The Strange Story of Savannah’s Ancient Roman Statuary: PART ONE
Hello dearest subscriber!
Much gratitude for your continued support of Savannah Sideways, ya gorgeous genius. As promised, paying patrons are the first to preview the longer features to be included in the book-in-progress, The Camellia Thief and Other Stories: Savannah Sideways Volume 2, due out this spring. These are a bit different from the usual column format; no bolding of names and fewer links and photos.
The buried tale of Savannah’s Roman statuary has consumed my imagination since I first began digging into it two years ago. While I maintain it would make a captivating 10-episode podcast or Netflix documentary (already written the proposals!), I’m setting it down into this long-form piece for now, to be doled out in two parts ‘cause it’s too many words for Substack to handle at once, and anyway, we all have a lot to do this week. Delve in while the turkey’s roasting, or wait until the weekend (but not during the Georgia game. Go Dawgs!)
Thankful for you ~ JLL
The Strange Story of Savannah’s Ancient Roman Statuary
DURING THE FIRST FEW weeks of quarantine life, the Savannah City Council was still getting comfortable with new technology for its virtual meeting on April 9, 2020.
The azaleas had unfurled into bloom outdoors, but the faces in the Zoom squares seemed to take no joy in the spring weather. The nine council members, including Mayor Van Johnson, had already discussed several touchy topics, from enforcing the COVID-19 shutdown to finding $650,000 in emergency sewer repairs on the city’s southside, not to mention mourning the millions of dollars lost from the cancellation of the city’s beloved St. Patrick’s Day Parade.
By the time they got to the last item on the agenda, everyone was a little punchy.
“OK, we’ve got a bunch of stuff for sale here,” announced Mayor Johnson, referring to a list of ancient Roman statuary that City owned and wanted to liquidate, including a pair of 15th-century Italian ram’s head pedestals and an ancient sarcophagus carved sometime before 300 A.D.
“This could all be yours if the council approves it and the price is right.”
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