Date of Award

2012

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Graduate Group

Ancient History

First Advisor

C. Brian Rose

Second Advisor

Cynthia Damon

Abstract

MEN AT WORK: PUBLIC CONSTRUCTION, LABOR, AND SOCIETY AT MID-REPUBLICAN ROME, 390-168 B.C.

Seth G. Bernard

C. Brian Rose, Supervisor of Dissertation

This dissertation investigates how Rome organized and paid for the considerable amount of labor that went into the physical transformation of the Middle Republican city. In particular, it considers the role played by the cost of public construction in the socioeconomic history of the period, here defined as 390 to 168 B.C. During the Middle Republic period, Rome expanded its dominion first over Italy and then over the Mediterranean. As it developed into the political and economic capital of its world, the city itself went through transformative change, recognizable in a great deal of new public infrastructure. While historians have long considered Rome's rise vis-Ã -vis Italy or the Mediterranean world, the study of the contemporary urban situation has largely remained confined to formalist or topographic investigations. This thesis offers a new, more synthetic study, which draws from a variety of evidence from literary and documentary sources to numismatics and archaeological material. Because of this combinatory approach, the project speaks across specialties within the field of Classical studies, to ancient historians and archaeologists alike.

Four analytical chapters arranged both chronologically and thematically are appended with a detailed catalog of all known building projects during the time period containing field reports on those sites that have archaeological remains. The results demonstrate and in some cases quantify the high amount of labor needed to build the city's new public infrastructure. In part in order to absorb such costs, Rome's urban society transformed its Archaic economy into one that was broadly monetized and more reliant on contractual forms of labor. Such a change allowed for the massive income from the newly established Republican empire to be matched to an increasing urban supply of non-agricultural workers, as well as to a rising demand for public architecture from the office-holding Roman elite. By focusing on the labor behind the production of the Mid-Republican city, this dissertation reveals the urban expansion of Rome as a physical process on a human scale.

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