Rome before Rome

Christopher John Smith*

*Corresponding author for this work

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This essay, prompted by the appearance of four new volumes on early Rome, all associated with the anthropological school of Maurizio Bettini in Siena, seeks to find a space between the current competing methodologies of historians, topographers, archaeologists and anthropologists. The value of a more anthropological approach is to focus on the operation of mythical thinking as a more indirect and symbolic representation of reality. The conditions in which the Roman account of themselves was forged, from the orientalizing to the middle Republic, were a period of immense political, social and intellectual change. This essay proposes some reasons why we should focus less on the irrecoverable historicity of the individual kings, and look instead at some ways in which the myth of kingship may have helped Rome navigate a period of enormous transformation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)145-78
Journal Ocnus | Quaderni della Scuola di Specializzazione in Beni Archeologici
Publication statusPublished - 17 Feb 2024


  • Early Rome


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