Migration, mobility and place in ancient Italy
Cambridge University Press
Reason for embargo
Under indefinite embargo due to publisher policy. The final version is available from Cambridge University Press.
Ideas of mass migration are crucial to the understanding of our globally-linked 21st century world. But the phenomenon is far from being uniquely modern. The ancient world too was born from patterns of extensive movements of people, some of them en masse. This book, focusing on ancient Italy, will challenge prevailing conceptions of a natural tie to the land and a demographically settled world. Drawing on research in literary and political texts, demographic studies, epigraphy and archaeological findings, it will argue that the combined evidence suggests that much human mobility in the last millennium BC was ongoing and cyclical: places acted as pauses for those on the move, rather than being chosen as permanent abodes. In Italy, it was not until the 1st century BC that the Roman Imperium began to fix identity and a sense of belonging to the site of Rome, giving a special significance to physical presence and the soil itself. Yet even these changes did not lead to a territorialising outlook either in terms of belonging, or imperial ambitions. Permeable boundaries and multiple fluid identities continued to be accommodated within the new state mechanisms. In developing the argument the study takes issue with some contemporary concepts in migration and post-colonial discourse and employs the ideas of modern theorists of place and identity, such as Massey, Harvey, and De Certeau. One of the claims of this work is that, in the ancient Italian context, xenophobia is difficult to identify, and outside of the military context ‘the foreigner in our midst’ was not regarded as a problem. Boundaries of status rather than of geopolitics were the ones that were difficult to cross. The material covered in this study includes the stories of individuals and migrant groups, itinerant soldiers, traders, wives, hostages, settlements, expulsions, the founding and demolition of sites, and the political processes that could both encourage and discourage the transfer of peoples from one place to another. This is the story of people as well as states.
Manuscript Submitted to CUP: 3 December 2015
Due for publication in 2016