Rome and the Western Greeks, 350 BC-AD 200: Conquest and Acculturation in Southern Italy

By Kathryn Lomas | Go to book overview

5

Decline and Recovery: Magna Graecia 200 BC-AD 14

The aftermath of the Hannibalic war in southern Italy is very badly documented in terms of literary evidence and unlike the period following the Civil Wars, there is little epigraphic evidence to supplement such literary sources as exist. There have been a number of attempts to synthesise the evidence for this period, 1 particularly in terms of the economy of Magna Graecia and the agrarian development of the region. The existence, or otherwise, of latifundia in the South has generated much controversy and will be discussed in further detail in Chapter 7. An increasing quantity of archaeological evidence has done much to clarify the economic history of the second century, but the lack of literary and epigraphic sources means that the possibility of writing a linear history of Magna Graecia diminishes after 200 BC and virtually disappears after AD 14. Thus the years after the Roman conquest must be approached as a history of social, economic and cultural structures, rather than as a narrative of events.

Nevertheless, the period 200 BC-AD 14 is one of crucial significance for the question of Romanisation, as it seems likely that during this period Rome's relations with southern Italy became closer than had been the case before 218 BC. This corresponds to the evidence for increasing interference by Rome in the affairs of many of her other Italian allies in the second century. 2 In all areas of Italy, Roman involvement in local administration and judicial processes increased, sometimes by request on the part of Italian cities and sometimes as unsolicited interference by the Senate or individuals. 3 This increasingly apparent lack of equality of the allies in relation to Rome, together with other economic and political factors, resulted in the development of tension and hostility on the part of many cities which erupted into open warfare in 90 BC. One of the intriguing facts about the Italiotes is that they did not participate in overt acts of hostility, despite the region's

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