Roman Ruins: How To Imagine The Unimaginable

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I have trouble seeing things that aren’t there. After I have moved the furniture into three different places in a room, I can’t tell where it goes. When I saw the Roman Forum’s ruins, I couldn’t see beyond the rubble.

It was impossible to imagine a city without it.

It was a good idea to get a copy “Rome: Past and Present” before I visited the Forum. These spiral-bound books could be purchased at various kiosks in Rome, in many different languages. This book features photographs of the present-day Rome with a clear plastic overlay showing what was there in the past. It is a great idea. The overlay can be placed in front of the pile of stones. You can then flip between the current scene and the overlay by standing in front of the book. Your brain can transform the pile of stones into something greater, at least partially, using the overlay.

15 years later, I still own that copy. You can now find them online, most of which are used – Here’s an affiliate link to Powells.com if you don’t want to order one on-site.

These are some images with/without overlays from my book:

Technology has improved even further, allowing us beautiful animations from ancient worlds.

If you are planning to visit Rome, or just want to get a better understanding of ancient Rome, grab your copy of Rome: Past & Present. While you wait for it to arrive, you can watch these amazing animations.

Tip If you’re using a computer, expand them to the full screen.

Rome in 320 C.E.

This animation shows Rome circa 320 C.E. with fly-over views of Rome’s Forum, Capitoline and Palatine Hills and the Colosseum. It also includes the Baths of Trajan and the Pantheon. You can also see interior renderings of buildings which give you a different view of how they used to look. Did you know that the Pantheon’s curving ceiling was once painted by Trajan?


h/t Gloria of Casina di Rosa

Pompeii on Eruption Day

Pompeii is a great place to see what an ancient Roman city looked like, even though the rubble can sometimes be distracting. (I believe Pompeii is superior in this area to the nearby, better-preserved Herculaneum, but that’s another topic. Amazing animation of Pompeii at the time Mt. This incredible animation of Pompeii on the day Mt. Although it’s only a single view-point animation, it gives a glimpse of the ancient Roman city and what the volcanic eruption did. It’s amazing to think it was forgotten so quickly.


h/t Kate from Driving like a Maniac

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