The framework of relations between Rome and southern Italy and the means by which it was negotiated and guaranteed-treaties, amicitia and diplomatic contacts-are very poorly understood. Historiographically, this area is a minefield of problems caused by the inadequacy of the evidence for the third century and the necessity of extrapolating from later material and evidence from other regions. For the second century BC there are detailed accounts of treaties in ancient authors and abundant epigraphical evidence for treaties, letters, edicts and senatusconsulta,1 which illuminate the diplomacy of the period and allow close study of the mechanisms of Roman control. However, there is no comparable body of evidence relating to the conquest of Italy. Studies of the framework of Roman relations in Italy, the nature of alliances, how they were established and how they operated, must rely on snippets of evidence drawn from later, and sometimes anachronistic, literary sources, with little or no epigraphic corroboration. This holds good for Magna Graecia as much as for other regions of Italy. Our understanding of how the alliance worked, and the terms of treaties between Magna Graecia and Rome, must be pieced together from many fragments of information. Nevertheless, it is possible to build up some sort of picture of Italiote diplomacy and the formal framework of relations with Rome.
The basic scenario for Roman expansion has been studied and expounded by numerous eminent scholars, and given its most definitive full-length treatment in English by Sherwin-White. 2 The inhabitants of Italy were divided into three categories-Roman citizens, Latins and allies-each with a different status. The terms of relations with Rome in the case of Latin colonists were determined by the colonial charter of each individual foundation. Relations with allies were governed by treaty, and were formed by process of voluntary negotiation or military conquest. The prototype on which these were notionally based was the