4 Nov 2013

Story of Vatican Rome


The name "Vatican" was already in use in the time of the Roman Republic for a marshy area on the west bank of the Tiber across from the city of Rome. Under the Roman 
Empire, many villas were constructed there, after Agrippina the Elder (14 BC – 18 October AD 33) drained the area and laid out her gardens in the early 1st century AD. In 
AD 40, her son, Emperor Caligula (31 August AD 12–24 January AD 41) built in her gardens a circus for charioteers (AD 40) that was later completed by Nero, the Circus 
Gaii et Neronis,[19] usually called, simply, the Circus of Nero. Even before the arrival of Christianity, it is supposed that this originally uninhabited part of Rome (the ager 
vaticanus) had long been considered sacred, or at least not available for habitation.[citation needed] A shrine dedicated to the Phrygian goddess Cybele and her consort 
Attis remained active long after the Constantinian Basilica of St. Peter was built nearby. The particularly low quality of Vatican wine, even after the reclamation of the area, 
was commented on by the poet Martial (40 – between 102 and 104 AD). In AD 69, the Year of the Four Emperors, when the northern army that brought Aulus Vitellius to 
power arrived in Rome, "a large proportion camped in the unhealthy districts of the Vatican, which resulted in many deaths among the common soldiery; and the Tiber being 
close by, the inability of the Gauls and Germans to bear the heat and the consequent greed with which they drank from the stream weakened their bodies, which were 
already an easy prey to disease". The Vatican Obelisk was originally taken by Caligula from Heliopolis, Egypt to decorate the spina of his circus and is thus its last visible 
remnant. This area became the site of martyrdom of many Christians after the Great Fire of Rome in AD 64. Ancient tradition holds that it was in this circus that Saint Peter 
was crucified upside-down.Opposite the circus was a cemetery separated by the Via Cornelia. Funeral monuments and mausoleums and small tombs as well as altars to 
pagan gods of all kinds of polytheistic religions were constructed lasting until before the construction of the Constantinian Basilica of St. Peter's in the first half of the 4th 
century. Remains of this ancient necropolis were brought to light sporadically during renovations by various popes throughout the centuries increasing in frequency during the 
Renaissance until it was systematically excavated by orders of Pope Pius XII from 1939 to 1941. The Constantinian basilica was built in 326 over what was believed to be 
the tomb of Saint Peter, buried in that cemetery. From then on, the area became more populated in connection with activity at the basilica. A palace was constructed 
nearby as early as the 5th century during the pontificate of Pope Symmachus. The name "Vatican" predates Christianity and comes from the Latin Mons Vaticanus, 
meaning Vatican Mount. The territory of Vatican City is part of the Mons Vaticanus, and of the adjacent former Vatican Fields. It is in this territory that St. Peter's Basilica, 
the Apostolic Palace, the Sistine Chapel, and museums were built, along with various other buildings. The area was part of the Roman rione of Borgo until 1929. Being 
separated from the city, on the west bank of the Tiber river, the area was an outcrop of the city that was protected by being included within the walls of Leo IV (847–55), and 
later expanded by the current fortification walls, built under Paul III When the Lateran Treaty of 1929 that gave the state its form was being prepared, the boundaries of the 
proposed territory were influenced by the fact that much of it was all but enclosed by this loop. For some tracts of the frontier, there was no wall, but the line of certain 
buildings supplied part of the boundary, and for a small part of the frontier a modern wall was constructed. The territory includes St. Peter's Square, distinguished from the 
territory of Italy only by a white line along the limit of the square, where it touches Piazza Pio XII. St. Peter's . Square is reached through the Via della Conciliazione which 
runs from close to the Tiber River to St. Peter's. This grand approach was constructed by Benito Mussolini after the conclusion of the Lateran Treaty. According to the 
Lateran Treaty, certain properties of the Holy See that are located in Italian territory, most notably the Papal Palace of Castel Gandolfo and the major basilicas, enjoy 
extraterritorial status similar to that of foreign embassies.These properties, scattered all over Rome and Italy, house essential offices and institutions necessary to the 
character and mission of the Holy See.Castel Gandolfo and the named basilicas are patrolled internally by police agents of Vatican City State and not by Italian police. St. 
Peter's Square is ordinarily policed jointly by both. There are no passport controls for visitors entering Vatican City from the surrounding Italian territory. There is free public 
access to Saint Peter's Square and Basilica and, on the occasion of papal general audiences, to the hall in which they are held. For these audiences and for major 
ceremonies in Saint Peter's Basilica and Square, tickets free of charge must be obtained beforehand.

