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Icons of civic form Competition between elites within a city was not the only factor in the drive to monumentalization; competition between cities was important as well There were often upgrades as cities tried to keep up with their neighbours: wider streets; larger temples and public buildings

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slide2
Competition between elites within a city was not the only factor in the drive to monumentalization; competition between cities was important as well
  • There were often upgrades as cities tried to keep up with their neighbours: wider streets; larger temples and public buildings
slide3
The urban area was defined by walls
  • Outside the walls lay the cemeteries
  • Other large buildings, such as hippodromes, were also located outside
the urban plan
The urban plan
  • Most cities pre-dated the Roman annexation, and therefore their plans were older ones: often Seleucid or Ptolemaic
  • The grid or chess-board plan = “Hippodamian”
  • But grids are universal
slide5
The grid plan allows colonists to be given equal plots of land
  • It permits easy surveillance
  • The orientation of the streets may have an ideological or religious meaning: cardo (n/s axis), decumanus (e/w axis), reflecting the movement of heavenly bodies
  • The grid may reflect social ideals, engendering a sense of improvement; it may have religious meanings, strategic meanings, practical meanings, hygienic meanings
seleucid cities
Seleucid cities
  • A citadel
  • Two axial main streets, plus many others at the same orientations, dividing the city up into blocks
ptolemaic and other cities
Ptolemaic and other cities
  • A single long main street with smaller streets at right angles
  • A single street that does not cross the city from one side to the other, but ends in a large sanctuary: Bostra, Petra = Nabataean design?
  • Local topography also constrained what could be achieved
walls
Walls
  • Walls were a sign of civic autonomy: the city could defend itself
  • They were the largest and most expensive monument of a city – they may have been beyond the financial capabilities of smaller cities
slide14
The basic unit of urbanism
  • Nowadays mainly for access (usually by car), but the builders of the main streets in these cities had more than access and circulation in mind
  • Everyone has to use them so they are perfect places for political displays, providing a stage on which the ritual activities of the community are acted out
slide15
Religious processions and civic ceremonies
  • Temples are often oriented with regard to the main streets
slide16
The colonnaded street
  • May be perfectly straight, or an articulation of several straight sections, with changes in direction being marked by monumental structures
slide17
They were often built in sections over several decades, and were clearly very important to the civic elites who paid for them
  • Apamea’s 2 km colonnade took at least 50 years or maybe 100 years to build
slide19
An unusual feature of Palmyra’s colonnade was the extensive use of brackets on the columns to support statues
slide20
The colonnades normally formed the supports for a roof – porticos
  • Behind the colonnades were rows of shops
slide22
The shops suggest that the streets could also function as an extension of the city’s main marketplace (agora)
  • Some see these as the forerunner of the concept of a souk
slide23
But souks do not have such elaborate and very public monumental spaces
  • A puzzle: some stretches of colonnade in a few cities (Gerasa, Philadelphia) appear to have had no practical function (no roof and nothing behind)
slide24
The presence of significant buildings might be marked by changes in ornament or projecting porticos
tetrapylon
Tetrapylon
  • “four gates”
  • One type is the quadrifons = four fronts (in Latin)
bath buildings
Bath buildings
  • Bath buildings are among the commonest and most typical Roman buildings
  • They are found all over the region, in villages as well as cities
slide50
The buildings of the monumental city were a reminder of who controlled it, and who had the right to compete for attention in its society
  • Monuments gave their builders a place in the collective memory of the community they helped to construct
  • It was an environment celebrating the aspirations and social power of a small but powerful element of the population