Affiliation: College of Arts and Sciences, Department of Classics
This dissertation, an archaeological case study of the Italian town of Larinum, illuminates the complex processes of integration and adaptation that occurred culturally, politically and socially as the Roman state expanded its control of Italy in the first millennium BCE. Larinum, a non-Roman town in the fourth and third centuries BCE, was annexed by Rome and received Roman citizenship shortly after the Social War in the 80s BCE. The goal of this project is to provide a comprehensive picture of Larinum during its transition from independent community to Roman town, from 400 BCE to 100 CE. Toward this end, I have assembled and examined all the ancient sources and extant remains that pertain to Larinum to see how the material and historical records differ before and after Roman conquest, and how they inform our knowledge of the town's adjustment to Roman rule. This study is distinctive in utilizing many different types of evidence: settlement patterns, literary sources, inscriptions, monuments and artifacts. The investigations of the landscape allow for reconstructions of settlement patterns that differ from those previously published: the new reconstructions show significant settlement continuity. The literary sources and inscriptions reveal a phenomenon overlooked by earlier scholarship: long-term continuity of local families in Larinum whose members also held political offices in Rome. The study of the monuments and artifacts places them within their proper archaeological contexts and shows the influence of Italy-wide trends and fashions on the choices made by the citizens of Larinum. By bringing together diverse types of evidence from Larinum, this dissertation creates a picture of cultural change within a context-sensitive framework and provides valuable new information about how the processes of becoming Roman affected different groups and individuals in various ways. Ideas of a strongly disruptive process that accompanied the adoption of Larinum into the Roman state are no longer tenable. Instead, the general picture that emerges for the period from the fourth century BCE to the first century CE is one of relative continuity both in the town of Larinum and throughout its territory, and of the successful integration of Larinum into the Roman state.