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Reassessing the capacities of entertainment structures in the Roman Empire

Hanson, J. and Ortman, S. (2020) Reassessing the capacities of entertainment structures in the Roman Empire. American Journal of Archaeology, 124 (3). pp. 417-440. ISSN 0002-9114 (In Press)

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To link to this item DOI: 10.3764/aja.124.3.0417

Abstract/Summary

In recent years, scholars have become increasingly skeptical of the idea that there is any relationship between the capacities of entertainment structures such as theaters and amphitheaters and the populations of Graeco-Roman cities. In this article, we begin by offering a model of information percolation in cities grounded in settlement scaling theory. We then show that, although there is a systematic relationship between the capacities of both theaters and amphitheaters and the populations of cities in the Roman Empire, this relationship is far from linear, indicating that a decreasing fraction of the population attended events in entertainment structures. In addition, although there is a great deal of variation in the extent to which each site conforms to the underlying relationships, there is a strong pattern in the sizes of these deviations and the overall standing of sites, as reflected in their civic statuses. Collecting similar measures for other relationships might be a useful way of characterizing sites and indicates a fruitful avenue for future research.

Item Type:Article
Refereed:Yes
Divisions:Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Science > School of Humanities > Classics
ID Code:90667
Publisher:Archaeological Institute of America

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