The Liboni Amphora Collection - Part 1
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The Liboni Amphora Collection - Part 1



The first part of my Research Master thesis (text)

The first part of my Research Master thesis (text)



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The Liboni Amphora Collection - Part 1 The Liboni Amphora Collection - Part 1 Document Transcript

  • THE LIBONI AMPHORA COLLECTION Roman maritime trade and the changing socio-economic system of the Pontine region Part 1: text Name: H.G. Pape Student number: 1332961 E-mail: Date: May 2008 Research master Art History & Archaeology Tutor: prof. dr. P.A.J. Attema Second reader: dr. W.M. Jongman
  • “Quid te, Tucca, iuvat vetulo miscere Falerno In Vaticanis condita musta cadis? Quid tantum fecere boni tibi pessima vina? Aut quid fecerunt optima vina mali? De nobis facile est, scelus est iugulare Falernum Et dare Campano toxica saeva mero. Convivae meruere tui fortasse perire: Amphora non meruit tam pretiosa mori.” - M. Valerius Martialis, Epigr. XVIII Dist. - • “Inside the museums, infinity goes up on trial. Voices echo, this is what salvation must be like after a while.” - Bob Dylan, ‘Visions of Johanna’ - • “Caecubum et prelo domitam Caleno tu bibes uvam; mea nec Falernae temperant vites neque Formiani pocula colles.” - Q. Horatius Flaccus, Ode 1.20 - -1-
  • CONTENTS PART 1 Contents 2 Preface 5 Introduction 6 Prologue 6 Archaeological research in the Pontine region 7 The LAC and the integration of this thesis 9 Goals and structure of this thesis 9 1. Amphora studies and amphorae 11 1.1. Amphora studies 11 1.1.1. The use of amphora studies 11 1.1.2. Amphora studies: 1899 to 1970 12 1.1.3. Amphora studies: 1970 to present 13 1.2. Amphorae: theoretical aspects 14 1.2.1. Etymology and nomenclature 14 1.2.2. The problem of definition: morphological and functional criteria 15 1.2.3. The definition of amphora used in this thesis 17 1.3. Amphorae: technical aspects 19 1.3.1. Primary uses of amphorae: wine 19 1.3.2. Primary uses of amphorae: olive-oil 20 1.3.3. Primary uses of amphorae: fish sauce 20 1.3.4. Primary uses of amphorae: other commodities 22 1.3.5. Secondary uses of amphorae 23 1.3.6. Production of amphorae 24 1.3.7. Matters of epigraphy: stamps and tituli picti 26 1.4. Amphorae: historical aspects 27 1.4.1. Origins in the East and the Phoenician/Punic amphorae 27 1.4.2. Ancient Greek amphorae 28 1.4.3. The rise of the Italic tradition 29 1.4.4. The Roman era: Italian amphorae 31 1.4.5. The Roman era: Hispanic amphorae 33 1.4.6. The Roman era: Gallic amphorae 35 1.4.7. The Roman era: African amphorae 37 1.4.8. The Roman era: eastern Mediterranean amphorae 40 -2-
  • 1.4.9 Amphorae in post-Antiquity 41 2. Roman maritime trade 43 2.1. Exchange mechanisms: three modes of trade 43 2.1.1. Reciprocity 43 2.1.2. Redistribution 44 2.1.3. Free market trading 44 2.2. Technical and logistical aspects of Roman trade 45 2.2.1. Ships 45 2.2.2. Ports 47 2.2.3. Trade routes 49 2.3. Organization of Roman seaborne trade 50 2.3.1. Maritime trade organization in the Republican era 50 2.3.2. Maritime trade organization in the Imperial era 50 2.4. The debate on the ancient economy 52 2.4.1. The modernist view 52 2.4.2. The primitivist view 54 2.4.3. The balanced view 56 3. The Pontine region 60 3.1. Categorization of the Pontine region 60 3.1.1. Geographical categorization 60 3.1.2. Geomorphological categorization 61 3.1.3. Socio-economic categorization and this thesis 61 3.2. Chronology of the Pontine region 62 3.2.1. Protohistory 62 3.2.2. The Archaic and post-Archaic period 64 3.2.3. The Roman period: the Republic 65 3.2.4. The Roman period: the Empire 67 3.3. Coastal area, hinterland and the socio-economic system 69 4. The Liboni Amphora Collection 72 4.1. Research history and methodology of the LAC 72 4.1.1. LAC research history 72 4.1.2. Origins and composition of the Liboni collection 73 4.1.3. Photographing and drawing the LAC 74 4.1.4. Describing the LAC 75 4.2. LAC 2006-2007 results 77 4.2.1. LAC summary table 78 4.2.2. LAC statistical composition chart 83 4.2.3. LAC date range chart 83 -3-
  • 4.2.4. LAC contents charts 83 5. Interpretations 87 5.1. Observations 87 5.1.1. Amphora types and number of amphorae 87 5.1.2. Dating 88 5.1.3. Provenance 88 5.1.4. Distribution 90 5.1.5. Contents 90 5.2. Deductions 91 5.2.1. Comparing the LAC with the GIA Nettuno survey data 91 5.2.2. Comparing the LAC with the amphorae in the museum of Anzio 93 5.2.3. Issues of chronology 94 5.2.4. Ancient origins and destinations of the LAC amphorae: land-based finds 95 5.2.5. Ancient origins and destinations of the LAC amphorae: seaborne finds 96 5.3. The LAC study and beyond: law, trade and wine in Roman Latium 98 5.3.1. The lex Claudia and elite entrepreneurs 98 5.3.2. Amphorae, Astura and the Pontine wine trade 101 6. Conclusions 103 6.1. Summary 103 6.2. Future study 104 Bibliography 106 Literature 106 Websites 108 -4-
  • PREFACE A thesis is never created by one person alone. Of course I have performed the greater part of the research and writing, but I could not have done so were it not for a good deal of people to assist me. First and foremost I would like to thank my tutor, prof. dr. P.A.J. Attema, for the opportunity to finish the study of the Liboni Amphora Collection and transform it into a proper thesis. Our discussions during status update meetings often gave me new angles for interpreting the LAC amphorae. Had this research ended in the summer of 2006 it would surely have been a missed opportunity. I essentially owe the continuance of the LAC study to drs. G.W. Tol. He was the one that inventoried the subterranean corridors of Forte Sangallo, thereby discovering many more amphora fragments for me to catalogue. Gijs was also very helpful along the way, assisting and tutoring in drawing and describing during both summers in Nettuno, as well as being a good laugh during those campaigns. My thanks also to drs. T.C.A. de Haas, who introduced me to the world of amphorae and set me on the road to specialization. The catalogue at the back of this thesis would not have been as precise without Tymon’s own reviewing and finetuning. His discovery of the USAP online database likewise brought the catalogue to new heights. His advice in drawing and describing the LAC has also been greatly appreciated. I want to express my sincere gratitude towards those intrepid men that keep the GIA drawing office alive: S.E. Boersma, S. Tiebackx and E. Bolhuis. The fact that I could use digitized versions of my drawings is a result of the hard work put in by Siebe and Sander for the Nettuno publication. I especially want to thank Siebe for digitizing both the majority of 2006 material, as well as my selection of that of 2007. The latter was entirely out of free will, at the coat of a mere apple pie. Erwin brought me up to speed with CorelDraw and kept me company during the couple of days I endured the drawing office for work on the Nettuno publication. I’ll be back whenever you guys need me there, in exchange for food and payment of course. Last but certainly not least I wish to thank M. Boonstra, my partner. Margriet has been instrumental in keeping me sane during this research, as well as inspired at those times I failed to see the point of it all. Taking Munsell colors and precise measurements at the rushed end of the 2006 campaign have also been a snap because of her. She is furthermore responsible for sorting out the hundreds of photographs I made of the LAC amphorae, as well as proofreading all my texts. Final honorable mentions go to the following people: dr. W.M. Jongman of the University of Groningen, for assessing this thesis in the capacity of second reader; dr. S. Voutsaki of the GIA, for furthering my interest in archaeological theory and the ancient economy; A. Berends, for assisting me in drawing and describing in 2006; prof. dr. J. Remesal Rodríguez of the Univeristy of Barcelona, for admitting me to the CEIPAC online amphora epigraphy database and rerouting the case of the MNK stamp to the expert; F. Laubenheimer, Directrice de Recherche at the CNRS, for studying the MNK stamp and surprising me with her own surprise; H. Bultema, for proofreading my first theoretical chapter and taking my mind of amphorae when I needed it. And of course direttore A. Liboni, for admitting me into the bowels of Forte Sangallo and magically producing ever more amphora fragments on those shelves. Thank you all, Harry Pape Winschoten, May 2008 -5-
  • INTRODUCTION PROLOGUE One might say it is easier to found an empire than to maintain it. An empire, defined here as a supranational body of political, socio-economic and military stability, is by nature a cumbersome and sluggish concept. As an empire grows, oversight decreases and with it control of the territories and populace it encompasses. Most of these issues are of political or military nature and can be resolved with correct application of those institutions’ power, but just as important is sustaining the empire’s socio-economic network by production, trade and (re)distribution. The old Roman credo of ‘bread and games’ is after all only part games: the bread has to come from somewhere as well. To feed the people of the Roman Empire and the preceding Republic, agriculture and contributing industries used a significant part of its labor potential. Raw resources had to be gathered, then processed into foodstuffs and finally transported to their destination. The essentials of the Roman way of life, wine and olive oil, constituted a major part of the end-products, together with fish derivates and fruit. The most efficient way to haul these goods in bulk quantities over long distances was overseas by ship, in dedicated containers. The singular most important earthenware vessel used for storing and transporting (semi-)liquid commodities overseas in Antiquity was the amphora. Amphorae came in all shapes and sizes and have become a mainstay of archaeological study by virtue of the information they can provide about production, trade and other socio-economic aspects of ancient civilization. Amphorae studies are part of an expanding field of research since the 1970s and their possibilities are still far from exhausted.1 The beating heart of the Roman world was of course Rome itself, with its renowned port Ostia as a major point of import, export and distribution. Ostia was however by no means the only harbor where ships from all provinces under Roman control moored to unload their amphorae; dozens of harbors, both small and large, lined the Latial coast and beyond. These sites are often overshadowed by the fame of Ostia or their existence has not yet been proved archaeologically, but they were important in their own right as locations of trade and (re)distribution on a more regional scale. Maritime trade strengthened the structure of both the Roman Republic and Empire; it is what kept the system going. And the amphorae were at the heart of it all. 1 Peacock & Williams 1991, 3 -6-
  • ARCHAEOLOGICAL RESEARCH IN THE PONTINE REGION This thesis is not entirely a stand-alone product. Its conception is linked to several successive long-term regional survey and excavation projects in Italy, encompassing the Agro Pontino and southern Latial coastal area: the Pontine Region Project (PRP), Regional Pathways to Complexity (RPC), the Astura Project and the Carta Archeologica del Comune di Nettuno. These projects are all initiatives of the Groningen Institute of Archaeology (GIA), which is part of the Rijksuniversiteit Groningen (University of Groningen, RuG). Before the GIA started to do more specific research in the Pontine region, this area was already under study by other archaeologists. This tradition started as early as the 19th century with topographical studies aimed at understanding the fortified sites with polygonal wall structures. One of these sites, Norba (near present-day Norma, in the Monti Lepini), was host to the first systematic excavation in the area at the start of the 20th century, followed by small topographical studies in the immediate surroundings at the sites Serrone di Bove and Caracupa Valvisciolo. During this century several sites in the Agro Pontino were also researched within the framework of the Forma Italiae project, which goal was to map all remaining archaeology in Italy on a scale of 1:25000. From the 1970s onward a slew of regional studies has been publicized by researchers as Brandizzi Vitucci (1968, 1998) and Quilici & Quilici-Gigli (1987, 1998).2 In 1977 the universities of Groningen and Amsterdam (RuG, UvA) started excavations at the site of Satricum (present-day Borgo Le Ferriere), which lies approximately 10 kilometers upstream along the Astura river. Here work was done at the acropolis (boasting a multi-period temple for Mater Matuta, under study since the 19th century), the settlement and two necropoleis (one of the Latini, one of the Volsci3). These Dutch excavations are among the most famous in the region and have been recorded in detail by the researchers involved (Maaskant-Kleibrink et al. 1978 & 1992, Gnade 1992, Bouma 1996). The UvA also initiated the first systematic surveys in the Agro Pontino, combined with palynological research (Voorrips et al. 1991). In 1987 the RuG started the Pontine Region Project (PRP): a survey project aimed primarily at studying the changes and developments in the Agro Pontino in the 1st millennium BC, with an emphasis on the impact made by Roman colonization on the protohistorical landscape. This project effectively runs to this day. In 1997 the RuG and VU University Amsterdam joined forces to initiate Regional Pathways to Complexity (RPC), which encompasses the study of three regions in Italy from the Late Bronze Age to the Roman era. Emphasis lay on centralization, urbanization and colonization. GIA 2 Tol 2005, 1; Attema et al. 2005, 10-11 3 M. La Rosa, pers. comm. 2007 -7-
  • surveys were done in the three major geophysical units of the Pontine region; the Colli Albani (Lanuvium area), Monti Lepini (Doganella di Ninfa area) and Agro Pontino (Fogliano area). The Astura Project of the GIA began in 2001 and focused specifically on the coastal area between Nettuno and Torre Astura. A trio of sites along the coastline was studied: a kiln site (P11), a Late Bronze Age site (P13) and an amphora section hinting at local amphora production near the villa known as Le Grottacce (P15). After excavations and section sampling of these sites a survey was performed in the valley of the Astura river in 2003, which partly marks the eastern boundary of the comune. The resulting exhibition and presentation aroused the attention of the Assessorato alla Cultura del Comune di Nettuno in such a fashion that, in reaction to the recently flared up ‘cultural consciousness’ in the region, the idea came to archaeologically map the entire comune. This marked the inception of the Carta Archeologica del Comune di Nettuno, a joint venture of the GIA and several Latial institutions concerned with the region’s archaeology, aimed towards mapping the archaeological remains in the comune and gaining a better understanding of the socio-economic development and Roman colonization in this region from the Archaic period onward.4 The Carta Archeologica is the most recent GIA undertaking in the Pontine region, and this thesis is a direct and integral sidestep of the research performed within that framework. The main sources for the Carta Archeologica are the so-called ‘Liboni Collection’ and material found during GIA surveys. The Liboni Collection is named after Arnaldo Liboni, caretaker of the Antiquario di Nettuno (the local museum, housed in Forte Sangallo) and in his spare time collector of archaeological material. By his efforts a fair amount of material from the comune has found its way into the museum, but the majority is still in crates stacked in the subterranean corridors of the fort. The finds that constitute the Liboni Collection have been drawn and described the last few years by several GIA postgraduates and students during the summer campaigns of the RuG in Nettuno, in order to create part of the dataset for the Carta Archeologica. Material found during these campaigns by surveying in (and sometimes a little outside) the comune were also drawn and described. The preliminary results of this material, coupled with the mapping of known and new sites in the comune, can be found in the thesis of G.W. Tol.5 GIA research in the Pontine region is at the time of writing, now 2008, drawing to a close. G.W. Tol is currently working on his PhD thesis, encompassing among others excavations at the Astura river. It is thought that these undertakings will once more increase our knowledge about this important area of Roman history. 4 Tol 2005, 1-4 5 Tol 2005 -8-
  • THE LAC AND THE INTEGRATION OF THIS THESIS Beside the material in Forte Sangallo’s magazzino, a part of the Liboni Collection was hidden behind a closed door in the fort’s central building. Here a collection of over fifty intact amphorae was stored. The assignment I was given in the summer of 2006 by prof. dr. P.A.J. Attema, head of the Classical department of the GIA and initiator of most GIA projects in the Pontine region, was primarily to fashion a catalogue of the complete amphorae kept in the storeroom as part of my Research Master. In the course of four weeks I photographed, drew and described all amphorae in the storeroom, as well as a lot of fragments found on the shelves of the magazzino and in the display cases of the museum. At the end of the campaign it was obvious that there were many more amphora fragments in the magazzino, but there was no time left to process them all. The amphorae I studied and catalogued in the summer of 2006 were from that moment on known as the Liboni Amphora Collection (LAC). The resulting report about the LAC was mostly technical, as the catalogue had been the focal point and the amount of time remaining before the deadline back home was insufficient to go into much depth with context and interpretation. Therefore the report was somewhat lacking in that respect, which is a shame of course for a collection with that much potential. In the beginning of 2007 it became clear that the LAC held much more promise and I decided to pick up the research where I left off and expand it into the thesis that lies before you now. All remaining amphorae (fragments) in Forte Sangallo were processed in the summer of 2007, and the interpretations that had been left wanting in 2006 were fully addressed. This thesis meshes with the existing GIA projects currently underway in the Agro Pontino (the PhD research of GIA postgraduates G.W. Tol and T.C.A. de Haas, the Carta Archeologica del Comune di Nettuno) in that the results will hopefully provide even more insight into the regional socio-economic network of the southern Latial coastal zone and its hinterland. GOALS AND STRUCTURE OF THIS THESIS Aside from supporting and expanding on current GIA knowledge of the Pontine region, this thesis also aims to contribute to the larger debate about maritime trade during the Roman period by focusing on the regional socio-economic system of the Pontine region between the present-day city of Anzio and the historical site of Torre Astura. This will be done principally by means of an extensive amphora study, for which the Liboni Amphora Collection (LAC) will be the primary source of information. This collection is located in the museum of the present-day city of Nettuno (RM, Lazio, Italia) and has been -9-
  • studied by the author in the span of two consecutive summers (2006-2007). Furthermore the results of surveys and excavations in the aforementioned region performed by the Groningen Institute of Archaeology will be used to provide a diachronic insight into the history of the Pontine region and the southern Latial coastal zone; the backdrop against which the amphorae will be studied and utilized to increase our knowledge and understanding of the larger scope of Republican and Imperial maritime trade. Chapter I gives a concise introduction to amphorae and their study, followed by Chapter 2 which provides a general explanation and outline of Roman maritime trade: organization, ports, transported goods, ships and trade routes. Chapter 3 then relates the layout and (archaeological) history of the Pontine region, together with information about settlements and ports in the region, amphora production centers, maritime villae and their hinterland. Chapter 4 constitutes the core of my own research; the Liboni Amphora Collection (LAC) with an explanation of the methodology used to create the concordant catalogue, as well as the results in table and chart form. In Chapter 5 then I give an in- depth analysis and interpretation of the acquired results from the two-year LAC study, together with a correlation to the information gleaned about the regional socio-economic system. Chapter 6 ultimately tries to answer the main question posed in this thesis: what can the LAC amphorae, combined with the regional survey and excavation data, tell us about the socio-economic network of the Pontine region during the Roman period from a maritime point of view? - 10 -
  • 1. AMPHORA STUDIES AND AMPHORAE In this chapter the various aspects of amphorae and the history of their study are discussed. The amphora was the number-one form of trade-packaging in the Roman world. While grain was arguably the most essential subsistence product in those days, several other commodities that virtually defined the Roman way of living were transported in bulk across the Mediterranean. Wine, olive oil and fish derivates traveled across the seas in ships laden with amphorae, along with a fair number of less encountered products. Amphorae are the most common type of pottery encountered in the Roman Mediterranean, attesting to the scale of trade and transport during those times. 1.1. AMPHORA STUDIES 1.1.1. The use of amphora studies The study of amphorae is nowadays a solid part of the debate concerning the ancient economy, for these vessels offer an amazing wealth of potential information. Being the premier mode of trade packaging in the ancient world, amphorae bear direct material witness to the movement of several commodities that were essential to the people of Antiquity. This is especially the case in Roman times, when the scale of maritime trade reached heights not seen before. The full appreciation of amphorae is a relatively recent development though, as these vessels have often been neglected or even dismissed by scholars and laymen alike in favor of ‘prettier’ fine ware like terra sigillata or items of gold and bronze. By studying amphorae one can learn about several aspects of the ancient economy. First and foremost the products in which a region traded can be deduced by noting the amphora types present, as certain types are associated with certain products. This association is made possible because of the study of painted inscriptions found on amphorae, which often relate the contents of the containers. This has led to a continually growing list of amphora forms correlated with their principal contents. The epigraphic evidence on amphorae, being generally painted inscriptions (tituli picti) and stamps, give even more information than that however. This is discussed elsewhere in this thesis in more detail (see 1.3.7), and it suffices to say here that the study of that epigraphy can shed light upon several aspects connected to the shipping of the amphora in question as well as the rest of the cargo (port from where the amphora was shipped, nature and weight of contents, names of ship or port personnel, etc.). Finally the fabric of amphorae deserves special mention. Though often overshadowed by the typological study of the vessel, fabric can give an indication of, or sometimes even pinpoint the location - 11 -
  • where the amphora was made. This can be very important when the study of the form itself is inconclusive as to the origin of the vessel, whether because the fragment is non-characteristic or because of a hitherto unknown type. There are several very distinct fabrics that were used for certain amphorae, presenting a first anchor line when finding amphorae fragments in the field. Using amphorae as dating evidence is more difficult than it would seem at first glance. As M.H. Callender demonstrated (see 1.3.5), many amphorae tended to have quite a long life in use after the primary commodity was consumed or used up. Also the very nature of amphorae as vessels with purely practical use (barring decorative Greek vessels) resulted in a relatively slow typological change of forms, as the look of an amphora was subservient to its function. This change however is not as virtually non- existent as Callender seemingly believed; a view which has been countered by specialists since Callender’s work in 1965. Small changes over time in e.g. rim form can be observed with several forms, such as the famous olive oil container Dressel 20.6 1.1.2. Amphora studies: 1899 to 1970 Heinrich Dressel was most probably the first scholar to acknowledge the importance of amphorae and to make a systematic study of these vessels. The painted inscriptions on amphorae drew his attention, and in 1899 he published his research in the Corpus Inscriptionum Latinarum, together with Schoene and Mau, who also published their epigraphic studies in those volumes. The location of Dressel’s study was Rome, and more specifically Monte Testaccio: an artificial hill in Rome’s former dockland consisting entirely of discarded amphora fragments. Dressel nearly lost his eyesight in reading all the text present on that veritable mountain of knowledge, and it resulted in the first typology of amphorae. While his scheme was clarified and improved upon in subsequent years, it has never been completely surpassed or made obsolete, which is a clear testament to Dressel’s prowess as a dedicated scholar. His name thus lives on in the classification of numerous amphorae, such as the ubiquitous Dressel 1 and 20. While this was a prodigious start of a promising field of research, amphorae were mostly neglected until the 1950s. The revival was the result of increasing interest in marine archaeology, as amphorae are the primary material of the underwater archaeologist. A number of amphora-laden wrecks were discovered in these years, prompting scholars such as Lamboglia (1950) and Benoit (1956) to reappraise the study of amphorae. Another impulse for renewed study was the interest in amphorae in Britain and other parts of northwestern Europe. M.H. Callender produced a comprehensive study and catalogue of amphorae stamps in this period, which is unfortunately inherently flawed by its publication date fifteen years later in 1965. This meant one and a half decade of amphora research was not taken into account, resulting in views that were mostly outdated at publication and in a lack of stamps found 6 Peacock & Williams 1991, pp. 2-19 - 12 -
  • during that hiatus in time. However, while some of Callender’s views on typology and chronology are thus outdated, a substantial part of his theoretical framework still applies now, as does his catalogue of stamps. Two other important names in this period are Tchernia and Zevi, whose articles on amphorae began to appear in the late 1960s. Besides criticizing Callender’s work and a reappraisal of that of Dressel (by Zevi), they initiated new research as well. André Tchernia became an expert on Roman wine and their correspondent amphorae. 1.1.3. Amphora studies: 1970 to present The 1970s proved to be an enormous boost to the study of amphorae in a multitude of countries. Tchernia and Zevi continued with their research and publications, while other scholars joined in mostly as a result of two conferences at the French School in Rome that had piqued or increased many a scholar’s interest in amphorae: Beltrán published his research and typology of Hispanic amphorae; Kuzmanov, Zemer and Kapitän focused on late eastern and Aegean vessels; Laubenheimer tackled amphorae from Gaul; Will studied Greco-Italic amphorae; Ponsich those of the Iberian Peninsula; in Italy meanwhile Panella, Manacorda and Carandini concentrated on Ostia and Pompeii, refining amphora typologies as they went; and the list goes on. Breakthroughs were made in petrological, chemical and quantitative analysis as well, rounding out or increasing the array of usable scientific methods. Clearly the amount of research on amphorae in the 1970s and the subsequent publications thereof consolidated the position of amphora studies in archaeology. The trend was set and the 1980s only saw more research being done and published. A memorable work saw the light in 1984, in the form of Simon Keay’s extensive treatise on Hispanic and African amphorae. Particularly important is his exhaustive list and typology of late Roman African cylindrical vessels. The typology of these so-called Keay types is still used today and Keay’s work remains the ubiquitous source for those that specialize in African amphorae. Perhaps the most influential publication of that decade however was Amphorae and the Roman economy: an introductory guide by Peacock & Williams. By compiling amphora data from the multitude of articles that had almost exponentially grown since the 1970s, adding new insights and producing a fairly easy to use guide to recognize the most common Roman amphorae, the first standard work for amphora studies was born in 1986. To this day it remains the foremost basic resource for anyone that is interested in amphorae, being the starting point for this thesis as well. From the 1990s to the time of writing this thesis (2007-2008) almost another two decades have passed. Discoveries both underwater and on dry land have continued to be made, and two more standard works have been published in 1991 and 1997 that complement that of Peacock & Williams: - 13 -
  • Amphores: comment les identifier? by Sciallano and Sibella, and Anfore antiche: conoscerle e identificarle by Caravale & Toffoletti. Both feature improved guides for recognizing amphorae, adding new forms to the list of Peacock & Williams but also excluding some of them. Anfore antiche more or less supersedes the work by Sciallano & Sibella (which I therefore have hardly used) as it contains extra amphorae and uses a more user-friendly reference table. It is also even more of a handbook for use in the field and contains less historical and theoretical background than Amphorae and the Roman economy. All these works should thus best be used in conjunction with each other to compensate, as has been done in this thesis. Together they form a solid core for every amphora study.7 The most recent compilation of amphora research makes full use of the possibilities of the Internet. As of 2005, the University of Southampton hosts a database of Roman amphorae (hereafter USAP 2005) under the supervision of Keay and Williams.8 This database lists every Roman amphora currently known, complete with petrological details, zoomable pictures/drawings and an integral multi- stage search function that enables quick identification of most amphora types. Its major downside is the exclusion of non-Roman era amphorae (e.g. Ancient Greek, Etruscan, etc.), but again it yields impressive results when used together with the aforementioned literature. For the Roman amphorae the USAP 2005 database is the most recent source of information and is therefore the primary contributor of confronti in the catalogue of this thesis. 1.2. AMPHORAE: THEORETICAL ASPECTS 1.2.1. Etymology and nomenclature The Latin word amphora comes from ancient Greek amphoreus (αµφορέας), and is a compound word combining amphi- (on both sides) and phoreus (carrier), from pherein (to carry).9 These words thus convey the essence of the concept amphora with both a morphological characteristic (double-handled) and a functional one (carrier), but an actual definition based on a set of those characteristics is far more difficult as is discussed in 1.2.2. The word amphora was also used to denominate the chief Roman liquid measurement from the 1st century BC onward. As such an amphora equaled a little less than 26 liters according to Hayes.10 This volume was also known as a quadrantal and could be further subdivided in two urnae, eight congii, 48 sextarii and 96 heminae. These measurements were mostly used to indicate the yield of a vineyard, as 7 Peacock & Williams 1991, pp. 2-4 ; Caravale & Toffoletti 1997, 14-15 ; Paterson 1982, pp. 146-157 8 University of Southampton Amphora Project 2005 9 Hayes 1997, pp. 96, endnote 13 10 Id., endnote 14 - 14 -
