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Riots in Ancient Rome
September 27, 2010 @ 3:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Solmsen Fellow (2010-2011)
Humanistic Studies (Classics), University of Wisconsin-Green Bay
The inhabitants of ancient Rome appear to have been a riotous lot with at least 154 known episodes of unruly collective behavior between 200 BC and AD 375. As a result, Rome has often been characterized as a lawless, violent place, and its inhabitants, especially the poor, portrayed as disorderly and fickle. The reality, however, is considerably more complex with many riots being planned and instigated by elites, and with mobs often exhibiting considerable restraint and performing symbolic rather than actual acts of violence.This talk will offer an overview of these riots, and their causes, characteristics, and organization.
Gregory S. Aldrete, Solmsen Fellow at the IRH, is Professor of History and Humanistic Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay. Some of his main areas of research have included daily life in ancient cities, floods in Rome, gestures and non-verbal communication in Roman oratory, logistics of the food supply system for Rome, and most recently, the use of linen body armor in the ancient world. His books include: Gestures and Acclamation in Ancient Rome (Johns Hopkins 1999), Floods of the Tiber in Ancient Rome (Johns Hopkins 2007), Daily Life in the Roman City: Rome, Pompeii, and Ostia (Oklahoma 2009), and Greenwood Encyclopedia of Daily Life I: The Ancient World (Greenwood 2002, editor).