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Architecture and Politics in Republican Rome

Architecture and Politics in Republican Rome

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  • Date Published: December 2017
  • availability: Temporarily unavailable - available from TBC
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9781107094314

$ 58.99 (P)

Temporarily unavailable - available from TBC
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About the Authors
  • Architecture and Politics in Republican Rome is the first book to explore the intersection between Roman Republican building practices and politics (c.509–44 BCE). At the start of the period, architectural commissions were carefully controlled by the political system; by the end, buildings were so widely exploited and so rhetorically powerful that Cassius Dio cited abuse of visual culture among the reasons that propelled Julius Caesar's colleagues to murder him in order to safeguard the Republic. In an engaging and wide-ranging text, Penelope J. E. Davies traces the journey between these two points, as politicians developed strategies to manoeuver within the system's constraints. She also explores the urban development and image of Rome, setting out formal aspects of different types of architecture and technological advances such as the mastery of concrete. Elucidating a rich corpus of buildings that have been poorly understand, Davies demonstrates that Republican architecture was much more than a formal precursor to that of imperial Rome.

    • Provides the first monographic treatment of Republican architecture in Rome, elucidating a body of material that is copious but poorly understood
    • Offers a reading of Republican architecture within its political context, adding a depth of meaning to the buildings
    • Offers a reasoned explanation of the development of Roman urbanism in the Republic, going beyond seeing Republican architecture simply as a formal precursor to imperial Rome
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    • Winner, 2018 Choice Outstanding Academic Title

    Reviews & endorsements

    'In this perceptive book Davies interrogates the evolving, mutually exploitative exchange between architecture and politics in Rome of the Republic. Drawing on deep research, she expertly reveals how such factors as term limits, religious traditions, materials, and cultural shifts constrained and enriched politicians and architectural projects alike. It is an informative and compelling story, told with verve and insight.' Diane Favro, University of California, Los Angeles

    'Davies’ achievement is to stand above the topographical fray and to keep the focus at all points on the bigger picture of historical context. The consequence is a volume that is truly innovative. We have seen many volumes on Roman Republican history with only glancing reference to architecture, and some (but not many) on Republican Art and Architecture, with only generic reference to historical context. What Architecture and Politics in Republican Rome achieves is to pull together these story lines into an integrated narrative that is so persuasive we may ask ourselves why it has never been done before.' Andrew Wallace-Hadrill, University of Cambridge

    'Davies provides what amounts to a definitive architectural history of republican Rome (509–44 BCE). Distinguishing this volume from previous treatments is not only Davies's comprehensive approach and skilled integration of historical sources alongside presentation of the monuments, but also her inclusion of state-of-the-art illustrations, among them phase plans, digital reconstructions, and photographs, most reproduced in color. What emerges is a gradually evolving urban fabric for the city, one realized not by overarching designs, but rather by piecemeal agency and accretion, prior to the grand integrative schemes imposed during the imperial period. The temples, public spaces, fortifications, theaters, and other monuments that progressively defined the cityscape of Rome during the four centuries of the Republic not only overlay the fortunes of the metropolis itself but reflect the power struggles of class and men of action, culminating in the civil wars and accompanying Rome's transformation to the Empire.' Choice

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    Product details

    • Date Published: December 2017
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9781107094314
    • length: 376 pages
    • dimensions: 285 x 227 x 27 mm
    • weight: 1.53kg
    • contains: 45 b/w illus. 200 colour illus. 18 maps
    • availability: Temporarily unavailable - available from TBC
  • Table of Contents

    1. A republic takes shape
    2. An age of individualism, c.338–218 BCE
    3. A state of fear and new horizons, c.217–133 BCE
    4. Turmoil and tension, c.133–90 BCE
    5. Civil war and aftermath, c.89–70 BCE
    6. Pompey, Caesar, and rivals: c.69–55 BCE
    7. Caesar, Pompey, and rivals: c.54–44 BCE

  • Author

    Penelope J. E. Davies, University of Texas, Austin
    Penelope J. E. Davies is Associate Professor in the Department of Art and Art History at the University of Texas, Austin. She earned her PhD in Classical Archaeology from Yale University, Connecticut. Her work focuses on public monuments of Rome and their propagandistic functions. Author of Death and the Emperor: Roman Imperial Funerary Monuments from Augustus to Marcus Aurelius (Cambridge, 2000), she also co-authored Janson's History of Art, 7th and 8th editions (2006, 2011).


    • Winner, 2018 Choice Outstanding Academic Title

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