  • examples from ancient literature show. The amphora was also used as a measure of length and of a ship’s tonnage. The use of the word amphora as a measurement this way indicates an ‘ideal’ amphora in a theoretical sense,11 and thus should not be equated with any real-life vessel (although one of the older types might have had that particular capacity). Callender comments upon the word cadus (pl. cadii), which in ancient literature is used in the same way as the word amphora in the sense of a vessel for storage and transport of liquid goods. Callender argues that both words were probably interchangeable in Roman times and designated vessels of roughly the same size and appearance, as shown by his citations of Pliny, Columella and Martial. He further speculates that the larger amphorae were perhaps first known as cadi (equaling 3 urnae rather than 2), but that the distinction faded with the increasing variation of size and capacity through time.12 1.2.2. The problem of definition: morphological and functional criteria Unlike other more obvious pottery classes like cups and plates, there is no universal definition of what exactly constitutes an amphora. Although all specialists know some overlap in the way they describe such a vessel, a general consensus remains to be achieved. This issue has plagued the study for years, but the appearance of three standard works13 in the last two decades has brought some alleviation. Peacock & Williams quote Virginia Grace (1961), who mentions a few distinguishing morphological criteria for these transport containers: “[…] a mouth narrow enough to be corked, two opposite vertical handles and at the bottom usually a tip or knob which serves as a third handle, below the weight, needed when one inverts a heavy vessel to pour from it. A flat base big enough for the jar to stand on would give no purchase for lifting.”14 Caravale & Toffoletti repeat these morphological and functional characteristics and add a tapering body, an elongated neck and walls thick enough as to prevent rupture.15 These criteria have been acknowledged by most scholars working with amphorae up until now and with them all of the ‘traditional’ amphorae (such as Dressel 1) are covered. A great number of what most specialists call amphorae fall outside of this traditional class. The body of an amphora can actually differ wildly from the classical tapering form, as demonstrated by the multitude of cylindrical, bulbous, tapering, piriform (pear-shaped) and even bag-like vessels. The elongated neck mentioned by Carevale & Toffoletti is another such matter. While the major part of known vessels displays such a distinct neck, making it again a characteristic of ‘traditional’ amphorae 11 Callender 1965, pp. 3 12 Id., pp. 2, footnote 3 13 Peacock & Williams 1991 ; Sciallano & Sibella 1994 ; Caravale & Toffoletti 1997 14 Grace 1961, quoted in Peacock & Williams 1991, pp. 5 15 Caravale & Toffoletti 1997, pp. 11 - 15 -
  • such as Dressel 1, there are enough types without it.16 The boundaries between these morphological denominations can be hazy sometimes and composite forms exist as well. Also, while amphorae with a tip or ‘spike’ are the most common and characteristic, vessels with a flat base (-ring) are by no means an exception (the ancient Greek amphorae all had base-rings). Amphorae with such a base are excluded by Grace’s definition given above though, as are all other shapes of base; a flaw in her set of criteria as observed by Peacock & Williams as well. According to Grace, a spike provided both a third handle for easily lifting the vessel by one person and a way to securely stack it among other amphorae in the hold of a ship, 17 which a flat base did not. I disagree with this view; most flat-bottomed amphorae are smaller and lighter (i.e. have thinner walls) than their spiked cousins, greatly reducing the need for such a third handle, while they retain the tapering form that is required for stacking them. If one follows Grace’s reasoning, several vessels of major importance (that also feature prominently in the Liboni Amphora Collection) could not be called amphorae and would not be taken into account in this thesis. An example of this is the Gauloise 4 (mid 1st to mid 3rd century AD): a relatively small, thin- walled vessel with a flat base-ring. This I would surely call an amphora, for it answers to all other morphological criteria given above but the lack of a spike and having thinner walls than most amphorae. Peacock & Williams quote Widemann et al. (1979), who states Gauloise 4 must have required a protective casing of straw. This practice is actually shown on a relief from Neumagen, Germany. 18 It also had the same function: the transport of liquid commodities (wine). Callender argues that the vessels called amphorae from Antiquity onward vary so much in size, shape and capacity, that the original definition must have become severely debased over time. Thus every two- handled vessel that was reminiscent of the original Greek form and was meant for storage and transport (principally the latter) would most probably have been designated amphora or cadus. He then proceeds to give a tentative remark about amphora morphology: his (of course quite loose) definition does in fact include vessels with a flat base (-ring). He actually does not use the word spike, and instead adds the criterion to “[…] be unable to stand without support when loaded with their commodities.”19 In the corresponding footnote he argues that vessels with small stand-rings could perhaps stand on their own accord when empty, “[…] but which must have had some external means of support when loaded, if only for safety’s sake, when full […].”20 This effectively evades the whole spike vs. flat base issue in a rather elegant manner. 16 Id., pp. 4-5. Nr. 56 is the most eye-catching example without a neck 17 A spike might also have been used to roll an amphorae around its vertical axis (prof. dr. P.A.J. Attema, pers. comm. 2007) 18 Peacock & Williams 1991, pp. 51 ; Callender 1965, pp. 43 & plate Va/b 19 Callender 1965, pp. 3 20 Id., footnote 2 - 16 -
  • This view has much to commend it, as there are quite a few types almost every specialist calls amphorae, which do not even have either a distinct spike or truly flat base. This is obvious at first glance when looking at Carevale & Toffoletti’s Indice Grafico delle Anfore.21 Both Punic and Etruscan amphorae have a variety of rounded, pointed and flattened bases.22 The ultimate irony then befalls the globular Dressel 20 (and its smaller successor Dressel 23 as well): 23 this famous Baetican form, one of the most common and widely distributed of all amphorae, has a diminutive basal knob that neither aided lifting or stacking and was most probably nearly impossible to handle by just one person when filled due to its size and weight. The Dressel 20 thus does not comply with the functional criteria tied in with the tip/knob put forward by Grace and could therefore not be called an amphora.24 While the amphora was surely developed at first to be a container requiring only one person to carry it, 25 the very nature of development is dynamic instead of static; in the course of time larger and otherwise less manageable amphorae came into use, sacrificing ease of handling somewhat for increased capacity. Though Peacock & Williams point to the artificiality of morphological definition, they also acknowledge the problem one encounters if the definition would be based solely on function (so grouping together all containers of liquid goods). After all, amphorae were not the only trade-packaging of liquid commodities available in Antiquity (also storage jars, flagons, etc. served that purpose). Amphorae were also not used solely to transport liquid commodities, adding a new level of complexity to such a purely functional definition. Better would be to define their function as storage and transport of “[…] bulk commodities subject to spoilage […].”26 This would be the primary use of amphorae, as these vessels more often than not displayed what Callender calls ‘secondary use survival’: having a secondary function after its primary function had been fulfilled.27 These secondary uses are discussed in more detail in 1.3.5. 1.2.3. The definition of amphora used in this thesis In the light of the discussion above, I hereby present a definition of amphora based on a combination of morphological and functional criteria, combining and adding to those mentioned in the previous paragraph: 21 Carevale & Toffoletti 1997, pp. 4-5 22 Id., respectively nrs. 55-58 and 76-80 23 Id., nrs. 132-133 24 Callender 1965, plate VI. Thick-walled and heavy spike-less amphorae such as Dressel 20 were most probably suspended from a wooden rod carried by two people, as shown on the wall painting from Augst, Switzerland 25 Peacock & Williams 1991, pp. 21 26 Ibid. 27 Callender 1965, pp. 24, footnote 1 - 17 -
  • An amphora is an earthenware vessel designed specifically for storing and transporting bulk commodities subject to spoilage. The vessel has to possess: a) a mouth of small enough diameter to be sealed airtight; b) two vertical handles opposite each other to facilitate handling; c) a body designed for storing and viably transporting (liquid) foodstuffs; d) a base rendering the vessel unable to safely stand unsupported when fully loaded (e.g. flat base, ring-base) or at all (e.g. spike, rounded/pointed base), being generally designed to facilitate handling and stacking. Criteria a), b) and c) are based purely on function. The rims and handles encountered on amphorae display a dizzying variation in size and appearance, and could therefore never be used as morphological criteria to define if a vessel is an amphora or not. The same effectively goes for the bodies of amphorae, which is also why I have dismissed having a distinct neck as part of the criterion. Rims, handles and bodies are typologically distinct though and play an integral role in further classifying amphorae in types, as well as aid in dating. Moreover for criterion c), I have specifically kept the thickness of the walls out of the equation, which varies significantly between types and periods. While amphora walls are notably thicker than those of other pottery - something which is in itself quite useful during finds determination in surveys - it is primarily the presence or additions of inclusions that strengthen those walls instead of their thickness (and also further characterize a fragment as belonging to an amphora).28 Most containers were thus strong enough to be stacked in a ship as such, due to a combination of wall thickness and inclusions in the clay. Vessels with generally thinner walls and fewer inclusions then, like the Gauloise 4, would have had need of a protective casing as is known to have existed. Criterion d) integrates the musings of Callender to sidestep the spike vs. flat base issue by adding the inability to safely stand unsupported at all, or at least when filled. This criterion does not focus on the ‘third handle’ function which the spike clearly had, but rather on the result of a morphological choice. Be it spike or flat base, rounded or pointed; the vast majority of filled amphorae cannot be assumed to stand without support, as it was either wholly impossible or the risk of falling over would have been too great. Some might have been able to stand precariously, but one would most probably not have bet on it. 28 Peacock & Williams 1991, pp. 45 - 18 -
  • 1.3. AMPHORAE: TECHNICAL ASPECTS 1.3.1. Primary uses of amphorae: wine Wine was a central focus of Greek life, and it therefore comes as no surprise that the majority of Greek amphorae were meant for transporting this beverage. Greek wines were of such quality and regard that they were still much appreciated in Roman times, especially Rhodian and Koan vintages. The latter’s way of production, being with added seawater, is said to have been the direct cause of the transition from Dressel 1 to Dressel 2-4 amphorae (see 1.4.4). In Late Roman times wine was still exported from the Aegean, all the way up until the 7th century AD. Italian wines were certainly at the top of the market as well, for wines as Falernian, Setine, Alban and Caecuban belong to the most famed wines in history. Falernian was a sweet white wine with a high alcoholic content (about 16%) that became better and more valuable as it aged, and was made in three vineyards between Latium and Campania (ager Falernus). It would remain one of Italy’s prime export products, even when large-scale wine export contracted severely in the 2nd century AD. Setine was made near Setia in the Monti Lepini and Pliny states that it was the favorite wine of Augustus (one of the few wines that did not give him indigestion), while Alban wine ranked high among the upper class of Rome. Caecuban heralded from one vineyard near Fundi and Terracina, and was said to be the best wine of the 1st century BC, being smoother than Falernian and fuller than Alban. It was soon overshadowed by Falernian and Setine though and Pliny states that Nero practically caused the already neglected wine’s extinction by destroying the sole vineyard when digging a canal through the area near Baiae.29 All these famed wines came from Latium or Campania and were the primary export products of those regions. Wines from Spain were prized as well, especially those coming from Tarraconensis. These were exported to France and Italy in great quantities, until the superior Gallic wines from Narbonensis caused the contraction of Hispanic wine export. The Narbonese wines rose to prominence in the 2nd century AD, overshadowing and out-competing both Italian and Spanish wine exports. Gallic wine remained top tier for the rest of the Roman period, and its reputation is essentially still relatively undiminished in modern times. In the Late Roman period, wines from the East occupied a central position in the market. They had always been exported, but from the 4th century AD onwards Palestine, Egyptian and Turkish wines gained a great deal of popularity in the West. Large-scale trade however ceased in the 7th century AD with the Arab conquests. 29 Tchernia 1986, pp. 201-202 ; Tchernia & Brun 1999, pp. 26-28, 133 ; Caravale & Toffoletti 1997, pp. 24-26 - 19 -
  • 1.3.2. Primary uses of amphorae: olive oil Olive oil was the second most important essential of Roman life. It was used in the preparation of food, in oil-lamps, in medicine, etc. In the early days of the Republic, Italy seems to have been almost self- sufficient with regards to olive oil, perhaps only receiving small supplies of Greek oil periodically. It would not be until the Early Imperial period that the population of the country, and especially of Rome itself, increased to such an amount that large-scale import of olive oil became a necessity. From Augustan times to the 3rd century AD the massive amounts of olive oil needed by the Roman heartland came from Spain. For three centuries straight, dozens of workshops along the Guadalquivir river in Baetica (present-day Andalusia) produced millions of amphorae, of which Dressel 20 is the best known (see 1.4.5), to transport the oil across the sea. For a long time Baetica had a virtual monopoly on olive oil, until competition from the North African provinces increased dramatically under the rule of Septimius Severus, who also confiscated most Baetican estates and placed them under imperial control. In the Imperial period massive amounts of olive oil were distributed among the population of Rome (and later on in the entire country) for free, which made it a matter of the state to produce enough of the precious liquid. Olive oil from Tripolitania and Africa Proconsularis would be dominant for the next three centuries, carried abroad in distinct cylindrical amphorae. Many of these were destined for Rome itself, and there are almost as many Tripolitanian 3 sherds in Monte Testaccio as there are of Dressel 20 (see 1.4.7). It is wholly possible, although not yet proven, that the millions of vessels forming that hill in Rome are specifically meant for the annona olearia (the aforementioned free distribution of olive oil) while the vessels found elsewhere in the Mediterranean represent free market trading. This would then imply that certain forms of amphorae could be tied to either one of these mechanisms (redistribution or free market trade). This might not have been as much of an issue during the Baetican monopoly as Dressel 20 was at that point in time the most widely used amphora and the annona was not as developed back then, but it is intriguing that nearly all Tripolitanian 3 vessels were destined for Rome and are hardly found anywhere else in large amounts.30 1.3.3. Primary uses of amphorae: fish sauce While both wine and olive oil were produced in the so-called villa system, the third of the most important amphora-borne commodities was produced in dedicated coastal facilities. A taste for fish sauce, prized as a condiment in various dishes instead of salt, would have been transferred to the Romans by Phocaean Greeks and later on by the Carthaginians. It was at first essentially a by-product from the facilities that caught, prepared and conserved fish, although a larger part of the industry 30 Caravale & Toffoletti 1997, pp. 28-30 ; Callender 1965, pp. 49-50 - 20 -
  • became dedicated to its manufacture as it rose in popularity. These installations were mostly located at the seaboard, both out of obvious practical reasons and because later edicts forbade these facilities being built anywhere near a population center (although often thought otherwise, fish sauce only seems to have reeked during production). Fish sauce was made by fermenting the intestines and waste parts of a variety of fish and afterwards adding extra ingredients, which essentially resulted in a briny fluid which greatly enhanced the taste of food. The brine is known as muria (presumably the Baetican word for fish sauce), while the sediment remaining after the liquid has been drawn of is called allec/allex/hallex, which was used as a fish paste. The generic term for fish sauces seems to have been liquamen. The most well-known fish sauce is garum, the best of which was made with either mackerel or tuna, depending on the subjectivity of the historical source (e.g. Martial states mackerel is best, and tuna is inferior). This garum sociorum was made at Carthago Nova (Cartagena) in Baetica. However, many other types of garum are known depending on their added/mixed ingredients, such as hydrogarum (with water), oenogarum (with wine), oxygarum (with vinegar), and mellogarum (with honey). The differing forms of Baetican fish sauce amphorae might well have been an indication to the buyer of its contents (i.e. the specific kind of sauce). Fish sauce was undoubtedly made in Italy as well, although fish were actually quite scarce along her coasts (see also 3.2.3). An interesting speculation is made by Brandizzi Vittucci, who muses that Antium might have produced liquamen. The base of that idea is an amphora found there with the stamp liq(uamen) antia(tinum) exc(ellens). She also connects this production with the fish basins located at every villa marittima between Antium and Torre Astura. Unfortunately she does not relay the amphora type in question.31 The primary installations of fish sauce production were located along both sides of the Strait of Gibraltar, in Baetica and Mauretania (roughly present-day Morocco). Other important facilities can be found on the coasts of Lusitania (Portugal) and Gallia Narbonensis (southern France). Until the 3rd century AD Baetica and Mauretania had a near monopoly on the export of fish sauce, transporting them in dedicated and distinct amphorae (see 1.4.5). These containers were all supposed to have come from Baetica, as up to the publication by Peacock & Williams in 1986 there seemed to be an almost complete absence of amphora kilns in Morocco that produced amphorae dedicated to fish sauce.32 Recently however North African amphorae are being reappraised and it is quite possible that forms classically associated with olive oil may have been carriers for fish products as well.33 31 Brandizzi Vittucci 2000, pp. 132, footnote 618 32 Peacock & Williams 1991, pp. 41 33 e.g. Gibbins 2001 - 21 -
  • In the 3rd century AD, together with the contraction of its olive oil export, Baetica lost ground in the fish sauce trade. Mauretania remained producing, as did Lusitania (with its own line of amphorae now). North Africa not only took over the olive oil export from Baetica, it also started to produce fish sauce on a large scale until the 7th century AD.34 1.3.4. Primary uses of amphorae: other commodities While the three aforementioned commodities were undoubtedly the most prevalent in amphorae, they were definitely not the only possible contents. Other products that were transported in amphorae are mentioned in both Peacock & Williams and Caravale & Toffoletti, but it is Callender that gives a more extensive summary with the help of encountered amphora stamps. Amphorae are most often seen as carriers of liquid goods, of which wine, olive oil and fish sauce were the most important. Derivates of wine were also transported however, such as defrutum and caroenum. The first was a sweet liquid acquired by boiling the must, while the latter required the boiling down of wine to a third of its original volume and the subsequent addition of honey. Both products were probably transported indiscriminately in standard wine amphorae most of the time, but we know of one form that was renowned for transporting defrutum (Haltern 70) and one of which it is sure it carried caroenum as well as ‘normal’ wine (Late Roman 3). Callender also mentions oliva nigra ex defruto as amphora contents, as in black olives that had been soaked in defrutum to sweeten them. Olives thus also were transported in amphorae, whether already processed in some way or normally. The same can be said for grapes and fish. The raw resources of wine, olive oil and fish sauce were thus also carried. Salted fish was the primary product of the coastal facilities that also yielded its byproduct fish sauce, and it seems the same amphorae were used for both commodities. It is not known if grapes and olives were perhaps transported in smaller amphorae than those used for their derived liquids, or if the same amphorae were used. It is likely though, as smaller amphorae such as Dressel 21-22, Camulodunum 189 and the Spatheion were used for transport of fruits. Dressel 21-22 was used exclusively for the storage and transport of (dried) fruits, such as cherries and plums. Camulodunum 189 is said to have contained dates, while olives are mentioned as one of the many possible contents of the Spatheion. Callender furthermore lists figs, damsons and peaches as fruits mentioned in historical sources in relation to amphorae. Examples of miscellaneous products archaeologically found in or attributed historically to amphorae, as listed by Callender are: nuts, pepper, honey, unguents, herbs, water, milk (Greek amphorae), hair- remover, medicines, vinegar (Egyptian amphorae), urine (see 1.3.5), flour and grain. Amphorae containing grain was a - for long dismissed - suggestion by the historian Rostovtzeff (see 2.4), but 34 Id., pp. 35-38 ; Caravale & Toffoletti 1997, pp. 32-33 - 22 -
  • recent finds have proven him right nonetheless. Callender finally mentions the massive find of 1.350.000 amphorae in Turin, which were all found upside down and sealed tight. Each was filled with very finely washed and levigated (potters’?) clay. Such products encountered sporadically in amphorae might not be standard issue for these vessels as wine, olive oil and fish sauce were, but they do give a good indication of the multifunctional nature of amphorae.35 1.3.5. Secondary uses of amphorae The multifunctional nature of amphorae is both a boon and a curse, as these vessels were often used for long periods after their original contents had been consumed or otherwise used. This of course made them very practical for the people in Antiquity from a functional vantage point, but it also makes it very difficult for scholars of modern day to use amphorae as accurate dating tools. While a great deal of amphorae were broken and discarded after they had fulfilled their primary function, as happened with the enormous amounts of Dressel 20 vessels in Rome, a lot of containers were surely reused. They might have been refilled with local products, or even used in a wholly different fashion. Again it is Callender who lists several examples of what he calls ‘secondary use survival’, i.e. the survival of amphorae in other uses after the primary commodity has been used or consumed. One of the most well known secondary uses is the amphora burial. Callender distinguishes four types of amphora burials: a) Italian (Dressel 1) amphorae as grave gifts filled with imported Campanian wine (upper elite); b) Italian (Dressel 1) amphora without wine, but with ashes and sometimes other grave gifts inside (lower elite); c) Spanish globular (Dressel 20?) amphorae with ashes and often accompanied by grave gifts (common people); d) amphorae as coffins (the poorest people). The first three types of burials are also found in Britain; only the last type is limited to Italy. The practice of amphora burial was brought to Britain by conquering Belgae from Gaul, where it was a widespread practice, in the 1st century AD. The use of amphorae in this respect has symbolic as well as practical significance, as they contained or represented wine and olive oil required by the dead in the afterlife. Amphorae thus provided an easily obtainable container for the ashes or body, combined with rich symbolism.36 Amphorae were also used secondary as toilets. In Pompeii the lower halves of amphorae were placed at street corners, and when filled with urine they were removed by the city’s fullers. Sometimes the upper half of the amphora was used though and placed with the rim in the ground, the mouth acting as drain. The lower halves of amphorae were also used in the turrets and mile castles of Hadrian’s Wall. Callender lists several other secondary uses related to storage, such as hearth, water bucket, flower pot, money chest and cupboard. Amphorae also seem to have been used as weapons in naval battles (being 35 Id., pp. 109 ; Id., pp. 32, 110, 134, 147, 163 ; Callender 1965, pp. 37-41 ; 36 Callender 1965, pp. 25-26 - 23 -
  • launched at enemy ships), boundary marks, acoustic amplifiers and in building construction. Some of these uses are reaffirmed by Carevale & Toffoletti, who mention further the use of amphorae as water ducts and lower halves as lights for ships making port (bound to the prow, with holes made in the walls to let illumination from within get through). Obviously these widely varying examples of secondary use survival show that amphorae were a solid part of every day Roman life, in more ways than one, and they further exemplify the practical nature of the Romans themselves. 1.3.6. Production of amphorae The bare production process of amphorae is in itself not a very controversial issue, although the exact way they were manufactured is still unknown. All amphorae types were made on a pottery wheel, with different forms often requiring different techniques. A Dressel 1 or 2-4 for example has a distinct carinated shoulder, which is the result of the amphora having been thrown on the wheel in two phases (body and neck separately, probably using the coiling technique). These parts would later on be attached to each other, and the spike and handles would be added last. This three-stage throwing process most probably applied to globular and cylindrical amphorae as well. Indirect proof of this can be seen in the general tendency of an amphora breaking at the shoulder, where the joint is frailest. The same holds true for handles and spike. This is why amphorae are so very often found in those specific fragments: structural integrity is inherently weakest at the joints of different elements. This observation was also made by Callender, who comments upon the breakage of amphorae at those distinct points being either a natural occurrence (when falling or being thrown on a waste dump) or a purposeful act (for secondary uses, as seen in 1.3.5).37 After an amphora had been made and filled, it required an airtight stopper. Most often a piece of cork or clay was inserted into the mouth and then covered with pozzolana (sandy volcanic ash, mixed with lime creates a mortar that has watertight properties), which was often stamped. Pitch, resin or lime was used as sealant as well. A more primitive method of stopping was pushing a sufficiently large pineapple down the mouth of the amphora, while a seemingly derivate method concerns the insertion of a so- called anforiskos (a small earthenware flask) and sealing with pozzolana. While the methods above sealed the amphora airtight, some commodities required the treatment of the vessel’s interior as well. Amphorae were sometimes made watertight by being lined with resin (often pine). Traces of this can be found under the right circumstances as a blackish layer on the inside of the wall. Not all products required a resin lining however, such as in the case of olive oil amphorae where the resin would actually contaminate the oil. Proof of this can be found in Newstead’s observation in 1939 of a fatty substance oozing out of the wall of an amphora when warmed, which would have been 37 Id., pp. 31 ; Peacock & Williams 1991, pp. 44-47 ; Caravale & Toffoletti 1997, pp. 12-13 - 24 -
  • olive oil. After all, when a resin lining is not applied the walls remain porous and liquids can enter the wall structure.38 On the subject of amphora kilns, our knowledge stems mainly from Spain, Africa and France. Research in these regions has yielded the locations of numerous kilns, although many of them have been poorly excavated and/or published. All known amphora kilns were updraught kilns, and most of them were round, but there is little standardization apart from that. Amphora kilns have been found single, but also in pairs and batteries. The latter method has been encountered several times along the highly productive Guadalquivir river in Baetica. Kilns in Italy are of relatively rarer number compared to the aforementioned areas, but this is not to say they are not there. After all, Italy (and especially Campania and Latium) has produced a range of immensely popular amphora types for centuries. The best known lie in the former ager Falernus (two kilns) and ager Caecubus (three kilns; Canneto, Monte San Biagio, Torre San Anastasia). Present-day Minturno also boasted two kilns. The kiln near Astura has been known since the end of the 1970’s, and research by the Groningen Institute of Archaeology has resulted in a lot more information concerning this amphora kiln in the ager Pontinus (see chapter 3).39 The three kilns around the lake of Fundi, near Terracina, would have played a significant role in the region as well in the 1st century BC.40 Amphora kilns are also found outside of the central Tyrrhenian area, at for instance Cosa in Toscana (three kilns), Atri/Hadria in Abruzzo (one kiln) and probably Potenza Picena in the Marche (one kiln).41 The larger debate in amphora production concerns who made the vessels. Peacock & Williams give three different ways amphora provision could have been taken care of: a) they were produced on the estate that needed them for transport; b) they were produced by specialized estates; c) they were produced by independent potters. The first two ways fit amphora production in the villa system, and examples of estate production can be found abound in North Africa and France. The Guadalquivir region in Baetica then would have operated either with specialized estates or independent potters, as a multitude of different stamps has often been found at a single estate. The virtually complete absence of amphora kilns in Morocco however suggests production of amphorae abroad for its well developed fish industry, perhaps around Cadiz where huge heaps of fish sauce amphorae have been found. These could indicate independent amphora production for a large region, probably for fish installations on both sides of the Gibraltar Strait.42 38 Id., pp. 12, 18, 49-51 ; Caravale & Toffoletti 1997, pp. 21-22 39 Piccareta 1977 ; Tchernia 1986, pp. 46 40 D’Arms 1981, pp. 36 ; Coarelli, pp. 53 41 Peacock & Williams 1991, pp. 47-48 ; Paterson 1985, pp. 150 ; Tchernia 1986, Carte 1 42 Id., pp. 39-43 - 25 -
  • 1.3.7. Matters of epigraphy: stamps and tituli picti One of the greatest repositories of knowledge concerning the ancient economy comes from the writings on the amphorae themselves. A score of information was sometimes written on the outside of an amphora in the form of tituli picti, or painted inscriptions, while many amphorae were also stamped somewhere on the vessel itself or on the stopper. Tituli picti can give names, contents and shipping locations. Although favorable conditions are required for the preservation of these painted inscriptions, when they are found they are often of great value in a given research. The largest findspot of tituli picti is Monte Testaccio in Rome, where Heinrich Dressel studied them on the millions of amphora sherds there. His work has been reappraised and expanded upon by Rodriguez-Almeida, and has resulted in extensive knowledge concerning the shipping of especially Dressel 20 olive oil amphorae (which make up the bulk of Testaccio). The only thing reminiscent of a titulus pictus in the LAC is the marking on LAC/X59. Unfortunately it could not be refernced in any way. The stamps found beneath the rims, on the handles, or the spikes of amphorae can aid greatly in dating a vessel and locating the estate/workshop where it was produced. However it is still unknown what the name abbreviations on those stamps exactly mean, because contrary to what was thought in the past these stamps do not always seem to indicate the same thing. Paterson suggests two probable meanings of these stamps: either they were the mark of the estate/workshop or its owner where the amphorae were made or filled, or they represent the individual potters of the amphorae. However, the stamps on Dressel 20 amphorae represent the producers of the transported oil itself, which adds a third option. Peacock & Williams state the prevalent opinion edged towards the stamps being representative of estate/workshop owners, at the time of writing Amphorae and the Roman economy. This seems to be the most common meaning of an amphora stamp today as well, but as has been shown it is not the only possibility. The stamps on the stoppers inside the mouths of amphorae are different from those on the vessels itself, and Paterson has mused that they are the mark of the negotiator (see 2.5) who bought the amphorae from an estate and marketed them.43 One of the most recent and promising reference sources of epigraphic amphora information is the database of the CEIPAC (Centro para el Estudio de la Interdependencia Provincial en la Antigüedad Clasica), attached to the University of Barcelona.44 This database holds a catalogue of stamps, tituli picti and graffiti from dozens of amphora types. Most of these catalogue entries have drawings and other relevant data to accompany the epigraphic data. The five stamps encountered in the LAC have been primarily referenced with aid of this database (see 5.2.5). 43 Paterson 1982, pp. 155 ; Callender 1965, pp. xxiii ; Peacock & Williams 1991, pp. 9-14 ; Caravale & Toffoletti 1997, pp. 16-20 44 - 26 -
  • 1.4. AMPHORAE: HISTORICAL ASPECTS 1.4.1. Origins in the East and the Phoenician/Punic amphorae While the amphora tradition really took flight in 7th century BC Greece, the beginnings of this development lie elsewhere and in older times still. Peacock & Williams reflect on the Canaanite jar, which can be called the earliest example of an amphora according to both my and the classical definitions; being a thick-walled biconical vessel with a distinct neck, two vertical handles opposite each other and a tapering body ending in a pointed or rounded base (no distinct spike or truly flat base is present, but the vessels obviously could not stand on their own accord).45 The Canaanite jar is believed to have evolved from rounded vessels with two handles centered on the body, in response to the need for a transport container for bulk commodities that could be handled by one person. The tapering form of the new vessel suited maritime transport much better. Canaanite jars have been found outside the Palestine region from Greece to Egypt, and are believed to have transported wine as well as honey, incense and oil. This icon of Late Bronze Age maritime transport seems to indicate a greatly underestimated trade network, but unfortunately the study of coarse wares from this period still leaves much to be desired and so the picture remains hazy. Pictorial evidence of trade utilizing the Canaanite jar dates to the 15th and 14th century BC, in the form of several wall reliefs in Egypt. The Egyptians soon adopted this new form of transport as well, in favor of their own handle-less containers. They pushed amphora evolution a little further towards the ‘traditional’ shape, creating a vessel based on the Canaanite jar but with a longer and slimmer body.46 The design of the Canaanite jar not only found following in Egypt, but was eventually adopted in the western Mediterranean as well. The Phoenician and later Punic amphora tradition started in the 8th and 7th centuries BC in a form similar to the biconical Canaanite shape, but without the distinct neck thereof. In the Orient its basic shape was retained the most, exemplified by the Anfore fenicie d’Oriente with its tapering lower body and relatively small, high-placed ring-handles. It is dated to the 7th century BC, and functioned presumably as a wine container. In the Phoenician centers of the western and central Mediterranean several typical forms in succession of each other are attested. The first is Forma A (Maña A): a slightly bulbous, bag-like vessel with the characteristic small ring-handles high on the body. This wine amphora was in production from the mid 8th to start 6th century BC in the western Mediterranean, especially on the Iberian Peninsula. At the same time another wine container was produced in the central Mediterranean: Forma B, a biconical amphora more reminiscent of the Canaanite jar, but again without a distinct neck. It is found in great quantities 45 Peacock & Williams 1991, pp. 20 46 Id., pp. 21 - 27 -
  • in the Tyrrhenian area, testament to the intensive maritime trade already occurring in protohistory. This form was joined halfway the 7th century BC by Forma D, which would continue to be produced at the Phoenician/Punic center of Sardinia until the 2nd century BC. This type exemplifies the shift from bag- shaped vessels, hallmark of the Palestine tradition, to the later Punic tradition of slimmer, almost ‘torpedo-shaped’ vessels. In the west Forma A was apparently succeeded by Forma F in the 5th century BC. It is a long, biconical vessel with a rilled body that seems more like a development of the Anfore fenicie d’Oriente then a continuation of Forma A. The widely spread Forma D was used until the 1st century BC for the transport of fish and its derivates and indicates an already high activity concerning fish production along the Strait of Gibraltar, an industry that would remain to play an important part there well into Roman times. The beginning of the 4th century BC sees the introduction of two African forms: Forma E (Maña D) from the Tunisian region and Forma H (Maña C) from the greater North African area. Both forms were widespread, torpedo-shaped wine containers that remained in production until at least the start of the 2nd century BC, although it is speculated that production of Forma H (known in USAP 2005 as Van der Werff 1-3) might even have been continued until the 1st century AD. 47 1.4.2. Ancient Greek amphorae Before Greece adopted the amphora shape, which was not until the 7th century BC, the transport container of choice was the stirrup jar. This vessel was characterized by a ring-base, an ovoid body and handles high on the neck. It was probably not as well suited to maritime transport as the tapering Canaanite jar and does not seem to have survived past Mycenaean and Minoan times. The origin of the first real Greek amphorae is not known, but it is thought the Greeks were influenced by Phoenician or Egyptian prototypes. It is however not unthinkable that the stirrup jar influenced their designs as well, seeing as the majority of older Greek amphorae is made up of relatively small vessels characterized by their ring-bases and ovoid bodies. There is no distinct ‘Greek tradition’, as the various regions and islands making up Greece each produced their own forms. The shapes characterizing each production area possibly indicated their contents. Many Greek amphorae were painted upon as well, which makes it difficult to distinguish between decorative and purely functional amphorae (if there indeed was such a difference). The amphora tradition flourished as soon as it was rooted in classical Greece. Amphorae from Laconia, Attica, Chios and Samos display the characteristic stirrup jar-style ring-base, ovoid body and handles high on the neck. A Corinthian amphora however was the first with a (small) 47 Id, pp. 22; Caravale & Toffoletti 1997, pp. 50-58 ; - 28 -
  • spike and a more piriform body;Tipo B, attested from the end of the 6th to the 2nd century BC, was a wine container as widely distributed as the other Greek forms. Its distinct shape seems to make it a very likely precursor of the later Greco-Italic amphorae (see 1.4.3). From the 4th century BC the island of Rhodes also produced amphorae of similar shape; piriform, tapering vessels with a long neck and ditto band-handles. Rhodes would remain producing wine-carrying amphorae in great numbers until the 2nd century AD.48 The extent of Greek trade and colonization also made sure the amphora tradition was established beyond the Aegean. From the 6th to 2nd century BC amphorae were also made at the Greek colony of Massilia, which is present-day Marseille. Massilia was a thriving colony on the French seaboard, and the first Greek port in Western Europe. The colony was famed for the sweet wine it produced and which it exported in its own line of amphorae. Massilian amphorae were generally piriform, spiked vessels with handles high on the neck. They were relatively small (45-62 cm) and are subdivided in five types succeeding each other in time. Tipo 1 (and to a lesser degree Tipo 5) shows a morphological reminiscence to the aforementioned Corinthinan Tipo B and the later Greco-Italian amphorae. The Massilian amphorae were mostly used for transporting the indicative wine, but fish sauce and olive oil have also been attributed. Massilian amphorae were widely exported in the Iron Age, and the vessels have been found far up north in France and Germany.49 Massilia was founded in 600 BC by Phocaeans: Ionian Greeks from the city of Phocaea (modern-day Foça in Turkey). The Phocaeans were the first to make long voyages at sea, according to Herodotus, and they have been credited with discovering Spain and both the Adriatic and Tyrrhenian coasts. They would have helped settle several cities in Ionia, such as Lampsakos with the aid of Miletos, but their own most important colonies were in the West: Massilia in southern France, Alalia on Corsica, Velia in Italy (Campania) and Emporion in Spain. Some of them would become the largest and most thriving port colonies in their respective regions of their day, further attesting to the Phocaean savvy in trading. These enterprising people could very well have been an important link in the history of amphorae, promoting both wine and olive oil as well as the means to store and transport them overseas.50 1.4.3. The rise of the Italic tradition Although the amphora reinforced its foothold in the Mediterranean maritime trade due to the efforts of the Greeks (and perhaps foremost due to the Phocaeans), there were already amphorae in use on the central Italian mainland apart from the Greek tradition. The Etruscans produced their own transport containers from the end of the 7th to the 3rd century BC, the first types of which show a strong similarity 48 Id., pp. 22-23 ; Id., pp. 59-69 49 Peacock & Williams 1991, pp. 23 50 Caravale & Toffoletti 1997, pp. 72-73 - 29 -
  • to the Phoenician Forma B (see 1.4.1). The Etruscan amphorae may well be successors to those vessels in the Phoenician/Punic tradition, which were produced in great quantities also in the central Tyrrhenian area. Like Forma B, Etruscan amphorae were generally piriform vessels lacking a neck, with fairly thick ring-handles high on the body and a pointed/rounded base, They were primarily used for exporting the wine from the region, but olives, fish and pine nuts might also have been transported. Etruscan amphorae are found in tombs, coastal cities and a multitude of wrecks along the coast stretching to France.51 The Greeks meanwhile founded several colonies on the southern Italian mainland. Southern Italy, being mostly Apulia and Calabria (sometimes Sicily was added as well) was known by the Romans as Magna Graecia. The trade with the settlements in this area caused the Greek amphora tradition to be firmly established here, ultimately giving birth to the line of Greco-Italic amphorae that would directly precede the Roman amphora tradition. Greco-Italic amphorae were both produced and distributed in great quantities, being the primary container of those days. As such they are indicative for the Republican period as far as amphorae are concerned, just as black gloss is indicative for that period in the case of fine ware. There are several typologies for the Greco-Italic amphorae, the best known of which are those of Will and Vandermersch.52 As a full treatise of these forms falls outside the limits of this thesis, I present here the summarized typology by Caravale & Toffoletti in which six types make up the line, namely MGS I- VI. MGS stands for Magna Graecia and Sicily. The MGS amphorae are generally piriform with a high neck, a distinct spike and long ring/band-handles from shoulder to neck. As said, the earliest MGS types closely resemble the Corinthian Tipo B (see 1.4.2). MGS I-III were produced from the second half of the 5th to the end of the 4th century BC and while MGS I-II were distributed mostly in that area, MGS III has also been found in Campania. MGS III sports a distinct triangular rim, which was to become the hallmark of the later MGS amphorae; MGS IV-VI (4th to 2nd century BC). These all have a rim that is triangular in section, and they are the ones most commonly known in literature as ‘Greco- Italic’ and more recently Greco-Italiche antiche. Greco-Italic amphorae were dominantly wine containers, although MGS V has been attested to have carried olives and grapes as well. As the line progressed, MGS amphorae became longer and less globular, resulting in the later Greco-Italiche tarde amphorae (essentially the first Roman amphora, 3rd/2nd century BC) and ultimately the real dawn of Roman amphora tradition: the Dressel 1.53 51 Caravale & Toffoletti 1997, pp. 74-80 52 ; Will 1982 ; Vandermersch 1994 53 Id., pp. 82-89, 97 ; - 30 -
  • 1.4.4. The Roman era: Italian amphorae In the mid 2nd century BC, more precisely around 130 BC, a new wine container hit the Republican market in Italy. Dressel 1A was the direct successor of the Greco-Italic line of amphorae, having evolved from the popular Greco-Italiche tarde. Dressel 1 denominates a group of thick-walled piriform/cylindrical amphorae with a long conical neck, distinct spike, long band-handles from a distinct (carinated) shoulder to neck, and a triangular or straight ‘collar’ rim. There are presently three subtypes Dressel 1, being Tipo A-C. Tipo A and C resemble their Greco-Italic predecessors the most, retaining their somewhat streamlined form. The heavy and sturdy Dressel 1B then has even thicker walls and is generally the largest/bulkiest variant. The Dressel 1 was produced first and foremost in central Italy, along the Tyrrhenian coast. It seems to have been used there especially for carrying the most famous wines of Latium, such as Falernian and Caecuban vintages. Dressel 1 amphorae were used throughout the western Mediterranean basin and central Europe, and shipwrecks containing up to 9000 vessels have been recorded (such as the Albenga wreck).54 Contemporary with the originally Tyrrhenian Dressel 1, another wine amphora was produced along Italy’s opposite coast: Lamboglia 2. This Adriatic amphora, while clearly related to both the Greco- Italic and Dressel 1 forms, would be the start of a distinct line of popular wine containers. It differs from the aforementioned forms mostly in its straight or slightly spreading rim, and the much more ovoid shape of its body. The Republican Lamboglia 2 and Dressel 1 are often found together in shipwrecks in great quantities. Lamboglia 2 was superseded around the time of the Empire’s birth by Dressel 6A; ovoid as well and with a distinct long spike. It was manufactured on both sides of the Adriatic Sea and meant to transport the wines of that region. These wines, though not of such excellent quality as the famous vintages of Campania and Latium, were widely marketed. Production of the Dressel 6A came to an end in the 1st century AD.55 It is interesting to notice that up to now we only know of one confirmed type of Roman olive oil amphora made on Italian soil, from end 2nd to end 1st century BC: the so-called Brindisi amphora. This ovoid vessel with a short spike/knob was produced on the Adriatic coast, and more specifically north of Brindisi, at the same time as Lamboglia 2 and is often found together with said form. GIA research at the Piccareta 15 has indicated that local production of other small olive oil amphorae occurred here as well, but the type has not been sufficiently studied yet. There would be no Italian successor to the Brinidisi amphora; instead olive oil amphorae would be the sole province of Hispania and Africa in later times.56 54 Peacock & Williams 1991, pp. 24 ; Caravale & Toffoletti 1997, pp. 91-92, 98-99 55 Id., pp. 25 ; Id., pp. 92-94, 104, 108 ; and 229 56 Id., pp. 82-83 ; Id., pp. 93, 106 ; Attema et al. 2003, pp. 135 - 31 -
  • While Lamboglia 2 probably evolved quite naturally into Dressel 6A on the Adriatic coast, a much more abrupt change took place in the second half of the 1st century BC along the Tyrrhenian coast. Here Dressel 1 was quite suddenly replaced by Dressel 2-4, which would become the most important wine amphora in the western Mediterranean during the early Empire. Dressel 2-4 has very distinct bifid handles (resembling two joined ring-handles), a cylindrical/piriform body with carinated shoulder and a simple outcurving rim. Why the workshops producing Dressel 1 replaced it by Dressel 2-4 so abruptly is to date still not precisely known, but the general consensus claims the transition was a result of changing drinking habits: the form of Dressel 2-4 was based upon ‘Koan’ prototypes from the Greek island of Kos in the Aegean Sea, which was renowned for its medicinal wines. These wines were made with sea water and would have been quite different from the known Italian vintages, as remarked by Pliny. While such a historical statement cannot be proven archaeologically, it is clear that the thinner- walled Dressel 2-4 meant an increase in capacity and ease of handling over the Dressel 1, making it even more economically viable for maritime trade. In the one and a half century that Dressel 2-4 held prominence in the Mediterranean market, the form was not only produced in Italy (Latium, Campania, Etruria), but also in Spain (Catalonia, Baetica), Gallia and there is evidence for British manufacture as well. All these production sites delivered similar amphorae, attesting to the popularity of this form (and probably the importance of the archetypical Koan design in itself).57 Production of Dressel 2-4 seems to have declined in the 1st century AD together with its Adriatic contemporary Dressel 6A, both coming to a complete stop at the end of that century as they were not superseded by new Italian wine containers. Instead the end of the 1st century AD marks the rise of Gallic amphora and wine as well as the height of competition from the Tarraconese wines. Both Italian and Hispanic wine production though (together with the corresponding amphorae) would then be pushed back from prominence in the Mediterranean market in favor of the massive influx of Gallic wines in the 2nd century AD, which were said to be of superior quality in comparison with most contemporary Italian and Tarraconese wines.58 As Italian wine amphorae stopped to be the most prominent on the Mediterranean market at the end of the 1st century AD, regional and specialist production seemed to have tried to fill a niche and keep Italian production going. From the 1st century BC to 3rd century AD the Forlimpopoli was produced on the northern Adriatic coast; a relatively small piriform/ovoid vessel with a narrow mouth and small base-ring. This amphora was distributed throughout Italy during the reign of Gallic wines, and might have been an efficient competitor due to its size. Peacock points to the continued production of prized Italian vintages (e.g. Falernian, Caecuban) on a much smaller scale, during the obvious decline of large- 57 Id., pp. 24-25, 105-106 ; Id., pp. 93-94, 107 ;, 91-92, 94-96, 101-102, 325-328 58 Caravale & Toffoletti 1997, pp. 94, 113, 119 - 32 -
  • scale export. The Forlimpopoli and other comparable regional amphorae, like the Empoli and Spello, would have transported those famed Italian wines in a time of heavy competition. The same goes for.59 Examples of specialized amphorae then are the Campanian Dressel 21-22, which was used for transporting fruit (i.e. cherries, plums), and the horizontally rilled Richborough 527 from the Lipari Islands, supposedly a container for local alum (used among others in creating the purple of Roman aristocratic robes).60 It would not be until the 4th century AD that a new type of Italian wine container would again be produced in great quantities for export on the larger Mediterranean market. The Keay 52 was quite a small ovoid vessel (ca. 40 cm) with relatively long band-handles from shoulder to neck and a simple base-ring. It would be produced in Calabria and on Sicily (so the Italian tradition essentially went back to its Magna Graecian roots) until the 7th century AD.61 1.4.5. The Roman era: Hispanic amphorae In the Roman period the Iberian Peninsula was called Hispania, and it was divided into three provinces: Tarraconensis, Baetica and Lusitania. The first Spanish (wine) amphorae emulated the most popular amphora of the Republican period; Dressel 1. Imitations of this form were made in the Tarraconese and Baetican provinces. These imitations soon led to a local Tarraconese type: Pascual 1, based upon Dressel 1B but more rounded, most probably used for transporting the prized Tarraconese wines along the Narbonne-Bordeaux route and also further into the Mediterranean. Contemporary wine amphorae from Tarraconensis, Laetana 1 and Oberaden 74, had a more limited, local distribution and are mainly found in France in context of the Narbonne-Bordeaux route. Oberaden 74 was furthermore imitated in great quantities in France, and also found its way to central Europe and Italy. The final ‘Tarraconese’ amphora to be widely distributed in the Mediterranean and central Europe alike was Dressel 2-4 Catalan, which was also produced in Hispania and replaced mainly Pascual 1. The rise to dominance of Narbonese wines from Gaul at the end of the 1st century AD would bring an end to large-scale wine export from Hispania, in an economic decline similar to the situation in Italy.62 While Tarraconensis thus experienced an economic setback due to the decline and halt of major wine export at the end of the Augustan period, Baetica became from that moment on the region that would produce the most widely distributed amphorae of the early Empire. This was a result of the mass- production of the famous Baetican olive oil, which would dominate the Roman market until the 3rd 59 Id., pp. 109 ; and 290 60 Id., pp. 94, 111 ; Peacock & Williams 1991, pp. 27 ; and 286 61 Id., pp. 94, 112 ; 62 Peacock & Williams 1991, pp. 24, 93-95 ; Caravale & Toffoletti 1997, pp. 118-120, 123-125 ; and 94 - 33 -
  • century AD. This olive oil had been distributed from the beginning of the Augustan period onward mainly to military sites along the limes of Germania, Rome and even pre-conquest Britain in Oberaden 83 (Haltern 71, Dressel 25), a piriform vessel with a stumpy spike. As the Empire grew and olive oil was needed across Europe and the Mediterranean in greater quantities and not only on military sites, it evolved into an amphora which could hold a great deal of the product while being sturdy enough to survive transport when shipped in bulk: Dressel 20. Dressel 20 is one of the most attested and studied amphorae in archaeology, principally because of the millions of sherds of this type at Monte Testaccio in Rome. Dressel 20 is a globular form with very thick walls, a short stumpy spike and often a distinct rim that is incurving inside. The rim variations displayed by Dressel 20 amphorae over the course of its three-century production (perhaps even somewhat longer) make it one of the few amphorae of which more precise datings can be given. The very nature of amphorae makes it generally very difficult to date them in smaller intervals than half a century. Dressel 20 has moreover been very important for the study because of the wealth of stamps and written information found upon amphorae of this type (see 1.3.4). The entire production line of the Baetican Dressel 20 resided along the Guadalquivir river in present-day Andalusia, between the cities of Seville and Cordoba, and was exported throughout the Roman Empire from the 1st to 3rd century AD.63 Being a very heavy amphora, though arguably with great capacity, Dressel 20 ran into stiff competition with the North African olive oil amphorae in the late 2nd century AD. Lighter but with comparable capacity, the Africana and Tripolitana vessels were more efficient then the Baetican veteran. Thus its smaller successor Dressel 23, a tuned-down piriform version of Dressel 20, was devised in the 3rd century AD as a Baetican countermeasure to the increased African competition. This form would be produced well into the 6th century AD.64 Baetica not only thrived because of the olive oil, but was also practically market leader in the 1st and 2nd centuries AD when it came to fish products. The processing facilities along the Baetican southern coast produced all kinds of fish sauce and fish conserves (see 1.3.1), and a distinct group of Baetican amphorae was used to transport those commodities. They include Dressel 7-11, 14 and 17, Beltrán I, IIA (Dressel 38) and IIB, and Pompei VII. Except for Dressel 17 these amphorae all tend to be fairly large ovoid vessels with a long (often hollow) spike, a wide neck and long band-handles. The Beltrán and Pompeii types display the most characteristic body, which widens towards the spike in a ‘sagging’ piriform manner. Dressel 17 on the other hand has a distinct narrow, tapering body. All of these amphorae carried a variety of fish sauces, except Dressel 14 which transported fish conserves in general. 63 Id., pp. 26-28, 134-140 ; Id., pp. 120, 132 ; and 258 64 Id., pp. 28, 141 ; Id., pp. 120, 133 ; - 34 -
  • As they were all produced in the same period, being the 1st and 2nd centuries AD, it is quite possible that these various discernable amphora types were linked to a particular sort of fish sauce (for there were several, see 1.3.1) or perhaps represented distinct (groups of) processing facilities. After the 2nd century AD Baetica lost its foothold in this industry, and Mauretania became the Empire’s premiere supplier of fish products, while Lusitania seemed to take control of the corresponding amphorae manufacture.65 Two final Baetican amphorae worthy of note are Dressel 28 and Haltern 70. The first is reminiscent of the successful Tarraconese Oberaden 74, and was seemingly used for the transport of fish conserves or wine. If the form of Roman amphorae was indicative of its contents and/or location of the contents’ origin, which seems very much the case, emulating a popular wine amphora from a distinguished wine- producing area can be speculated as a favorable selling strategy. It was produced from the 1st through 2nd century AD, making it a contemporary of Baetican dedicated amphorae for fish products. Haltern 70 then was used solely for the transport of the prized defrutum (see 1.2.1), making it a unique specialized local amphora as far as current archaeological research can attest. This type was produced from the 1st century BC through 1st century AD and looks like it might be a predecessor of Dressel 7-11, at least typologically speaking.66 On the Iberian Peninsula not only the Spanish provinces manufactured amphorae. Lusitania, which is present-day Portugal, had a thriving fish industry from the 3rd to 5th century AD, having replaced that of Baetica in the preceding centuries together with Mauretanian production. The earliest Lusitanian amphora was Beltrán 4B of the 2nd century AD, reminiscent and perhaps a contemporary of the earliest Baetican fish sauce amphorae. From the 3rd to 5th century AD four important Lusitanian amphorae were manufactured. Beltrán 72 was a scaled-down version of the Baetican Beltrán 2A and 2B, while Almagro 50 still resembled those containers as well. Almagro 51 A-B and 51C then were probably vessels of local origin (although Peacock mentions a possible relationship between the 51C and Gauloise 4, see 1.4.6). Almagro 50 had a long cylindrical body with short handles, while the 51A-B and 51C types were more piriform.67 1.4.6. The Roman era: Gallic amphorae Massalia, which had been one of the most important wine-exporting colonies in Magna Graecia from the 6th to 2nd century BC, had sided with Rome against Carthage but ultimately lost its independence by 65 Id., pp. 117-127 ; Id., pp. 121-122, 126-131 ;, 47, 65-66, 77, 86, 115 and 119 66 Caravale & Toffoletti 1997, pp. 121, 134-135 ; and 148 67 Peacock & Williams 1991, pp. 128-133 ; Caravale & Toffoletti 1997, pp. 122, 136-139 ;, 13, 15 and 42 - 35 -
  • joining sides with Pompeius during the Civil War. Julius Caesar took control of the former colony and dubbed the new Roman city Massalia. The Greek Massalian wine and amphora monopoly was over. During the Roman Republic, southern France had become a primary market for Italian wine, which was exported to the new province of Gaul mainly in Dressel 1 amphorae. These containers, as well as the Tarraconese imitation Pascual 1, would be imitated in Gaul at first as wine production in the present-day Languedoc and Provence areas continued under Roman rule. In the Augustan period then the Tarraconese wine amphora Oberaden 74 was imitated in great quantities in Gaul. The improvements made in Gaul under Roman rule ameliorated the wine production and Gallic wines experienced such a tremendous boost in popularity during the 1st entury AD that the roles were reversed; Gaul became the exporter, Italy the importer. In the 2nd century AD, the export of Gallic wines overshadowed both the hitherto most popular Italian as well as Tarraconese wines. This coincided with the emergence of a local line of Gallic wine amphorae: Gauloise 1-16. These thin-walled, piriform, flat- bottomed amphorae seem to have evolved from the Baetican Oberaden 74. Of all the Gauloise amphorae, Gauloise 4 is without doubt the most important and well known, having meant for Gallic wine what Dressel 20 had meant for Baetican olive oil. Gauloise 4 had such thin walls that it needed to be wrapped in straw for protection (see 1.2.2), making it one of the lightest and most fragile amphorae of all time. This did mean that it had a far greater relative capacity than the larger, more thick-walled Dressel 1 and 2-4. Gauloise 4 would thus also have been one of the most efficient amphorae ever with its outstanding volume-to-weight ratio, weighing a third of its contents while a Dressel 1 weighed almost as much as the wine it carried. Gauloise 4 was produced from the 1st to 3rd century AD. It displays similarities to the Lusitanian Almagro 51C, which might very well have imitated the popular Gallic form, and even more to the Mauretanian Dressel 30 (Keay IA/B) by which it was later copied (as happened often between French and Iberian amphorae, even when being used for different products). Although wine was arguably Gaul’s primary export product up to the 3rd century AD, the coastal zone responsible for producing fish derivates also stretched to southern France. Pliny mentions popular fish sauces being produced at Antibes and Fréjus. To transport these fish products, local imitations of Baetican amphorae like Dressel 7-11 were used, as well as dedicated local types. The most important of these were the fairly large, cylindrical Dressel 16 and the smaller, globular Anfore Fréjus Lenzbourg. Both were produced at Fréjus, which had been founded by the same Phocaeans that had founded Massilia/Massalia (Marseille). Like Marseille, Fréjus received a considerable boost during the Roman period when it was known as Forum Iulii, and would grow out to be one of the most important ports of the region. Production of these amphorae took place simultaneously between the 1st and 2nd century AD, which again might indicate that the form was indicative for the contents (different fish sauce; - 36 -
  • different amphora). Gallic amphora production, as well as export of the commodities transported therein, declined together with the importance of the province in the 3rd century AD. Wine in the later period was mostly produced in Italy, Greece and the Middle East, while North Africa became the sole producer of fish products.68 1.4.7. The Roman era: African amphorae In Augustan times Africa Proconsularis denoted merely a province comprising present-day Tunisia. Tripolitania then roughly denoted Libya, while Mauretania Caesariensis corresponded roughly with Algeria. Provincial division was later rearranged by Diocletian, but had no effect on amphora production localities. The main commodity produced and exported from the African provinces was olive oil, followed by fish sauce. Wine was hardly exported, save from Mauretania. The Spanish olive oil export had never gained such a foothold in North Africa and the eastern Mediterranean as it did in the west, as local supplies were readily available in Africa Proconsularis and Tripolitania. Amphorae carrying olive oil from Tripolitania are already found in 1st century AD contexts at Pompeii. All across Africa wine and olive oil amphorae were made and distributed locally during the Late Republic and Early Empire, such as Beirut 3 and Leptiminius 1, but still the oil would not be widely marketed abroad until the 3rd century AD, when production and corresponding export of Baetican olive oil declined.69 Dressel 20 functioned as the primary container for olive oil until the 3rd century AD. At the beginning of that century the Baetican production and export of that commodity experienced a contraction, brought about at first by competition of the more efficient (lighter) African amphorae and later by direct state intervention; Septimius Severus confiscated most Baetican estates during his rule in the first half of the 3rd century AD. Although nowhere explicitly stated and nearly impossible to prove, the fact that Severus was born in Leptis Magna (Tripolitania) could in my opinion very well have had something to do with this action, as it essentially caused increased exports of products and amphorae of his home country and North Africa in general. After all, the floruit of Baetican production and export also surely did not coincidentally occur during the reign of the Baetican-born Trajan and his successor Hadrian, who grew up in Baetica. Between the 3rd and 5th century AD North African amphorae were the most attested in the western Mediterranean. The rise to dominance of African amphorae started rather inconspicuously with Tripolitanian 1, an olive oil container which was evidently produced in Tripolitana. It displays the 68 Peacock & Williams 1991, pp. 27, 142-148 ; Caravale & Toffoletti 1997, pp. 113-117 ;, 13-138, 140, 273, 321-322, and 334-341 69 and 352 - 37 -
  • dominant African (olive oil) amphora form: cylindrical, with small and thick ring- or band-handles on the neck and a distinct spike. Tripolitanian amphorae moreover boast an indicative ‘stepped’ rim. These morphological characteristics essentially represent the final evolution of the Punic tradition, which had ended with the torpedo-shaped Forma E and H (Van der Werff 1-3) around the 2nd century BC. This fact is even more evident in Tripolitanian 2 (transporting olive oil and fish sauce), basically a larger version of Forma H, similar to it even up to the small handles on the body (atypical considering the other African amphorae, which always have handles on the neck). The article by Gibbins concerning the Plemmirio B wreck also hints upon the difficulty of distinguishing between these two forms based only on seeing a hand-specimen. In the work of Peacock & Williams the striking reminiscence of Tripolitanian 2 to Forma H was already mused upon as increasing the likelihood of the latter having been in production for longer than was accepted up until then. This recently confirmed in the USAP 2005.70 The Libyan Tripolitanian 1 and 2 were produced from the 1st to 2nd century AD and distributed mostly regionally, although small-scale exportation seems to have been commonplace. It would not be until the end 2nd and start of the 3rd century AD that African amphorae acquired a solid foothold in the greater Mediterranean market with the Tunisian Africana I and 2 models (respectively known by the popular denominations piccolo and grande). These cylindrical forms, with their in general quite simple outcurving or thickened rims, were distributed much more widely then Tripolitanian 1 and 2, which is as much a testament to their great capacity and efficiency as well as a consequence of the diminishing Baetican export of olive oil and fish products. It is now thought that the slim Africana I functioned primarily as olive oil amphora, while certain types of the bulkier Africana 2 might have been reserved specifically for fish derivates. This idea is based upon recent maritime finds and is already significantly altering the established notion that African cylindrical amphorae were mainly used for the transport of olive oil (see also 1.3.3).71 The Africana I and 2 were produced from end 2nd to the 4th century AD, with a peak in Severan times at the beginning of the 3rd century AD. During this period, more specifically from the 3rd through 4th century AD, Tripolitanian 3 was also in production. Having lost the initiative and most probably acknowledging the success of the Tunisian models, the Libyan workshops came with their own new cylindrical olive oil amphora, characterized by the ‘stepped’ Tripolianian rim and slightly concave body walls. For all intents and purposes they succeeded: Tripolitanian 3 became widely distributed throughout the Mediterranean and the form is represented in large numbers in Rome.72 Again this 70 Gibbins 2001, pp. 313 ; Peacock & Williams 1991, pp. 152 ; and 305 71 Id., pp. 315-316 ;, 3-6 72 - 38 -
  • evident popularity might very well have been stimulated by Severus, as during his rule olive oil was distributed daily among Rome’s populace. These annona provisions had previously been fulfilled by Dressel 20. It does not come as a surprise that Dressel 20 and Tripolitanian 3 fragments make up the bulk of Monte Testaccio. At the height of exports from Africa also wine was exported from that continent, which must have competed heavily with the contemporary vintages from Gaul. A unique produce of Mauretania Caesariensis (Algeria), Dressel 30 (Keay 1A/B) was manufactured from the 3rd to 4th century AD. The form of this amphora is unmistakably similar to that of Gauloise 4, the reigning wine-container at that time, and was surely a successful copy thereof. It was distributed mostly in the eastern Mediterranean, as well as Switzerland and England.73 Africana I and 2 were succeeded in the 4th century AD by what are mostly called amfore cilindriche di medie dimensioni (della tarda età imperiale): a loose group of about thirty similar amphora types described by Keay in his 1984 work. These amphorae bear many similarities to and were mostly also produced in the same workshops as the Africana models, albeit in somewhat smaller quantities. Their contents seem to have been predominantly fish products, although olive oil has also been attested. They seem to have gradually replaced the Africana 1 and 2, and are since recently known as Africana 3A-C. Production of these middle-sized cylindricals ceased in the 5th century AD.74 In the 4th century AD another Tunisian amphora was developed: the Spatheion. These vessels (which can be distinguished in three subtypes) are characteristically slender and small, although their height is very variable. Apart from their long lifespan (to the 7th century AD), the most remarkable about these vessels is the variability of contents: olive oil, olives, fish conserves, wine; they were all transported in the Spatheion. Other than in Tunisia, this amphora-of-all-trades might also have been produced in Cartagena (Spain).75 The Africana 3 types were succeeded in the 5th century AD by the amfore cilindriche di grandi dimensioni (della tarda età imperiale). Again this term denotes several similar vessels, which were used predominantly for the transport of olive oil. The distribution of these vessels extended mainly to the eastern Mediterranean, up through the 7th century AD. In the USAP 2005 database this score of late cylindricals can be found under their original Keay types.76 The study of African amphorae is booming as of late and new types are being discovered regularly. I suspect that established typologies might change more in the coming years as new information becomes available. 73 and 329 74, 309 and 310 75, 363 and 364 76 Peacock & Williams 1991, pp. 28-29, 153-172, 202-203 ; Caravale & Toffoletti 1997, pp. 140-152 - 39 -
  • 1.4.8. The Roman era: eastern Mediterranean amphorae During the Roman era, Greece and the rest of the eastern Mediterranean continued to produce their own lines of amphorae, which were all of fairly small size (50-100 cm) and almost exclusively used for the transport of local, often prized wines. They are also more often then not horizontally rilled, which is generally seen as a morphological characteristic of (late) eastern amphorae. The most widely distributed of these date to the Late Empire, although a few less numerous forms were already in the market during the Early and Middle Empire. These early Roman eastern amphorae are predominantly of Aegean origin. The earliest of these is known as tardo Rodie (Caulodunum 184) or simply Rhodian Type.77 These piriform vessels with their characteristically pointed handles represent the culmination of Rhodian wine amphorae production. It was produced and distributed throughout the Mediterranean and central Europe from the 1st century BC to the 2nd century AD. Another early, most probably eastern amphora is Camulodunum 189, known as the ‘carrot amphora’ for its tapering form and deep rilling. Although its origins are uncertain, the fabric suggests a desert environment, which complements the characteristic rilling as hints to a Palestinian origin. This form is said to have contained dates.78 Asia Minor produced the Agora F65-66 from the 1st century BC to 4th century AD. While its contents are still unknown, it has been established that this form is the forerunner of the Late Roman 3.79 From the 1st to 4th century AD several Aegean, Turkish and Egyptian wine amphorae were marketed in the Mediterranean. The island of Crete is now known for at least four types of smallish wine container; Crétoise 1 (Agorà G197) to Crétoise 3 and Dressel 43, which is sometimes called the fourth in that line. This latter is similar to the Rhodian Type with even more pronounced pointed handles. All have a regional to central Mediterranean distribution from the 1st to 4th century AD.80 From the greater Aegean came the Kapitän I and 2; ovoid/tapering wine containers with often long necks (rilled in the case of type 2) and long handles. Kapitän I was distributed in the Mediterranean basin, principally in Italy, Greece and Cyprus. The smaller Kapitän 2 is besides in the Mediterranean also found in Britannia and Germania, as well as in Russia and Iraq. Both were produced from the 2nd to 4th century AD.81 Agorà M54, another wine amphora, was produced in Cilicia (Turkey) from the 1st to 3rd century AD and distributed throughout the Mediterranean basin. It has a distinct semi-cylindrical form with pronounced pointed handles, which might well be an emulation of that aspect on the aforementioned Rhodian and Cretese amphorae. The Egyptian anfore bitroncoconiche then clearly has much older 77 78 79 80, 61, 111 and 323 81 and 155 - 40 -
  • roots, dating back to the dawn of the entire amphora tradition itself with its similarity to the earliest Canaanite biconical amphorae. It was produced from the 1st to 4th century AD and distributed mostly regionally, although some have been found in Italy. From the 4th century onward (wine) amphorae from the eastern Mediterranean became even more widely distributed in the west, at a time when the heydays of Gallic wine are over and Italian wine amphorae experience a rebirth. The Egyptian anfore bitroncoconiche was succeeded by Egloff 172 (4th to 5th century AD), which has the same regional distribution but a somewhat greater occurrence in the western Mediterranean. It was in turn succeeded by Late Roman 7 (Egloff 177) as the last Egyptian wine amphora (5th to 7th century AD).82 Turkey and Asia Minor in general also came to experience a greater popularity in the Mediterranean and the rest of Europe, as well as on the coasts of the Black Sea, from the 4th century onward. The small Late Roman 1 is a prime example hereof, produced from Cilicia to Syria and Rhodes in massive quantities from the 5th to 6th/7th century AD as a general purpose amphora (containing wine, olive oil, etc.). Late Roman 3, a rilled ovoid/biconical vessel with distinct small handles and narrow mouth, was produced in Asia Minor from the 4th to 7th century AD. Its contents are said to be wine or caroenum: a sweet honey-wine as appreciated as the defrutum carried by the Baetican Haltern 70 in the days of the Early Empire. Greece also produced a wine amphora with the same wide distribution in those final halcyon days of the amphora tradition: the globular Late Roman 2 from the island of Chios. It as well was produced from the 4th to 7th century AD. Even farther east, back in the birth ground of the amphora, the classical Palestine tradition - bag- shaped (rilled) vessels with small ring handles and no distinct neck - had endured for almost nineteen centuries. These amphorae had continued to be popular in the Levant with a predominantly local distribution. From the 4th to 6th century AD this tradition is represented in a state of market revival by Late Roman 4, a widely distributed amphora used first and foremost for transporting the famed wine of the Gaza region. Other prized wines from Palestine would be transported in the small, bag-shaped Late Roman 5/6 from the 5th to 8th century AD.83 1.4.9. Amphorae in post-Antiquity In the mid 7th century AD the large-scale export of eastern amphorae ceased with the Arab conquests. Although amphorae were continued to be produced, it was mostly on a small and local scale. Around the 8th century AD the bulk-shipping of wine and olive oil had stopped almost completely, and amphorae are rare from that point in time onward. In Medieval times olive oil seems to have been 82 and 243 83 Peacock & Williams 1991, pp. 28-29, 109, 173-209 ; Caravale & Toffoletti 1997, pp. 154-170 ;, 239-240, 267, 351 - 41 -
  • transported mostly in skins, while wooden casks were used for wine. After the Middle Ages olive oil is also commonly transported in so-called olive jars, globular/tapering vessels with a rounded/pointed base, which are remarkably similar to the original Canaanite jar, with the singular exception of not having any handles. The olive jars can thus not be called amphorae, although they are surely a rudiment of that tradition and were probably used in a similar way. Early forms of the olive jar have a fabric which is almost indistinguishable from that of certain Dressel 20 amphorae, suggesting the same Guadalquivir region of production which was responsible for so many amphorae during the Roman Empire. The amphora tradition still lives on today in certain rural areas in the Mediterranean as well as in North Africa and the Levant for the storage and transport of water and oil.84 84 Peacock & Williams 1991, pp. 29 - 42 -
  • 2. ROMAN MARITIME TRADE In this chapter the maritime component of Roman trade will be discussed. Aspects hereof are the three exchange mechanisms, ships, ports, trade routes and the organization of trade. I will also review the ongoing debate between historians and archaeologists concerning the ancient economy and that of the Roman maritime trade in particular, as the Roman economy as a whole was a complex machine in which amphorae functioned as essential gears. The study of amphorae is meant to further our understanding of the ancient economy, which is why I feel it is imperative to summarize the theories that have accompanied this subject in the past century.85 2.1. EXCHANGE MECHANISMS: THREE MODES OF TRADE 2.1.1. Reciprocity The notion of trade in archaeology is somewhat different from the general idea, in that it does not only apply to that nowadays most common form of exchange where making profit is the highest goal. This particular mode of exchange, known as free market trading, is only one of three exchange systems used in Antiquity. Each of these systems was in effect on different levels of and relations within society. The most basic exchange system is reciprocity, which can often be equaled to gift giving. In an act of reciprocity, one person (henceforth called A) gives another person (henceforth called B) an object or commodity without requiring direct compensation. A essentially gives B a gift and it is assumed B will in time return the favor, thus creating a personal obligation. When this mode of exchange takes place amongst equals, it is called positive reciprocity (close kin or friends). It is called balanced when the exchange occurs within a definite social context (between villages or tribes). Negative reciprocity then takes place when A tries to outdo B, usually amongst strangers or over long social distances. An example of reciprocity in the Roman period is a gift of amphorae with exotic contents from aristocrat A to aristocrat B, or from A to his guests upon return from a long trip. Reciprocity was probably more important than it seems at first glance, as it could be used to great political effect. Reciprocal hospitality also played a large part in Roman life, exemplified by wealthy Roman A on the road staying over at the villa of B. This hospitality would later be compensated by a banquet at A, for example. Reciprocity is unfortunately rather hard to detect archaeologically, but there are cases that 85 Part of this chapter has appeared in an internal GIA article by my hand for dr. S. Voutsaki, concerning a theoretical treatise on the Roman maritime economy with an added amphora case study (Pape, 2006). - 43 -
  • might register in a research, such as a few rare amphorae found at a villa well outside their normal distribution area.86 2.1.2. Redistribution The second mode of exchange is redistribution. In this system a central person or organization procures relevant commodities from several areas (often as a tribute) and then redistributes them to those that need them. That way geography is overcome and people can receive goods that are not normally available to them in their own area. Redistribution is a feature of more complex, and centrally organized societies. As this mode of exchange requires a coherent political organization (such as a nation or empire), it is a form of internal exchange. Redistribution was arguably the most important exchange system in the Roman world. During the days of the Empire, essential foodstuffs were gathered from all provinces under Roman dominion and redistributed amongst those who needed it. The annual grain redistribution, the tax in kind known as the annona, was essential to feed the ever increasing population of Rome. As the citizens of Rome eventually needed more foodstuffs than could be produced in the city’s hinterland, a lot had to be imported. The annona brought grain in bulk from producing provinces to the capital (like from Egypt, courtesy of the Puteoli-Alexandria route), where it was redistributed amongst the populace. As the Empire endured, the state got ever more involved with this trade and its accordant legislation (see 2.6). The grain at first was handed out in fixed rations at a subsidized price, but later on it became completely free (although not everyone was entitled to it). In the Late Empire at least amphora-borne commodities were part of a redistributive scheme involving the capital city, known as the species annonariae, granting oil, wine and other commodities to the needy people of Rome. Another scheme, the annona militaris, made sure that the soldiers guarding the frontiers of the Empire received their daily subsistence. The produce of Baetican olive oil for example accounted for a significant part of this tax in kind during the Early Empire. Both of these schemes involved the transport of massive amounts of amphorae over time. The hardest part of identifying redistribution in the archaeological record is distinguishing it from the third mode of exchange: free market trading.87 2.1.3. Free market trading Market trading was undoubtedly an aspect of the Roman economy, as it had been in ancient Greece. Free market trading as a mode of exchange suggests a central location where exchange takes place, in 86 Renfrew & Bahn 2000, pp. 353-355 ; Polanyi et al. 1957, pp. 250-256 ; Peacock & Williams 1991, pp. 57-59 87 Id., pp. 354 ; Idem ; Id., pp. 56-57 - 44 -
  • general a monetary system, as well as the possibility of bargaining and other price negotiations. The central location can be internal like a rural market, but also external like a port-of-trade in another country. Market trading occurs primarily when exchange is brought outside close social circles and making profit becomes the principal goal of the exchange. As said in 2.1.2, market trading and redistribution are difficult to distinguish from each other in an archaeological sense, at least in simpler societies. While it is certain that market trading existed in Roman times it is difficult to judge in which quantities. Peacock & Williams argue that this distinction is made easier when it comes to very large-scale exchange, as both modes would result in a different distribution pattern (diffuse with market trading, geographically restricted with redistribution). To make this distinction it is imperative that there is quantified data, and good knowledge concerning function and chronology of find sites. Amphorae can be used in this respect. One of the most famous examples is the pattern created by Dressel 1 amphorae bearing the stamp of Sestius. These vessels originated from a single Late Republican estate near Cosa and are found all over the southwestern Mediterranean (but not in Italy south of Cosa, remarkably). The amphorae were found in shipwrecks and towns of differing size and wealth level with no coherence in function, which makes the pattern a very probable creation of market trading. The big question remaining however is how important free market trading was compared to the tied trade of redistribution. Amphora studies might help sort out this problem, but it will require much more statistical archaeological research (which is lacking when it comes to amphorae) as well as better cooperation with historians (see 2.6).88 2.2. TECHNICAL AND LOGISTICAL ASPECTS OF ROMAN TRADE 2.2.1. Ships To ferry the multitude of goods produced in the Roman heartland and provinces from one port to the other, one had to have a decent ship at his disposal. In Roman times various freighters were in use, and their size and tonnage steadily increased in time. The appearance of these ships varies wildly, but certain patterns can be distinguished from ancient depictions of these ships. These depictions, being mostly frescoes or mosaics, are almost always quite crude and not to scale, thus permitting us to only recognize the most basic characteristics of a ship. The shape of the prow for instance seems to have come in two distinct variations, thereby dividing Roman ships in symmetrical and asymmetrical types: a) the common rounded prow as used for most 88 Id., pp. 354-355 ; Idem ; Id., pp. 59-63 - 45 -
  • sailing vessels in the past as well as the present, or b) a concave prow ending in a jutting, often decorated cutwater at the waterline, similar to the rams of ancient warships.89 The most commonly depicted asymmetrical type is the twin-masted ponto, while the most popular symmetrical one had stem and stern equally high, creating a tub-like round ship called a corbita.90 Most ships were adorned with a sternpost, on either side of which the ship’s name appeared on a carving. The deckhouse is almost always represented aft. Between deckhouse and sternpost the helmsman controlled the movement of the ship. The aft section also housed the tutela, the image of the ship’s guardian deity. The ship’s name and divine guardian (most popular were Isis, Asclepius and the Dioscuri) were sometimes the same. A portable altar to seek protection before the onset of a long journey or to pay homage after a safe voyage was carried on all ships as far as is known, which is a clear reminder of how religion was interwoven with daily life in Antiquity. The standard rig in Antiquity was a large, square sail amidships to provide most of the drive. This mainsail was later joined by a foresail, which by the 1st century AD was either quite small or so large it qualified as a second mainsail. Larger ships had a small topsail added to their mainsail for increased drive on open water, while for even more drive the largest vessels were also equipped with a mizzen: a smaller sail midway between mainsail and sternpost. Limited to these sails ancient freighters provided safe but slow passage, as the use of multiple topsails did not catch on until the later ages (something which almost tripled the speed of a ship).91 As the Republic turned into the Empire and demands for bulk products grew, the size and tonnage of the ships needed to carry them increased accordingly. The smallest Roman freighters then had a tonnage of 75 (1.500 amphorae), and the average type between 75 and 200 (2.000-3.000 amphorae). The largest Roman ships were topped to the brim with amphorae. Examples of these large freighters are the wrecks of La Madrague de Giens (off Toulon), Grand Congloué (off Marseille) and that of Albenga (Liguria, Italy), which each had a tonnage of 250 or larger (more than 6.000 amphorae, approx. 9.000 for the Albenga vessel). These wrecks are some of the best preserved, which is a boon caused by the amphorae themselves; the heap of containers and sherds created after the ships had landed on the seabed shielded the vulnerable wood of the hull. This is also why the hulls of warships and merchant ships carrying grain are never found.92 The largest commonly used freighters in Antiquity (thus discounting the 2.000 ton super freighter Syracosia of Hiero II of Syracuse, which was as unique as it was gargantuan93) were those vessels used in 89 Casson 1994, pp. 109-110 90 Rougé 1981, pp. 175-177 91 Casson 1994, pp. 111-115 92 Id., pp. 103-104 ; Carevale & Toffoletti 1997, pp. 34-38 93 Morrison 1980, pp. 53 - 46 -
  • the Alexandria-Rome annona run. Because of the relatively small window of sailing opportunity in the ancient Mediterranean, preferably from April to October because of the dependable weather, as much product as possible had to be hauled at once; oversized ships were the only answer. We know how big these freighters could be, thanks to an accident in the 2nd century AD where one such freighter was blown off course and ended up in Athens’ harbor, Piraeus. This ship, the Isis, would have been able to carry 1.200-1.300 tons of cargo. Mighty ships indeed, and eighty of these in a ‘wheat fleet’ could easily have carried the 135.000 tons of grain provided by Egypt to Rome each year.94 2.2.2. Ports The Roman world was blessed with a remarkable number of ports, both small and large. These ports operated under a certain hierarchy, both maritime (i.e. sea or river harbors) and economic (i.e. international or national harbors). While most of these ports were continuations or improved version of older ones, some were specifically redesigned or created completely new. A small port, called a marina, was in general a natural harbor, like a protected cove with a sheltered beach, well-suited for ships to drop anchor. Ports like this dotted the coast of Italy and the provinces, being used for both fishing and trade. Traffic that hugged the coast thus had a large number of possible stops available to them. Such ports could also be used a local points of distribution. The same effectively goes for private ports servicing coastal estates, although these were most often man-made.95 The large Roman ports were always at least partially artificial, located on either the coast itself or the mouth of a river, and with either one or more basins depending on its importance. A good example of a large continuous port is that of Alexandria in Egypt, which did not change much from Hellenistic through Roman times. The case of Rome however was different from the beginning. At the time of the Republic, Ostia served only as forward maritime colony that defended the entry of the Tiber from seaborne attacks. In those days freighters sailed up the Tiber to Rome itself, where goods were unloaded at the foot of the Aventine hill. During the Second Punic War a former Greek port on the Bay of Naples, Puteoli (present-day Pozzuoli), became Rome’s main trade port. While Caesar and Augustus had plans for a man-made port at Ostia, this project would not take effect until the reign of Claudius. Alongside Ostia the harbor called Portus was created. Claudius’ circular basin was already a kilometer in diameter, but due to vulnerability to the weather a slightly smaller hexagonal basin was added under Trajan. Being 94 Casson 1994, pp. 123-124 95 Rougé 1981, pp. 169-170 - 47 -
  • more landward, it was connected to Claudius’ basin that from then on served as outer harbor. All this expansion resulted in the port at Puteoli losing considerable importance.96 While only the facilities of Portus and probably Arles were created wholly anew, all across the Mediterranean ports were improved and enlarged during the Roman period. In Italy, ports like Ancona and Centumcellai were renovated under Trajan, who completely rehashed the latter from a simple marina to a well-protected port called Civitavecchia. The importance of less well-known ports all along the Italian coast should not be dismissed, as they will have been integral links in the chain of (re)distribution of goods. Between Rome/Ostia/Portus and Puteoli for instance lay a whole stretch of coast which will have boasted several smaller ports, most of which would have been attended by ships hugging the coast between the two large harbors, and some of them having sent out freighters themselves. An important example of such a port is Tarracina/Anxur (present-day Terracina), which is situated at the southeastern edge of the Pontine region near Circeo. The port at Terracina is now thought to have been an intermediate way station between the two large Roman harbors, supplying the Urbs with Sicilian grain in particular, but also exporting wine on a grand scale. 97 Terracina will return later in this thesis in relation to the Latial wine trade in Roman times (see 5.2.6). In Africa, under Septimius Severus, the old port of his hometown Leptis Magna in Tripolitania was transformed into a monumental basin harbor, which was seen as one of the most beautiful of the ancient world (in so far a port can be called aesthetically pleasing). The port was short-lived as it soon silted over and was subsequently abandoned, but it had served its purpose of reminding the people where that particular emperor of the Roman Empire hailed from. Other important harbors in Africa were those of Carthage and other Punic cities, whose use was resumed after the wars and which were incorporated into the Empire. In Gaul, the ports of Marseille and Narbonne were the most important during the Early Empire. While little is known about the continuity of Narbonne, Marseille severely declined in later centuries. To keep Gaul economically running, a new harbor was created at Arles. This complex used two rivers, the Rhône and Saône, through which products could be moved up to destinations along the Seine, Meuse and Rhine. On the Atlantic side of the provinces most harbors, except old Cádiz, had been built on river estuaries. Ports like those of Bordeaux (Burdigala), Seville (Hispalis) and London (Londinium) were all miles from the sea but still managed to become major economic centers. 96 Id., pp. 170-172 97 Coarelli 1990, pp. 55 - 48 -
  • In the East then a large complex already existed on the mouth of the Orontes, near Antioch. This harbor bore similarities to Portus in functionality. Up until the Late Empire this port was improved and remained essential. 2.2.3. Trade routes The Roman trade routes have mostly been established by combining historical records from Antiquity about maritime trade with material evidence supplied by underwater archaeology.98 The main trade hubs in the Roman world were of course Rome (Puteoli/Portus/Ostia) and Alexandria, the greatest cities of the Roman era. The annual annona trade between them caused entire ‘wheat fleets’ to make sail. The route was complicated due to the summer winds (the so-called Etesians). During the winds the route probably went along the African coast or hugging the land all the way to Rhodes.99 But there were more trade routes of course, many more, making the entire oikoumene a Roman playground. The main African route went from Carthage past the eastern shores of Sardinia to the Italian ports, while Spanish routes started at Cádiz, Cartagena, Malaga or Tarragona. When commodities were coming in from the African west coast, the Straits of Gibraltar were used before linking up with the African route. The Strait of Bonifacio, between Corsica and Sardinia were frequented often as well, explaining the ships’ graveyard between those islands. There were also two important routes coming from Gaul. The first started at Narbonne and went through the already mentioned Straits of Bonafacio. The second originated at Marseilles or Arles, and went past Corsica and Elba onwards to the Italian mainland. And these are only the routes that primarily concern the Mediterranean. Trade ties also flourished between the Empire and the Eastern World: Arabia, India, Malaysia, China… As can be seen, long-distance seaborne trade was commonplace in the Roman world.100 It should not be forgotten that ships sailed on inland waterways as well, to further distribute products. The Rhône-Rhine axis is a prime example of such a transport vein, and was used throughout the Roman era to supply both the civilian and military presence in Gaul and Germania. Other important rivers were the Danube and of course Rome’s own Tiber. In Latium at least two rivers, the Loricina and Astura, combined with the Decennovium canal running alongside the Via Appia, would have played an integral role in distributing goods from and to the coastal zone.101 98 Throckmorton 1987, pp. 61 99 Rougé 1981, pp. 190 100 Id., pp. 191-193 101 Prof. dr. P.A.J. Attema, pers. comm. 2008 - 49 -
  • 2.3. ORGANIZATION OF ROMAN SEABORNE TRADE 2.3.1. Maritime trade organization in the Republican era While the extrapolation of trade routes is essentially pretty straightforward, the question of who did the trading in the Roman world remains a much debated issue. In the Classical period, before the rise of the Empire, there are four important terms appearing in historical documents concerning maritime trade. These terms, which can be applied to both contemporary Greek and Roman seaborne trade, are emporos, excercitor, naukleros and kubernetes. The first term is emporos, which reminds one of the old Greek word for trading outpost: emporion. This person would have been a trader, chartering a part or the whole of a ship to ferry his goods across the sea, which he accompanied in person. The owner of the ship was called excercitor, that much is sure. It was no oddity for the owner of a ship to sail onboard his possession, but it was also not a common practice. Rougé makes this statement with regards to the naukleros, a term which frequently returns in historical accounts for the captain of a ship, but it is still not clear as to what extent the naukleros actually ‘owned’ a vessel. What is known, is that this person always sailed onboard the ship and can therefore not be a synonym for excercitor, who did not always sail along (someone could be both of course, but not necessarily). Most scholars nowadays consider the naukleros the one who did the most of the trading, comparable to a ‘merchant’. The excercitor then was the owner of the ship, while a third historically known term, kubernetes or gubernator is seen as the sailing captain (the one that actually commandeered the vessel; the word ‘governor’ stems from this). Rougé states that someone could have had all three aforementioned terms/ranks (except emporos) applied to them, which complicates matters even further.102 2.3.2. Maritime trade organization in the Imperial era In the Roman Imperial period the term excercitor is replaced by the dominus navis, the owner of the ship. The emporos, gubernator and naukleros keep their name and function for the larger part (so the term naukleros remains troubling scholars for another four hundred years of Mediterranean history). A new term, magister navis, accompanies the gubernator as someone who was in charge of the vessel when it made port. The term seems to be connected with all kinds of economical activities onboard (as well as passenger relations). Whether the gubernator was the superior of the magister navis and whether both 102 Id., pp. 159-161 - 50 -
  • men had the same function onboard the ship remains unclear, although Rougé disagrees which Casson about the latter part (Rougé considers the two terms having two separate functions attached to them).103 Under the Roman Empire, maritime trade was carried out by several distinct people in several distinct ways. The small-time traders and owners of a single ship did their trading with the use of maritime loans, something which was already commonplace in Greece. The ‘bigger deals’ however were done by the negotiatores and navicularii. The former were people that had set up or participated in specialized commercial enterprises, trading goods all over the Roman sea lanes. Two of their associated terms, negotiatores frumentarii (dealing solely in wheat), negotiatores vinarii (dealing solely in wine), show that these people concentrated on a single commodity to trade. The navicularii (a term that was first associated, but later on dissociated with naukleroi) on the other hand were owners of several dozens of ships, which they operated through a series of middlemen. These persons did not concentrate on a single commodity but instead ferried everything across the sea that was offered to their subordinates at the big ports. Navicularii are best known however for the exclusive grain deals that they made with Rome. Being the owners of a lot of ships and a lot of money, they transported the huge amounts of grain needed by Rome’s urban dwellers in return for certain legal favors (such as citizenship). At the time of Antoninus Pius, navicularii were no longer independent but instead had organized themselves in companies. Working for the state steadily changed the relationship between Rome and the negotiatores though, with the advent of the tied annona trade. In this annual event, the negotiatores were obliged to ferry enormous amounts of grain to Rome. They also had to be land owners, so the state could have a hold on them and ‘motivate’ them to complete the task. As the years progressed, the negotiatores became less and less independent, while the state’s influence on the grain dole grew correspondingly.104 During the Late Empire the involvement of the state in affairs of production and trade increased even more. A prime example thereof is the confiscation of oil producing estates in Baetica by Septimius Severus at the start of the 3rd century BC. While it cannot be sufficiently proven, it is suspected that the balance of competition in oil export between Africa and Spain was thereby deliberately tipped in favor of the former (see 1.4.7). Proof of imperial control over the Hispanic oil production is evident from stamps bearing the imperial seal from this period onwards. 103 Id., pp. 184-185 104 Id., pp. 186-188 - 51 -
  • 2.4. THE DEBATE ON THE ANCIENT ECONOMY When someone wants to write about the Roman world, he or she cannot overlook economic behavior and trade. To maintain a civilization as large and complex as the Roman Empire was to maintain supply routes open and safe for passage. While transport overland was certainly not neglected, it was obscured to a great extent by seaborne traffic, which was essentially cheaper, even across large distances. This is a commonly accepted view, among all the participants in the debate. The question however, is exactly how important seaborne trade in the Roman world really was. Over the past decades, scholars have tried to make some sense of the vast historical and archaeological resources available to them for use on the intellectual battlefield. With these epigraphic and material weapons at their disposal, those same scholars devised theories about how the ancient economy had functioned according to them. These theories range from a modernist to a primitivist view.105 The current trend then is the ongoing search for a golden mean between those two extremes. 2.4.1. The modernist view The first theories about the Roman economy to reach the battleground were spearheaded by M.I. Rostovtzeff, who wrote an encompassing work about the subject called Social and economic history of the Roman Empire.106 Publishing his book in 1926 in the post-WOI era, when systematic archaeology was still in its infancy, Rostovtzeff writes as a pure historian. His ideas can be characterized as being modernizing and modernist in nature. He emphasizes and glorifies the scale and magnitude of the Roman economy, which he correctly describes as being primarily agricultural in nature. This observation has withstood the test of time and is a recurring part of every theory about the ancient economy that has been devised since. As Rostovtzeff states it: “Though statistics are lacking, we may safely affirm that the largest part of the population of the Empire was engaged in agriculture, either actually tilling the soil or living on an income drawn from the land.”107 But unlike the primitivist Finley model which is discussed in more detail hereafter, the modernist view credits the Romans with an advanced approach towards agriculture. In other words, Rostovtzeff sees Roman agriculture as having a considerable technological level, with developments and improvements being implemented over the years. He says: “Where agriculture was introduced for the first time, it was introduced in its highly developed forms, chiefly in the form of a capitalistic and more or less scientific tillage of the soil.”108 Note Rostovtzeff’s use of the word 105 Mattingly & Salmon 2001, pp. 5 106 Rostovtzeff 1926, rev. 1957 107 Id., pp. 343 108 Id., pp. 343-344 - 52 -
  • ‘capitalistic’ in his description of Roman-style agriculture. Capitalism is a key concept in his views of the economical behavior in the early Roman period, together with another word that is quite compatible with it: bourgeoisie. As Rostovtzeff states it, the Republic saw the rise of a new class of nobility next to that of the senators. These were the equestrians, a new upper class of society that had made their money in the Hellenistic East. There they had learned the capitalistic approach to economy and commerce, together with a healthy longing for taking back the newly acquired comforts of city life back to their home country.109 And so, Rostovtzeff says, new capital was brought back to Italy and the provinces to be invested there. The new equestrian class became wealthy landowners, merchants and ship-owners. They produced wine and olive oil in great quantities on their estates in Italy and sought to sell the goods on the primary Western markets: Gaul, Spain, Africa, the North and the Danube provinces.110 The subsequent changes in Roman social life, brought about by the invested capital of the equestrians and the by trade imported goods from abroad, increased the gap between the aristocracy and the common people even more. While the top and middle classes of Roman society flourished, the peasant population in Italy dwindled. Whole stretches of land found adequate for vineyards were put to good use by the landowners, thereby removing the rural population or degrading them to mere tenants that worked on the estates.111 As is common knowledge, this growing gap between the higher and lower classes led to the Civil War and the end of the Roman Republic. While this ultimately brought great changes in organization, bringing about the dawn of the Empire after the murder on Caesar, Rostovtzeff states that Italy as a whole did not feel the changes on the economic level quite that serious at first. Sure, some landowners were ruined after the wars and former tenants became estate dwellers, but generally speaking life continued as it had before.112 In the Augustan age the equestrian class continued to exist as landowners, merchants and ship-owners. Production increased dramatically, illustrated for example by Campania, which Rostovtzeff refers to as ‘one enormous vineyard’. Also, while the production of essential foodstuffs in Italy and the trade in it reached its height, other industrial endeavors flourished as well: mass-produced red-glazed pottery from Etruria, bronze and silver plates from Capua and a scale of hitherto non-existing activities in Campania, to name but a few. In the latter the abundance of oil was beginning to be used for perfumes, while decorated glass vessels and jewelry fetched high prices.113 109 Id., pp. 18-23 110 Id., pp. 19-20 111 Id., pp. 22-24 112 Id., pp. 30-31 113 Id., pp. 70-71 - 53 -
  • As the Imperial age progressed, the economical freedom of the equestrian class changed. While Augustus did not interfere with the economy, the later emperors did so to a great extent. As Rome grew larger and larger, the city’s population needed ever more food. As the hinterland could no longer provide for all the necessary basic foodstuffs, there had to be found new means to procure grain for Rome. This was provided via the annona (see 2.1.2).114 The state took increasingly more control in trade and the equestrians became more and more bound to state service. To carry their stock abroad, be it wine or wheat, the bourgeoisie used the shortest and most viable means of transportation: the sea lanes. Sadly, Rostovtzeff omits to mention or discuss the ships and trade routes associated with this outburst of commercial activity. This goes for the Republican period as well as for the Imperial age, which is to be contributed to the lack of archaeological research involved and to Rostovtzeff’s inclination to write as a historian, with only ancient and contemporary (being the late 1920’s at the time) literature as sources. Though he mentions some archaeological research of his own, this does not involve maritime archaeological finds. To summarize, the cultural-historical ‘Rostovtzeffian’ view of the Roman ancient economy revolves primarily around agriculture. Foodstuffs were produced on a large scale and they were traded in vast quantities over long distances in ships owned by the wealthy equestrian class. Other products were traded as well though, ranging from precious metals to mass-produced earthenware. The economy as a whole operated primarily on capitalist principles, with free market trade being the most common form of trade. The tied annona trade was an exception, at first. Later on the state became more and more involved in trade as private enterprises were compromised. 2.4.2. The primitivist view In the last quarter of the 20th century, the views about the trade and economy of the ancient world have been dominated by a paradigm that has been constructed primarily around the theoretical framework established in 1973 by historian Moses Finley in his book The ancient economy.115 This model has had an enormous impact on our notion of ancient trade and made it the single most powerful method to describe the features and importance of economic behavior in Antiquity. The Finley model was a reaction on the first score of ideas about (Roman) ancient commerce, spearheaded by Rostovtzeff. Before Finley, there was a widespread belief that trade and the economy as a whole must have functioned similar to that of the modern world, with its emphasis on the free market system and aim of ever more accumulation of wealth and money. Finley deemed these ideas inaccurate, 114 Rougé 1981, pp. 190 115 Finley 1973, rev. 1999 - 54 -
  • as they failed to give a comprehensive approach to the trade mechanisms of the ancient world.116 Finley’s basic idea was that the ancient economy had been quantitatively small in scale, with low levels of capital investment, an equally low level of technology and poor technological development to match. Furthermore, he dismisses the earlier beliefs that long-distance trade in bulk goods (such as foodstuffs) and industrial specialization were part of economic behavior in Antiquity. On the qualitative side, Finley also characterizes the ancient economy as being ‘primitive’, in that the economic behavior of ancient civilizations and relations of commerce between them were only a sidestep from the focal point: agriculture. According to Finley, agriculture (and the accumulation of land) was the point around which all ancient civilizations revolved. To him trade and the greater economics involved were nothing more than means to acquire land and use it to project an image of success and wealth to the outside world, by spending the riches. Although agriculture was also the main concept in Rostovtzeff’s cultural-historical view, those earlier ideas did leave sufficient scope for non-agricultural trade. At this point it is of vital importance to know where Finley got the inspiration for his ideas. Looking at the general concept, one will observe that his model is strikingly Marxist in approach. We have a society that is almost fully agricultural based and an economy that is regarded as so primitive that it cannot even be called pre-capitalistic. The only deviation from the pure Marxist view is the emphasis which Finley places on status.117 According to him status was shown by spending money. There were no prestige points given to people that saved their earnings or invested them to expand production, as is commonplace nowadays. In Antiquity, when you had money, you had to show it. You did not put it away for safe keeping. As Hopkins states while discussing the Finley model: “In sum, among the rich in ancient societies, greater value was attached to conspicuous consumption than to increased production, or to the painful acquisition of more wealth.”118 When he constructed his model, Finley was inspired for a great deal by the famous economist Max Weber. The ideas of this man were primarily socialistic in nature, which is the reason that the model leans towards an economical view that has those same ideological traits. One might thus say that the primitivist approach has a socialistic-Marxist core, with some slight tweaks on behalf of Finley’s emphasis on status. A summary of Finley’s main views of the ancient economy is as follows: a) it was under-developed, with a low level of capital investment in productivity; b) there was a notable lack of technological development; c) there is minimal evidence for profit-directed growth or for surplus-orientated agricultural or industrial specialization; d) there was little long-distance trade in non-luxury items 116 Hopkins 1983, pp. xi 117 Id., pp. xiii 118 Id., pp. xiii-xiv - 55 -
  • (notwithstanding the extraordinary arrangements made by the state for the grain dole in Rome); e) social factors were pre-eminent over economic rationality in defining economic relationships; f) the relationship between the urban centers of the ancient world and their rural hinterlands was essentially one of exploitation directed towards self-sufficiency, as exemplified by the ‘consumer city’ ideal type. 119 This primitivist approach to the ancient economy and trade is diametrically opposed to the modernist theories advocated by Rostovtzeff. By studying the epigraphic and material remains of the Roman era much more up close, Finley came up with several drastic revisions of the old theories, considering them modernizing and anachronistic. Many of Finley’s arguments are backed up by archaeological data, much more then was the case with Rostovtzeff. However both recent archaeological undertakings and fresh historical insights have yielded even more information, contradicting Finley and in some cases even proving him wrong about some points. 2.4.3. The balanced view Finley’s model combined with his views took the world of economic history by storm, shoving aside the cultural-historical approach to the ancient economy, which was outdated to him. For nearly two decades Finley was God, ruling over ancient economical history as point man of a new paradigm. And for those twenty-odd years the Finley model of ancient economy seemed irrefutable, indeed, definitive. Slowly but surely though, scholars dealing with the subject started to question certain aspects of Finley’s model and the accompanying viewpoints. The main issue that was addressed was Finley’s focus on the agricultural aspect of the ancient economy. The primitivist approach saw the predominantly agricultural economy of both Greek and Roman society as underdeveloped in terms of technological advances (and more important: their applications), with non-agricultural production playing only a very minor part in the greater scope of the economy. This seeming lack of appreciation for other economic endeavors in the Roman world besides agriculture inspired historians and archaeologists to join forces and look beyond the strongly settled primitivist views. Mattingly et al. summarized the current state of affairs very clearly: “It is not that we disagree with Finley - his work was after all a wonderful corrective to much careless modernizing scholarship of the 1950s and 1960s - but so influential has he been that the debate has atrophied.”120 A prime example of a work that tries to get the debate going again and explore the non-agricultural side of ancient economy with a combined archaeological-historical basis is Economies beyond agriculture in the classical world, edited by Professor of Roman Archaeology, David J. Mattingly, and Senior Lecturer in Classics, John Salmon. In this book Mattingly and Salmon, archaeologist and 119 Mattingly & Salmon 2001, pp. 3 120 Id., pp. 67 - 56 -
  • historian, bring together a score of articles about non-agricultural production and economical growth. Although sadly enough none of those articles discusses seaborne trade in particular, it provides a good summary and reappraisal of Finley’s ideas. One of the points that are being re-evaluated is the following: “The relationship between the urban centers of the ancient world and their rural hinterlands was essentially one of exploitation directed towards self-sufficiency, as exemplified by the ‘consumer city’ ideal type.”121 The idea of an ideal type of city comes from Max Weber, who defined multiple ideal types of which he found the consumer city to be the most representative for describing the ancient city. The idea of a consumer city is “one where the major income for the urban consumers came from rural rents, where the products of local rural labor supplied the subsistence needs of the urban population and where manufacturing and inter-regional commerce were essentially petty.”122 As can be read, this ideal type does not leave much scope for non-agricultural production. While scholars of ancient history like this type because it corresponds with their literary sources about how the urban-dwelling elite viewed the economy in ancient times, Finley does not mention or discuss deviations from this ideal city type.123 Recent research has therefore been focused towards identifying these deviations and perhaps to tag ancient cities with other ‘ideal type’-labels, such as the producer city, commercial city and service city. As a matter of fact Weber also proposed these types in alternative models for the ancient world, but scholars got stuck with the idea of the consumer city and Finley himself rejected these other models on purpose.124 The obsession with Weber’s consumer city is just one of the primitivist concepts that are now being reviewed by the adherents of the balanced view. Also other concepts in the ancient economy like productivity, industrial specialization (i.e. workshops specialized in a certain type of pottery) and the focus on creation of surplus products (foremost grain, wine and oil), which are considered by the primitivist approach as being small in scale to non-existent, are once more under debate. This renewing of the discussion relies for one part on the fresh ideas of those historians involved, and for the other part on the material studies of archaeology. The most recent archaeological achievements in the debate about the ancient economy have been made by the use of new methods and advanced technologies. As for the latter, there is a ‘glory story’ in the making for the emerging field of underwater archaeology, which will prove instrumental in furthering research on the ancient economy in general and on seaborne trade in particular. This field is still developing though, and is not yet fully integrated into the balanced view (adherents of the balanced 121 Id., pp. 3 122 Id., pp. 66 123 Id., pp. 66-67 124 Id., pp. 67 - 57 -
  • view mostly just use the results of underwater archaeology, rather than actually cooperating with those specialists). On the other hand the ‘coming of age’ of survey methodology and the increasing number of surveys featuring or starring in archaeological campaigns give ever more insight into the relation of coastal zones and their hinterlands (see also 3.1). In summary, the search for a golden mean between the primitivist and modernist views is one of the most recent developments in theoretical economical archaeology. While Finley rightly accused Rostovtzeff and his followers of overly modernizing the world of Antiquity, he himself overshot his own target by making the ancient economy too primitive, thereby neglecting the crucial differences in political unity and accompanying economic behavior between the Greek and Roman world. After all, Finley specializes mainly in the Greek world, where his ideas can be far more appropriately and consequently used. The Roman world is a whole other story, exemplified by the bulk trade in amphora- borne commodities. Note that Rostovtzeff focused primarily on the Roman world instead of reviewing the Greek world better as well, which has probably played a significant role in Finley’s polemic tendencies towards the primitivist view. Interestingly enough, one could actually say that both Rostovtzeff and Finley were in a sense right when stating their wildly different views. When we look beyond the notion of trade for a moment and view the Roman economy as a whole, it would indeed seem to have been a two-faced Janus. As W.M. Jongman states it: “Ancient Rome presents us with two faces, one of extraordinary achievement, and one of stagnation and underdevelopment. We need not be surprised that scholars have wildly different views of this economy. I want to argue that current debate on the Roman economy is flawed because it attempts to choose between these two faces of Rome, between ‘achievement’ and ‘underdevelopment’.”125 In other words, historians and archaeologists alike might be fundamentally wrong in their assumption that such a choice even has to be made. The Roman world was both advanced, in terms of fargoing urbanization and political/economic integration, and underdeveloped at the same time, never breaching that threshold leading to an industrialized society. An increase in production does not necessarily equal economic growth, especially when these processes occur in a society that has a great divide between the poor and the rich. This divide was a reality in the Roman world, where life expectancy at birth was low due to infectious diseases, and wealth accumulated in the hands of only a few. The acquisition of ever more land was vital for the continued existence of the Roman Republic and Empire as a whole, as more land equaled more production in a society where technologies could not advance any further. Conquest 125 Jongman 2003, pp. 309-310 - 58 -
  • was therefore an integral part of Antiquity: it was a not very efficient, but in the short term nonetheless effective way to increase production capacity.126 The base assumption that the Roman world and its economy operated on a fundamentally different level than ours or even that of the Middle Ages is most probably the core concept of a true balanced view. The danger however seems to be the recent tendency of historians to focus solely on validation of the balanced view by economic theorizing. They seem to be tired of the spotlight position still taken by trade. However, I am of the distinct opinion that trade is the lifeline of any economy, no matter which form it had. Bulk trade in the Roman period was a given, archaeologically confirmed by such things as freighters capable of carrying over 8000 amphorae worth of cargo. This is no modernizing theory anymore, nor ancient elite exaggeration: it is material fact. The same goes for the primitivist focus on self-suffiency historians still seem to adhere to: when trade is ignored, there would hardly seem to be a reason for the Rostovtzeffian idea of Italy as an enormous vineyard. Indeed, Rome and Italy as a whole might have been supplied by about 5% of the available agricultural land. But that is discounting producing surplus commodities for the market, among other variables (see note). Again, amphorae prove the large-scale production and export of wine in the Late Republic and Early Empire. This will be discussed in more detail in 5.3.127 Recognizing both the modernist and primitivist approaches as extremes on both ends of the theoretical spectrum, the balanced view tries to level the scales. As to the extent to which this will be successful remains to be seen.128 We can observe though that the fields of archaeology and ancient history have a complicated love/hate relationship, which is responsible for much of the difficulties and misunderstandings in the debate about ancient economy and trade. “This situation is negative on both sides: archaeologists often ignore the complex and interesting discussions taking place in ancient history and they think that ancient history has not moved on since Finley’s time; while historians do not follow up on what is going on in terms of archaeological discoveries and they ignore the progress archaeologists are making in interpreting (and not only revealing) past networks of trade.”129 126 Id., pp. 320 127 Id., pp. 313-314. The 5% would have produced a bottle of wine a day per Italian adult, according to Jongman. While this seems a logical way to calculate, one could argue that Romans were not that ‘efficient’ with wine, especially the elite. The nobility would have had stocks of wine in their villae or other storage facilities for abundant use at parties and as a matter of ‘conspicuous wealth’. What we see as typical Roman practicality and efficiency might not have pervaded all aspects of life. After all, the superfluous use of water (fountains, baths) and expensive adorning of public buildings in Roman construction activities were likewise neither practical nor efficient, but were nonetheless very powerful in a symbolic way. The high maintenance of fish basins at villae marittimae (see 3.2.3) likewise shows a Roman tendency to put status above efficiency in some cases. 128 Id., pp. 10-11 129 Dr. S. Voutsaki, pers. comm. 2006 - 59 -
  • 3. THE PONTINE REGION Now the theoretical framework of this thesis has been established in the past two chapters, this chapter will introduce the region where the amphorae of the Liboni Amphora Collection were found and studied: the Pontine region in southern Latium, Italy, and more specifically its coastal area. In this region the GIA has performed substantial and varied archaeological research over the past decade, of which this thesis is a recent iteration. 3.1. CATEGORIZATION OF THE PONTINE REGION Fig. 1: the coastal stretch between Anzio and Torre Astura, in the Pontine region 3.1.1. Geographical categorization The region under study in this thesis lies in the heartland of the Roman world: Latium Vetus. Old Latium is bordered in the south by the Tyrrhenian Sea, in the west by the Tiber river and in the east by the Sacco/Liri valley. Zooming in to the south of Rome, towards the sea, the Pontine region comes - 60 -
  • into view. The limestone mountain ranges Monti Lepini, Monti Ausoni and Monti Aurunci line the eastern border of the region, including Monte Circeo which marks the south-eastern edge of Latium Vetus. The transitional zone between these mountains and the plain to the south is known as the pedemontana (foothills) and is marginally used nowadays. The Colli Albani, from where the Via Appia ran straight through the region to the south-west, make up the western border. These hills form a series of ridges and valleys sloping down from the now dormant Vulcano Laziale, and consist of fertile tufa soil well suited for agriculture. The crater of the volcano is now partially flooded, creating Lago di Nemi and Lago Albano. Between the Tyrrhenian Sea and the former Pontine marshes lies the Pontine plain: the Agro Pontino.130 3.1.2. Geomorphological categorization The geomorphology of the Agro Pontino is characterized by the so-called horst and graben system. Vertical tectonic movement along the NW-SO faults in the area during the Pliocene and Pleistocene periods resulted in lower lying areas just below the Monti Lepini (the graben) and a higher part stretching to the coast (the horst). The horst was formed as a sequence of four marine terraces. The graben were in turn gradually filled with peat and clay sediments, thus creating a large part of the Pontine marshes. These were drained in the 1930s during Mussolini’s Bonifica Integrale project. The present-day cities of Nettuno and Anzio are situated next to each other on the Tyrrhenian seaboard, upon the fourth horst terrace (known as the Terracina terrace). The landscape here consists primarily of the remains of ancient dunes, formed by the wind in the Holocene era. There are also two stretches of volcanic sediments visible on the surface, one of which lies along the coast of the Poligono Militare (the military zone). These generally red sediments have been deposited in the Pliocene by the Vulcano Laziale. Below the volcanic deposits also lie clayey and sandy deposits, but these never reach the surface in the comune di Nettuno. Finally, several incisions in the landscape have been filled up with sediments from the marshes.131 3.1.3. Socio-economic categorization and this thesis The coastal area of the Pontine plain - the major socio-economic focus of this thesis - essentially runs from Antium to Torre Astura, although Terracina is also sometimes taken as southeastern border of the plain. 132 In this thesis I will refer to the coastal area as the stretch of beach between present-day Anzio and Torre Astura. I also purposefully divide the Agro Pontino in: 1) coastal area; 2) (rest of the) plain; and 3) foothills, thus creating three distinct units. This division has a socio-economic structure as it is 130 Tol 2005, pp. 5-6 ; Caneva & Travaglini, pp. 86-93 131 Idem ; Attema et al. 2005, pp. 10 132 Attema 2003, pp. 14-15 - 61 -
  • primarily based upon three different types of villae encountered in this area in Roman times: the villa marittima in the coastal area; the villa rustica in the plain; and the ‘platform villa’ in the foothills (see 3.2.3, 3.2.4 and 3.3.1). Each of these types of villa thus stands for a specific socio-economic unit. It is this division that ultimately describes my research area best: the line between Antium and Torre Astura (more precisely the mouth of the river Astura) from northwest to southeast on one hand, and between the beach and Lepine foothills from southwest to northeast on the other. Of these two boundaries the NW-SE line of the coastal area is most important in a practical sense, as it describes the extent of the stretch of beach researched for this maritime inclined thesis. The SW-NE line is most important in a theoretical sense, as it threads the socio-economic division of the Pontine region presented above; from SW to NE one first traverses the coastal area, then the plain and finally the foothills. On a final note: there is no clearly defined boundary, geographically speaking, between the coastal zone and the rest of the plain. I assume in this thesis the coastal zone ends behind the ancient Roman seaboard villae. 3.2. CHRONOLOGY OF THE PONTINE REGION 3.2.1. Protohistory While the chronological focus of this research is on the Roman Republican and Imperial Age, it is impossible to view this period in a vacuum. Therefore an overview of the archaeological periods in the Pontine region: the protohistorical era; Archaic period & post-Archaic period; Roman Republican and Roman Imperial period, is now given. Important developments and changes in the socio-economic system of the Pontine region (especially around present-day Nettuno and the coastal zone) throughout the discussed periods are mentioned (settlement, agriculture, industry, trade), as that system is the focal point of this thesis. The data and information presented are as up-to-date as possible, using the most recent GIA survey and research results. The protohistorical era is one of great interest in the GIA projects conducted in the Pontine region. Our knowledge of this earliest phase of civilization stems primarily from studying the indicative material of this period: lithic material for the Stone Age and handmade impasto pottery for the Bronze Age and Early Iron Age. The first category is within the framework of GIA projects studied by cooperating Italian archaeologist M. La Rosa. Impasto pottery is under study by several GIA students and postgraduates. The earliest use of the Pontine region has been confirmed by the Agro Pontino survey of the UvA in 1991 and more recent by GIA surveys in 2005 to have started in the Middle Paleolithic. The picture of - 62 -
  • the Neolithic and Early Bronze Age is as of yet muddled, but the situation becomes clear again from the Middle Bronze Age onward. Until the start of the 1990s it has always been assumed that the habitation in the Middle and Late Bronze Age was seasonal, and was concentrated near ‘wet sites’ like the Pontine coastal lakes and the crater lakes in the Colli Albani, with a subsistence economy based on hunting and fishing. This view is now under reappraisal due to recent GIA surveys, suggesting a far more complex socio-economic system. GIA excavations in the area, like the one at Piccareta 13 in 2001-2002, 133 have proven that a considerable amount of (industrial) activity has taken place in the Pontine region since the Middle Bronze Age. In the Late Bronze Age the habitation shifted from solely the shores of crater lakes to the banks of the Astura (for example the settlement of Casale Nuovo) and the coastal strip as well. It is highly probable that P13 (which was involved in salt production among other activities) and other contemporary sites were accompanied by a settlement that boasted sedentary habitation. G.W. Tol argues that dedicated production sites like P13 are an indication for a settlement pattern with some degree of complexity, wherein commodity trade could take place. Within this socio-economic system a network of smaller (rural) sites would have existed, supporting the industrial sites or acquiring goods from them.134 Transhumance and animal husbandry would have played an integral part in this system. The Early Iron Age saw a rise in the amount of sites, which were generally small and self-sufficient. Activity spread through the entire Pontine region; the first signs of habitation in the Monti Lepini could be dated to this period. These sites were, judging from our most recent information, assumed to have been permanently inhabited. In the 8th century BC (Late Iron Age) sanctuaries arose on the locations of later settlements as Satricum and Caracupa Valvisciolo and many of the smaller sites clustered around them. There was an increase in interregional trade, with the Astura river functioning as an important waterway (especially as main supply route for Satricum). In the 7th century BC (Orientalizing period) Satricum and Caracupa Valvisciolo evolved into proto- urban centers, a development paralleled at the colony of Antium. Along the shoreline of Nettuno several sites from this period, like the substantial one called Depuratore, 135 are known to have boasted considerable (industrial) activity in this period. The Monti Lepini possibly became controlled and exploited by the site of Caracupa Valvisciolo as part of a system of hilltop sites. The Agro Pontino was filled in rurally for the first time in this period after the example of the Colli Albani, and agriculture flourished (probably mostly mixed farming, although the earlier transhumance and husbandry would likely have remained as well). This trend would continue and expand in the Archaic period.136 133 Attema et al. 2003, pp. 111-123 134 Tol 2005, pp. 11 135 Attema et al. 2003, pp. 124-125 136 Tol 2005, pp. 11-12 ; Attema et al. 2005, pp. 12-13 - 63 -
  • 3.2.2. The Archaic and post-Archaic period In the Archaic period, the 6th century BC, several changes occurred in the settlement pattern of the Pontine region. At many sites static defenses were erected, like ramparts (aggere) around the core of Antium and terraces with polygonal walls at Caracupa Valvisciolo. Within the settlements themselves monumental buildings with tiled roofs were being constructed out of stone, like the first phase of the Mater Matuta temple in Satricum and reportedly the Fortuna temple in Antium. On the seaboard the site Depuratore knew continuity in this period, and along the Astura there was activity on several sites that were within the catchment (sphere of influence) of Satricum. The amount of farmsteads in the region increased, especially in the north, and habitation clustered around the large urban centers. The scale of mixed farming introduced in the Orientalizing period was intensified in the northwest, of which the underground drainage canals (cuniculi) in the tuff are a testament. Along the coast isolated sites appeared: probably small fishing communities combined with some small-scale farming. The 5th century BC marks the first decline of the Pontine region. The major urban centers were largely abandoned and the population spread across the area to live in small villages consisting of only a few subsistence farms. Despite the emptying of the urban centers, the region thus knew continuity with the increased amount of these self-sufficient farms. Historical sources indicated the first Roman colonies (probably military strongholds instead of urban centers) were founded in this period: Cora reportedly somewhere before 500 BC and Norba in 492 BC. The acropoleis of these sites are said to date to the 5th century BC, although stratigraphical research has yet to confirm this hypothesis. In these times, per GIA convention known as the post-Archaic period (5th century to 350 BC), the Pontine region was the stage of continuous warfare. At the beginning of this century the Latin centers were constantly at odds with the growing city of Rome; a struggle ultimately decided in favor of the latter. In turn several ‘mountain-dwelling peoples’, of which the originally Apennine Volsci are the most famous, raided and conquered these now Roman settlements in the later part of the century. Control of important centers continually shifted between the Romans and Volsci, and both Satricum and Antium have been noted in historical sources as Volscian bulwarks. Antium was highly valued by both factions due to its strategic location at sea in terms of trade and warfare. An oppidum called Caenon would have been the natural harbor of Antium in this period, but its exact location has never been attested archaeologically (see 3.3 for a more elaborate overview of the discussion concerning Caenon).137 The continuous state of turmoil and shifts in the balance of power might very well be the reason of the post- Archaic decline of the Pontine region. The early colonization of Cora and Norba by the Romans and the Volscian occupation of Antium and Satricum are historical developments that can hardly be - and mostly not at all - confirmed by 137 Tol 2005, pp. 26 - 64 -
  • archaeological sources. The main problem herein lies with the Volsci, to whom no concrete material culture can be attributed. The reported Volscian domination of critical sites in the Pontine region is therefore almost impossible to detect in an archaeological sense. Satricum is one of the very few sites where Volscian presence can be affirmed, courtesy of the cemetery there. Excavations on the other side of the Monti Lepini in the Liri area are also slowly starting to yield more information about this troublesome period.138 3.2.3. The Roman period: the Republic It was not until around 350 BC that Rome finally managed to firmly assert her power in the Pontine region (start of the Early Republic; 350-250 BC). In the course of the 4th and beginning of the 3rd century BC a flurry of activity took place in the region, as the Romans colonized existing urban centers and founded new colonies all over the area (e.g. Circeii in 393 BC, Satricum in 385 BC and Setia in 382 BC). These colonies differed from those founded a century before in that they were not meant to be (solely) military strongpoints. The colonization process initiated by the Romans was much more a planned affair this time, and the new colonies were incorporated into the Roman territory with quite a degree of freedom from Rome itself. The own indigenous Latin culture was respected as much as possible.139 Administrative systems were initiated to increase the level of control in the area; the tribus Publia (northern area) and the tribus Pomptina (central area) in 358 BC. The tribus Oufentina (southern area) was initiated in 318 BC after Privernum was taken in 329 BC, thus finally ending the war with the Volsci.140 The city of Norba, in the Monti Lepini, seems to have been planned largely in the mid 4th century, as indicated by topographical studies. The larger part of the city walls were erected and a regular city layout was achieved. Likewise the city of Cora saw restorations of its walls and towers in this period, and the first sanctuaries were erected here as well. At the end of the 4th century the Via Appia, the most famous Roman road, was constructed. It ran all the way from Rome to Anxur/Terracina, parallel to the coast, straight through the Pontine region. Other roads branched off from the Via Appia to the west, one of them running through the present-day municipality of Nettuno and ending in Antium (the Lanuvium-Antium track, which was either newly constructed or a hardened version of an earlier road). The Via Appia and derivative roads complemented the earlier road in the pedemontana, resulting in a dense pattern of rural activity in between (as shown by GIA surveys) and better communication 138 Id., pp. 12-13 ; Attema et al. 2005, pp. 12-13 139 The classic definition of the Romanization process on the contrary suggests that conquered peoples lost their own cultural identity and had it replaced by the Roman package of traditions and values. This belief is now under reappraisal. 140 Attema et al. 2005, pp. 14 - 65 -
  • between the plain and the foothills. As a result of these infrastructural improvements the habitation shifted from the naturally favorable locations in the central (Fosso del Quinto), northern and northeastern parts of the Nettuno municipality to the sides of the Lanuvium-Antium road, in light of favorable infrastructure. These villae rusticae were found along the entire stretch of the road and the agricultural products originating from there were most probably brought to the colonies, which also functioned as regional markets. Several sites in the region from where the habitation shifted (east/northeast) still knew continuity, but these show no signs of (villa) architecture and have a more modest material assemblage. It seems as if these sites, deprived of the improved infrastructure to the west, stuck to the old ways of agricultural self-sufficiency. Thus the region differentiated itself socio- economically in a conglomerate of producing villae on the one hand, and a rural hinterland of subsistence farms on the other.141 In the Middle Republican period (250-100 BC) the rural infill of the Pontine plain gradually increased. The 2nd century BC saw a worsening of the already bad hydrology in the region (something Latium Vetus has always suffered from), and new drainage works were ordered to halt the expanding marshes and accordant outbreaks of malaria. Meanwhile a new class of larger farms arose in the foothills (and probably highlands) of the Monti Lepini: the so-called ‘platform villae’, characterized by platforms of polygonal masonry.142 These farms probably specialized in the production of olive oil for the market, as indicated by surveys and palynological study. This was a distinct change from the earlier basis of (mixed) subsistence farming. In the days of the Late Republic (100-30 BC) the rest of Italy had been completely conquered by the Romans. All this time Latium Vetus had played an important part in feeding the expansion campaigns. At that point however, more adequate agricultural regions were available elsewhere in Roman territory, and the export activity of inland habitation stalled. The amount of rural sites reached a peak in this period, especially in the area called Campana (along the Loricina river). A network of roads in that area, among which the Via Selciatella (leading to Antium), were paved in these days. In turn the coastal area started to draw people again as well; several large villae were built along the strip between Antium and Astura (e.g. La Banca, Le Grottacce, Saracca and Torre Astura). Several of these villae had an industrial aspect to them, as attested by GIA fieldwork along the coast. The villa at Le Grottacce, also known as Piccareta 15, had facilities for the production of amphorae. Most probably it also produced tiles and must have played an important role in the region, taking part in a firm relationship between coastal zone, inland rural habitation and Antium.143 The nine known villae marittimae (three near Anzio and at least six near Nettuno) were all equipped with a basin, meant to catch and breed fish. The villa at Torre 141 Tol 2005, pp. 88 142 De Haas 2003 143 Attema et al. 2003, pp. 125, 127-136 ; Attema et al. forthcoming, chapter 12 - 66 -
  • Astura, by popular belief attributed to the famous orator Cicero (though this has never been proven), even had the largest fish basin of its kind in Central Italy (22.000 m2).144 Whether these fish basins also contributed to the industrial aspect of these villae remains subject to debate. It is known that fish was scarce along the Italian coast during the 2nd century AD, as stated by Juvenal. Fish basins would have provided an eye catcher for the villae; a means to indulge the practice of raising fish for fun and a ready source of food. These basins, especially large ones like those between Antium and Astura, almost certainly cost more in maintenance then they produced. The aforementioned fish scarcity led to fish basins being a way to control a rare and thus valuable commodity. In result a fish basin was an important representative of conspicuous wealth, which was the way Roman nobility tried to acquire social prestige, as Moses Finley rightly states (see 2.4.2). With fish often being on the elite menu, the market value was decided by the demand of banquets and feasts. That way a nobleman owning a fish basin could make some nice social profit out of bringing his own fish to the party.145 Whether these basins were only a symbol of status or actual production facilities will probably remain debatable for some time, but fact is that the coastal zone between Antium and Torre Astura attracted some of the wealthiest Romans. The age of Empire dawned. 3.2.4. The Roman period: the Empire Developments already underway in the Late Republican period continued and expanded in the Imperial period. Elite residences dotted the landscape, while the amount of rural sites increased still (especially in Campana). They seem to have had a close connection to the coastal villae, most probably one of economic dependence as amphora imports on these sites attest. The importance of the Roman roads as integral pieces of infrastructure in the Pontine plain increased even more. While the rural eastern part of the Nettuno municipality is filled in even more, the villae along the road flourished between the mid 1st and mid 3rd century AD. At the same time the colony Antium blossomed. Emperor Nero (54-68 AD), reportedly born in this city himself, initiated a large-scale building program: the infrastructure was improved, a huge imperial villa erected and the colony finally was once more outfitted with a harbor. The port town had lacked a harbor since the supposed destruction of Caenon.146 Later emperors like Caligula, Hadrian and Antonine would also have had a soft spot for Antium, according to literary sources, resulting in several restorations or modifications of the imperial villa and the completion of numerous public buildings. At the end of the 2nd century AD Antium had been equipped with a forum, 144 Tol 2005, pp. 15, 88 145 Higginbotham 1997, pp. 56-57 146 Brandizzi Vittuci 2000, 140-145: Caenon is the name of an alledged harbor somewhere between Anzio and Nettuno. The existence of Caenon has unfortunately never been adequately confirmed archaeologically. - 67 -
  • a theatre, a commercial district, at least two aqueducts providing fresh water, a systematic road plan and multiple baths. 147 From 100-250 AD the rural habitation in Campana still show indicators of luxury, and some dwellings probably were even villae in their own right. The rural settlements in the Astura valley on the other hand never have seemed to reach this level. The pattern of sites was less dense, with settlements on the various hilltops in the area. An important settlement at the mouth of the Astura is now readily attested. In general the amount of rural habitation in the Pontine region decreased once more, a trend that would continue in the following periods.148 After the 2nd century AD no new buildings were erected in Antium and only some restoration took place, the last of which dates to the 4th century AD. After this period of stability, Antium seems to have depopulated slowly. This view is supported by the decline of the villae farthest away from the colony, in the north, and the halt of many activities there at the end of the 3rd century AD. Some villae rusticae show continuity after this period, but in an impoverished state. The villa closest to Antium, known as Liboni 14, shows activity to at least the end of the 4th century AD. Being the most substantial villa found to date during a GIA survey, it would make sense for smaller scale habitation in Antium during the Late Empire (259-400 AD) to maintain productive use of at least this closest and largest villa complex. It is certain though that the harbor of Antium remained a vital element in the area until well in the 6th century (Procopius notes its use in 537 AD). The villae marittimae on the coastline flourished in the same period as the inland villae rusticae along the Roman road and shows continuity to the end of the 3rd century. The Via Severiana, a road dating from this period according to historical sources but which has not been archaeologically proven yet, might well have contributed to this success as it would have improved the infrastructure even more. While Antium and the villae rusticae along the Roman road continued to be of importance at this time, the simultaneous decline of the villae marittimae and continuing decrease in rural sites shows an uniform regression of the Pontine region from the end of the 3rd century AD onward, probably as a result of the decreasing economical role played in the Empire (perhaps especially as opposed to Rome itself). At this point the Astura region seems to have become socio-economically disconnected from the rest of the coastal strip, where the trading focus remained on Antium. The region shows continuity though, as is demonstrated by the coastal villae of Saracca and Torre Astura.149 The villa of Torre Astura played an important part in the age of Empire. While it already was one of the largest and richest villa sites in the Late Republican age, Torre Astura reached its peak during the heydays of the Roman Empire. The enormous fish basin is testament of this, as is the construction of a 147 Id., pp. 21, 89 ; Attema et al. forthcoming, chapter 13 148 Attema et al. forthcoming, chapter 14 149 Attema et al. forthcoming, chapter 15 - 68 -
  • harbor in the 1st century AD. While the villa itself declined in the same period as the rest of its ilk (3rd century AD), the entire site actually continues to the 16th century, most probably by grace of its strategically located harbor. The harbor was for the larger part destroyed then, an act purportedly related to the construction of a new harbor in Antium at that time. The activity on the cape of Astura seems to have been supported by a modest settlement at the mouth of the Astura river well into the Middle Ages, though the exact extent of this habitation cannot be ascertained at the moment, due to a lack of knowledge concerning medieval pottery. In time Torre Astura itself became the location of a medieval fort (torre), built upon the remains of the former villa and fish basin. This fort still stands today.150 Until the 7th century AD the trend of rural decline which had already started in 250 AD continued, although there is continuity in the Astura coastal zone and inland Campana. Our archaeological knowledge of this region from the 4th to 7th century AD is limited however, and warrants further surveys and additional research. The same goes for the subsequent Medieval period. While there are some historical sources dealing with Antium and Nettuno in this period, there is hardly any archaeological information concerning the rural infill of the landscape.151 3.3. COASTAL AREA, HINTERLAND AND THE SOCIO-ECONOMIC SYSTEM As stressed before, this thesis focuses primarily on maritime trade by amphorae in the southern Latial coastal area during the Roman period. A coastal area cannot be viewed as an isolated region, as in Antiquity it always had an intricate socio-economic relationship with the hinterland. This relationship cut both ways: a coastal area needed its hinterland to produce (exportable) agricultural and related industrial goods, while the hinterland in turn relied on the coastal area to acquire imported foodstuffs and other commodities. Thus a coastal area and hinterland worked to each other’s mutual benefit, and events troubling one zone could be detrimental to the functioning of the other. This two-way relationship is essentially true for all socio-economic systems, as a system already implies a more complex situation than one isolated region, but it holds especially true in Antiquity where autarky was virtually non-existent on levels higher than mere subsistence farming. It must be borne in mind that the ‘hinterland’ of the Pontine region actually comprises two of the in 3.1.3 presented socio-economic units: the Pontine plain and the Lepine foothills. The chronology of the region under Roman rule as sketched in 3.2.3 and 3.2.4 already showed the interdependency 150 Caneva & Travaglini 2003, pp. 343-345 151 Attema et al. forthcoming, chapter 16 - 69 -
  • between these different regions and types of habitation in the Pontine region. The Republican period sees the appearance of reliable infrastructure, with the Via Appia running between Rome and Terracina, as well as its multiple side roads like the Lanuvium-Antium track, all complementing the already existing foothill road (the pedemontana). Inland waterways would have played a major role in the exchange activities between coast and hinterland as well. Examples hereof are the Decennovium canal along the Via Appia and the Astura and Loricina rivers. These infrastructural improvements were the catalysts for change in the socio-economic system throughout the three stages of the Republic; all along the roads in the plain villae rusticae sprang up or developed from existing Archaic sites to take care of the production needed by the colonies in the Monti Lepini (Setia, Norba, etc.) and those in the coastal area (Antium), while the area deprived of proper infrastructure generally kept to subsistence farming. In the Early Republic both this area and the foothills can thus be seen as the hinterland of the villae rusticae inland, while they in turn were the hinterland of the coastal area (more specifically of Antium and perhaps in lesser measure of Satricum, as the coastal villae would appear first in ca. 200 BC). During the Middle Republic the ‘platform villae’ appeared in the Lepine foothills, which were most probably large specialized farms producing olive oil (for regional consumption and perhaps even export), mostly replacing the then predominant small subsistence farms and giving that particular area its own ‘leverage’ in the socio-economic system. The platform villae constitute a relative new phenomenon in the Pontine region research by GIA scholars, and as such the results are somewhat preliminary.152 The main focus of production in the region though was on viniculture. The large swaths of land belonging to the nobility gave birth to many vineyards, and the resulting wines were exported all around the Mediterranean (see also 5.3). One could argue that the classical idea of a hinterland, being a less developed area that is subservient to the dominant (generally coastal) area, cannot be applied anymore to the socio-economic system in place during the Middle Republic. Rather, the three socio-economic units that make up the region (coast, plain, foothills) enjoy mutual support. This supportive network continued to evolve in the following years, as in the Late Republic a renewed interest in the coastal area sparked the building of at least nine large villae marittimae between Antium and Torre Astura. 153 These estates flourished during the Early Empire and to a lesser degree during the Middle Empire, along with the villae rusticae along the roads and the colony of Antium. Surely, the period of Rome’s first emperors represents the prime of the Pontine region. During this period the small-scale subsistence factor in the region was all but gone, leaving the rural settlements dependant on the coastal and/or inland estates. All villae marittimae between Anzio and Astura were 152 De Haas 2003 153 Lafon 2001, pp. 361-368 - 70 -
  • equipped with a fish basin, and some of them also had a clear industrial aspect (see 3.2.3), which affirms their status as lynchpins in the socio-economic system of the Pontine region during the Late Republic to Middle Empire. When the socio-economic system in place is seen on a greater scale, it becomes clear that the entire Pontine region in turn was the hinterland of Rome, supplying the Urbs with locally produced olive oil and wine. In the Late Empire a general decline set in across the Pontine region, affecting all types of habitation. This was most probably the result of a change in the greater socio-economic system of the Empire; was the Pontine region before instrumental for both the production and export of foodstuffs, now more profitable agricultural regions (e.g. Africa) had been annexed and more suitable harbors (e.g. Portus) were in use. The Pontine region’s economic value for the Empire essentially dropped together with the Mediterranean market shares of Italian wine, a trend that had already started around the 2nd century AD. While it can be expected that wine and perhaps olive oil continued to be produced in the Pontine region and at least distributed locally or ferried to Rome and Antium, there would be no more large- scale export. The ports of Antium and Terracina would maintain their viability in the Empire though, importing olive-oil and other commodities for the villae marittimae, Antium, Terracina and Rome. - 71 -
  • 4. THE LIBONI AMPHORA COLLECTION In this chapter the origins and composition of the Liboni Amphora Collection are discussed, as well as the incentives and results of both the studies in 2006 and 2007. The results are presented mainly as charts and a table and will be interpreted in the next chapter. 4.1. RESEARCH HISTORY AND METHODOLOGY OF THE LAC 4.1.1. LAC research history The incentive for studying the LAC was a research master class I had to accomplish in the summer of 2006. Knowing my interest in maritime archaeology and experience with a previous GIA campaign in Nettuno, prof. dr. P.A.J. Attema informed me about a collection of nearly intact amphorae which G.W. Tol had discovered stashed away in Forte Sangallo. My assignment would be to catalogue these complete vessels and write a report about them. In Nettuno I was to work for three weeks on the amphora catalogue, after the completion of which I would be relocated to a site near Rome for the remaining three weeks of the campaign. The latter was not to be, as there proved to be a lot more amphorae in Forte Sangallo that needed to be catalogued. Upon finishing my work in the storeroom with the intact vessels, I started processing the amphorae and associated pottery on display in the museum (the latter of which was not taken up in the LAC catalogue). Four weeks had already passed, and when director Liboni announced that the corridors beneath the fort harbored a multitude of amphora fragments that had never been inventoried, it became clear that I would not be able to finish cataloguing the entire amphora collection. I processed as many as possible, in the final week being aided in drawing and describing by G.W. Tol and fellow students. In the end 82 entries were made in the catalogue. While the ensuing LAC 2006 report154 was satisfactory as far as the catalogue was concerned, proper interpretation and detailed context of the LAC had to be sacrificed for a great deal in order to complete the original assignment (the catalogue) in time. Although prof. dr. Attema knew it could not be finished anymore in 2006, he also realized the further potential of the LAC. It was early in 2007 that G.W. Tol (who was staying in Nettuno for a year to work on his PhD thesis) sent me an e-mail, stating that he had inventoried over fifty more amphorae in Forte Sangallo’s magazzino. Two of these also bore a 154 Pape 2006b - 72 -
  • stamp he said, which interested me greatly as none of the LAC amphorae I studied in the summer of 2006 had borne stamps. With so many extra amphorae available and stamps that could possibly also give provenance information for the 2006 vessels, further study was deemed highly desirable. A few months later my thesis proposal was approved. The LAC research of 2006 was to be taken as a starting point and then expanded upon by studying all remaining amphorae in Forte Sangallo, which was done in the summer of 2007. 4.1.2. Origins and composition of the Liboni collection The Liboni Amphora Collection (LAC) at first only encompassed the forty-odd complete amphorae stashed away in a storeroom of Forte Sangallo, the fort that houses the local museum of the city of Nettuno (RM, Lazio, Italy). Due to additional research it now comprises every amphora (fragment) present in the fort. Amphorae found during GIA surveys are not part of the LAC, though information resulting from their study are used in this thesis. The LAC was studied in the course of two years, more specifically the summers of 2006 and 2007. A total of eight weeks of photographing, drawing and describing was used to process and study first-hand the 154 amphorae that ultimately ended up in the catalogue. The amphorae making up the LAC are all part of the archaeological collection known as the Liboni Collection housed in Forte Sangallo, which has been undergoing systematic research and cataloguing for the last few years. The collection is named after Arnaldo Liboni, antiquarian and collector of archaeological material, who functions as overseer in Forte Sangallo. The collection features many kinds of pottery (from Archaic tiles to Late Roman African Red Slip casseroles), metal objects, architectural fragments, etc. Preliminary results following the study of this collection have been used in the thesis of G.W. Tol and will be further expanded upon in his PhD project.155 The material comprising the entire Liboni Collection comes from two sources. The majority of it has been collected by Liboni himself during fieldtrips in and partly outside the comune di Nettuno. A smaller quantity was given to him by manner of gift. The amphorae of the LAC also originate from both of these sources. The forty-odd complete vessels in the storeroom were brought to the museum as a gift. About their original findspot(s) Liboni could only tell that they had been fished out of the sea by a fisherman, after which the local police had confiscated the amphorae and taken them to Forte Sangallo. Here they were placed behind lock and key in a storeroom not open to anyone but himself. The amphorae (fragments) in the museum itself as well as those in the magazzino are mainly finds by Liboni himself. 155 Tol 2005 ; Tol, forthcoming - 73 -
  • While nearly all of the amphorae in the storeroom and museum display cases, as well as a few of the fragments in the magazzino had already been labeled by the antiquarian, G.W. Tol and I had to take care of tagging and inventorying the rest. This was a direct consequence of Liboni’s predilection for ‘prettier’ material like black glazed ware, terra sigillata and African Red Slip Ware (ARSW). As Tol already stated in his thesis, Liboni is a collector first and foremost, and not a scientist. He has the tendency to collect the best-looking material from sites of which he knows that they consistently yield nice and plentiful finds. A prime example hereof is Torre Astura, which he has visited extensively several times. It is because of that modus operandi that material from aforementioned villa site makes up a significant part of the Liboni Collection, and that luxury pottery is overrepresented in that material set. Consequentially more basic pottery, such as amphorae, ranks quite low on his interest scale so to say.156 When all this is taken into account, it is very difficult or even impossible to express the LAC as a percentage of the entire Liboni Collection, seeing how the LAC is in all probability not representative of the actual number of amphorae that could have been part of the Liboni Collection. I emphasize this sentence strongly, as it is a vital consideration when it comes to interpreting the LAC. 4.1.3. Photographing and drawing the LAC The path from amphora to catalogue entry encompasses several steps, which differed slightly from 2006 to 2007 due to the condition of the amphorae (mostly complete vessels in 2006, only fragments in 2007) and the nature of the report. Inconsequential of the year, the amphora (fragment) was placed against an evenly white background for contrasting purposes (A4 paper on the floor and against the walls, which were mostly white themselves). A more professional setup would have been better, but was sadly not available. Several photographs were shot of the vessels, using a five megapixel Kodak DX7590. In 2006 a full-frontal shot was made first, followed by a closer shot of the amphora from the shoulder upwards. After this came two shots of the handle (front and side), a slightly panned shot of the rim and a frontal shot of the spike/base. When possible, a close-up shot of the amphora’s fabric was made as well with the help of the camera’s macro function. Depending on the condition of the amphorae, each vessel in 2006 thus received a reference set of about 5-7 photographs. In 2007, two shots were generally taken of each amphora (fragment): a full-frontal shot and a close- up shot of the fabric. This was foremost because the 2007 part of the collection comprised only fragments, thus boasting mostly only one or two of the characteristics that were consistently photographed of the complete vessels in 2006 (rim, handle, spike). Secondly I deemed it somewhat superfluous to take that many photographs of one fragment, especially as the drawings made in 2007 156 Tol 2005, pp. 44 - 74 -
  • did a better job in showing those same characteristics (see below). An amphora only received more than two shots if a special feature required this (such as the stamp of LAC/Bol.820.04/01). In some cases several fragments were photographed at once, like for instance those that belonged to the same vessel. Also several spikes that were found together in find bags (2007) as well as the amphorae X11-24 (2006) were photographed as multiple fragments in one shot. The latter were photographed that way to speed up the cataloguing process, as they were found near the very end of the 2006 campaign. Those shots thus provide less consistency and sadly less detail than the others. In 2006 an amphora’s entry in the catalogue was usually accompanied by one to three A4 drawings of its distinctive typological recognition points (being rim, handle and spike/base), again depending on the present condition of the vessel (e.g. an amphora with its spike missing would have two drawings: rim and handle). These drawings were, together with the photographs, used as personal reference during the descriptions of the amphorae. In 2007 each amphora was drawn only once, as a discussion with G.W. Tol and T.C.A. de Haas resulted in a more efficient format that was also better suited for their PhD projects. The larger part of the 2007 amphorae consisted of the upper part (rim and one or both handles) or merely of rims/handles. These were drawn as complete fragments on A4 or A3 (or on two A3’s even when applicable). The drawings made in 2006 were ultimately inked and digitized by professionals of the GIA drawing room for upcoming publication. That way I could also use them for my thesis. As the 2007 drawings were not scheduled for publication yet, a selection thereof was digitized on my own request by S.E. Boersma of the drawing room. Due to his outstanding work this thesis boasts a digitized drawing of every amphora type in the LAC, as well as of all stamps encountered. 4.1.4. Describing the LAC When an amphora had been photographed and drawn, the catalogue entry was made. Each vessel received an inventory number (, which is LAC/[number]. In most cases in 2006 there was already such a number present on the amphora. If not, the vessel became LAC X/[number]. These inventory numbers follow standard GIA conventions for catalogued special finds, being the abbreviation of the find site followed by a slash and a follow-up number. LAC and X are no sites per se, but seeing as only two amphorae in 2006 could be attributed to a specific land based find site (Torre Astura) and the rest either has an unknown origin or was simply labeled ‘maritime find’, the abbreviation of the collection was used. The 2007 amphorae were labeled either LAC/X[number] or LAC/[site], as several of the studied fragments were from distinct sites or locations (e.g. Torre Astura, Poligono Militare, Cretarossa). - 75 -
  • Next, the ware was determined. Although most of the larger amphorae have a distinct coarse fabric (i.e. having >2mm inclusions of quartz, limestone, feldspar, etc.) for strengthening the structural integrity of the vessel,157 some smaller specimens would be considered by many scholars to be of depurated ware. Seeing as these amphorae practically always contain fairly large inclusions (1-2mm) as well, that reasoning tends to get paradoxical. The fabric of amphorae is highly variable, and it is therefore perhaps not representative and differentiating enough to label an amphora’s fabric either as being coarse or depurated, as each excludes the other and amphorae tend to display both rough and finer fabric in between the two extremes. Thus the catalogue in this report uses the standard GIA convention for coding material remains, wherein amphorae are classified as a different fabric altogether. This is coded fabric ‘IVc amphora’ (IV being miscellaneous earthenware, c the subdivision amphora). After ware had been determined, the shape of the amphora (fragment) was noted. This can range from ‘complete amphora’ (restored or intact) to i.e. ‘neck and rim of an amphora’. This way the reader can see at once if the entry concerns a complete form or just a fragment. Following on shape is the description. Here the amphora’s form and typological characteristics were described from the bottom to the top of the vessel if applicable. Different entries can thus be compared with each other based on both general form and subtle details. Though two amphorae may be called Dressel 1A, they can still differ enormously. Together with the photographs and drawings, the descriptions are the key elements of the collection’s dataset. Next are two more or less technical aspects of the amphora: colors and measurements. The first were determined with the Munsell soil color charts158 for the exterior, interior and core (fabric) of the vessel. Color and fabric can be an important factor when trying to determine the provenance of a certain amphora, since particular soils yield particular colors of fabric. This is especially useful when stamps or tituli picti (painted inscriptions) are absent on the amphorae. The use of fabric - and indirectly its color - is illustrated well in the work of Peacock & Williams.159 The measurements of the amphora are quite straightforward, giving the height, greatest width, thickness of the wall, thickness of the lip and diameter of lip and/or base/spike depending on the state of the vessel. Measurements were taken with a 20 centimeter-long ruler, a sliding gauge, a gradient triangle and a craniometer (for measuring the thickness of the wall). When the amphora was fully described technically, comments were made. These include unusual characteristics and extra information about the vessel, such as the condition the amphora was in and the number of marine encrustations (which severely obscured detail on some vessels). The comments are an extension of the amphora’s description, complementing its information with observations that can lead 157 Peacock & Williams 1991, pp. 45 158 Munsell 1975, rev. 1994 159 Peacock & Williams 1991, pp. 15 - 76 -
  • to further differentiation within an amphora type. Standard works cover most of the widely spread and well-known types, but as I cannot stress enough, amphorae do not always ‘work by the book’ and include everything from slight local deviations to apparent hybrid forms. With the photographs, drawings and description as reference at hand, confronti were searched in the standard works. For the 2006 part of the collection this was first done with the book of Peacock & Williams, while some types not found there were traced after the campaign in the work of Caravale & Toffoletti. Since the types mentioned in Amphorae and the Roman economy: an introductory guide are also to be found in Anfore antiche: conoscerle e identificarle, the confronti were in 2007 taken from the latter for streamlining purposes (and because it was the most recent standard work available to me at the time). When T.C.A. de Haas discovered the existence of the USAP 2005 database in late 2007, all possible confronti were once more replaced with use of this most recent source of references. As a few of the LAC amphorae were considered locally manufactured and/or could not be found in the standard works, extra literature about local amphora production and/or finds was used (including sites as Torre Astura, Piccareta 15, Cosa, Ostia, etc.). When a confronto was found, the amphora could be given a place in time as well as in space in some instances (the latter when provenance was known for a particular type, sometimes even more specific for a subtype due to knowledge of a characteristic fabric or by exact referencing of a stamp). Not every amphora in the LAC could be assigned a confronto, but over two-thirds could. Perhaps follow-up research in the future can enhance this even more. The last note in the catalogue an amphora received was the mention if it was drawn or not, and in the case of the 2006 vessels, which part of it (rim, handle, base). In some cases an amphora was not drawn, when it had no typological elements to make even the most basic identification possible. These fragments were only photographed. 4.2. LAC 2006-2007 RESULTS In the course of two consecutive summers I studied the Liboni Amphora Collection, in the hope that I could shed some light on the socio-economic system of our research area from a maritime point of view. This was my premise already from the onset of the 2006 report and it has not changed in this thesis. I will now display the results of my study with use of a table and several charts. As they do not include all amphorae that make up the LAC (those which could not be referenced with amphora literature or online database are omitted), the table and charts are per definition not complete and thus not fully representative of the entire collection. When reviewing the table and charts hereafter, one has to realize that every data entry is relevant only for those amphorae that comprise the - 77 -
  • first group in the catalogue (amphorae with confronti). Also the table and charts merely present the factual results of my study, not their interpretation. The latter is done in the next chapter. 4.2.1. LAC summary table Table 1 on the following four pages summarizes the facts and details of the 110 amphorae in the LAC that could be referenced. Most of the information comes from the USAP 2005 online database,160 while the work of Caravale & Toffoletti161 covers the two Etruscan amphorae and expands the entries on Dressel 1 as well as Greco-Italic amphorae. The entries on Type 3 Unknown rim ‘Type A’, Type 4 Unknown rim ‘Type B’ and Type 8 Unknown base ‘Type B’ are taken from the GIA interim report of the 2000-2001 Astura Project.162 The entries are arranged according to chronology; with the oldest amphora type first and the youngest last. The table contains the following aspects: amphora type: the denomination of the amphora type as it appears in the aforementioned a) literature/database; dating: the dating of the amphora type as stated in the aforementioned literature/database; b) number found: the number of the amphora type encountered in the LAC; c) provenance: the origin of the amphora type as stated in the aforementioned literature/database; d) distribution: the distribution of the amphora type as stated in the aforementioned e) literature/database; contents: the contents of the amphora type as stated in the aforementioned literature/database. f) 160 University of Southampton Amphora Project 2005 161 Caravale & Toffoletti 1997 162 Attema, De Haas & Nijboer 2003 - 78 -
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  • 4.2.2. LAC statistical composition chart Chart 1 maps the statistical composition of the 110 referenced LAC amphorae. The names of the amphora types line the Y-axis, while the X-axis shows the number of amphorae for a quick comparative glance. The bars themselves also have the exact number of amphorae behind them, as well as that number’s percentage of the whole referenced LAC. The chart follows the same chronological arrangement as the table; with the oldest amphora type first and the youngest last. 4.2.3. LAC date range chart Chart 2 shows the date ranges of the various amphora types that make up the LAC. It is a simplified graphical visualization of the date ranges found in the table. It is simplified as the date ranges are rounded on whole centuries, rather than on half centuries or even more precise intervals. I have chosen this approach considering Callender’s statements concerning the remarkable longevity of most amphora types (leading to indistinct starting/ending dates). Especially for a chart that is to provide quick comparisons and a general overview of amphora lifespan, I felt this method was better suited and perhaps even more true to fact. 4.2.4. LAC contents charts Charts 3a and 3b show the contents of the 110 referenced LAC amphorae. Chart 3a is based on the number of individual amphorae, Chart 3b on the number of amphora types (hence also the difference in X-axis scale). Both charts follow the same principle: five contents each in two categories. Wine, olive oil and fish sauce are the main contents. The numbers listed in those three bars concern amphorae which transported solely the stated product, which is why the bar ‘multiproduct’ is there to complement. That bar concerns amphorae which are known to have transported various commodities. The two categories making up each bar, ‘Certain’ and ‘Maybe’, define whether it is known for a fact that said contents were transported or that it remains speculation/extrapolation. For the wine/olive oil/fish sauce bars these categories thus give added information (e.g. the majority of individual LAC amphorae certainly transported solely wine). The multiproduct and unknown bars are only ‘Maybe’, as it would be either too complex or simply impossible to add ‘Certain’ to them. This will be further clarified in Chapter 5. - 83 -
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  • Chart 3a: LAC contents chart Chart 3b: LAC contents chart - 86 -
  • 5. INTERPRETATIONS In this chapter the results of the LAC study, which were presented on the previous pages, are interpreted to try and answer the questions posed in the prologue of this thesis. How can the information gained from studying the Liboni Amphora Collection be interpreted, and what does it say about the changing socio-economic system of the Pontine region in Roman times? It is to be kept in mind that these interpretations concern only the referenced part of the LAC. Those amphorae that could not be referenced were not taken into account. Also, due to the nature of the way the LAC was compiled by director Liboni, the observations and deductions below are not fully representative of the situation in Antiquity. After all, there could have been a lot more amphorae present in the overall Liboni Collection (see 4.1.2). 5.1. OBSERVATIONS 5.1.1. Amphora types and number of amphorae The first outshoot one will notice when looking at the table and/or statistical composition chart is the large number of Africana 2A Grande cylindrical amphorae. This subtype represents the continued success of Tunisian workshops on the greater Mediterranean market, and is the first pointer to the LAC’s chronological peak being in the Early Imperial period (0-200 AD). Tripolitanian 2 and Africana 3A types are the only other African amphora types with a decent share in the LAC of respectively 3 and 5 specimens. Sixteen of the forty-four (sub) types listed in Chart 1 (see 4.2.2) are African of origin, and the majority of those date from the 2nd century AD onwards. Ten Gauloise 4 amphorae comprise the second outshoot. This 9% share in the referenced LAC is the only contribution from Gaul in the collection, but it makes for quite an impression. The popularity of these lightweight containers and their contents is undeniable. The third outshoot, Type 8 Unknown base ‘type B’, comes in nine specimens. Not much is known about this type, other than that it was of local manufacturing at the Piccareta 15 site near Torre Astura and was in all probability meant to store/transport olive oil. As this number is tied to production instead of import, it probably says little about elite preferences (other than Gauloise 4), but all the more about olive oil storage/transport in the direct surroundings. The other amphora types with a significant share (five specimens or more) are all Italian wine containers, except Africana 3A. Dressel 1 actually has 11 specimens in total, but this adds the subtypes - 87 -
  • 1A and 1B as well. Dressel 1 thus does not produce an outshoot in the chart like the amphora types mentioned above, as the number is spread across subtypes. Still, the high share of Dressel 1 in the LAC is evidential. 5.1.2. Dating The referenced LAC spans a timeframe from roughly 600 BC to 800 AD, a span of 1400 years, as can bee seen in Chart 2 (see 4.2.3). The oldest amphora types in the collection are the two Etruscan containers, followed by the three Republican Greco-Italic amphorae. From around 200 BC a number of types appeared, most of them of Italian origin except the African Van der Werff 2 and Pompeii 38. The largest shares of these are Dressel 1 and Type 8 Unknown base ‘type B’. Most of these reflect local or at least regional production, also Dressel 1 which was at first predominantly made all along the Tyrrhenian coast. It is interesting to note that all of these types, except Pompeii 38, were off the market around 200 AD. Another three types appeared around 100 BC: Dressel 2-4 Cos and Agora F65-66, which were both foreign wine containers, and the Forlimpopoli. The latter would become one of the few Italian-born wine amphorae after the home market collapsed with, among others, the introduction of Gauloise 4. The most amphora types to simultaneously appear did so around the 1st century AD. Thirteen types in total hit the market, several of which would be produced for another 4-5 centuries. Three of the most broadly distributed amphorae types in history were introduced in this period: Dressel 2-4 Italian, Dressel 20 and Gauloise 4. Around 100 AD the share of African amphorae started to get larger with the introduction of Africana 1 Piccolo and 2A Grande. The Italian wine market began to disintegrate, leaving only Empoli and the Campanian almond-rim type (a local variant of Dressel 2-4) with the still produced Forlimpopoli and some later Dressel 2-4 to fill the regional market. From 200 AD onward the African amphora types dominated the market, with only Keay 52 marking the resurgence of the Italian wine market around 300 AD. 5.1.3. Provenance The flow of amphora types through time as shown in the charts and previous paragraphs is essentially a visualization of shifting markets. By observing how and when amphora types of different origins appear and again disappear on the Mediterranean market, coupled with the number of amphorae per type in the LAC, one can get a pretty clear picture of the way import/export patterns changed over the centuries. - 88 -
  • When looking at the provenance column of Table 1, it becomes immediately clear that Italy (18 types, 49 amphorae) ranks highest when it comes to most amphora types produced as well as number of amphorae, followed by Tunisia (10 types, 30 amphorae). France (1 type, 10 amphorae) ranks third position. Spain, Libya, Algeria, the Aegean and Asia Minor all have smaller shares in the LAC. The observation of Italian dominance could cause one to believe that the LAC is more a result of export as opposed to import, but it has to be remembered that a substantial number of Italian amphorae was probably manufactured for the local market; not every amphora was meant for overseas transport. While not every Italian amphora in the LAC necessarily has to be the result of export, every completely foreign (not copied on Italian soil) amphora was imported. This line of reasoning arguably gives a larger emphasis on imported amphorae in the LAC. This ties in directly with the visualization of two important shifting markets: a) The Gallic wine production/trade established a major foothold in the Mediterranean market in the 1st century AD, and consequently pushed the then dominant Italian wine trade aside in the 2nd century AD. This is clearly visible in the LAC with the substantial share of Gauloise 4 amphorae and disappearance of Italian wine amphorae. b) The Baetican monopoly on the olive oil trade comes to an end in the 3rd century AD, becoming slowly overshadowed by the African competition. Both the greater efficiency of the African amphorae and (most probably) direct intervention by Septimius Severus shift focus to the North African market for the export of olive oil and later fish sauce as well. The LAC also shows this development clearly in the large shares of Africana 2A and 3A. A great variety of later African cylindricals exists in the LAC, reflecting African dominance in the Late Empire. Expanding upon the first point, the LAC does not clearly show the downfall of that other substantial wine market: that of Tarraconensis. The Spanish wine trade, whilst always having had a smaller share on the Mediterranean market than that of Italy, was famed nonetheless. The LAC contains only one dedicated Hispanic wine amphora, a Dressel 2-4 Catalan, which is insufficient to map the process. Expanding upon the second point, the LAC interestingly enough has only two specimens of Baetica’s greatest success, the Dressel 20. During GIA surveys near the Roman road outside Nettuno, a far larger share of encountered amphorae sherds were classified as Dressel 20. This, in my opinion significant, difference with the (coastal) LAC is further discussed in 5.2.1. - 89 -
  • 5.1.4. Distribution While some amphora types were locally produced and distributed, most had a very wide distribution. The most successful types, like Dressel 2-4, can be found all over the Mediterranean, inland Europe and as far away as India. The distribution column of Table 1 shows this variety of destinations. Unfortunately there are no amphora types in the LAC that have peculiar distribution patterns, as in types that might normally not be found in Italy. Such aberrant patterns might indicate gifts, as an amphora that is an unusual or rare find in a certain country might very well have been a present. After all some of the Roman elite traveled a lot, and an amphora filled with foreign wine would have made a suitable gift for a visiting nobleman to take home. While it is still wholly possible that some of the amphorae in the collection are the result of gift exchange, they can not be spotted as such. With amphorae it is much harder to use distribution information as opposed to other forms of earthenware, like terra sigillata and ARSW. Because most amphora types can be found everywhere in the ancient world, a distribution map only makes sense when it concerns a single amphora type. As that would imply making some forty-odd distribution maps, I have opted to not add these to my thesis. Anyone interested in such maps would do best to consult specialist literature covering but a few types in detail. The work by Peacock & Williams includes several of such maps, complete with references to other publications.163 5.1.5. Contents The primary commodity transported in the LAC amphorae is undoubtedly wine, as can be clearly seen in Charts 3a and 3b. Chart 3a shows that 51 of the 110 referenced amphorae, around 46%, were meant to transport/store solely wine. Chart 3b then translates this into 18 of the 45 types, being about 40% of the referenced LAC. These figures do not take into account the amphorae that were probably used solely for wine, or even the various multiproduct types (some of which were surely used for wine on occasion). The majority of these wine containers is Italian (Dressel 1, Dressel 2-4 variants, Forlimpopoli, Keay 52), followed by the French share (Gauloise 4). This would mean the greater part of these wine amphorae was either meant for export abroad or for the local market. There is also a variety of eastern Mediterranean wine containers present in the LAC, notably the Rhodian Type and the Dressel 30/Keay 1B. These represent among others the shift of large-scale wine production to that region during the Late Empire. While olive oil and fish sauce have dedicated amphorae as well, their number is nowhere near that of the wine containers in the LAC. This is especially true for fish sauce, for which the LAC only has one dedicated amphora type (Leptiminius 1). The assertion by Brandizzi Vittuci that garum might have 163 Peacock & Williams 1991 - 90 -
  • been made in Antium thus cannot be proven by the LAC (see 1.3.3). Olive oil ranks higher with seven confirmed amphorae, but it remains obscured by the major share of dedicated wine containers. However, this certainly does not mean these products were not traded. After all the status of dedicated container is still debated for some types, and Charts 3a and 3b also show that a good number of amphora types transported two or more commodities, which were mostly olive oil and/or fish sauce according to the literature. This shows the biggest downside of portraying amphora contents in charts; it is impossible to take into account the multiproduct amphora types when trying to graphically show the number of types/amphorae that were used to transport a given commodity. To do so would mean these types are counted twice or even more often with each commodity that is attributed to them, which in turn would result in the numbers and percentages given in the chart exceeding the maximum of amphorae/types and the 100% limit. Charts 3a and 3b are the closest to accurately visualizing these results as I could achieve, while still maintaining enough information to even warrant a chart. 5.2. DEDUCTIONS 5.2.1. Comparing the LAC with the GIA Nettuno survey data A hurdle that keeps me from making a systematical comparison between the LAC and survey amphorae is the unfortunate lack of solid publication concerning the latter. In past GIA campaigns there was less knowledge available concerning amphorae, as well as an overabundance of non-concordant literature. The result of this is that, while I do have a list of encountered amphora types in various GIA surveys in the Nettuno area, there is little statistical information about them beside the site ID. There has not been an up-to-date publication concerning the survey amphorae yet, only the informal type list and table were available for me to use at the moment.164 This problem will be addressed in a future dedicated GIA publication, aimed at revisiting older survey data. For the time being however the comparisons made below are preliminary, and can only serve to indicate general differences or commonalities between the two sets. It would seem that, while there is a good overlap in amphora types, the LAC and the set of Nettuno survey amphorae have different chronological heights and peaks. The types most frequently encountered during GIA surveys in the Nettuno region are Dressel 2-4 Italian, Dressel 1, Dressel 20, Haltern 70, Greco-Italic and local P15 olive oil amphorae (subtypes unknown). This marks the Late Republic-Early Empire period as the peak of this amphora set. Other common, though less attested types are 164 T.C.A. de Haas & G.W. Tol, - 91 -
  • Tripolitanian (subtypes unknown) and Africana (subtypes unknown). Even more scarcely encountered types are Beltrán 1, Gauloise 4 and Dressel 30. This list is, as explained above, however by no means complete or exhaustive. Comparing the above to the LAC, there are both types in common with the survey set and distinctly different specimens. Dressel 2-4 Italian was a very popular type and it appears relatively often in both sets, but there are far more of these among the survey amphorae, which in my opinion hints at local production inland near the roads. Dressel 1 was likewise a quintessential amphora type and occurs in relatively the same amounts in both sets. Haltern 70 is encountered quite a lot more in the surveys than in the LAC, in which there is only one specimen. Greco-Italic amphorae also make up for a fairly large part of the survey set, and again their share is a lot smaller in the LAC. Dressel 20 is a common type in the survey set, but there are only fragments of two such vessels in the LAC. The other way around then we have Gauloise 4, which has a large share in the LAC but only occurs once in the survey set (and even then it is not a certainty). The amphorae produced at P15 (e.g. Type 8 Unknown base ‘type B’) appear quite often in the survey set, but their share is perhaps even larger in the LAC. The lack of proper referencing concerning the African types sadly prevents a decent comparison. This is a shame really, as the African amphora types are so prevalent and varied in the LAC. It can only be observed that the type variation of African amphorae in the survey set is a lot smaller than in the LAC, as is the number of vessels. The survey set also does not seem to contain any Near Eastern or Aegean types. One possible explanation for the discrepancies noted above is the nature of their buyer. The Near Eastern, Aegean and Gallic amphora types were all wine containers, and some of them will have contained fine foreign vintages. That these types appear in the coastal area with its elite residents rather than at the more rural villae along the Roman road thus makes a good deal of sense. Conversely, Dressel 20 was imported in bulk by the city of Rome to provide for its population. The route from Spain also did not pass Antium or beyond, which meant Dressel 20 vessels found in the surveys will most probably have come from Rome. The Dressel 20 amphorae in the LAC did not have marine encrustations, which makes it more probable that those fragments in the LAC and surveys are the result of redistribution by road (again enforced by the greater quantity near the Roman road inland). As the population of Rome during the Middle Imperial period exceeded the production capacity of Latium, it seems logical for the hinterland to supply itself with locally produced olive oil (the amount of P15 amphorae in both sets also hints at this, although they have not been dated AD so far) while Rome technically monopolized the output of Baetican production. This concept seems to repeat itself in later years, when Tripolitanian 3 supplants Dressel 20 as chief olive oil container for Rome (as - 92 -
  • demonstrated by Monte Testaccio). This type has no references in the LAC at all, Dressel 20 merely has two. As for the rest of the survey data, which was instrumental in sketching the changing socio-economic environment of the Pontine region through the ages (see chapter 3), the LAC also supports that to a certain extent. The general trend in the Roman period of rural habitation was one of infill and expansion of the various river valleys (e.g. Loricina, Astura, Moscarella, with emphasis on the former), from the Early Republic until it reached a peak in the Early Empire, after which decline set in. The trend for the coastal villae started in the Middle Republic, experienced a peak in the Early Empire as well, and began to decline in the Late Empire. This latter trend is fully supported by the LAC data, which shows exactly those proceedings in the export/import relation of the various amphora types. The general habitation peak in the Early Imperial period is also mirrored in the amphora collection. The rural habitation trend is far more difficult to corroborate by the LAC, as it essentially deals with the coastal stretch only. It also has different chronological peaks than the set of survey amphorae, which itself has not been systematically studied yet (see above), adding to the discrepancy. I am certain that a similar study as this thesis concerning the inland survey amphora would support the trend in rural habitation much better. 5.2.2. Comparing the LAC with the amphorae in the museum of Anzio Just to be thorough I would like to do a quick comparison between the LAC amphorae and those displayed in the archaeological museum of Anzio (the former Roman colony Antium). In the booklet published about and by the museum in 2006, Il museo racconta. Percorso ragionato die luoghi e delle cose, the four amphora types on display in the museum are mentioned: Lamboglia 2, Dressel 17, Dressel 1 and Tripolitanian 2.165 While the latter two types occur in the LAC as well, the former two do not. Lamboglia 2, a wine container produced from the 3rd to 1st century BC, has its origins on the Adriatic coast. While it was an amphora type with a wide distribution across the Mediterranean, the only Adriatic type present in the LAC is the much later Forlimpopoli. Dressel 17 transported fish sauce probably, and was produced in the 1st century AD in Spain. We know this type primarily from those production sites in Baetica (mostly around Cádiz) and encounters in Rome, which suggests a similar trade arrangement as with Dressel 20. This type was probably delivered straight to Ostia or Antium at the most, again much like Dressel 20. 166 165 Franco (ed.) 2006, pp. 51-54 166 and 77 - 93 -
  • In so far as a pattern can be deduced, I would say that Dressel 17 is not in the LAC because of its origin and distribution standard (Rome). Lamboglia 2 could have been in the LAC; there is to me no obvious reason why it is not present in the collection. With Antium having been a fairly important harbor in Roman times, it makes sense though that some differing amphora types can be encountered there. 5.2.3. Issues of chronology To elaborate on the difference between those amphorae found in the coastal area (LAC) and those encountered in the Pontine plain (surveys); the biggest difference is in the chronology. Where most of the LAC amphorae date from the Early and Middle Imperial period, the types found during surveys are mostly Republican. Greco-Italic amphorae were encountered the most, followed by Dressel 1 and Dressel 20. This in contrast to the LAC, where there are only three Greco-Italic amphorae, two Dressel 20 fragments and a lot of types never encountered during a survey. The different sets of amphora types encountered in the plain and coastal area essentially reflect two chronological stages of change in the Pontine region’s socio-economic system. The amphorae found during GIA surveys represent the rise and expansion of the villae rusticae along the Roman road, while the LAC amphorae represent the rise and expansion of the villae marittimae along the coastal strip. The Republican amphora set is hardly as varied as that of the Empire. Of course this is mainly the result of the opening up of new markets during the Empire, but it can be readily assumed that there was quite a bit of trade during the Republic as well: Dressel 1 and 2-4 amphorae in particular were produced in and exported from Latium in great quantities, something which continued into the Early Empire. While the LAC has some definite Republican amphorae (it is almost impossible to allocate Dressel 1 vessels to either Republic or Empire without a dedicated study though), the majority stems from Imperial times. The LAC shows the rise, peak, decline and late revival of the Italian wine market. It shows the rise of the Gallic wine market. It shows the rise and peak of the African olive oil market. The LAC shows Latium as an area that started out producing and exporting both amphorae and wine on a large scale, but which gradually lost its own economic potential to foreign markets during the Middle and Late Empire. Export became import, production became consumption. The LAC shows the classic setting of a nation’s heartland whose needs outgrow the capacity of its hinterland over time, instead becoming reliant on specialized and dedicated production areas elsewhere and thereby causing the socio- economic decline of the hinterland. The number of types and individual vessels observed when seen in relation to each other, together with their dating, provenance, distribution and contents, clearly show the make-up and details of the LAC. All these aspects combined obviously make this amphora collection a material documentary of - 94 -
  • seaborne trade in the Pontine region, but what kind of picture does that documentary exactly draw of the area through the centuries? Chronologically speaking, the peak of amphora trade in the coastal area of the Pontine region lies in the Early and Middle Imperial period, more specifically between 0-200 AD. This is evident when comparing the number of types and individual amphorae from that time to the other periods. Roughly between 0-100 AD the largest number of amphora types are available on the market, as Chart 2 shows. 23 LAC amphora types were available in that century, reflecting the enormous economic growth experienced by the emerging Roman Empire in those days. Around the middle of the 1st century AD the amphora production in Italy itself is taken down a notch, while that in other Mediterranean provinces takes off. The best reflection of this is seen in the ten Gauloise 4 and fourteen Africana 2A vessels. Basically almost every large shift in the greater Mediterranean market is reflected in the Liboni Amphora Collection, by grace of the variety in amphora types therein. The rise to dominance of the African market, the impact of Gallic wine trade, the decline of the Italian (wine) market and amphora production; all are visible in the table and charts. 5.2.4. Ancient origins and destinations of the LAC amphorae: land-based finds As far as land-based find locations are concerned, a number of them can be more or less pinpointed: Torre Astura, Poligono (Militare) and Cretarossa. These are all local find locations along the coastal stretch between Nettuno and Torre Astura. Torre Astura is the fort/Roman villa itself and its immediate surroundings, the Poligono is the military zone that spans almost the entire coastal stretch nowadays, and Cretarossa is most probably A. Liboni’s toponym for the area where Nettuno’s public beach turns into the Poligono. This area is otherwise known to the GIA as Depuratore. a) the types encountered at Torre Astura are: Campanian almond-rim type, Pompeii 38, Dressel 2-4 Cos, Dressel 2-4 Italian, Tripolitanian 2, Gauloise 4, Africana 1 Piccolo, Africana 2A Grande, Africana 3B and Africana 3C; b) the types encountered at the Poligono (Militare) are: Dressel 2-4 Catalan, Type 8 Unknown base ‘type B’, Gauloise 4, Dressel 30 - Keay 1A and Africana 3A; c) the types encountered at Cretarossa are: Type 3 Unknown rim ‘type A’ and Type 8 Unknown base ‘type B’. Liboni has walked the coastal stretch between Nettuno and Torre Astura several times (something which is technically forbidden as it is military property) and the finds he describes as coming from the Poligono are most probably random samples from (in between) the various villae along this coast. The - 95 -
  • Torre Astura finds come from the Roman villa there, as Liboni has told us. This location has yielded large quantities of material and resultant information in the past few years, and is arguably the single most important Roman site on the local coastal stretch. When looking at the amphora types listed above, a couple of things can be deduced: a) African cylindricals dominate in number of types, especially at Torre Astura; b) local amphorae, most probably made at Astura/P15, dominate in number of vessels along the entire coastal stretch; c) the idea that a substantial part of the (foreign) LAC wine containers was meant for the coastal villae is reinforced; Gauloise 4, Dressel 2-4 Cos and Pompeii 38 all occur at Torre Astura, with another Gauloise 4, a Dressel 2-4 Catalan and a Dressel 30 - Keay 1A somewhere in the Poligono. All non-imported amphorae listed above are in my opinion vessels that were either produced along or successfully exported (i.e. not found in the sea) to the coastal stretch between present-day Fiumicino and Naples. While Tchernia insists that the Astura kiln produced only Greco-Italic and Dressel 1 for wine containers, the recent find of a Dressel 2-4 Italian in situ in what seems to have been a kiln at Colle Falcone (just a little land inwards from Astura) makes local production of that type in my research area a distinct possibility as well, even if it was not made at Astura. The P15 types, Dressel 2-4 Italian and Campanian almond-rim type were most likely distributed across the region and to Rome, while the foreign wine containers were imported/brought home from Gaul, the Aegean, etc. by the owners of Torre Astura and most probably several neighboring villae for own consumption. Some of these amphorae would also have come through the port at Terracina. The African cylindrical types are somewhat of a mixed batch, and it is hard to say if they were meant specifically for the coastal villae (more likely in the Late Empire) or if they were distributed throughout the hinterland as well. A combination of these assumptions would probably hold the most truth. 5.2.5. Ancient origins and destinations of the LAC amphorae: seaborne finds The origins and destinations of LAC amphorae found in the sea are a lot harder to determine. Without specific information concerning the seaborne find locations of the various amphorae making up the LAC, it is impossible to state where these amphorae exactly came from. The amphora types with marine encrustations, thus originating from either a shipwreck or an underwater waste heap (not very likely considering the tendency of using and reusing amphorae for many years, but still a possibility that has to be taken into account), can be both the result of import and export. The Dressel 2-4 Italian type for - 96 -
  • example was produced all over the Tyrrhenian area. While it is very probable that several specimens of this type in the LAC were produced locally (Latium and Campania are known production regions, and P15 produced Dressel 1 and probably 2-4 as well) and were thus exported, they might just as well have been imported from elsewhere. Without stamps the above is impossible to ascertain. Luckily the 2007 research yielded several stamps on amphora fragments, including one on the sole Dressel 2-4 Catalan (LAC/X56). The stamp on this fragment was referenced with aid of both Callender 1965 and the online CEIPAC amphora epigraphy catalogue of the University of Barcelona (registration required).167 The stamp reads [CELS], short for Celsus. This would have been the name of a vilicus (workman) working in a southern Spanish figlina (workshop) called Scalensia, a producer of both Pascual 1 and Dressel 2-4 amphorae. Callender dates this stamp and its variants at 80-120 AD.168 If not for the stamp, this fragment would probably have been classified as a Dressel 1 (or perhaps even 2-4 Italian, even though the fabric is in hindsight quite obviously Catalan, which is orange clay with large white inclusions). The other stamps in the LAC are found on a Gauloise 4 (LAC/Bol.820.04/01), both Dressel 20 vessels (LAC/Bol.820.02/01 and LAC/X59) and an Africana 2A Grande (LAC/Bol.820.01/01). These stamps cannot be used to distinguish between import and export, as those vessels are all positively imports. The stamp on the best-preserved Dressel 20, reading [SAENICHE], again pinpoints the location of a southern Spanish figlina with the presumable name of Saenianenses. This workshop was probably situated near present-day Las Huertas del Rio along the Guadalquivir river in Andalusia. An identical stamp has been published by Callender, found in Leicester, which would mean that this particular workshop distributed olive oil from Britain to Italy. He dates this stamp and its variants at 80/90-130/140 AD.169 The second Dressel 20 stamp reads [AITA], which the CEIPAC database links to [ATITTAE]. The stamps on the Gauloise 4 and Africana 2A Grande, reading respectively [MNK] and [MIVP] could unfortunately not be referenced in any way. After failing to find it in her own publication, the stamp on the Gauloise 4 was on my request relayed through the University of Barcelona and summarily studied by Fanette Laubenheimer, the leading expert on Gauloise amphorae, at the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS). Surprisingly she had never seen this particular stamp before, and even its position on the shoulder of the amphora seems to be quite unique as Gauloise 4 stamps occur generally on the handle and sporadically on the neck.170 167 168 Callender 1965, pp. 242-243 ; entry 19112 at 169 Callender 1965, pp. 238-240, 310-311 ; entry 16815 at 170 F. Laubenheimer, pers. comm. 2007: “[…] Le col de l'amphore ressemble parfaitement à une Gauloise 4, encore que je ne vois pas la pâte. Le timbre semble se trouver sur le col ce qui est inhabituel pour les G. 4. Je n'ai jamais vu cette estampille!” ; Laubenheimer 1992 - 97 -
  • It is quite unfortunate that the LAC contains far less amphorae with stamps than the average collection. This is principally because of the particular seaborne nature of the majority of LAC amphorae: most of them are covered in marine encrustations, making critical parts of an amphora unavailable for study. Africana 2A Grande amphorae for example were often stamped just below the rim, which was more often then not exactly the part covered in encrustations, making it impossible to tell if a stamp was present. To give an idea of the extent of obscuration those encrustations can achieve: several times I had to scrape or chip away the crust on a handle or rim just to make it possible to gain the true outline for a drawing. Of course erosion by water has compounded with the encrustations to deteriorate the state of some amphorae. Interestingly enough it is generally the case that seaborne amphora finds are very well conserved, because of the tendency of amphora cargo to end up on the sea floor in a heap, safeguarding the vessels at the bottom from erosion and encrustation. Therefore it can be speculated that the amount of marine encrustations on various LAC amphorae is an indicator of their position on the sea floor; amphorae with hardly any crust will have been deeper in the heap, those with only a particular part encrusted will have had only that part exposed (e.g. side of the heap, half-buried on the sea floor), and amphorae with a lot of encrustation would have been at the top of the heap or fully exposed elsewhere (e.g. standing against a rock or wreck fragment). Still, how telling these encrustations and their number/position may be, they do not provide us with a satisfactory answer concerning the question where the seaborne LAC amphorae all originated from. For now the matter will remain unresolved to a great extent. Without more stamps, and especially without clear information on where the amphorae themselves were found, little more can be definitively said concerning the seaborne LAC vessels’ exact provenance. A detailed fabric study would in my opinion yield very useful extra information, but such an undertaking unfortunately falls outside the scope of this thesis. If at all possible I would suggest following up this thesis by such a study, which could very well indicate production areas or even pinpoint a good number of amphora kilns. Especially the African cylindricals hold much potential, seeing as how their study and that of their fabrics has recently spurred new interest among scholars like D.P.S. Peacock, N. Ben Lazreg and M. Bonifay. 5.3. THE LAC STUDY AND BEYOND: LAW, TRADE AND WINE IN ROMAN LATIUM 5.3.1. The lex Claudia and elite entrepreneurs As can be gleaned from 4.2.4 and 5.1.5, wine was the most transported commodity in the LAC amphorae. While independently carried out, my study ties in with and reinforces the research of several - 98 -
  • scholars like F. Coarelli, Professor of Greek and Roman Antiquities at the University of Perugia, and A. Tchernia, expert on Roman wine and their correspondent amphorae. Coarelli’s study of economic change in the Middle and Late Republican period deals for a substantial part with the Pontine viniculture and the Terracina situation (see also 2.2.2). He subscribes a large role in the area to Roman noble families producing and trading wine from the Pontine region, with the port of Terracina as main export hub. Tchernia’s research likewise shows the enormous ‘buzz’ of activity concerning wine trade in the Pontine region. Still, all this commercial enterprising should essentially have been only a shadow of that encountered, as it was in direct conflict with the Roman law.171 The largest theoretical obstacle dealing with Roman (wine) trade until the 1980s had been Roman legislation. The lex Claudia or plebiscitum Claudianum of 219-218 BC forbade a senator or senator’s son to own and employ an ocean-going ship (marittimam navem), defined by law as a vessel with a tonnage of 300 amphorae. It was however legitimate for an estate owner to ship surplus produce along rivers to the coast. Cato even went so far as to recommend building one’s estate near a river to facilitate this shipping, thereby easing marketing of the commodities. This latter qualification of course provides the beginnings of a legal loophole, which would be exploited by the elite in later years. The lex Claudia was essentially meant to strengthen the ties between the elite and the people, thereby bringing more cohesion to the Republic as a whole. The result of the legislation however was that senators started large-scale farming (e.g. viniculture) and thereby acquiring ever more land, while the equestrians (second-tier nobility as it were) were free to pursue shipping. This would engender mainly friction between the two tiers of nobility, although collaboration between the two was not uncommon either.172 In 70 AD, Cicero’s letters prove that the lex Claudia was still formally binding. However, this formality seemed to be all that was left of it. In that year’s famous prosecution by Cicero of Gaius Verres, a magistrate accused of the gross misgovernment of Sicily, the lex Claudia came up several times. Verres had been found owning quite a large cargo ship, of substantial greater tonnage than the law deemed legal for a Roman nobleman. However, Cicero’s objection to this matter did not stem from the lex Claudia. On the contrary, Cicero acknowledged that he found nothing wrong with Verres owning the ship as long as he had paid for its construction himself. If Verres needed the ship to transport goods produced on a fundus maritimus (a tract of productive land on the sea), Cicero would not think less of him at all. Both Cicero and Verres’ counsellor, Q. Hortensius Hortalus, seemed to understand that it was of little use to uphold the ancient law in a court filled with commercially inclined equestrians and 171 Coarelli 1990 ; Tchernia 1986 172 D’Arms 1981, pp. 5 - 99 -
  • senators of a modern day. “Antiquae sunt istae leges et mortuae,” Cicero said: “Those laws are ancient and dead.”173 Two comparable cases, which seem to tie in nicely with the LAC, are that of M. Aemilius Lepidus and the Sulpiciae Galbae family. Aemilius Lepidus was a distinguished noble of the 2nd century BC, having been both censor and aedile. He owned praedia (land) near Terracina and his commercial inclination was obvious from his construction activities: work on both the porticus Aemilia and the Tiber emporium in Rome had started in his aedileship. When he constructed a breakwater near his praedia in 179 BC, there was a public outcry at this blatant expression of seeking profit. After all, the new harbour and docking facilities made it all the more easier for Lepidus to transport his goods (especially wine) to Rome where it could be marketed through his own emporium, and not much later wine from Terracina started to reach Gaul. It is not known if and how Lepidus reacted to the public outburst. The Sulpiciae Galbae were an influential family, of which the emperor Galba was a member as well. Consul Sulpicius Galba, contemporary of Aemilius Lepidus, owned a villa at Terracina and had contributed to the acropolis of the colony as well. He is best known however for his construction of the horrea Galbana, the immense warehouses of Rome near Monte Testaccio. It is believed that this was the place where the millions of Baetican olive oil amphorae were emptied before being smashed at Testaccio. The most interesting aspect perhaps of these horrea, apart from their size, is that they remained private property until the end of emperor Galba’s reign (69 AD). Coarelli argues that the wines from Fundi and Terracina, in a time before they were nearly all exported to Gallia Narbonensis, were transported to and stored in the horrea Galbana prior to delivery in Rome. While some of these local wines, such as the robust vennuncula, might have been of less quality than the Caecuban vintage, they would have had a ready market in the Urbs.174 The case of Lepidus and the Sulpiciae Galbae clearly shows that the lex Claudia, while formally binding, was never adhered to as strictly as was once thought. While it would be a fallacy to think that commercial enterprising in the Roman period is completely comparable with the way we do business today, it now seems clear to me that the stigma of being a ‘petty trader’ seeking profit solely for the sake of profit was hardly as powerful a deterrent in the Late Republican and Imperial era as it had been in the dawn of that age.175 173 Coarelli 1991, pp. 54 ; D’Arms 1981, pp. 37 174 Id., pp. 53 ; Id., pp. 157 ; Tchernia 1986, pp. 187 175 Ibid. ; Id., pp. 36-37 - 100 -
  • 5.3.2. Amphorae, Astura and the Pontine wine trade Archaeological evidence for extensive wine export and commercial enterprising in the Pontine region is strengthened by two linked finds: the amphora kiln at Canale Canneto (amphorae carrying Caecuban wine have been attested there) and the Madrague de Giens shipwreck (see also 2.2.1). The latter is the wreck of the largest Roman freighter after that of Albenga, with a tonnage of around 8000 amphorae. It floundered in 75-60 BC near Toulon.176 The 600 Dressel 1 amphorae found onboard were all stamped and the vast majority could be traced back to the Canale Canneto workshop near Terracina, one of three kiln sites located around the lake of Fundi. The name on the stamps was P. Veveius Papus, who owned the workshop and exported Caecuban wine to Gaul. The incredible size of the freighter’s cargo bay shows yet again the ‘worth’ that the lex Claudia must have had in the eyes of enterprising nobles.177 A few interesting points concerning the Astura/P15 kiln are made by Tchernia. Firstly he believes that this particular kiln did not partake in the succession of Dressel 1 by Dressel 2-4 Italian. Secondly, Astura/P15 would have made mainly amphorae for the local wines and probably for the vintages from Velletri as well. There were seemingly no amphorae made in either Velletri or the Monte Albani, relying instead on vessels made at Astura or customers bringing their own amphorae. Thirdly, Astura would have ceased to sell on the provincial export market at the time of Augustus, limiting its sales to Rome. This would have been a result of the short distance by sea from Astura to Rome, which was hardly as profitable as it had been when supplying an overseas market. Thus the reason for an amphora kiln on the seaboard that close to the Urbs disappeared, thereby explaining the absence of Dressel 2-4 at Astura.178 These musings by Tchernia led me to speculate about the possible kiln at Colle Falcone. It is highly probable in my opinion that this site, situated further inland as it is, took over the local role of amphora production from the Astura kiln. Dressel 2-4 vessels would have been made there, and transported to Rome by use of the nearby roads. LAC/X27 is a possible example of such a local Dressel 2-4, being very reminiscent of the vessel found in situ at Colle Falcone. Further research at this site would undoubtedly lead to more information, but unfortunately it is situated upon private property that is not readily available for study in the foreseeable future. Considering the historical sources and the material foundation given to them by, among others, the LAC amphorae, it is clear now that the local viniculture played an integral part in the socio-economic system of the Roman Republic. It would be the expansion of Rome’s territories and the subsequent rise 176 There were only about 600 amphorae found aboard the wreck out of the possible 8000, as the ship had both not been fully loaded when it set sail and a substantial amount of the cargo had been spirited away by professional (local) divers. 177 Paterson 1982, pp. 152 ; Coarelli 1991, pp. 54 178 Tchernia 1986, pp. 108-109, 194 - 101 -
  • of the Empire that ended the large-scale production and exportation of wine in Latium and Campania, as the wine trade between Italy and Gaul reversed; the importer became the exporter, taking over the lucrative wine market almost entirely. While it is known that production of famous Italian wines like Falernian and perhaps even Caecuban endured, Italy’s days as the prime supplier of wine to the Mediterranean market were over. Undoubtedly the amphora kiln at Astura and others of its ilk in the Tyrrhenian coastal area ceased to sell abroad in large numbers with the decline of the Italian wine market at the end of the 1st century AD. It is still possible that these kilns remained functional on a smaller scale in some instances, but their integral role in the expansion of Rome’s interests had been played out as they essentially became victims of the Empire’s success (especially those on the seaboard near Rome, like Astura). Wine amphorae in later centuries would come from Umbria, Tuscany, Emilia- Romagna and ultimately Calabria and Sicily. - 102 -
  • 6. CONCLUSIONS In this final chapter I will summarize the outcomes of the Liboni Amphora Collection research, and present a few angles for future study in light of the work done on these containers. 6.1. SUMMARY When keeping the maritime landscape of the southern Latial coastal zone in mind, being several (large) ports spaced out somewhat equidistantly (Ostia, Antium, Terracina, Caieta, Puteoli) and intermittently villae marittimae with fishponds and the occasional small harbor, it is hard not to imagine the hustle and bustle of commercial life in the Roman Republican and Imperial era. The way Romans thought about trading and seeking profit would seem hypocritical to most people in our day and age. After all, while ‘petty trading’ (sordida merces) was looked down upon, it was considered a worthy endeavor when done on a grand scale (magna et copiosa). Interestingly enough such large-scale enterprising was not viewed as connected to the ‘trader’s mentality’, which was “[…] avid of profits, mean-spirited and acquisitive.” One wonders then how the average Roman citizen would call the sale of 8000 wine amphorae to Gaul, like the Madrague de Giens freighter was capable of? The concept of conspicuous wealth, of showing off what you have, surely played an important part in Roman society. When you ‘had it made’, you had to show it. A villa or two, one in the city and preferably another in the country, was only the beginning. For first-tier nobility, being senators and the like, large-scale agricultural activities were a worthy pursuit. For this one required land, and lots of it. As they were officially forbidden by law to pursue a career in shipping, the acquisition of land was exactly what senators and consuls were forced to accomplish. On these praedia arose villae controlling the agricultural endeavors, of which viniculture was the most important. Amphorae to store the wine in were frequently made at workshops which were situated on the estates themselves or on a strategic location nearby. Astura, on the seaboard, was a prime example of such a latter workshop. The surplus of the estate production was then ferried to Rome or to a suitable harbor to be exported. The variety of amphora types in the LAC mirrors the socio-economic changes in southern Latium in the Roman period to a great extent. Especially the major shifts in the Mediterranean wine trade are represented clearly due to the high amount of wine amphorae in the collection. They also support the work done by Coarelli and Tchernia, placing an undeniable emphasis on large-scale wine production and export in the Pontine region up to the Early Empire. The trends concerning the other classic villa - 103 -
  • commodity, olive oil, as well as fish sauce, are a lot harder to distinguish in the LAC however. This is primarily caused by the large amount of multiproduct amphorae, which distort the otherwise concise picture that could have been drawn when every amphora type carried only one specific product. As the research stands now the seven certain olive oil-only amphorae, as well as the certain single fish sauce- only amphora, hardly convey the same detailed image as the wine amphorae do. All in all the changes in the socio-economic system of the Pontine region during the Roman period, from a maritime point of view, are to a great extent mirrored by the Liboni Amphora Collection, especially when it entails the wine trade. This reflection would only be enhanced with further research. 6.2. FUTURE STUDY At the end of my study of this amphora collection there are a number of remaining issues I would have liked to expand upon, but could not because of mostly practical reasons. Perhaps the most important issue is that of the exact find spots of the LAC amphorae which were hauled out of the sea. Without that information it is impossible to determine the way they ended up on the sea floor. Although I favor the idea of multiple shipwrecks, this theory would have to be proven by tracking back the journey of these amphorae from sea to the museum. This would entail discussing the issue at length with director Liboni, in the hope that he will remember something more than he has previously disclosed. Perhaps the fisher(s) that originally ‘caught’ the containers could then be identified, theoretically leading to the locations I seek. The police, which confiscated the amphorae from the fisher(s), could help with this as well. Unfortunately bureaucracy is notoriously slow, and the issue of a few amphorae would probably rank quite low on the priority list. Inquiring Liboni about it has the greatest chance of success in my opinion. We do have to keep in mind that pillage and looting of underwater archaeological sites have reached unprecedented heights these days, as the aggressive pricing of auction houses and greed of private buyers disturbs many shipwrecks before they can be systematically studied. In southern France they call this the Amphora War, and both customs officers and special taskforces fight a losing battle against pirates and other looters bent on seizing archaeological material for the black market. It is thus altogether quite probable that the wreck(s) originally harboring the LAC amphorae have been plundered or disturbed in such a matter that very little information could be gleaned from a systematic study. After all the LAC itself is for the larger part the result of unlawful action (one does not catch that many amphorae during - 104 -
  • fishing by accident). I fear that most details and pointers concerning the origins of the seaborne LAC amphorae have been obscured or even wiped clean because of this.179 The LAC as it exists today could yield even more information than I have distilled from it in this thesis. An extensive fabric research for example should give far more information concerning the production sites of these amphorae, while as a side effect also possibly telling more about the original contents by examining residual matter within amphora walls (those that do not have an interior resin coating). The latter potential would in turn help to further distinguish variants (and again origins) of the various multiproduct amphorae (e.g. Africana Grande 2A), thereby fine-tuning all charts presented in this thesis. This would require both more thematic literature research as well as professional study by amphora fabric specialists, the latter of which would have to be done outside the GIA. The University of Southampton is an ideal candidate for fabric research, which has the required expertise in D.P.S. Peacock and D.F. Williams. An expanded study of the encountered stamps in the LAC is desirable as well, especially concerning those stamps I could not reference myself. The nature of the relation between the coastal LAC and the amphorae found more inland during various GIA surveys has so far in my opinion not been satisfactory described. The main issue prohibiting this is the lack of systematic data concerning these survey finds. Those amphorae found during the earliest GIA campaigns in the region have generally not been drawn or described correctly, which is the result of both insufficient knowledge of amphorae and less easily accessible literature dealing with the subject at the time. Luckily a restudy of the survey material is in preparation, which would make the survey amphorae data current and up to date. I would advise doing revisits of sites that have yielded amphorae in the past, especially those where director Liboni has collected material. As stressed before, amphora material has ranked low on his list of interests when collecting, and it is quite possible that he has overlooked or ignored some amphora fragments (especially body sherds). As for the coastal stretch, it would be interesting to discover if the Astura/P15 kiln was part of a privately owned fundus maritimus, or if it was an independent workshop producing for various customers in the surrounding area. At this moment I cannot see a way to do this, other than hoping that the GIA 2008 excavation at the mouth of the Astura reveals stamps or tituli picti referring to a local estate (which would provide a basis for the former hypothesis). Another excavation at Piccareta 15 itself would most probably not be feasible, nor desirable at this point. On a second note I would not be surprised at all if the sea along the coastal stretch harbored a great many more amphora fragments. At a small-scale survey at Torre Astura I found several body fragments in the water, with more having been found in the GIA 2007 excavation at a nearby location. It is my hope that our 2008 campaign will expand the knowledge we have now concerning maritime trade in the Pontine region. 179 - 105 -
  • BIBLIOGRAPHY LITERATURE Attema, P.A.J. (1993), An archaeological survey in the Pontine Region: a contribution to the early settlement history of South Lazio 900-1000 BC, PhD thesis RuG, Groningen Attema, P.A.J., De Haas T.C.A. & Nijboer, A.J. (2003), The Astura project, interim report of the 2001 and 2002 campaigns of the Groningen Institute of Archaeology along the coast between Nettuno and Torre Astura (Lazio, Italy), in: BAbesch 78, p. 107-140, Groningen Callender, M.H. (1965), Roman amphorae: with index of stamps, London Caneva, G. & Travaglini, C.M. (2003), Atlante storico-ambientale Anzio en Nettuno, Roma Caravale, A. & Toffoletti, I. (1997), Anfore antiche: conoscerle e identificarle, IRECO Casson, L. (1994), Ships and seafaring in ancient times, London Charlesworth, M.P. (1926), Trade-routes and commerce of the Roman Empire, Cambridge Coarelli, F. (1990), Mutamenti economici e sociali nella valle Pontina tra media e tarda repubblica, in: La valle Pontina nell'antichità. Atti del convegno di Cori, 13-14 aprile 1985, Roma D’Arms, J.H. & Kopff, E.C. (eds.) (1980), The seaborne commerce of ancient Rome: studies in archaeology and history, Roma De Haas, T. (2003), De platformvilla in Midden-Italië: een case study in het Pontijnse gebied, in: Tijdschrift voor Mediterrane Archeologie 29, pp. 3-10, Groningen Finley, M.I. (1973, rev. Morris, I., 1999), The ancient economy, Berkeley Gibbins, D. (2001). A Roman shipwreck of c. AD 200 at Plemmirio, Sicily: evidence for North African amphora production during the Severan period, in: World Archaeology 32.3, pp. 311- 334 Hayes, J.W. (1997), Handbook of Mediterranean Roman pottery, London Higginbotham, J. (1997), Piscinae: artificial fishponds in Roman Italy, London Jongman, W.M. (2003), Rome: the political economy of a world-empire, in: The Medieval History Journal 2003, 6, pp. 303-326 Keay, S.J. (1984), Late Roman amphorae in the western Mediterranean. A typology and economic study: the Catalan evidence, BAR International Series 196 (i/ii), Oxford Lafon, X. (2001), Villa Maritima: recherches sur les villas littorales de l’Ítalie romaine (IIIe siècle av. J.-C./IIIe siècle ap. J.-C.), Roma Laubenheimer, F. (ed.) (1992), Les amphores en Gaule: production et circulation, Besançon - 106 -
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  • WEBSITES Google Maps, the coastal stretch between Anzio and Torre Astura, in the Pontine region (Fig. 1), Tchernia, A. (1987), The Madrague de Giens wreck; a Roman freighter yields its secrets, in: UNESCO Courier, Nov. 1987, University of Southampton Amphora Project (2005), Various authors (eds.) (1987), The amphora war; looting of ancient shipwrecks is widespread - extract from the script of the video program, in: UNESCO Courier, Nov. 1987, - 108 -