In writing The Making of Medieval Rome, Hendrik Dey was driven by a very ambitious goal: to create an updated version of Richard Krautheimer’s Rome: Profile of a City, 312–1308, certainly the most widely read, studied, and cited book on late antique and medieval Rome, a truly undisputed bestseller in its 1980 English and 1981 Italian editions.1 Does Dey’s book represent a pure act of presumption or a promise fulfilled? To compete in any way with the “giant” Krautheimer seems a fool’s errand, a blithe foray into impossible terrain, and for this reason I have chosen to reread the two volumes in parallel.

The titles themselves signal substantial differences in the respective points of view of the two books. Krautheimer investigated the history of the city from 312, the year of Constantine’s victory over Maxentius at the Milvian Bridge, and thus of the so-called Constantinian turn, to...

You do not currently have access to this content.