You are here:

Historians of ancient Italy have long recognised the significance of regional differences in the modes of the Roman conquest and the concomitant cultural changes that occurred during the Hellenistic period. One particular area of interest has been the transition from pre-Roman cultures to a recognisably Republican phase, while, at the other end of the spectrum, the construction of Italic identities under the early Principate has also received considerable attention. The focus of this lecture, by contrast, is on the intervening period: the second century BCE as a formative phase of regional Italian cultures within the context of the Republic’s Mediterranean empire. Based on structures that had emerged in the wake of the Roman conquest of the peninsula – colonisation, road networks – as well as on the active participation of Italians in conquering and exploiting the empire economically, new regional configurations began to emerge. Based on a variety of historical evidence, I discuss some of the implications of this development for our understanding of the transition from mid- to late Republican Italy.