The Genetic Legacy of the Roman Imperial Rule in northern Italy

It is a very complicated calculation, for a number of reasons. Not least because the genetic profile of Imperial Rome already contains local Iron Age DNA as well as that of alleged newcomers from the eastern Mediterranean. If you use the model supported by geneticists, Local Iron Age + Imperial Rome + Langobards, cosidering that Imperial Rome already contains local Iron Age DNA, nearly 30-40 percent very roughly, look at all the work Jovialis has done over time, it turns out that the Iron Age DNA in modern samples is something between 30 and 40 percent, if instead you just use the two-way model (Local Iron Age + Imperial Rome), the local Iron Age inheritance in the modern populations exceeds 60 percent.

In no way should these models below be taken literally (the distances are off for many tagets). Also because the Greek presence in Italy could be a game changer. For convenience I am using the G25 right now but all the datasheet nomeclature has been changed and I find it very confusing now.

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I just noticed how, using the imperial romans as a source population and assuming the latter were a two way mix of italic+hellenistic levantine (rougly 45% italic and 55% levantine, which anyway is a model even Antonio et al 2019 and Posth et al 2021 advised against), the cumulative genetic ancestry of modern central italian derived from preceding Iron Age italic populations remains quite high, ranging between 50%-60%. If you exlude Langobards, it gets even higher (more than 70% in Tuscany).

Of course, as Pax rightly pointed out, none of these models is to be taken seriously, expecially for the South, were the Greeks surely had a non negligible role.
 
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I just noticed how, using the imperial romans as a source population and assuming the latter were a two way mix of italic+hellenistic levantine (rougly 45% italic and 55% levantine, which anyway is a model even Antonio et al 2019 and Posth et al 2021 advised against), the cumulative genetic ancestry of modern central italian derived from preceding Iron Age italic populations remains quite high, ranging between 50%-60%. If you exlude Langobards, it gets even higher (more than 70% in Tuscany).

Of course, as Pax rightly pointed out, none of these models is to be taken seriously, expecially for the South, were the Greeks surely had a non negligible role.
The more distant the assumed introgressor is, the more IA C. Italic ancestry will be the result. That being said I still don't think much of this ancestry survived and I also don't think the source of "new" ancestry was levantine. The Roman census is very telling when it shows a tenfold increase in citizens immediately after the peninsula is granted citizenship. We have zero evidence for mass Levantine migration to Italy at any point in time, with only one or two individuals in Italy mentioned in Roman texts as having a Levantine origin (usually as slaves). Meanwhile we know of mass Greek immigration from Greece proper and western anatolia to Italy during the Iron age and this is well backed by ancient texts and archaeology. I still think the theory of Oscanized Magna Graecians in something more akin to a replacement scenario as the most probable source of this ancestry. It also explains why imperial southern Italy is so far identical to imperial central Italy instead of showing some sort of cline.
 
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The more distant the assumed introgressor is, the more IA C. Italic ancestry will be the result. That being said I still don't think much of this ancestry survived and I also don't think the source of "new" ancestry was levantine. The Roman census is very telling when it shows a tenfold increase in citizens immediately after the peninsula is granted citizenship. We have zero evidence for mass Levantine migration to Italy at any point in time, with only one or two individuals in Italy mentioned in Roman texts as having a Levantine origin (usually as slaves). Meanwhile we know of mass Greek immigration from Greece proper and western anatolia to Italy during the Iron age and this is well backed by ancient texts and archaeology. I still think the theory of Oscanized Magna Graecians in something more akin to a replacement scenario as the most probable source of this ancestry. It also explains why imperial southern Italy is so far identical to imperial central Italy instead of showing some sort of cline.
I also think that Magna Grecia is the most likely and the most important source of the east med shift.

Of course, if you put Greeks in to the equation, you get less italic IA and substantially less levantine ancestry.

Either way you chose, a great part of modern Italian ancestry seems to derive from people - Italics or Greeks - living in the peninsula since the Iron Age
 
I also think that Magna Grecia is the most likely and the most important source of the east med shift.

Of course, if you put Greeks in to the equation, you get less italic IA and substantially less levantine ancestry.

