This book is an account of an almost completely neglected archaeological epic, the uncovering and restoration of all the classical monuments of Rome during the French occupation (1809-14). This was the first large-scale archaeological programme in the city. Based on archives in Rome and Paris, the archaeology of these five years is placed against its essential background: the fate of the monuments since antiquity and the contemporary Napoleonic political and cultural history. Mr Ridley describes the enormously complicated organisation which carried out the work and identifies the leading administrators, archaeologists and architects. The bulk of the work is a detailed account of the excavation and restoration work on the Forum Romanum, the Colosseum and the Forum of Trajan, the main classical monuments. There are numerous illustrations of the monuments both before and after the French intervention, as well as unpublished plans from the archives. There is an extensive specialist index. The book is intended for anyone interested in archaeology, in Napoleonic Europe and above all, in Rome.
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