Italy Before Rome (CLA1230)
What was Italy like before the Romans? What languages and cultures existed there? Did these societies have art, law, philosophy or literature? How did they organise their communities, their cities and their lives? And how did they become part of Roman Italy?
This module we will explore the non-Roman cultures of Italy, with an emphasis on Etruscan, Samnite and Greek communities from c. 800 BC – 80 BC. By focusing on a selection of key sites, including Cumae, Taras, Capua, Caere, Clusium and Tarquinia, we will investigate the history and culture of Italy that lay beyond the control of Rome. The module emphasises that none of these societies can be studied in isolation, and that their interactions and relationships are integral to our understanding of ancient Italy. We will also discuss the complementary and (sometimes) contrasting evidence provided by literary and material evidence, and question how far we can trust Roman narratives of their Italian neighbours.