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Extra info for Cities and Urban Life in the Western Provinces of the Roman Empire, 30 BCE–250 CE

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This occurred, for example, in Baetica in the late 70s in the case of one Servilius Pollio, who had leased the right to collect some of the local revenues (vectigalia) of the municipium of Munigua (Mulva, 30 km northeast of Seville). Left out of pocket by the refusal of the city to pay him what he was owed, he had appealed to the proconsul of Baetica, who adjudged in his favor. The magistrates and decurions of Munigua in turn felt aggrieved and sent an embassy to the emperor Titus to appeal the proconsul’s decision.

In the interior of Gaul, for example, many continued to live in rural villages, only visiting the major centers once or twice a year at the very most (Woolf 1998: 135– 41; for the smaller towns of Britain, see Burnham and Wacher 1990). So while it is generally true that urbanization was one of the most important consequences of Roman rule in the west, by no means was it experienced with equal intensity across the entire region. There were some clear similarities, to be sure, in the architecture to be found in urban centers as far afield as southern Spain and the interior of Gaul or Britain, but the texture of urban life was by no means identical.

A crucial element of each new civitas capital was a monumental urban center, adorned with buildings familiar from the urban landscapes of Rome and Italy. Significantly, Tacitus begins his list of such buildings with temples and, as we have seen, temples provided the focal point of most cities, reminding the local inhabitants of the importance of placating the gods to ensure the continuation of the Roman peace. Tacitus also emphasizes how crucial the local elites were to this civilizing process.

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Cities and Urban Life in the Western Provinces of the Roman Empire, 30 BCE–250 CE by Jonathan Edmondson


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