In 2014, I began building a 3D model of Rome in the Age of August using Minecraft. The model is being built at a 1:1 ratio, whereby one game building-block equals one meter square. Because the building-blocks are one meter square, not every building will be an exact replica, but considering what Minecraft has to offer in terms of first-person exploration and relative ease of building, I feel this one imperfection can be overlooked. When possible all buildings are researched in primary sources--ancient texts, Severan marble plan, numismatics, sculptures, base reliefs, frescoes, mosaics and extant remains--and secondary sources--peer reviewed journals, books, other models of the ancient city and sketches of the city. When a building was mentioned only once in a text and nothing else remains of it, I recreate it with reasonable conjecture--this means I model the building on existing models.
The same process is used for the creation of the textures which I use to color the city. Ancient Rome was not a city of white marble and reddish bricks. It was built of those materials, but the Romans, like other ancient people, had a particular taste for polychrome (many colors).
The expected date of completion is 2018-2019.
Once completed, this model will be one of the first, if not the first, fully immersive 3D models of the ancient city in the Age of Augustus. As such, I will be publicly releasing the map for everyone's enjoyment.
Why the Age of Augustus? I teach high school Latin levels I-AP. Nearly all of the literature in the high school curriculum for levels I-AP comes from the Golden Age of Latin literature--approx. 75 BC - 14 AD. For me, it made sense that my students see what Augustus and his contemporaries would have seen. This means no Flavian Amphitheater (Colosseum) and more conjecture on my part since many of the extant buildings are remnants from a later time in Rome. The extra time and research are well worth it, allowing students to witness a more accurate reality than portrayed in the mainstream consumption of all things ancient Roman.
On this page, I plan to update periodically with images and descriptions of major buildings and areas under construction and completed. It will be here, too, when I shall announce the completion of the 3D model and its release date.
Current Progress as of 2018
The website below shows pictures of current progress.