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Title: The 2nd-Century AD Crisis in Altinum (Venetia, Northern Italy)
Subtitle: A Mixture of Historiographical Determinism and Archaeological Scarcity?
Author(s): DANCKERS, Jonas
Journal: BABESCH
Volume: 86    Date: 2011   
Pages: 143-165
DOI: 10.2143/BAB.86.0.2128097

Abstract :
Traditionally, the 2nd century AD in Roman Altinum (Northern Italy) has been described as a period of crisis. As a similar ‘commercial and agricultural’ setback has earlier been proposed for the whole Italian peninsula in general, this article evaluates the epistemological basis of this local variant. A historiographical research firstly contextualises the origins of the classical pan-Italic crisis idea. Starting from critiques on this influential concept, a new archaeological methodology for tracing a crisis in antiquity is proposed. Applying this approach to Altinum and the Venetia region, it can be argued that the alleged ‘2nd-century AD crisis’ for the town was not a reality but rather a mixture of historiographical determinism and archaeological scarcity.

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