Urbanism on the Margins: Life and Death in the Roman Suburb


ACLS Fellowship Program


Classical Studies


“Urbanism on the Margins” aims to reposition the dead as a central part of ancient life. Over the past two decades, Roman urban studies have come to see the suburb as intimately connected to the city center. Nevertheless, tombs—the defining feature of suburbs—have been left out of this shift. Research on cities still passes over tombs, while work on death has focused on issues seen as separate from urbanism. This project introduces a new paradigm by considering Roman tombs within their ancient landscape of shops, houses, workshops, rubbish dumps, entertainment buildings, and sanctuaries to trace the many roles they played in the living city. The book argues that tombs were not simply passive memorials, but rather active spaces that both facilitated and furthered the social, religious, and economic life of the city.