Rosshofgasse (Schnitz), Seminarraum S 01
Fachbereich Alte Geschichte, Sabine Huebner
Early Rome in an Italian context: Sources, methodologies and interactions
The study of early Rome poses complex and fascinating methodological problems in approaches to both the archaeological record and the historical evidence. It has also been a highly contentious field of study, characterised by intense debates over how to evaluate and use both written and archaeological sources. However, there is an imbalance between our written evidence (copious but not contemporary and posing many difficulties of interpretation) and the archaeological evidence (much smaller in quantity and more fragmented than for other Italian settlements) which causes major problems of interpretation. The quantity of written evidence (if we assume it is reliable) offers a level of insight into the development of the Roman state that we do not have for any other Italian city and can all too easily lead to assumptions about Roman exceptionalism. However, if the material evidence for archaic Rome is examined in comparison with that from other cities of similar size, it is clear that Rome shares many of the same characteristics and can only be fully understood within its wider Italian context. This lecture will examine some of the methodological problems of reconstructing the history of archaic Rome through a series of case studies which demonstrate the difficulties of evaluating the evidence and integrating the material and written record. It will also examine the extent to which early Rome can only be understood in the context of its network of contacts with other Italian states and developments elsewhere in Italy.
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