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By Ann Marie VanDerZanden

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THE IDEA OF A CITY 25 grips with the idea of changes in urban space as a means of studying socio-political change. More recently, there have been attempts to adopt a more integrated approach. The ground-breaking study by Pierre Gros explains the architectural and urban development of Campania principally in terms of cultural and economic contact with the Greek world (Gros 1978), but the work of Gabba emphasizes the relation between urbanization and its wider social context, relating the changes in the urban environment of the first century BC directly to the process of municipalization following the social war (Gabba 1971).

The Romans (London). Yavetz, Z. (1958), ‘The living conditions of the urban plebs in republican Rome’, Latomus,17:500–17. 20 2 The idea of a city: élite ideology and the evolution of urban form in Italy, 200 BC–AD 100 Kathryn Lomas An understanding of urbanization is central to understanding mechanisms of Roman rule in Italy, and the processes of acculturation. It is also crucial to our understanding of the operation of Roman society, and in particular élite society. Given this degree of importance, it is clearly an area which requires serious investigation.

Zanker, P. ). 3 Cities in context: urban systems in Roman Italy Neville Morley Modelling ancient cities In one sense, all cities are consumers. The existence of urban centres depends on the ability of farmers to produce a regular agricultural surplus, and on the efficiency of economic, social, and political institutions in mobilizing this surplus for the use of a population which is not involved in primary production. However, the idea of the ‘consumer city’ implies much more than this (Finley 1981).

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