Friday, March 24, 2006

Case Studies in Indigenous Developments in Early Italian Centralization and Urbanization, a Dutch Perspective


The first study concerns the colonisation of the Sibaritide, the modern name for the wide coastal plain around Sybaris and its hilly hinterland, situated on Italy?s east coast, below the heel. In this project of the Groningen Institute of Archaeology (GIA) the indigenous colonisation, occurring in the Bronze Age and the Early Iron Age, is compared with the Greek colonisation, best known from the colonies of Sybaris and Thurioi. The Greek foundation in circa 700 BC of the central colony city of Sybaris, in a difficult to defend, flat coastal area amidst a number of regularly spaced Enotrian (the indigenous people of present day Calabria is usually referred to as the Enotrians) hilltop villages evokes questions as to the connections between Greeks and the Enotrians. The general aim of the project is to recuperate the non-dominant archaeological history of the native societies from the dominant archaeology of the Greeks. The colonisation processes are studied by means of the GIA excavation of a protohistoric, Enotrian, settlement at present-day Francavilla Marittima (since 1990) as well as from the documentation of the excavations and surveys by prof. Renato Peroni and his group of two Enotrian hilltop sites, Broglio di Trebisacce in the northern and Torre Mordillo in the southern Sibaritide, dating from the seventeenth till the eighth century BC. The databases drawn from the excavations are supplemented by field surveys, environmental and technological research. The three sites presently under excavation in the Sibaritide all seem to demonstrate a different model of contact with Greek traders and settlers: Torre Mordillo shows destruction in the transitional period from the Bronze to the Iron Age; the site at Broglio di Trebisacce, after it had flourished in the Late Bronze Age and even had produced local- Mycenaean pottery, was unoccupied after the foundation of Sybaris, while the cult place and the settlement on the Timpone della Motta at Francavilla Marittima are continuous. This state of the archaeology in the Sibaritide warrants further research into the Late Bronze Age 'Mycenaean' experience and its influence on native leadership, as well as into the formative period of the flourishing Enotrian Iron Age villages in the Sibaritide and their rapport with the Greeks. One of the big questions is to what extent the Sibaritide coastal plain may be considered a (remote) part of the ?Mycenaean? urbanized landscape. If it can be proved that ?Mycenaean? arboriculture, redistribution and technology remained intact after the fall of the Bronze Age palace burocracies the rapid rise of the Enotrian villages would be explained. Detailed archaeological research of the site at Francavilla Marittima, at a distance of 18 km from Greek Sybaris, should be able to answer a number of questions on the 'Mycenaean', Enotrian and Greek periods, because the site demonstrates the continuous presence of a large population till circa the middle of the fifth century BC. The GIA research furthermore especially concentrates on the creation of gender and ethnic identities in relation to technology, burial and cult as well as to power relations.

People at the origins of Rome

We all know how Rome has been the leader in the first unification of the peninsula, precursor of the idea itself of Italy, as well as a light for the western civilisation. Tu regere imperio populos, Romane, memento (Aeneid, VI, 851-853). And among these people, first the ones to whom Rome belongs, and that it is at the same time its extension, from the Alps down all along the Italic boot: fecisti Patriam diversis gentibus unam (said Rutilio Namaziano, magistrate from Gaul in 416 A.D.). But whom Rome is supposed to thank for its same origin? We quite know the legend; it talks about its Olympic and Trojans origins. More likely the truth was another, but perhaps not so much far away. Or perhaps the story went in all another direction from what we learned on the books at school. We will discover now different hypothesis, and the result is that the simpler thing seems to be the one which explains Rome like a mix between more people, more or less contemporary, and that they had likely a common origin. - SENATOR Marcus Iulius Perusianus

Ancient Peoples of Italy by Jeff Matthews

Ancient Peoples of Italy: "The future of the Italian peninsula was shaped by the different peoples who inhabited it between the years 800 and 200 BC. These include the Etruscans, Greeks and the many Italian tribes such as the Latins, Campanians, Samnites, Sabines, etc. Such tribes had spread out much earlier into Europe from the east and southeast both as invaders and, more gradually, as farmers, giving up hunting and gathering for the more efficient process of tilling the soil. In the process they developed towns, government and written language. This slow diffusion started before 6,000 BC.

