The area formally known as Picenum certainly represents a quite problematic ethnic and geographic unit, both in terms of the tribal groups inhabiting this region, as well as its boundaries. The chapter intends to give a new general view of the archaeological situation for a context very rich in excavations, but poor in publications. The concept of Picenum, as a homogeneous region, in the scholarly literature, is mainly based on the Roman sources, which give quite a late geographical and cultural picture of this territory when it became the Augustan Regio V-Picenum, delimited by the Esino valley to the north and the Saline river valley to the south. In earlier periods, however, the situation seems to have been slightly different concerning the boundaries. The earlier phases of the Picene culture are attested from the ninth century BC, which is known as Picene I, and several different facies are known, conventionally from the Picene I to VI (Lollini 1976; Baldelli 1999, 55-56; Bergonzi 2007, 87-95). Picene II (eighth century BC) and Picene III (Orientalising period: seventh century BC) are certainly the most representative for the homogeneous evolution of this culture, especially looking at the funerary practices, typologies of settlements and material culture, which seems to be dominated by a strong aristocratic class of warriors, showing their social roles through their funerary equipment rich in weapons and personal ornaments. Between the sixth and the fifth centuries BC (Picene IV, Archaic period), two different tribal and cultural groups were emerging in this territory: the “Southern Piceni/Picentes” (in northern Abruzzo and southern Marche) and the “Northern Piceni/Picentes” (in northern Marche). For both territories the western boundary was represented by the eastern Apennine slopes. The epigraphic sources attest two different linguistic groups, with a “Paleo-Sabellic” idiom for the south (widely attested in Abruzzo and southern Marche) and a different one for the Novilara Texts in the north. In this period this dichotomy is also attested by two different ethnics mentioned in the epigraphic texts, such as pupun- and safin- (interpreted as early Picentes and Sabellians: La Regina 2011, 233-237), which seem to highlight a conscious differentiation in an ethnic self-determination; according to the most recent interpretations (La Regina 2011, 233-237, with previous bibliography) the label pupun, used in the context of the Stelae from Pnna S. Andrea, in combination with other ethnic names, must be interpreted as an ethnic itself, and therefore the older interpretation of a possible gentilitial name is not in use any more. The archaeological sources show both common cultural bases, as well as a differentiation in funerary practices and economic trends. Moreover, besides these two homogeneous tribal groups, there are also two limited contexts differing from the rest of the region, as in the Piana Plestino, around Colfiorito, also with Umbrian influences, and around Fermo, with Villanovan features for early periods (Bonomi Ponzi 1997). The phase Picene V (475-beginning of the fourth century BC) saw important changes for Picene culture: power was not concentrated any more in the hands of the warrior aristocracy and a new social “middle” class was improving the external trades and contacts, determining slow but definitive changes, in cultural aspects and funerary practices. Moreover, the arrival in the northern Picenum of new peoples in this period was influencing greatly, from the cultural point of view, the local tribes: such as the Galli Senones invading the northern Picenum, the Greeks from Syracuse frequenting more intensively the western Adriatic coasts with the foundation of Ancon (mod. Ancona). In southern Picenum the boundaries were slowly changing and different tribal groups, although ethnically similar, were redefining the their territories. One can probably ascribe to this period the development of the aetiological mythology (Strabo, Geographia, 5.4.2; Festus, De Verborum Significatu, 235L) of the “migrations” of the Sabellic tribes, which mentioned the Picentes as originating from the Sabine area, moving during their ver sacrum, under the auspices and the protection of Mars and using as symbolic and eponym ensign the picus (the woodpecker), totemic animal of this god (see Di Fazio, Religion Chapter). Both the names Piceni and Picentes are attested in the sources, and, for the south Picene area, also a third name is mentioned, the Praetuttii; what this represents is a quite debated question (see below; cf. La Regina 2011, in part. 237-238).

