Reference : Roman Streets and Urban Economy
Scientific congresses and symposiums : Unpublished conference/Abstract
Arts & humanities : Archaeology
Roman Streets and Urban Economy
Mainet, Grégory mailto [Université de Liège - ULiège > Département des sciences historiques > Histoire de l'art et arch. de l'antiquité gréco-romaine >]
Morard, Thomas mailto [Université de Liège - ULiège > Département des sciences historiques > Histoire de l'art et arch. de l'antiquité gréco-romaine >]
19th International Congress of Classical Archaeology
du 22 au 26 mai 2018
Universität Bonn (Prof. M. Bentz) et Universität zu Köln (Prof. M. Heinzelmann)
Bonn et Köln
[en] Economie antique ; Urbanisme romain ; Morphologie urbaine
[en] Among the urban infrastructures which shaped the economy, the street played a major role in ancient cities because it contributed to durably structure the urban economy. This use of the street has often been overlooked by archaeologists – until now. Indeed, such a topic naturally finds its place within the 19th congress of the International Association for Classical Archaeology whose theme is the economy of the classical world.
First of all: how do we consider the street? As a mere route whose only purpose is traffic? No. This notion is wrong as it appears by reading ancient authors like Martial and Juvenal. The space of the street was built in three dimensions and was developed to answer the needs of the local population. It was indeed a place for important social and economic trades, constitutive elements of urbanity. The economic function of the street clearly appeared in its architecture which was shaped by the construction of numerous tabernae within the insulae and by the promotion of the activities (advertising) which happened there. Therefore, the roman cities economy was not divided and confined into specific buildings such as macella. On the contrary, it was incorporated into the whole urban fabric through the streets.

With this panel, we offer to shed a new light to the role of the street within the urban economies through the imperium romanum between the 2nd century B.C.E. and the 3rd century A.C.E. Is the economic importance of the streets the same across the whole empire? What about the cities where people were settled before Rome’s arrival? On the contrary, what about all those which were founded by Rome? Did Rome and the Eastern Roman cities inherit their characteristics from Hellenistic cities? Or was the Roman model born in Italy?

The problem is wide, contrary to the sources at our disposal. To solve it, two axis will be examined starting from precise archaeological cases, chosen within different periods: a) the qualitative study of the development of some streets well known thanks to extensive excavations like the Via dell’Abbondanza in Pompei or the Main Street of the Theatre District in Delos. b) the quantitative study of the distribution of economic functions along the network and the interactions between them thanks to comprehensive excavations or geophysical prospections.
Associazione Internazionale di Archeologia Classica
Researchers ; Professionals ; Students

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