Sept. 11: Washington Area Group for Print Culture Studies

August 31, 2015

Pamela O. Long will deliver a talk, "Engineering, Cartography, Antiquarianism, and the Culture of Print in Late Sixteenth-Century Rome"

3:30 to 5:00 pm, Rosenwald Room (LJ205), 2nd Floor, Jefferson Building, Library of Congress.


This talk is about how engineering, cartography, and antiquarianism were tied together and driven by the culture of print in late sixteenth-century Rome

From mid- to late-sixteenth-century Rome, the capital city of Christianity was a booming construction site, a vibrant center for engineering projects involving aqueduct repair and flood control, a focus of intense investigation of ancient ruins and other antiquities, and a center for numerous print shops. The proprietors of these shops sold books, maps of Rome, and images of Roman monuments, while at the same time they engaged in intense and sometimes murderous rivalries. In this period Roman urban topography was altered by the construction and renovation of huge churches and palaces; by the repair and reconstruction of two ancient aqueducts, and the creation of numerous elegant new fountains; by the building of new streets and the widening and paving of existing streets; and by the transport of the great monolithic Egyptian obelisks from their ancient locations to new places that marked important basilicas and plazas. In addition, numerous efforts were made to control the flooding of the unruly Tiber River.  At the same time, numerous individuals surveyed the city walls and other parts of the city and constructed maps—of ancient Rome as it was imagined and maps of the contemporary city.

Pamela O. Long is an independent historian who has published widely in the history of technology and science and cultural history centered on fifteenth and sixteenth century Europe. Her publications include Openness, Secrecy, Authorship: Technical Arts and the Culture of Knowledge from Antiquity to the Renaissance (2001); and Artisan/Practitioners and the Rise of the New Sciences, 1400-1600 (2011).

Please join us for Dr. Long's talk and for dinner afterwards.
The Jefferson Building is located between First and Second Streets, SE in the District of Columbia. Nearest metro stops are Capitol South (blue and orange lines) and Union Station (red line).
For further information, consult the Washington Area Group for Print Culture Studies website at, or contact Sabrina Baron and Eleanor Shevlin at washagpcs "AT"
For their encouragement and support, the Washington Area Group for Print Culture Studies would like to thank Mark Dimunation, Chief of the Rare Book and Special Collections at the Library of Congress, and John Y. Cole, director of the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress.