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> From: H-Net Staff via H-REVIEW <h-rev...@lists.h-net.org>
> Date: September 5, 2019 at 8:35:42 AM EDT
> To: h-rev...@lists.h-net.org
> Cc: H-Net Staff <revh...@mail.h-net.org>
> Subject: H-Net Review [H-War]:  Roselaar on Lomas, 'The Rise of Rome: From 
> the Iron Age to the Punic Wars'
> Reply-To: h-rev...@lists.h-net.org
> Kathryn Lomas.  The Rise of Rome: From the Iron Age to the Punic 
> Wars.  Cambridge  Harvard University Press, 2018.  432 pp.  $35.00 
> (cloth), ISBN 978-0-674-65965-0.
> Reviewed by Saskia Roselaar (Independent Scholar)
> Published on H-War (September, 2019)
> Commissioned by Margaret Sankey
> This book is one of a new series by Harvard University Press on the 
> history of the ancient world. It is one of the first books to offer a 
> comprehensive overview of the early development and rise of Rome for 
> a general public--particularly undergraduates, as well as interested 
> laymen. 
> Lomas gives an admirable overview of a period for which very few 
> primary sources exist, at least not in the form of written accounts 
> by eyewitnesses. Lomas therefore has to fully engage with the 
> available archaeological and epigraphic materials, and does so 
> excellently. It is always difficult to bring such a poorly documented 
> period to life, especially if even the most basic events and 
> developments of the period are under debate. However, Lomas manages 
> to draft a lively sketch of life in the regal and early republican 
> period, supported by a large variety of color plates and 
> black-and-white drawings. 
> Part 1 focuses on early Italy and the foundations of Rome. In the 
> ninth century, when this book starts, Rome was just of the many 
> settlements in Latium, perhaps located at an exceptionally 
> well-chosen location, but with no particular claim to regional 
> dominance. Lomas therefore starts by sketching the histories of the 
> peoples, within and outside Italy, that played an important role in 
> the peninsula at this time: the archaeologically attested Etruscans, 
> Greeks, and Phoenicians as well as the mythical involvement of the 
> Trojans and the Sabines. Throughout the volume, Lomas clearly 
> articulates the involvement of the Italian peoples with the history 
> of Rome. In doing so, she rightly points to the great amount of 
> migration that occurred in ancient societies in general, thus 
> dismissing any simplistic ideas about conquest of one people by 
> another--the Etruscans did not outright conquer Rome or Campania, as 
> has been suggested, but their cultural influence was nevertheless 
> large. 
> Next, Lomas discusses the _"_orientalizing revolution_"_ of the 
> seventh century. In this period, rapid social and economic change 
> occurred in Italy. A wealthy international elite emerged, connected 
> through ties of marriage and friendship, which displayed its status 
> through conspicuous consumption. At this time, the city of Rome had 
> converged from a number of small settlements into an urban center of 
> regional importance. 
> The second part of the volume covers the period 600-400, in which 
> many crucial developments in state structures and power relations in 
> central Italy occurred. In the sixth century, the city-state became 
> the predominant type of state organization throughout Italy. Many 
> cities saw investment in their layout and public buildings in this 
> period; Rome in the late sixth century looked very different than a 
> century before. After the fall of the kings--in a period that saw 
> political and economic disruption in many areas of Italy--the fifth 
> century was a period of change in Rome and Italy, connected to the 
> rise of the Samnites as a clearly distinguished ethnic group. 
> Next, Lomas gives a detailed but very readable account of the 
> _"_struggle of the orders._"_ At the heart of the conflict between 
> patricians and plebeians was access to power: political, social, 
> religious, and economic. This was a period of experimentation in many 
> regards, both political--for example, the number of magistrates and 
> their functions--as well as legal, with a number of new laws coming 
> into force in the fifth and fourth centuries. At the same time, 
> conspicuous consumption by the elite focused more and more on the 
> sponsorship of public and religious buildings rather than private 
> houses and tombs, emphasizing the growing importance and power of the 
> state in Roman society. 
> Part 3 focuses on the Roman conquest of Italy. From the late fifth 
> century, Rome gradually expanded its power in central Italy. This 
> brought considerable economic advantages, leading to great changes in 
> the city itself. Rome was further enlarged in the fourth century, 
> with new public amenities, an impressive city wall, the new Via 
> Appia, a new port, _et cetera_. The struggle of the orders had been 
> more or less resolved; a new, mixed aristocracy was now in power and 
> displayed its wealth in private houses as well as the sponsoring of 
> public buildings, paid for by the spoils of war. 
> Important aspects of the Roman conquest of Italy were colonization 
> and road-building. Through these methods, Rome tightened its control 
> of the peninsula, but also impacted economic developments--whether a 
> settlement was located near the new road system determined its 
> economic performance. In some aspects of the discussion on 
> colonization, Lomas relies a little too much on traditional 
> scholarship, which has been challenged by a large number of recent 
> publications. However, this is inevitable in a book of this type, and 
> in general Lomas succeeds remarkably well in succinctly and clearly 
> describing the main developments of the period while also giving 
> attention to the intricacies of the scholarly debate. 
> The final part of the book discusses the development of Rome from a 
> city-state to the dominant power in Italy in the fourth century. This 
> focuses on a variety of changes that occurred in this period, which 
> provided the basis for Rome's dominance in the remainder of the 
> Republic. The most important of these were the final settlement of 
> Rome's constitution and the role of the various assemblies, the power 
> of the Senate, the arrangement of state religion, the further 
> development of the Roman army, the final emergence of a new nobility, 
> the growing influx of wealth into Rome, the emergence of a slave 
> society, and the growing influence of Greek culture in Rome. With 
> this, Lomas leaves an excellent starting point for the next volume in 
> this series.  
> The book is supported by a large variety of supplementary materials. 
> First is a note on sources that discusses the challenges of 
> interpretation of the limited number of ancient sources that have 
> survived from this period. There is a bibliography as well as a 
> section guiding readers toward other essential works. A useful guide 
> to sites, museums, and online resources points archaeology 
> enthusiasts to the best places in Italy to visit; unfortunately, the 
> number of online resources mentioned in this section is rather small. 
> This volume is recommended reading for all nonspecialists interested 
> in the early history of Rome. It sets a high standard for this new 
> series and it is to be hoped that the other volumes will be able to 
> live up to its example. 
> Citation: Saskia Roselaar. Review of Lomas, Kathryn, _The Rise of 
> Rome: From the Iron Age to the Punic Wars_. H-War, H-Net Reviews. 
> September, 2019.
> URL: https://www.h-net.org/reviews/showrev.php?id=53210
> This work is licensed under a Creative Commons 
> Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States 
> License.
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