Dr. McKenzie Lewis, University of Waterloo
It is commonly accepted that the city of Florence, the cultural heart and first capital of unified Italy, was founded by Julius Caesar in the 40s B.C.E. and settled as a colony shortly afterward by Rome’s first emperor Augustus. This orthodox view of the city’s foundation by a strong imperial Rome, drawn from a fourth century Latin text, took on ideological importance in the 1940s and 1950s. However, a much earlier date for the birth of Florence is now possible to be shown. In this provocative talk drawn from his Distinguished Dissertation Award research, Dr. McKenzie Lewis draws together a variety of evidence, ranging from ancient inscriptions and Latin manuscripts to rescue excavations in Florence’s city center, to re-date Florence’s foundation.