ABSTRACT

This chapter attempts to show what is significant for an archaeological understanding of the Roman city, beginning with a survey, in the light of recent research and personal observation, of the chief monuments of the Roman period, basing itself on the catalogue of sites. Until the time of the Herulian raid at least, the hub of the Roman city remained the agora, the civic centre of Sparta since at least the fifth century BC. Roman Sparta has been characterized by one of its modern excavators as a ‘large and prosperous Roman city’. An important final point arises from the survey of the archaeological evidence for Roman Sparta: it concerns the apparent openness of local society to material — and with it cultural — romanization. In the time of Pausanias the north-easternmost point in Spartan territory lay on the ancient route from Sparta to Argos over Mt Parnon, where the Antonine boundaries of Tegea, Sparta and Argos all met.