The Baths of Constantine in the panorama of Antonio van Wyngaerde ca. 1560

In 1894 the famous Italian archaeologist R. Lanciani found a long-forgotten 2-metre long drawing of a panorama of Rome, in the Bodleian Library in Oxford, in the Sutherland collection of some 20,000 artworks of all sorts.  He published it in facsimile the following year, in the Bullettino della Commissione Archeologica Comunale de Roma, vol. 23 (1895), as a foldout between pages 80-81, followed by his own article on the subject on pp.81-109.  A high-resolution scan of the image can be found at the wonderful Heidelberg Digital Library, here, where the whole volume is online.  (Lanciani’s text begins on the next page here.)

The panorama is 360 degrees.  It includes a view of the ruins of the Baths of Constantine, and beyond this the prominent fragment of the “Temple of the Sun”, looking towards the Castel Sant’Angelo and the Vatican to the south-west.  It is of course far too large to appear here, but here is a greatly reduced excerpt.

It is a frustrating image in a way.  At the bottom we see the “Avanzi …. delle terme Constantine” on both sides – ruins of the baths of Constantine – but it’s hard to know what is what.  A rotunda is clearly seen in the middle, looking half buried.  To the right are various walls and exedra.

I can’t determine what is supposed to be seen on the left, where the same “Avanzi…” message appears, but plainly the author thought that he was showing something.

Still it is good to have it.


4 thoughts on “The Baths of Constantine in the panorama of Antonio van Wyngaerde ca. 1560

  1. Could you venture a guess what the vantage point of this 360 degree map might be (relative to modern location)? Thanks for posting this! Its fascinating albeit bewildering…

  2. I know what you mean! I couldn’t work it out – Lanciani does say something – bug I think it must be on the Quirinal hill, maybe from the Palazzo Rospigliosi?

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