Early Rome and Latium: Economy and Society c. 1000 to 500 BC

Early Rome and Latium: Economy and Society c. 1000 to 500 BC

Early Rome and Latium: Economy and Society c. 1000 to 500 BC

Early Rome and Latium: Economy and Society c. 1000 to 500 BC

Synopsis

What was happening in Rome when Homer was writing the Iliad in Greece? In this book, Christopher Smith fully details the archaeological and literary evidence from early Rome and the surrounding region of Latium, spanning from the Late Bronze Age to the end of the sixth century. He attempts to set the region of Latium in its proper context as participant, witness, and, ultimately, victim of the radical transformation of civilization in central Italy and in the Mediterranean as a whole.

Excerpt

To understand how Italian society developed in the various regions, it is essential to gain some perspective on the complex and far-flung pattern on trade and exchange throughout the Mediterranean: the necessity of beginning with the Mycenaean influence in order to understand later periods is stressed by Macnamara (1984; 421). It can be seen that the vigorous activity in the late Mycenaean period, though not necessarily all conducted by Mycenaean Greeks, had a most significant effect on southern Italy and Sicily. The central region of Italy, on the other hand, experienced the trade currents and external influences of the Late Bronze and Early Iron Age in varying degrees. Throughout the first half of the first millennium, for instance, Etruscan settlements were much more open to and affected by external influences than Latin settlements, but sites like Tarquinia and Caere lagged behind sites in southern Italy and the Po valley in the Late Bronze Age. The involvement of central Italy and of Latium in the Late Bronze Age was, as far as we can see, minimal. It was the changes in the south that had an impact on Etruscan society in the tenth century, and this development north of the Tiber was to affect the Latins in later periods. Only by going back to this early period can we assess the place of Latin culture in central Italy and the Mediterranean as a whole.

ITALY DURING THE MYCENAEAN PERIOD

At the period of the maximum expansion of Mycenaean influence in the fourteenth to thirteenth centuries BC, there are indications that parts of Italy and Sardinia were being explored and exploited, largely for raw materials. Some Mycenaean objects have been found in Italy, as in many places in Europe, but it is . . .

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