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The Eternal City

A History of Rome in Maps

Jessica Maier

The Eternal City
See sample pages from the book (PDF format).

Jessica Maier

240 pages | 140 color plates | 8-1/2 x 11 | © 2020
Cloth $40.00 ISBN: 9780226591452 Published November 2020
E-book $40.00 About E-books ISBN: 9780226591599 Will Publish November 2020
One of the most visited places in the world, Rome attracts millions of tourists each year to walk its storied streets and see famous sites like the Colosseum, St. Peter’s Basilica, and the Trevi Fountain. Yet this ancient city’s allure is due as much to its rich, unbroken history as to its extraordinary array of landmarks. Countless incarnations and eras merge in the Roman cityscape. With a history spanning nearly three millennia, no other place can quite match the resilience and reinventions of the aptly nicknamed Eternal City.

In this unique and visually engaging book, Jessica Maier considers Rome through the eyes of mapmakers and artists who have managed to capture something of its essence over the centuries. Viewing the city as not one but ten “Romes,” she explores how the varying maps and art reflect each era’s key themes. Ranging from modest to magnificent, the images comprise singular aesthetic monuments like paintings and grand prints as well as more popular and practical items like mass-produced tourist plans, archaeological surveys, and digitizations. The most iconic and important images of the city appear alongside relatively obscure, unassuming items that have just as much to teach us about Rome’s past. Through 140 full-color images and thoughtful overviews of each era, Maier provides an accessible, comprehensive look at Rome’s many overlapping layers of history in this landmark volume.

The first English-language book to tell Rome’s rich story through its maps, The Eternal City beautifully captures the past, present, and future of one of the most famous and enduring places on the planet.
Introduction: Rome as Idea and Reality
Further Reading

Chapter One: Rome Takes Shape
Rome before Rome
A Walled City
Urban Districting
Further Reading

Chapter Two: Rome of the Caesars
Destination Rome
An Incomplete Puzzle
Making Sense of the Shattered Past
Filling in the Gaps
A Model City
Further Reading

Chapter Three: Rome of the Popes
Sacred Buildings and Secular Symbols
The Medieval Cityscape
Pathos and Wonder
Further Reading

Chapter Four: Rome Reborn
A City Ready for Its Close-Up
The City Seen through a Wide-Angle Lens
The City Measured
A Panoramic View of Urban Revitalization
Further Reading

Chapter Five: Rome of the Scholars
Archaeology in Its Infancy
An Ancient Roman Theme Park
A Ghostly Fantasy
Further Reading

Chapter Six: Rome of the Saints and Pilgrims
The Way of the Faithful
Scenes from a Pilgrimage
A Pilgrimage Map for the Modern Era
Further Reading

Chapter Seven: Rome of the Grand Tourists
Rome as Theater
The Origins of the Tourist Plan
Rome Surveyed
A Panoramic Vision
Further Reading

Chapter Eight: Rome of the Mass Tourists
The Guidebook Impresario’s Rome
Rome for a Rather Important Woman Traveler
Rome in Your Pocket
Rome for Italian Tourists
Further Reading

Chapter Nine: Rome Enters the Modern Age
2,500 Years in, a Master Plan for Rome
When Trams Ruled Rome
An Olympic City, and a New Beginning
Further Reading

Chapter Ten: Rome Past, Present, and Future
Rapid Transit for a Rapidly Changing City
A Master Plan for the Third Millennium: (Un)sustainable Rome
Further Reading
Review Quotes
Pamela O. Long, author of Engineering the Eternal City
“The history of Rome comes to life in this erudite, beautifully written book. Organized chronologically from Rome’s early beginnings to the present, this richly detailed history of Rome is focused through the lens of maps and cartographic images. Maier has written a fascinating account for both armchair and actual travelers. The Eternal City also has much to offer to seasoned scholars who will appreciate its coherent and fluid synthesis.”
John Pinto, emeritus, Princeton University
The Eternal City offers the reader a vivid panorama of Rome’s changing form and image over the course of more than two millennia. A rich selection of city plans and views reveals crucial shifts in representational strategies, function, and symbolic intent. The dynamic tension between Rome’s complex, three-dimensional urban reality and the city’s image as projected by successive generations of artists and cartographers is certain to engage a wide audience.”
Evelyn Lincoln, Brown University
“No other city has maintained the story of its past in its present quite like Rome, creating an intentional palimpsest through incessant acts of preservation, reconstruction, and cartographic visualization. Maier’s lively, imaginatively organized, and accessible book displays how centuries of maps not only tell stories about the city’s physical development but also show how Rome’s narratives of itself—conflating eras, resituating buildings, compressing waterways—unfurled in self-mapping from antiquity to the Metro.”
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