The foundation of cities and expansion of existing ones are well-known activities of kings and emperors. Although the expansion of cities along major roadways has always been common, the placement of an arch outside the walls of the Roman city of Gerasa does more than commemorate the stay of the emperor Hadrian in the winter of A. D. 128. This arch provides important clues to the order and structure of this classical city. It leads to an understanding of how the imperial city restructured the earlier Hellenistic settlement. It provides a cornerstone to a particular geometric strategy of "growing" a new urban quarter in commemoration of the emperor's visit. Further, it leads to the discovery of the cosmological significance of this particular urban design. The method of the city planners of Gerasa links the city's most important Temple of Artemis and the Arch of Hadrian visually, geometrically, and cosmologically. The geometry of the urban plan spells out the civic meaning of Artemis and Hadrian, their roles in the founding and expansion of the town, and their testimony to the place of Gerasa within the Roman world.
- Copyright 1992 The Society of Architectural Historians