The ruins of the Forum in Rome, the centre of its ancient Empire, are one of the best known wonders of antiquity and a highpoint of the tourist route round the Eternal City, but the Forum remains for many visitors a baffling and unwelcoming place.
There are few more historic and evocative places in the world. Caesar was cremated there. Charles V and Mussolini rode by it in triumph. There Napoleon celebrated his festival of liberty. In this radical reappraisal David Watkin teaches us to see the Forum with new eyes and helps us to rediscover its rich history. This is as stimulating to the armchair traveller as it is useful as a guide to the Forum itself.'With verve, authority and no little humour, Watkin tells the detailed and complex story of this great but mutilated landmark ... it is an almost impossible task, superbly done'Peter Jones,BBC History Magazine'In this sprightly volume ... the distinguished architectural historian David Watkin charts the shifting fortunes of the site ... he has an engagingly romantic feeling for the place... deploying a good deal of sharp wit, he reveals how the relatively recent obsession with recovering the Forum's classical past has led to much unhappy destruction and much less scarcely happy invention'Matthew Sturgis,Country Life
David Watkin was Professor of Architectural History at the University of Cambridge. He has written major studies of architects like Soane and Thomas Hope and the influential polemic Architecture and Morality. He is now retired and lives in Chicago.
'This charming and erudite book not only reveals much about the history of its subject; it stands as a humanist reproach to the scientific philistinism of our times.', Allan Massie, Literary Review
'An excellent, handy new book... More successfully than any author before him, Watkin makes his reader aware of the multilayered, fascinating history of the site', Masolino D'Amico, TLS
'Professor Watkin has an engagingly romantic feeling for the place ... Deploying a good deal of sharp wit, he reveals how the relatively recent obsession with recovering the Forum's classical past has led to much unhappy destruction', Matthew Sturgis, Country Life
'Watkin provides a challenging new perspective on Rome's ancient heart.', Nick Rennison, Sunday Times
'David Watkin's short, polemical, brilliant history...the painstaking explanation of the true history and origins of all visible fabric, in clear, authoritative but enjoyable and lively language that makes this an invaluable guide...read this: it will help to tell you who you are.', Timothy Brittain-Catlin, The Tablet
'Learned but lively... Informative...', Christopher Hirst, Indepedent