The American Academy in Rome has started placing its photographs online. The results are rather spectacular, and a cut above the random old photographs that we find online. It means that for the first time we can reference what we are looking at.
Naturally I did a search for the Meta Sudans, the massive Roman fountain demolished by Mussolini in 1934. The search link is here.
What I got was a bunch of images of the monument from several sides, which I was able to zoom in to. Here are the excerpts:
It’s clear that the monument was already badly damaged – someone cut away a whole corner of it, to the water channel in the middle. No doubt they were searching for treasure.
Moving to the right slightly, we get an angle. Note the “notch” coming into view on the right.
This one is from the other side, looking back at the monument. Two “notches” are visible.
Moving round to the right a bit, we see more of the “notch” on the right.
This one is from the hill, but a bit higher up. However it shows less.
Finally there is this, from the 1940s, after the monument was demolished. This is an excavation of the foundations.
I expect there is a great deal of extremely interesting material at the American Academy in Rome site. The trick will be in finding the right search terms. It’s a great and very useful project!
Update 7th January 2021: there are also photographs at the British School in Rome site, here. I’ve zoomed in on some of them.
One side of the Meta Sudans was always hard to see, as it faced the Arch of Constantine. Here we see it side-on, with the missing corner to the right.
Moving somewhat to the left, the “notch” comes into view:
And moving more in the same direction:
Now here’s a close-up of the brickwork (Latin: opus latericium):
Here we have come right round to the Colosseum side. The other “notch” is visible to the right, while the destroyed area is to the left.
Finally a nice close-up zoom of Du Perac’s drawing of the monument, in the days when it was twice as tall.
This is all marvellous. The BSR likewise need to be commended to making this material accessible. What a wonderful picture we get of the Meta Sudans monument!