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Thread: Northern Italy in the Roman Era.

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    Northern Italy in the Roman Era.



    These first posts are copies of posts which appeared in the Italian genetics thread here.
    https://www.eupedia.com/forum/thread...samples/page27

    I left the originals there, but wanted to collect them on this thread, and add to it the non-strictly genetic development of the concept of Italia and Italians during the Roman Era.

    "I'm currently reading a very recently published book called Northern Italy in the Roman World. After the collapse of the Terramare, the area south of the Po in Emilia was de-populated but not empty, and there's also archaeological evidence of movement into the hills of the Apennines. Trade routes through the Apennines with "Etruria" was long standing, so there could have been movement in that direction. As for the areas north of the Po, the author provides evidence that the settlements around the old Polada areas still existed.

    Then, of course, we get to Frantesina. The "elite" burial, from the leaks, is someone "different" from the locals (although we don't know what either were really like yet), but we do know that this was a center with good links to the Baltics, and imported and then worked and traded lots of amber. Cremation also entered Italy through the northeast. When we get their samples, we'll know if this was a later migration of more steppe admixed people.

    So, we have a lot of possibilities.

    We also, by the way, don't really know what all the inhabitants of Northern Italy were like before the days of the Empire. There are the Celtic migrations to consider. One thing I've always emphasized and which this book emphasizes is that there not only is, but was, a lot of substructure in northern Italy, more than in southern Italy. Then there is Toscana, which is not northern, not southern, but not really "center" either."


    Non si fa il proprio dovere perchè qualcuno ci dica grazie, lo si fa per principio, per se stessi, per la propria dignità. Oriana Fallaci

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    ""Analyses of haplotype distributions and strontium isotope studies of La Tene cemeteries across Europe-including the necropolis at Monte Bibele-show small groups of men moving long distances, a pattern that suggests raiding or mercenary activity."
    Arnold,2012,91; see Sheeres et al 2013 on the mobility of Monte Bibele's population.

    The author claims there is no evidence of population "replacement" in Northern Italy by the Gauls (La Tene or Hallstatt). In fact, she posits small movements of men who may have taken positions of power, but adjusted to and were absorbed by the "local" people.

    So, I would think the archaeology puts paid to the idea that all North Italians were like the La Tene or Hallstatt Celts before the arrival of the Romans. They might have had more steppe than at certain other periods, but I see no evidence as of yet for the comments made at anthrogenica. Of course, some people don't pay much attention to archaeology, or only to the archaeology which fits their hypothesis."

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    Good posts from HVRC and Pax Augusta:

    "HVRC:
    It's a bit surprising.

    Golasecca seems already distinctly Celtic, or, at the very least, Celto-Ligurian.

    Plus, Livy doesn't seem to suggest the Celts who moved into Italy arrived in small numbers. This would have happened prior to La Tène, by the way, except maybe for the Senones. Anyway, they were numerous enough to defeat the Etruscans and the Umbrians.

    Too bad it's in French, but that's all I have :

    « À l’époque où Tarquin l'Ancien règne à Rome [vers 600 av. J.-C. ...] à Bellovèse [des Bituriges], les dieux montrent un plus beau chemin, celui de l’Italie. Il appelle à lui, du milieu de ses surabondantes populations, des Bituriges, des Arvernes, des Éduens, des Ambarres, des Carnutes, des Aulerques ; et, partant avec de nombreuses troupes de gens à pied et à cheval, il arrive chez les Tricastins. Là, devant lui, s’élèvent les Alpes ; et, ce dont je ne suis pas surpris, il les regarde sans doute comme des barrières insurmontables [...]

    Arrêtés, et pour ainsi dire enfermés au milieu de ces hautes montagnes, les Gaulois cherchent de tous côtés, à travers ces roches perdues dans les cieux, un passage par où s’élancer vers un autre univers, quand un scrupule religieux vient encore les arrêter ; ils apprennent que des étrangers, qui cherchent comme eux une patrie, ont été attaqués par les Salyens. Ceux-là sont les Massaliotes qui sont venus par mer de Phocée. Les Gaulois voient là un présage de leur destinée : ils aident ces étrangers à s’établir sur le rivage où ils ont abordé et qui est couvert de vastes forêts.

