Il dibattito sulla «romanizzazione» è stato uno dei più intensi nel panorama scientifico degli ultimi decenni. Del concetto sono stati declinati tutti i possibili punti di vista, tutte le criticità, le debolezze. Nel presente volume, il focus è stato dettato da un voluto understatement. Si è scelto di accettare l’uso dell’etichetta «romanizzazione», che infatti già dal titolo è stata posta tra virgolette, lasciando che i vari intervenuti fossero liberi di ridefinirla a loro piacimento. L’idea è stata poi quella di articolare il tema in una serie di tavole rotonde, ciascuna incentrata su tematiche specifiche, caratterizzanti del fenomeno «romanizzatorio»: le dinamiche di integrazione e opposizione alla conquista dai punti di vista politico e istituzionale, le influenze reciproche a cui le diverse lingue e culture epigrafiche sono state soggette, le strutture economiche e del territorio, l’integrazione religiosa e le produzioni artistiche e artigianali sono stati gli argomenti portanti del colloquio. Attorno a queste tavole rotonde, ciascuna coordinata da un discussant, si è cercato ancora una volta di radunare studiosi di formazione e classi di età diverse, alcuni più interessati alle realtà preromane e altri i cui interessi sono invece rivolti al mondo romano, nel tentativo di creare in questo modo ancora una volta il confronto dialogico tra diversi punti di vista.
Table Of Contents
- sul curatori
- Sul libro
- Questa edizione in formato eBook può essere citata
- Una, nessuna o centomila romanizzazioni?
- I. Integrazione e opposizione
- Le rôle des foedera dans la construction de l’Italie romaine
- Elite networks in pre-Social War Italy
- The Latin Rights of the Early and Middle Republic: a Pessimistic Assessment
- L’elemento romano negli stati italici in età anteriore alla Guerra Sociale (90-88 a. C.)
- Le concessioni di cittadinanza viritim prima della Guerra Sociale
- II. Lingua e testi
- Vers une koinè italienne? La langue latine au contact de ses voisines: questions de méthode et réflexions autour du cas du «bilinguisme» étrusco-latin
- Culture epigrafiche in Italia fra IV e I secolo a. C.: alcune osservazioni
- Le Tavole Iguvine e la questione della latinizzazione dell’Italia: contatti con il latino nell’umbro del II sec. a. C.?
- III. Strutture e territorio
- L’economia di Roma nella prima età repubblicana (V-IV secolo a. C.): alcune osservazioni
- L’appropriation du territoire par Rome : conquête, deditio, foedus, confiscation
- La città in Italia tra modelli ellenistici e politica romana
- IV. Religione
- Il “linguaggio” del politeismo e i percorsi della romanizzazione
- Offerte della e dall’Italia centrale. Teste e uteri di terracotta come spie delle dinamiche di diffusione
- ‘Romanizzazione religiosa’ tra modello poliadico e processi culturali. Dalla destrutturazione postcoloniale a nuove prospettive sull’impatto della conquista romana
- V. Arte e artigianato artistico
- Hellenismus in Mittelitalien, quarant’anni dopo. Un anticipo di Conclusioni
- Artigianato artistico e committenza privata in ambiente etrusco-italico nell’età della romanizzazione tra integrazione e sopravvivenza
- Architetture della “conquista”: elementi per la ricostruzione di un dialogo culturale
- Architettura domestica e segmentazione sociale all’epoca della romanizzazione dell’Italia antica: integrazione e omologazione
- Riflessioni a margini del convegno
- Discussione finale
- Tavola rotonda
- Volumi pubblicati nella collana
Il dibattito sulla “romanizzazione” è stato uno dei più intensi nel panorama scientifico degli ultimi decenni. L’elenco di contributi critici è ampio, e continua ancora a crescere1. Del concetto sono stati declinati tutti i possibili punti di vista, tutte le criticità, le debolezze. Se ne è fatta perfino una sorta di “cartina di tornasole” di certe storiche differenze tra tradizioni accademiche diverse. Si è arrivati, infine, a proporre di abolire il termine stesso, in quanto inadeguato o fuorviante.
In questo dibattito, come talvolta accade, è successo che ad un certo punto il focus si sia spostato sull’etichetta, in una disputa che assomiglia per certi versi a quelle dotte contese medievali tra nominalisti e realisti. Speculando in termini di “imperialismo”, “colonialismo”, “post” e “anti-colonialismo”2, si è giunti a discutere ad un livello teorico molto raffinato, ma forse fin troppo alto: talmente alto, da che si è finito talvolta per perdere di vista i dati, i fatti, le specificità.
