The Remains of Antique Rome – The Beginning of Archeology
In the 14th century the different materials and literal remains of the ancient world had determinant effects on the intellectual life in Italy. Certainly the most and greatest of the remained ruins were in Rome, so the city was a popular target for travellers even in the middle ages. The passer-bys in Rome were happy to supply the pilgims with plenty of unreliable information. Many of the once splendid buildings had undoubtedly disappeared by that time. When in 1430 Poggio Bracciolini climbed the Capitol hill he saw only deserted fields around. The Forum was inhabited by pigs and unweeded vegetation.
By the 15th century some of the scientists of the court, like Leon Battista Alberti, the famous architect and historian started to uncover and identify the old buildings, sculptures and “recreate” the ancient city. Within a short time they had learnt Rome better, than anyone else in one thousand years. Artists drew the remained crumbling, ivy-covered ruins and tried to reconstruct the original beauty of the palaces and temples. Architects were searching the building rules and methods. The drawings and prints went round in whole Europe.