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10 aprile 2015 - ore 16,30 - Incontri con l'autore: Ralph Haeussler


Per il ciclo "Incontri con l'autore"
Venerdì 10 aprile, alle 16.30
incontro con Ralph Haeussler autore del volume "Becoming Roman? Diverging Identities and Experiences in Ancient Northwest Italy "

Who wants to become a ‘Roman’ in north-west Italy?

Few empires had such an impact on their conquered population as did the Roman empire, creating social, economic and cultural changes that seemingly erased long-standing differences in material culture, languages, cults, rituals and identities. But even Rome could not create a single unified culture. By contrast, we can recognise more cultural and religious diversity, more well-defined local and individual identities than ever before. Instead of referring to vague and controversial concepts, like ‘Romanisation’, to explain the sociocultural changes across the entire Roman empire, it was the aim of this book to focus on the individual. How did the individual person experience Roman imperialism? How did his or her life change after the Roman conquest, and did it change at all? We need to put ourselves in this position. What would motivate us to change our lifestyle, our habit, our dress, our language and identity so dramatically? We can assume that the top elite in north-west Italy might make use of Roman power structures and Roman symbols of power to consolidate their power. But unlike provinces like Gaul and Britain, this is a process that was taking many generations in Italy in Italy and usually only culminates in the 1st century B.C. and A.D.; Roman symbols of power need to be understood first and still in the bilingual dedication from Vercelli we can see that it was not the dedicant’s aim to express his ‘Romanness’. Instead we can see a long process in which local elites seemingly managed to consolidate their power within the existing sociocultural framework as we can see from the Padane drachma and its iconography, from Lepontic epigraphy and Iron Age material culture (e.g. the vaso a trottola).

But what about other strata of society, like the ‘native’ farmer, trader, and craftsman? Are they really aspiring to take on Roman material culture and lifestyle, culture, humanitas? Many of those sub-elite people were merely trying to survive, trying to make a living in a rapidly changing world. Some were trading on local markets, specialising in goods that yielded the largest profit; others moved to the newly emerging cities, they become parts of guilds (collegia), while others again might join the Roman army. Many would have needed a basic knowledge of Latin to come by in everyday situations. Those people might never have aspired to show themselves as a ‘Roman’, but there must have been group pressures how to act in a particular context (possibly also leading to code switching among many people).Many other sub-elite people were enculturating and getting habituated in the new environment, for example by growing up in a Roman-style cities.

It is therefore necessary to de-construct the traditional theme of ‘Romanisation’ if we want to aspire for a deeper understanding of the changes in Iron Age and Roman north-west Italy. There is not one all-encompassing process, but instead lots of individual developments: there are economic developments (e.g., increasing trade relations; specialisation of production of goods and in agriculture; the monetisation of the economy), there are societal developments (like social and spatial mobility; the grants of ius Latii and Roman citizenship), there are political developments (like the creation of new elites in charge of Roman-style municipalities), there are cultural and religious developments, some of which are a consequence of the former developments, while others are independent. We also need to take into account that Rome herself was changing regarding inter alia the integration of its allies into Roman citizenship, the nature of Roman culture as an increasingly cosmopolitan culture, the promotion of certain imperial and colonial discourses on Rome and the princeps.


Becoming Roman? Diverging Identities and Experiences in Ancient Northwest Italy (UCL Institute of Archaeology, London Series) 2013.
Ralph Haeussler (Author)
386 pp. / 6.00 x 9.00 / Aug, 2013
Hardback (978-1-61132-186-9)
eBook (978-1-61132-443-3)

Conversazione in inglese


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Archeologia a Torino

Il Museo di Antichità di Torino prepara la sua terza sezione dedicata all’archeologia della città, intenzionalmente non inserita nel Padiglione del Territorio piemontese progettato dagli architetti Roberto Gabetti e Aimaro Isola e inaugurato nel 1998, dove si espongono i ritrovamenti del territorio piemontese, ad eccezione appunto di Torino

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