City Life in the Roman Empire


Course Objective


Course Content

Roman culture was pre-eminently an urban culture. Cities formed the
backbone of the Roman Empire; they were the centre of government and the
heart of economics, religion and culture. In this course, attention will
be paid to theories concerning the Roman city, the process of
Romanization, the discussion of the economic function of cities and,
last but certainly not least, to social-cultural aspects of urban life
during the Empire. We shall discuss the structure of Roman cities, their
architectural organization, public buildings, funerary plots and
cemeteries (including rites and usages of sanitary and hygienic kind),
the administration of towns, their priesthoods, religious and
professional clubs, the role of benefactors (and benefactresses) and the
relation between the various sections of the population (the elite, the
middle classes and the lower ranks, citizens and foreigners, the
free-born and the freedmen and finally, the slaves). We shall mainly
deal with the towns of Italy and the western provinces, esp. Spain,
Gallia and Northern Africa.

Teaching Methods


Method of Assessment

Written examination 30%, presentations 20%, paper 50% of the final mark.

Entry Requirements

BA History, Classics, Mediterranean Archaeology


Arjan Zuiderhoek, The Ancient City (Cambridge 2016).
Selected articles and chapters announced in class.

Target Audience

Admitted to Ancient History, Classics, Mediterranean Archaeology, or

Custom Course Registration

This module is taught at the UvA by prof. dr. E.A. Hemelrijk (UvA) (UvA subject code 143410116Y). Module registration with a UvaNetID at the UvA is required. Please note that course registration periods at the UvA and VU differ. For a ‘step-by-step guide to course and exam registration’ and the ‘dates for course and exam registration’ please consult the ‘course and exam registration’-page via the ‘A-Z list’ of your MA programme on

General Information

Course Code L_AAMAOHS001
Credits 6 EC
Period P4
Course Level 400
Language of Tuition English
Faculty Faculty of Humanities
Course Coordinator prof. dr. E.A. Hemelrijk
Teaching Staff prof. dr. E.A. Hemelrijk

Practical Information

You need to register for this course yourself

Last-minute registration is available for this course.

Teaching Methods Seminar
Target audiences

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