Roman period hall

Voice files

Introduction
Trade and the new economy
Sea transport
Everyday life, cooking and eating
The roman culture

The Romans called Majorca and Menorca the Baliares, and Ibiza and Formentera the Pityusae. The inhabitants of these last two islands, Phoenician colonists first and then Punic settlers, were the main link between the Balearic Islands and the rest of the world and they even helped the Romans learn what the Baliares were really like.

A major source of information on the islands for the Romans were documents by Greek authors, for example Diodorus of Sicily (first century BC):

 Right in front of Iberia there are other islands called the Gymnesians by the Hellenes, although the locals and the Romans call them ‘balearides’ [referring to light-armed foot-soldiers] because they can hurl large stones with catapults more skilfully than any other men. [...] Both islands have good productive land and more than 30,000 inhabitants. The food and drink produced by the land does not include any wine. That is also why they all have a penchant for wine, because it is scarce at home. Diod. Sic. 5, 17.

 When Rome extended its power throughout the Italian Peninsula at the beginning of the third century BC and arrived in Sicily, the Romans found that the Carthaginians had similar intentions. A series of clashes between them ended with the defeat of the Carthaginians in the Second Punic War (218–202 BC) and the Romans taking over control of the Iberian Peninsula and structuring it into a Roman province. Nevertheless, the islands were not their direct focus of attention until much later, since they no doubt remained a marginal territory in the Roman campaigns until 123 BC, the date of the conquest of the Baliares.

From then on, it took a while for new colonists to arrive and for Italian customs to be adopted in the Baliares. In Manacor we can find native villages inhabited in Roman times, for example s’Hospitalet Vell, and new Roman settlements, such as the Roman town on Pou hill in Son Joan Jaume. This town exemplifies the establishment of a new economic model and the settlement of an immigrant population with fully Roman customs.

Voice files

Introduction
Trade and the new economy
Sea transport
Everyday life, cooking and eating
The roman culture


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