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Abstract

The expansion of Roman power beyond the Italian peninsula resulted in the appearance of Roman citizens in non-Roman legal-cultural contexts across the Mediterranean. Many formed associations of Roman citizens, which convened to socialize, practice cult, and establish business connections. Until now, scholarship on these associations has focused on their legal status and functions. By contrast, “Romans Abroad” considers their cultural impact on their host cities. Examining epigraphic and literary evidence for their encounters with non-Roman individuals and cities from the second century BCE through the third century CE in Gaul, Hispania, Dalmatia, Africa, Moesia Inferior, Greece, and Asia. Drawing on theoretical frameworks from the field of anthropology, it argues that these associations employed a range of strategies to acquire influence in their local communities and proclaim to themselves and their non-Roman neighbors their place in the broader Roman political community. Further, the nature of these strategies varied across geographic and chronological contexts due to the particularities of local social, political, and cultural variables. Ultimately, the data that this project collects contributes a new understanding of how colonizing processes can occur through the voluntary acts of individuals in the absence of state actors.

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