New Library acquisition: Fragmenta vestigii veteris Romae ex lapidibus Farnesianis...

Author: Tracy Bergstrom

The Department of Rare Books and Special Collections has recently acquired the following item: 

Fragmenta vestigii veteris Romae detail

Bellori, Giovanni Pietro. Fragmenta vestigii veteris Romae ex lapidibus Farnesianis nunc primum in lucem edita, cum notis Io. Petri Bellorii, ad Eminentiss. ac Reverendiss. Camillum Maximum S.R.E. Cardinalem. Rome: Typis I. Corvi, sumptibus Ioannis Iacobi de Rubeis, 1673.

The Severan Marble Plan of Rome, or the Forma Urbis, depicted the city of Rome in remarkable detail. Constructed between 203-211 CE, this astonishing map measured ca.18 × 13 meters and detailed “the ground plan of every architectural feature in the ancient city, from temple complexes and entertainment buildings to aqueducts, warehouses, and elite residences to small shops, tiny rooms, and even internal staircases.” (“Fragments of the City: Stanfordʹs Digital Forma Urbis Romae Project,” Koller et al., Journal of Roman Archaeology supplement, 2005)

Fragmenta vestigii veteris Romae detail

Fragments of the plan were rediscovered in 1562. In 1673, Giovanni Bellori, Commissioner of Antiquities of the Papal States, published engravings of the extant fragments for the first time. This publication is the first broad dissemination of the fragments, which had previously been illustrated only in ink drawings (today held in the Vatican Libraries, Codex Vaticanus Latinus 3439, f. 13-23). The publication contains 20 full-paged engraved plates, based on Bellori’s direct examination of the fragments held at Palazzo Farnese and drawings from the Vatican manuscript. As this is the only edition of Bellori’s publication, we are pleased to have been able to acquire a copy for the Notre Dame Libraries. 

For a complete bibliographical history of the Forma Urbis fragments, see the Past Scholarship section of the Stanford Digital Forma Urbis Romae Project

Originally published by Tracy Bergstrom at on November 19, 2014.