Civic market buildings and their role in economic life in Hellenistic and Roman Asia Minor

Start - End 
2017 - 2022 (completed)
Department of History
Other institution(s) 
KU Leuven
Research group(s) 
Research Focus 



Market buildings, that is, one-, two- or three-storied colonnaded porticoes with attached outbuildings, generally containing multiple workshops, storage spaces and other facilities and located on or near the city’s central market square (agora) are a typical feature of Greek cities in Hellenistic and Roman Asia Minor. Surprisingly, despite their relatively abundant attestation (including a recent find at Sagalassos in Pisidia) and clear commercial focus (also evident from written sources in which they are mentioned), these buildings have mostly been studied for their architectural features alone. With this project we propose the first systematic study of the economic role and function of Market Buildings (both their physical aspects and the institutional context of which they were part) in the cities of Hellenistic and Roman Asia Minor, based on an integrated and theoretically informed analysis of the available archaeological and written evidence. This study of Market buildings will also contribute substantially to the debate on the ancient, particularly the Roman, economy, which has in recent decades been characterized far too much by high-level abstract modelling and haphazard use of archaeological data, without much attention for the local civic socio-political context of most ancient economic activity. With this project we hope to contribute to refocusing scholarly attention to just this (complex) local context.



Phd Student(s)


Jeroen Poblome

KU Leuven