Meanwhile, 3,000 years later…

What will they find of our civilization 3,000 years from now? The way things are going, it might be a surprise if anyone’s left to find anything. Maybe it’ll be a planet of apes, or dinosaurs will make a comeback. Or, maybe earth will be a way station for spacefaring human beings who overcame all of our niggling little problems. Although I think the ape thing might be more plausible. When I was growing up, I read all sorts of science fiction which made it look as if anything past the year 2000 was going to be full of space flights and flying cars, or teleportation and enormous gleaming silver cities, some of which would float on clouds or be buried deep in the ocean. Sadly, those things are excised from budgets built on supporting an aging population and blowing up everyone else. Even worse, scientists are now telling us that our planet is going through its sixth major extinction event. And The Great Barrier Reef was just declared dead. Dead!

I think it seems surreal (or unreal) because we’ve been conditioned to think that extinction happens all at once. But when it happens over a period of decades –which still isn’t long at all, it’s just not, like tomorrow– a lot of us just shrug and hope it’s fake news. Those durn scientists, always getting in the way of our wanton decimation of the planet!

But I digress. On our trip to Porto, we stopped in Conimbriga, which is an ancient pre-Roman settlement in Portugal. The ruins include some homes that were absolute mansions. One can only imagine how amazing they might have looked two or three thousand years ago.

Those pillars were rebuilt in modern times, as Carolyn is so adroitly pointing out. The big plaza was the site of a forum, which would have looked something like the picture below.
Notice the four pillars, which is where “forum” got its name. Okay, I’m just kiddin’ about that. They didn’t even speak English back then. Otherwise they’d all be like, “I have a fiveum.” “Oh, yeah? I have an eightum!” “Oh yeah?” said Trumpus Maximus, “I have a thirty-seven-um!” Seriously, the word “forum” is from Latin and means, “what is out of doors.” I’m not sure if they meant “outside,” or that they just ran out of doors.


The tile work is amazing both for its intricacy as well as the fact that it lasted this long. “How long is your warranty?” asked the homeowner. “Well,” said the tile salesman. “We have a special plan that’ll extend the warranty on this baby to 2,000 years. And you can get that for only 300 denarius a month by using our extended payment option!” It’s a little known fact that the Romans invented payment plans.


These were plant holders I think. Either that or the beginnings of the invention of tic tac toe. Except they couldn’t figure out why the guy who went first always won, plus, the stones were much too heavy for most people to move anyway. Pssh, stupid Romans.
The stairway was added sometime around 50 AD I think, because, well duh, they wouldn’t have invented metal stairways before that.
You get an idea as to the splendor of this huge house just from these ruins. I think this was the indoor bowling alley.
This photo is just to prove we didn’t steal all these pictures from the internet while we actually sit at home watching TV. I mean, it’s not like I could just Photoshop myself into any random image or anything.


The Moon with Kevin
Okay, maybe I can. But we were really there! We saw Conimbriga in person, I swear! The moon too!
This used to be something like a 40,000 square foot house. I think the big screen TV went on the far right wall. The eight chariot garage was something to behold.
The columns seem awfully short. Maybe that’s where they displayed their bowling trophies.
We’ve now protected these parts of the ruins with a ceiling (no, it’s not a reproduction. We didn’t invent plastic until something like 200 AD), and the added touch of green helps jog your imagination as to how splendiforous this whole thing must’ve looked.
IMG_5483 (1)
A panoramic view of the “House of the Fountains.” Carolyn’s waving “hi” to the right while simultaneously trying to dodge out of the shot.
IMG_5775 (1)
A panoramic view of the Fountain House’s neighbors. Much of the architecture in the town and homes was built around baths and pools. The Romans were quite fastidious. After the Roman Empire fell, humanity, except for perhaps the Japanese and a few others, stunk to high heaven until the 20th century. And you think we’re always progressing? Stink again!
Scan 3
A better view of some of the ruins. 


We enjoyed the visit. The cool thing about it was that we simply saw some signs that, roughly translated, said, “There’s some really old shit over here!” on our drive home from Porto, and so we wandered in and were delighted to find this very cool place.

Carolyn and I are endlessly fascinated both by ancient Roman ruins as well as castles. They’re all just so cool! They are two of the big reasons why we love traveling around Europe. The other reason is that I’m a lot less likely to get caught if I stay mobile.


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