The Individual in Sabellian
Material Culture of Campania and Lucania: Attempts of "Half-
Breeds" to Assert Their Own Identity Against a Dominant
The term 'Sabellian' refers to the ethnic background
of the people living in the territories 'Campania' and
'Lucania' in South Italy. Classical archaeologists,
historians and philologists of pre-Roman Italy and Magna
Graecia are in fact presently involved in the struggle to
come to terms with the meaning of these cultural labels. I
will first present an account of the geographic and
ethnographic boundaries, as well as the various names given
to the people living in these regions of southern Italy
before the Romans established their numerous colonies. I
will then turn to the archaeological evidence and data
related specifically to the areas in question around the Bay
of Naples. The tradition of scholarship has persisted in
denying the true nature of 'Campanian' or 'Lucanian' identity
by considering the cultural material left behind in terms of
Greek, Samnite or Etruscan contexts. 1
I will show that these people are best described as 'half-
breeds', a unique form of identity or ethnicity which arose
from the contact between Greek colonists arriving during the
eighth century B.C. and the 'native peoples'. My inspiration
for using this crude term comes from the Métis peoples of the
North Western plains and park lands of North America. Métis
identity is characterized by 'cultural syncretism' since its
genesis, when the European fur-traders arrived. They adopt
cultural practices from both their native and European-
colonial 'halves'. Viewing the Campanians and Lucanians this
way explains several problems and produces a different
interpretation of the famous scenes of warriors and
matriarchs depicted inside the walls of their chamber tombs
and on the red-figure vases housed within these very same
walls. Doing this will bring the modern observer closer to
the true identity of the individual artist who fashioned
these scenes, who is himself a half-breed.
The Italic territories of Campania and Lucania
roughly corresponded to the modern regions of Campania and
Basilicata in Southern Italy. Pre-Roman Campania consisted
of the fertile plain extending inland from the Bay of Naples
region, framed by the Apennine mountain range in all
directions. Pre-Roman Lucania included the area surrounding
Paestum, south of the Sorrentine peninsula, which is today
part of modern Campania. 2
These boundaries have been reconstructed by modern
historians and archaeologists in a manner based mainly on the
distribution of archaeological remains in combination with
information from ancient historiographic and geographic
literary traditions. 3 The boundaries
are by no means fixed or determined. It is extremely
important to note that the majority of our literary evidence
comes from the period after Augustus organized Italy into
eleven administrative "Regions" three hundred year
later. 4 This evidence derives from
both Greek and Roman historiographers, geographers and
natural historians. 5 The Augustan
sources also write after four periods of warfare which
heavily influenced Roman perception concerning these
boundaries. 6 Different cities took
different sides either for or against Rome during these
phases. The tradition concerning a particular city handed
down to the Augustan writers was therefore heavily influenced
by which side the city took during each successive phase.
The words used by modern scholars to represent
Italic culture also vary widely depending on the area and
time period. The Romanized word 'Sabellian' 7 is used to refer to Italic culture deriving from
the South-Central Apennine region exported into the areas
formerly held in the Iron age by Greeks and Etruscans along
the coast and along the fertile plains at the foot of the
Apennine mountain range. 8 It is to be
distinguished from the term Samnites, which refers to the
peoples of the same region who were united against Rome in
the late fourth and early third centuries. 9 The confusion arises from the fact that there are
no contemporary accounts surviving from the period in
question, except for the fragments that have survived
predominantly in the Augustan writers. 10
These fragments do not always represent the source
adequately. 11 There is also much
evidence that the Greek sources were not even available to
them first hand. Regardless of how much the Augustan writers
had available to them, 12 their
respective biases would not compel them to report genuine
ethnographic information. 13 The Greek
sources themselves, moreover, are extremely biased in favor
of the colonists. The confusion surrounding the identity of
the Campanians and Lucanians has been shown to be the result
of the varying Greek and Roman sources in the accounts of the
Augustan writers. 14
Archaeological material in the area of Campania has
been dated from the period before Greek settlement in the
Italic Iron age in the mid-tenth century B.C., to the
beginning of Roman colonization in the late 4th Century
B.C. 15 The material in question is
distributed mostly between the three major centers of Capua,
Cumae and Paestum. Excavations conducted by D'Agostino in
Pontecagnano, near Paestum, and by Johannnowky in Capua have
revealed that these interior sites were occupied very early
by the same culture which would develop into Etruscan and
Latin culture to the north in central Italy. 16 The term used to designate the native peoples
indigenous to the area before the Greeks and Etruscans
arrived is 'Opici.' 17 These 'Native-
Peoples' exhibit a sophisticated culture contemporary with
the beginning of Greek colonization (slides), before Etruscan
influx into the region beginning in the mid-seventh century
This Etruscan influx left a rich artistic legacy
especially in the city of Capua. 19
The nature of the Etruscan presence in Capua and the
surrounding region is unclear. It seems as if they enjoyed
an elevated status, but not at the level of a monarchy, as to
the north in Rome where they began their rule in the year 623
B.C. 20 Regardless of this, Etruscan
culture became dominant in the region of the interior, and
even spread to the Greek cities, where many fine examples of
Etruscan ware was found. 21 They appear
to have peacefully co-existed with the native Opici and
neighboring Greeks of Cumae and Paestum. Relations
subsequently break down with the Greek colonies and they
attempted to invade Cumae as early as the end of the sixth
century B.C. 22 Their failure launched
the reign of the tyrant Aristodemus, from 525 to 485 B.C.,
during which Cumae flourished. 23 They
tried once again in 474 B.C. and failed. 24
The failure of Etruscan expansion coupled with
mainland Greece's wars with Persia, Sparta and Syracuse paved
the way for the expansion of a mysterious, hybrid culture in
the latter half of the fifth century B.C. Capua fell to the
'Campanians' in 423 25 and Cumae
followed in 420 B.C. 26 Greek
aristocrats fled to the Greek city of Neapolis, recently
established in 470 B.C. Poseidonia soon followed at an
uncertain date 27 in the last quarter of
the fifth century B.C. 28
The period following the downfall of Greek and
Etruscan hegemony in the regions of Campania and Lucania has
puzzled both ancient and modern interpreters. The
traditional position, set forth by Heurgon, 29 and followed by Salmon, 30
Schneider-Hermann, 31 and
Frederiksen 32 is that the Samnites
invaded from the mountainous regions and displaced both the
Greeks and Etruscans. Salmon and Frederiksen both clarify
that Diodorus reports a 'nation of Campani' 33 to have formed in 445, and not just to have
seized it in a single assault as in a single siege. They
still presuppose that there was an invasion, albeit gradual.
Closer observation of the literary sources in combination
with the excavations at Capua and Pontecagnano have led
D'Agostino to argue that the Campani developed from the
Opici. 34 He argues that the Opici were
forced inland with the arrival of the Greeks, which
subsequently led to the development of Capua as the center
for Campanian ethnicity.
Their cultural legacy consists of hundreds of
painted tombs found in burial sites of Cumae, Capua, Nola
(near Pompeii), Paestum, and of several other centers of
culture in the mountain region adjacent to these areas. 35 Hundreds of red-figured vases have also
been found in these tombs. They stand out in style and
subject matter from their Apulian and Sicilian
counterparts. 36 The pottery from the
south-east (Apulia) and Sicily predominantly display
mythological subjects, while Campanian and Paestan pots
frequently show scenes of warriors, matriarchs, and various
combinations of both. 37 An
extraordinary amount of sculptures and votive figurines have
also been found in the sacred locales designated for worship
outside of Capua and the other centers. 38 Furthermore, the Oscan language is introduced in
written form at Capua as early as the fifth century
Scholars have struggled in trying to reconcile these
impressive cultural documents with the literary evidence.
The painted tombs and red-figured pottery have been given
dates no earlier than the middle of the fourth century B.C.,
and as late as the early third century. 40 This corresponds to the period when conflict
arises between the Romans and Samnites of the mountain
region. Thus scholars have found it necessary to make a
connection with the Samnites who fought against the Romans
and the painted tombs and pottery of the Campanians and
Lucanians. One rationale for this connection, other than
temporal, is that the armor depicted in the paintings matches
Livy's description of the Samnites. 41
The argument being that the Campanians and Lucanians must
have bore a striking resemblance to their mountain cousins.
All the evidence suggests, however, that the
Campanians and Lucanians were quite distinct from the
mountain Samnites. The literary tradition clearly
distinguishes between the Samnites, Lucani and Campani during
the period in question. Passages in Livy and Strabo speaking
of Samnite dress and armor reveal that this information was
somehow derived from the Campanians, who as Strabo points
out, eventually became Romans unlike the Samnites. 43 Livy states that the Campanians hated the
Samnites and used the brilliant armor of defeated Samnite
warriors in their gladiatorial competitions, and called these
gladiators Samnites. 44 Livy suggests
that the Campanians may have been mocking the Samnites by
depicting their gladiators in Samnite armour. This may be
confirmed by the mocking representations in some tombs and
vases. 45 He may in fact be reporting a
connection made by one of his sources between the wall
paintings and dress of the mountain Samnites. But there are
also very serious depictions of cavalrymen in the tombs which
must be representing Campanians and Lucanians, not Samnites.
Strabo, writing at the same time as Livy, states that the
customs and settlements of the Samnites have completely
disappeared. 46 This is not surprising
since he is writing after Sulla's bloody war against the
descendants of the Samnites during the Social or Italian wars
at the beginning of the first century B.C.
I will now use the Métis of North America as my
cultural model for the development of a hybrid identity. The
Métis are born out of a colonial context, in this case the
fur-trade. Following D'Agostino's observation that the
Campanians arise from the Opici, I propose that the
'ethnogenesis' of Campanian identity occurs during the
original contact between the Opici and Greeks. This unique
identity develops into a hybrid ethnicity over a long period
of time, and is stunted with the assimilation of Campania
into a Roman colony. Supporting evidence is found in
Pithekoussai, the island off the north shore of the bay of
Naples which is considered to be the earliest Greek
settlement in the west. G. Buchner, excavator of the site
noted that the female graves reveal a preference for native
ornaments, while males adopt only the serpentine bow-fibula,
a typically Greek form. This suggests to him that "...most,
if not all the women at Pithekoussai were not Greeks, but
natives who preferred the ornaments to which they were
accustomed". 47 This evidence is
supported by an account in the Sibylline Oracles. 48 The Greeks are said to have took both
Pithecussae and Cumae by force, most likely slaying the males
and taking the native women as wives. The fact that the
natives were dispossessed by the Cumaeans is confirmed by
Strabo criticizes the Campanians for doing the same
thing to the Greeks of Cumae. He states that it is an act of
hybris for them to have establish unions with the
wives of (Greek) men. He affirms that traces of the Greek
way of life were preserved in both their religious practices
and law. This is of course the way it appears to a Greek
writer drawing on Greek sources. This model of Hellenization
has been followed too closely by modern interpreters. 50 The work of Morton Fried in political
anthropology, and specifically on the problematic concept of
'the tribe' has shown that the formation of a 'tribe', is a
secondary phenomenon deriving from the "intercession" of more
complexly ordered societies. 51
Whitehouse and Wilkins postulate that a particular example in
south-Italy during the same period is competition for
precious resources, such as painted pottery. 52 This would explain the 'tribal' distinction that
arises between Campanians, Lucanians, and Samnites. However
in the case of the Campanians, a unique situation arises
since the tribes fuse first with the complexly organized
Greeks, and then perhaps with the Etruscans.
The approach taken by Burley, Horsfall and Brandon
in their excavation of two Métis settlements in the North
West can be applied to the Campanians as well. They found
that the material culture revealed by the excavations did not
reflect the true nature the hybrid nature of the Métis.
Sophisticated English ceramic ware, Victorian architecture
and catholicism are striking in their predominance in the
settlement. However the archaeologists determined if they
approached the data looking for habitus(unconscious
tendencies of the mind that become manifest in structural
patterns) tend to appear in various forms in the data. One
example is the use of space within the Victorian homes, being
more characteristic of Native ways of life. Open spaces are
predominant as opposed to divisions. Another example is the
nature of the fine china and its use. Such items are
predominant in the Métis household, even when a nomadic
lifestyle is pursued. This revealed a unique feature of the
identity of a Métis wife. The possession of fine china was
required for acceptance into the colonial English society of
the husband. Similarly clothing reflects the combination of
European utilitarianism and Native crafts characterized by
the bright opposition of colours and patterns.
Using this approach the scenes of the tombs and
vases may be viewed as representing the lifestyle of such a
hybrid culture. The form or genre of the vases, first of
all, are of course Greek. However, the patterns, colors, and
scenes are not Greek. 53 Pontrandolfo
has commented on the unique combination of marriage and
death. 54 I would add that there is also
a unique combination of marriage and warfare, which of course
causes death. What is the warfare refereed to? I have
already outlined the problems with viewing the warriors as
mountain Samnites. A important aspect of the lives of
Campanians and Lucanians which has been ignored is the
unceasing warfare going on in the fourth century in southern
Italy and Sicily. 55 The struggle was
between the Greek colonial cities and the newly arisen
aristocracy of the Italic communities. Campanian mercenaries
are reported to have been involved on several occasions in
the affairs between Greek cities and Carthage. 56 The ultimate victory went to the Italic
communities, and I propose that the tomb paintings and vases
in Campania and Lucania celebrate the institutions which
brought about this victory. The emphasis on combat and
training in the paintings and vases reflect the preoccupation
of the Campanian cavalryman with establishing his superiority
over opponents. The importance of the cavalry for Campanians
has been demonstrated by Frederiksen. 57
The connection of warfare and matriarch ultimately
derives from the religious sphere. F. Altheimer has shown
the importance of the female divinity in Pre-Roman
Italy. 58 This is supported by the major
shrine of divinities found outside of Capua, the fondo
Patturelli. 59 The connection between
the mercenary or knight and such sanctuaries is the figure of
Herakles, who stands in for what Mars represents. 60 The predominant divinity of such
sanctuaries is Kerres, whose nature is reflected in the
numerous kourotrophoi sculptures. 61 This female divinity has taken on Hera's role in
marriage. Hera was a major divinity at Cumae and Paestum, to
say the least. This is an example of cultural syncretism
characteristic of the half-breed identity.
