One of the most visited sites in Italy, the Roman Forum is also one of the best-known wonders of the Roman world. Though a highpoint on the tourist route around Rome, for many visitors the site can be a baffling disappointment. Several of the monuments turn out to be nineteenth- or twentieth-century reconstructions, while the rubble and the holes made by archaeologists have an unclear relationship to the standing remains, and, to all but the most skilled Romanists, the Forum is an unfortunate mess.
David Watkin sheds completely new light on the Forum, examining the roles of the ancient remains while revealing what exactly the standing structures embody—including the rarely studied medieval, Renaissance, and Baroque churches, as well as the nearby monuments that have important histories of their own. Watkin asks the reader to look through the veneer of archaeology to rediscover the site as it was famous for centuries. This involves offering a remarkable and engaging new vision of a well-visited, if often misunderstood, wonder. It will be enjoyed by readers at home and serve as a guide in the Forum.
An entertaining combination of travel guide, history, and polemic.
[A] compact but comprehensive course, intended for sophisticated history buffs and travelers… Watkin embarks on a detailed tour of the place… Systematic, knowledgeable, and even enthusiastic: just the formula to completely engage the reader wanting to know more about ancient Rome.
For a walk through the Forum both in space and history, choose David Watkin’s The Roman Forum… There are many books on Rome, but few as deeply urbane.
[A]n incisive and insightful history of the Forum…[that] deftly illuminates the fascinating changes that this once sacred space has undergone in the last millennium, and argues that our modern perception of the Forum, dictated by archaeological pursuits, tends to obscure those aspects of the Forum that are truly impressive. Watkin’s work…is clearly a labor of love; his sincere appreciation for the Forum and for classical architecture at large is evident, and his expertise helps render an easily navigable portrait of the Forum in four dimensions.
[You should] race to add the newly released Roman Forum and Piazza San Marco to your collection… The well-illustrated little book…[is] an ideal stocking stuffer for those who take their architecture with a solid dose of intellectual rigor. Be sure to pick up the entire set yourself.
- 288 pages
- 4-1/2 x 7-1/4 inches
- Harvard University Press
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