Res publica Camunnorum: a small Roman Republic in the Alps

Res publica Camunnorum: a small Roman Republic in the Alps

By L. Giarelli

Published Online (2012)

Abstract: Valle Camonica is a valley located in the central Alps. It was the place where the Camunian civilization developed. The Romans conquered the area in 16 B.C. and subdued the population of the Camunni. In the 1st century the Camunni were well integrated into Roman system, gained the Roman citizenship. They were assigned to the Quirina tribus and gained administrative autonomy with the institution of a republic: the res publica Camunnorum. Archaeological finds show a well Romanized population: the city of Cividate Camuno became the Roman centre of the valley, with the construction of a forum, thermae, theater, amphitheater and necropolis. Among Camunni citizens there were magistrates like duumviri, aediles, quaestors, while in military many men served in Roman army in many locations of the Empire.

Introduction: Valle Camonica is an Italian valley located in the central Alps, north to the city of Brescia, west of Trento, south of the Valtellina, and east of the Orobian Alps.

Here the ancient Camunian civilization developed, which expressed its culture in rock art. The prehistoric rock carvings, widespread in all valley (ca 80 km), indicate high degree of technical expertise attained by this population. Through the examination of the petroglyphs is the evidence of the influences of contacts with the major cultures of northern Italy during the late Iron Age: Celts, Raeti, Veneti, Etruscans and Romans.

Legions of the Roman Republic entered the Transpadana (north of Padus flumen, or Eridanus, currently the Po River) around the end of the 3rd century B.C., following the end of the Second Punic War.

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