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The Building Industry of Imperial Rome

Janet DeLaine, Wolfson College, Oxford University

April 17, 2019 · 4:30 pm6:00 pm EDT · 106 McCormick

Department of Art and Archaeology, Heritage Structures Lab, Civil and Environmental Engineering

For at least 400 years, from the mid second century BCE to the end of the Severan period, the building industry was one of the most important economic activities in the city of Rome. This lecture examines the manpower, logistics and economics of construction in the city of Rome and at its nearby port city of Ostia, covering the whole process of construction from the extraction of materials and transport to decoration and finishing. Employing a wide range of evidence from anecdotes in literary texts to inscriptions and ancient depictions of building sites, but above all the buildings themselves, it highlights the importance of human actions and choices in the creation of some of Rome’s greatest feats of architecture.

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