Forma Urbis Romae

The Severan Marble Plan of the City of Rome was created between a,d. 203 and 211. Carved on 150 slabs of marble and measuring 60 feet wide by 43 feet high, the map was mounted on a wall in the Temple of Peace (No. 5 on the map opposite). The map shows amazing detail, from monuments and aqueducts to small shops and stairwells. Southeast was placed at the top of Roman urban maps.

About 10 percent of the map survives, in 1,186 pieces. Shown here are the pieces that remain of the area of the Circus Maximus (No. 8 on the map opposite).

The identity and location of a quarter of the surviving pieces are unknown, but Stanford University's Classics Department and Computer Graphics Laboratory, in collaboration with the Sovraintendenza ai Beni Culturali del Comune di Roma, are using three-dimensional modeling to "solve" the map. See their Web site at http://formaurbis.stanford.edu.

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