Historiography, ethnography and the case of the Sabina

Christopher John Smith*

*Corresponding author for this work

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This essay uses the ancient construction of accounts of the Sabines as an illustration of ways in which the Romans used the ethnography of Italy to reflect on their own history and their own values. The essay considers the nature of Roman accounts of Italy, of their approach to ethnography more generally, and specifically how the fact of Curius Dentatus’ conquest of the Sabina, and his renowned frugality, became a key moment in the development of the specific historical framing of the Sabines.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)273-288
Number of pages16
JournalMélanges de l’École française de Rome – Antiquité (MEFRA)
Issue number2
Early online date31 Dec 2021
Publication statusPublished - 20 Apr 2022


  • Identity
  • Historiography
  • Italy
  • Sabina
  • Cato the Elder
  • M’. Curius Dentatus


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