Either way you chose, a great part of modern Italian ancestry seems to derive from people - Italics or Greeks - living in the peninsula since the Iron Age
Certainly agreed. I think it's fair to say the current cline of ancestry in modern Italians can be most aptly described as "Greco-Roman". Cultural discontinuity from Greece and assimilation into the broader Italian genepool and identity for Magna Graecians probably started around the 5th century BC. If there was some sort of flood of foreign newcomers into central Italy during the imperial era it would've been well documented, but since these types were already considered to be Italians, there was probably little to be thought of it. To the people of the city of Rome, these were simply allies and distant cousins to the Latins and the language they spoke (Oscan) was very similar to their own.
 
If there was some sort of flood of foreign newcomers into central Italy during the imperial era it would've been well documented
Newcomers from more esotic lands were documented, but usually or as a selected "elite" among the litterate slaves from the hellenized cities of the eastern mediterranean, who could even aspire to some important social roles the ones juvenal refers to in his famous satyre), or - on the other hand - as slaves destined to latifunda (which were not, by the way, an exclusive prerogative of "levantine slaves" as someone seems to simplistically think: the roman latinfunda was well developed before the roman annexation of Asia).

It's difficult to think that any of these two groups could have had a bigger demographic role than the greek colonization.
 
Certainly agreed. I think it's fair to say the current cline of ancestry in modern Italians can be most aptly described as "Greco-Roman". Cultural discontinuity from Greece and assimilation into the broader Italian genepool and identity for Magna Graecians probably started around the 5th century BC. If there was some sort of flood of foreign newcomers into central Italy during the imperial era it would've been well documented, but since these types were already considered to be Italians, there was probably little to be thought of it. To the people of the city of Rome, these were simply allies and distant cousins to the Latins and the language they spoke (Oscan) was very similar to their own.
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I just noticed how, using the imperial romans as a source population and assuming the latter were a two way mix of italic+hellenistic levantine (rougly 45% italic and 55% levantine, which anyway is a model even Antonio et al 2019 and Posth et al 2021 advised against), the cumulative genetic ancestry of modern central italian derived from preceding Iron Age italic populations remains quite high, ranging between 50%-60%. If you exlude Langobards, it gets even higher (more than 70% in Tuscany).

Of course, as Pax rightly pointed out, none of these models is to be taken seriously, expecially for the South, were the Greeks surely had a non negligible role.
Your time period is too vast
The Greeks did not arrive in Italy until 740BCE and the Longobards after the Ostrogoths around 540AD
is there 1000 plus years relevant ?
 
Your time period is too vast
The Greeks did not arrive in Italy until 740BCE and the Longobards after the Ostrogoths around 540AD
is there 1000 plus years relevant ?
In 568 or 569 actually.
 
Newcomers from more esotic lands were documented, but usually or as a selected "elite" among the litterate slaves from the hellenized cities of the eastern mediterranean, who could even aspire to some important social roles the ones juvenal refers to in his famous satyre), or - on the other hand - as slaves destined to latifunda (which were not, by the way, an exclusive prerogative of "levantine slaves" as someone seems to simplistically think: the roman latinfunda was well developed before the roman annexation of Asia).

It's difficult to think that any of these two groups could have had a bigger demographic role than the greek colonization.
The "elite" types you refer to were rare and basically the equivalent of traveling celebrities or intellectuals. As far as the Latifundia goes, yes, the concept was established much prior to Rome's entrance into the near east. Here is a cursory list of examples I can think of in which Roman or Greek historians mention various slaves in Italy while defining or hinting at their ethnic origin.

Titus Vettius, who led a small scale slave uprising was a Roman knight who of course had an Italic background, but his slave general was named Apollonius, which is typically a Greek name. His ethnic origin is not specified.

During the first slave rebellion, Ennus, its leader came from Syria but claimed to have Greek Seleucid origins from the Greek Antiochus line. His second in command, Cleon was taken from Cilicia.

In the Second Slave rebellion we see its leader Salvius of undefined ethnic origin who was an aulos player and bears a Latin name. Athenion, another revolt leader during this timeframe was a Greek Cilician.

During the Third Slave rebellion, its leader Sparticus was Thracian, but Crixus, Gannicus, Castus, and Oenomaus were all Gauls of varying types.

