From Taras to Tarentum: The evolution of a Greek city in Roman Italy
Hyatt, Adam Paul
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This dissertation is a study of the ancient Greek city of Taras and its gradual incorporation into the Roman world and development into the Roman city of Tarentum. Long studied only for its importance in the context of Greek colonization, Taras' relationship with Rome and its transition into a Roman city have been largely ignored. This has mainly been due to biases held toward southern Italy by both ancient and modern historians and the view that after the Roman conquest of this region, it became a depopulated backwater inhabited only by slave-based latifundia. However, archaeology has greatly expanded our view of this region over the last few decades. This study will attempt to integrate the archaeological evidence from Taranto into the historical record for this city and region. Taking a chronological approach, it will examine the political, social, and economic changes that occur throughout the city and its territory as a result of its incorporation into the Roman political and economic sphere, in an attempt to present a comprehensive picture of how Taras was impacted by Roman conquest. The archaeological record demonstrates that Taras remained a vibrant and productive city post conquest, and eventually even took part in the Augustan revival. By characterizing the development of this Greek city under Roman rule, this study will also demonstrate the changing nature of the Roman/Greek relationship throughout the Hellenistic/Republican period.