The design and uses of bath-house palaestrae in Roman North Africa

  • Author / Creator
    Taylor, Craig
  • The topic of this thesis is the palaestrae of Roman Africa. Although many examples of palaestrae have been found in North Africa, there has never been a study solely focused on these facilities. They have usually been considered only in the context of Roman baths and as features of bath buildings. This thesis examines palaestrae in a new light and analyzes their role as athletic facilities within the sporting culture of Roman Africa. The Roman provinces of North Africa have yielded a particularly rich body of evidence for athletic games and festivals, making this region ideal for studying this topic.
    The concern of the thesis is twofold. The first issue is the design and construction of palaestrae in Roman Africa. There is discussion of their form, of construction techniques, and of their place in the overall design of baths. The second issue is how their form relates to function. There is a discussion of how palaestrae accommodated athletic activities, such as training and competition.
    The thesis concludes that palaestrae in Roman Africa were an important part of local athletic culture, used for training and possibly for competition. Greek and Roman models influenced their design, but climate played a significant role. Great effort was made to ensure these buildings were kept cool, not only by placing them in less exposed areas but also by insulating them from the heated rooms of the baths. Local resources and building techniques were important factors in their construction. This thesis includes a gazetteer of palaestra sites in Roman Africa and a catalogue of all inscriptions relevant to the use of palaestrae.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
    Fall 2009
  • Type of Item
  • Degree
    Doctor of Philosophy
  • DOI
  • License
    This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.
  • Language
  • Institution
    University of Alberta
  • Degree level
  • Department
  • Supervisor / co-supervisor and their department(s)
  • Examining committee members and their departments
    • Lovell, Nancy (Anthropology)
    • Mills, David (History and Classics)
    • Fracchia, Helena (History and Classics)
    • Yegül, Fikret (History of Art and Architecture)