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Ideologies of resilience in ancient Roman architecture

Penelope Davies, University of Texas at Austin

November 2, 2023 · 4:30 pm6:00 pm · A17 Julis Romo Rabinowitz Building

Department of Art and Archaeology

This lecture explores Roman failure and its counterpart, resilience, in ancient Roman architecture and urbanism. Focusing on the years before the great fire of 64, it argues, perhaps surprisingly, that Romans faced constant architectural failure, which authorities carefully managed; and that even before the fire, failure analysis and resilience strategies were recurrent catalysts for architectural change, with their own powerful ideological charge. It concludes by returning to Nero’s radical building legislation after the conflagration, which, against this new continuum, delivers even more radical repercussions than are usually recognised.

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