Franco De Angelis (University of British Columbia)
Mixing Up Mediterranean Innovation: The Case of Viticulture and Wine
Viticulture and wine played well-known, important roles in elite interaction and many other aspects of ancient life. Less well known are the origins of viticulture and wine in pre-Roman Italy and the western Mediterranean in general. Recent scholarship contains contradictory views of whether or not Phoenician and Greek migrants introduced viticulture and wine to Italy. Positions slot into one of the two polarized options: indigenous versus introduced. In this talk, I offer a case study on viticulture and wine as a re-examination of the question of cultural and economic transfers in the pre-Roman western Mediterranean between the ninth and third centuries BCE. I use an interdisciplinary approach that is multilateral and draws on all available forms of evidence, including archaeological science, ecological approaches, iconography, and a broader range of theory. I attempt not only to present a case study in its own right, but also to sketch out a larger framework on how we might think of indigenous versus introduced features more generally in the crucial centuries before the creation of the Roman Empire.