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Public And Private Building Activity In Late Antique Rome

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Chapter Summary

This chapter charts the transformation of the organisation of building work at Rome during Late Antiquity and the social changes that underlay it. In Late Antiquity, the reduction and total cessation of brick manufacture, and the use instead of recycled materials, made it much harder to maintain the standardised, large-scale building methods of the Early Roman period. The scarcity of good-quality materials led to a growing discrepancy between monumental public works, sponsored by imperial and ecclesiastical authorities, and private and residential architecture. Such a development was not merely a sign of ?decadence? or ?decline?, but resulted from the emergence of a society rigidly divided between a ruling class that controlled the means of production and an oppressed inferior class, responsible for production activity.

Keywords: building work; Early Roman period; Late Antiquity; Rome; ruling class

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