The Picentes / Piceni

Oliva Menozzi
;
2017

Abstract

The area formally known as Picenum certainly represents a quite problematic ethnic and geographic unit, both in terms of the tribal groups inhabiting this region, as well as its boundaries. The chapter intends to give a new general view of the archaeological situation for a context very rich in excavations, but poor in publications. The concept of Picenum, as a homogeneous region, in the scholarly literature, is mainly based on the Roman sources, which give quite a late geographical and cultural picture of this territory when it became the Augustan Regio V-Picenum, delimited by the Esino valley to the north and the Saline river valley to the south. In earlier periods, however, the situation seems to have been slightly different concerning the boundaries. The earlier phases of the Picene culture are attested from the ninth century BC, which is known as Picene I, and several different facies are known, conventionally from the Picene I to VI (Lollini 1976; Baldelli 1999, 55-56; Bergonzi 2007, 87-95). Picene II (eighth century BC) and Picene III (Orientalising period: seventh century BC) are certainly the most representative for the homogeneous evolution of this culture, especially looking at the funerary practices, typologies of settlements and material culture, which seems to be dominated by a strong aristocratic class of warriors, showing their social roles through their funerary equipment rich in weapons and personal ornaments. Between the sixth and the fifth centuries BC (Picene IV, Archaic period), two different tribal and cultural groups were emerging in this territory: the “Southern Piceni/Picentes” (in northern Abruzzo and southern Marche) and the “Northern Piceni/Picentes” (in northern Marche). For both territories the western boundary was represented by the eastern Apennine slopes. The epigraphic sources attest two different linguistic groups, with a “Paleo-Sabellic” idiom for the south (widely attested in Abruzzo and southern Marche) and a different one for the Novilara Texts in the north. In this period this dichotomy is also attested by two different ethnics mentioned in the epigraphic texts, such as pupun- and safin- (interpreted as early Picentes and Sabellians: La Regina 2011, 233-237), which seem to highlight a conscious differentiation in an ethnic self-determination; according to the most recent interpretations (La Regina 2011, 233-237, with previous bibliography) the label pupun, used in the context of the Stelae from Pnna S. Andrea, in combination with other ethnic names, must be interpreted as an ethnic itself, and therefore the older interpretation of a possible gentilitial name is not in use any more. The archaeological sources show both common cultural bases, as well as a differentiation in funerary practices and economic trends. Moreover, besides these two homogeneous tribal groups, there are also two limited contexts differing from the rest of the region, as in the Piana Plestino, around Colfiorito, also with Umbrian influences, and around Fermo, with Villanovan features for early periods (Bonomi Ponzi 1997). The phase Picene V (475-beginning of the fourth century BC) saw important changes for Picene culture: power was not concentrated any more in the hands of the warrior aristocracy and a new social “middle” class was improving the external trades and contacts, determining slow but definitive changes, in cultural aspects and funerary practices. Moreover, the arrival in the northern Picenum of new peoples in this period was influencing greatly, from the cultural point of view, the local tribes: such as the Galli Senones invading the northern Picenum, the Greeks from Syracuse frequenting more intensively the western Adriatic coasts with the foundation of Ancon (mod. Ancona). In southern Picenum the boundaries were slowly changing and different tribal groups, although ethnically similar, were redefining the their territories. One can probably ascribe to this period the development of the aetiological mythology (Strabo, Geographia, 5.4.2; Festus, De Verborum Significatu, 235L) of the “migrations” of the Sabellic tribes, which mentioned the Picentes as originating from the Sabine area, moving during their ver sacrum, under the auspices and the protection of Mars and using as symbolic and eponym ensign the picus (the woodpecker), totemic animal of this god (see Di Fazio, Religion Chapter). Both the names Piceni and Picentes are attested in the sources, and, for the south Picene area, also a third name is mentioned, the Praetuttii; what this represents is a quite debated question (see below; cf. La Regina 2011, in part. 237-238).
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11564/691409
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