Long Fourth Century – Conference Notes (morning day 1)

For actual live-tweeting by others, esp. Sarah Johnson, see here.

Recommended Reading: Terrenato, Nicola. 2019. The Early Roman Expansion into Italy: Elite Negotiation and Family Agendas. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. doi:10.1017/9781108525190.

Are all centuries long?  What does the longness matter?

Where are the silences?  Following Michel-Rolph Trouillot line of thinking.  What more can we do?

Session #1:

Elliot – Cato, Origines

Did historical cultural practices as evinced by masks, epigraphy etc… provide influence on Cato’s self conception?

Written in retrospect by an old man reflecting on his struggle as a ‘new man’ – a self commemoration

Compare Or. 2-3 and Caes. BJ on ethnographic perspective – see Chassignet

Earning imagines versus inheriting them – later new men emphasize

Flower: active verbs associated with imagines, they are ACTORS

actions more important than status – Cf. Cato removing names of commanders but recording those of officers, the do-ers.

Cato like other Roman rhetoricians emphasize physicality of relevant individuals to oration: Cato thus emphasizes his own old age.  (seems to be constructing a kind of living imagines?)

Notice all the use of first person and second person in the Rhodian oration.  (Underlined on handout)

Quoted words of the past are treated as a form of authentic preservation.  (Cf. # 12)  Goes against (?!) other historians avoidance (?!) of quotation and transcription.

Bernard, S., C. Damon and C. Grey, 2014. ‘Rhetorics of land and power in the Polla inscription (C/L 12 638)’, Mnemosyne 67, 953- 85.

First person of Cato shares much with the first person of certain epigraphical use of First person:


Cornell – Timaeus

Life covers most of the 4th century, said to have live 96 years, exiled by Agathocles, 50 years in exile mostly in Athens.

Tyrants not called tyrants when heroicized

Reviewing extensively what we can and cannot know about his dates/life experience.

Accepts Polybius 12.25h.1 as proof that his exile started very early in life because of lack of military/political experience.

Suggests 240s for likely death date.

Work covers earliest times to death of Agathocles.

Seems to accept Jacoby’s reconstruction of the stucture of the work (what about Baron’s problematization of this view?!)

Emphasizes how Timaeus creates a Hellenized view of non Greek people and the integration of local myths with traditional Greek mythical structure.  Western Greek just as GREEK as mainland (and Aegean? Greeks).

Cornell’s Timaeus seems to have the same programmatic goals as Dionysius of Halicarnassus book 1.  Is this correct?  Or are we clouded in our interpretation by relying on Dionysius…

Gelon presented as a Hero, as was Dion and Timoleon.   (Is our view influenced by Plutarch transmission?!?)

The work on Pyrrhus put Rome at the center (inferred from Dionysius representation and Aulus Gellius passage).

Suggests Timaeus may have viewed all of Italy as Rome’s domain.

Is Timaeus reflecting something the ROMANS themselves said about the October Horse and its relationship to the fall of Troy?  Cornell thinks so.

Archaeological remains of “Heroon of Aeneas” believed to have been discovered at Lavinium (Practica di Mare)

How does Timaeus visiting and asking questions influence the creation and structuring of Romans’ own self reporting?  a both/and explanation of how narrative is created

On foundation date in Timaeus and Romans see Feeney.  Possible Timaeus used Punic sources (really?! evidence?)

Sychronizing of the two cities’ foundations (Carthage and Rome) puts them on the same footing and suggests a shared destiny.  What this means depends on dating of writing?

Are they twin enemies of the western Greeks? – Mazzarino

Or is Timaeus foreshadowing the great clash between the two?  – Vattuone

Polybius’ is jealous of Timaeus, because Romans considered him ‘one of their own’, and the influence of his account on Roman accounts of their own origins esp. Fabius Pictor etc…

336-240 suggested as dates and thus allows for influence of first Punic War on his perspective.

Why wait to come home?  Why extend exile?  Baron suggests not much to go back to.

Tindarion invitation to Pyrrhus may have been factor in Timaeus’ reluctance to return.  Whereas Heiron (and Romans) created the conditions that allowed his return.

Romans anti Tyrant and instead favored and promoted ‘timocratic’ rule, i.e. rule by property classes.  This aligns with Timaeus own views/priorities.

Question session:

(not a complete record – like rest, just what I’m hearing and thinking about)

Bernard: What sorts of societies promote these types of commemoration?  Points to the passage of the Origines on Lacedamonian commemoration of war commanders and how Cato lists things we might think of as Roman but makes them Greek and then rejects them, prioritizing his writing as the memorial.

Elliott: Cato is so good at having it both ways.  After reports of his statue and inscriptions, account also goes on to his rejection of a desire for statues.

Flower:  Can we separate the speeches from the orations of Cato?

Elliott:  Short answer: no.  Points to Cicero testimony.  Methodologically problems with using Gellius.  But, evidence seems to point to origines giving speeches in direct speech.  Cicero’s count of so many Cato speeches may be just flourish not actual ‘fact’, a rhetorical show.  Must be read in context of Brutus Dialogue in which Atticus interlocutor undercuts idea of Cato as rhetorical model. Cicero’s interest in Cato is very much later life when he’s doing ‘historical research’.

Audience member:  But the Scipio inscription couldn’t be seen…

Elliott: No one singular model, but instead this is the TYPE of voice of commemoration.

Audience member: Are really old Roman inscriptions legible to later audiences?

Elliott: Yes, texts become readily inaccessible.

