In “Viewing the Temple of Jupiter in Ancient Rome” Associate Professor of Classics Elizabeth Colantoni and her undergraduate researcher Daniel Weiner (double major in Computer Science and Classics) worked with Blair Tinker, the DSL’s GIS specialist, to explore the placement of the Temple of Jupiter.

While much work has been done on the size of the temple (with hypotheses regarding a small or large temple size), there has been limited work about how the monument fit within the larger context of the city of Rome. The team used ArcGIS to recreate the historical landscape of ancient Rome. They were then able to compute “viewsheds” (areas where the temple could be seen throughout the city). From there, Daniel created models of the temple using Sketch-up. The GIS and Sketchup data sets were then brought into Unity gaming engine in order to produce digital reconstructions.

While the hypothetical digital reconstructions cannot definitively resolve questions about the size of the temple or other questions like the path of the triumphal route, they can provide new data points for arguments about issues which have reached an impasses because of lack of evidence. In this way, digital scholarship reveals new perspectives and in doing so furthers the scholarly conversation.