• AARON W. IRVIN Murray State University
Keywords: Romanization, Imperialism, Gaul, Gallo-Roman, Amphitheaters, Pre-Roman Gaul, Roman Monuments, Roman Provinces


Perhaps the most striking, and archaeologically speaking the most evident, change that occurred in Gallia Comata from the 1st century BCE to the end of the 2nd century CE was the incorporation of massive, monumental, Roman-style architecture. Many of these monuments still stand to this day, providing an obvious, visual argument for the impact that Roman culture had on Gallic society. Overall, the incorporation of Roman architecture and monuments, paid for and dedicated by members of the local elite, seems to indicate a clear cultural shift in Gallic society and the adoption of Roman conceptions of urbanism and the role of the urban aristocracy in providing munera for the populace.

This paper will examine the remains of monumental structures in the Gallic civitas-capitals, examining the initial stages of monumentalization. While early structures advertised the connection between the community as a whole with the Imperial power structure, the construction of amphitheaters in particular emerged rapidly throughout the Three Gauls and, as this paper will argue, was tied to the glorification and memorialization of the dedicator and his family. The edification of urban space thus became a new ground for the Gallic aristocracy to play out its internal rivalries, rather than a public expression of acceptance or obedience under Rome, and through the use of amphitheaters, urban edification allowed the Gallic aristocracy to retain their ties to the concept of competitive status and martial prowess.


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