At one point it is mentioned that Bythinians were seized and at least 800 of which were taken to Sicily and then later released to be sent back home due to manpower concerns. Around the same time period the senate legislated that no slaves were to be taken from among allies of Rome, and that all such slaves should be immediately freed.

So out of all of the individual slaves I've found only one individual from the levant who may himself not even be levantine descended and claims to harbor Greek aristocratic ancestry. Four seem to be Gauls, two are Anatolians and one is Thracian.
 
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The "elite" types you refer to were rare and basically the equivalent of traveling celebrities or intellectuals. As far as the Latifundia goes, yes, the concept was established much prior to Rome's entrance into the near east. Here is a cursory list of examples I can think of in which Roman or Greek historians mention various slaves in Italy while defining or hinting at their ethnic origin.

Titus Vettius, who led a small scale slave uprising was a Roman knight who of course had an Italic background, but his slave general was named Apollonius, which is typically a Greek name. His ethnic origin is not specified.

During the first slave rebellion Ennus, its leader came from Syria but claimed to have Greek Seleucid origins from the Greek Antiochus line. His second in command, Cleon was taken from Cilicia.

In the Second Slave rebellion we see its leader Servius of undefined ethnic origin who was an aulos player and bears a Latin name. Athenion, another revolt leader during this timeframe was a Greek Cilician.

During the Third Slave rebellion, its leader Sparticus was Thracian, but Crixus, Gannicus, Castus, and Oenomaus were all Gauls of varying types.

At one point it is mentioned that Bythinians were seized and at least 800 of which were taken to Sicily and then later released to be sent back home due to manpower concerns. Around the same time period the senate legislated that no slaves were to be taken from among allies of Rome, and that all such slaves should be immediately freed.

So out of all of the individual slaves I've found only one individual from the levant who may himself not even be levantine descended and claims to harbor Greek aristocratic ancestry. Four seem to be Gauls, two are Anatolians and one is Thracian.
What do you make of Juvenal's remark that the Orontes has flowed into the Tiber?
 
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What do you make of Juvenal's remark that the Orontes has flown into the Tiber?
Juvenal was a satirist who would go out of his way to much exaggerate his claims for comedic effect. His works should not be taken as representative or accurately descriptive of day to day life in Rome for that reason. In these verses he's clearly attacking the increasingly international character the city of Rome has taken on, but he continually laments Greek influence above all else:

"Bid the hungry Greekling go to heaven! He'll go. In short, it was neither Moor, nor Sarmatian, nor Thracian, that took wings, but one born in the heart of Athens. Shall I not shun these men's purple robes?"

In the end, he also mentions moving to Cumae, a Magna Graecian city, which seems to imply that this international body of individuals he complains about would not be found there and that he thought little wrong of Italians with Greek ancestry.

I think while some of these complaints were probably valid in this era, they were also probably overblown. We definitely see some of these syrian influenced types in moot's study but I don't think they ever represented a significant amount of the city of Rome. Especially considering they disappear in 200 years.
 
I was talking about the Longobards who arrived in Italy in 568/9 AD not 540 AD.
I agree about the Greeks.
Ok, fair enough, without BC or AD wasn't sure. Thanks.
 
The "elite" types you refer to were rare and basically the equivalent of traveling celebrities or intellectuals. As far as the Latifundia goes, yes, the concept was established much prior to Rome's entrance into the near east. Here is a cursory list of examples I can think of in which Roman or Greek historians mention various slaves in Italy while defining or hinting at their ethnic origin.

Titus Vettius, who led a small scale slave uprising was a Roman knight who of course had an Italic background, but his slave general was named Apollonius, which is typically a Greek name. His ethnic origin is not specified.

During the first slave rebellion, Ennus, its leader came from Syria but claimed to have Greek Seleucid origins from the Greek Antiochus line. His second in command, Cleon was taken from Cilicia.

In the Second Slave rebellion we see its leader Salvius of undefined ethnic origin who was an aulos player and bears a Latin name. Athenion, another revolt leader during this timeframe was a Greek Cilician.

During the Third Slave rebellion, its leader Sparticus was Thracian, but Crixus, Gannicus, Castus, and Oenomaus were all Gauls of varying types.

