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Consumption and Exchange in Central Italy in the Ninth through Sixth Centuries BCE

Photo of Kate Kreindler
Stanford University
June 2015
Scholars have described the eighth and seventh centuries BCE in central Italy as an Orientalizing Period, when materials and practices from the eastern Mediterranean were brought to central Italy by Greek traders who began to settle in southern Italy and Sicily.  Local Italian elites would have consumed foreign materials and adopted foreign practices as a means of differentiating themselves from non-elites.  These two centuries also were a time of intense urbanization and increasing vertical social stratification.  In the last fifty years, scholars have drawn causal links between the arrival of Greeks in the central Mediterranean and the immense changes in central Italy; this explanatory model for change is known as Orientalization.  In this dissertation, Kreindler tests the validity of this model by quantitatively and contextually examining imports in central Italy.  She concludes that there is little material evidence to support models of Orientalization.  She offers two alternative models of consumption in central Italy.  The first addresses elite consumption, which was predicated on utilizing the body as a marker of high status.  The second deals with common, widespread wine consumption.