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  • Print publication year: 2007
  • Online publication date: March 2008

24 - The Western Provinces

from Part VII - Regional Development in the Roman Empire

Summary

The western provinces can be divided into two zones according to their relationship to Rome, the center of power: a Mediterranean zone in which contacts via the sea prevailed, and a continental and oceanic zone separated by the Alps from Italy. In a few provincial areas, the density of cities comes close to those of the regions of Italy and of the east that had long since been urbanized. Like the city, the villa can be seen as a factor of economic development or as a parasitic structure expressing the elites' domination of the countryside. In the role division of city and country, the political functions are carried out by the city; the productive functions are divided between villa for agricultural production, and the vicus for most craft production. Centuriated, divided, distributed or rented out, these new lands considerably increased the size of the ager (the cultivated territory within the Roman empire).

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