AP/HIST 3140 3.00
The City In The Roman World
"No city has existed in the whole world that could be compared with Rome for size," wrote Pliny the Elder during the first century AD. He would have been equally correct to add that the other three or four main cities of the Roman Empire were also bigger than anything seen before. What is more, no city was ever to reach this size again in Europe until well into the industrial revolution. Roman cities, in other words, were a truly stunning phenomenon in their size, complexity and grandeur. How do we explain their existence? How did these cities relate to the countryside and to the rest of the Empire? What role did the monumentalization of public space in cities play in elite competition for power and prestige? These questions are vital to anyone wanting to understand the ancient Mediterranean World, and, indeed, to anyone wanting to understand the phenomenon of urbanism in more recent periods of European history. Using a range of evidence, written and archaeological, we shall answer these questions.