Did you ever wish you could travel back in time to see ancient Rome at the peak of its glory? Now you can thanks to Rome Reborn®, a series of products for personal computers and VR headsets that make it possible to visit the now-vanished ancient city. Computer reconstructions of the buildings and monuments explained to you by leading experts bring the city to life. Rome Reborn® is something new: think of it as the place where virtual tourism meets virtual time travel. Get your feet wet by clicking here to download a free trial version of our application presenting the Roman Forum. It runs on PCs (Mac, Windows 10) and VR headsets (Oculus Rift, HTC Vive).
Rome Reborn® is aimed at students and the general public. You will find it useful if you are studying ancient Rome in a history class, if you are preparing to visit The Eternal City, or if have already done so and want to deepen your understanding of the sites and monuments you saw. In terms of age, tests of Rome Reborn® products show that people from 6 to 96 find Rome Reborn® engaging.
Rome Reborn® is a series of apps and videos that present individual tours of the city, including, for example, the Roman Forum, the Colosseum, the imperial fora, the imperial palace, the Pantheon, and the entire city seen from the air. Think of each app or video as a chapter in a guidebook about ancient Rome. You can gauge how much you have learned by registering on our website and taking our quizzes that will give you your expert rating. When you do well on a quiz, you will earn awards which you can share with your friends on social media.
Rome Reborn® is an international initiative launched in the mid-1990s by the UCLA Cultural Virtual Reality Laboratory. The goal was the creation of 3D digital models illustrating the urban development of ancient Rome from the first settlement in the Bronze Age (ca. 1500 B.C.) to the depopulation of the city in the early Middle Ages (ca. A.D. 550). With the advice of an international scientific advisory committee, the leaders of the project decided that A.D. 320 was the best moment in time to begin the work of modeling. At that time, Rome had reached the peak of its population, and major Christian churches were just beginning to be built. After this date, the capital of the empire left Rome for Constantinople and so few new civic buildings were built. Much of what survives of the ancient city dates to the period around A.D. 320, making reconstruction less speculative than it must unavoidably be for earlier phases.
Version 1.0 of the Rome Reborn® model (owned by the Regents of the University of California) was completed in 2007, version 2.0 in 2008, 2.1 in 2010, 2.2 in 2012. For more information about these versions as well as the names of our past contributors, see https://wiki.digitalclassicist.org/Rome_Reborn. We are very grateful to everyone who helped us to develop Rome Reborn in the early days of the project. The current version of the model, version 3.0 (developed from 2008 until the present), is entirely new in terms of technology and content. It was developed by a talented team of 3D modelers and scholars with private funding. It is version 3.0 that you see in Rome Reborn®.
Over the years, millions of people have read about our project in news outlets such as Newsweek, the New York Times, Scientific American or seen short video fly-throughs of the various versions of the Rome Reborn® model. Rome Reborn® was honored to be the featured project at SIGGRAPH 2008, where it was exhibited in a booth that was 110' x 30' at the entrance to the LA Convention Center. The popularity of the model also explains why Rome Reborn® was selected to be a partner of Smarthistory, the "most-visited art history website in the world." With well over 3 million views as of July 2019, Smarthistory's free educational documentary videos utilizing Rome Reborn® have been the most popular programs produced by this website. You can see Smarthistory's latest video (2019) by clicking here.
Now, the Rome Reborn® team is pleased to make version 3.0 of the model publicly available using Virtual Reality headsets and personal computers (Windows 10 and Mac). You can immerse yourself in the ancient city and even enter into some of its most famous buildings while listening to the commentary of highly qualified experts.
The exclusive developer of products for the Rome Reborn® project is Flyover Zone. The employee-owned company is based in Bloomington, Indiana. Its mission is to use digital technology to create applications presenting the world's cultural heritage sites and monuments. The company's other product lines include Athens Reborn®, Hadrian's Villa Reborn®, Baalbek Reborn®, Egypt Reborn®, and Historical Games®.