The Restoration of the Roman Forum in Late Antiquity

[ Classics and Ancient World ]

The Restoration of the Roman Forum in Late Antiquity

Transforming Public Space

By Gregor Kalas

The first comprehensive examination of the Roman Forum in late antiquity, this book explores the cultural significance of restoring monuments and statues in the city’s preeminent public space, demonstrating shifts in patronage, political power, historical associations, and aesthetics.

April 2015

Not yet published; available for pre-order


33% website discount price


8.5 x 11 | 256 pp.

ISBN: 978-0-292-76078-3

In The Restoration of the Roman Forum in Late Antiquity, Gregor Kalas examines architectural conservation during late antiquity period at Rome’s most important civic center: the Roman Forum. During the fourth and fifth centuries CE—when emperors shifted their residences to alternate capitals and Christian practices overtook traditional beliefs—elite citizens targeted restoration campaigns so as to infuse these initiatives with political meaning. Since construction of new buildings was a right reserved for the emperor, Rome’s upper echelon funded the upkeep of buildings together with sculptural displays to gain public status. Restorers linked themselves to the past through the fragmentary reuse of building materials and, as Kalas explores, proclaimed their importance through prominently inscribed statues and monuments, whose placement within the existing cityscape allowed patrons and honorees to connect themselves to the celebrated history of Rome.

Building on art historical studies of spolia and exploring the Forum over an extended period of time, Kalas demonstrates the mutability of civic environments. The Restoration of the Roman Forum in Late Antiquity maps the evolution of the Forum away from singular projects composed of new materials toward an accretive and holistic design sensibility. Overturning notions of late antiquity as one of decline, Kalas demonstrates how perpetual reuse and restoration drew on Rome’s venerable past to proclaim a bright future.

Gregor Kalas is Associate Professor of Architectural History and Theory in the School of Architecture at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.

"The Restoration of the Roman Forum in Late Antiquity is a well-researched, clearly argued, and perceptive analysis that is simultaneously a nuanced interpretation of a significant historical civic center and an overview of how evolving microchanges to urban environments recalibrate contemporary aesthetics and memories."
―Diane Favro, Professor of Architecture and Urban Design, UCLA