Rome beyond the Imperial Frontiers

Rome beyond the Imperial Frontiers

Rome beyond the Imperial Frontiers

Rome beyond the Imperial Frontiers

Excerpt

This little book first took shape on a hot May morning in 1945, when an Indian student of mine emerged excitedly from a deep trench beside the Bay of Bengal waving a large slice of a red dish in his hand. Removal of the slimy sea-mud revealed the dish as a signed work of a potter whose kilns flourished nearly 2,000 years ago and 5,000 miles away, on the outskirts of Arezzo in Tuscany. Were drama admissible to the archaeological scene, I should have been tempted to describe the moment as dramatic. In that moment the pages of the historians and the geographers leapt to life; the long, acquisitive arm of imperial Rome became an actuality.

Elsewhere in the East, the discovery of Roman things, or their more local simulacra, has outpaced adequate record in recent years. The reason lies partly in the accident that few orientalists have been trained in the classical school, and that the significant Western material therefore,when found, is not always recognized. The present book does not profess to fulfil this need in any comprehensive sense. It is not an archaeological gazetteer, such as is now badly wanted; but it may at least serve summarily to indicate the scope of the problem and to invite further attention to those matters.

For the West, the field has been admirably surveyed, for some time to come, by Dr H. J. Eggers in his monumental work on Roman imports into Free Germany, published while this book was in preparation. With Dr Eggers's. generous permission, I have drawn freely upon his material, particularly for my maps. To many others I am likewise greatly indebted for illustrations: especially to Dr H. C. Broholm of Copenhagen, to Dr G. Caputo, lately head of the Archaeological service in Libya, to Monsieur M. Reygasse of the Bardo, Algiers, to Mrs Olwen Brogan . . .

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