The outcome becomes a Roman epilogue.
Characteristic of half-breed identity is the tremendous
pressure in attempting to maintain such an identity,
especially when a dominant culture asserts itself all around.
The Campanians of Cumae eventually requested of Rome to
become a Latin speaking colony instead of Oscan in 180
B.C. 62 Capua, on the other hand,
succumbed perhaps to the Samnite influence, since it remained
ambiguous in its association with Rome. This is a pattern
which is inevitable as is demonstrated by the outcome of the
attempt of the Métis to form an independent nation. Soon
after the Dominion of Canada was formed in 1867, Louis Riel
the Métis leader, was hung for attacking representatives of
the Dominion who were surveying the Métis land bought from
the British government. Today the Métis are still struggling
to come to terms with their half-breed identity on
reservations, isolated from the dominant culture which forms
half of their own identity.
* The following abbreviations are used:
Art of South Italy: The Art of South Italy: Vases from
Magna Graecia. ed. M. Ellen Mayo. (Richmond, 1982).
Burley et al.: D. Burley, G. Horsfall and J. Brandon.
Structural Considerations of Métis Ethnicity: An
Archaeological, Architectural and Historical Study.
CAH: The Cambridge Ancient History. (Cambridge, U.K.,
Campani: L. Cerchiai. I Campani. (Milano, 1995)
Campania: S. De Caro and A. Greco. Campania. (Bari,
La Campania: La Campania fra il VI e il III secolo A.C.
Atti del XIV convegno di studi Etruschi e Italici, Benevento
24-28 giugno 1981. (Firenze, 1992).
Campania Preromana: Studi sulla Campania preromana eds.
M. Cristofani and F. Zevi. (Roma, 1995).
Capua Antica: W. Johannowsky. Capua Antica. (Napoli,
Capue Preromaine: J. Heurgon. Recherches sur L'Histoire,
La Religione et La Civilisation de Capue Preromaine: des
origines a la deuxieme guerre Punique. (Paris, 1942)
Dench: E. Dench. From Barbarians to New Men: Greek,
Roman, and Modern Perceptions of Peoples of the Central
Apennines. (Oxford, 1995).
Italy Before the Romans: Italy Before the Romans: The
Iron Age, Orientalizing and Etruscan Periods. eds.D. Ridgway
and F.R Ridgway. (London, 1979).
Frederiksen 1984: M. Frederiksen. Campania. ed. N.
Purcell. (Rome, 1984).
Fried 1967: M. Fried. The Evolution of Political
Society: An Essay in Political Anthropology. (New
York,1967), pp.154-174 ('The Concept of Tribe').
Fried 1975: M. Fried. The Notion of Tribe. (Menlo Park,
Le genti non Greche: Covegno di studi sulla Magna Grecia
(11th: 1971, Taranto). Le Genti non Greche della Magna
Grecia: atti dell'undicesimo Convegno di studi sulla Magna
Grecia, Taranto, 10-15 ottobre, 1971. 2 vols. (Napoli,
Greek World: The Greek World: Art and Civilization in
Magna Graecia and Sicily. New York, 1996)
Gli Indigeni: Gli Indigeni Nella Pittura Italiota.
Italia in Magna Grecia: Italia in Magna Grecia: lingua,
insediamenti e strutture. ed. M. Tagliente. (Venosa, 1990).
Italia alumna: Italia omnium terrarum alumna. ed.
G.Pugliese Carratelli. (Milano, 1988).
Cuma: P. Caputo. Cuma e il suo parco archeologico: un
territorio e le sue testimonianze. (Roma, 1996)
LCS: A.D. Trendall. The Red Figured Vases of Lucania,
Campania and Sicily. (Oxford, 1967).
LCS suppl.I: A.D. Trendall, Red-Figured Vases of
Lucania, Campania and Sicily. First Supplement. (London,
LCS suppl.II: Red-Figured Vases of Lucania, Campania and
Sicily. Second Supplement. (London, 1973)
LCS suppl.III: Red-Figured Vases of Lucania, Campania and
Sicily. Third Supplement. (London, 1983)
Lucani: A. Pontrandolfo-Greco. I Lucani. (Milano, 1982)
Materiali Dalla Campania: W. Johannowsky. Materiali di età
arcaica dalla Campania. (Napoli, 1984)
Il museo Archeologico: W. Johannowsky. Il museo Archeologico
dell' antica Capua. (Napoli, 1995)
Popoli e civiltà: Popoli e civiltà dell'Italia antica.
Poseidonia-Paestum: Poseidonia-Paestum. Atti del XXVII
Convegno di Studi sulla Magna Grecia. (Taranto, 1988).
RVP: A.D. Trendall, The Red Figured Vases of Paestum.
