ROME – Computer experts on Monday unveiled a digital reproduction of ancient Rome as it appeared at the peak of its power in A.D. 320 – what they called the largest and most complete simulation of a historic city ever created.
Visitors to virtual Rome will be able to do even more than ancient Romans did: They can crawl through the bowels of the Colosseum, filled with lion cages and primitive elevators, and fly up for a detailed look at bas-reliefs and inscriptions atop triumphal arches.
The simulation reconstructs some 7,000 buildings at the time of emperor Constantine, when Rome was a vibrant and cosmopolitan city of about 1 million people, said Bernard Frischer of the University of Virginia, who led the project.
The $2 million simulation will be used by scientists to run experiments – such as determining the crowd capacity of ancient buildings – and as a scholarly journal that will be updated at each new discovery of one of Rome’s marvels.
Frischer said students and tourists can also use the program to learn about ancient Rome.
Virtual Rome: www.romereborn.virginia.edu