A trip down the Via Appia: the travels of Robert Gardner

On 20 March, we took a trip down the Via Appia via one of the BSR’s photographic collections, that of Robert Gardner, Craven Fellow at the BSR between 1912 and 1914.

The accompanying exhibition at the launch of 'La Regina Viarum e la via Traiana. Da Benevento a Brindisi nelle foto della collezione Gardner'

The accompanying exhibition at the launch of ‘La Regina Viarum e la via Traiana. Da Benevento a Brindisi nelle foto della collezione Gardner’

The occasion was the launch of the volume La Regina Viarum e la via Traiana. Da Benevento a Brindisi nelle foto della collezione Gardner, edited by Laura Castrianni and Giuseppe Ceraudo. This was a wonderful opportunity to welcome back colleagues and friends who had contributed in so many ways to the publication of this significant volume.

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Library staff members Cecilia Carponi and Francesca Deli prepare the exhibition

Also on display were items of interest from Gardner’s travels with Thomas Ashby, the BSR’s third director, including a page of Ashby’s field notebook with a hurriedly scribbled transcription of an inscription on a stele at Faeto.

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Original notebook of Thomas Ashby with a transcription of the inscription on the stele posta at the entrance to the courtyard of the Chiesa di San Vito, in the commune of Faeto. Photograph by S. Hay

While Ashby was making rather pragmatic records of his journey, Gardner preferred to be more creative in how he documented his experiences. In this exhibition we were treated to an original copy of a poem – in Latin, no less  –  by Gardner, which describes his journey taken along the Via Appia and the Via Traiana with Ashby. No name is mentioned, but we do have an intriguing allusion to Gardner’s esteemed travelling companion, to whom he respectfully refers to as dux.

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Original page of a Latin composition written by Robert Gardner describing his journey with Thomas Ashby along the Via Appia and the Via Traiana. Photograph by S. Hay

In May, we can look forward to more from the BSR photographic archives with the opening of the exhibition La Sardegna di Thomas Ashby: fotografie (1906 – 12)

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Image courtesy of the BSR Archive

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