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Review of A. Augenti Il Palatino nel Medioevo, Roma, Ed. Erma di Bretschneider, 1996

The destiny of most important archeological sites of the classical age is to suffer the inevitable lamentation about the absence or the low presence of the evidences leaved by the past next to, medieval or modern.
And if it is easy today for us charged the last century archaeologist-antiquarian, always witness, sometimes conniver or author of the destructions or of the omissions that today render more difficult the reading of all that it's not "classical", yet we should try to retrace and sew the threads of a past deliberately blanked and unremembered; because the present time risk is to consider only which that you could be seen and admire, until to extrapolate the object from the own context, deliberately forgetting again the presence of a former, an after, a different one.
The Augenti's work is meritorious then, because it illustrates the state of the question, making wealthy the actual our acquaistances with reasonable doubts and with new proposals of interpretations about one the more important sites of the ancient Rome, the Palatine; and it's a legitimate point of departure for new searches.
Augenti divides his book in two parts: the first follows a chronological thread; the second installs topographically, with the help of cards, the archaeological finds.
Augenti explains the continuity of the Palatine as a place of power, until the time limit of the mid-VIII century, when the Church, after the attempt of replacing the Roman Empire last civic authority, the Bizantine Duke, decides to return to the Laterano; and he explains the discontinuance, like the use as a garbage dump in the south-west zone, or the abandonment of many buildings scattered for all the hill.
An important subject is how the Church conquests the Palatine and its propaganda and power places, with the formalities well known in Western Mediterranean area, a sage untraumatic overlap/substitution of the Pagan cults and of the Roman Empire administration.
The publication is concluded by five short and interesting monographic appendixes: A late Roman Amphitheater in the Palatine; The Cemetery of Santa Maria Antiqua; The excavation beside the Severiane Arcades: first results (with the contribution of Nicola Marletta and Massimiliano Munzi); Early-medieval sculptural Finds; New Documents about the Frangipane family.

Gianfranco De Rossi

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