the solution: Some people advocate creating a Table with the photo in one row and the caption in a row below this. The table consisting of photo and caption firmly attached is scanned as a jpeg and inserted into the eBook.

I prefer to increase image- canvas size. This leaves the picture the same size but adds space to the top or bottom. The caption can then be typed into this space.

Any other ideas?

Did you all know that you can use color pictures in eBooks? Of course you did.

More to come

 

Doing “Writerly” Things

I’m back. Did you miss me? You probably thought I gave up on blogging.

With all deference to Kristen Lamb, who has taught me, “Blog several times a week”, I’m guilty and I have no excuse. I allowed myself to get ensnarled in a myriad of projects, anything but writing.

I thought that if I wasn’t going to write, I could do other “Writerly” type things.

What kind of things? Oh, you know–er–um.

  • Take out the trash
  • Buy a new battery for my Dana
  • Build a new website or
  • Improve the present site

The following item provided a push: I got an email from GoDaddy telling me that my Hosting fees were coming due. I was paying for hosting fees on both my website and my blog, and I thought

“Hey, this looks like the perfect time to eliminate my website and move it to my blog. That shouldn’t be too difficult for a techie like me.”

 

In my early days before the dawn of the PC I had worked as a programmer using Assembler language for the S360. I must have done a fairly good job as I was paid well.

 

Having said that, I sadly confess, (hides face in shame  and murmurs) “I am totally inept at WebPages”.

You ask, “Why”.

(Said in total FRUSTRATION)! “Because, I have no CONTROL!

At my age CONTROL becomes very important. My wife wants to CONTROL me; the government wants to CONTROL me. You have to fight for every last thing that YOU could possibly CONTROL, and I can’t even CONTROL where a picture is going to be placed.

I insert the cursor at the point where the picture should reside, I Insert image; it appears, filling the entire page. Oh well I can handle that. With great skill, I shrink the image to the desired size, yes that looks good.

No, I want it a little closer or farther from the text, it doesn’t matter which. The damn picture won’t move!

After throwing a minor tantrum, I realize that I have not activated text-wrap and therefore the picture is locked in position, I change the setting and move the picture to the spot where I want it. Success

 

So now I have a Word document to copy to my Blog site. I do a Copy and Paste from Word to WordPress.

Looks pretty good but where are the pictures. Oh right, I have to Insert them, No you can’t Copy and Paste them.

Okay, I find the jpegs and upload them to WordPress and then insert them into my Page/Post. The picture magically appears–but it’s not where I want it. I try moving it, nudging it, backspacing it, nothing works—-I go to edit the picture to see if I can set the location. Oh, yes there it is, Left, Center, Right.

How about 1/8 inch to the right of the text?

What do you mean I can’t do that! I used to manipulate individual Bits of a Byte, and you’re telling me I can’t do that. Programmers can do anything!

(With profuse apologies you say), “I didn’t realize that you had this extensive technical background; you can do anything you want using CSS.

What the Hell is CSS? Oh it’s another language like HTML, XML, Java, and Pearl?

Languages, what kind of languages are those? What happened to Autocoder, Assembler, Cobol, and Fortran?

You never heard of those. What’s the world coming to?

Back to your languages, I know where Java is, do they speak Javanese? What about Pearl is that short for Pearl Harbor? I thought they spoke English?

Oh, you say it’s a programming language. Well, I should be able to master that.

I bought a book, WordPress Web Design for Dummies, I looked through it, I slept on it but it wouldn’t sink in. I needed a Rosetta stone to make sense out of this.

I sent a message to my mentor Laird Sapir who suggested a marvelous website W3Schools.com with tutorials and opportunities to practice the lesson. W3Schools.com was a big help.

Armed with my new knowledge I added fonts to my blog, changed font size, changed colors…..

But I still couldn’t place those pictures exactly where I wanted them.

In desperation or frustration over my inability to CONTROL I emailed Laird who readily agreed to help me. I felt an immediate sense of relief the moment I turned the problem over to her. In a week the pages were ready for publication. Her rates were very reasonable and I was very pleased.

 

So here I am writing this blog post to announce the new pages added to my blog site Donald Bueltmann

What do you think of it? Please let me know.

I have now been able to return to my WIP a trilogy about a parallel universe.

So what’s the purpose of all this rambling…?

You have to choose your role in life. Are you a writer, a publisher, a web designer, etc? Do what you excel at and give others a chance to demonstrate their skills.

One of my other mentors Harvey Stanbrough said this on his blog “I’m a Little Annoyed”

I think I’m going to listen to Harvey and remember this last experience and stick to what I know I can do and give others a chance to show what they know.

 

 

The Trials of Self-publishing Part 1

Why Self Publish

The first book I wrote was a travel narrative about a trip through Europe that my son and I took “Fulfillment is a Place”.

It was a fantasy trip, my fantasy, to see all of the places I had always wanted to see. Since my son lived in Columbus OH, the trip was planned over the internet, deciding what we wanted to see vs. what we realistically had the ability to see, the logistics of travel, etc.

We visited Athens, Rome, Florence, Venice, Munich, Salzburg, Dachau, Colon, Paris, Monaco, and London. Most of the trip was taken with Euro rail Pass. We visited museums, churches, enjoyed great food and had an unforgettable trip.

I had planned on writing a book when I returned, so we took several cameras, a micro-cassette tape recorder and a note pad.

The trip fulfilled all of my hopes and I returned with a collection of museum books, about 500 photos, 14 cassettes, and a journal full of notes. Now all I had to do was put the book together.

