Mapping Urbanization in the Roman Empire

History 280A.001

Spring 2009
2303 Dwinelle
Day & Time: 
Wed 2-5

This seminar will serve as the basis for a collaborative research project. The goal is to produce a single-volume reference work that will contain a set of maps depicting city distribution and variable urban densities throughout the Roman empire, at different periods, and supported by appropriate written documentation. Each student in the seminar will be assigned a zone from the Mediterranean basin, and will be responsible for collecting the available evidence for cities in the assigned zone and for writing a short introduction (c. 5000 words), with bibliography, to the nature of urbanization there. To facilitate this research, each student will be provided with a personal copy of the Barrington Atlas of the Greek and Roman World. The maps will then be produced in conjunction with the cartographic service of Berkeleyâ€_Äôs Geography department, and the volume as a whole, including the regional introductions written by the students, and a general introduction to the dynamics of urbanization in the Roman empire written by the instructor, will be submitted for consideration as a supplementary volume of the Journal of Roman Archaeology.

The first few weeks of the seminar will be devoted to exploring the problem of urbanization in the Roman empire, in a broad, comparative framework, with special attention to the geographic, demographic, economic, and political conditions that shaped it. The focus will not be on individual cities, architecture, public space, municipal life, etc., but rather on the spread, development, and functioning of urban systems and networks at the regional and empire-wide levels. The seminar will then break up for several weeks as students conduct preliminary research on their assigned zones. We will then come back together for the last several weeks of the term for presentations on this research and to discuss, as a group, the details of our volume (cartographic conventions for the maps, the arrangement of the regional introductions, etc.).

Students should know that, because this is a publication project, it is a virtual certainty that some of the work for this seminar will continue for several weeks, or months, after the end of the spring term.


Also listed as 285A.001