(British School at Rome, 1987)
Salmon 1967: E.T. Salmon. Samnium and the Samnites.
(Cambridge, U.K, 1967).
Samnites: G. Schneider-Hermann. The Samnites of the
Fourth Century B.C. as Depicted on Campanian Vases and in
Other Sources. ed. E. Herring. vol.2 Accordia Specialist
Studies on Italy/ vol 61. Institute of Classical Studies,
Bulletin Supplements. (London, 1996).
Storia e Civiltà: Storia e Civiltà della Campania: L'evo
antico. ed. G. Pugliese-Caratelli. (Naples, 1991).
Le Tombe Dipinte di Paestum: A. Pontrandolfo and A.
Rouveret. Le Tombe Dipinte di Paestum. (Modena, 1992).
Whitehouse & Wilkins: R. Whitehouse and J. Wilkins.
"Greeks and natives in south-east Italy: approaches to the
archaeological evidence" in Centre and Periphery: Comparative
Studies in Archaeology. ed. T.C. Champion. (London, 1995).
1. This does not mean that scholars have not considered the
culture of the Campanians and Lucanians unique. I am
refering to the tendency to interpret the archaeological
remains, literary references and inscriptions in terms of
maintaining or conforming to Greek or Etruscan traditions.
Most evident is Beazley's account of South Italian Red-figure
pottery (J.D. Beazley. "Groups of Campanian Red-Figure".
JHS LXIII (1943),pp.66-111.; He is followed by his student
A. Trendall, with slight departures (see LCS, RVP, RVSS,
Indigeni, and Art of South Italy, pp. 15-21) Trendall indeed
begins to acknowledge at least that the pottery was made by
natives, and not by colonists as Beazley maintains; see RVSS,
Art of South Italy and one of his last contributions, "On the
Divergence of South Italian from Attic Red-Figure Vase-
Painting" in Greek Colonists and Native Populations.
Proceedings of the First Australian Congress of Classical
Archaeology held in honour of A.D. Trendall. (Canberra,
E.T. Salmon's treatment of the Campanians and Lucanians,
although not the subject of his Samnium and the Samnites, is
along these lines. He essentially assimilates the unique and
diverse culture of the Campanians and Lucanians into that of
the mountainous Samnites, the subject of his book. This is
not to say that there is no relationship between the mountain
dwellers and coastal peoples. There is subtantial work to be
done to isolate such influences apart from the original Opici
of Capua and Pontecagnano, and the Greek and Etruscan
colonizers. G. Schneider-Hermann has followed Salmon with
this approach in Samnites. See also M. Frederiksen, "The
Etruscans in Campania" in Italy Before the Romans, pp.277-
Mainstream Italian scholarship led by Pugliese-
Carratelli (Storia e Civiltà 69-102) and G. Colonna (Storia e
Civiltà, pp. 25-67) exemplify the approach of associating
early and middle Iron Age materials to the 'Non Greeks", and
Greek-style art to the Italiotes. A. Greco (=A.
Pontrandolfo) in Campania begins, in this early work, to
reveal her belief that the Lucanian and Campanian tomb
paintings reveal a unique cultural code through a language of
Symbols. This culminates with her work with A. Rouveret, Le
Tombe Dipinte; see also "Le necropoli dalla città Greca alla
colonia Latina" (Pontrandolfo) in Poseidonia vol.1, pp.225-
265.; "Les langues figuratifs de la peinture funeraire
paestane" (A. Rouveret), in Poseidonia.vol.1, pp.267-315.
See also Lucani (Pontrandolfo); A. Rouveret, "L'organisation
spatiale des tombes de Paestum". MEFRA 87 (1975,2), pp.595-
652.; A. Pontrandolfo, G. Prisco, E. Mugnione and F. Lafage,
"Semata e Naskoi nella ceramica Italiota" in AION (archeol)
10, pp.181-202.; A. Pontrandolfo, "Personaggi mascherati
nella tradizione figurativa dell'Italia meridionale" in Studi
in onore di P. Zancani Montuoro (Roma, 1992), pp. 263-270;
Greek World, pp. 457-470 (Pontrandolfo).
W. Johannowsky, excavator of the Capuan tombs, has not
radically departed from this tradition; see "Nuove tombe
dipinte campane" in Le genti non Greche, pp. 375-382;. See
also Il museo Archeologico, Capua Antica and Materiali Dalla
Campania. B. D'Agostino, excavator of Pontecagnano, followed
by A. Pontrandolfo, have started to break new ground in the
nature of the Lucanians (and the Opici, Campaniansa, and
Samnites), Johannowsky tentatively following suit with the
Campanians. This is most vividly demonstrated in B.
