A Critical History of Early Rome: From Prehistory to the by Gary Forsythe

By Gary Forsythe

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Since over time the prehistoric cultures of Europe and the Mediterranean area exhibited increasing sophistication in metallurgy, archaeologists have traditionally divided the period between the Neolithic Age and the dawn of history into three large intervals whose names reflect the most advanced metallurgical knowledge of the period: Copper Age, Bronze Age, and Iron Age. Of these three metals, copper is the simplest to smelt from ore and to fashion into objects, and it was therefore the first metal to be mined and worked by prehistoric cultures, but it is also the softest of the three metals, even softer than flint.

Although agriculture doubtless remained the mainstay of human subsistence, other evidence (the occupation of mountainous sites not conducive to farming, the remains of cattle, sheep, pigs, and goats, and ceramic vessels used for boiling milk and making cheese) indicates that pastoralism was also very widespread. This suggests that transhumance was already a well-established pattern of human existence. In fact, since the material culture of central and southern Italy was relatively uniform at this time, it has been conjectured that this so-called Apennine Culture of c.

A third such case is provided by some of the inhabitants along the eastern coast of Italy, for although the preservation in historical times of tribal names such as Iapyges in Apulia and Iapusci in Umbria, related to Illyrian Iapudes, strongly suggests migration across the Adriatic, archaeology cannot offer clear proof concerning when Illyrians might have established themselves in Italy. In conclusion, the current state of our archaeological knowledge of prehistoric Italy and of the country’s pre-Roman linguistic history testifies to the extraordinarily complex cultural processes operating before the dawn of history and to our inability to fathom them except in the broadest of terms.

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