Department or Program

Classical and Medieval Studies


This thesis uses traditional literary and archaeological evidence as well as new digital humanities methods such as 3-D modeling and GIS mapping to explore the close relationship between urban topography and political violence’s forms and effectiveness. The majority of the 65 distinguishable instances political violence during this period occurred in the Forum, where Rome’s political decision-making processes took place. The co-dependence of political processes such as legislation to their topography made these processes particularly vulnerable to physical disruption, and violence politically effective. Political violence was not random, but specifically targeted at a small number of sites and the processes they contained. Elite politicians, organized gangs, and individual crowd members used violent tactics that were tailored to the topography it was designed to disrupt. The Rostra, the Curia, and the judicial complex of the Eastern Forum were frequent targets because of their symbolic centrality and physical accessibility. Outside of the expressly political realm, Rome’s public theaters were symbolic targets of class-based violence because of their partly closed nature. Private homes on the Palatine Hill functioned both as headquarters for organizing violence, as well as the targets of it. In embedding the ancient sources’ narratives of violence in their urban context, this thesis provides a novel illustration of the intensely physical, sensorial, and spatial experience that was participation in Roman politics.

Level of Access

Open Access

First Advisor

Imber, Margaret

Date of Graduation

Spring 5-2016

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

Number of Pages


Components of Thesis

1 pdf

Open Access

Available to all.