Geographical and Cultural Bonds in the Roman Auxilia – Alexander Meyer (Duke University, North Caroline)

This paper examines evidence for social ties based on geographical and cultural factors among soldiers of the Roman auxilia.  Specifically, it examines a small number of inscriptions in which the tribal or geographical origins of individuals can be identified.  This information is then used to illuminate the preservation and dissolution of social ties based on shared geographical or cultural origins and the means by which these bonds may be detected in the archaeological record.

The close examination of the epigraphic record suggests, for instance, that Spanish and Pannonian soldiers of the first century maintained bonds with soldiers sharing a similar cultural and/or geographical background. This leads to a discussion of possible interpretations of this material and theoretical frameworks that may be applied to it. Finally, this paper moves from the epigraphic record to an exploration of the potential for archaeology to identify similar geographically and culturally based communities in the material record.


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