Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.)

Degree Granting Department


Major Professor

Brendan Cook, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Daniel Belgrad, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Benjamin Goldberg, Ph.D.


cultural hegemony, Gramsci, Roman baths, Romanization


This paper argues the institution of Roman bathing was an instrument of cultural hegemony, which allowed the Roman Empire to maintain hegemony over the Roman provinces. Numerous frameworks have been suggested in order to provide a comprehensive understanding of the relationship between Rome and the provinces. Roman imperialism has been a topic of debate for over one hundred years and the vicissitudes of scholarly thought are highlighted by the changes in the characterization of the theory of Romanization. In the recent past, scholars have sought a framework that could progress beyond the problematic concept of Romanization in order to better understand acculturation in the Roman provinces. In this paper, I provide an alternative method for examining the somewhat hackneyed issue of Roman imperialism. I argue the relationship between Rome and the provinces can be examined through the Gramcian theory of cultural hegemony. Using cultural hegemony, I explore the political consequences of direct change acculturation of the provinces of the Roman Empire. I argue that Roman culture was an efficacious mechanism for the dissemination of Roman ideology and diffusion of the Roman worldview was politically advantageous for Rome. Furthermore, I argue the custom of public bathing was a Roman cultural phenomenon that aided the Empire in preserving their hegemony in the provinces.