Institute of Archaeology


Creating Ethnicities and Indentities in the Roman World

This collaboration to produce a volume of papers dealing with ethnogenesis in the Roman world began with the contributors organisation of two sessions at the joint Roman Archaeology Conference/Theoretical Roman Archaeology Conference in London in 2007.

Volume summary

'The expansion of Rome across Italy, the Mediterranean and beyond entailed encounters with a wide range of people, several of whom had well-established ethnic identities attested in the material or literary record, which can be compared with Roman perceptions. In many cases, however, the ethnicity of peoples conquered by Rome has largely been perceived through the lenses of Roman ethnographic writing and administrative structure. This volume explores both how these kinds of practices were a part of Roman strategies of control, and how people living in particular places internalised them and developed their own senses of belonging to an ethnic community. The formation of such identities seems a vital part of the process of Roman imperialism, and one which runs against the grain of homogenisation implied by traditional narratives of cultural change. Nonetheless, comparisons across the empire may reveal similar kinds of processes of boundary formation and symbolic community-building.'

Related outputs

  • Gardner, A., Herring, E. and Lomas, K. (eds.) 2013. Creating Ethnicities and Identities in the Roman World.