First Advisor

Karen Carr

Date of Award


Document Type

Closed Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in History and University Honors






Exceptionalism -- Rome, Rome -- Civilization -- History, Etruria -- Relations -- Rome, Lazio (Italy) -- Relations -- Rome, Sannio (Italy) -- Relations -- Rome, Magna Graecia (Italy) -- Relations -- Rome




Popular notions of Roman superiority are the result of a decidedly biased historical record. The first historical records about Rome's creation were written in a post-Punic War nationalist fervor, which sought to explain, and especially to justify, Rome's domination in the Mediterranean. The bias has only been exacerbated by the continuation of this tradition by most Roman historians. Later, historians seeking to elevate their own empires sought to understand Rome by trying to learn what specific element permitted it to become dominant. Modern historians, although somewhat less Romano-centric and more anti-imperialist, still primarily focus on Roman sources. What is missing from that narrative, then, is an analysis of Roman history not only from its beginning, but also through the eyes of contemporaneous societies. The need to contextualize Roman expansion is especially important. It is not until the similarities among the societies of ancient Italy are evaluated that we may glean any possible Roman exceptionalism.


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