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Title: Caput mundi
Subtitle: Rome as Center in Roman Representation and Construction of Space
Author(s): CARLÀ-UHINK, Filippo
Journal: Ancient Society
Volume: 47    Date: 2017   
Pages: 119-157
DOI: 10.2143/AS.47.0.3242720

Abstract :
It is well-known that for ancient Romans the city of Rome represented caput mundi, the center of the world. Starting from socio-geographical and psychological theories about centralism and centrality, this article aims to investigate the structures of centrality adopted in the Roman culture to structure mentally the space of the imperium. It analyzes the ways in which the centrality of Rome was constructed in discourse and representation, as well as the forms in which the entire Italian peninsula was conceived and presented as a center of the Empire, finally considering, at a micro-geographical level, whether structures of centrality are recognizable within the city of Rome, and how they changed over time. A systematic analysis of such discourses and representations of space, and of their diachronic evolution, allows to recognize that such structures of centrality are a component and a product of the ‘cultural revolution’ of the late third - early second century BCE, which transformed Rome into an ‘imperial Republic’.

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