Francesca Fulminante presents a working paper ‚From heterarchies to hierarchies: the role of religion at the birth of first cities and state organization in central Italy (1100-500 bc)‘

Between the 10th and the 5th century BC Italian populations underwent radical changes in the social, political and ethnic organization which led from the mainly „egalitarian“ communities of the dispersed villages of the Bronze Age, to the „hierarchical“ and „centralised“ societies of the Archaic cities. Many scholars have contributed to delineate this trajectory by looking at various aspects of the social structure, production, economy but probably the religious aspect has been less intensively investigated, apart the emphasis posed by Alessandro Guidi on early urban cult places, preceding the monumental realization of the temples of the Archaic Period, especially in Latium vetus. Connecting to Polignac, Lefevre and Bourdie and by taking Rupke’s concept of religion as active agent of urbanity, the project seeks to explore the specific role of religion in the creation of the first cities in Western Europe. Transition from more heterarchical so. At the core of the project is the following questions: 1) is it the city which contributes to the rise of the sanctuary, or the sanctuary, which contributes to the rise of local cities? 2) Which is the role of religion in the shift from more heterarchical to hierarchical organizations? The project will answer these question by analyzing cult places in the wider network of central Italian transportation communication system and by comparing their reciprocal position and role within the system as compared to other types of settlements (domestic, functional, funerary etc.). This will allow to elaborate on the role and significance of the various spaces of ritual performance within the societies involved and eventually verify of Polignac’s model is applicable to central Italy as well.

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