It took about 2 years of research and editing and required a lot of time to review photographs, scan the selected ones, and determine on what pages they would look best.

I attended a presentation at a Senior Citizens computer club meeting given by the owners of a short-run printing firm. They were hoping to appeal to people who wanted to convert their genealogies to books.

This sounded like an ideal way to publish my book. I provided them with my manuscript and photos in digital format and the material I wanted used for a cover.

For $1000 I got 10 hardbound books with removable covers and 75 paperbacks. I was very pleased with the results. I gave the hardcover copies to my family. The paperbacks were mine. I sold about 50 copies at $14.

This is amusing; several years later I googled the title of my book “Fulfillment is a Place” and got a hit on Amazon.

At this time I had not released my book for sale anywhere. The listing on Amazon offered a copy of my book for $150 as a rare 1st edition signed by the author.

Of course it was rare, I only had 75 printed.

What were my advantages in self-publishing?

  • I had total control of the preparation process
  • There was no one to stop production
  • I had control of the number of books printed, I wasn’t stuck with a garage full of books

What were the disadvantages:

  • Since I was the publisher I had to purchase SBN numbers and an SBN barcode scan .
  • This was before the publication of Kristin Lamb’s  book “We Are Not Alone”  WANA; I was alone. I had no one to go to for assistance.

That was my first experience at self-publishing.

What kind of experience did you have?

What are your arguments for or against self-publishing?

There’s One Born Every Minute Part 2

So I was 20 years old and I had a new 59 Plymouth Belvedere. It was beautiful, bright shiny red, sparkling white vinyl top. Was I happy?

No         .

What did it take to make me happy?

 

 

First, it wasn’t the car I wanted, it wasn’t the beautiful bittersweet car with the 8 cylinder engine and the pushbutton transmission.

The beautiful red Belvedere with a 6 cylinder engine was  so underpowered a 49 Ford could take me leaving a stop sign.

So what?

This was very important to a 20 year old.

About this time some of my friends were buying sports cars, one had a Jaguar XK140 convertible, another had a Karman Ghia.

What did I have     ?

A crummy 6 cylinder Plymouth!

One weekend several of us went to the Road America sports car race in Elkhart Lake Wisconsin. It was an unbelievable experience Jaguar introduced a new car, the XKSS. Briggs Cunningham was testing a new Osca, and a new class of race car the Formula Junior was introduced.

I was totally intoxicated by the roar of the engines and the smell of the nitromethane.On the return trip I made up my mind to get rid of the Plymouth.

I really wanted a 1959 Austin Healy 3000 MKlll but just couldn’t make it happen. Then I saw an MGA roadster, black, red leather, wire wheels with knock off hubs, beautiful.

 

 

I had to have it.

 

They were willing to take my 59 Plymouth in even trade for the 57 MGA.

I’m sure I lost out on the deal but I didn’t care. It was mine..

I didn’t even notice that the spare had most of the spokes broken and that the tires were worn badly.

I had a lot of fun with the MG I’m surprised I didn’t get more tickets or kill myself.

I kept the MG for less than a year because the clutch needed to be replaced. This was extremely expensive.

Bye bye MGA.

I may have been a sucker, but I sure had fun.

Did any of you have a sports car that you will never forget?

Write me let me hear what kind of cars you had. I love to talk about cars.

Tagged — Eleven Questions Answered-Looking for IT

This week I was tagged in the Eleven Questions game by Elaine Smother’s fabulous friend frog, Forrest.

Being tagged means I need to follow some rules:

1. Post the rules.

2. Answer the questions.

3. Pass the questions on to eleven other bloggers by tagging and linking to them in our post.

4. Let them know they’ve been tagged.

And now…I will answer the questions.

1. If you could live in a fictional world, where would that be?

If I can’t choose to remain in Tucson or to enter Heaven, I would probably chose Tolkien’s Hobbiton or Rivendell.

2. Do you prefer to read Fiction or non-fiction?

Definitely fiction. The only non-fiction books I read are technical books on computers or writing.

3. Do you read in noisy or quiet places?

I prefer reading in quiet places. But I usually sit and read while my wife watches TV and continually says, “Look! You missed it.” I think missed what? And who cares.

4. Do reviews influence your choice of reads?

Not unless the reviews are from people I know.

5. Audio books or paperbacks?

Paperbacks, If I were in my car a lot I might listen to audio-books.  For any other activity they would require too much concentration. I bet they’d probably be great on the treadmill. Wonder if you can get them in mp3 format?

6. What was the first book you remember reading?

The first books I remember reading were the Wizard of Oz and the Doctor Doolittle series.

7. Favorite author?

Can’t pick just one: JRR Tolkien, David Gemmel, Maxwell Alexander Drake

8. Classic or Modern Novels?

Mostly modern. I prefer Fantasy novels

9. Have you ever met your favorite author?

I met Maxwell Alexander Drake at the Society of Southwestern Authors Wrangling With Writing conference in Tucson. My other favorites are deceased.

10. Book groups or solitary reading?

I belong to a writing critique group but I prefer solitary reading.

11. If you could read only one book for the rest of your life, what would it be?

I was stumped by this question and then it became so obvious, there’s only one book worth reading our whole life. The User’s Guide to Living—The Holy Bible.

And now I am supposed to tag 11 people. This might be tricky. I think almost everyone I know has already been tagged!

I’m going to violate the Rules of Eleven and just post this with an invitation to Come and Read and let us learn more about you.

Have a good weekend.

Donald Bueltmann