Nel convegno che qui si introduce, il focus è stato dettato da un voluto understatement. Si è scelto di accettare l’uso dell’etichetta “romanizzazione”, che infatti già dal titolo dell’incontro di studi è posta tra virgolette, lasciando che i vari intervenuti fossero liberi di ridefinirla a loro piacimento, di adottare una definizione corrente, o semplicemente di glissare. Questo nella convinzione che “un’etichetta è un’etichetta è un’etichetta”, per dirla alla Gertrude Stein. Di conseguenza, abbiamo preferito dare la precedenza ai dati, alle analisi specifiche. Ma anche in questo caso, come in quello del primo convegno della nostra serie3, non mancava un’idea che fungesse da volano: nel primo incontro ginevrino, era stata quella di mettere in dialogo su uno stesso popolo dell’Italia antica due studiosi di formazione e/o interessi diversi, storico e archeologico. In questo secondo appuntamento, l’idea è stata invece quella di articolare il tema in una serie di tavole rotonde, ciascuna incentrata su tematiche specifiche che ci sono parse tra quelle più caratterizzanti del fenomeno “romanizzatorio”. La scelta è caduta sui concetti di “integrazione e opposizione” alla conquista letti dal punto di vista storico, sulle modificazioni a cui lingua e testi sono stati soggetti, sulle variazioni nelle strutture economiche e del territorio, sugli aspetti di integrazione religiosa e infine su quelli legati alle produzioni artistiche e artigianali. Attorno a queste tavole rotonde, ciascuna coordinata da un discussant, abbiamo cercato di radunare studiosi di formazione e classi di età diverse, alcuni più interessati alle realtà preromane e altri i cui interessi sono invece rivolti al mondo romano, nel tentativo di creare in questo modo ancora una volta il confronto dialogico tra diversi punti di vista. Il focus geografico prescelto è stato quello della penisola italiana. È infatti ← 1 | 2 → questa la “romanizzazione” che ci interessava: l’incontro tra la cultura romana in espansione e le diverse realtà della penisola italica. Un incontro, questo, necessariamente diverso da quello tra Roma e le culture d’oltralpe (Gallia, Britannia, penisola iberica, Grecia), che invece è spesso al centro del dibattito teorico sulla “romanizzazione”4. Ma si tratta forse di due fenomeni troppo distanti per essere confrontati: troppo diverse non solo le realtà sottomesse, ma troppo diversa la stessa potenza dominatrice, quella Roma che tra i secoli dell’espansione in Italia e la fase del traboccare oltre i confini della penisola era cambiata, e non poco.
I risultati di questo esperimento sono stati particolari. Alcuni intervenuti, a margine del convegno, si sono detti solo parzialmente soddisfatti o in parte sconcertati proprio per quella mancanza di riflessione teorica di cui abbiamo detto. Ma ora, rivedendo i contributi riuniti e pubblicati, crediamo di poter dire che questo insieme di dati e riflessioni su singoli aspetti possa costituire una base su cui poter tornare a ragionare anche dal punto di vista teorico in maniera più serena e meditata, essendoci forse lasciati alle spalle costrutti teorici entrati nell’uso comune, frutto di assai acute intuizioni, ma a volte sostanziati da insiemi di dati in parte esili.
Ciò è stato a nostro avviso possibile grazie a due elementi in particolare. Il primo è il livello di aggiornamento delle nostre conoscenze nei diversi campi in cui l’incontro tra Roma e i popoli italici si manifestò, aggiornamento di cui va reso merito agli studiosi che hanno partecipato. Il secondo è proprio il dibattito tra studiosi di formazione diversa, che hanno potuto dialogare e confrontare le proprie idee, i propri strumenti, le proprie categorie fuori dalle tentazioni autoreferenziali che a volte gravano sui convegni troppo specialistici. Perché non si può non dare ragione ancora una volta ad un maestro come Fernand Braudel, quando già nel 1950 diceva: “non c’è scampo al di fuori del lavoro di équipe”5.
E ci piace ricordare che si è trattato di un lavoro di équipe che è emerso sin dalle fasi organizzative del convegno e di cui non possiamo non dare conto con grande soddisfazione. Ci era parso sin da subito il caso che la scelta migliore per parlare di “romanizzazione” fosse quella di organizzare il convegno nel centro del potere, a Roma. Chiunque abbia avuto la fortuna di frequentare l’ambiente accademico romano, sa quanto una delle enormi ricchezze che lo contraddistinguono siano le Accademie straniere. E ad alcune di esse ci siamo rivolti, ricevendo pieno supporto e ogni tipo di aiuto. E di questo aiuto siamo particolarmente grati, in un periodo che, come tutti sappiamo, non è felicissimo per le nostre ricerche. Il Convegno si è così potuto avvalere del sostegno incondizionato dell’Istituto Svizzero di Roma, della British School at Rome, del Koninklijk Nederlands Instituut Rome e dell’École française de Rome.
La pubblicazione degli Atti è stata possibile grazie ai contributi dell’Università di Ginevra, in particolare dell’Unité d’Histoire ancienne, del Département des sciences de l’Antiquité, della Faculté des Lettres (Fonds Casaubon), del Fonds général du Rectorat pour les publications e della Maison de l’Histoire, dell’Università di Zurigo (Fonds für Altertumswissenschaft) e dell’Association des Membres et des Amis de l’Institut Suisse de Rome (AMA ISR).
Ancora una volta ci teniamo particolarmente a chiudere il volume con un ringraziamento sentito a tutti i membri del Comitato Scientifico del progetto E pluribus unum? L’Italia dalla frammentazione preromana all’unità augustea, che in questi anni hanno continuato a non farci mancare il loro sostegno, con preziosi spunti critici di riflessione e con i più disparati aiuti.
Maria Cristina Biella
Massimiliano Di Fazio
F. BRAUDEL – Scritti sulla storia, Milano (= Écrits sur l’histoire, Paris 1969), 2003.
Entre archéologie et histoire 2014
ABERSON (M.), BIELLA (M. C.), DI FAZIO (M.), WULLSCHLEGER (M.) (ed.) – Entre archéologie et histoire: dialogues sur divers peuples de l’Italie préromaine, Bern, 2014.
