INTERPRETATION OF THE FUNCTION OF THE OBELISK OF AUGUSTUS IN ROME FROM ANTIQUE TEXTS TO PRESENT TIME VIRTUAL RECONSTRUCTION
Keywords: Astronomy, Line of Meridian, Historical Texts, Archeology, Simulation, Virtual World Heritage
Abstract. About the astronomical use of the obelisk of Augustus on Campo Marzio in Rome, which has already been described by Pliny, well known astronomers and mathematicians like Euler, Marinoni or Poleni have given their expert opinion immediately after it's unearthing in 1748. With the prevailing opinion, based on a brief chapter in "Historia naturalis", it would constitute a line of meridian rather than a sundial, the question had been decided for more than 200 years.
In 1976, however, the prominent German archeologist Edmund Buchner established once more the assumption, that the obelisk has been part of a gigantic sundial for the apotheosis of the emperor Augustus. Excavations of the German Archeological Institute in 1980/81, which brought to light parts of the inscriptions of the scale, were taken as a proof of his theory by Buchner.
Since 1990 works by physicists and experts for chronometry like Schütz, Maes, Auber, et.al., established the interpretation as a line of meridian. Recent measurements and virtual reconstructions of the antique situation in 2013 provide valid evidence for this argument as well.
The different approach to the problem mirrors the antagonism between interpretation of antique texts and the assessment of archeological findings in the light of far fledged historical hypotheses.