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American Academy in Rome (New York, NY 10021-4905)
Richard J. A. Talbert (Project Director: March 2011 to May 2014)
Michael R. Maas (Co Project Director: March 2011 to May 2014)

Seminars for Higher Education Faculty
Education Programs

$159,865 (approved)
$154,863 (awarded)

Grant period:
10/1/2011 – 9/30/2012

Communication, Empire, and the City of Rome

A five-week seminar for sixteen college and university faculty members to study the system of communication in imperial Rome.

The city of Rome stood as the symbolic and practical center point of the ancient world’s most successful and long-lived imperial system. This five-week seminar, to be co-directed by Richard Talbert (UNC Chapel Hill) and Michael Maas (Rice University), is a topic now attracting avid attention from scholars, but it has not been investigated before as a unified phenomenon in a Roman imperial context. It addresses questions fundamental to our understanding of the ancient Roman empire including: What demands for communication does such a vast state create? How, in an age before telecommunications and rapid transportation, could an imperial system manifest its sovereignty and enable the circulation of personnel, ideas, and material goods? This approach should appeal not only to faculty with a primary interest in the Romans, but also to those (teachers of World Civilizations, for example) who situate Rome’s achievements in a wider pre-modern context.