KEAY & TERRENATO 2001
KEAY (S.), TERRENATO (N.) (eds.) – Italy and the West: Comparative Issues on Romanization, Oxford, 2001.
TRAINA (G.) – “Romanizzazione, ‘métissages’, ibridità, Alcune riflessioni”, MEFRA, 118/1, 2006, p. 151-158.
VERSLUYS (M. J.) – “Understanding objects in motion. An archaeological dialogue on Romanization”, in Archaeological Dialogues, 21.1, 2014, p. 1-20.
1 Si vedano di recente e senza pretese di completezza VERSLUYS 2014; TRAINA 2006.
2 Per una critica dei concetti di “imperialismo” e “colonialismo” applicati allo studio del mondo antico, rimandiamo alle riflessioni di VERSLUYS 2014, p. 9 e ai contributi di discussione a questo lavoro contenuti nello stesso fascicolo.
3 Entre archéologie et histoire 2014, p. 1-3.
4 WOOLF 1998; KEAY & TERRENATO 2001.
5 BRAUDEL 2003, p. 23.
It is with no small trepidation, that one decides nowadays to talk about Romanization, or Romanizations (or “Romanization(s)”); a trepidation not decreased by the suspicion that one may be talking about everything, or nothing, and thus be wasting one’s time. The plethora of theoretical, methodological and case studies has been inversely proportional to the degree of consensus about the meaning and utility of term, and more recently we have witnessed a flight to other terms: globalization, glocalization, or metaphors from other disciplines, such as linguistics (code-switching). In this limited space I cannot offer any kind of survey of the road (perhaps a strada senza uscita) travelled by scholarship on Romanization, but I shall at the end be concerned with the sort of road map which might impart a sense of meaningful direction to the debate. In the papers which follow in this volume readers will find a rich and varied series of contributions which far outweigh the potential value of anything offered here. It may seem that my approach is quite heavily invested in a degree of skepticism about the concept of ‘Romanization’ and its utility; and I had better confess that this is indeed the case. My Anglo-Saxon scholarly formation stands at my shoulder, and like the slave in the triumphator’s chariot, it whispers insistently in my ear, to protect me from the greatest error of all. Its whispers are those of the post-colonial puritanism which has made of ‘Romanization’ a ‘dirty word’, a parolaccia. Now, too much post-colonial guilt, and too much political correctness, are bad for a man, they interrupt his sleep, and compromise his digestion. So I shall leave theoretical diatribes to others, and hope to find some more positive reflections on change in Italy in this period.
An attempt at a working definition of Romanization may, nevertheless, be useful, to offer something to argue for, with, or against. One might be: “cultural change, whether observed by ancient actors or modern scholars, manifested for example in the increased presence over time of buildings and objects, mentalities and behaviours of a Roman type, which eventually predominate over indigenous ones”. Of course, both identification of stable bounded categories of ‘Roman’ and ‘indigenous’, and consequent reduction of cultural change to a zero-sum game for two players, where the incidence of A’s cultural traits increases as that of B’s declines, is inadequate as a descriptive or exegetical mode. Both ‘Roman’ and ‘indigenous’ are ‘fuzzy sets’, and both are acted on by other such sets, ‘Greek’, ‘Punic’, ‘Celtic’ and so on, and at different speeds in different domains by different agents, within a socio-political environment where the value attached to each of those elements is subject to constant renegotiation, and where traditions are re-invented. Thus any attempt to probe beneath the skin of ‘Romanization’, rather than producing clear linear models of change, is likely to reveal ← 5 | 6 → paradoxes inherent in the differing expectations of those subject to, or involved in it.
Already here another problem begins to rear its head, and one which is integral to the discussion: metaphor. I wrote just now of Romanization as if it were something which is in itself active, and which involves human beings in passive or circumstantial ways: like catching a cold or the Ebola virus; or coming under the sway of an identifiable set of rules. Quite rightly, however, scholars for a generation now have tended to rely more on metaphors for, and thus conceptions of, Romanization which focus on agency. Romanization, if it is anything, must be something that people do, to themselves (and to borrow an idea of Andrew Wallace-Hadrill’s about Hellenization),1 something that individuals practice on themselves, repeatedly; on such a view it would be, essentially, a form of repeated social practice, or rather a totality of repeated social practices. Without a grounding in behaviours and mentalities, it is nothing; as a corollary, we should observe that objects in themselves mean nothing at all, buildings equally being in and of themselves devoid of meaning. Meaning is only constituted within the totality of the cultural system, which constitutes a fuzzy grammar, where ideologies, behaviours and physical objects interact to form a semantic system which is broadly clear, but resists reduction to inflexible rules and a static shape. Whether such ‘self-Romanization’ (itself not an unproblematic term)2 is always conscious, or always understood as being Roman, is another matter, as I hope what follows will illustrate.
