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Document Details :

Title: Landscapes in Stone and Bronze
Subtitle: The Roman formae of Orange, Ilici, Lacimurga and Verona
Author(s): VERMEULEN, Anouk
Journal: Ancient Society
Volume: 49    Date: 2019   
Pages: 351-377
DOI: 10.2143/AS.49.0.3286890

Abstract :
Only four formae, inscribed plans of divided landscapes, have been preserved, and they have only been analysed and researched in individual, local contexts despite obvious similarities. They have been used mainly to discuss the actual land divisions that they depict, in attempts to connect the inscriptions to the landscape of each of the depicted colonial hinterlands. Consequently, they have been used mainly for the information they provide and have been classified as administrative documents. In this article, I will show the problems connected to this administrative objective, and suggest that instead these documents had commemorating or even propagandistic objectives. For the first time, the inscriptions are analysed together and interpreted as a coherent group. In order to separate the inscriptions from suggestive previous interpretations, the focus will be entirely on the inscriptions themselves. The strongly material-based approach puts the inscriptions front and centre, placing them in an appropriate epigraphical context. Whether or not the depicted landscapes were actual divisions which can be retraced in the landscape is not directly relevant, and in any case virtually impossible to establish; rather, it is the appearance, intended audience and effects of the inscriptions themselves that matter. This approach leads to the conclusion that the formae were not solely administrative documents, but they can be compared to the display of foundational documents such as important laws. Following this, agency is placed firmly with the emerging local colonial community, and the formae played a significant role in commemoration of the foundational rites, and the formation of a group identity.

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