Failure at Fidenae: Visualization and Analysis of the Largest Structural Disaster in the Roman World

By: Rebecca Napolitano '15

Advising Faculty: Douglas Thompson

A digital reconstruction of the amphitheater at Fidenae, which collapsed in 27 A.D., was produced as a result of textual, architectural, archaeological, and engineering analysis. Primary literary sources, such as Tacitus and Suetonius, examined in conjunction with proximal archaeological evidence, allowed for the most probable seating capacity and the scale of the amphitheater to be determined. Architectural evidence of other wooden structures found on Trajan’s Column allowed for a most probable projection of a three dimensional model to be created using AutoCAD. With this most probable model determined, engineering analysis was utilized in order to understand the failure at Fidenae almost 2000 years ago.

View the YouTube video and honors thesis at Digital Commons @ Connecticut College.

Related Fields: Physics