Encyclopedia Ichnographica

Dixon, Susan M.


Dixon, Susan M.

Re: Piranesi
2003.01.02 16:20

Hi Sue,
Thanks for sending a copy of the Piranesi essay. I haven't read it all yet, but I like the fullness of the histories provided. A couple corrections are necessary, however.

The complex behind Hadrian's tomb includes the Circus Hardiani and the Circus Domitiae, which is a circus made-up by Piranesi and named for Domitia, Nero's great aunt who once owned much of the property that is delineated upon--Nero got the property and added it to the Imperial holdings. Note also that Piranesi labels the area Horti Domitiae, which was the name of the place once upon a time.

Traditionally, the Triumphal Way prepared /started in the Campo Marzio and made its way to the Triumphal Arch, where the procession entered the city proper. There are no archeological remains of the Triumphal arch/gate, thus some believe it was either closed until a triumph or that an opening in the Severian Wall was manifest with each triumph. Piranesi has the triumph preparing in the Vatican Valley, thus playing with the inverting history of the Triumphal Way when, after Christianity was Imperially sanctioned, the processions ended at St. Peter's. [The whole double sided nature of Piranesi's delineation of the Triumphal Way within the Ichnographia was addressed in "Inside the Density of G.B. Piranesi's Ichnographia Campi Martii," the paper I presented at Brussels, 1999.]

Re: Piranesi
2003.01.03 13:33


As to the double nature of Piranesi's delineation of the Triumphal Way, my take on what Piranesi did is that he purposefully made/designed it to be both pagan and Christian because that is exactly the history of the Roman Triumph. Piranesi knew the whole history, and he cleverly rendered all of it within the Ichnographia. What appear to be mistakes within the Ichnographia are more sign-posts of issues to paid closer attention to.


Envisioning the Past
2005.06.25 14:15

Sam Smiles and Stephanie Moser, editors, Envisioning the Past: Archaeology and the Image (Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishing, 2005).

I've been looking forward to getting/reading this book for almost a year now because of Susan M. Dixon's "Illustrating Ancient Rome, or the Ichnographia as Uchronis and Other Time Warps in Piranesi's Il Campo Marzio." therein.

I've known Sue Dixon since 1975, as we started architecture school together. Sue and I had many phone conversations regarding Piranesi and the Campo Marzio from 1994 to 1997. We hardly communicate at all anymore, and that's mostly because Sue sees my Campo Marzio work as too outside the realm of academia and also somewhat infringing upon the work that she herself wanted/wants to do. In her last email to me (of almost two years ago) she actually suggested that "publishing via the web is not copyrighted." Of course, I immediately informed her that her supposition was completely bogus, and it is indeed unfortunate that such a notion is indicative of how academia chooses to view any kind of publishing that is outside of academia's own control.

I still like Sue, but I don't like the academic mold that she and all others like her have to conform to. I particularly dislike how my unprecedented Campo Marzio work remains academically unrecognized. Granted, I was surprised to find Sue actually mentioned me in a footnote within her essay above, but all that really does is point to a rather large lacunae in her references. I'll be "de-constructing" "Illustrating Ancient Rome..." in a series of subsequent posts... Here's something for starters:

The whole point of Dixon's "Illustrating Ancient Rome..." occurs in one sentence on page 121:

"In this sense, the Ichnographia reads as a memory of an ancient Roman past rather than a historical reconstruction of it."

This passage is remarkably similary to a sentence within the abstract to "Inside the Density of G.B Piranesi's Ichnographia Campi Martii" which I wrote in 1999:

"The hundreds of individual building plans and their Latin labels within the Campo Marzio do not "reconstruct" ancient Rome as much as they "reenact" it."

It looks like Sue hasn't realized that human memory itself is nothing but a reenactment.

...footnote 16 of "Illustrating Ancient Rome..." reads:
I thank Stephen Lauf for pointing out this late fourth-century monument. It is situated on the right bank of the Tiber, just south of the bridge leading to the Mausoleum of Hadrian.

The monument Dixon notes is the Arch of Gratian and Valentinian II, but the arch that Piranesi delineates within the Ichnographia is the Arch of Gratian, Valentinian and Theodosius, so I'm not really sure what Sue is thanking me for (and I certainly hope that she is not somehow covertly implicating me as to making a mistaking identification). There are a couple of possibilities as to what really happened here:

1. Sue could be recalling some long ago phone conversation that we had. I doubt this though.

2. Sue is referencing (albeit incorrectly) page 6.1 of "Inside the Density...". If this is the case, then she should certainly have provided the full bibliographical reference.

3. Sue could be referencing the "Honorius, Flavius" entry of Encyclopedia Ichnographica that was published at Quondam in 1998. The Arch of Gratian, Valentinian and Theodosius is indicated there as well.

Lost's ending

I now suspect, after seeing the third episode of Lost season 5 last night, that Lost will end with all of its original cast alive and together. This is how I see the current time traveling coming to a conclusion. It will be like Finnegans Wake and like Il Campo Marzio. Too bad Bloomer didn't make this vital connection.

So now it's exploration of the possibilities of the space-time continuum. Like Proust was a neuroscientist, was Piranesi, with the Ichnographia Campus Martius, a scientist of the fourth dimension? (Here is where I have to review Dixon's "Ichnographia as Uchronia".) Is Ichnographia Quondam also a study/experiment of architecture (and urbanism) in the fourth dimension? For IQ the time continuum connection is the Axis of Life/Parkway connection, which comes after Piranesi's own Porticus Neronianus/St. Peter's connection.

2010.09.14 15:29

Hello Susan,
Thought you might be interested in some documentation I just published at Quondam regarding Piranesi's use of Bufalini's 1551 map of Rome in redrawing some parts of ancient Rome within the Ichnographia Campus Martius --wqc/e25/2590.

Piranesi's use of Bufalini's data relates directly to the hypothesis of your 1995 paper "Methods of Archaeological Reconstruction in Piranesi's Il Campo Marzio dell'antica Roma (1762)." Perhaps you already know of this connection between Bufalini and Piranesi, but I haven't found any prior reference to "Piranesi and Bufalini", at least not online.

I've been spending some time this year reworking the Encyclopedia Ichnographica beginning at wqc/25. Hope you are doing well.
Steve Lauf



3702d 3715b 3754h 3785c

Quondam © 2017.12.06