I begin with an appeal for more attention to ways in which cultural change in Italy in this period might be understood as gendered, looking at an anecdote from Cicero’s de oratore:
It is a very happy stroke, too, when he who has uttered a sarcasm is jested upon in the same strain in which he has attacked another: as when Quintus Opimius, a man of consular dignity, who had the report of having been licentious in his youth, said to Egilius, a man of wit, who seemed to be an effeminate person, but was in reality not so, “How do you do, my Egilia? when will you pay me a visit with your distaff and spindle?” and Egilius replied, “I certainly dare not; for my mother forbad me to visit women of bad character.”.3
The discussion at this point in the text is about humour as a weapon for the orator, and specifically a put-down offered to a Roman consular, Q. Opimius, who had accused one Egilius of effeminacy, despite what we must assume was similar behaviour in his own youth. What is of interest here, besides the prosopographical detail that Q. Opimius was probably the father of the L. Opimius who as praetor in 125 BC destroyed Fregellae, and as consul in 121 BC butchered the supporters of C. Gracchus, is the way in which one man over the course of his lifetime embodied two such different manifestations of ‘Romanness’ (a word for which, note, there is no Latin equivalent). In his pomp he was a consul (154 BC), and led Rome’s armies – the sort of uir militaris and uir in re publica uersatus that his son also was to be, and which formed the basis of the aristocratic ideal, as elaborated for example in the epitaphs of the Scipiones. Yet in his youth (in the 170s BC, then) he had been in all probability a gender-bending transgressive, exploring ‘non-standard’ expressions of masculinity and sexuality. This earlier behaviour must result from a set of choices which must have been engendered (pardon the pun) within the set of new cultural models derived from the Greek east, along with other forms of ‘luxury’ (and there is a strong correlation between luxury and expressions of sexuality). So, is the young Opimius ‘Greek’, and the mature Opimius ‘Roman’? Note that Opimius constructs effeminacy with the help of that well-known Roman female trope, wool-working: Egilius’ effeminacy is measured by his putative interesting matronly lanificia. It seems more likely, then, that rather than a youth ← 6 | 7 → ful flirtation with dissolute Greek mores giving way to a more normative Roman outlook, we are dealing with two types of ‘Romanness’, each assiduously practiced by the subject at different phases of his life-course. We can only say that one is more Roman than the other by buying into a set of constructed positions about politics, sexuality and gender, some of which are ancient and some modern. It seems easier and more interesting to admit that both were Roman behaviours available to elite male citizens: to be the uir militaris and the mulier famosa.
If so, a number of considerations would then urge themselves. Firstly, that if Roman behaviours can morph over the life of an individual, then equally we might imagine that ‘Romanization’, even within the life of an individual, might equally be something which could take forms which could even be ostensibly dichotomous, and stand in tension with each other. Within the life-cycle, Romanization would not take a linear form, but manifest itself as non-linear, or plurilinear, perhaps even in some cases as a quantum-shift. Secondly, if we accept for the sake of argument the common proposition that there is an element of emulation in any process of ‘Romanization’, which Opimius would be emulated by his Italian amici and clients? Thirdly, to capture ‘Romanization’ in its full sense, we would have to understand it as something which, in this putative case, would operate in the interstices of the constructs of youth / age and male / female, something which is dynamic and evolves over time. Finally, while I have argued for the Romanness of the insult and the parry, I have also admitted, as we must, that there looks to be a strongly ‘Hellenising’ streak at the root of this behaviour. I shall not dwell on this, other than to remark again that ‘Roman culture’, as a clearly-bounded and homogeneous entity, is a phantom. It is an amalgam of influences, and a dynamic one, and its dynamism exists in its permeability as well as its power of attraction to others. Those scholars who have argued that Romanization was nothing more than the triumph of Hellenization, or a vehicle for the permeation of Hellenization through Italy, were making a serious point, although even this is not the whole story.
The idea that emulation may be inherent in ‘Romanization’ is worth further thought. In some cases ‘Romanization’ clearly was conscious, and equally, consciously associated with Rome. Yet one cannot, I think, find many cases of which these statements can be unambiguously predicated: and that in itself is revealing. Equally telling is that one important case in point (Polybius 26, 1, 1-7; Livy 41, 20) is from the Greek East.
