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Hadrian and the Cities of the Roman Empire
Mary T. Boatwright

Paperback | 2002 | $55.00 | £45.95 | ISBN: 9780691094939
264 pp. | 6 x 9 1/4 | 18 halftones, 2 tables
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Cities throughout the Roman Empire flourished during the reign of Hadrian (A.D. 117-138), a phenomenon that not only strengthened and legitimized Roman dominion over its possessions but also revealed Hadrian as a masterful negotiator of power relationships. In this comprehensive investigation into the vibrant urban life that existed under Hadrian's rule, Mary T. Boatwright focuses on the emperor's direct interactions with Rome's cities, exploring the many benefactions for which he was celebrated on coins and in literary works and inscriptions. Although such evidence is often as imprecise as it is laudatory, its collective analysis, undertaken for the first time together with all other related material, reveals that over 130 cities received at least one benefaction directly from Hadrian. The benefactions, mediated by members of the empire's municipal elite, touched all aspects of urban life; they included imperial patronage of temples and hero tombs, engineering projects, promotion of athletic and cultural competitions, settlement of boundary disputes, and remission of taxes.

Even as he manifested imperial benevolence, Hadrian reaffirmed the self-sufficiency and traditions of cities from Spain to Syria, the major exception being his harsh treatment of Jerusalem, which sparked the Third Jewish Revolt. Overall, the assembled evidence points to Hadrian's recognition of imperial munificence to cities as essential to the peace and prosperity of the empire. Boatwright's treatment of Hadrian and Rome's cities is unique in that it encompasses events throughout the empire, drawing insights from archaeology and art history as well as literature, economy, and religion.


"[Boatwright's] analysis of this evidence provides a clear picture of how image dissemination and imperial benefactions worked in practice, while raising specific questions about Hadrian's interaction with the East . . . A welcome addition to scholarship."--Caroline Vout, Times Literary Supplement

"An original, readable, and thought-provoking [book]."--James C. Anderson, The Classical Outlook

"Impressive. . . . [Boatwright's] nuanced attention to social and gender issues deepens understanding of Roman urban life. . . . The author is due thanks for enhancing the understanding of this imperial philosopher-king and the complex social structure of his empire."--Choice


"Hadrian and the Cities of the Roman Empire is an important book, new in the organization of a significant body of material, which ought to be valuable for those interested in the ancient world generally and in the history of urbanism."--Anthony R. Birley, Heinrich-Heine University, Dusseldorf

Table of Contents:

List of Illustrations and Tables ix
Acknowledgments xi
List ofAbbreviations XV
Chapter 1 Roman Cities and Roman Power: The Roman Empire and Hadrian 3
Chapter 2 The Sources 18
Chapter 3 Changes of City Status and Their Impact on City Life 36
Appendix to Chapter 3: Aulus Gellius, Noctes Atticae 16.13.1-9 (de Italicensibus) 55
Chapter 4 Changes Affecting Cities' Daily Governance and Economy 57
Chapter 5 Civic Benefactions with Extramural Effects 83
Chapter 6 Engineering and Architectural Donations 108
Chapter 7 Athens, Smyrna, and Italica 144
Appendix to Chapter 7: Other Structures in Athens Associated with Hadrian 167
Chapter 8 City Foundations, New and Renewed 172
Chapter 9 Hadrian's Civic Benefactions and the Roman Empire 204
Bibliography 211
Index 233

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