Model of Rome Took Thirty Years to Build (Jun, 1934)

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Model of Rome Took Thirty Years to Build

After more than thirty years of work, a French architect, Paul Bigot, has completed a stupendous task, the building of an accurate relief map of Rome as it was about the fourth century, A.D., when the city was at the peak of its power. At that time Rome was the center of as much of the world as was then known. It had gathered the riches of conquered countries and was crowded with temples, palaces, shrines and stadiums. Few of these have escaped destruction but most of the structures have left a trace, either in book or in stone, and M. Bigot carefully studied every source of Roman history before attempting to construct this ancient city as the Caesars knew it. The plaster model of the Eternal City is twenty feet wide and forty feet long and thousands of little blocks represent the monuments and buildings of the past. The scale is one to 400 and three-fourths of the city is represented. Every detail is carefully reproduced so that looking at the model gives the same impression, it is claimed, as though the observer had been able to fly over the Rome of ancient days and view the city from an airplane. The model has been placed for exhibition in the Paris institute of art and archaeology.

  1. StanFlouride says: October 11, 20081:23 am

    I wonder whether this was the basis for this one which is 66’x66′ (20mx20m)
    The wikipedia description says that it was built from 1935 to 1971, a year after the one shown here.
    A very cool model (at least it looks the same as the one in the Museum of Roman Civilization)
    I visited 3 or 4 times, bringing a modern map to compare. Many of the streets and avenues still exist as do the ruins from that era.

  2. Toronto says: October 11, 20081:38 am

    Never mind the model, did you notice the proto-VW on the next page? KDF-Wagen, wasn’t it?

  3. Marc B. says: October 11, 20086:10 am

    This model is probably very similar to the one in the Museum of Roman Civilization in Rome[1], as they show the city in the same time frame. The article here does not give the source on which the artist his model, but the one in the museum is based upon the “Forma Urbis Romae”.[2]


  4. Tom says: October 11, 20089:07 am


    I saw that too. I wondered if it was a Zuendapp, but that had covered rear wheel wells. I think it is a prototype.

  5. gianfranco D. says: October 11, 20081:06 pm

    The plaster is now at the University of Caen (France).…

  6. Steve says: October 11, 200810:24 pm

    Well, you know the old saying… “(model of) Rome wasn’t built in a day. 🙂

  7. Toronto says: October 12, 20081:09 am

    Steve: *groan*

  8. Mike Gutman says: October 12, 20087:40 pm

    Re the rear engine mystery auto: “In order to permit of(sic) more streamlining…(?)” How’d that ever get by the editors? I suspect that the engine was actually over the rear axle ala VW and Porche, not just behind the front seats as it looks like there were rear seats.

  9. nlpnt says: October 13, 20087:23 pm

    I think it’s a Mercedes 170H- there’s a rear view of one on the Wikipedia page “Rear engine Mercedes” (this site won’t let me post the link, sorry); it’s identical except that car is a sedan and this is a cabrio-limousine.

  10. Torgo says: October 13, 20089:58 pm

    I love this kind of thing. If I had one in my basement I would never need TV again.

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