Bryn Mawr Classical Review 96.12.11

Heikki Solin (ed.), Studi storico-epigrafici sul Lazio Antico. Roma: Acta Instituti Romani Finlandiae vol.XV, 1996. Pp. 259. ISBN 951-96902-2-0.

Reviewed by Roger Wright, University of Liverpool,

The Instituto Finlandese di Roma has an impressive track record of unassumingly accurate local scholarship, fruit of the alliance of Finnish expertise in detailed philological analysis with the time to consider carefully and investigate closely the ever-increasing epigraphic resources of Latium. Heikki Solin was director of the Institute in the 1970s, and the present publication contains the results of research carried out by himself, colleagues and students from then up to 1995. More volumes are in train.

The last four of the seven contributions here present 64 unpublished (or in a few cases inadequately published) inscriptions, almost all with good black and white photographs. One is in Greek (no.63). These are numbered consecutively, but in four separate chapters: Heikki Solin, "Appunti sulla produzione epigrafica della Formiae romana" (155-86); Mika Kajava, "Nuove iscrizioni dal Lazio meridionale" (187-220): Solin again, "Nuove iscrizioni di Minturnae" (221-27); Kalle Korhonen, "Un'iscrizione edilizia dei magistri minturnesi" (229-39). Solin reports (158), in matter of fact tones, the alarming statistic that 335 inscriptions from Formiae have been described in modern times, but that he has only been able to find 127 of them (including only about a third of those known to Mommsen). The epigraphic data from Formiae presented by Solin are the main basis for the charmingly all-inclusive account of "Ordo et populus Formianus" by Hannu Laaksonen (129-53), from the Laestrygones to the attested bishops (all-inclusive, because the site was deserted from 842).

The first half of the volume is dominated by the vast and thorough lists of senators prepared by Olli Salomies ("Senatori oriundi del Lazio", 23-127), with only a brief introduction. These data are presented alphabetically in categories of town of origin, then family, then the individual; thus OSTIA (70-76) has eleven relevant families providing 27 attested senators, from the one in the ACILII to the one from the ?VOLUSII. Salomies is unpretentious enough to add the '?' before many of the family names, where it is conceivable that subsequent finds might relocate an individual, but it is hard to believe that he can be often wrong. There is an appendix on local "cavalieri", and another which presents the data simultaneously in geographical and chronological categories, so that we can see which places seem to have been powerful at which times.

Solin's initial article, "Sul concetto di Lazio nell'antichità" (1-22), is unlike the rest. Indeed, he apologizes unnecessarily for its untypical "prolissità". This study deserves to reach beyond the ranks of specialists in epigraphy, and indeed also appears in the Archivio Storico del Lazio Meridionale 1 (1996). Epigraphic data form only a part of the textual basis of Solin's account of the nature and extent of Latium in Antiquity, which did not include the Northern part of modern Lazio; there was first Latium vetus, original home of the prisci latini who lived on the flat latus beside the Tiber, and there was subsequently Latium adiectum to the South, but most of both were subsumed in Augustus's first Regio, and later usually referred to as Campania; modern Lazio is a fifteenth-century reinvention. The clear colour maps on pp.3-4 accompany and clarify the geographical references not only of the initial chapter but of the whole volume; and there are copious indexes (247-59). The title of the volume is well-chosen: it is a valuable historical contribution as well as an epigraphic reference work.