Food, economy, and identity in the Sangro River Valley, by China P Shelton

By China P Shelton

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Additional resources for Food, economy, and identity in the Sangro River Valley, Abruzzo, Italy, 650 B.C.-A.D. 150

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To begin with, what people choose as food in part defines it. Peter Garnsey (1999: 140-141) puts forth four factors that govern why people eat what they do and integrates economic and political factors with ecological and environmental considerations: physiological need—the fact that people need food to live; taste, which means here that some foods appeal more to some people than others (this fact is recognized as culturally relative); availability, meaning what foods are available in the environment, can be produced in that 44 environment, or alternatively, what foods might be available via trade and exchange; and finally, culture, since "diet is profoundly influenced by the practices and norms of the particular society" (Garnsey 1999: 141).

Contact between cultures often required mediation, for example; in the case of many local elites in Gaul, Woolf argues that "The worst situation they feared was one in which they were forced to choose whether to be Gauls or Romans" (1998: 22). The reaction to Roman 49 conquest likely differed within a given society as well as between societies. Romanization was an uneven process that cannot be explained by the degree of contact different cultures had with Rome (Woolf 1998: 19). The Samnites, for example, had early and frequent contact with the Romans, but material culture associated with Rome appears very late.

C. (1995), although it may take place rather later in the context of the 4th-century Samnite wars with Rome. Changes in mortuary practice evident at the massive cemetery at Aufidena in the upper Sangro Valley also suggest dynamic social shifts from the 6th to the 4th century (Johannowsky 1990). Tagliamonte argues that these changes (essentially, a decrease in [always moderate] burial hoarding and accumulation, increasing standardization of tomb contents, and strong conservatism of burial custom) specifically represent "an ideological attempt to give a substantially homogenous image of the Samnite ethnic and cultural identity" (1999: 104).

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