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Daniëlle Slootjes (University of Amsterdam) will give a paper on crowd control in cities of the ancient world. Those interested can attend in person or join us digitally via Zoom.

Event details of New Perspectives on Mechanisms of Crowd Control in the Ancient World
Date 18 November 2021
Time 15:30 -16:30

Throughout the history of the ancient Mediterranean world, cities played an important role as political, economic, social, religious and cultural centres. While hundreds of smaller cities dotted the ancient landscape, most of our evidence comes from the larger cities around the Mediterranean such as for instance Rome, Athens, Constantinople, Antioch or Alexandria. Their sizable and diverse populations turned these cities into lively cosmopolitan hotspots but presented their authorities also with many challenges. The availability of space, food and work, for instance, were among these challenges. Indeed, inhabitants of ancient cities turning into disgruntled and rioting crowds because of shortages were a potential danger for the stability of society.

Modern scholarship has mostly analyzed ancient crowds as potentially violent, emotionally volatile and thus easily to be manipulated. Studies on modern crowd behavior as a universal phenomenon, however, have demonstrated that this is a limited and simplistic way of presenting crowds. In my research I am attempting to integrate ideas from these modern crowd studies, i.e. theoretical concepts from the fields of sociology, social psychology, urban design and planning with the ancient evidence on collective behavior. By way of a case study on ancient processions, this presentation will demonstrate how this integration of modern leads to new perspectives on mechanisms of ancient crowd behavior.

This is a hybrid event. Those who wish to join us in person are welcome from 15:30 onwards in Bushuis' VOC room; those who would like to attend digitally are requested to register below.