D'Agostino, " The Impact of the Greek Colonies on the
Indigenous Peoples of Campania", Greek World, pp. 533-540 and
"Il processo di strutturazione del politico nel mondo Osco-
Lucano. La protostoria" in AION (archeol) IX (1987), pp. 23-
39.; See also his earlier works "La civiltà del ferro
nell'Italia meridionale e nella Sicilia", pp. 11-91 and "Il
mondo periferico della Magna Grecia", pp.179-271 in Popoli e
Civiltà vol.2. For a more recent survey see "Le genti della
Campania antica" in Italia alumna, pp.531-589.
2. The region of Lucania extends inland to the east and
south-east all the way to the coastal region of the Ionian
sea where Metaponto lies, and along the coast to the south
until Laus on the Meditteranean coast and Thurii/Sybaris on
the Ionian side. The regions further south and to the east
in the 'heel' and up along the adriatic coast were occupied
by various other Italic peoples. The Greek colonies occupied
the coastal regions from Naples down along the Mediterranean
coast until the Ionian coastal region. Colonial settlement
does not however stretch around the 'heel' up the Adriatic
coast until much later (4th century), when secondary
settlements were established by the earlier Greek colony of
Syracuse. See Dench. p.182.
3. See Salmon 1967, "The Land", pp.14-27, and "The
People", pp. 28-49.
4. See Salmon 1967, pp.23-24.
5. They are Livy, Diodorus Siculus, Dionysius of
Halicarnassus and Strabo and Pliny. The only major historian
who is earlier is Polybius, but he writes after the Punic
wars. He loses only the potential bias created by the Social
or Italian wars. Furthermore he begins his history after the
end of the Samnite wars when the most important Samnite
centers had been controlled by the establishment of Roman
colonies. All earlier sources (Ephorus, Theopompus,
Antiochus of Syracuse, Timaeus)
6. These are the Samnite wars, the war against Pyrrus, the
war against Hannibal, and the so-called Social or Italian
wars. See Livy VII.29.1-4. Livy gives this bias away when
he emphasizes that the Samnite wars are the first in this
series of wars the Romans face. This shows that Livy was more
concerned with the pattern than the actual event. The
Samnite wars illustrate a typical phase in Rome's history of
7. Salmon 1967, p.28-33. This term has been shown to be
highly problematic by Dench; see especially Dench 179-183
(ancient perception); 186-193 (traditional theories); 193-203
(Dench's critique); & 203-212 (Dench's conclusions) The term
Sabellian is incorrectly used by some modern scholars as a
term to describes the generic, Italic culture of the Central
Appennine region itself, and subsequent Italic culture
emanating in all directions.
8. It is essentially an adjective used to characterize
the culture of the peoples occupying the regions of Campania
and Lucania from the end of the Greek and Etruscan occupation
to the beginning of the Roman occupation, or the beginning of
the Hellenistic period in the Mediterranean. This period
covers most of the fifth and fourth centuries B.C. See
Salmon 1970, p.703.
9. Salmon 1967, p.40 on the author of the Periplus (Scylax
of Caryanda?;c.350) using the term Samnites in the generic
sense of Sabelli or Sabellian. 'Samnites' is used by some
ancient historiographers to refer to the native peoples as a
whole who systematically supplanted the Greek colonial cities
in the fifth century. See Frederiksen 1984, p. 137, n.25.
Strabo refers to 'Samnites' at Metaponto as early as the
eighth century B.C. (6.1.15)
10. The most significant sources of Livy, Strabo, Diodorus
Siculus and Dionysius of Halicarnassus are Antiochus of
Syracuse (a contemporary of Thucyidides, from the 5th Century
B.C.), Ephorus of Cyme (a universal historian of the 4th
Century B.C.), Theopompus of Chios( who wrote a history in
the 4th Century B.C. continuing where Thucydides left off,
and another revolving around the life of Phillip of Macedon,
) and Timaeus of Tauromenium (the Sicilian historian highly
criticized by Polybius for his lack of first hand observation
and emotional embellishment, who lived from the mid-4th to
mid 3rd Centuries B.C.).
11. The geographer Strabo and natural historian Pliny are
more concerned with geographical and cultural information of
importance. Diodorus only briefly deals with matters at the
local level since his history is massive, ranging from the
Trojan war to the time he writes (Civil Wars of late
Republic). Livy is concerned with Rome, and only pays great
attention to Campania and Lucania when the Samnite wars
The nature of the evidence for the period before the
sack of Rome by the Gauls (390 B.C.) is confirmed to be
scanty for Livy. He himself states this important fact at
the beginning of book six (VI.1-3): "The history of the
Romans from the founding of the city of Rome to the capture
of the same city... I have set forth in five books dealing
with matters obscure on account of the great antiquity just
as that which can hardly be discerned from a great distance.
Also because then there was a slight and uncommom use of
writing, the only faithful guardian of memory of things
accomplished, and because even if such things were in the
commentaries of the pontiffs and in other public and private
monuments, the most part of these records perished when the
city was razed." It may be that the decrepid state of
evidence only applies to the affiars of Rome, but the effects
of war and invasion were probably the same for the Greek
writers from Sicily and other parts of the Greek world.
