Antonello Mastronardi is a PhD candidate at the University of Michigan. At ANAMED, he investigates changes in the socio-economic structures of western Anatolian communities during the Mithridatic wars (88–63 BCE). Whereas the standard look at the late Roman Republic prioritizes the effect of hegemonic power, his project focuses on local evidence as a privileged standpoint from which to describe such communities. Accordingly, his approach combines numismatics, epigraphy, and ancient historiography.
As the tides of the conflict progressively found their epicenter in the florid cities of the West, both parties focused on gaining local support by appealing to certain social groups at a local level, translating the military conflict into a sort of bidding war fought on political and economic terms. While scholarship tends to portray this support in a polarized way, describing Mithridates as a quasi-populist instigator and vice versa identifying the Romans with the elites, he aims to demonstrate that both parties were in fact appealing to marginalized groups, with the promise of better conditions in exchange for their unconditional allegiance.
These bids, which could take the form of debt cancellations, enfranchisement, and sophisticated forms of monetary intervention, inevitably altered the socio-economic picture of western Anatolian communities for years to come.