Abstract and Keywords
While century-old materialist and idealist frameworks still largely predominate in the archaeology and the history of later Roman periods, a freer theoretical rein can apparently be enjoyed when discussing the time before the expansion. It is as if these dangerous relativist forays were only deemed appropriate for those periods that have contributed less to the powerful icon of late Republican and Imperial Rome in modern western culture. In addition, this intellectual liberty seems to be slowly taking early Roman specialists towards the kind of discourse that can often be found in historical anthropology. Some legal historians had long emphasised the role of gentes in the administration of communal lands or the regulation of elite marriage in early Rome. It is telling that the debate on Roman imperialism has not progressed much in the last decades, in sharp contrast with what has happened for other instances of territorial expansion.
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