Here’s a really neat model of Imperial Rome, circa 4th century AD. Excerpt:
Rome was not built in a day and the ‘most accurate’ model of Ancient Rome is testament to this as it took archaeologist Italo Gismondi 35 years to build.
The Plastico di Roma imperiale (model of imperial Rome) was actually commissioned by Mussolini in 1933 and is so realistic that a few shots of it were used in the film Gladiator.
The model can be viewed today in the Museum of Roman Civilisation in Rome, Italy.The Roman Empire began shortly after the founding of the Roman Republic in the 6th century BC and reigned for thousands of years until the fall of the last Western emperor in 476 AD
It is so useful because it helps a lot of academics visualise Rome to aid their studies and gives a lot more context to famous structures, like the Colosseum, which we are used to seeing as stand alone buildings.
Roman cities were laid out so efficiently that it can also teach us more and inspire us about infrastructure in modern society.
But here are a few things the article gets wrong:
The Roman Empire began shortly after the founding of the Roman Republic in the 6th century BC and reigned for thousands of years until the fall of the last Western emperor in 476 AD.
From the 6th century BC until 27 BC, when Julius Caesar’s adopted son Octavian became effectively the first Emperor, is hardly “shortly after.” And even then, Octavian, later Caesar Augustus, never called himself Emperor, only princeps, or First Citizen.
It evolved from a monarchy to a democratic republic and finally to a military dictatorship.
Rome was never a “democratic” republic. While it did claim republican principles, in fact, the Roman Senate was selected from the nobility; the common people had very little say in affairs of state.
One of the most well-known Roman emperors is Julius Caesar, famously assassinated in 44BC, who is largely credited for his military mind and laying the foundations for the Roman Empire.
Caesar was never emperor. He never used the title himself and never was referred to as such by his contemporaries. He was Dictator, a position spelled out in and legal under Roman law. While he was largely responsible for the fall of the Republic and the descent of Rome into tyranny, the title should not be applied to Julius Caesar.
But none of that should detract from the wonder that it took Italo Gismondi 35 years to build. It was an amazing feat, this gifted man’s life’s work, and I’ve added it to my bucket list of items I must see when one day I visit Rome, that wellspring of Western civilization.