Wednesday, March 21, 2007


What is ROMA?

ROMA is an ancient Roman themed land within the online world of Second Life® (SL). It was built by the avatar Torin Golding. Torin serves as the Prefect of the sim. The sim's Emperor is Julian Augustus.

ROMA is the original Roman land in SL. It has been open since the Ides of October 2006 and has a very active citizenry, with over a thousand members, over twenty associated groups, and over a hundred different attractions which are open to all visitors.

Torin used his extensive real-life training in Roman culture and archaeology to design the buildings one can visit. ROMA is not a reconstruction of any specific part of the ancient world, and no build in it is a 1:1 reconstruction of any ancient Roman building. Instead, Torin decided to create unique builds based on canonical Roman architectural forms while allowing for a great deal of reinterpretation. This created a hybrid build that is at once instantly recognizable as ancient Roman, but also fresh and absorbing. It took about two months of full-time work to complete.

One of the most important aspects of ROMA is its educational component. Virtually every building and structure in the sim sports a bright red ‘info button’. A visitor can touch this button and receive historical information about ancient Roman culture pertaining to the build (such as gladiatorial combat info at the Arena) and details about the original Roman structure it was based on. These are written as pages of a 'lost' work by Pausanias which can be collected all around the sim.

Flythrough Video of ROMA

Brief Tour of ROMA

ROMA is comprised of three connected sims. ROMA is the anchor, where most of the structrues can be found. To the east is the ROMA Subura where some Citizens are able to constuct and live in their own Roman style houses. To the north, outside the city walls, is ROMA Transtiberim, a rural land of hills, mountains, forests, and rivers that also contains the suburban settlement of Ostia.

ROMA has several distinct Districts, each with its own character and look. All visitors are channeled through the Customs House in the Harbor District where they can find out from an automated Roman soldier what there is to see and do in the sim, how to behave, and how to roleplay an ancient Roman if they wish. The gritty lower town is comprised of the Wharf District with its cozy Pompeii Tavern and the Shopping District where the huge Roman Market complex holds many shops selling all kinds of Citizen-made content. Further along the main street is the Arena District. Here sits the Gladiator Arena where would-be fighters can spar, and the spacious Baths of Caracalla that follow the canonical ancient Roman structure of a public baths (free towels available). Nearby is also the large Fort Augusta VII whose sizable grounds are used for events and festivals.

From the lower town, visitors can climb a large marble staircase up ROMA’s two main hills. First, the Palatine Hill holds many attractions. The Circus Maximus Hippodrome allows all visitors to race an ancient Roman chariot around the track. Nearby is a reconstruction of an ancient temple to the god Mithras who was very popular in the Roman Empire and the Egyptian style Library of Alexandria. Atop the hill is the very large public Gardens of Maecenas which holds many attractions including the Emperor's Throne Room.

At the base of the Capitoline Hill is ROMA's forum. Here can be found the large Basilica of Maxentius, the Capitoline Museum, the Lacus Curtius, the Carcer, and the Curia. Atop the Capitoline Hill is the Temple of Jupiter (modeled on the Pantheon), the round Temple to Vesta, and the Temple to Apollo.

Rural attractions include fishing in Lake Trasimeno, investigating a mystery among the Street of Tombs, consulting the Sibyl in her mountaintop cave, feeding friendly animals, stomping grapes into wine, visting the Shewolf in her Lupercal lair, and relaxing in the natural ROMA hotsprings.

Roleplaying in ROMA

The sim of ROMA was designed to be an immersive experience, and many visitors (though certainly not all) are interested in roleplaying as if they were a Citizen of ancient Rome. at this is possible.

Citizens are encouraged to create a character based on an ancient Roman model. This could be a wealthy Roman matron, a foreign merchant, a politically ambitious senator, the secret son of Julius Caesar, a gladiator, a centurion, a priestess of the mysterious goddess Hecate,... anything they desire.

There are also two official sub-groups of the Citizen roleplay group that regularly hold events in ROMA. The first is the ROMA Collegia of Priests, who mainly organzie and operate the monthly festivals in ROMA. The second is the ROMA Senate who hold regular debates in the ROMA Curia.

ROMA also has several active groups associated with the Roman military. These include legionaries, cavalry soldiers, sailors, Praetorians, gladiators, and even Amazons.

The ROMA Community

ROMA is successful because of her Citizens. They bring great passion and energy to the land. They hold monthly multi-day festivals, organize charity fund drives, sponsor social events, and socialize happily throughout the land. They are international in character, coming from all around the real world to enjoy ROMA in Second Life®. You can find a lot of pictures of our gatherings and activities on our Flickr page here.

Back to the ROMA Citizens Blog