    Pour eux, ils franchissent les Alpes par des gorges inaccessibles, traversent le pays des Taurins, et, après avoir vaincu les Étrusques, près de la rivière Tessin, ils se fixent dans un canton qu’on nomme la terre des Insubres. Ce nom, qui rappelle aux Éduens les Insubres de leur pays, leur paraît d’un heureux augure, et ils fondent là une ville qu’ils appellent Mediolanum.

    Bientôt, suivant les traces de ces premiers Gaulois, une troupe de Cénomans, sous la conduite d'Etitovios, passe les Alpes par le même défilé, avec l’aide de Bellovèse, et vient s’établir aux lieux alors occupés par les Libuens, et où sont maintenant les villes de Brescia et de Vérone. Après eux, les Salluviens se répandent le long du Tessin, près de l’antique peuplade des Lèves Ligures. Ensuite, par les Alpes pennines, arrivent les Boïens et les Lingons, qui, trouvant tout le pays occupé entre le Pô et les Alpes, traversent le Pô sur des radeaux, et chassent de leur territoire les Étrusques et les Ombriens : toutefois, ils ne passent point les Apennins. Enfin, les Sénons, qui viennent en dernier, prennent possession de la contrée qui est située entre le fleuve Utens et l’Aesis. »

    — Tite-Live, Histoire romaine, VI, 34-35 - Traduction Charles Nisard, 1864

    Pax Augusta:
    The text posted by Angela refers specifically to the Gauls who invaded northern Italy from about 400 BC, Golasecca that is already considered Celtic (Lepontic) is much older as a migration and among other things people from Golasecca were commercial partners of the Etruscans. The Celts, at one point in northern Italy, were of various different types. I should reread it, but I think Livy's text about Belloveso backtracked many events.


    The Etruscans were busy on other fronts when the Gauls pushed for control the area, and not having a national organization Etruscans struggled to defend the settlements in the Po Valley. For example Spina, always there in the Po valley, remained in the hands of the Etruscans for longer than Bologna.


    It also considers that Bologna, called Felsina/Felzna by the Etruscans, was the capital of the Etruscans in northern Italy and a city with a very important strategic role in connecting the Etruscans, the Alps, the people of Golasecca and the ancient Veneti. When the Romans renamed Bologna (Bononia) after the Boii Gauls, they deliberately wronged the Etruscans. The Etruscan toponym was preserved until the Roman conquest, and therefore also during the Celtic occupation according to some Italian sources that should be controlled. So it is possible that Livy has exaggerated in his stories about the Gauls.


    Everything is more complicated and blurry. For example, in Monte Bibele (Tuscan-Emilian Apennines) tombs of both Etruscans (especially women and children) and Gauls (especially men) who lived together have been found. If I remember correctly, and I could remember wrongly, in Monte Bibele there are also tombs of children who have both Etruscan and Gaulish objects, if they had been the children of mixed marriages."

    Me:
    "Yes, I know they already spoke a form of Celtic in Golasecca.

    The statement to which I was responding was specifically talking about Hallstatt and La Tene.

    From the text, actually from right before the section that I quoted:
    "Polybius and Livy both present a narrative in which waves of Celts cross the Alps and settle in Northern Italy, displacing the Etruscans. The reality was more complicated...

    "In Lombardy the Protogolasecca evolved almost seamlessly into the Golasecca culture of the Early Iron Age. Inscriptions there show an early presence for Celtic language. A late seventh-century inscription from Sesto Callende indicates that the Golasecca peoples spoke a Celtic language...

    ...for most of Northern Italy, the eighth through the fifth centuries BCE were marked by general continuity, growh and urbanization...

    There were abrupt changes in the fourth century, as the number and distribution of La Tene objects characteristic of central and western Europe increased...Sites throughout Northern Italy were abandoned or saw contraction, and in the southern Po Plain there was an increasing presence for fortified hill settlements...

