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Roman Settlers in the Eastern Mediterranean: Comparing Delos and Phrygia

Sailakshmi Ramgopal, Columbia University

March 26, 2021 · 12:00 pm1:30 pm ·

Program in the Ancient World
view of Mediterranean landscape

This lunch talk explores how associations of Roman citizen businessmen and traders employed mechanisms of self-differentiation to claim status, legitimacy, and authority on Delos in the second and first centuries BCE and in Phrygian cities in the first and second centuries CE. The act of making joint dedications with non-Roman populations was crucial to the Roman associations’ pursuit of power at local levels. On Delos, such interactions involved Athenians; in Phrygia, they involved local boulai and demoi. These interactions were mediated through local and regional histories of violence by Rome and suggest forms of provincial administration that evade easy classification in accordance with the traditional dichotomy of state and non-state actors, and that of colonizer and colonized. This talk represents a portion of Ramgopal’s in-progress book, which explores how associations of Roman citizens aimed to maximize their share of material and symbolic resources in non-Roman legal-cultural environments throughout the Roman world.

Sailakshmi Ramgopal is Assistant Professor of History at Columbia University. Her research addresses the identities, mobilities, and sociopolitical dynamics that emerge in the Roman world. She has published on the associations of Roman citizens in mainland Greece, and the mobility of women, freedpeople, and enslaved people in the Roman world more broadly. She is currently writing on differential expressions of identity and power by Romans and Italians before the Social War and the use of magic by enslaved people. Ramgopal also maintains research interests on environmental change in Roman North Africa and the reception of classical literature in literary movements of nineteenth- and early twentieth-century South Asia, North Africa, West Africa, and Ireland.

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