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History in Review



The Past and Present Series
Reviewed by Rochelle Caviness - January 8, 2004

The Past and Present Series is finally available in North America. This series of historical guidebooks is currently being distributed in North America by J. Paul Getty Museum. To date, four books are available:

Christian Rome: Early Christian Rome Catacombs and Basilicas Christian Rome: Early Christian Rome Catacombs and Basilicas
By Philippe Pergola. Past and Present Series. English Translation by A. Potter. (Vision S.r.l., Rome: 2000. Pgs. 98. Illustrations, Drawings, Overlays, Map. Spiral Bound.) ISBN: 88-8162-101-0.


Italy: Monuments Past and Present Italy: Monuments Past and Present
By Philippe Pergola. Past and Present Series. English Translation by A. Potter. (Vision S.r.l., Rome: 2000. Pgs. 98. Illustrations, Drawings, Overlays, Map. Spiral Bound.) ISBN: 88-8162-101-0.

Israel: Past and Present Israel: Past and Present. By D. Bahat. (Vision S.r.l., Rome: 1998. Pgs. 76. Illustrations, Overlays, Maps. Spiral Bound.) ISBN: 88-8162-083-9


Jordan: Past and Present Jordan: Past and Present. Petra, Jerash, Amman By E. Borgia. English Translation by A. Potter. (Vision S.r.l., Rome: 2001. Pgs. 76. Illustrations, Overlays, Maps. Spiral Bound.) ISBN: 88-8162-124-X.


These guidebooks are unique for a variety of reasons, most importantly the inclusion of overlays. The overlays show how the various monuments, buildings, and archaeological sites looked when they were originally constructed. When you remove the overlay, you can see how the various sites and items look today. Each volume is spiral bound and includes an historical overview of the area or topic under discussion. These books contain a wealth of illustrations ranging from images of ancient artwork, statuary, interior and exterior pictures of public and private buildings, to maps and modern artwork depicting ancient events or architecture and photographs of historically significant sites, such as a picture of the modern port at Caesarea in Israel. Additionally the various structures, artwork, and cultural artifacts pictured throughout the texts are discussed in detail.

These books will be of interest to both armchair travelers and actual travelers, and those interested in art history, history, and archaeology. Despite their relatively small size (about 22 X 16˝ X 2 cm) these books are jammed-packed with information and are lavishly illustrated. Their diminutive size makes them easy to carry with when actually traveling to the sites in question. For those who cannot actually go and see these sites in person, these books are one of the best 'next to actually being there' books that I've come across.


Related Reviews:

Monuments Past and Present - Ancient Sicily & Ancient Lebanon, by Gaetano Messineo, Emanuela Borgia, and Maria José Strazzulla.
Guidebooks from Vision S.r.l. covering ancient Sicily and Lebanon with overlays showing how various ruins looked when they were originally constructed.

Late Antiquity: A Guide to the Postclassical World, Edited by G.W. Bowersock, Peter Brown, and Oleg Grabar.
Late Antiquity is both an encyclopedia and a book of essays. The text will act as a guide, opening new vistas and encouraging you to pursue further study into a unique period of time. It is also an unparalleled and valuable reference work.

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