The Vatican Museums, incorporating the Sistine Chapel, usually 
charge an entrance fee. There is no general public access to the gardens, but guided tours for small groups can be arranged to the gardens and excavations under the 
basilica. Other places are open only to individuals who have business to transact there. 
Vatican City officially pursued a policy of neutrality during World War II, under the leadership of Pope Pius XII. Although the city of Rome was occupied by Germany from 
1943 and the Allies from 1944, Vatican City itself was not occupied. One of Pius XII's main diplomatic priorities was to prevent the bombing of Rome; so sensitive was the 
pontiff that he protested even the British air dropping of pamphlets over Rome, claiming that the few landing within the city-state violated the Vatican's neutrality. Before the 
American entry into the war, there was little impetus for such a bombing, as the British saw little strategic value in it. After the American entry into the war, the US opposed 
such a bombing, fearful of offending Catholic members of its military forces, while the British then supported it. Pius XII similarly advocated for the declaration of Rome as an 
"open city", but this occurred only on 14 August 1943, after Rome had already been bombed twice. Although the Italians consulted the Vatican on the wording of the open 
city declaration, the impetus for the change had little to do with the Vatican.
The politics of Vatican City takes place in an absolute elective monarchy, in which the head of the Catholic Church takes power. The Pope exercises principal legislative, 
executive, and judicial power over the State of Vatican City (an entity distinct from the Holy See), which is a rare case of a non-hereditary monarchy. The Vatican is the only 
remaining absolute monarchy in Europe. Vatican City is currently the only widely recognised independent state that has not become a member of the UN. The Holy See, 
which is distinct from Vatican City State, has permanent observer status with all the rights of a full member except for a vote in the UN General Assembly.
Legislative functions are delegated to the unicameral Pontifical Commission for Vatican City State, led by the President of the Pontifical Commission for Vatican City State. 
Its seven members are cardinals appointed by the pope for terms of five years. Acts of the commission must be approved by the pope, through the Holy See's Secretariat of 
State, and before taking effect must be published in a special appendix of the Acta Apostolicae Sedis. Most of the content of this appendix consists of routine executive 
decrees, such as approval for a new set of postage stamps. Executive authority is delegated to the Governorate of Vatican City. The Governorate consists of the President of 
the Pontifical Commission—using the title "President of the Governorate of Vatican City"—a general secretary, and a Vice general secretary, each appointed by the pope for 
five-year terms. Important actions of the Governorate must be confirmed by the Pontifical Commission and by the Pope through the Secretariat of State.
The Governorate oversees the central governmental functions through several departments and offices. The directors and officials of these offices are appointed by the pope 
for five-year terms. These organs concentrate on material questions concerning the state's territory, including local security, records, transportation, and finances. The 
Governorate oversees a modern security and police corps, the Corpo della Gendarmeria dello Stato della Città del Vaticano.
The Vatican City State budget includes the Vatican Museums and post office and is supported financially by the sale of stamps, coins, medals and tourist mementos; by 
fees for admission to museums; and by publications sales. The incomes and living standards of lay workers are comparable to those of counterparts who work in the city of 
Rome. Other industries include printing, the production of mosaics, and the manufacture of staff uniforms.

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