The Pope’s Archaeologist
The life and times of Carlo Fea
This is the biography of the most important archaeologist in early nineteenth century Rome. Carlo Fea was the longest serving and most important of the Commissioners of Antiquity as the office founded in 1534 was called (see author's article in Xenia 1992).
He was also a brilliant lawyer and drafted most of the important legislation to protect antiquities during his long office (1800-1836). He made many famous discoveries in Rome, especially in the Forum; in fact, he was a keen observer of other most prominent figures, such as Canova, Valadier, Canine, the Duchess of Devonshire, Nibby, the Viscontis (the father and both sons), Borghesi, Akerblad and all the villains such as Fagan, Hamilton and Jenkins.
This is then an account of Roman archaeology from the 1770s until the 1830s, set against the background of the man who was the highest government official in charge of excavation and the preservation of the monuments. The book is based on Fea’s own enormous published output, the vast array of the other contemporary published material and the hundreds of boxes of documents in various archives in Rome. It is liberally illustrated.
The author is othewise best known in this field for his account of the archaeology of Rome 1809-1814: The eagle and the spade, CUP 1992.
Sommario: Acknowledgements; List of illustrations; List of figures; Introduction; From Pigna to priesthood; The law is abandoned for archaeology; Publications and patrons; Political pamphleteer and prisoner; Commissioner of antiquities; New laws for antiquities: the Edict of 1802; The first major clearances of monuments and the first court case; The French occupation; An international epigraphical fracas; Major discoveries in the Forum; Battles on land and water; The Pacca Edict; To court over Veii; The court case over the Baths of Caracalla and the Tiber controversy; The rebuilding of St Paul’s and the disaster at Tivoli; The excavation of the Forum; The discovery of the Etruscans; Fea and the aqueducts; The master of the law courts; The final years; The ecclesiastical historian and papal propagandist; The life in archaeology; Appendices; Notes; Bibliography; Index.