Engineering the Eternal City: Infrastructure, Topography, and the Culture of Knowledge in Late Sixteenth-Century Rome

University of Chicago Press
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Between the catastrophic flood of the Tiber River in 1557 and the death of the “engineering pope” Sixtus V in 1590, the city of Rome was transformed by intense activity involving building construction and engineering projects of all kinds. Using hundreds of archival documents and primary sources, Engineering the Eternal City explores the processes and people involved in these infrastructure projects—sewers, bridge repair, flood prevention, aqueduct construction, the building of new, straight streets, and even the relocation of immensely heavy ancient Egyptian obelisks that Roman emperors had carried to the city centuries before.

This portrait of an early modern Rome examines the many conflicts, failures, and successes that shaped the city, as decision-makers tried to control not only Rome’s structures and infrastructures but also the people who lived there. Taking up visual images of the city created during the same period—most importantly in maps and urban representations, this book shows how in a time before the development of modern professionalism and modern bureaucracies, there was far more wide-ranging conversation among people of various backgrounds on issues of engineering and infrastructure than there is in our own times. Physicians, civic leaders, jurists, cardinals, popes, and clerics engaged with painters, sculptors, architects, printers, and other practitioners as they discussed, argued, and completed the projects that remade Rome.
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About the author

Pamela O. Long is an independent historian of late medieval and early modern Europe and of the history of science and technology. Her books include Openness, Secrecy, Authorship: Technical Arts and the Culture of Knowledge from Antiquity to the Renaissance and Artisan/Practitioners and the Rise of the New Sciences, 1400–1600.
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Additional Information

Publisher
University of Chicago Press
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Published on
Nov 20, 2018
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Pages
368
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ISBN
9780226591315
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Language
English
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Genres
Architecture / History / Renaissance
History / Europe / Italy
History / Europe / Renaissance
History / General
Technology & Engineering / History
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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This book is the first substantial study in any language of one of revolutionary Russia's most distinguished and controversial engineers - Iurii Vladimirovich Lomonosov (1876-1952). Not only does it provide an outline of his remarkable life and career, it also explores the relationship between science, technology and transport that developed in late tsarist and early Soviet Russia. Lomonosov's importance extends well beyond his scientific and engineering achievements thanks to the rich variety and public prominence of his professional and political activities. His generation - Lenin's generation - was inevitably at the forefront of Russian life from the 1910s to the 1930s, and Lomonosov took his place there as one of the country's best known and ultimately notorious engineers. As well as an innovative engineer who campaigned to enhance the role of science, he played a major role in shaping and administering the Russian railways, and undertook several diplomatic and scientific missions to the West during the early years of the Revolution. Falling from political favour during an assignment in Germany (1923-1927), he achieved notoriety in Russia as a 'non-returner' by apparently declining to return home. Thereby escaping probable arrest and execution, he began a new life abroad (1927-1952) which included a research post at the California Institute of Technology in 1929-1930, collaborative projects with the famous physicist P.L. Kapitsa in Cambridge, a long-time association with the Institution of Mechanical Engineers in London, and work for the British War Office during the Second World War. From Marxist revolutionary to American academic, this study reveals Lomonosov's extraordinary life. Drawing on a wide variety of official Russian sources, as well as Lomonosov's own diaries and memoirs, a vivid portrait of his life is presented, offering a better understanding of how science, technology and politics interacted in early-twentieth-century Russia.
In today's world of intellectual property disputes, industrial espionage, and book signings by famous authors, one easily loses sight of the historical nature of the attribution and ownership of texts. In Openness, Secrecy, Authorship: Technical Arts and the Culture of Knowledge from Antiquity to the Renaissance, Pamela Long combines intellectual history with the history of science and technology to explore the culture of authorship. Using classical Greek as well as medieval and Renaissance European examples, Long traces the definitions, limitations, and traditions of intellectual and scientific creation and attribution. She examines these attitudes as they pertain to the technical and the practical. Although Long's study follows a chronological development, this is not merely a general work. Long is able to examine events and sources within their historical context and locale. By looking at Aristotelian ideas of Praxis, Techne, and Episteme. She explains the tension between craft and ideas, authors and producers. She discusses, with solid research and clear prose, the rise, wane, and resurgence of priority in the crediting and lionizing of authors. Long illuminates the creation and re-creation of ideas like "trade secrets," "plagiarism," "mechanical arts," and "scribal culture." Her historical study complicates prevailing assumptions while inviting a closer look at issues that define so much of our society and thought to this day. She argues that "a useful working definition of authorship permits a gradation of meaning between the poles of authority and originality," and guides us through the term's nuances with clarity rarely matched in a historical study. -- Pamela H. Smith, Pomona College, Claremont
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