Making Textiles: In Pre-Roman and Roman Times People, Places, Identities Edited by Margarita Gleba and Judit Pásztókai-Szeőke

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Making Textiles: In Pre-Roman and Roman Times People, Places, Identities
Edited by Margarita Gleba and Judit Pásztókai-Szeőke
Making Textiles: In Pre-Roman and Roman Times People, Places, Identities

Contents
Preface
by Margarita Gleba.......................................................................................v
Maps....................................................................................................... vii
Introduction
by John Peter Wild................................................................................. xiv
1. Transformations in Textile Production and Exchange in pre-Roman Italy
by Margarita Gleba........................................................................1
2. Textile Making in Central Tyrrhenian Italy – Questions Related to
Age, Rank and Status
by Sanna Lipkin.........................................................................19
3. Discovering the People behind the Textiles: Iron Age Textile Producers
and their Products in Austria
by Karina Grömer.........................................................................30
4. Textile Production and Trade in Roman Noricum
by Kordula Gostenčnik.........................................................................60
5. Craftspeople, Merchants or Clients? The Evidence of Personal
Names on the Commercial Lead Tags from Siscia
by Ivan Radman-Livaja......................................................................................................87
6. Female Work and Identity in Roman Textile Production and Trade:
A Methodological Discussion
by Lena Larsson Lovén..................................................................................................... 109
7. Trade, Traders and Guilds (?) in Textiles: the Case of Southern Gaul
and Northern Italy (1st–3rd Centuries AD)
by Jinyu Liu...................................................................................................................... 126
8. Textile Trade in the Periplus of the Erythraean Sea
by Manuel Albaladejo Vivero......................................................................................... 142
9. Textiles and their Merchants in Rome’s Eastern Trade
by Kerstin Droß-Krüpe................................................................................................... 149
10. (In)visible Spinners in the Documentary Papyri from Roman Egypt
by Sophie Gällnö............................................................................................................. 161
11. Textile Production Centres, Products and Merchants in the Roman
Province of Asia
by Isabella Benda-Weber............................................................................................... 171
12. Ulula, Quinquatrus and the Occupational Identity of Fullones
in Early Imperial Italy
by Miko Flohr................................................................................................................. 192
13. A ‘Private’ Felter’s Workshop in the Casa dei Postumii in Pompeii
by Jens-Arne Dickmann................................................................................................. 208
Index..................................................................................................................................... 229

Preface
Textile production is an economic necessity that has confronted all societies in the past. Although different cultures have found different solutions to the problem, most have combined production and trade to varying degrees. While most textiles were manufactured at a household level, valued textiles in particular were traded over long distances and this was influenced by raw material supply and costs, labour skills and costs as well as tradition.

In the Mediterranean regions, the evidence for textile trade is especially abundant for the Roman times, well documented by the archaeological finds and written sources. Documents such as Periplus Maris Erythraei or Diocletian’s Edict of Prices illustrate the typological and geographical diversity of textile commodities that circulated within and beyond the Roman Empire. They make it possible to identify regional products, to locate production centres and to obtain information on the organisation and infrastructure of production and trade.

The present volume originates in a workshop “Work and Identity: The agents of textile production and exchange in the Roman period”, which took place on 7 June 2009 in Hallstatt, Austria. The workshop was organised by Study Group E (Production and Trade) of the international project Clothing and Identities in the Roman World (DressID). The aim of this study group during 2008–2010 was to approach the investigation of textile production and trade in the Roman Empire and beyond its borders by focusing in particular on the identity of the agents involved in these activities, i.e. textile producers, traders and consumers. Some of the questions explored were: who produced and distributed textiles and clothing; how was production organised; what was the social status of the agents involved and could it change during their working life; how did their profession affect personal identity.

While most of the articles in this volume originated as papers during the workshop in Hallstatt, several contributions were added during the editing process in order to broaden the scope of the topic (Radman-Livaja, Larsson Lovèn, Gällnö, Dickmann). Furthermore, while the volume focuses on the Roman period, some articles address the issues connected to textile production and trade during the preceding period (Gleba, Lipkin, Grömer).

