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Fire and its consequences in the City of Rome in antiquity, 390 BC - AD 410. / Richard Byles

Swansea University Author: Richard Byles

Abstract

This thesis is a systematic examination of fire in the city of Rome in the period 390 BC- AD 410. The principal aims of the work are; to show the reasons behind the outbreaks of fire in antiquity; the uses of fire in the city, as well as how fires started and spread both within a structure and withi...

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Published: 2013
Institution: Swansea University
Degree level: Master of Philosophy
Degree name: M.Phil
URI: https://cronfa.swan.ac.uk/Record/cronfa42629
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Abstract: This thesis is a systematic examination of fire in the city of Rome in the period 390 BC- AD 410. The principal aims of the work are; to show the reasons behind the outbreaks of fire in antiquity; the uses of fire in the city, as well as how fires started and spread both within a structure and within the city generally; the damage fires could cause, both physically (to the city and its inhabitants) and mentally; the aftermath of a fire and how Rome recovered; and, finally, the equipment of the vigiles and how they used this to fight fires in the capital. This research is, perhaps inevitably, interdisciplinary, drawing on evidence from literature, inscriptions, and archaeology. All three sources of information reveal different aspects about fire and, taken together, they enable us to construct a much more complete picture of the phenomenon. Other sources of information are needed to complement the ancient evidence. As such, this study draws on both comparative historical material and modem theoretical studies of various aspects, most importantly the study of fire dynamics. Ultimately this research aims to take a broad overview of the issue of fire in the city of Rome in antiquity, and place it in the emerging field of social history, by bringing the reality of the impact of this problem of urban living on the ordinary inhabitants of the city to the fore.
Keywords: Ancient history.
College: College of Arts and Humanities