Ancient Rome – Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore

view across the steps of St. Mary Major
Basilica of St. Mary Maggiore by Northfielder

It’s very hard to imagine, today, what residents and visitors to Rome would have experienced when they were in the buildings we can still visit today.  While renovations changed the facade of Santa Maria Maggiore, the structure of the interior is much the same. However, buildings around it block some of the light from earlier windows, while electric lighting and sound systems, chairs and curtains and glass walls to separate zones for prayer, and other modern innovations make it difficult to imagine the experience of worship in that space when it was first built.

Computer Visualization of the Ancient World: Santa Maria Maggiore

A new breed of scholar, the digital humanist, uses 21st century animation and visualization tools to present the results of archeological and historical study of the ancient world.  Bernard Frischer, Director of the Virtual World Heritage Laboratory, shares his work on the history of St. Maria Maggiore.  His short video tour of a virtual Santa Maria Maggiore as it was in 430 A.D. at the time of its construction brings it alive.

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