Urban Ethnicities: Centre and Periphery in Ancient Latium

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Sine Grove Saxkjær


The Danish Institute in Rome


DKK 1,240,842




Reintegration Fellowships


During the 1st millennium BC, Rome went from emerging as a settlement to becoming the centre of the Roman Empire. Already towards the end of the 4th century BC, Rome controlled all of Latium. Accordingly, the region witnessed one of history's most influential city and state formations, which furthermore came to be of crucial importance to the people and cities that had been subjected to Rome in the process. Cities and people are closely correlated – they emerge, exist and develop in mutual influence. Cities are hubs in social networks, in which they constitute centres for communication, trade, religion, politics and cultural exchange. Urbanisation is thus closely linked to ethnogenesis and ethnicity. The project explores this interplay between people and cities in ancient Latium.


The study of urban ethnicities and the relation between people and cities in ancient Latium – including the interaction between city formation, urbanisation and migration patterns, ethnogenesis and cultural exchange – is pivotal for the understanding of the emergence and development of the Roman Empire, just as the same mechanisms and dynamics continue to be of central importance in relation to modern city and state formation.


The project examines the interaction between ethnicity and urbanism through studies of potential ethnic markers in urban contexts, this being in archaeological as well as in literary and epigraphic sources. The chronological framework is the 1st millennium BC, i.e. before and during the Roman expansion. As a starting point, the project will include two central case studies – Rome and Aquinum – which will represent centre and periphery in ancient Latium. With case studies from both the centre and periphery of the region, the project covers very different arenas for the synergic relationship between ethnicity and urbanism – both from the earliest times as well as when the cities become part of the same state – which will contribute to a multifaceted understanding of urban ethnicities.

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