At one point it is mentioned that Bythinians were seized and at least 800 of which were taken to Sicily and then later released to be sent back home due to manpower concerns. Around the same time period the senate legislated that no slaves were to be taken from among allies of Rome, and that all such slaves should be immediately freed.

So out of all of the individual slaves I've found only one individual from the levant who may himself not even be levantine descended and claims to harbor Greek aristocratic ancestry. Four seem to be Gauls, two are Anatolians and one is Thracian.
Most Jews had Greek names and spoke Greek as a first language though, are you gonna claim during the Hellenistic period Jews were assimilated by ethnic Greeks?
The Syrian slave rebeller was a recent arrival and even had strong political and cultural ties (claimed to be a prophet) with his homeland. Definitely not with related with Greek polises.

For example Pompeii population increased after the Romans build the new town and expropriated some natives:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pompeii

The Greek names in Pompeii of the slaves indicating their eastern origin:
 
Most Jews had Greek names and spoke Greek as a first language though,

?!

Jew and Greek maintained two totally different (and even antagonistic) identities during all antiquity. There were some attempts to "hellenize" the jews by some seleucid rulers, all failed. The most famous is probably the Maccabean revolt, which is even narrated in the Bible.
 
?!

Jew and Greek maintained two totally different (and even antagonistic) identities during all antiquity. There were some attempts to "hellenize" the jews by some seleucid rulers, all failed. The most famous is probably the Maccabean revolt, which is even narrated in the Bible.
It was a rhetorical question.
 
Juvenal was a satirist who would go out of his way to much exaggerate his claims for comedic effect. His works should not be taken as representative or accurately descriptive of day to day life in Rome for that reason. In these verses he's clearly attacking the increasingly international character the city of Rome has taken on, but he continually laments Greek influence above all else:

"Bid the hungry Greekling go to heaven! He'll go. In short, it was neither Moor, nor Sarmatian, nor Thracian, that took wings, but one born in the heart of Athens. Shall I not shun these men's purple robes?"

In the end, he also mentions moving to Cumae, a Magna Graecian city, which seems to imply that this international body of individuals he complains about would not be found there and that he thought little wrong of Italians with Greek ancestry.

I think while some of these complaints were probably valid in this era, they were also probably overblown. We definitely see some of these syrian influenced types in moot's study but I don't think they ever represented a significant amount of the city of Rome. Especially considering they disappear in 200 years.
What about the Greek names found in Tenney Frank's controversial paper on the Latin and Greek nomenclature of Roman slaves?

He associated Greek names with slaves from the Eastern Mediterranean including Anatolia and Syria.
 
Most Jews had Greek names and spoke Greek as a first language though, are you gonna claim during the Hellenistic period Jews were assimilated by ethnic Greeks?

No, Jews had definitely not been assimilated by anyone. Some Jews had Greek names, but definitely not all and they spoke the Semetic language Aramaic (quite different than that of Koine Greek) while being excessively religiously insular and opposed to association with both Greeks and Romans, as they saw them as enemies. When the Jews arrived in Rome after their expulsion from Israel they remained distinct enough to be expelled during the Roman empire and would continue to remain distinct enough to be expelled by other countries throughout the middle ages as a small and distinct minority population.

The Syrian slave rebeller was a recent arrival and even had strong political and cultural ties (claimed to be a prophet) with his homeland. Definitely not with related with Greek polises.

As I already stated Ennus claimed to have Greek ancestry from the aristocratic Antiochus line. Whether one chooses to believe this claim is an entirely different matter but those were his words as recorded, so if we are to take the history at face value he was at least part Greek. He certainly could simply be lying but it doesn't change the fact that the rest of slaves listed outside of him do not appear to have origins in the Levant.


The Greek names in Pompeii of the slaves indicating their eastern origin:

First of all, none of these names are attributed to slaves anywhere as per this link. They are simply a list of people who died at Pompeii. Secondly the list is characterized by a mix of Latin and Greek names which is exactly what I would expect for a Magna Graecian city which had become not only Roman, but also a Latin veteran colony. I agree that it attests to archaic Greek influence, but I disagree that it has anything to do with slavery from the near east.
 
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