    There were important limits to the transformation. Even in the southern Po Plain, newer Celtic-speaking inhabitants did not totally displace the earlier inhabitants or their customs. Most famously, at the necropolis of Monte Bibele, near Bologna, fourth-and-third century tombs contain mixtures of La Tene ornaments and Etruscan ceramic goods, indicating a cosmopolitan population, and a cultural middle ground similar to that seen at Greco-Etruscan Spina. Nor did the La Tene practice of inhumation entirely displace the older Golaseccan style of cremation in Lombardy. In Piedmont and Liguria there seems to have been less disruption...

    The changes of the fourth century are not necessarily the result of a large scale Celtic invasion, as suggested by later Greek and Roman authors. In the southeastern and central Po Plain, the invasion model may be appropriate...however, some of northern Italy's new inhabitants likely migrated in military bands or worked as mercenaries. Rather than as a series of invasions, northern Italy's fourth-century transformation is perhaps more accurately described as a combination of large scale migrations, raiding parties, and changes to transalpine trade networks and economic systems."

    In other words, there was a lot of substructure in northern Italy even then."

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    "In later chapters which I'm reading now, the author explains that many of those Celtic warriors were killed or enslaved by the Romans, although winners always exaggerate the losses of their opponents, and many enslaved. The Boii in particular come to mind.

    Just in case it's forgotten, I'll repeat my mantra that we need Polada samples and Terramare samples, and yes, some Golasecca and Boii and most importantly, the mixed communities in these larger settlements. Oh, and the Veneti as well. Then we can compare them to moderns and to their contemporaneous Etruscans and Roman Republic era Romans and the later Romans as well. Then we'll be getting somewhere. Just how steppe admixed were the Golasecca? Remedello was supposed to be heavily steppe too, and weren't. Parma Beaker were a very mixed bunch, with some having almost no steppe. So, we'll have to wait for the samples to see when it arrived with any significance. After all, you don't need a massive genetic change to change the language. Look at the coming of the Greeks.

    I'm actually just getting to the part about "Roman" settlements in the north.
    The author casts quite a bit of shade on Livy's accounts, which I think is warranted. He had his own ax to grind.

    Her footnotes and citations are extensive. I haven't checked each and every one, but the one's I've checked seem to indeed support her conclusions, for ex., that after Terramare Northern Italy was not a blank slate."

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    "The author spends quite a bit of time explaining how thoroughly the Romans "intervened" in Northern Italy: its agriculture and land distribution, its routes of water and land transportation, and even its demography and why.

    The latter is interesting in light of our discussions here. In this area we are talking about layers of migration. The coming of the Gauls didn't erase the prior peoples, just as the coming of the Romans didn't obliterate the Gauls. The Romans did do a number on some of the Gallic tribes, however, like the Senones, and particularly the Boii. Why there was more animus toward the Boii than toward tribes like the Insubri of the transpadana is a complicated one, and I won't go into it here. It existed, and it meant that the Romans.

    "These land confiscations expelled the Senones and Boii from much of their former territory; in the mid second century Polybius recorded that"not long afterwards I was to see these tribes expelled from the valley of the Po, except for a few districts at the foot of the Alps.""

    In the author's opinion that's an exaggeration. While there was expulsion south of the Po, and the Boii and Senones were no longer present as political entities, the continuation of certain cult practices at Parma, for example, show that it was not a complete wipe out of the Gaulish tribes there in the southern Po Valley.

    In the north at places like Brixia and Mediolanum, the centers of the Insubres and Cenomani, there was no such expulsion at all, and it wasn't until the later half of the second and first centuries BC that we see signs of expansion and re-organization. Before that, they continued to make their own coinage, and Latin, Celtic, and Italic names all still appear into the early Empire. The Veneti also remained nominally independent for a while.

    This may be part of the explanation for some of the differences between the transpadana and the more southern part of Cisalpine Gaul, particularly the Romagna and the Emilian plain. Even then, there was a difference between the people of the mountains and the people of the plains.

