Pamela O. Long
This page reflects a scholar's association with the Folger Institute.
"Rebuilding Rome: Knowledge, Power, and Engineering, 1557–1590" (NEH, 2013–2014)
[This study is] a cultural history of engineering and knowledge in Rome during the period between 1557 (the year of a catastrophic Tiber River flood) and the death of the “engineering” pope Sixtus V in 1590. It includes a study of flood control, aqueduct reconstruction, the redesign of streets, building construction, and obelisk transport. I attempt to see the city as a whole, and include a study of the maps and images of Rome, and of guidebooks and books on the antiquities of Rome. The Folger Library holds a significant number of sixteenth-century guidebooks and related materials on Roman antiquities. These books will be the focus of study in a Folger long-term grant. Engineering and construction projects were closely related and sometimes intrinsic to antiquarian studies, topography and issues related to mapping, including surveying. The history of the ancient Romans as evidenced from ancient ruins (particularly a focus of the guidebooks) was key to the project of reconstructing Rome in the image of the ancient imperial city. Engineering and construction were closely tied to knowledge—humanist knowledge concerning history and antiquities, archaeological knowledge concerning Roman ruins, knowledge of topography, surveying, and mapping, and knowledge of practical mathematics.
Co-Director, Experience and Experiment in Early Modern Europe (Summer NEH Institute, 2001)