The Social War, 91 to 88 BCE : A History of the Italian Insurgency against the Roman Republic book cover
1st Edition

The Social War, 91 to 88 BCE
A History of the Italian Insurgency against the Roman Republic

ISBN 9780367879259
Published December 12, 2019 by Routledge
264 Pages

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Book Description

The Social War was a significant uprising against the Roman state by Rome’s allies in Italy. The conflict lasted little more than two and a half years but it is widely recognised as having been immensely important in the unification of Roman Italy. Between 91 and 88 BCE a brutal campaign was waged but the ancient sources preserve scant information about the war. In turn, this has given rise to conflicting accounts of the war in modern scholarship and often contradictory interpretations. This book provides a new and comprehensive reassessment of the events surrounding the Social War, analysing both the long-term and the immediate context of the conflict and its causes. Critical to this study is discussion of the nexus of citizenship, political rights and land which dominated much of second century BCE politics. It provides a new chronological reconstruction of the conflict itself and analyses the strategies of both the Romans and the Italian insurgents. The work also assesses the repercussions of the Social War, investigating the legacy of the insurgency during the civil wars, and considers its role in reshaping Roman and Italian identity on the peninsula in the last decades of the Republic.

Table of Contents

The modern study of the social war.  Ancient perspectives on the social war.  Italians and the Roman state in the second century BCE. Livius Drusus, Poppaedius Silo and the looming conflict (91 BCE).  The outbreak of the war (91 to 90 BCE).  The war in Italy (90 BCE).  The collapse of the Italian insurgency (89 to 88 BCE).  The Lex Iulia, Lex Plautia Papiria and enfranchisement (90 to 88 BCE).  Ongoing conflicts and enfranchisement (88 to 70 BCE).

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Christopher J. Dart is a Fellow in the School of Historical and Philosophical Studies at the University of Melbourne, Australia. He has published on a diverse range of subjects relating to the Roman world, including citizenship and land rights, the Roman triumph, the Social War in Italy and Roman military history.


'Dart’s work is a very important contribution to the scholarship of a crucial episode in the Roman Republic. It is especially valuable in its recognition that the problems of the Italians were not solved after the war and that they had to fight until 70 BCE before their rights were fully recognized. As such it is essential reading for anyone interested in this period.' Classical Journal