Beyond the Rubicon: Romans and Gauls in Republican Italy

Beyond the Rubicon: Romans and Gauls in Republican Italy

Beyond the Rubicon: Romans and Gauls in Republican Italy

Beyond the Rubicon: Romans and Gauls in Republican Italy

Synopsis

Throughout the middle and late Republican periods (fourth to first centuries BC) the Romans lived in fear and loathing of the Gauls of northern Italy, caused primarily by their collective historical memory of the destruction of the city of Rome by Gauls in 387 BC. By examining the literary evidence relating to the historical, ethnographic, and geographic writings of Greeks and Romans of the period - focusing on invasion and conflict - this book attempts to answer the questions how and why the Gauls became the deadly enemy of the Romans. Dr Williams also examines the problematic notion of the Gauls as 'Celts' which has been so influential in historical and archaeological accounts of northern Italy in the late pre-Roman Iron Age by modern scholars. The book concludes that ancient literary evidence and modern ethnic presumptions about 'Celts' are not a sound basis for reconstructing either the history of the Romans' interaction with the peoples of northern Italy or for interpreting the material evidence.

Excerpt

This book began as a D.Phil. thesis submitted in the University of Oxford in the summer of 1994. It was written in Oxford, Tübingen, and London between 1989 and 1994, and the final product still bears the imprint of the many generous institutions and individuals in all these places from whose support, attention, and advice its author has benefited. the British Academy, Wolfson College, and St Hugh's College between them provided welcome financial assistance and congenial community in Oxford. a semester in Germany in 1992 funded by the Deutsche Akademische Austauschdienst afforded the opportunity to broaden horizons and improve linguistic skills at the KarlEberhards-Universität, Tübingen. Two periods of absence from the Department of Coins and Medals in the British Museum assisted in the completion both of the thesis and, four years later, of the present book. To my colleagues there, in particular Andrew Burnett, Roger Bland, Andrew Meadows, and John OrnaOrnstein, I am profoundly grateful. For the unfettered use of his table when I needed it most, many thanks are due to Daniel Hepburn and, for expert photocopying, to Richard Bottoms.

Many others have read either all or part of what follows at various stages of development, and all have added much: George Cawkwell, Clive Cheesman, John Collis, Peter Derow, Dafydd Ellis Evans, Franz Fischer, Kathryn Forsythe, Peter Guest, Sian Lewis, Andrew Lintott, Martin Millett, Mark Pobjoy, Christiane Sourvinou-Inwood, Roberta Suzzi Valli, Ute Wartenberg. For reading through the thesis prior to its reworking for publication, I am especially grateful to Fergus Millar, and also to Christopher Pelling, to whose teaching and inspiration I owe an immense amount, including a new title to replace that of the thesis which was apparently not sexy enough. the change from thesis to book received its first impetus from my examiners, John North and Barbara Levick, of whom the latter has also proved a most patient . . .

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