View Full Version : Virtual anciet Rome (very cool!)

June 12th, 2007, 01:36 AM
Rome's monuments may be crowded with tourists, crippled by time and damaged by pollution, but the glory days of this ancient imperial city are alive and well inside a computer.

Experts from around the world on Monday unveiled what they called the largest and most complete simulation of a historic city, which digitally recreates Rome as it appeared at the peak of its power.

When in virtual Rome, visitors will be able to do even more than ancient Romans did: They can crawl through the bowels of the Colosseum, filled with lion cages and primitive elevators, and fly up for a detailed look at bas-reliefs and inscriptions placed atop triumphal arches.

The simulation shows Rome in A.D. 320, at the time the emperor Constantine, and reconstructs some 7,000 buildings of a vibrant and cosmopolitan city of about 1 million people, said Bernard Frischer of the University of Virginia, who led the project.

Thanks to laser scans of Rome today and advice from archaeologists, experts have rebuilt almost the entire city within its 13-mile-long (21-kilometer-long) wall using the same computer programs architects use to plan new constructions, said Frischer, who heads Virginia's Institute for Advanced Technology in the Humanities.

The simulation reconstructs the interior of about 30 buildings including the Senate, the Colosseum and the basilica built by the emperor Maxentius complete with frescoes and decorations.

Advice from a panel of archaeologists allowed experts to show statues and monuments as they would appear without the dark smudges left by pollution. They also were able to recreate with a "high probability" of accuracy buildings that are now almost completely in ruins, such as the temple dedicated to the goddesses Venus and Roma and the Meta Sudans, a fountain that stood near the Colosseum, Frischer said.

The simulation will be useful for scientists to run experiments for example to determine the crowd capacity of the ancient buildings and as a new kind of scholarly journal that will be updated each time a new discovery is made on one of Rome's ancient marvels.

It also is of value for students and tourists visiting Rome, Frischer said at a presentation of the work in Rome's city hall.

"This is the first step in the creation of a virtual time machine, which our children and grandchildren will use to study the history of Rome and many other great cities around the world," he said.

Sections of the simulation are available on the Internet. The Web site only offers images and videos of the simulation, since allowing simultaneous access to potentially thousands of users would require enormous computer power, Frischer said. He said talks had begun with Linden Labs, based in San Francisco, California, to make the entire simulation available on the Internet through the company's virtual world "Second Life."

A group of private companies also plans to open in April 2008 a theater near the Colosseum that will feature interactive, 3D animations based on the simulation, Rome officials said.

The original simulation does not include any characters, but the commercial project would be populated by thousands of figures, some of them based on skeletons and other archaeological finds unearthed in Rome and across Italy.


On the Net:


Associated Press, published June 11 2007

June 12th, 2007, 11:00 AM

June 18th, 2007, 10:09 AM
Godd Idea!:)

June 22nd, 2007, 01:02 AM
This is very interesting.
I love Rome - its one of my favourite cities. Standing in the ruins of the forum was an amazing experience - you can almost feel the history seeping from the buildings. I love travelling and Rome is one of the few places i'll definately be going back to.

July 29th, 2012, 04:33 PM
This is a bummer. Been shoring it up for years. But when it's time, it's time.

First Pisa, now Rome's Colosseum - it's leaning
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ROME (Reuters) - The ancient Colosseum of Rome, where gladiators fought for their lives, is slanting about 40 cm (16 inches) lower on the south side than on the north, and authorities are investigating whether it needs urgent repairs.
Experts first noticed the incline about a year ago and have been monitoring it for the past few months, Rossella Rea, director at the 2,000-year-old monument, said in an article published in the Italian daily Corriere della Sera on Sunday.
The Leaning Tower of Pisa, another of Italy's most popular attractions, was reopened in 2001 after being shut for more than a decade as engineers worked to prevent it from falling over and to make it safe for visitors.
Rea has asked Rome's La Sapienza University and environmental geology institute IGAG to launch a study on the phenomenon, with investigations to be concluded in a year.
Tests have also started to observe the effects that traffic on nearby busy roads may have on the monument.
Professor Giorgio Monti, from La Sapienza's construction technology department, warned there may be a crack in the base below the amphitheatre.
"The slab of concrete on which the Colosseum rests, which is like a 13-metre (yard)-thick oval doughnut, may have a fracture inside it," he told the newspaper.
He said intervention could be necessary if the concerns are confirmed, along the lines of stabilisation work carried out in Pisa, but he said it was too early to judge what kind of intervention would be most suitable.
The Colosseum - famous for hosting bloody gladiator fights in the days of the Roman Empire - attracts hundreds of thousands of tourists and is usually packed with visitors.
(Writing by Catherine Hornby; Editing by Michael Roddy)