Seth G. Bernard

Seth G. Bernard

Dorothy and Lewis B. Cullman Pre-Doctoral Rome Prize
September 1, 2010–July 31, 2011
Profession
Department of Classical Studies, University of Pennsylvania
Project title
Men at Work: Public Construction, Labor, and Society in Middle Republican Rome
Project description

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.