Rodolfo Amedeo Lanciani (2 January 1845 – 22 May 1929) was an Italian archaeologist, a pioneering student of ancient Roman topography, and among his many excavations was that of the House of the Vestals in the Roman Forum.
Lanciani was born in Rome, although some state he was born in Montecelio, now Guidonia Montecelio. He was professor of Roman topography at the Università di Roma from 1878 until 1927. He is known today chiefly for his Forma Urbis Romae (1893‑1901) and the Storia degli scavi, a regular summary of Roman excavations that started appearing in 1902. His students included Giulio Giglioli. Together with important British art historians such as Austen Henry Layard he re-edited the original 1843 guidebook to Rome for John Murray.
He was a member of the Accademia dei Lincei and the Academia di S. Lucia. He received numerous honorary degrees, including those from Aberdeen, Würzburg, Oxford, Harvard, and Glasgow.
He was married twice, first to an American woman and then to the British widow of Prince Colonna.
Lanciani formed a core of distinguished late nineteenth-century scholars of the Roman forum including Henri Jordan, Christian Huelsen, Samuel Ball Platner, and Thomas Ashby. Richard Brilliant described Lanciani's Ruins and Excavations of Ancient Rome as "undiminished in vitality as a study of ancient Roman ruins" (1967). He died in Rome on 22 May 1929.
Forma Urbis Romae
Lanciani's great work was the production of a map of the ancient city of Rome. The work was realized as a set of 46 very detailed maps of ancient Rome issued in 1893‑1901, which remains unsurpassed to this day, even if there have been many new discoveries since. The maps measure 25 by 36 inches and were originally presented in a scale of 1:1000. The scheme of the map outlines the ancient buildings of features of Rome in black ink, while the modern city is plotted in red.
- L'aula e gli uffici del senato romano. (Curia hostilia iulia: Secretarium senatus) (1883)
- Ancient Rome in the light of recent discoveries (1888) (online at LacusCurtius)
- L'itinerario di Einsiedeln e l'ordine di Benedetto canonico (1891)
- Pagan and Christian Rome (1896) (online at LacusCurtius) (online at ProjectGutenberg)
- The ruins and excavations of ancient Rome; a companion book for students and travelers (1897) (online at Questia)
- The destruction of ancient Rome; a sketch of the history of the monuments (1899) (online at InternetArchive)
- New tales of old Rome (1901) (online at InternetArchive)
- The golden days of the renaissance in Rome, from the pontificate of Julius II to that of Paul III (1906) (online at InternetArchive)
- Wanderings in the Roman campagna (1909) (online at InternetArchive)
- The Roman forum; a photographic description of its monuments (1910) (online at Questia)
- Wanderings through ancient Roman churches (1924)
- Ancient and modern Rome (1925)
- Notes from Rome (republ. 1988)
- Storia degli scavi di Roma e notizie intorno le collezioni romane di antichità Editorial projected coordinated by Leonello Malvezzi Campeggi. Thus far (2006), 7 volumes have appeared. (volumes 1, 2, 3 and 4 online at InternetArchive)
- Lanciani, Rodolfo. in the Dictionary of Art Historians Lee Sorensen, ed.
- Necrology in "Archaeological News" by Edward H. Heffner and Chester C. McCown; E. P. B., in American Journal of Archaeology 34.1 (Jan., 1930), pp. 61–102. (Lanciani's biography appears on p. 62).
- Obituary in The New York Times "PROF. LANCIANI DIES; FAMOUS SCIENTIST; Was Long One of the World's Leading Archaeologists-- Reached Age of 82. REVEALED ANCIENT ROME Made Many Discoveries About Past in Excavation Work--An Italian Senator." May 23, 1929. p. 26.
- Works by Rodolfo Amedeo Lanciani at Project Gutenberg
- Images from Lanciani’s 1897 Ruins & Excavations of Ancient Rome