This is the first comparative study of Roman architecture on the Iberian peninsula, covering six centuries from the arrival of the Romans in the third century B.C. until the decline of urban life on the peninsula in the third century A.D. During this period, the peninsula became an influential cultural and political region in the Roman world. Iberia supplied writers, politicians, and emperors, a fact acknowledged by Romanists for centuries, though study of the peninsula itself has too often been brushed aside as insignificant and uninteresting. In this book William E. Mierse challenges such a view.
By examining in depth the changing forms of temples and their placement within the urban fabric, Mierse shows that architecture on the peninsula displays great variation and unexpected connections. It was never a slavish imitation of an imported model but always a novel experiment. Sometimes the architectural forms are both new and unexpected; in some cases specific prototypes can be seen, but the Iberian form has been significantly altered to suit local needs. What at first may seem a repetition of forms upon closer investigation turns out to be theme and variation. Mierse brings to his quest an impressive learning, including knowledge of several modern and ancient languages and the archaeology of the Roman East, which allows him a unique perspective on the interaction between events and architecture.
William E. Mierse is Associate Professor of Art History and Classics at the University of Vermont. He is the coauthor, with George Hanfmann, of Sardis from Prehistoric to Roman Times (1983).