By 1000 BC most of the peoples in Italy were ?Indo-European,? a term that declares common origin (at least 10,000 years ago) of people as different as Swedes and Iranians or Punjabis and Spaniards. Work in both linguistics and molecular genetics supports this idea of common Indo-European origin. In Italy this meant that the speakers of Latin (hence ?Lazio,? the area around Rome) spoke a language like Oscan, the language of their neighbors the Sabines, Samnites and Campanians (Naples is in ?Campania?). Though no modern descendant of Oscan exists, it was to Latin as, say, modern Italian is to Spanish. An additional sister language of Latin was Umbrian, spoken by inhabitants of central Italy."

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Classicist Says Power Hair Political Tool of Cleopatra

Discovery Channel News: "Egyptian queen Cleopatra used her hairstyles in calculated ways to enhance her power and fame, according to a book published recently by a Yale art history and classics professor.

Statues, coins and other existing depictions of the queen suggest Cleopatra (69-30 B.C.) wore at least three hairstyles, according to Diana Kleiner. The first, a "traveling" do that mimicked the hair of a Macedonian Greek queen, involved sectioning the hair into curls, which were then often pulled away from the face and gathered into a bun at the back.

The next was a coiffure resembling a melon, and the third was the regal Cleopatra in her royal Egyptian headdress, complete with a rearing cobra made of precious metal.

Cleopatra did not invent any of these styles, but she used them to her advantage, Kleiner indicated in her book "Cleopatra and Rome.

"From the time of (Egyptian King) Ptolemy I, the Ptolemaic queens wore the 'melon hairstyle' with its segmented sections resembling a melon or gourd," Kleiner told Discovery News. "When Cleopatra followed suit, she was more traditionalist than trendsetter. These same Ptolemaic queens were also depicted in art with the usual Egyptian wigged headdress that had its origins in Pharaonic times. Cleopatra did as well, so again she followed tradition and did not innovate when it came to hair."

"But," Kleiner added, "Cleopatra appears to have worn different coiffures in different circumstances, playing to her audience, so to speak, in life and in art."

Kleiner explained that when the queen was in her homeland, her likely objective was to look like a traditional Egyptian ruler ? since she was in fact Greek ? and to legitimize the Ptolemaic dynasty by linking it to the time of the Pharaohs. A group of Egyptian statues recently has been linked to Cleopatra, although the identification cannot be proved since there are no accompanying inscriptions.

"These show her with the customary Egyptian wig and the triple uraeus (rearing cobra)," she said. "This Egyptian coiffure is the one we most often associate with Cleopatra today. Think Elizabeth Taylor!

The uraeus was associated with a cobra goddess Wadjyt, the sun god Ra and the goddess Hathor, so wearing it signified that the individual had taken on the attributes of a divinity.

Cleopatra also probably often wore the melon hairstyle in Egypt, where she had many slaves to attend to her appearance, including some that were responsible for maintaining the royal wigs.

The Egyptian queen extensively traveled, and did so in style. Not unlike film depictions, Cleopatra would arrive via elegant barge with her attendants catering to her every need.

In Rome, Kleiner believes Cleopatra wore her "Hellenistic traveling coiffure" in places where it would be seen and "gossiped about at cocktail parties." At about the same time, Kleiner notes the melon hairstyle turns up in Roman portraiture, which suggests Roman women admired Cleopatra and attempted to copy her.

Roman leaders Octavian and Antony both seduced the Egyptian queen. Kleiner theorizes that Octavia, Antony's wife, invented a hairstyle called "the nodus" to compete with Cleopatra. The nodus featured a roll over the forehead that Kleiner suggests mimicked Cleopatra's well-known rearing cobra ornament.

The nodus was the height of Roman fashion in the 30s B.C., just before Cleopatra's death by suicide at the age of 39."