Universiteit Leiden

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PhD project

Civitates Hispaniae: urbanization on the Iberian Peninsula during the Roman Empire

How do we explain the fact that certain areas had many large cities, while other areas were studded with large numbers of small towns and yet other areas had very few urban agglomerations of any kind?

2013 - 2017

The investigation of Pieter Houten will go into the urban networks on the Iberian Peninsula with a focus on the role of secondary agglomerations to understand their position within the urban structure. This settlement type, taking "urban" functions in regions with a lower urban density, is being studied for other regions of the Roman West, but has obtained little attention in Spain and Portugal. In addition, relation between the pre-roman and Imperial roman urban structure as well as geography will be regarded to obtain a better understanding of the origin and mechanisms of the urban structure.

The urban centres themselves are the main focus of the project. Different aspects related to urbanism will be studied to obtain a greater knowledge of the nature of urbanism on the Iberian Peninsula. One of the foci will be monumentalisation as to challenge the classical idea of the Roman city with baths, forum and spectacle building. Moreover, the evidence for juridical status, especially the grant of Ius Latii (put simply: Latin citizenship) for the whole of the Iberian Peninsula must have had an impact on the urbanisation, will be studied looking at epigraphy and relating this to other aspects such as monumetalisation.

The data will be analysed using GIS and network analysis to obtain a better understanding of the urban structure of the urban centres on the Iberian Peninsula. Ultimately, this inquiry into the secondary agglomerations will be a first attempt to create a discourse on secondary agglomerations for the whole Iberian Peninsula. In addition, the relation of the structure as found in the imperial period in comparison to the pre-roman structures. In order to obtain knowledge on the relevance of pre-roman settlement patterns for the Iberian Peninsula. 

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