About the exhibition

The exhibition is the result of the collaboration with Niccolai Teknoart SNC from Florence, Italy that started an year ago when „Ţării Crişurilor” Museum organized the exhibition “Leonardo da Vinci’s Machines”. The mechanical wonders recreated by the Niccolai Artisans were presented to the public for the first time in 2010, in Rome, Italy, in a somewhat didactical exhibition entitled: “Machina – Tecnologia dell’antica Roma”. In fact, the exhibition was awarded the Italian President’s Gold Medal for cultural innovation.

The exhibition sheds a light on the remarkable achievements of the ancient Roman civilization. Every item is based on factual evidence, historical accounts and faithfully reconstructed artefacts inspired by a number of important exhibitions staged in Italy in the past couple of years.

“The reconstruction of these models was possible through careful studies of De Architectura by Vitruvius (Roman architect and engineer of the first century BC – a contemporary of Caesar and Cicero) where there are passages devoted to the building of city walls (Book I), aqueducts (Book VIII), the usefulness of science (Book IX) and finally, the discussion of machinatio or construction of machines for civilian or military use (Book X). My interest started in the early 1990’s when I produced scale prototypes of ancient machines for research and in preparation for the reconstruction of larger models. To date, these number approximately five hundred machines, all meticulously reproduced with materials of the time: wood, iron, cloth, ropes and bronze. The advancement in computer and software technology in recent years has enabled us to enhance and elaborate on our original drawings, reproducing them to scale and thus creating working machines, which when compared to models of some fifty years ago, reveal previous limitations”. (Gabrielle Niccolai, Director Niccolai Teknoart SNC)

The exhibition covers a monumental era in history, from the triumphant victory of Gaius Julius Caesar over the Gauls, that sparked the transformation of Rome from a Republic in to the mighty Roman Empire.

Besides the military ingenuity that is covered in detail, the Roman Imperial period was an era of massive construction and large-scale technical innovation that brought unprecedented wellbeing to the far corners of the Empire.

The objective of the exhibition is to create interactivity between the visitor and the machines whilst highlighting the mechanical principals that govern their operation. Such personal interaction provides insight to concepts and practical applications of the machines, suggesting parallels with today’s modern technological world.