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The annalistic account of Lucius Calpurnius Piso Frugi, as reported by Dionysius, attributes the institutionalisation of a registry system in Roman society to Servius Tullius. Under this system, births and deaths were recorded by means of fixed votive offerings (sums of money) made to the sanctuaries of Juno Lucina and Libitina respectively, and the passage from adolescence to manhood was recorded by a similar payment to the Temple of Juventas. The total amount of the offerings would have given a precise record of yearly births and deaths in archaic Rome, as well as the number of young men becoming eligible for military service. In addition, every citizen would have given a monetary valuation of his own property through a public oath.
Archaeological evidence allows us to propose a reconstruction of Roman trade activity during the sixth century BC as part of a broader mid-Tyrrhenian network which included the traders of the southern Etruscan coastal cities and Latium (Figure 53).
In this book, Gabriele Cifani reconstructs the early economic history of Rome, from the Iron Age to the early Republic. Bringing a multidisciplinary approach to the topic, he argues that the early Roman economy was more diversified than has been previously acknowledged, going well beyond agriculture and pastoralism. Cifani bases his argument on a systematic review of archaeological evidence for production, trade and consumption. He posits that the existence of a network system, based on cultural interaction, social mobility, and trade, connected Rome and central Tyrrhenian Italy to the Mediterranean Basin even in this early period of Rome's history. Moreover, these trade and cultural links existed in parallel to regional, diversified economies, and institutions. Cifani's book thus offers new insights into the economic basis for the rise of Rome, as well as the social structures of Mediterranean Iron Age societies.
The conquest of Veii in 396 BC produced a marked change in the Roman society. For the first time Rome had conquered not only a very important city, acquiring a large number of slaves to be sold, but also a large territory, characterised by a fertile volcanic plateau close to the Tiber Valley.
The system of festivals in the pre-Julian, or “Numan”, calendar represents one of the most important sources of information for our knowledge of archaic Roman culture. Among the most significant documents are fragments of works by Varro, the Fasti by Ovid and above all the epigraphic evidence, datable to around 60 BC, from the only calendar known to precede Julius Caesar’s reform, the Fasti Antiates maiores. In this text, which was found at Antium, a series of festivals from before the age of the Tarquinii is listed using capital letters, while, later cults, including that of Jupiter Capitolinus which was certainly introduced in the age of Tarquinii, are rigorously reported using lower case letters. Possible dating of the archaic calendar to the decemvirate period is therefore less credible, while the reforms introduced in the age of Appius Claudius would only have been concerned with the nundinal cycle and an updated definition of the fasti dies.
Landownership around the end of the sixth and the beginning of the fifth centuries BC represents one of the most problematic aspects of the history of archaic Rome, chiefly because of its numerous and complex social implications. It is a subject which has also given rise to historiographic controversies, above all during the nineteenth century, when it received the attention of distinguished historians, jurists and sociologists because of the important ideological and political considerations in their debate on the origins of private property. It is appropriate to recall some of the key issues of that debate here.
On the right side of the Lower Tiber Valley, the transition between the Final Bronze Age and the Early Iron Age was characterised by two dramatic contemporaneous events: the rapid abandonment of the Final Bronze Age fortified villages and the rise of a large unitary centre on the site of Veii. This pattern of settlements was found throughout the whole of coastal southern Etruria, where by the end of the tenth and the beginning of the ninth century BC the Final Bronze Age landscape composed of clusters of small fortified villages was transformed into one of large centralised fortified settlements such as Veii, Caere, Tarquinii and Vulci (Figure 8).