The efforts of the New Zealand actor and Oscar winner, Russell crowe have managed to draw the attention of the media and the public to the difficult situation in which is the tomb of Marco Antonio Macrimo, Roman consul of the 2nd century AD, who as can be deduced from the epigraph found on his mausoleum, was friend of the emperor Marcus Aurelius like the character that Crowe embodied in the film "Gladiator”.
After hearing the news that the tomb, discovered in 2008, was to be reburied due to lack of funds for its conservation (a necessary investment of 3,000,000 euros) the non-profit organization American Institute for Roman Culture (AIRC) launched a signature-raising campaign to promote the search for alternative options before burying the site.
The American archaeologist and executive director of AIRC, Darius Arya, made the request known through the social network Twitter. Russell Crowe Retweeted Arya's Request with the title of "Save the Gladiator's Tomb”To his 681,342 followers on various occasions.
But the actor did more. He also published a statement in which he pointed out to the City of Rome for shirking its responsibility to the nation:
«Of all the great nations of the world, Italy, in particular, must be a leader in promoting the importance of studying and preserving the ancient past. The members of the government of the city of Rome should always encourage the citizens of Italy to be proud of the successes and glorious history of their country.«, It emphasized.
Until now, the request to save the mausoleum has collected 2,465 signatures, just under half of the 5,000 needed. However, the actor's involvement, which according to popular beliefs (since archaeologists dismissed him from the start) was inspired by Marco Antonio Macrimo to personify the brave Hispanic gladiator, Maximum Tenth Meridio, in the five-time Oscar-winning film directed by Ridley Scott, has brought a new level of attention to the cause.
Five days after making his statements public, the Italian newspaper La Repubblica published an article announcing that the re-burial of the mausoleum had been suspended. Instead, it would be covered with tarps to keep it safe from the harsh winter weather.
All important and sensitive areas of the place, such as colossal marblesThe refined decoration and the brick fencing will be covered with a special geotextile that is generally used in archaeological sites where work is done in the open.
But nevertheless, these insulating tarps are just a way to buy time and postpone the problem surrounding the entire discovery, there is not enough money to keep the mausoleum permanently.
For now, the owners of the lands where the grave is are willing to enter into some kind of agreement with the city authorities to combine the construction of new houses with an archaeological park.
Darius Arya also hopes have the financing of private sponsors in favor of the preservation of the mausoleum. He would also like Russell Crowe to go to Rome in person to campaign directly for the preservation of the Roman consul's tomb, such a well-known figure would surely attract potential donors with more money. But first and foremost it is necessary that the petition obtain at least the minimum of 5,000 signatures.