The Aurelian Wall and the Refashioning of Imperial Rome, AD 271-855

The Aurelian Wall and the Refashioning of Imperial Rome, AD 271-855

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This book explores the relationship between the city of Rome and the Aurelian Wall during the six centuries following its construction in the 270s AD, a period when the city changed and contracted almost beyond recognition, as it evolved from imperial capital into the spiritual center of Western Christendom. The Wall became the single most prominent feature in the urban landscape, a dominating presence which came bodily to incarnate the political, legal, administrative, and religious boundaries of urbs Roma, even as it reshaped both the physical contours of the city as a whole and the mental geographies of 'Rome' that prevailed at home and throughout the known world. With the passage of time, the circuit took on a life of its own as the embodiment of Rome's past greatness, a cultural and architectural legacy that dwarfed the quotidian realities of the post-imperial city as much as it shaped them.
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Product details

  • Electronic book text
  • Cambridge University Press (Virtual Publishing)
  • Cambridge, United Kingdom
  • 63 b/w illus.
  • 1139073257
  • 9781139073257

Table of contents

Introduction; 1. Toward an architectural history of the Aurelian Wall, from its beginnings through the ninth century; 2. Planning, building, rebuilding, and maintenance: the logistical dynamics of a (nearly) interminable project; 3. Motives, meaning, and context: the Aurelian Wall and the late Roman state; 4. The city, the suburbs, and the wall: the rise of a topographical institution; 5. Sacred geography, interrupted; 6. The Wall and the 'Republic of St Peter'; Conclusion; Appendices.
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Review quote

'... a bold and adventurous book.' Scott G. Bruce, Bryn Mawr Classical Review 'Dey's book is compelling in that the author has brilliantly captured how the Aurelian wall transformed Rome in ways that make its tower-studded infrastructure of crucial significance to considerations of late antique urbanism. Dey deserves lavish praise for recognizing and amending for an earlier gap in scholarship. Dey has filled in the lacuna by presenting a grand narrative of how Aurelian's wall functioned as the linchpin in the reorganization of Rome's governance, ritual life, the construction industry and the system of food distribution. Readers, finally, should be delighted that, thanks to Dey's engaging prose and expansive scholarship, the important story about the late antique walls remaking Rome's interior has now received expert treatment.' Gregor Kalas, The Medieval Review 'Dey has truly produced an outstanding piece of cultural history. Throughout the book, he demonstrates a remarkable command of a broad range of sources as well as deep knowledge of the topography of ancient and medieval Rome. The study succeeds in showing not only how the Aurelian Wall transformed Rome and the lives of its inhabitants but also how it came to embody the essence of Christian and imperial Rome. The book will become essential reading not only for Roman and Late Antique scholars but also for historians of the Early Middle Ages and the medieval Papacy ... The edition is of excellent quality. City plans and black-and-white photographs and drawings help navigate the argument. Five appendices present technical data and offer detailed treatment of aspects of Rome's topography. The book also features a useful index and extensive bibliography.' Carlos R. Galvao-Sobrinho, American Journal of Archaeology
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