Universiteit Leiden

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The Resilience of the Ancient City

Thursday 12 December 2019
University Library
Witte Singel 27
2311 BG Leiden
Vossius Conference Room (South Hall, second floor)

It has been too common to talk of the ancient city as a phenomenon that ‘declined and fell’, or at least underwent a profound transformation into something different, a ‘medieval city’, at some point in late antiquity. So it is surprising, especially after the gloomy predictions of Salvian of Marseilles in the fifth century AD, to find authors in the sixth century, Cassiodorus in the West and Procopius in the East describing the city in quite traditional terms as alive and kicking. Resilience theory, derived from ecology, provides a framework within which to understand how the city, though subjected to numerous traumas, could find ways to draw on past memory to adapt and survive.

Andrew Wallace-Hadrill is the Principal Investigator of a European Advanced grant project to look at the Impact of the Ancient City.. Formerly Director of the British School at Rome (1995-2009), and Master of Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge (2009-2013), he is based on the University of Cambridge Classics Faculty as Honorary Professor of Roman Studies. His books include Suetonius: the Scholar and his Caesars, Augustan Rome, Houses and Society in Pompeii and Herculaneum, and Rome’s Cultural Revolution.

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