The edition of “L’antichità di Roma” by Andrea Fulvio available at the Oechslin library dates back to 1588, so it was printed 61 years after its first publication and Fulvio’s death in the same year. The book measures 164 x 110 mm on the outside and thus falls under the category sextodecimo. There are 279 printed pages and 93 illustrations in total.
The book, similar to the work with the same title by Palladio, concerns itself with describing the various buildings of ancient Rome, treating both generalizing “types” and specific examples still standing. Some of the illustrations are reconstructions, but most show the contemporary state.
The structure of the book is quite interesting, I’ve tried to analyze it as precisely as my limited italian/latin skills allowed me:
– The book begins with a foreword/dedication by what is probably the publisher of this edition, a man called Hieronimo Francini Libraro.
– The Libro Primo (First Book), consisting of 40 chapters, retells Rome’s founding myth, analyzes her geographical location and names the most important gates, roads and districts of the city. It is much more sparsely illustrated than the other 4 books.
– The Second Book, divided in 11 chapters, locates the Seven hills of Rome and describes what is built on them.
– The Third Book, consisting of 43 chapters, concerns itself with a range of secular buildings, military buildings and thermae.
– The Fourth Book, boasting 51 chapters, deals with monumental buildings such as triumph arches, victory columns and theaters.
– The Fifth book is divided in two distinct parts: The first, written by Fulvio, concludes his overview of Roman antiquity with 31 chapters on the topic of religious architecture, to which he adds basilicae and mausolea, probably for their heavy influence on christian churches. The second part is written by another author: Girolamo Ferrucci. In this Appendix, Ferrucci adds more examples from all branches of Roman architecture, some sculptures and other works of art, and even gives an overview of typical ritual sacrifice items. There are no chapters here, but one illustration for every example.
What follows are three short, peculiar texts, written by Fulvio, now in Latin (the rest of the book is in Italian):
– The first one is called “de laudibus urbis oratio ad quirites” and is a kind of essay in prose adressed to the people of Rome.
– The second is a “song in praise of the Roman people”, now in verse.
– The third is a dialogue between Faustulus and two other shepherds talking about Romulus and Remus.
Then, Fulvio lists his sources, but rather imprecisely, merely giving the names of the authors he mentions in his book.
He adds a kind of glossary, in which he, in great detail, gives the ancient and the modern names of the buildings in Rome, locates the region of origin for the various ancient peoples of Italy and gives the names used for various geographical landmarks in the former empire.
The book ends with the table of contents.