Alexander Reed Humanities and Social Science
Caesars and Subdivisions: The Urban Fabric of the Roman West in the Age of Augustus
The years 31 BC AD 14 saw the Western world undergo a great revolution in culture, politics, state, and society as the regime of Caesar Augustus dismantled and replaced the centuries-old republican system of government at Rome with an imperial autocracy. In the provinces of the Roman empire, the very fabric of the city provided a key platform for the promotion of the Augustan program. However, recent reassessments of the period have begun to suggest that many of the changes in urban form during this era may instead have been the culmination of longer-term, local, social and cultural trends, particularly in the Western Mediterranean.
This project then aims to create a systematic approach to understanding the role of regional currents in this transformation of the cityscape through on-site research at the well-preserved early Imperial cities of Augusta Emerita, Nemausus, Ostia, Pompeii, and Herculaneum, with a focus on public spaces and their physical context. It is my hope that such an undertaking may serve to aid historians in better understanding the nature of empire, power, and influence in the premodern world.