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The Roman Street
Urban Life and Society in Pompeii, Herculaneum, and Rome


  • Date Published: March 2020
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9781107513532

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About the Authors
  • Every day Roman urbanites took to the street for myriad tasks, from hawking vegetables and worshipping local deities to simply loitering and socializing. Hartnett takes readers into this thicket of activity as he repopulates Roman streets with their full range of sensations, participants, and events that stretched far beyond simple movement. As everyone from slave to senator met in this communal space, city dwellers found unparalleled opportunities for self-aggrandizing display and the negotiation of social and political tensions. Hartnett charts how Romans preened and paraded in the street, and how they exploited the street's collective space to lob insults and respond to personal rebukes. Combining textual evidence, comparative historical material, and contemporary urban theory with architectural and art historical analysis, The Roman Street offers a social and cultural history of urban spaces that restores them to their rightful place as primary venues for social performance in the ancient world.

    • Employs contemporary urban theory to study ancient urbanism while remaining accessible to both undergraduates and scholars
    • Offers a qualitative, 'bottom-up' view of the experience of Roman city life, aided by over 90 photographs, drawings, and rarely-seen archival materials
    • Brings to life the streets of ancient Roman cities through an interdisciplinary inquiry involving textual, archaeological, epigraphical, legal, and comparative evidence
    • Includes two extended case studies of particular streets in Pompeii and Herculaneum
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'Focusing especially on evidence from Pompeii, Herculaneum, and Rome, Hartnett brings Roman streets to life, weaving together information from roadbeds, street monuments, and building facades with historical and literary descriptions, inscriptions, and representations in art. This topic is rarely tackled, says Hartnett, because of the reliance on birds-eye plans and a focus on grand public spaces. His book is divided into an introduction and three parts of multiple chapters: the activities of the street itself - traffic, social interaction, and self-display; the scale and frame of the street, including facades, sidewalks, and benches; and case studies of two specific streets, one in Pompeii and one in Herculaneum. … the author brings to light the flow of the city and the intersection of citizens and slaves. Readers can picture the sounds, sights, and smells of the street as a stage for posturing, displaying respect, and enacting disgrace and revenge. Hartnett cites sources liberally and usefully provides many original Latin texts in footnotes on each page. The bibliography is thorough, and illustrations are ample throughout the book.' Choice

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    Product details

    • Date Published: March 2020
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9781107513532
    • length: 353 pages
    • dimensions: 180 x 255 x 20 mm
    • weight: 0.66kg
    • contains: 93 b/w illus. 9 colour illus. 7 tables
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    Part I. Repopulating the Street:
    1. Street forms, street movements
    2. Life in the street
    3. The street's social environment
    Part II. The Street and its Architectural Border:
    4. Sidewalks under siege: houses, owners, and urban context
    5. House facades and the architectural language of self-presentation
    6. The 'in' and the 'out': streetside benches and urban society
    Part III. The Street in Microcosm:
    7. On the edge of the civic: a Herculaneum street
    8. A contentious commercial street in Pompeii

  • Author

    Jeremy Hartnett, Wabash College, Indiana
    Jeremy Hartnett is Associate Professor and Chair of Classics at Wabash College, Indiana, where he holds the Anne and Andrew T. Ford Chair in the Liberal Arts. He is the author of numerous articles and chapters on Roman urban history, the history of photography, and collegiate pedagogy, and has been awarded fellowships and grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Michigan Society of Fellows, and the Archaeological Institute of America.

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