Engaging with Fergus Millar’s observation that ‘Italy under the Empire has no history’, the introduction outlines the aims of the book, which is envisaged as a contribution to the history of imperial Italy. It focuses on the paradox that the ‘golden age’ of the Roman Empire has often been thought a time of decline or even crisis for the Italian peninsula. It also emphasizes the multiplicity of local situations emerging from the documentary and archaeological evidence, and outlines the themes of the following chapters.
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