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Entre archéologie et histoire : dialogues sur divers peuples de l’Italie préromaine

E pluribus unum?

Series:

Michel Aberson, Maria Cristina Biella, Massimiliano Di Fazio and Manuela Wullschleger

Le projet « E pluribus unum » ? L’Italie, de la diversité préromaine à l’unité augustéenne entend faire le tour des populations antiques de l’Italie centrale, illustrant de quelle manière celles-ci ont contribué à forger l’« identité inachevée » de l’Italie romaine. Chaque volume est le résultat d’une rencontre scientifique dédiée à une période précise et aux problématiques qui lui sont propres.
Le premier volume, consacré aux périodes qui ont précédé la conquête romaine, met ainsi en scène Sabins, Ombriens, Picéniens, Samnites, Campaniens, Lucaniens, Volsques, Falisques, Capénates et Latins au travers des thématiques suivantes : l’émergence des divers ethnè dans les sources écrites, les spécificités culturelles perceptibles pour chacun d’entre eux par le biais de l’archéologie, les liens entre ethnos et territoire et les relations avec les ethnè voisins.
Dans chaque cas, une démarche transdisciplinaire a été confiée à un binôme de chercheurs, l’une de formation plutôt archéologique, l’autre plus historique. L’ensemble de l’équipe, relevant de traditions académiques différentes, a ainsi cherché à vérifier dans quelle mesure ces « feux croisés » aboutissaient à des conclusions analogues ou mettaient au contraire en évidence une série d’images contrastées.
Il progetto «E pluribus unum»? L’Italia dalla diversità preromana all’unità augustea intende fornire in tre volumi un quadro sulle popolazioni dell’Italia centrale antica e sul loro contributo alla formazione dell’«identità incompiuta» della Penisola Italiana in età romana. Ogni volume è frutto di un incontro di studi dedicato ad un preciso periodo di tempo e alle sue problematiche.
Il primo volume, incentrato sulla fase precedente alla conquista romana della penisola, prende in considerazione una selezione di popoli: Sabini, Umbri, Piceni, Sanniti, Campani, Lucani, Volsci, Falisci, Capenati e Latini. Per ciascuno di essi vengono affrontate nel dettaglio le seguenti tematiche: l’emergere dell’ethnos nelle fonti storiche e la possibilità di riconoscere una specificità culturale nelle fonti archeologiche, il legame dell’ethnos con il territorio e i rapporti con le realtà confinanti.
L’analisi, affidata a una coppia di studiosi, uno di formazione più archeologica ed uno più storico, espressioni di diverse tradizioni accademiche europee, ha lo scopo di verificare se questo «fuoco incrociato» porta a conclusioni analoghe o finisce per mettere in risalto una diversa immagine a seconda della prospettiva adottata.
The project «E pluribus unum»? Italy from the pre-Roman fragmentation to the Augustan unity aims to give (thanks to a set of three volumes) a picture of the peoples of ancient pre-Roman central Italy and of the contribution made by them to the formation of the «unaccomplished identity» of the Italian peninsula during the late-Republic and Empire. Each book is the outcome of a conference, dedicated to a specific chronological period and to its problems.
The first volume, centred on the phase preceding the Roman conquest of the peninsula, takes into consideration a selection of peoples: Sabini, Umbri, Piceni, Samnites, Campani, Lucani, Volsci, Falisci, Capenates and Latini. For each of them the following themes are tackled in detail: the emergence of the ethnos in ancient written sources and the possibility of recognizing a cultural specificity in the archaeological record, the link between the ethnos and the territory, and the relationship with the neighbouring ethne.
The peoples are analysed individually each by a couple of scholars, highlighting
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The Umbrians: archaeological perspective: Simon Stoddart, David Redhouse

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SIMON STODDART, DAVID REDHOUSE

The Umbrians: archaeological perspective*

Introduction

The study of the ancient Umbrians has been dominated by two perspectives none of which are archaeological: the primacy of one small passage of Pliny1 and the focus on the philological content of the Iguvine Tables2. This article takes a prehistoric approach, the fate of most of the participants in the original “Umbrian” experience, coupled with a landscape framework, since that is once again how the original populations would have experienced their world, not through the minds of ancient authors. It also takes an approach sensitive to anthropological perspectives of ethnicity, one that emphasises the fluid nature of the concept, one that cannot be excavated back from the opinions of later external textual accounts, and where the main focus of identity was vested, at different rates of development, on small scale, even if nucleated, communities.

As already discussed elsewhere, identity and ethnicity are not the solid reified entities in the popular imagination3. There is considerable mobility across boundaries4. Ascription is balanced by self-ascription. The scholarly interpretation of ethnicity has moved steadily from formality to fluidity. However, and this may be of particular relevance in contrasting Etruscans with “Umbrians”, fluidity may be held in check when the constraints of power and authority are imposed5. Above all, ethnicity is dynamic, contextual and situational, a product of performance and practice6. The strengthening of ethnic visibility is frequently the result of a forging of common interest in...

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