In this issue we present one of Rome’s greatest un-success stories: the extravagant yet impractical city of Clunia in northern Spain.
Two thousand years ago, with the booming Roman political machine behind it, Clunia was made into the administrative capital of the province of Tarraconensis. The main aim of the city was to convey prestige. Among its glut of grandiose structures was the 9,000-seat theatre shown on the front cover of this issue – the largest in all Iberia Despite Oscar Wilde’s famous witticism that ‘Moderation is a fatal thing. Nothing succeeds like excess,’ the opulent Clunia did not succeed. Instead, it fell into disuse.
Why? After all, the city occupied an enviably strategic military position, dominating a vast plateau c.1,000m above sea level. It also had an impressive infrastructure for providing and removing water to rival those in use today. Archaeologists have been working hard to discover more, but what have they revealed?