In this book Professor Tomlinson examines a representative selection of Greek and Roman cities, looking specifically at their architectural remains. They are chosen for their importance to our understanding of the evolution of city form, either because they were already important in antiquity, or because the quality of the remains makes them particularly interesting. Thus the survey includes early places which failed to develop, places which were major, dominant cities in their own time, and others which were never more than ordinary but which through accident (the eruption of Vesuvius at Pompeii) have left especially signiificant remains. Collectively, these illustrate the form of the ancient city, and its architectural response to the social organisation it comprises, as well as the varying politcal systems to which it reacted. It leads up to the imperial cities which served as the base for imperial authority, down to the social organisation it comprised, as well as the varying political systems to which it reacted.
It leads up to the imperial cities which served as the base for imperial autority, down to the creation of the new Rome for Constantine's Christian Empire at Constantiniople. This is more than a book about pure ancient arcihtecture: rather it is architecture in its social context - showing how arcitecture is part of history rather than an aesthetic topic to be treated in isoloation. So, Tomlinson emphasises how the form and arrangement of different building types persist or develop in response to differing circumstances.
"What makes the work a valuable contribution is Tomlinson's complete command of a great mass of specialized archaeological reports. This enables him to give coherent interpretations of each city's role and development, and also--most unusual--to make illuminating comparisons. . . . The 13 maps and 74 illustrations supplement the text beautifully. Highly recommended."
"An enjoyable book for anyone interested in the urban character of the Classical, Hellenistic, and Roman worlds."
-"Southwestern Journal of Theology