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Landscapes and CitiesRural Settlement and Civic Transformation in Early Imperial Italy$
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John R. Patterson

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780198140887

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2007

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198140887.001.0001

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The Transformation of the City in Imperial Italy

The Transformation of the City in Imperial Italy

(p.89) 2 The Transformation of the City in Imperial Italy
Landscapes and Cities

John R. Patterson (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

Beginning with case-studies of three former Latin colonies, Cosa, Beneventum, and Interamna Lirenas, this chapter focuses on the changing appearance of the cities of Italy, investigating their supposed decline in the first two centuries AD. A discussion of the evidence for urban life under the high empire leads into an examination of the types of building preferred by the cities and their benefactors, and the extent to which declining overall levels of public building were compensated for by new forms of benefaction such as the provision of banquets and distributions of money and food to the citizens. The picture that emerges is of a gradual transformation in the nature of civic life; the characteristic monuments of the period are amphitheatres, baths, and macella (market-buildings), all associated with the sociability which seems to replace formal political activity within the urban context in this period.

Keywords:   amphitheatres, baths, benefaction, Beneventum, Cosa, food, Interamna Lirenas, macellum, public building, sociability

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