(1) Antiochus surnamed Epiphanes gained the name of Epimanes by his conduct. Polybius tells us of him that, escaping from his attendants at court, he would often be seen wandering about in all parts of the city with one or two companions. (2) He was chiefly found at the silversmiths’ and goldsmiths’ workshops, holding forth at length and discussing technical matters with the moulders and other craftsmen. (3) He used also to condescend to converse with any common people he met, and used to drink in the company of the meanest foreign visitors to Antioch. (4) Whenever he heard that any of the young men were at an entertainment, he would come in quite unceremoniously with a fife and a procession of musicians, so that most of the guests got up and left in astonishment. (5) He would frequently put off his royal robes, and, assuming a white tebenna, go round the market-place like a candidate, and, taking some by the hand and embracing others, would beg them to give him their vote, sometimes for the office of aedile and sometimes for that of tribune. (6) Upon being elected, he would sit upon the ivory curule chair, as the Roman custom is, listening to the lawsuits tried there, and pronouncing judgement with great pains and display of interest. (7) In consequence all respectable men were entirely puzzled about him, some looking upon him as a plain simple man and others as a madman.4 ← 7 | 8 →
Antiochus, setting up an ivory chair in the Roman fashion, would administer justice and adjudge disputes on the most trifling matters.  And so incapable was his mind of sticking to any station in life, as it strayed through all the varieties of existence that it was not really clear either to himself or to others what kind of person he was. …  Nevertheless in two great and important respects his soul was truly royal – in his benefactions to cities and in the honours paid to the gods.  To the people of Megalopolis in Arcadia he promised that he would enclose their city with a wall, and he gave the greater part of the money; at Tegea he began to build a magnificent theatre of marble; in the prytaneum at Cyzicus – this is the central hall of the city, where those men dine upon whom this distinction has been bestowed – he furnished a golden service for one table. …  Of his magnificent ideas as to the treatment of the gods, the temple of Jupiter Olympius at Athens, the only one in the world which, though unfinished, was designed to conform to the greatness of the god, can well be evidence; besides, he also adorned Delos with marvellous altars and abundance of statuary, and at Antioch he built a magnificent temple to Jupiter Capitolinus, which had not merely its ceiling panelled with gold, but also its walls wholly covered with gilded plates;  and many other things he promised in other places, but by reason of the very short duration of his reign he did not finish them.  Also in regard to the splendour of his shows of every sort he surpassed earlier kings, his other spectacles being given in their own proper style and with an abundance of Greek theatrical artists; a gladiatorial exhibition, after the Roman fashion, he presented which was at first received with greater terror than pleasure on the part of men who were unused to such sights;  then by frequent repetitions, by sometimes allowing the fighters to go only as far as wounding one another, sometimes permitting them to fight without  giving quarter, he made the sight familiar and even pleasing, and he roused in many of the young men a joy in arms. And so, while at first he had been accustomed to summon gladiators from Rome, procuring them by large fees, finally he could find a sufficient supply at home5.
Antiochos IV Philorhomaios is said by Polybios and Livy to have undertaken a number of explicitly Roman practices, from building a temple of Iupiter Capitolinus at Antioch, to canvassing for election to Roman offices (and lower offices, be it noted), dressed (according to Polybios) in a white tebenna (to complicate things, an Etruscan garment), we presume as the candidatus, and sitting on a curule chair to give justice. He even held gladiatorial games, initially importing gladiators from Rome. This should be the sort of evidence we can use to illustrate Romanization: the adoption not just of broad Roman models but of specific, very Roman, practices in areas including politics, law, spectacle, euergetism and religion (the mention of Iupiter Capitolinus might even imply that there is a sort of auto-colonizzazione of Antioch going on here). But of course, things are never that simple. For a start Livy tells how the audiences were terrified rather than pleased by the gladiators; and the general reaction was to lump these actions and programmes together with Antiochos’ other unaccountable interactions with the Antiochenes: as is well known, they thought he was mad, whence his nickname Epimanēs! Antiochos may not, in fact be the poster-boy for self-conscious, informed Romanization, for whom we might be looking. His actions were not embedded in the ← 8 | 9 → socio-political processes and mentalities central to the Antiochene community. We may contrast for example the Chian honours for a benefactor who had mediated Chios’ relations with Rome during the war with Antiochos’ father (Antiochos III, the Great), and had established games for the goddess Rhome, and (probably) a relief sculpture showing Romulus and Remus6. The Chian measures are remarkable but still woven into the civic, religious, monumental and mental fabric of the polis, not laid over the top of it; Antiochos IV’s adoptions were rather, or seemed rather to his detractors, merely cosmetic, whimsical window-dressing.
And yet Antiochos is not utterly useless. His attempt to introduce Roman practices in Antioch is suggestive. At a general level, his initiatives are bound up with a discourse of power: ‘Romanization’ can be related to power relations, within and between communities. Secondly, to take the specific example of the gladiators, we see that the practice was not as much of a failure as the king’s detractors, Polybios’ ultimate source, want us to think. In time the games became accepted, internalized. By repeated practice (and importantly the very un-Roman one of allowing the gladiators sometimes to fight without wounding each other), the idea of the fights became embedded in Antiochene practice, and they came to supply their own fighters, and not to depend on Rome. The idea of internalization through practice strikes me as very important, but rarely explicitly attested. It also raises the question of when a practice or a style or a mentality ceases to be viewed as exogenous, and indeed we may ask whether it was in all cases perceived as such to start with. We cannot always assume that ‘new’ practices were seen as clearly exogenous, let alone that new users could pin-point, and understand the significance of, the external origin. It is likely that as the games became popular, they began to be viewed as ‘something we do’, something in which indigenes had a stake. Foreign origin will be more or less strongly preserved depending on the situation and context, but we must allow for the possibility that what might look to us like precocious Romanization was sometimes a very rapid and painless internalization, which did not lead to any profound shift in emic / internal perceptions of identity. In the Antiochene case we may observe that Livy is quite explicit, that the games did not supplant the existing festivals normally given by the kings, but came to exist alongside them. As a possible tool to think about ‘Romanization’ with, this seems to me to be something worthwhile exploring. Contextual approaches are likely to be the most productive ones for assessing change.
