Seth G. Bernard
My project explores the social context of the building industry in Middle Republican Rome (ca. 390–168 BCE). During this period, Rome was transformed from a modest Italian settlement into the capital city of a Mediterranean empire. The newly built circuit wall, aqueducts, roads, temples, and porticoes required unprecedented outlays of expense and manpower. Drawing from a variety of material such as archaeology, literary, and documentary sources, and numismatics, I look at how the urban fabric was configured, and how the increasingly complex construction industry reshaped Roman society. Comparative history shows us that in any preindustrial city, monumental construction was a difficult and labor-intensive process. Rome was no exception. Technology, financial history, and labor history all converge to show the importance of the building process to Rome’s residents in the Middle Republic.