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Ancient Rome in Fifty Monuments

Paul Roberts



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Thames & Hudson
18 April 2024
A sweeping new history of the city of Rome, told through its emperors and the monuments they built to make their mark on one of the great capitals of the classical world.

'What is worse than Nero? What is better than Nero's Baths?' - so wrote the poet Martial in the first century AD, demonstrating the power that buildings have on public consciousness. In ancient Rome, who built a monument and why mattered as much as its physical structure. Over centuries and under many different emperors, a small village in Italy was transformed into the crowning glory of an empire. Seeking out the personalities behind the great building projects is key to understanding them.

With this firmly in mind, Paul Roberts takes the reader on a tour of ancient Rome, vividly evoking the sights and sounds of the city: from the roar of the crowds at the Circus Maximus and the Colosseum, to the dazzling gleam of the marble- and mosaic-covered baths of Caracalla and Diocletian. He tells this story emperor by emperor, drawing out the political, social and cultural backdrop to the monuments and ultimately the very human motivations that gave rise to their construction - and destruction. These fascinating buildings are further brought to life with reconstructions that show how the ancients themselves would have experienced them.

When and why were these monuments built? What did they add to the lives of the people who used them? What impact did they have on the shape of the city? Roberts expertly weaves together the latest archaeological research with social and cultural history, to tell the story of the Eternal City, always in some way rising, falling and being rebuilt.

Imprint:   Thames & Hudson
Country of Publication:   United Kingdom
Dimensions:   Height: 246mm,  Width: 186mm, 
Weight:   1.080kg
ISBN:   9780500025680
ISBN 10:   0500025681
Pages:   256
Publication Date:  
Audience:   General/trade ,  ELT Advanced
Format:   Hardback
Publisher's Status:   Active
INTRODUCTION: The Monuments That Made Rome PART I. Beginnings and Regime Change THE KINGDOM OF ROME Temple of Jupiter Optimus Maximus Cloaca Maxima THE REPUBLIC Largo Argentina Temple of Hercules Victor Tiber Island Pons Cestius and Pons Fabricius Republican City Walls JULIUS CAESAR Forum of Caesar and its Temple of Venus Genetrix Curia Rostra PART II. From Brick To Marble AUGUSTUS Basilica Julia Temple of Concordia Augusta Temple of Divus Iulius Forum of Augustus and its Temple of Mars Ultor Porticus of Octavia Theatre of Marcellus Temple of Apollo Medicus Sosianus Mausoleum of Augustus Ara Pacis Augustae Pyramid of Gaius Cestius CLAUDIUS Porta Maggiore NERO Domus Aurea (Golden House) and the Colossus of Nero PART III. New Builders VESPASIAN Forum of Vespasian Colosseum TITUS Arch of Titus DOMITIAN House of the Vestals Stadium of Domitian Forum of Nerva Palace of Domitian PART IV. Rome in Glory TRAJAN Forum of Trajan Circus Maximus HADRIAN Tenement Building Temple of Venus and Roma Pantheon Mausoleum of Hadrian and Pons Aelius ANTONINUS PIUS Temple of the Deified Hadrian MARCUS AURELIUS Equestrian Statue of the Emperor Marcus Aurelius COMMODUS Column of Marcus Aurelius (the Antonine Column) SEPTIMIUS SEVERUS Temple of Vesta Arch of the Bankers (Arco degli Argentarii) PART V. An Uncertain City CARACALLA Baths of Caracalla AURELIAN Walls DIOCLETIAN Baths of Diocletian MAXENTIUS Basilica of Maxentius PART VI. From Old to New CONSTANTINE Arch of Constantine San Giovanni in Laterano and San Giovanni Obelisk LATE PAGAN Temple of Saturn Portico of the Harmonious Gods CHRISTIAN Santa Maria Maggiore PHOCAS Column of Phocas EPILOGUE: Aftermath

Dr Paul Roberts was Sackler Keeper of the Department of Antiquities at the Ashmolean Museum of Art and Archaeology in Oxford. He has curated numerous popular exhibitions, including 'Life and Death in Pompeii and Herculaneum' at the British Museum in 2013 and 'Last Supper in Pompeii' at the Ashmolean in 2019-20. He wrote the accompanying exhibition catalogues to both. A trained archaeologist, Paul has been involved in various fieldwork projects across Italy and Greece.

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