SESSION 12

URBAN STREETS AS COMMUNICATION SPACES IN THE ROMAN IMPERIAL PERIOD

Organised by: Annette Haug and Philipp Kobusch

At first sight, streets serve the purpose to make urban spaces accessible. This colloquium will focus on a secondary but no less important aspect of urban streets: they constitute spaces where merchants sell their products, where religious and secular rituals take place, where travellers as well as residents can rest and relax, and where children play. The very dense use of streets turns them into vivid and intense spaces of communication.

As there are hardly any restrictions on their accessibility, this communication space is open to a broad public – or to be more precise: to very heterogeneous, socially differentiated publics. This is an aspect that distinguishes streets (at least to a certain degree) from other public spaces as sanctuaries, theatres or baths. Against this background, urban streets become urban focal points where social norms are negotiated, where social groups confirm or question their social identity, where social communication and interaction takes places.

In the context of this session, we would like to address the following questions:

  • Who are the actors involved in communication in the streets?
  • Which contexts of action frame the communication?
  • Which forms and levels of communication can be reconstructed?
  • How does the need for specific types of communication influence urban planning and archi-tectural intervention, and vice versa: which effect does the built environment have on social interaction?
  • What role is played by images in street areas in respect to these communication processes?

The methodological difficulties of such an approach are obvious: the communication processes taken into consideration take place on very different, overlapping levels. Often enough, ephemeral forms of communication (and the original actors) are hard to trace. One central aspect of the colloquium will consist in a methodological reflection of possibilities and limits of such an approach.

Visual Communication in the Streets of Pompeii, Annette Haug and Philipp Kobusch

The Appia in town. A highway as urban public space, Patric-Alexander Kreuz

Ruhe und Bewegung: städtischer Straßenverkehr im frühkaiserzeitlichen Pompeji, Jens-Arne Dickmann

Children in the Streets – Interaction between Children and Adults in Pompeii, Ray Laurence

Speaking in tongues, listening for meaning: modes of epigraphic discourse along the streets of Graeco-Roman antiquity, Peter Keegan

Write Where the People Are – Contextualizing Wall Inscriptions in the Streetscapes of Pompeii, Eeva-Maria Viitanen