Topography and Images of the Esquiline Hill from 14th to 16th Century

Marco Brunetti, Ph.D.

Since the end of 15th century and beginning of the 16th century, thanks to some specific archeological discoveries (e.g. the paintings of the Domus Aurea and Laocoon in 1506), the Esquiline Hill has become one of the most attractive sites in Rome for antiquarians and artists. Nevertheless, the history of the Esquiline Hill before and after these archeological discoveries remains an unexplored topic in academia.
Thanks to the Medieval and Renaissance maps of Rome, the Renaissance drawings, the Late-Medieval and Humanistic guides of Rome and the work of Lanciani (Storia degli scavi di Roma, 1989), I will investigate the urban development of the area of the Esquiline Hill, and how it was affected by archeological discoveries. I will also assess how, from the 14th to the 16th century, the historical awareness of the space developed in the perception of humanists and antiquarians.
The case study of the Esquiline Hill is an important example for investigating how literary and geographical sources were able to preserve the historical and archeological memory of the space, but also how they tried to fill some historical gaps. On the other hand, through the comparison of the sources, it will be possible to recognize their mutual relations and contaminations and how humanistic texts were able to provide cognitive paths for the spatial memory of this area.

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