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Bill Thayer

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V R B I S  R O M Æ

Ancient Sources

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[ complete Latin text with critical apparatus ]

The Regionaries are some early 4c bureaucrat's list of monuments, houses, baths, etc., that have come down to us in two divergent medieval copies, the Curiosum and the Notitia (with its Appendices). Both are online here in the critical edition appended by Henri Jordan to his Topographie der Stadt Rom im Alterthum.

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[ complete Latin text with critical apparatus ]

Also from Jordan's Topographie, the brief Ordo Benedicti is a medieval source of a rather amusing kind, a sort of route map to keep church processions from getting lost in Rome: perforce, it lists the landmarks on each route ("now go down the main street in front of the arch of the aqueduct, then turn right in front of St. Clement's. . ."). It makes me wish there had been more long processions in medieval Rome.

[image ALT: A diagram of a basin receiving water from an ascending pipe.]

[ complete Latin text, English and French translations ]

Not exactly a topographical text, but written by a professional surveyor, Frontinus' Water Supply of Rome inevitably contains lots of information on aqueducts and roads in and around the City.

Works by Modern Topographers

Link to Platner and Ashby's Topographical Dictionary of Ancient Rome

[ 1/22/18: 473 webpages, 83 photos, 4 maps ]

A Topographical Dictionary of Ancient Rome by Samuel Ball Platner (as revised by Thomas Ashby in 1929), is a scholar­ly encyclopedia with hundreds upon hundreds of articles on the remains of antiquity within the city of Rome: an excellent reference work for hills, streets, roads and monuments of all kinds, providing ancient sources and modern bibliographies. About 85% of the work is already onsite, occasionally annotated and illustrated with some of my own better photos; I expect to have the entire work online eventually.

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[ complete in 50 webpages:
15 maps & plans, 109 other images
and some color photos of my own. ]

[Link to a page in Italian] Christian Hülsen, Il Foro Romano: Though the work was written in German, by the time it was translated into Italian in 1905, it gained some additional material. (Sadly, the photographs are early‑20c quality: but the plans and many of the reconstructions are crystal-clear.)

[image ALT: A decorative entrelacs of laurel and a cross, taken from the cover of the printed book.]

[ complete in 9 webpages:
107 drawings, 16 photos, 12 maps & plans ]

Pagan and Christian Rome: a splendid account, by Rodolfo Lanciani, the rightly famous 19c archaeologist and topographer, of how Rome made the transition from the capital of Antiquity to the great city of our own time. It's a case study of Late Antiquity, an excellent popular topography of Rome, a mine of information on the Catacombs and the tombs of apostles, emperors and popes, and a fascinating read. This Web edition is enhanced with additional photos of my own, useful links, etc.

[image ALT: A caduceus crowned by a Catholic prelate's hat: this odd design is the printer's mark for the firm that published Filippo Titi's guide to Rome (1763).]

[ complete: 590 pages of printed text, although no images ]

Pushing the "topography" envelope rather far, but Filippo Titi's [Link to a page in Italian] Pitture, Sculture e Architetture esposte al pubblico in Roma (1683, as revised by Giovanni Bottari in 1763) was for many years the standard guide to the monuments of Rome, does indeed cover hundreds of places within the City, and may be considered a primary source on its Baroque art: topography it is, then; and some will find it useful. Includes a linked index to nearly 1000 artists and the works they left in Rome.

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Site updated: 22 Jan 18