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3.12 Overview of the urban history of Rome in antiquity

erstellt von Kulawik Veröffentlicht 05.06.2019 20:47, zuletzt verändert: 05.06.2019 20:47

With this connection of theory and practice, Tolomei leaves the realm of more or less pure architectural theory based on Vitruvius and enters the world of practical (ancient) architecture and artifacts helpful for understanding it. But to understand the situation and environment of any single building, the urban structure and development of ancient Rome had to be reconstructed first:

Nel veder per rispetto de l’Architettura gli edifizii di Roma, si farà un altro studio non manco utile ne manco bello, di considerare, et indender bene tutte l’anticaglie per via d’historie, ove si vedrà distintamente, e la Roma quadrata antica, e gli altri accrescimenti di Roma di mano in mano; ricercando, e le porte, e le vie di che si puo haver notizia, e di piu i tempii, i portichi, i teatri, e gli Amfiteatri, le cune, le Basiliche, gli archi, le terme, i circi, i ponti, e ogni altra sorte di edifizio di che rimanga vestigio alcuno; dando luce ancora di molti altri che sono spenti del tutto, insegnando dove erano.[Tolomei 1547, 82v-83r]

With regard to the architecture [and/of] the buildings in Rome, another study will be made, which will not lack usefullness nor beauty, where one will attempt to understand well all the antiquities in a historical way and where one will see clearly the ancient Roma quadrata, and all the other extensions of Rome step by step, searching for the gates and the streets of which one can have notice, and even more of the temples, the porticos, the theatres and amphitheatres, the meeting places and basilicas, the [triumphal] arches, the baths, the circuses, the bridges and every other sort of building of which remains any rest; this will also shed light on many other [lost buildings] which are completely lost by giving hints where they have been.

In 1544, Bartolomeo Marliano published the first illustrated edition of his Antiqvæ Romæ Topographia libri septem ([Marliano 1534.1] and [Marliano 1534.2]) under the new title B. Marliani Topographiæ Urbis Romæ haec nuper adiecta [Marliano 1544]. While many of these illustrations were taken from other publications, the most famous ones are the three reconstructed states of Rome’s urban map in antiquity: the so-called Roma quadrata, that is, the mythical first urban form of Rome, which has been identified since antiquity with the first state of Rome established by Romulus and Remus at the Palatine hill and surrounded by a wall which was said to have formed a square or rectangle. Then, the subsequent stages in Rome’s development during the late republic and the early imperators are shown up to the construction of the Aurelian Walls, that is, 282 CE.

These early, astonishingly accurate maps and the updated text by Marliano do not fulfill what could be expected from Tolomei’s description, but they could be seen as a first step in this direction. We know at least that some of Marliano’s assistants — although perhaps not Marliano himself — were members of Tolomei’s Accademia. It should also be noted that this edition was printed by the Dorico brothers in Rome, who proudly call themselves Accademiæ Romanæ Impressorum in the imprint at the end of the book: Because Valerio Dorico had started his activities in Rome not before 1526 and the original Accademia had dissolved in 1527 with the Sacco di Roma, it is unlikely that he was drawing on an association with this Accademia when he came up with such an ambitious title for his print shop. Therefore, it rather seems that he saw himself as the printer of the refounded Accademia seventeen years after the Sacco.