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Greg Woolf, "Risk and Resilience in the Roman Urban Mediterranean"

November 5, 2021 - 12:00pm to 1:00pm
Building 110, Room 112



Ancient Mediterranean urbanism, which reached its apogee in the early Roman empire, presents a paradox. The urban network was extraordinarily stable: most cities that existed in 500 BCE were still functioning a millennium later. Yet the region is widely considered to have been environmentally precarious, given the frequency of localized droughts and food shortages, tectonic events (earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, tsunamis), floods and fires. I will discuss some good, and some bad, explanations for urban resilience in the period.

Greg Woolf is Ronald J Mellor Professor of Ancient History.He has broad interests in the culture of the Roman world, especially its relation to the various power dynamics that formed the empire. His first book Becoming Roman in Gaul examined the formation and transformation of provincial cultures through archaeological evidence. Since then he has written on literacy, on knowledge cultures and libraries, on ethnography, on the Roman economy, on gendered Roman history and on the emergence of religions. His latest book is The Life and Death of Ancient Cities. A Natural History, which reflects a growing interest in the history of the very long term. Currently he is working on a book on migration and mobility and also on urban resilience as one aspect of the environmental history of antiquity.

You are welcome to join us live via Zoom, if  you cannot attend in person:

Image: The Destruction of Pompeii and Herculaneum John Martin 1821 (Tate).

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Department of Classics
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