In This Article Expand or collapse the "in this article" section Ancient Architecture and Urbanism in Western Europe (pre-Roman, Roman)

  • Introduction
  • Architecture and Urbanism in Western Europe before the Romans
  • Periodicals and Digital Resources

Architecture Planning and Preservation Ancient Architecture and Urbanism in Western Europe (pre-Roman, Roman)
James F. D. Frakes
  • LAST REVIEWED: 22 February 2023
  • LAST MODIFIED: 26 February 2020
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780190922467-0037


Looking into the architecture and urbanism of a particular geographic section of the vast Roman Empire makes sense, both because of the great diversity of cultures that preceded Roman conquest in all those territories and because social and economic conditions varied region by region. This bibliography covers the 2nd century BCE to the turn of the 4th century CE. The fields that explore issues of Roman architecture over the last century have moved from questions that presuppose a central coordinated authority that meant to produce empire-wide unity, with architecture being a key visualization of Roman power, to questions that look more carefully for local motives and adaptations that emerged from the confrontation with Roman power. Similarly, analysis of Roman urban patterns have moved over the decades from inquiries that presuppose an underlying homogeneity in the ritual underpinnings of city planning (and the economic systems that sustained them) to questions of how topography, religion, and local status structures both caused and resulted from regional adaptations. This bibliography presents studies drawn mainly from the 1980s to the present with an intention to introduce key texts that have shaped and summarized the fields. After a brief bibliography of sources for pre-Roman urbanism in the west, there are presented a variety of works that study subregions: specifically, the three Iberian provinces of Taraconnensis, Beatica, and Lusitania; the four Gallic provinces of Narbonensis, Aquitania, Lugdunensis, and Belgica; the two Germanic provinces of Germania Inferior and Superior; and the province of Britannia. Roman architecture in Italy and in the provinces of western North Africa, the Danube region, and the eastern empire are the subjects of other bibliographies in this series. After these regional treatments come two bibliographies that approach the subject differently; the first listing studies of particular building types in the western provinces, and the second offering archaeological syntheses of specific Roman cities or sites. Finally, a concise list of major periodicals and online resources pertinent to the subject is appended.

General Overviews

The resources cited in this section offer larger overviews of the whole of the western Roman Empire, sometimes with a subregional focus. It is divided into three subsections that response to major genres within the general survey of provincial architecture and urbanism: canonical surveys of the subjects, surveys that advocate for particular theoretical or interpretive frameworks, and finally essays that look particularly at the phenomenon of euergetism.

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