Le Antichità della Città di Roma
This post is thought to draw a conclusion on the book “Le Antichità della Città di Roma” as well as on the tasks of “Friends with an Old Book” itself.
The biggest surprise I encountered during this exercise was the significant difference between accessing an old source online versus in reality. Through accessing online versions of the book during the first task I got a thorough understanding regarding its topic, but also – as I realized later – a wrong assumption about the dimensions of the book. Due to the fact that I worked on my laptop and thus the images were scaled to the size of the display, I expected the book to be much bigger than it turned out to be in reality. The actual size underlines its function as a city guide (which needs to be practical and manageable in size) – important information I missed out on before. I underestimated the importance of this difference and, in retrospective, the trip to the Library Werner Oechslin in Einsiedeln made sense.
However, I also encountered some difficulties while working on this project. The first challenge, which at first glance might seem quite simple, was to determine the correct book. “Le Antichità della Città di Roma” is just a short version of the original title and as there are several different versions which have been adapted over time, determining the correct book was difficult. The language barrier represented a further problem. The book is written in Italian and partly in Latin, both of which I do not understand. Additionally, the term “libro” lead to some confusion. I assumed that “libro” meant book. However, used in books from the 15th and 16th century, it rather translates to “chapter”. The encountered difficulties are not meant negatively, but rather seen as part of the learning process. Nevertheless, the tasks were quite time-consuming, maybe a little too much so.
Finally, I would like to thank those involved in organizing this exercise. The instructions and tasks were very clear and the remainders via email helpful. I think dividing the project into smaller tasks and to distribute it over two semesters is a good decision: It keeps the tasks manageable and interesting. The exercise showed me a new approach of dealing with books and also really evoked some interest for old literature. In addition, it was a good introduction to the libraries in the area of Zurich and various online tools – useful knowledge for later on. The techniques of the Synthetic Friendships were also completely new and fascinating to me. I would totally recommend repeating this project in future years. As an additional task, I would suggest including one exercise with an in-depth focus on solely one page. This is something some fellow students and I would have liked to do. It could be an additional way of examining the book.