But let us return to Italy, where there is safer ground, on which Italians certainly were made Romans, in a process of real, literal, Romanization. This is enfranchisement, one of the single most important historical processes in Roman history. This happened either by block grants made by the populus Romanus in assembly, or as a result of rewards for valour or other signal services, bestowed by generals under enabling legislation. The relationship between enfranchisement and Romanization in scholarship is a long one. In a seminal paper in 1976 Peter Brunt made one of the best enunciations of the argument that for provincial elites under the Empire, cultural self-improvement, political aspiration and enfranchisement were closely bound up with each other.7 The relationship in Italian history on the other hand, has been more troubled. A venerable paradigm read back from the outcome of the Social War a desire for citizenship among Rome’s Italian allies, and deduced an inevitable teleological progress, the march of Italy from plurality to unity (e pluribus unum), with the Social War leading to a political integration to parallel the already intense cultural rapprochements which Rome was promoting, with an acceleration thereafter to an Augustan peak. The historiographical foundations of this model were to a large degree exposed by Henrik Mouritsen in 1998 in one of the most stimulating works on Italy in the second and first centuries to appear in the last generation, and one which ← 9 | 10 → further showed the weakness of the assumption that Italians naturally wanted the citizenship.8 Elaboration of the opposite thesis perhaps led Mouritsen to give insufficient weight to a very significant body of evidence for cultural change. Yet there is indeed merit in holding apart the political and cultural strands of the enquiry, at least as a heuristic device. Indeed, there is no necessary causal link between the fact of enfranchisement and cultural change whereby the enfranchiser’s cultural traits come, in whatever proportion or degree, to be visible in the cultural matrix of the enfranchisee. Such developments are indeed visible over differing time scales dependent on social context and domain, but they do not follow as a matter of course. Thus it is worth asking: whether we would know that Capua had been enfranchised in the fourth century B. C. as a ciuitas sine suffragio if we did not have the literary evidence which tells us so? Should we be surprised that in the late second century B. C. the leges populi Romani introducing the secret ballot did not apply in the Roman municipium of Arpinum, which enjoyed full rights, as we know they did not in the time of Cicero’s grandfather?9 In the Vestinian cemetery of Fossa, which served the town of Aveia, those buried were Roman citizens from the earlier third century when citizenship was granted; but the grant has no reflex in the corredi or the burial ritual, which remains unchanged until the time of the Hannibalic War, when considerable articulations of social status (and local identity) begin to be expressed in grave goods and burial architecture.10 This is not of course to say that no correlation in the material record between citizenship and cultural change can be found;11 but that the relationship is opaque and problematic, and a necessary connection should not be taken as axiomatic.
My main concern will not be with the Social War itself, but with some points on either side of it. One might, nonetheless, argue that the ferocity of the war must be one of the factors which shaped the impact of exogenous influence on Italian cultures, and the attitudes of agents, Roman and non-Roman, in the aftermath. As we all know, the Social War broke out at Asculum. The spark that lit the fire teaches many lessons. The context was a panēguris or festival; in a way which is not entirely clear, two sources of tension seem to have combined to create a perfect storm. The Roman praetor Servilius denounced Asculan plans to exchange hostages with their neighbours; and in a theatre containing a mixed audience, Roman brutality to a comic actor whom they found too gloomy looked likely to be paid out in the Picentes’ intention to lynch the buffon Saunio (the whole is recorded briefly in versions in Diodoros12, probably from Poseidonios). Saunio managed to talk his way out of trouble – he was not a Roman, he insisted (the name is interesting, recalling the Greek name for the Samnites – Saunitai?), but a Latin, and thus subject to the outrages of the Roman fasces like other socii. Servilius was not so lucky; he and his legate were lynched in public, and every single Roman in Asculum was hunted down and killed; their property became the first spoils of the Social War.13 That Romans and allies sat in the same theatre and watched the same bill perform at the same festival does say a lot about cultural integration, and the existence of a theatrical if not a cultural koinē here – there was also the library which Pompeius Strabo plundered from Asculum a few years later when the city fell. That each group had its own favourites is, to my mind equally revealing, and it shows that shared cultural contexts could be used to underwrite or accentuate political and ethnic difference, sometimes with violent results. It is also interesting, although not ultimately surprising, that this substantial Apennine city had already in 91 BC a substantial community of resident Romans; wealthy ones too, if their property was worth plundering. Their presence need not have been welcome, any more than was the presence of the publicani who apparently enslaved so ← 10 | 11 → many Bithynians that the kingdom was denuded of recruits, and the king Nikomedes unable to send any troops to support Rome in the Cimbric Wars14. I do not wish to suggest that these Romans in Asculum were all monsters, mini-Verres. But when the time came, none is known to have found a friend; all perished – there was no doubt about who they were either. This may seem impossibly banal, but it is important for understanding what Roman settlement in allied towns meant, to be able to imagine that all the businessmen were known, on sight, as Romans. They might dress, and talk the same as Picentines (perhaps with a different accent), and go to the same shows, have served in the same army, and attend the same sacrifices at the same festivals. But they were not indistinguishable from the locals.
The continuation of feelings of tension between Romans and Italians after the Social War (which is often subsumed within scholarly accounts of the decline of the ethnē, a trope challenged by Guy Bradley),15 has interesting if subtle echoes in a number of areas. One might think of the denarius of 70 showing Roma and Italia16, where Roma has her foot on the orbis terrarum, while she shakes hands with Italy; and Cicero’s ability in the de haruspicum responsis to distinguish between Italians and Latins on the one hand and Romans on the other: the former distinguished for their ‘native feeling’, while the latter are remarkable for their pietas.