Cornell: Example of Lapis Niger and Dion. Hal. beliefs that it is a res gestae of Romulus

Rosenstein: points to Polybius on difficulty but success! on reading early treaties with Carthage

Elliott responding to Mignone: Cato as influence on Cicero as a master of self representation.

Feeney: brings up as support fragment where he orders slave to recite his own early speech – he creates his own canon.

Cornell: points out account of Cato in Spain could derive from his own defense of his actions when brought up on charges.  Did his histories just use speeches as a pre-writing.  Gellius is defending Cato from Tullius Tiro’s criticism.  See passage 3 on Elliott’s handout.

Flower and Elliott: Livy’s assumption of accessibility of Cato to contemporary readers.

Smith/Cornell: [Follow up separately on Cornell’s views of Servius] Cornell believes Timaeus may be the favorable view of Servius and his timocratic constitution: cf. Miano, D. (2013), “Tychai of Timoleon and Servius Tullius. A hypothesis on the sources”,
ASNP class.lett., ser. V, 4.2: 365-378. Cornell’s Student.  Servius Rex NOT Servius Tullius

Smith: a Greek trying to figure out what a rex might be…

De Haas on Rural transformations

Great maps on slides

Focus on Suburbium, S. Etruria, Pontine region project –> Data integration as The Rome Hinterland Project

N. Suburbium:  Charts with settlement data, 1st half 4th many farms abandoned, increased numbers of ‘villas’ or elite holdings. (Carafa and Cappana 2019)

Villa known in 5th but much more in later 4th

S. Eturia: peak in settlement in 6th, drop off in 5th, increase in 4th and 3rd.

really great graphs

Sabina: similar pattern abandonment in 5th and early 4th and then increased settlement in later 4th and 3rd

S. Latium: increased settlement in later 4th and 3rd but in regions already earlier enhabited but now denser

movement from foothills to upland sites, increased use of terracing: wine possible, but more likely olive oil production. Commercial levels of production on this platform sites of the late 4th/3rd century.

Pontine Marsh: infamous as marginal and harsh landscape, via Appia major intrusion, perhaps taken from Priverium and given to Roman citizens.  Forum Appii 4th-3rd so also ad Media, central places for rural sites, NOT just traveller stop offs.  Rural sites have genucilia and petites estampiles.

Marsh lands needed to be reclaimed.  Centuriation in this region can be dated more firmly in this area than elsewhere.  Ecology used to dating.  Smaller ditches and canals.  Ditch fills can be dated by radio carbon.   Pollen etc point to grain cultivation: Emmer wheat.

Some local trajectories, but three main patterns:

Decline in 5th/4th, followed by recovery in 4th/3rd and more large estates ‘villas’, intensive use of landscapes not previously seen as desirable: uplands, marshes etc…

More complex rural settlement hierarchies

Population growth –> greater food demands

towns as hubs also grow and monumentalize

economic growth, inspired by state investment, private investments also exist (terraces for commercial levels of production targeting urban areas)

Growth creates manpower and resource surpluses thus fueling Roman ability for further expansion and militarism.

How do settlement patterns relate to land ownership?

Is centuriation a sign of allotments or commercial selling of lands?

What are the impact on landscape?  were there sustained explotiation strategies?  ecological research needed

Killgrove on Bioarchaelogy of Republican Italy

similar to forensic anthropology, but longer time scales and more interested in groups rather individuals

interdisciplinary but also housed in the us under anthropology within the ancient

Sex/age at death/height basic questions of Osteology

v nice chart of demography: Gabii, Casal Beertone, Castellaccio Europarco and Oplontis

Paleo-Pathology examples: healed broken nose from Gabii, calcified plaque on teeth says so much about diet!

metopic suture (skull plates not all the way fused) can tell us about population interaction and migration as inherited trait

Chemical analysis can tell us about diet, migration, familial relationships, and diseases.

Imperial Rome case study

neither history nor archaeology can answer all questions: great diagram of research model: ask for permission to include!

Chose a cemetery with burial style variation and more than one language in epigraphic record to hope find heterogeneous population, likely migrants.

Only 8 out of 100 tested people clearly migrants, not a lot but at least some.

how do we make sense of scatter plots?

Where are the skeletons from mid-Republican period?!

Imperial burials easier to date, partly because more grave goods, and better preserved, and just many more.

Very little on republican skeletons, but where to look:

FastiOnline – not so useful for this BUT VERY IMPORTANT DIGITAL RESOURCE!

So Killgrove used Castellaccio Europarco

4th-3rd – 28 inhumations

2nd-1st – 16 cremations

…16 other sites… missed publication ref on slide….

108 burials from the Republic found

IsoArch – Another really awesome database resource.

People ate wheat…maybe barley… and some sort of terrestrial protein.

MUCH more data from Apollonia Pontika, sites in Greece, and Gasfabrik from same era that could be used for comparison as new Italian data appears.

Research on cremations at being done at Pompeii

Every ancient cremation usually under 1000C – allows some information on Migration, Strontium survives [in teeth and connects to where individual was drinking water]

More can be done with collagen if temps under 300C

DNA not possible with Cremation

[What is Grey Literature?]

Questions that could be answered as more data emerges:

  • Who participated with Roman conquest of Italy?
  • What was the Family Like?
  • Was republican period different than Iron age or Imperial period?

Change through time starting to be seen in ancient diet, case study of Gabii: More seafood, more millet appear (not yet published research, in collaboration with MA student)

Currently working on Oplontis…  Find her work in a variety of locations: Forbes Column, twitter, facebook, and personal website.


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