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Mobility and secession in the Early Roman Republic

Bradley, Guy ORCID: 2017. Mobility and secession in the Early Roman Republic. Antichthon 51 , pp. 149-171. 10.1017/ann.2017.10

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One consequence of the globalization of the modern world in recent years has been to focus historical interest on human migration and movement. Sociologists and historians have argued that mobility is much more characteristic of past historical eras than we might expect from nationalistic perspectives. This paper aims to contribute to this subject by surveying some of the evidence for mobility in central Italy, and by examining its implications for early Rome. I will focus on the plebeian movement, normally seen in terms of an internal political dispute. Our understanding of the ‘Struggle of the Orders’ is conditioned by the idealising view of our literary sources, who look back on the early Republic from a period when the plebeians provided many of the key members of the nobility. However, if we see the plebeian movement in its contemporary central Italian context, it emerges as much more threatening and potentially subversive. The key plebeian tactic, secession from the state, is often regarded as little more than a military strike. Instead, I argue that it is a genuine threat to abandon the community, and secessions can be seen as ‘paused migrations’. This paper also considers two other episodes that support this picture, the migration to Rome of Attus Clausus and the Claudian gens, and the proposed move to Veii by the plebs.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Published Online
Status: Published
Schools: History, Archaeology and Religion
Subjects: D History General and Old World > DE The Mediterranean Region. The Greco-Roman World
Publisher: Australian Society for Classical Studies
ISSN: 0066-4774
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 24 September 2018
Last Modified: 03 Nov 2022 19:09

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