    Speaking of which, western Liguria seems to have been left alone, but eastern Liguria was heavily impacted. As probably everyone knows, most of the Apuani were exiled to Samnium, and the hill and mountain people were forcibly relocated to the plains around the Magra. The establishment of Luni also brought settlers from Central Italy into the mix.

    One of the signs of cultural change? No more horse burials, which were common among all the Celtic tribes and even more so among the Veneti.



    How thoroughly Northern Italy became part of "Rome" is shown by the speed with which it was given citizenship, but also by its participation in the legions. "...by the Julio-Claudian period roughly half of those legionnaires serving in upper and lower Germany whose origins could be determined come from Cisalpine Gaul. The same proportion holds true for the Legio XI Claudia in Dalmatia and the Legio VII in Moesia. ""

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    Stuvane
    I refer to Angela's last post, which I subscribe to 100%.
    In fact it is always Polybius (II, 19-21) who remembers that it was Gaius Flaminius's policy of massive colonization in the northern Marche region that alarmed the Boi who, fearing the same fate as their Senones neighbors, turned out to be quite hostile towards Rome.

    https://www.gutenberg.org/files/4412...-h/44125-h.htm

    http://docenti.unimc.it/simone.sisan...20Romana_5.pdf

    I believe that with regard to the Insubres, the Cenomans and other transpadane populations in general, the Romans of a later generation were more wary, even with more practical policies of local military recruitment and subsequent granting of Roman citizenship, precisely in order not to trigger reactions to chain that would become less and less controllable as they left Rome.

    That those territories, now corresponding more or less to the province of Pesaro-Urbino and to the entire Emilia-Romagna region, have been the object of an important Roman-Italic colonization is beyond doubt (in fact all the cities and centers along the Via Emilia have been Roman colonies). The Emilians and even more so the Romagnols, compared to their present Lombardi neighbors, emphasized in their autosomal - of some point - Caucasian and Mediterranean-eastern components that could very well be attributed to the arrival of Central Italic settlers.

    However, I have always had many doubts about the total expulsion of Senoni and Boi from the Picenus and Po valley. In the first place, from the dialectal point of view, these are territories that remained Gallo-Italic in all respects, with very marginal external influences (in the province of Pesaro, the dialect is a variety of Romagna), where the general rule is a Latin that merges with a Celtic substrate. Some substantial pouch still had to be present.
    What sense would the persistence of a language (or of such an important linguistic phenomenon) be due to a people decimated, vanquished, marginalized or even expelled?

    I, in turn, agree with your post. :)

    The author presents solid evidence that the claims of the Romans as to the total decimation of the Celts south of the Po (according to Polybius, even to a large extent North of the Po) are an exaggeration. At the same time, the Insubrians and Cenomani were treated somewhat differently. Expansion did arrive there, just not yet and not as intensively.




    "

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    What the author makes abundantly clear, through extensive first and secondary sources, is that the Romans not only intervened in Northern Italy (as well as Central and Southern Italy) by building roads, reclaiming land, confiscating, dividing and distributing land, but they, in effect, created Italia and the Italians genetically and culturally.

    There are extensive examples in the book of Roman soldiers being given land, Roman merchants setting up shop in newly established Roman towns and on and on.

    This is just one example:

    "The notorious land confiscations of the triumviral period hit some cities in Cisalpine Gaul worse than others. Here farmland was confiscated and given to veterans returning from the wars of the 40s and 30s BCE, and as a result we fnd population movements of veterans into Cisalpine towns and of the dipossessed out, mostly to neighboring towns and to Rome. "

    Since by the first century BCE the Cisalpina was a major recruiting ground for the Roman army, many of the settlers receiving confiscated land were also from neighboring towns. "

    What may perhaps not be known or sufficiently appreciated by most people is how quickly local elites and commoners both were "seduced" by the idea of Roman citizenship, and how eagerly they sought it.

    In central Italy, they fought a war to acquire it, the so called "Social War".

    There is no indication, according to the author, that either the Cispadani or Transpadani, a distinction which soon disappeared, ever resorted to violence or that kind of organized seeking of citizenship. However, they very, very quickly sought to identify with Rome, a process which Rome encouraged.

