Abstract: Stones and Power: Moving Mountains in the Roman Empire


The use of decorative stones for architecture and sculpture is a very characteristic feature of the Roman world. The Romans employed white and coloured stones on an unprecedented scale, being prepared to quarry them in huge quantities and transport them the length of the Mediterranean and beyond. Initially these stones were brought back to Italy as spoils of war and used by triumphant generals to advertise military victories and enhance their political position.  The emperors’ building projects transformed this exploitation to a level of activity never seen before or since.

This lecture will examine not only the technology involved in the quarrying and transport of these resources, but also the ideologies of imperial power and the role these stones played in transforming the cities of the Roman Empire.


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

ASMOSIA (Association for the Study of Marble and Other Stones in Antiquity):   http://www.asmosia.org/

H. Dodge and  B. Ward-Perkins (eds), Marble in Antiquity Collected Papers and lectures of J. B. Ward-Perkins, British School at Rome Archaeological Monograph No 6 1992

Dig Deeper

Email the AIA Facebook Instagram YouTube Twitter
Subscribe to the AIA e-Update

Sign Up!