Architectures of the Roman World: Models, Agency, Reception [Paperback]

Niccolò Mugnai (Editor)

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ISBN: 9781789259940 | Published by: Oxbow Books | Publication: September 2023 | Language: English 288p, H279 x W216 (mm)
Status: Not yet published - advance orders taken

Architectures of the Roman World


This edited volume collects the proceedings of an international workshop held at Wolfson College, University of Oxford. It engages with Roman-period architecture outside Rome and the Italian peninsula, looking at the regions that formed part of the Roman Empire over a broad time frame: second century BCE – third century CE. Moving beyond traditional views of ‘Roman provincial architecture’, the aim is to highlight the multi- faceted features of these architectures, their function, impact and significance within the local cultures, and the dynamic relationship between periphery and centre. Architecture is intended in the broad sense of the term, encompassing the buildings’ technological components as well as their ornamental and epigraphic apparatuses, and including a range of edifices that are not limited to public monuments or elite residences. The geographic framework under examination is a broad one; along with well-documented areas of the ancient Mediterranean, attention is also paid to the territories of north-west Europe, which have been often overlooked, or have been only briefly commented upon, even in the more recent scholarship.

The discussion focuses on a series of interrelated themes that are frequently used in an uncritical way in past (and recent) studies and are now calling for a more exhaustive appraisal. Contributions to this book come from a group of international, established and early career researchers. Authors offer a range of innovative essays drawing upon their current research, in which they challenge old-fashioned assumptions and offer critical reassessments and new ideas. This is meant to give reinvigorated impetus to the scholarly debate on the role and influence of ancient architectures beyond the centre of Empire. The volume has a strong interdisciplinary character that reflects the authors’ diverse expertise in the fields of archaeology, architecture, ancient history, art and architectural history.

Fourteen papers are subdivided into three thematic parts. Spread of models, ideas, and technologies engages with the term of ‘architectural models’ frequently cited in the literature, although rarely does one find attempts to explain how these might have been established, used, and transmitted in the Roman world. Questions are asked about these practical issues as well as matters related to the diffusion of technologies and, in a less physical form, ideas. ‘Setting agency in motion, from conception to function looks at architecture as the outcome of a process where the patrons, designers, workforce, and ultimately users all played their part. These steps of the construction and use of buildings are investigated, emphasizing the role of the local architectures within the respective technological, economic, historical, and socio-political contexts. Reception, impact, and perception deals with the range of expected and unexpected responses that buildings and their urban settings might have generated within the local communities. The visual impact of monuments contributed to shaping and altering cityscapes, often as part of a vibrant interplay between ‘old’ and ‘new’ architectural forms, whose adoption, adaptation, and significance are explored here.

Table of Contents

List of illustrations
List of tables
Architectures of the Roman world: an introduction Niccolò Mugnai (University of Oxford)
Part 1. Spread of models, ideas, and technologies1....incorrupti imbribus, ventis, ignibus omnique caemento firmiores? Earthen building materials in the Roman WestBen Russell, Tanja Romankiewicz, J. Riley Snyder, Christopher Beckett (University of Edinburgh)
2.Technology and transfer of knowledge in the western Roman Empire: what vaulting tiles can revealLynne C. Lancaster (University of Cincinnati)
3.Developing best practice in Roman construction in GreecePaolo Vitti (University of Notre Dame)
4.The transfer of models at a Mediterranean and regional scale in Asia Minor: the contribution of architectural decoration and design patterns from Roman Phrygia Tommaso Ismaelli (Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche)
Part 2. Setting agency in motion, from conception to function
5.The seasonality of Roman construction: theoretical models and practical implicationsDominik Maschek (University of Oxford)
6.Provincial-sized monumentality: the construction site of the Roman theatre of Augusta RauricaThomas Hufschmid (Monumentkonservierung Augusta Raurica)
7.Building public baths outside Rome: the case study of Nora (Sardinia)Caterina Previato(Università degli Studi di Padova)
8.Organizing the craftsmanship: architectural decoration between local carving tradition and itinerant building entrepreneurshipNatalia Toma (Deutsches Archäologisches Institut, Berlin)
9.The multivalent meaning and function of public buildings in Greek and Roman cities: the bouleuterion at Teos, TurkeyMantha Zarmakoupi (University of Pennsylvania)
Part 3. Reception, impact, and perception
10.The reception of early composite capitals in western Asia MinorPhilipStinson (University of Kansas)
11.Creating architectural identity in Roman-era GreeceChristopher Siwicki (Norwegian Institute in Rome)
12.What have the Romans ever done for us? Early Roman Jerusalem as an urban centre between local tradition and Roman ruleOrit Peleg-Barkat (Hebrew University of Jerusalem)
13.Building and perceiving urban public spaces in North Africa during the early imperial period: Thugga, Lepcis Magna, and CyreneNiccolò Mugnai (University of Oxford)
14.Where do we live? Local stonescapes and globalized architecture in Egypt, Cyrenaica, and Cyprus Eleonora Gasparini (Università della Campania Luigi Vanvitelli)
Architectures of the Roman world: some conclusions
Stefano Camporeale (Università degli Studi di Siena), Janet DeLaine (Wolfson College), Patrizio Pensabene (Università di Roma La Sapienza), Susan Walker (Ashmolean Museum)

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