The Project

Welcome to the Linking Evidence website, an innovative research tool on medieval and early Renaissance Rome. The idea of this project stems from the collaboration between two scholars with long-term projects on Rome, Prof. Claudia Bolgia and Prof. Maurizio Campanelli. They are working together to set up a hyper-textual online multiple database linking different 'evidences' or sources: descriptions of the city from the Mirabilia Romae (1140-42) to the De Varietate Fortunae of Poggio Bracciolini (1431), surviving or lost (but recorded) inscriptions from the same period associated with monuments and works of art, and images of these monuments, including both photographs of their current state and historical visual evidence (drawings, frescoes, prints, engravings etc.) reproducing the appearance of these monuments and artworks in the earlier centuries.

Starting from the pioneering collection of texts about Rome compiled by Valentini and Zucchetti (1940-54), from subsequent critical editions (e.g. Cavallini's, Master Gregory's and Petrarch's) and from the monumental, but outdated, collection of inscriptions by Forcella (1869-1884), all texts have been revised, digitalized and rendered searchable.

One of the strengths of this website is that it offers an 'intelligent' search by monuments, which means that if you search for a monument, the results will include all the relative references even if the sources refer to it by different names, i.e. if you search for Porta Sancti Pauli, you will find all passages referring to this gate, including those calling it Porta de Santo Pavolo, Porta Tigrelia, Porta Capena, Porta S. Paolo, Porta Trigemina, Porta Frumentaria, and Porta Cavina.

In addition to an intelligent search, the project aims to offer a new digital edition of the texts, a hyper-textual database with interactive links between texts and images, and virtual reconstructions of the City based on the textual descriptions, visualized through maps of the 'Romes' of the different medieval and early renaissance writers, where each site/building is linked to related images and texts.

The website addresses all types of hyper-textual searches, such as queries about people's names (ancient, medieval, historical and fictional), sites and toponyms, typologies of buildings, and works of art. It also provides the user with every possible type of cross-referencing between texts and images by means of hyperlinks to highlight their interconnections, similarities and differences.

Linking images to texts and texts to images in a new way, the project plans not only to bridge the gap between philology and art history, but also to create tools that will serve the study of history, archaeology, architectural history, classics, and palaeography.

Note: The first stage (available from November 2014) has focused on the major descriptions from the Mirabilia (1140-42) to the Tractatus de rebus antiquis Urbis Romae (1411) and on the inscriptions from the eleventh century to 1430. Some images (for instance those of the Castrum Sancti Angeli and the inscription of Porta S. Sebastiano) have been included to provide an example of what the website will offer when extended to stage 2, which will also include English translations of the texts.