Frontinus-Gesellschaft e.V.

Antoninisches Nymphaeum, Sagalassos, Türkei

"Spot on! Scenes of a Roman City" - A remarkable exhibition in Trier


Many of those who are interested in the techniques behind infrastructure in antiquity question how ancient metropolis did develop and how one can imagine urban life that based on this infrastructure. A sound answer gives a noteworthy exhibition from August 31st 2019 till January 26th 2020 in the Rheinisches Landesmuseum in Trier titled: “Spot on! Scenes of a Roman City”

The exhibition comprises 120 objects never presented before or merely known from pictures in publications. The presentation follows the thematic chain from a) foundation of a town, b) urban life, c) water supply and baths, d) entertainment and playgrounds, e) religion, cult and faith, f) economy, craft, trade and transport, g) imperial residence, h) funeral and after life.

Each theme is introduced in white letters on a blue board in German, English and French positioned aside the respective objects of which the small ones are presented in illuminated display cases on tables allowing optimal visibility.

The urban context is presented in seven yellow “Spotlight Boxes” with c. 3 minute motion pictures. Starting with a spotlight on a relevant object in the corner of the flat screen the spot moves to a video sequences starting with this object in action in an animated sketch and followed by a 3D-animation that shows city development, buildings and context without comment but with the respective “natural” sound of the scenes. With reading the introduction text on the blue boards also the foreign visitor understands objects and visualization.

This is the text of the introduction to the exhibition:

Modern research estimates that some 2,000 ancient cities have once existed within the former Roman Empire. Only a small fraction of these merited the classification of metropolis. But what turns a city into a metropolis? Large population, monumental buildings, flourishing economy and trade, political and religious centre, attractive travel destination, large entertainment offering, environmental pollution, overcrowding noise …? These all are certainly contributing factors.

This exhibition shows scenes from the life of a large Roman city through the example of the metropolis on the Moselle, Trier. The tour shines a spotlight on the ancient city with all its characteristics, superlatives and curiosities.

Find details on location and exhibition under

View into the exhibition (Photo Zühmer, RLM)
View into the exhibition (Photo Th. Zühmer, RLM)

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