Everyone has the fantasy wish of going back in time for a brief visit. But assuming you had only one trip you could take, where would you go? I’ve thought about this quite a lot. Obsessively, actually.
Some of my choices: fifth century B.C. Athens, Paris in 1750, London in 1850, Florence in 1500, New York City in 1932, Charleston in 1860, Edo (Tokyo) in 1850, Constantinople in 1200, Baghdad in 900, Vienna in 1825, Babylon in 1200 B.C., Thebes in 1800 B.C., Buenos Aires in 1910…and Rome at the time of Augustus: 10 B.C.
Now if I could only go on one trip, it would be ancient Rome. I would do all the touristy things, like taking in a gladiator match at the Colosseum, watching a chariot race at the Circus, taking the waters at the Baths of Diocletian, hearing a recital at the Theater of Marcellus, and attending a sacrifice at one of the numerous temples. And if it really came down it, I would try to arrange a trip that would put me in Rome in time to see the Triumphal Procession of some victorious general or emperor. Put me down for one ticket, please. Round trip, coach would be fine. I’ll be staying about a month.
Until someone figures out how to build a time machine, this is pure fantasy. However, there is an ongoing project called “Rome Reborn“, an international initiative which seeks to eventually provide detailed virtual “fly-throughs” of ancient Rome at various stages in its history, from about 1000 B.C to its final period of decline up to around A.D. 550. This project began over ten years ago and will continue for many more years. It may never be completed. Here’s the latest version…
Other people are also jumping into the act. Here’s a fly-through of just the Roman Forum with even greater detail: