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The Roman Forum

3.58 of 5 stars 3.58  ·  rating details  ·  24 ratings  ·  5 reviews
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 hav ...more
Hardcover, 279 pages
Published December 1st 2009 by Harvard University Press (first published April 30th 2009)
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David Keogh
I read much of this on successive days wondering around the Forum. Being able to see the ruins being described certainly helped to appreciate the book and my appreciation of the site was very much improved by the book. It is certainly a lot better to read this while in the Forum than have to be dragged around by a tedious guide.
Steve Downes
a very good academic guide to a difficult historic site, wish I read something like this before I visited Rome
Steve Llewellyn
An interesting approach. Watkins looks at the total history of the forum as an organic, evolving sacred space until it was take over by the archaeologists. Instead of a celebration of the rediscovery of monuments we are told how many areas are imaginative reconstructions and many beautiful and functional buildings have been sacrificed on the altar of archaeology for little real gain. The book contains a photo of the senate house when it functioned as a church before purification. Staggering! A v ...more
The only bits I was particularly interested were about the Temple of Vesta and the shrine to Justurna.

Those I found interesting...the rest...perhaps might have been a more engaging read if I had ever been to Rome.

Still, the main thrust of the book, that part of what makes the Forum interesting as a historical site is the mix of times, cultures, priorities, and architecture it represents is a good one. I think people more immediately interested in the Forum as an archaeological site should read
Interesting short history of the Roman Forum. The author is critical of the destruction of certain medieval churches in the forum. He also points out that many of the landmarks (such as the arch of Titus) are modern reconstructions. Highly Recommended.
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David John Watkin, MA PhD LittD Hon FRIBA FSA (born 1941) is a British architectural historian. He is an Emeritus Fellow of Peterhouse, Cambridge, and Professor Emeritus of History of Architecture in the Department of History of Art at the University of Cambridge. He has also taught at the Prince of Wales's Institute of Architecture.[1]
David Watkin is an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Institute of B
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