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Ben White

Classics, University of Nottingham

Thesis title:

The Roman 'porticus': promenading from Republic to Empire.

My thesis explores the ways in which the people of ancient Rome navigated and thought about their city. Especially, it investigates the development of colonnaded spaces (porticus) during the constitutional transition from Republic to Empire (c. 200 BCE – 100 CE). At Rome, such colonnades constituted the architectural curtains for the urban experience, giving a certain scenography to the rhythms of daily spectacle. Exploring how this architectural framework developed chronologically, topographically and thematically, the thesis intends to shed light on the importance of these structures not only to daily life in ancient Rome but also to the development of urban settlements across time. 

Research Area

  • Classics


Aediles, porticus and the reorganisation of the mid-Republican city: the case of the Porta Trigemina - 'The topography of administration in ancient Rome', Rome, April 2020. 

Framed worlds in the urbanscape: Towards a Goffmanian framework for exploring Roman porticoes - 'Frames and framing in antiquity', Changchun, China, March 2020.

The Porticus Octaviae: Becoming Roman in the Augustan Circus Flaminius: 'Becoming' in Rome, University of Durham, September 2019.

Memory and Identity in the Cosmopolis - CRASIS 2019 Annual Meeting and Master Class, University of Groningen, March 2019. 

The Templum Divi Claudii: reconstructing an elusive complex in its topographical environs - University of Nottingham, March 2019. 

Rome’s ‘tour-guides’: towards the idea of collective viewing at Rome - 'Building Cohesion and Unity: combining approaches to the study of the past', University of Nottingham, 2nd December 2017. 

Other Academic activities: 

Placement @ The British School at Rome, 'Rome in print: archaeology and archives', September to December 2020 (https://tinyurl.com/BSRBlog).

ISAR Signum Vortumni ProjectHorrea Agrippiana, Roman Forum, Rome, archaeological excavation, June - July 2019. 

BSR-M4C Workshop: 'Rome: changing physical and ideological landscapes of the eternal city', June 2019. 

Public Engagement & Impact

Midlands4Cities Digital Research Festival 2020, lead organiser, July 2020. 

Meaning, Memory and Movement: ancient and medieval spaces, lead conference organiser, November 2019 (https://amspaces.wordpress.com/). 

The city of Rome: an introduction, keynote lecture at the Bedford Sixth Form, January 2020. 

Museum Outreach Officer and Facilitator, University of Nottingham Museum, September 2018-present. 

PhD Tutors in Schools, The Brilliant Club, September 2019-present (4 placements). 

Journal Editor, New ClassicistsJanuary 2020-present (https://www.newclassicists.com/).

Other Research Interests

  • Italy and the Grand Tour
  • The visual culture and history of the Augustan Principate
  • Digital Humanities and reconstructive approaches to the ancient world
  • Roman wall-paintings (esp. 2nd style) and luxury private dwellings in Campania
  • Provincial identity in the Western Roman Empire 
  • The city of Rome through time
  • The etchings of G. B. Piranesi (1720-1778)
  • The appropriation of ancient architectural styles in the modern world