Acts of the Symposium »Roman Provincial Capitals under Transition«

From 4th - 7th November 2019 the international symposium "Roman Provincial Capitals under Transition" took place in Plovdiv, Bulgaria, as a joint session of the National Archaeological Institute with the Museum of the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, and the ÖAI. The goal of the symposium was to bring together participants from the fields of classical studies and archaeology from different scientific traditions, in order to illuminate the thematic field of the capital cities of the Roman Empire in as broad as possible a manner from a geographical and diachronic perspective.

The acts of the symposium, currently being prepared, should reflect the thematic diversity of the 25 contributions by participants from 12 different countries: in addition to general considerations regarding the essential characteristics of capital cities and their administration, specific themes are also discussed, which geographically encompass the entire Mediterranean region as well as the northern provinces. The following issues are dealt with in the acts: how did cities become capital cities? Did every province have a capital city, or a number of administrative centres? Where did the provincial governor reside and how did the seats of the governor look like from an architectonic viewpoint? How extensive was his personnel? How did cities respond to the fact of becoming a capital in terms of urban planning? How did capital cities develop economically? Which trading relations connected them with other cities in the respective province and with other capital cities? How did capital cities react to phases of crisis in the empire and to restructuring of the provinces? What influence did administrative centres and the presence of the Roman administration have on artistic development?

In general, the results of new research should be presented that have taken place in the more than two decades since the appearance of the standard work on this topic by Rudolf Haensch, Capita provinciarum. Statthaltersitze und Provinzialverwaltung in der römischen Kaiserzeit (Mainz 1997). The author himself will present his current perspective on the theme of capital cities in the Roman empire from the imperial period up until late antiquity. It is clear that an apparently already intensively studied theme offers great potential for additional further analyses.