May 16, 2010

Buildings of Ancient Rome

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Available on iTunes and and OU Podcasts

‘Buildings of Ancient Rome’ is another of the consistently good Open University short podcasts. This one describes and details the histories of certain buildings (mainly temples) of Ancient Rome in the Circus Flaminus, Largo Argentina and Roman Forum. Thus it focuses on a few quite small (and, apart from the Forum, less well-known) areas of ancient Roman ruins. The format is a series of 5 short video documentaries (although iTunes only lists 4 videos on its iPod page, it then lists all 5 on the Mac/PC page). The videos are available in a 640×360 format or a smaller iPod optimised format. They range from 2 minutes to 15 minutes in length, and transcripts are also available.

The videos are made entirely of pictures of the temples/buildings being discussed in their current state (with the very occasional floor plan). The audio comprises details of the buildings and their history. There are no reconstructions or interviews. The information comes think and fast – dates of construction (and sometimes destruction), architectural notes, interesting events in their history and how it is thought they were used. It can be hard to orientate yourself – a little knowledge of Rome’s history and layout helps immensely. Interesting, but not introductory.


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