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By B. H. Warmington

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1 It was, therefore, a form of benefaction which had a unique impact on the physical development of the urban environment, and also provides a powerful reflection of the cultural identity of a city and the way in which it was shaped by civic patrons and benefactors. Paradoxically, it is also one of the areas in which patterns of benefaction, and in particular the motivations for it, are least clear. There is a wealth of evidence – mostly archaeological and epigraphic – for the construction and reconstruction of public buildings in Roman Italy, but the reasons for preferring certain types of building at particular times, and for undertaking the cost of a construction programme at all, are frequently ambiguous.

Such coin-hoards would be assembled by those worried about their future health, and without close kin on whose support they could rely. 177). It has been customary for archaeologists and numismatists to assume that coin-hoards are invariably connected with political instability, especially civil war or ‘barbarian’ invasion. That may certainly in some cases be the explanation why someone hid a great deal of treasure and failed to return to recover it, but it need not apply to all cases: those who needed to amass savings because they had no dependents whom they trusted were precisely those most likely to die without telling anyone else where they had hidden it.

Arch. 2; cf Welch 1994 on the development of stone amphitheatres). During the Augustan period the number of stone theatres constructed rises throughout Italy, as does the number of amphitheatres – a factor which represents a major investment in public building by the benefactors who were footing the bill, given that buildings of this size and elaboration represented a major outlay of resources by either a state or an individual. The bare statistical evidence, presented as tables or distribution maps, gives a sharp indication that there were major changes afoot in the Italian city during the late Republic and the early empire, both in number and in type of benefactions.

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