Abstract: Rulership, Patronage and Architecture in the Roman Capital


Rome was not built in a day!  The urban fabric of the ancient city of Rome developed over hundreds of years and came to reflect its position as capital of a huge empire.  The elite, the aristocrats in the Republic and the emperors in the imperial period, played a major role in this development.  Returning triumphant generals, puffed up with glory from their conquests overseas, constructed temples and porticoes in the city to commemorate these events, as well as provide a permanent reminder to the populace.  The spoils of war came to be used prominently in this process: marble from Greece, wild animals from North Africa, and prisoners of war who fought as gladiators in the shows and spectacles that accompanied the construction of monuments.  By the last days of the Republic, power and political position in Rome were being sought using the resources of Empire, a process which reached its climax under the emperors. 

This lecture will look at the way architecture was used to legitimate power in the city and how it helped to shape its development.


Short bibliography and/or website on lecture topic (for lay reader):

P. Connolly and H. Dodge, The Ancient City, Oxford 1998

J. Coulston and H. Dodge, Ancient Rome. The Archaeology of the Eternal City, Oxford 2000

J. Stambaugh, The Ancient Roman City, Baltimore 1988

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