The Theater that was Rome About From the sixteenth through the eighteenth centuries, when the books, maps and single sheet prints that appear on this web site were made, Rome presented itself as a theater of the most advanced engineering feats of the period, as well as of the technological skills to execute and record the decorative programs that went with them. Maps of the city in its new guise as the powerful center of Christendom also documented the growth of curiosity about its antique history and pagan past, displaying all the forms of cartographic knowledge available throughout the period.
About The Collection The Speculum Romanae Magnificentiae is a collection of engravings of Rome and Roman antiquities, the core of which consists of prints published by Antonio Lafreri and gathered under a title page he printed in the mid-1570's. Copies of the Speculum vary greatly in the number of prints, and individual prints were reissued and changed over time. The University of Chicago Library's copy of the Speculum Romanae Magnificentiae contains nearly 1,000 prints and is the largest in the world. The Library's copy arrived in the 1890's as a part of the Berlin Collection, a large lot of books and manuscripts purchased for the Library from S. Calvary and Co. in Berlin.