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Archaeologies of ColonialismConsumption, Entanglement, and Violence in Ancient Mediterranean France$
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Michael Dietler

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780520265516

Published to California Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520265516.001.0001

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A History of Violence

A History of Violence

(p.157) 6 A History of Violence
Archaeologies of Colonialism

Michael Dietler

University of California Press

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

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