12. For example, Strabo's use of the term 'Samnite'
for coastal peoples in certain cases derives from a Roman
source following a Latin tradition (which would be corrupt
before the sack of Gaul). His use of the term 'Campani' in
other instances reveals a Greek source following a Greek
tradition more conscious of the ethnographic phenomenon that
gave rise to the Campanians (notwithstanding their hostile
attitude to the people who conquered their fellow Greeks).
Antiochus of Syracuse, a source very popular with
Strabo, writes in the Ionic dialect, following the tradition
of the great fifth century hisoriographer and ethnographer,
Herodotus (See L.Pearson. The Greek Historians of the West:
Timaeus and His Predecessors. (Atlanta, 1987).pp.11-18.)
This may imply that Antiochus included much ethnographic
information following Herodotus' example. However, being a
Syracusan would have severley tainted any interest in the
peoples of Campania in particular. Campanian mercenaries are
reported by Diodorus Siculus to have supported both Athens
and Carthage against Syracuse. They subsequently supported
Syracuse under Dionysius I, but this ocurrs after the period
during which Antiochus writes. See Frederiksen 1984, p.101;
N. Purcell, "South Italy in teh Fourth Century B.C." pp.
398-400 in CAH VI; Salmon 1967, p.65.
Also see D. Musti 1988 (supra n.12) pp. 217-234, on the
Campanians and pp. 259-287 , on the Lucanians. See also
Frederiksen 1984, pp.98-102.
13. This is especially the case with Timaeus, the most
frequently cited source. See D. Musti. Strabone e La Magna
Grecia: Città e popoli dell'Italia antica. (Padova, 1988),
pp. 217-234 (= D.Musti. "Per una valutazione delle fonti
sulla storia della Campania fra il VI e il III secolo" in La
Campania pp.31-46); E. Lepore. Origini e Strutture Della
Campania Antica: Saggi di storia etno-sociale. (Bologna,
1989) pp. 85-99, for a discussion of the sources used by the
Augutan writers specifically concerning Campania. See also
E. Lepore. Storia di Napoli. vol. 1. (Napoli, 1968), pp.193-
14. Strabo, for example, seems to have known the history
of Timaeus, who wrote during the period of the Samnite wars
in the late fourth, early third centuries B.C., only through
Artemidorus and Posidonius (Greek geographers of the second
and first centuries B.C). See Frederiksen 1984. p.100.
15. See E.T. Salmon. "The Iron Age: The Peoples of Italy".
CAH Vol.IV.pp 676-719. For archaeological materials from
Campania in the Iron Age see the following by W. Johannowsky:
Il Museo archeologica, pp.17-45; Materiali; For late Iron
age and the 'Samnite' period, see W. Johannowsky, "Il
Sannio", in Italici in Magna Grecia, pp.13-21; W.
Johannowsky, "Problemi riguardanti la situazione culturale
della Campania interna in rapporto con le zone limitrofe fra
il sesto sec. a.C. e la conquista romana" in La Campania, pp.
257-276; W. Johannowsky, "Nuove tombe dipinte" in Le genti
non Greche. See also the several works on the subject by B.
D'Agostino, supra 1 and "Greci, Campani e Sanniti: città e
campagna nella regione Campana" in La Campania, pp.73-83; G.
Collona, supra 1; S. De Caro, supra 1; L. Cerchiai, supra
1; P. Caputo. Cuma; N. Valenza Mele, "Le necropoli di
Cuma: il supermento della commnità primitiva" in Italici in
Magna Grecia, pp.23-33; N. Valenza Mele, "La necropoli
cumana di VI e V a.C. o las crisi di un aristocrazia" in
Nouvelle Contribution à l'étude de la société et de la
colonisation Eubéennes. (Naples, 1981), pp.97-130; N.
Valenza Mele, "Hera ed Apollo nella colonizzazione Euboica
D'Occidente" MEFRA 89 (1977,2),pp. 493-524. L. La Rocca, C.
Rescign and G. Soricelli. "Cuma: l'edificio sacro di fondo
Valentino" in Campania Preromana, pp.51-79.
16. See Frederiksen 1984, 118; D'Agostino in The Greek
World, p,533-534 supra 1; Johnnowsky in Capua Antica,
17. D'Agostino in Greek World, p.533, supra 1, and
D'Agostino 1987, supra 1. See also L. Cerchiai, "Il processo
di struuturazione del politico. I Campani". in AION (archeol)
IX, (1987), pp. 41-53, and Campani, p.21.
18. Frederiksen 1984, p. 120.
19. See Capua Antica, pp. 21-51.
20. Frederiksen 1984, p.118
21. This led Gabrici in the late nineteenth century to
mistakingly believe Cumae to be occupied by Etruscans from
the time of its founding. See Frederiksen 1984, 119; and N.
