Abstract: Roman Athens: The Transformation into an Imperial City
Few cities of the ancient world can rival Athens’ rich array of cultural splendors. Monuments such as the Parthenon, Erechtheion, and Theater of Dionysos (to name only a few) serve as visual reminders of Athens’ glory during the Classical Age. But scholars have neglected the era in Athenian history when Rome held dominion over all of Greece and the “Golden Age” of Athens was long passed. The Romans heavily patronized the city with endowments of magnificent buildings and monuments that outwardly reflect and honor Athens’ past glory, yet also readily testify to the reality of Roman domination. Considering the heavy debt the Romans owed to Greece with respect to their own art and culture, it is curious to note the Roman contributions to Athenian art and architecture.
This talk traces the topographical and architectural changes Athens underwent during the formative period of Roman control, which occurred during the late Hellenistic period and to the mid-first century AD. There is a particular emphasis on the role Augustus played in the civic transformation based on past research by the lecturer. Monuments to be discussed include the Parthenon, Agora, Temple of Roma and Augustus, Roman Market, and others.