Irish and Roman relations: A comparative analysis of the evidence for exchange, acculturation and clientship from Southeast Ireland
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My research presents a study of Roman finds from the Southeast of Ireland, with specific emphasis placed on the use and meaning of these artefacts in their local Irish contexts. These objects must be understood not just as 'things' to be used for particular tasks or purposes, but as the material media actively involved in the creation and shaping of broader social relationships and cultural values. Furthermore, the forms of inter-regional interaction involved in the introduction and circulation of these objects in Southeast Ireland can only be fully grasped from this perspective. These artefacts do not simply form a body of evidence for contact between Ireland and the Roman Empire -- they would have informed and embodied that contact itself. The ultimate aim of this thesis is to reassess the evidence for Roman and Irish interaction in Southeast Ireland, with a view to understanding the influences that this interaction would have had on Irish social formations and cultural practices at this time. It is hoped that this study may contribute, not only to a deeper and broader view of social and cultural change in Late Iron Age Ireland, but also to wider debates concerning the nature and extent of Roman imperialism. As Ireland remained unconquered and officially outside Roman territory, this region provides an interesting opportunity to examine and interrogate the reach of Roman imperialism, as well as further our understanding of the active role of material culture in the constitution, expansion, and maintenance of Roman Imperial power and cultural dominance.