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International Conference Beyond the Black Hole (Compostela, 26-27 septiembre 2019)

Actualizado: 11 mar 2020

Conference Organisers:

Pedro López Barja de Quiroga (USC) ∞ Carla Masi Doria (Napoli, Federico II) ∞ Ulrike Roth (Edinburgh)

This conference will bring together experts working in the fields of Roman history, epigraphy, papyrology, law and literature to analyse the role of Junian Latinity in the Roman Empire. Manumitted from slavery either informally or imperfectly, Junian Latins have attracted both ancient and modern comment. Tacitus notoriously conceptualised Junian Latins as still in their slave shackles – velut vinclo servitutis attineri (Ann. 13.27), echoed in A. N. Sherwin-White’s comment on Junian Latins as ‘under-privileged half-citizens’. And Paul Weaver famously conceptualised the place of Junian Latinity in Roman society as ‘a large undetected black hole at the heart of the “slave” society that is Rome’. Yet, despite acknowledgement of their numbers, modern scholarship has by and large relegated Junian Latinity to Weaver’s ‘black hole’ – from which this conference takes its title. It is the aim of this conference to fill this hole, i.e. to gain a firmer foothold on the role of Junian Latinity at Rome, including the socio-economic location of Junian Latins, and their place in Roman society more broadly.

To this end, this conference will focus on the systematic study of relevant bodies of evidence – esp. of an epigraphic, papyrological, legal and literary nature – and key themes. It is our aim to see the conference papers through to publication with a leading press, and to submit a focussed manuscript, both in terms of volume scope and with regard to the individual chapters. To maximise the time for discussion and exchange during the conference, we therefore expect to discuss with all participants their paper ideas prior to the conference. We believe that this will enable a highly productive gathering in Santiago de Compostela, and that it will minimise the time needed thereafter to ready the volume for publication.

The conference will concentrate discussion on a number of related research themes – from the legal contexts, via the literary, epigraphic and papyrological records, to particular issues concerned with manumission practices, the situation of female Junian Latins, the role of marriage for Junian Latins, as well as the demographic implications of their peculiar status.

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