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Settlement, Urbanization, and Population$
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Alan Bowman and Andrew Wilson

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780199602353

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199602353.001.0001

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Cities and Economic Development in the Roman Empire

Cities and Economic Development in the Roman Empire

(p.143) 6 Cities and Economic Development in the Roman Empire
Settlement, Urbanization, and Population

Neville Morley

Oxford University Press

This chapter sets out theoretical debate about urbanization in the Roman world and its possible relationship to the economy. Any comparative study of urbanization shows that entirely different processes within different societies can yield the same basic result, namely, the emergence of ‘the city’ in the sense of a built-up environment with a certain level of population living within a limited area. The ‘city’ is important not in its own right but for what it might tell us about the processes that promoted its development; simply noting the presence of such ‘cities’ in a society tells us nothing about the presence or absence of the sorts of processes associated with ‘economic development’ along the lines of early modern Europe. Urbanization can be understood as one of the products of the confluence of four different processes of social, economic, and cultural change: concentration, crystallization, integration, and differentiation.

Keywords:   urbanization, Roman world, city, economic development, concentration, crystallization, integration, differentiation

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