    "by the 60s and 50s they [the Transpadani] were demanding full Roman citizenship, probably because of a combination of factors: their elites were starting to make headway into magistracies at Rome; Transpadane writers were pushing for a more expansive notion of Italian identity, one of which encompassed both cultural and political notions and that stretched to the Alps; and ambitious politicians saw the advantage of championing the enfranchisement of such a populous and wealthy area eager to join the high political circles at Rome. "

    The Transpadani were enfranchised in 49 BCE by Caesar just weeks after he crossed the Rubicon.

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    "During the conflict (the Social War) Italian identity became a key element of the Italian war effort. The Romans' former allies set up a federal capital at Corfinium, in the territory of the Peligni in the Apennines near modern L'Aquila, and renamed the city Italia or Italica."

    "The coins issued by the Italians at Corfinium presented images of Italy personified...sitting atop Roman shields and being crowned by victory; accompanying legends of Italia (often written in Oscan) hammered the point home."

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    1 out of 2 members found this post helpful.
    "As Transpadane identity lost its political significance, it was engulfed by the larger definition of Italian identity. No longer presenting themselves as those Italians north of the Po unfairly cut off from citizenship, the Transpadani were now simply Italians, but as Italians they occupied a privileged place in the ideology of the early Empire."

    "The division between provincial and Italian had its roots in the political environment of the Late Republic and, from then on into and during the High Empire, was perpetuated by the language of edicts and decrees, which formulaically divide the empire into "Italy and the provinces", with Italy almost always listed first. "

    "The division between Italy and the provinces was not just expressed in the language of Imperial administration; it had permeated the thinking of local elites in the empire. Pliny the younger (Comum) describes how ingrained such a dichotomy was..."

    He describes how the first question asked of Tacitus by a learned Roman knight was if he came from Italy or the provinces, not which region or province he was from.

    "Rather, inhabitants at Brixia and other towns in northern Italy throughout the first two centuries CE attempted to mark themselves as more Italian than other Italians. Here this was not an attempt, as it was in the provinces, to claim for themselves a privileged status within the empire but rather an effort to claim a particular cultural identity."

    "As to Italian municipalities: Here what mattered in their treatment by the state was their status as Italian towns; from this fact they received preferential treatment-in comparison with provincial communities-by the emperor."

    Non-Italians don't seem to know any of this, or that Livy, Pliny, and Catullus were all "Northern Italians", although they would never, ever, have referred to themselves that way.

    I would also point out that there is nothing extraordinary in any of this. Germanization worked much the same way in southern Germany, Austria, and Switzerland, and the attempt by the French crown to make the disparate peoples of "France" French is well known and documented.

    What is extraordinary is how early such a sense of "Italia" being a place apart and "Italians" being a people apart existed. It's also extraordinary that unlike later in other countries, none of this was compulsory or enforced. The people sought it. That's one of the geniuses of the Romans.

    Contrary to the bleatings of ill educated foreigners and even some Italians that sense of identity and that dream of "Italia" never completely died.

    You can read it in the writings of intellectuals from the beginning of the Renaissance down through and including the 19th century.

    The fact that some don't know about it doesn't mean it didn't exist.

    These are just a few examples:
    Leading Renaissance Italian writers Dante, Petrarch, Boccaccio, Machiavelli and Guicciardini expressed opposition to foreign domination. Petrarch stated that the "ancient valour in Italian hearts is not yet dead" in Italia Mia. Machiavelli later quoted four verses from Italia Mia in The Prince, which looked forward to a political leader who would unite Italy "to free her from the barbarians".[6]

    A sense of Italian national identity was reflected in Gian Rinaldo Carli's Della Patria degli Italiani,[7] written in 1764. It told how a stranger entered a café in Milan and puzzled its occupants by saying that he was neither a foreigner nor a Milanese. "'Then what are you?' they asked. 'I am an Italian,' he explained."
    Italy's problem imo is that many of its people came to believe the propaganda of the foreigners who sowed division the better to maintain control and plunder her.

    The Northern League is responsible for a lot of this as well. They should remember their history.

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