The Ligurians and Rome

The Sala della Tavola of Polcevera (Table of Polcevera) tells the story of the protagonists, the traces and the effects of the clash between Rome and the Ligurians that broke out over 2250 years ago: Rome was expanding northwards and therefore control of the access routes and passes from the coast to the Padana plain, controlled by Ligurian tribes, became crucial. The clash takes place through battles, destruction and mass deportations until the complete subjugation of the Ligurians in the Augustan age celebrated in the famous monument of La Turbie, reproduced here. On one side of the room is the display of a Ligurian warrior from the 5th century BC. discovered in Roccatagliata (GE), while opposite there is cast of a Roman ship’s rostrum found in the port of Genoa and numerous amphorae from the wrecks of the merchant ships sunk in the Ligurian Sea between the 2nd and 1st centuries BC One of which was found right in the stretch of sea in front of the Museum.

La Tavola di Polcevera, displayed in the centre of the room, is the oldest legal act referring to Liguria and Genoa. Dated 117 BC, it contains the arbitration of two Roman senators and reports the boundaries and activities required in the territories of the Vituri Langensi tribe, in Val Polcevera.

In the next room a series of portraits of the Roman imperial family represent the propaganda policy operated by Rome in the territories of the empire and Liguria. Rome grants Roman citizenship to the free men of the conquered Ligurian territories and the life of the populations changes profoundly. Furnishings, sculptures, divinities, measuring instruments (groma), epigraphs and reliefs, tell the transformation of daily life in the Roman cities of Luni, Ventimiglia, Libarna, Tortona and Genoa.

Libarna and Tortona are Ligurian centres, currently in the province of Alessandria, which between the second and first centuries B.C. became important colonies of Roman Liguria. In the two rooms there are numerous Roman finds from the nineteenth century excavations and collections: amphorae, cups, plates and jugs, statues, iron and bronze objects, but also elements of a Roman house (bricks, tiles, furnishings) and precious objects belonging to a Roman matron.