THE project of compiling a Topographical Dictionary of Ancient Rome
had for many years been in the mind of the late Professor Platner, and
before the Great War he had already invited my collaboration. Whereas,
however, I was unable at that time to take any share in its preparation,
he, having been rejected for service in Europe on grounds of health, despite
repeated attempts to take an active part in the war, even before the entry
of the United States, applied himself to the task with characteristic energy.
In June 1920, he was able to write to me that he had 85 to 90 per cent.
of the matter done; and in August 1921, he sailed for Europe with his
wife in order to give the book its finishing touches by a few months' work
in Rome, in which I was looking forward to being associated with him, and
especially to discussing the many problems which could only be examined
on the spot, and settling the line which should be taken in regard to the
adoption of one solution or another. A sudden illness, however, overtook
him on the voyage, and in twenty-four hours he was dead. Mrs. Platner
lost no time in placing the typescript in my hands for completion and
preparation for press: and I accept unreservedly the entire responsibility
for the long delay that has occurred in its publication, which has of necessity
made my own task considerably heavier. Besides completing the work as
it was handed to me by the compilation (1) of the articles on aqueducts,
gates, and roads, which had been allotted to me from the first, (2) of a
number of important and difficult articles relating especially to the Forum
and Palatine, such as Basilica Aemilia, Comitium, Curia, Domus Augustiana,
Domus Aurea, Forum Romanum, Palatinus Mons, Rostra, etc., which
Professor Platner had obviously intended to write during or after his visit
to Rome (for no drafts of them were in existence), I felt bound to check the
whole text carefully, verify all the references, and add such additional
information as I myself possessed or as came to light subsequently. As a
result, my own share in the work may now be estimated at from 20 to
25 per cent. On the other hand, it is no inconsiderable advantage, I think,
that I have been able to include references to a number of important works
that have appeared in the interval, such as Professor Hiilsen's Chiese di
Roma, which he was good enough to allow me to see in proof. But that is
the least part of the debt of gratitude that is due to Professor Hulsen.
He has read the book through twice, in slip and in page proof, and has
made a very large number of most valuable suggestions, which, where
they have not yet found their way into print, are quoted by his name. In this way the veteran scholar, whose seventieth birthday we celebrate to-day, has paid the best tribute in his power to the memory of the late Professor Platner, whose esteem for him was shown by the dedication of his Topography and Monuments of Ancient Rome, the first edition of which dates from 1904, Christiano Huelseno Topographiae urbis Romae Antiquae magistro peritissimo. Personally, I cannot find words to express my indebtedness to one who, with Professor Lanciani, has been my master in Roman Topography for over thirty years.
But my obligations do not end there. So truly had Professor Platner
gauged the need for such a work that the news of its impending publication roused keen interest in the minds of many scholars: and no less than five more of them have been good enough to read through the proofs: Dr. Gilbert Bagnani, Professor Giuseppe Lugli (the author of The Classical Monuments of Rome and its Vicinity, vol. i. The 'Zona Archaeolgica '), Mr. H. M. Last, Mrs. S. Arthur Strong, and Professor A. W. Van Buren To all of them I offer my grateful thanks for the service which they have
done to the book, and especially to the first named, who has compiled the
'Chronological Index to Dateable Monuments' which will be found at
I am much indebted to Mr. I. A. Richmond for various suggestions in regard to the Aurelian walls and their gates. His forthcoming work on the subject, The City Wall of Imperial Rome, which I have had the advantage of seeing in MS., will treat of the subject in full detail.
No attempt has been made to distinguish Professor Platner's original text from any alterations or additions that have been made to it. I must, however, assume full responsibility for the footnotes and addenda, and in these the rare divergencies of opinion between us are indicated, sometimes,
but seldom, by the addition of my initials.
But even with all the help I have received, and despite the time and care that has been bestowed on proof correction by others besides myself, I cannot pretend that a work so full of quotations and references, a mass of minute detail, can possibly be free from numerous errors. And with a view of inviting the help of scholars towards making the work more perfect, it has been arranged that copies should be obtainable interleaved at a slight additional cost: so that, if the book ever attains the distinction of a second edition, it may be made more useful by enlisting the aid of as many students of the subject as are willing to co-operate.
Finality, and even completeness, in such a subject as the present is
of course an impossible ideal. To take only a single instance, the serious
student of topography is greatly handicapped by the lack of scientific reports
on the great bulk of the excavations conducted on the Forum and on the
Palatine by the late Commendatore Giacomo Boni during the past twenty
years: and though the publication of his results has been placed in the
hands of a competent commission, which has appointed Professor Alfonso
Bartoli to undertake the task, it will of necessity take a considerable time.
Nor is the formation of a new plan of Rome a profitable enterprise at the
present moment. The Marble Plan of Rome, which was provisionally put
together by the efforts of Hulsen and Lanciani for the Historical Congress
is now being subjected to a thorough study by a competent committee, of which the former is a prominent member. Further excavation
is necessary, in order to make sure that no further fragments are hidden
beneath the mass of debris that covers the south-east corner of the Forum
Pacis (see p. 387), and without their aid, it may be difficult to gain a great
amount of additional information. But until the attempt has been made,
the revision of Lanciani's great plan, the Forma Urbis Romae, published
in 1893-1901, cannot be satisfactorily undertaken.2
In this connexion
I may perhaps be allowed to express the earnest hope that the publication
of the Storia degli Scavi of Lanciani, which now goes as far as the death
of Clement VIII (Aldobrandini) in 1605, may soon be continued.
From the considerations adduced, it will be clear that the moment is not yet ripe for a general treatise on the topography of the city, nor indeed would such an undertaking be advisable for a considerable time.
Mrs. Platner has throughout taken the keenest interest in the preparation of the work for press, and its publication at a price within the reach of students would not have been possible without the liberal subvention which she has placed at the disposal of the Delegates of the Press.
For the illustrations themselves I have to record my obligations to Messrs. Allyn and Bacon, of Boston, U.S.A., the publishers of Professor Platner's earlier work, who have generously supplied electrotypes from the original blocks which figured in that work; and to the Italian Ministry of Public Instruction, the German Archaeological Institute, the Director of the Victoria and Albert Museum, Miss D. L. Blaisdell, Miss Dora E. Bulwer, the late Mr. W. A. Casson, Mr. Percival Hart, the late Mr. J. H. Ten Eyck Burr, and the firms of Alinari and Anderson of Rome, for various photographs which they have kindly permitted me to reproduce.3
But when all is said and done, it is to Professor Platner that the work owes its inception and the greater part of its execution: and it may fairly be hoped that its usefulness to students will be such that it will long keep his memory alive even among those who had not the great privilege of his friendship. What that meant to his colleagues is well expressed in the Memorial adopted by the Faculty of Adelbert College of Western Reserve University, of which he had been for thirty-six years a member, which aptly closes with the words: Quis desiderio sit pudor aut modus tam cari capitis 4
T. A. November 29th, 1928.