Roman Restoration and Its Late Antique Legacy: On Time and Architecture


ACLS Fellowship Program


Art History and Classics


This project investigates architectural restoration in the Roman Empire during the profound political and religious transformations of the first to sixth centuries. Then as now, architectural restoration occurred when structures needed repair or upgrading. It is a mistake, however, to see restoration in strictly practical terms. Period rhetoric surrounding architectural destruction and rebuilding, as well as the spatial and decorative configurations of restoration projects, reveal that such architectural interventions also responded to cultural concerns about longevity and ephemerality, tradition and novelty, and piety and empire. From temples and churches to aqueducts and fortifications, the project examines the mechanisms through which the age of “old” structures—variously celebrated, recast, or masked—shaped Roman and late antique perceptions of time in place.