FINES Bordering Practices and Natural Features in Livy
Date: 28 May 2014
University of Exeter
PhD in Classics
FINES. Bordering practices and natural features in Livy Antonio Montesanti, University of Exeter PhD in Classics and Ancient History May 2014 The fullest and most comprehensive unpacking of the term finis has yet to be achieved. Studies have narrowly focussed on the idea of border, boundary or frontier, without even entertaining ...
FINES. Bordering practices and natural features in Livy Antonio Montesanti, University of Exeter PhD in Classics and Ancient History May 2014 The fullest and most comprehensive unpacking of the term finis has yet to be achieved. Studies have narrowly focussed on the idea of border, boundary or frontier, without even entertaining the prospect of interpreting the study from the ancient point of view. This investigation considers the use of the word finis in Livy and attempts to recreate a conception of finis which mirrors as closely as possible that of a Roman of the Republic up to the very Early Empire. Besides the remarkably high usage of the term by Livy, the author’s work is also useful due to its chronological nature, which allows for broad investigation throughout the Republican Period, as well as shedding light on the Early Imperial concept of finis. The main aim of this dissertation is to provide a collective analysis of diverse cases, which together can help build a complete picture of the detectable features related to the term finis. As well as this, the analysis of the contexts – in which the term finis is used has also cast light on those features of finis – that have remained fixed despite the different historical contexts in which they appear. For example, throughout my study, two fundamental concepts will continue to pop up in front of the reader’s eyes: a) the inapplicability of modern conceptual categories to the idea of finis and b) finis – if translated as border, boundary or frontier – as a concept applicable not to a line, but to a spatial element. On the basis of Livy’s evidence – drawn from his work Ab Urbe Condita – this study attempts to present a reconstruction of the term through the identification of an entirely new concept. This study is conceived in terms of a crescendo, which begins with the basic definitions attached to finis and evolves, adding an increasing number of evidences until it reaches a climax, whereby the reader can see both those invariable features of finis in Livy’s account and the 4 Introduction: Research guidelines evolution of the term as fines are applied within different political contexts. Rome – a city that rose on a finis, the Tiber River – reinvented or remodelled the concept of finis, demonstrating behaviour antithetical to the notion of confining herself behind a ‘single line’. Once identified as a finis, the natural features helped the Romans to exert their imperium, which was itself an embodiment of the features contained within the concept of finis. The establishment of the fines provided an ‘imaginary’ subdivision of the territory subjected to the Roman imperium in a series of land strips. This is documented by Livy through Rome’s expansionist ‘finis-system’, from a single occupation of the Janiculum Hill to the scientific approach and setting of the treaty of Apamea. Although the lacunae in Ab Urbe Condita – from 168 B.C. onwards – do not permit a direct connection between the Late Republic and the Early Empire, some elements can be used to evidence an intimate relationship between Livy’s and Augustus’ thinking and terminology. To some extent, this common intent has made possible this attempted reconstruction of the ‘bordering practices’ used in the last 150 years of the Republic, as well as the possible evolution of such practices in the first 150 about years of the Empire.
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