Tuesday, January 08, 2008

AIA/APA Chicago Report no. 1

This will be the first in a planned series of posts summarizing some of the papers I heard at the Joint Annual Meeting in Chicago, though I certainly didn't make it to all that I would have liked to!

On Friday, I attended AIA Session 2E: Etruria and Samnium.

To kick it off, David Soren of the University of Arizona read "Horace's Healing Spring at Chianciano, Tuscany: The Final Report" on the U. of A.'s excavations at the Etrusco-Roman thermal complex at Chianciano in Tuscany. The site is identified as the ancient Fontes Clusinii, renowned especially in the early Principate for its healing waters, a reputation that endures to this day. The Emperor Augustus, by command of his physician, sought (and found) relief from his stomach ailments there. The site seems to have been maintained deliberately rustic and unembellished, despited repeated additions and repairs from the 2nd century BCE to the 5th century CE. This suggests to Professor Soren that the complex was run by a community of ascetics. Analysis of water from the still-bubbling spring revealed concentrations of calcium carbonate which, ingested in small quantities, would have flushed the digestive system.

Next, Walter McCall of UNC-Chapel Hill presented "The Falerii Novi Project 2004-2006: Our Preliminary Conclusions." Ground survey revealed several previously-unknown gates in the Roman wall circuit, immediately south of the theater as well as near the northeast corner of the city. McCall suggests that the Roman grid of 80-90 m x 60 m insulae was designed to take into account a previously existing Faliscan settlement or path system, as evidenced by the non-rectilinear path of the pomerium road. Additionally, the southern entrance of the Via Amerina was shifted eastward to enter directly into the theater complex after the construction of that edifice -- maybe, I wonder, to move dispersing crowds quickly out of the city?

I missed the beginning of Hilary Becker's paper on
"Family identity and heraldic signs in Etruria;" I came in as Ms. Becker was discussing the Tagliatella oinochoe, which depicts a line of warriors with shields all bearing identical wild-boar devices, headed by a man identified by inscription as "Mamerce." Becker contrasted the unity of devices on this Etruscan vase with contemporary images such as the Chigi Vase, which show lines of hoplites each having unique shield-devices.
On the walls of the 4th cent. BCE "Giglioli Tomb" at Tarquinia are three painted shields, bearing the devices of a wild boar, an amphora and an 'A'. These emblems are also found on contemporary coins from Tarquinia and nearby areas, probably issued by local noble families. The images may therefore be emblems of particular families, employed heraldically on both coins and on shields. Such devices could also be punning; there is a shield painted with a half-moon on the wall of the Tius ("Moon") family of Chiusi.
Family-specific devices may have been warranted by a clan's independent military actions. Of such bella privata, the best known is the attack on Veii in 477 BCE by the 306 members of the Roman gens Fabia (Livy 2.48-50). Though none of these private wars is recorded as contemporary for the tombs discussed, they may have gone unrecorded. The votive deposit at Vetulonia of 125 bronze helmets, of which nineteen were inscribed with the name of a prominent family, "Haspnas," may be indicative of clan-based warfare.

Lastly before the break, in
"Imported Bucchero from Poggio Civitate: Socio-Political Exchange," Jason P. Bauer found that of the thousands of bucchero fragments from the area of the Orientalizing builidng at Poggio Civitate (constructed ca. 650 BCE, with a burn layer ca. 620-600), only some 53 were imported. In contrast to the coarse local production, the imported bucchero is probably to be connected with a system of trade and contact between elites.

That's it for today; I'll cover the last three papers from this panel on Samnium in a future post, along with some from other sessions.

No comments: