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Imperialism, Power, and IdentityExperiencing the Roman Empire$
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David J. Mattingly

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780691160177

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691160177.001.0001

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From Imperium to Imperialism

From Imperium to Imperialism

Writing the Roman Empire

(p.3) Chapter One From Imperium to Imperialism
Imperialism, Power, and Identity

David J. Mattingly

Princeton University Press

This chapter reviews the traditional understandings of the Roman Empire and reflects on how recent developments in the study of imperialism more generally could influence the future of Roman studies. It explores problems with the orthodox paradigm of Romanization and highlights the need for alternative interpretative frameworks. It presents a case for applying the concept of creolization to the Roman Empire, despite its connotations primarily with the New World and slave society. Creole language and creole material culture are built up by the integration of the language and traditions of the underclass with elements of language and culture of the dominant colonial society, resulting in a “highly ambiguous material culture, in the sense that it is imbued with different meanings in different contexts.” In principle, these approaches adopted in North American historical archaeology to understand the material culture and social behavior of the slaves and underprivileged classes can also be applied to the archaeological record of the Roman world.

Keywords:   Roman Empire, imperialism, creolization, Romanization

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