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De Obelisco Cæsaris Augusti E Campi Martii Ruderibus Nuper Eruto Commentarius Auctore Angelo Maria Bandinio Accedunt Cll. Virorum Epistolæ Atque Opuscula.

Angelo Maria Bandini 1726-1803.

RA Collection: Book

Record number



Angelo Maria Bandini, 1726-1803.

Variant Title

Dell'Obelisco Di Cesare Augusto Scavato Dalle Rovine Del Campo Marzo Commentario


Romæ: MDCCL., Ex Typographia Palladis - Excudebant Nicolaus Et Marcus Pallearini Bibliopolæ Et Typographi Romani. Superiorum Facultate.

Physical Description

xxii, 114, [2] cx, [2], xix, [1] p., 4 (fold.) pl.: illus. ; 411 mm. (Quarto.)

General Note

Plate III is not numbered. Plates numbered I and II are pasted together to form one image. A copy in the Sackler library at Oxford University is catalogued as having [11] leaves of plates.


[T.p., add. t.p., dedic.] - Præfatio / Prefazione - Index Capitum / Indice De' Capitoli; Index Epistolarum &c. - De Obelisco ... / Dell' Obelisco ... - Clarorum Virorum Epistolæ ... / Lettere ... - Approbationes; Imprimatur - Index Rerum ... - Errata; Registro - [Plates] - Lettera Del Sig. Ernesto Freeman ... Del P. Ruggiero Giuseppe Boscovich ... - [Colophon].

Responsibility Note

Bandini's text is followed by letters of G. Poleni, G.A. Colombo, R.G. Boscovich, O. Cametti, J. Marinoni, S. Maffei, L.A. Muratori, G.M. de Bose, Euler, Weidler, C.L.B. di Wolff, Heinsius, James Stuart and E. Freeman.

Plates II and [III] are signed as drawn and engraved by J. Stuart; plates I and IV are unsigned. Head- and tailpieces, ornamental initials and the illustration on page xx are unsigned. The title-page vignette (on both title-pages) carries the initial of the publishers, 'NMP'.

The work is dedicated by the author to Pope Benedict XIV.


A study of the re-use of the obelisks is G. Cipriani, Gli obelischi egizi: politica e cultura nella Roma barocca (1993).

Summary Note

An Italian title is given on an added title-page: 'Dell'Obelisco Di Cesare Augusto Scavato Dalle Rovine Del Campo Marzo Commentario ...'. The text throughout is printed in Latin and Italian in parallel double columns.

The publication-date of 1749 is carried by Plate II. The colophon following the 'Lettera Del Sig. Ernesto Freeman ... Del P. Ruggiero Giuseppe Boscovich' has the publication-date of 1751.

When this work was published, the obelisk had only recently been excavated (1748). Originally erected in Egypt in the sixth century B.C., it had been re-erected in Rome in 10 B.C. by Augustus, near his Ara Pacis, to serve as a meridian marker or as the gnomon of a sun-dial (its exact function is disputed). It had fallen some time after the eighth century, had been rediscovered in 1512, was excavated in 1748 - and would be re-erected in 1789 in Piazza di Montecitorio. In the late 15th century fragments of the adjacent pavement had also been found, carrying gilt-bronze and mosaic inlays; but these have been covered again.

Plate I/II shows two sides of the obelisk (captioned, 'Obelisci Sesostridis A Cæsare Augusto ... Devecti ... Delineatio'); plate [III] shows two sides of the apex ('Cuspidis Obelisci Descriptio'); Plate IV shows measured details of parts of the obelisk (uncaptioned). The illustration on page xx shows pulleys.


13 August 1810: 'Mr Flaxman moved that the following work(s) be purchased for the use of the Library, viz. ... Bandini's Obelisk of the Sun.

Which was seconded by Mr. Shee & passed unanimously.' (RA Council Minutes IV, 236).

First recorded in RA Library in 1821 (see A Catalogue of the Library in the Royal Academy, London, 1821, p. 15).

Binding Note

18th-century half calf, marbled-papered boards; rebacked in 20th century, black morocco spine-label lettered 'Bandinio De Obelisco Cæsaris Augusti'.

Name as Subject


Obelisks - Monuments - Antiquities, Egyptian - Sundials - Art, Egyptian - Italy - Rome - History
Archaeology - Italy - Rome - History - 18th century
Pictorial works - 18th century


Niccolo Pagliarini, printer, publisher, bookseller
Marco Pagliarini, printer, publisher, bookseller
Benedict XIV Pope, dedicatee
James Stuart, draughtsman, engraver
Niccolo e Marco Pagliarini (Rome), printer, publisher, bookseller