Samnium and the Samnites

11.05. – 25.09.2022


The ancient Samnites had their homeland in the heart of southern Italy, in an area that includes the entire present-day region of Molise, the northern part of Apulia, and narrow strips in the south of Campania. It was there that the Samnite culture formed around the middle of the first millennium BCE. According to Roman sources, the Samnites had Sabine roots.  In the mountainous and hilly landscape of their settlement region, they practised an extensive pastoral economy with sheep and goats. Sometimes larger settlements developed along the pastures of the cattle herds.

The Samnites came into the spotlight of history through their armed conflicts with the Romans in the second half of the 4th century and in the early 3rd century BCE.: The so-called Samnite wars not only brought the Samnites brilliant victories, as in the famous battle at the Caudine Passes, after which they forced the Roman legions together with the commanding consuls under the yoke. Rather, they also suffered painful defeats, so that this conflict finally ended with Rome's triumph.

The exhibition project, which was developed by the State Collections of Classical Antiquities at the suggestion of the Consul General of Italy in Munich, Enrico de Agostini, aims to provide as comprehensive a view as possible of the history, art and culture of ancient Samnium, while at the same time deliberately documenting the outstanding quality that many Samnite finds from antiquity possess. Thanks to rich loans, especially from the collections in Benevento (Museo Arcos and Museo del Sannio), in Montesarchio (Museo Archeologico del Sannio Caudino) and in Campobasso (Museo Sannitico), the Samnite culture is thus appreciated for the first time outside Italy in a comprehensive exhibition.

Lender: Museo Civico Archeologico Antonio De Nino, Alfedena; Museo del Sannio, Benevento; Museo Sannitico, Campobasso; British Museum, London; Museo Archeologico Nazionale Massimo Pallottino, Melfi; Museo del Sannio Caudino, Montesarchio; Museo Archeologico Nazionale, Napoli; Museo Nazionale Romano, Rom; Soprintendenza Archeologia, Belle Arti e Paesaggio per le province di Chieti e Pescara; Soprintendenza Archeologia, Belle Arti e Paesaggio per le province di L’Aquila e Teramo; Soprintendenza Archeologia, Belle Arti e Paesaggio per le province di Caserta e Benevento; Direzione Regionale Musei Basilicata; Direzione Regionale Musei Campania; Direzione Regionale Musei Molise

Thanks: grafik.brandner (M. Brandner); Enggruber GmbH (Thomas Enggruber); Escher Digitaldruck (Guido Jost); Michael Friedrich Raumausstattung; Hasenkamp Fine Art (Hermann Pertzborn); Res bellica (Mattia Caprioli/Corrado Re); VIS24 (David Ditcher)

A →catalogue will be published to accompany the exhibition.