Sunday, February 28, 2010

SPQR: Arezzo (Tuscany)

I found SPQR with this image of Romulus and Remus nursing from the she-wolf in Arezzo during our recent trip to Tuscany.

It was part of the base for a statue of Guido d'Arezzo.

Guido was a Benedictine monk who was born in Arezzo in 991. While a young monk on the Adriatic coast he noticed that singers had difficulty remembering Gregorian chants. He came up with a method for teaching the singers to learn chants in a short time. However, he attracted the hostility of the other monks at the abbey for doing this, and moved back to his home town of Arezzo. Arezzo had no abbey, but the bishop invited him to train and conduct the large group of cathedral singers. While at Arezzo, he developed new technologies for teaching, such as staff notation and solfeggio, the "do-re-mi" scale. The syllables for "do-re-me" were taken from the initial syllables of each of the first six musical phrases of "Ut queant laxis," the chant hymn for the feast of John the Baptist.
SPQR are the first letters of the words in the Latin phrase Senatus Populusque Romanus, "The Senate and the People of Rome." It originally referred to the government of the ancient Roman Republic, and used as an official signature of the government, appearing on coins, civic inscriptions, and on the standards of the Roman legions. Today, SPQR is the motto of the city of Rome and appears in the city's coat of arms, the city's civic buildings, manhole covers, billboards and, of course, bases for statues.

No comments: