The Roman Forum by David Watkin - review by Allan Massie

Allan Massie

Beauty in Ruins

The Roman Forum


Profile Books 240pp £15.99

If you stand in early morning or evening on either the Capitol or the Palatine and look down on the Roman Forum, it may still appear a romantic place where, as Byron wrote: 

in yon field below,

A thousand years of silenced factions sleep – 

The Forum, where the immortal accents glow,

And still the eloquent air breathes – burns with Cicero!

When, however, you step down from the heights and enter the Forum itself, the romance is likely to fade and you will probably find yourself puzzled, bemused and – sadly – bored. David Watkin, Professor of Architectural History at the University of Cambridge, explains why this is so,

Sign Up to our newsletter

Receive free articles, highlights from the archive, news, details of prizes, and much more.

RLF - March

A Mirror - Westend

Follow Literary Review on Twitter