Creating Ethnicities & Identities in the Roman World


Andrew Gardner
Edward Herring
Kathryn Lomas


Questions of ethnic and cultural identities are central to the contemporary understanding of the Roman world.

The expansion of Rome across Italy, the Mediterranean, and beyond entailed encounters with a wide range of peoples. Many of these had well-established pre-conquest ethnic identities which can be compared with Roman perceptions of them. In other cases, the ethnicity of peoples conquered by Rome has been perceived almost entirely through the lenses of Roman ethnographic writing and administrative structures.

The formation of such identities, and the shaping of these identities by Rome, was a vital part of the process of Roman imperialism. Comparisons across the empire reveal some similarities in the processes of identity formation during and after the period of Roman conquest, but they also reveal a considerable degree of diversity and localisation in interactions between Romans and others.

This volume explores how these practices of ethnic categorisation formed part of Roman strategies of control, and how people living in particular places internalised them and developed their own senses of belonging to an ethnic community. It includes both regional studies and thematic approaches by leading scholars in the field.


  • 1. Introduction
    Kathryn Lomas, Andrew Gardner, and Edward Herring
  • 2. Italian perspectives from Hirpinia in the period of Gracchan land reforms and the Social War
    Elena Isayev
  • 3. De-constructing ethnic identities: becoming Roman in western Cisalpine Gaul?
    Ralph Häussler
  • 4. Language and identity in ancient Italy: responses to Roman conquest
    Kathryn Lomas
  • 5. Trading identities? Regionalism and commerce in Mid-Republican Italy (third-early second century BC)
    Roman Roth
  • 6. Encountering Carthage: Mid-Republican Rome and Mediterranean culture
    Andrew Erskine
  • 7. Roman Bathhouses on Crete as indicators of cultural transition: The dynamics of Roman influence
    Amanda Kelly
  • 8. The ‘Romanization’ of Petra
    Matthew Peacock
  • 9. Continuity and change in Lebanese temples
    Kevin Butcher
  • 10. Dissing the Egyptians: legal, ethnic, and cultural identities in Roman Egypt
    Jane Rowlandson
  • 11. Becoming X-Group: ethnicity in North-East Africa
    Rachael J. Dann


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October 25, 2019

Details about the available publication format: Free Open Access PDF

Free Open Access PDF

ISBN-13 (15)


Date of first publication (11)

Hijri Calendar



Details about the available publication format: Paperback edition

Paperback edition

ISBN-13 (15)


Date of first publication (11)

Hijri Calendar

Physical Dimensions

170mm x 244mm