Each essay is a separate chapter with footnotes and bibliography. We have attempted to be consistent, while keeping the individual authors’ styles, including their choice of American or British orthography and punctuation. Our thanks go to non-native English speakers for writing in English or having their contributions translated into English. Latin and Greek sources are abbreviated according to The Oxford Classical Dictionary. Other common abbreviations include:

AE L’Année épigraphique
CIG Corpus Inscriptionum Graecarum
CIL Corpus Inscriptionum Latinarum
ILLPRON Inscriptionum Lapidariarum Latinarum Provinciae Norici
ILS H. Dessau, ed., Inscriptiones latinae selectae (1892–1916)
IG Inscriptiones Graecae
OLD Oxford Latin Dictionary
PECS R. Stillwell et al., eds, Princeton Encyclopedia of Classical Sites (Princeton 1976)
SEG Supplementum Epigraphicum Graecum
TLL Thesaurus Linguae Latinae

The workshop and the publication of the present volume were generously funded by the European Education, Audiovisual and Culture Executive Agency’s DressID project and the Danish National Research Foundation’s Centre for Textile Research. We also wish to thank the organisers of the DressID meeting in Austria, Karina Grömer and Anton Kern (Natural History Museum in Vienna) for all the logistical support in Hallstatt; Cherine Munkholt (CTR) for her invaluable help with editing; John Peter Wild for writing the introduction to the volume; and Yevgeny Kokorin for creating the maps.

Introduction
John Peter Wild

Who were the textile producers and traders in the Roman world? This is an apparently innocent question, but not one that has been addressed before in a dedicated volume. It is very much in tune, however, with the theme of DressID, the abbreviated title of the European Culture Programme on ‘Clothing and Identities: New Perspectives on Textiles in the Roman Empire’. Archaeology, anthropology, history and related disciplines have all developed in recent years a preoccupation with the concept of ‘identity’ in their respective fields, often as a fresh, innovative, way of revisiting familiar source material, the interpretation of which has become stale.

As several of the contributors to this volume have noted, textile production and exchange, and the people behind the processes, tend to suffer from a low profile in general studies of the ancient world. The principal reason for this – but by no means the only reason – is the undeniable paucity and unevenness of the surviving archaeological and (to a lesser extent) the documentary evidence, coupled with the perceived difficulty of understanding ancient craft practices. Some sixty years ago, however, there was a similar attitude to the whole of the Roman economy: Tenney Franks’ bland survey (1933–1940) of the scattered fragments of information seemed the best that could be done. More recently, some bolder spirits have grasped the nettle and, having the advantage of somewhat richer source material – particularly from archaeology – have erected what earlier generations would have regarded as a house of cards, tackling cruces such as the size of the Roman Gross National Product. ‘Identity’ may seem a will-o’-the-wisp, but the very exercise of chasing it can lead to exciting new perceptions.

In 1960 Hugo Jones published ‘The cloth industry under the Roman Empire’. For all its shortcomings, it was the first acknowledgement from a senior ancient historian that the topic could repay attention. There was even a glimpse of ‘identity’: Florentius of Hippo, a poor man, lost his casula, but found a fish which he sold and with the cash bought wool for his wife to make him a substitute ‘as best she could’ (Jones 1960, 184; Brunt 1974, 352).

Jones took a conservative view of the importance of industrial activities to the Roman economy. The modernist school on the other hand seek inspiration in the wider sphere of pre-Industrial Revolution economies and take a maximalist view. In proposing models for the Roman textile industry, however, in the light of its more richly documented counterpart in Medieval Europe, some have failed to note the significant differences between the two which can be attributed in large measure to the advances in textile technology and equipment. The prime distinction was pointed out by Hero Granger-Taylor in 1982: most Roman clothing was woven to shape on the loom and required minimal tailoring before being worn. Medieval clothing by contrast was cut from a web of cloth and sewn together to achieve the intended shape – a change linked to the development of the broad horizontal handloom. It is no surprise therefore to find that Roman traders dealt in complete garments, while bolts of cloth (‘Meterware’) characterised the Medieval market. It is an uphill battle, however, to persuade modern commentators not to talk in terms of Roman bolts of cloth!


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