Let us, O conscript fathers, think as highly of ourselves as we please; and yet it is not in numbers that we are superior to the Spaniards, nor in personal strength to the Gauls, nor in cunning to the Carthaginians, nor in arts to the Greeks, nor in the natural acuteness which seems to be implanted in the people of this land and country, to the Italian and Latin tribes (nec denique hoc ipso huius gentis ac terrae domestico nativoque sensu); but it is in and by means of piety and religion, and this especial wisdom of perceiving that all things are governed and managed by the divine power of the immortal gods, that we have been and are superior to all other countries and nations (omnis gentis nationesque superavimus)17.
Italians and Latins are given superior attributes to Greeks and Carthaginians, but that they are separated from their fellow-citizens is remarkable for 56 B. C. (are we to understand that their gods had after all deserted them in the Social War?). How far did such lingering feelings affect the process of cultural change in Italy. Enrico Benelli argued in 2001 that evidence from Caere and elsewhere suggested the definitive transition between local languages and Latin happens around the middle of the first century, and it is worth asking – as he hints – whether or not the passing of the generation which fought the war did not in fact mark a silent revolution in mentalities, as a new generation, born or at least raised as Romans, reached their acme.18
That Rome enfranchised on the huge scale that we see in the aftermath of the Social War also illustrates another important structural feature to which revisionist accounts sometimes fail to devote sufficient attention: namely the enormous asymmetry between Rome and allies or subject peoples (asymmetry which Saunio claimed at Asculum to have experienced himself, and which Rome more subtly displayed to Italy on the denarius of 70 BC). This asymmetry was primarily military and political, but it was also demographic; in the Romans’ own eyes it was religious – their hegemony was endorsed and underwritten by none other than the gods. It was also an asymmetry in terms of cultural capital, and whoever wants to explain away, minimize, or, as I do, problematize the nature of Roman influence, would do well not to ignore that fact. We should also not forget that at times asymmetry repels, rather than attracting, the weaker party.
‘Romanization’ is often seen as the outcome within this asymmetrical relationship, of the impact of key aspects of Roman culture, broadly: language; institutions; material culture (with anatomical terracottas and black gloss pottery often seen as playing key roles – we might contrast the range and variety of black gloss forms,19 taking account of regional variants as well as the canonical ← 11 | 12 → Campana productions, with the more limited range of forms in Italian Terra Sigillata production); and demography (including colonization – whoever is right about colonization, the important thing is that we are having a debate about how far to nuance the Gellian model; the scale of export is not to be disputed, but there is some recycling of the local going on as well). Change there certainly was, but Romanization is perhaps too blunt an instrument to give due weight to variations in local culture and indeed Roman culture, to differentials in the speed and time of change, in different locations and in different political, social and economic domains. And, in the end, Romanization is a way of describing our interpretative strategies (as Wallace-Hadrill argued), and not a substantive thing or process that happens in itself. Thus we find in Assisi20:
ager . emps . et / termnas . oht / c . u. .uistinie . ner . t . babr / maronatei / uois . ner . propartie / t . u . uoisinier / sacre . stahu
‘land bought and delimited in the uhtur-ship of C. Vistinius son of V. and Ner. Babrius son of Titus, and in the maronate of Vois. Propatius son of Ner. and T. Voisinius son of V. I stand as sacred’
written in Umbrian, and probably roughly contemporary with another Asisium text (ILLRP, 550) which is in Latin and may refer to some of the same individuals, and may even be the earlier of the two. It seems plausible that we are dealing with a difference in domain, with Latin permissible or desirable in a public building inscription, but Umbrian used to guarantee the sanctity of land division and the establishment of boundaries by magistrates. Again, Livy tells us that in 180:
The Cumaeans that year asked and were granted the privilege of using the Latin language officially, and the auctioneers that of conducting their sales in Latin21.
And yet the funerary epigraphy of Cumae remains Oscan down to the end of the second century BC22. The choice of Latin was a contingent political move, designed to show support from Rome, probably part of Cumae’s ongoing rivalry with Capua.23 It was also an economic move, to allow Cumae to be a place where buying and selling could happen in Latin, to prevent eclipse by the new commercial powerhouse of Puteoli, a Roman colony founded only 14 years earlier, but destined quickly to become, in Lucilius’ terms, a ‘second Delos’. Many such developments belong, or have sense, in their own contingent webs of association and the needs and agendas of the local actors, and not in some grand over-arching narrative of cultural change.
Citizenship created a new level of identity for all new Romans, in addition to the local; it is one famously explored by Cicero24. Local identities, local customs and mentalities, as well as local languages, remained strong, at least for a generation (although some apparently indigenous entities or communities may really be Roman creations).25 Thus Cicero in the pro Cluentio of 66 can refer to a mos Larinatium, regarding the giving of large feasts following weddings (again, repeated social practice), as if it were nothing unusual.
There is another poisoning charge. They say that poison was, by the contrivance of Habitus, prepared for this young Oppianicus, when, according to the custom of the people of Larinum, a large party was dining at his wedding feast; that, as it was being administered in mead, a man of the name of Balbutius, his intimate friend, intercepted it on its way, drank it, and died immediately26.
