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

By Kathryn Lomas | Go to book overview

Epilogue: Magna Graecia in AD 200

By AD 200, the date chosen as the end point for this book, profound changes can be seen to have taken place in Magna Graecia, and even more profound ones were to come during the course of the third century.

The tendency towards administrative centralisation has become more marked, with the introduction of the office of curator rei publicae by Trajan. Increasing numbers of these officials are found in the epigraphy of southern Italy during the second century, and the trend increased in the third century, with the creation of the post of corrector to supervise Italy on a regional level. This clearly generated a considerable amount of munificence, as these figures are frequently mentioned in the epigraphy of the third and fourth centuries AD, either as donors of gifts to cities or in generalised decrees of thanks for benefactions. Although civic life continued uninterrupted, the impression given by the sources available is one of decreasing civic activity. Cities appear to rely increasingly on acts of euergetism from outsiders, rather than from their own élite. This dichotomy, however, becomes less clear cut. By the end of the second century, a large part of the Senate was composed of men of Italian origin, together with an increasing number of provincials. There is every possibility that what appears to be euergetism from external sources, mainly Roman notables, is in fact a reflection of the regional origins of many of these notables.

Whatever the causes, there is a definite change in the flavour of civic life towards the end of the second century AD, and in the early years of the third. The most immediately noticeable feature in the South is the disappearance of many Greek features of civic life in the course of the third century. The sequence of Greek inscriptions at Naples, Velia and Rhegium dies out around this date, although some of the Greek institutions may have persisted for a time. Latin epitaphs make reference

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