Introduction: Settler Colonies Between Roman Colonial Utopia and Modern Colonial Practice

Jeremia Pelgrom, Arthur Weststeijn

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    This chapter shows the relevance of Carlo Sigionio’s reconstruction of Roman colonial practices for the history and theory of settler colonialism. It discusses how Sigonio’s analysis of Roman colonization as a vehicle of social emancipation implicitly criticized Venetian colonial strategies in the Eastern Mediterranean, and sketches its impact on European visions of overseas colonialism in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, highlighting English and Dutch examples of settler colonialism between Batavia (Jakarta) and Savannah, Georgia. For Sigonio, the Roman colony could be characterized as a well-ordered agrarian landscape concerned with protecting the property claims and political rights of a clearly defined community of citizen–farmers. With his detailed study of Roman colonial law and practice, Sigonio showed that there was a historical foundation for settler colonialism to work effectively. His reconstruction of the Roman settler colony made it possible to conceive of a colonial utopia as a concrete colonial practice.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationThe Renaissance of Roman Colonization
    Subtitle of host publicationCarlo Sigonio and the Making of Legal Colonial Discourse
    EditorsJeremia Pelgrom, Arthur Weststeijn
    PublisherOxford University Press Oxford, United Kingdom
    Number of pages25
    ISBN (Print)9780198850960
    Publication statusPublished - 2020

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