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2 - Inscriptions and Port Societies

Evidence, ‘Analyse du Discours’, Silences andPortscapes

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  30 October 2020

Pascal Arnaud
Affiliation:
Université Lumière Lyon II
Simon Keay
Affiliation:
University of Southampton
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Summary

One question that arises from a study of ports iswhether or not there existed a pattern of portsocieties. A Roman port society means theindividuals and groups who together with variouslevels of administration made port life real, aswell as their relationships and the rules of thesocial game. Using the plural presupposes that thesecould vary through time and space. Ports were notsimply an administrative machine whose details stillpuzzle us. They were also cosmopolitan placesdevoted to profit that involved a complex set ofprofessions and people of various origins and socialstatus, with various patterns of organization andnetworking (citizenship, language, religion, guilds,personal patronage, family in its wider sense), whowere able to combine in a great variety of ways. Atthis point one wonders whether there was a patternof society that was common to ports across theEmpire as a whole. Were there several patterns thatcould help us better understand or identify porthierarchies and the organization and layout ofports?

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Roman Port Societies
The Evidence of Inscriptions
, pp. 36 - 62
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2020

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