Valenza Mele in Italici in Magna Grecia and 1981, supra 15.
Valenza Mele discusses the difficulty of working with Cuma
due to its chaotic history of excavation.
22. Frederiksen 1984, p.127
23. Frederiksen 1984, p.69-71 and A.G. McKay, Ancient
Campania, vol.1 (Hamilton, 1972), pp.135-144, for the
buildings which can be dated to this period (525-428 B.C),
and the nature of his rule.
24. This was soon after Aristodemus was murdereded by the
aristocrats who were sent into exhile. The Etruscans and
Carhaginians attacked by sea in 474 B.C., but they were
defeated by the Cumaeans who had joined foces with Hieron of
Syracuse. This Greek victory was celebrated in Pindar's
First Phythian Ode, dedicated to Hieron. See Mckay supra 25,
25. Livy (4.37.1-2)
27. Diodorus Siculus XIV,101-102. Diodorus relates how the
'Lucanians' took the Greek colonial city of Thurii and were
supported by the brother of Dionyius I of Syracuse.
Dionysius intended to subjugate the weak Greek colonial
cities and thought that supporting the Lucanians would
advance his plans. See N. Horsfall in CAH VI, p.387. Salmon
28. Since the Lucanians were harassing the Thurians as
early as 443 and 433 B.C. See Salmon in CAH IV, p.710.
29. Capue Preromaine, pp. 81-90.
30. Salmon 1967, p36-39
31. Samnites, p. XXIX;
32. Frederiksen 1984, pp. 137-138.
34. See D'Agostino in Greek World, p.540; D'Agostino 1987
supra 1. See also Cerchiai supra 17, and Campani, pp. 187-
35. See F. Weege, "Oskische Grabmalerei". JdI 24
(1909).pp.8-162. He includes references to the excavation
reports regarding the tombs in other regions.
36. See works of Trendall, supra 1.
37. See Schneider-Hermann for an excellent presentation of
these various scenes, including subtelties of clothing and
38. See H. Koch, "Hellenistische Architekturstücke in
Capua", RM 22, pp.24-428; Johannowsky, Capua Antica.
Heurgon, Capua Preromaine.
40. See W. Johannowsky in Capua Antica, pp. 57-63;
Frederiksen 1984. p. 145-146
41. See Schneider-Hermann in Samnites, pp.3-4. Frederiksen
1984, p. 144-145.
42. See D'Agostino in Greek World, p.540, arguing for this
contact to have occured in the territory of the 'Caudini',
the mountain region adjacent to the plain on which Capua was
situated. See Salmon 1967, pp.45-46, for his introduction of
this branch of the Samnites.
43. Strabo 6.I.2.
44. Livy IX.40.17.
45. See Pontandolfo 1992 supra 1 (personaggi mascherati);
Schneider-Hermann, Samnites, pp. 85-88 ('The Mock Fight'),
46. Strabo 6.I.2.
47. D.Ridgway. The First Western Greeks. (Cambridge,
1992), p.67, quoting G. Buchhner in "Nuovi aspetti e problemi
posti dagli scavi di Pithecusa con particolari considerazioni
sulle oreficerie di stile orientalizzante antico",
Contribution à l'étude de la société et la colonisation
eubéenes (Naples 1975), 59-86; English, adapted version, in
"Early orientalizing: aspects of the Euboean connection" in
Italy Before the Romans, 129-144.
48. The text is as follows: "And the dwellers in the
islands, when for a second time they have settled, not by
guile but by force, and resolutely, on the Cumaean land of
their adversaries, let them set up a wooden image of Hera,
the holy goddess, and a temple in accordance with their
ancestral laws." Frederiksen 1984, p.59.
49. Strabo 5.4.3. The actual Greek word is "kataschein",
from "katechw", to occupy, possess.
50. See Whitehouse & Wilkins, pp. 102-103.
51. Fried 1975, p. 114, and Fried 1967, p. 170-174.
52. Whitehouse & Wilkins, p.122.
53. See J. Noble in Art of South Italy, pp.37-47.
54. Greek World, pp. 465-468
55. See N. Purcell in CAH VI, p.381
56. Salmon 1967 , p.65
57. M. Frederiksen "Campanian Cavalry", DialArch vol.ii
58. Terra Mater. (Breslau, 1931)
59. Cerchiai, in Campani, p. 161-163.
60. F.Van Wonterghem, "Il culto di Ercole fra i popoli
Osco-Sabellici". in Herakles. eds. C. Bonnet and C.
Jourdain-Annequin. (Bruxelles, 1992).pp.319-351.
61. T. Hadzisteliou Price. Kourotrophos: Cults and
Representations of the Greek Nursing Deities. (Leiden, 1978)
62. Livy 40.42
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