Ancient Cities

3 credits


Ancient Mediterranean Studies
College of Arts and Science

Today, more than half of the world’s population lives in an “urban area.” More than 80% of the people who live in the United States dwell in what we call “cities.” Every year, more and more people are drawn to these urban centers. Needless to say, this was not always the case. What are the historical origins of cities? What sparked the urbanization process? How were ancient cities organized, and how were they different from the urban centers today? What was it like to walk around ancient Uruk, Athens, or Rome? Ancient Cities is an introductory survey to the urban centers of the ancient Near Eastern, Egyptian, and Mediterranean worlds. We will begin with the earliest known settlements in the Near East, ca. 9000 B.C., and trace urbanization as far as Imperial Rome and Late Antiquity. The purpose of the course is to examine the characteristics of urbanism, and the archeological evidence for settlement structure, urbanization and state-formation in different cultures of the ancient Mediterranean world.