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Document Type

Feature Article

Publication Date

Fall 9-1-2010

Publication Title

Washington University Undergraduate Research Digest: WUURD 6(1)


Peer Editor: Kimberley Hartstein; Faculty Mentor: Judith Evans-Grubb

For nearly five centuries, the island of Sicily was the foremost center of Greek civilization in the western Mediterranean. Many aspects of Greek culture survived the Roman conquest of the First Punic War and remained strong until the end of antiquity, leading many scholars to conclude that Sicily was never Romanized. Yet despite this strong Hellenic identity, after 241 B.C.E. Sicily was officially a Roman province, with many of the typical Roman institutions and customs. This study examines the impact of Rome on the island by focusing on two of the most important categories of physical structures: entertainment facilities and private homes. In cities across Sicily, amphitheaters were constructed and Greek theaters were remodeled in the Roman style, reflecting the changing social conventions and tastes of the island’s citizens. Meanwhile, homes in several communities began to adopt features characteristic of Roman houses such as atria and multiple entrances. As such, it is necessary to readjust our perception of Roman-era Sicily; no longer can we view the island as purely Greek. Rather, we should view Sicily as having been substantially Romanized, with a hybrid culture consisting of both Greek and Roman elements.

From the Washington University Undergraduate Research Digest: WUURD, Volume 6, Issue 1, Fall 2010. Published by the Office of Undergraduate Research.

Henry Biggs, Director of Undergraduate Research and Associate Dean in the College of Arts & Sciences; Joy Zalis Kiefer, Undergraduate Research Coordinator, Co-editor, and Assistant Dean in the College of Arts & Sciences; Kristin Sobotka, Editor.


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