CLA 326 / HIS 326 / HUM 324

Topics in Ancient History: Town and Country

Caroline Cheung and Denis Feeney

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By the first century BCE, the city of Rome had over one million inhabitants, and was the largest and most densely populated city in the Mediterranean, if not the world. In fact, no other city surpassed ancient Rome in population until the 19th century. Yet scholars have estimated that as much as 80% of the population engaged in agriculture. The urban-rural divide was an important concept in antiquity. In this seminar, we will look at a wide range of evidence — literary, material, visual, etc. — to examine the cultural concepts associated with ‘town’ and ‘country’ for the ancient Romans.

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