A History of Violence

Michael Dietler

in Archaeologies of Colonialism

Published by University of California Press

Published in print October 2010 | ISBN: 9780520265516
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520947948 | DOI:
A History of Violence

Show Summary Details


In territorial empires (such as the Roman expansion into the western Mediterranean), organized violence is fundamental to the process of colonization and the attempt to establish sovereignty. Both archaeological and textual evidence combine to indicate that the history of the colonial encounter in Mediterranean France was marked by several kinds of interlinked violence: both periodic episodes of conflict between colonists and natives and a gradual increase in violence or insecurity within native societies beyond the zone of immediate contact. Moreover, this regional history of violence took place within the broader context of Mediterranean geopolitics that involved military conflicts on land and sea between shifting coalitions of various city-states, the gradual emergence of two imperialistic powers (Punic and Roman) vying for dominance on multiple fronts, and the eventual Roman conquest of the entire Mediterranean periphery. Archaeological evidence of violent destruction of settlements comes in the form of levels indicating widespread fire and demolition of buildings and fortifications. Gauls had a stereotypic image as fierce warriors who were willing to fight as mercenaries on any side.

Keywords: Mediterranean France; violence; colonization; colonial encounter; colonists; natives; geopolitics; fortifications; warriors; mercenaries

Chapter.  12846 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Classical History

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.