We may note as well how the pro Cluentio provides vivid testimony of the persistence of intermarriage strategies between towns which predate the Social War; and of the dangerous ← 12 | 13 → vitality of a rather earthy political culture within the municipium (although this may well have been exacerbated by the brutalization which the Social and Civil Wars brought in their wake). Other types of vitality are even more surprising: Strabo, describing the cities past which the Via Latina ran, notes not only that Fregellae was destroyed, but that there was (in his source’s day, and for all we know in his) a panēguris on the site to which inhabitants of the surrounding region still came:
‘and besides these, Fregellae (past which the Liris flows, the river that empties at Minturnae), which is now merely a village, although it was once a noteworthy city (polis axiologos) and formerly held as dependencies most of the surrounding cities just mentioned (and at the present time the inhabitants of these cities meet at Fregellae both to hold markets and to perform certain sacred rites) but, having revolted, it was demolished by the Romans …’27.
The potential of some aspects of identity to survive ethnothanatos, and to continue to shape the economy and ritual structures of a region, is really remarkable.
Other pre-Social War identities survived as well, not local but trans-regional constructed ones. The best example is that of the Italicei, the name given to Italian businessmen trading in and in some case resident in the Aegean, who formed influential enclave communities in Greek cities, most famously but not only Delos. Most of the texts mentioning Italicei are pre-Social War, but some are clearly not (ILLRP, 376, 380). Italicei should be the name of a constructed identity which was shared by Romans and non-Romans in Sicily and the Aegean in the second century, which distinguished them from the locals and underlined their shared interests and mentalities, at least with regard to the Greeks (such a shared identity at the time of or just before the Social War may be disclosed by a fragmentary text from Falacrinae published in 2008 by Coarelli, which I have argued elsewhere belongs in the context of the Cimbric Wars; if correctly restored it talks of Italy as ‘[u]nicaeque pat[riae]’, and although unica probably means ‘special’ not ‘common to all’, it is striking that Italy could be so spoken of in Roman territory).28 It is striking that it is not really until the age of Caesar that this identity among traders vanishes, to be replaced by one which we might logically think would have been embraced by all of the Italians after the Social War: ciues Romani qui negotiuntur in Sicilia (or wherever it might be: ILLRP, 387, 408)29.
Where then does all of this leave us? Is Romanization a parolaccia? Does it have a use after all? It seems to me that the problem with Romanization is that while it can be used to describe how our own investigation is framed at the level of broad analysis (Italy became more, not less, Roman; Italians became Romans, spoke Latin, used Roman law and shared social practices, quotidian objects, business practices and urban structures with other Italians and with Romans, and in the age of Augustus to an unprecedented degree), it is not actually describing what happened, nor can it. It is not a parolaccia, but equally it is not capable of framing questions which are interesting. To put it another way, in a Pirandellian trope, there are a hundred thousand Romanizations, or a hundred thousand aspects of change which we might think of in aggregate as constituting Romanization, but which should rather be studied in themselves, in their relations to other changes (or stabilities), and in their own contexts. And once we start thinking about these contexts, we will come to focus on co-existence of cultural modalities (like the Roman-style Arringatore now in Florence, with its Etruscan inscription for Aule Meteli, his Latinising name contrasted with the local deities’ names). As Greg Woolf suggested almost twenty years ago, much of what is really worthy of study is not the fact that cultures change, but at how far they, or elements in them, remain ← 13 | 14 → stable;30 how difference operates and is managed at the interface, in the interstices, between the new and the traditional, and the ongoing redefinition of both elements. These are the lived realities which historians and archaeologists should be pursuing, as elements of the glocal, as moments of code-switching or of cultural bilingualism, or indeed through any analytical lens which helps. As we move from reality to reality, and compare and contrast one with another, understand their tensions and complexities, their constructedness and their appeal, we will be moving along the percorsi della romanizzazione; but while Romanization can be the name of the road, it is not the journey.
Edward H. Bispham
Brasenose and St. Anne’s Colleges, Oxford
BAGNALL & DEROW 2004
BAGNALL (R. S.), DEROW (P.) – The Hellenistic Period: Historical Sources in Translation, Malden-Oxford-Victoria, 2004.
BENELLI (E.) – “The Romanization of Italy through the Epigraphic Record”, in S. KEAY, N. TERRENATO (eds) – Italy and the West. Comparative Essays in Romanization, Oxford, 2001, p. 7-16.
BISPHAM (E. H.) – From Asculum to Actium, Oxford, 2007.
BISPHAM (E. H.) – “The Hellenistics of Death in Adriatic Central Italy”, in J. PRAG, J. QUINN – The Hellenistic West, Cambridge, 2013, p. 44-78.
BISPHAM (E. H.) – “The Social War” and “The Civil Wars and the Triumvirate”, in: A. E. COOLEY (ed.), The Blackwell Companion to Roman Italy, Oxford, 2016, p. 76-89.
BRADLEY (G. J.) – “Romanization”, in: G. BRADLEY, E. ISAYEV, C. RIVA (eds) – Ancient Italy. Regions Without Boundaries, Exeter, 2007, p. 295-322.
BRUNT (P. A.) – “The Romanization of the Local Ruling Classes in the Roman Empire”, in: D. M. PIPPIDI (ed.), Assimilation et résistance à la culture gréco-romaine dans le monde ancien, Paris, 1976, p. 161-173 (= P. A. BRUNT – Roman Imperial Themes, Oxford, 1990, p. 267-281; addendum, p. 515-517).
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