Full Version: Would a 2000 pop settlement warrant a forum?
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As part of the Pons Aelius virtual reconstruction project, I was wondering at what point does a vicus cease being a vicus and becomes a small settlement?

Pons Aelius was known to have a settlement with roughly about 2000 people. Does this mean it becomes a roman ''town'' with linear streets, a forum, temples and so on (maybe even occupying both banks of the river), or is it possible to just have a very large vicus, in a fairly unorganised pattern with many bloc and strip houses?

The Roman government didn't allocate public buildings or construction funding based on settlement size. The status of a city had at best a tenuous relationship to its size or elaboration, but rather depended on accidents of history, imperial favour, and influence-peddling. IIRC it is Pausanias who writes of a city that lacks any proper public facilities, yet proudly calls itself an autonomous polis.

2000 is a goodly size and by Roman standards could (though by no means need) qualify as a town. Whether it has any facilities, though, would depend on the funds locals have available. Anyplace that can afford a forum, a standardised street grid or a basilica can build one.

Since you're saying 'vicus', do you mean an independent settlement or a settlement attached to a fort? If the latter, facilities will likely show up more slowly.
I have not gone into the civil aspect of Pons Aelius or indeed the population figures, infact I have always considered that this being a smaller fort it would only have a smaller garrison to protect the function of the bridge. There is of course the fact that a civil population would grow around it, and also spread to the south side of the bridge. Therefore I think this place would only be in terms of an urban sprawl, it would not I think have any official classification other than being a large double kind of Vicus both sides of this bridge.
I agree with Volker. Two thousand was the size of Forum Hadriani, which counted as a civitas capital and had market rights (nundinas habere). The Forum has not been excavated, but the irongrid map almost proves that there was some sort of monumental center.
Quote:Pons Aelius was known to have a settlement with roughly about 2000 people.
Really? When?
MARCVS PETRONIVS MAIVS:34ekvdl9 Wrote:Pons Aelius was known to have a settlement with roughly about 2000 people.
Really? When?

One of my sources said so, although now I can't seem to find it. Give me a while, I'll go through it again.

Anyway, I think we will settle for the vicus on both sides of the river. It seems more safe I think as these were the kinds of settlements that usually sprung up around forts. Although it may have prospered beyond the usual vicus, we do not know so it will just be a vicus for now.