|Domain||‘Hellenization’ and ‘Romanization’ in Ptolemaic Egypt, Central & Western Asia and Greece|
|University||University of Groningen|
|Date Range||September 2023 - Present|
|Supervisor(s)||Prof. Onno van Nijf|
Sicily was at the crossroads of many different foreign powers, cultures and peoples – including Phoenicians, Greeks and Romans. This immediately presents the question how people handled this. The formation and anchoring of identity in inscribed (Greek and Latin) funerary monuments, in particular, makes for a gripping research topic, because it allows us to discern how “normal” people dealt with the increasing and decreasing influence of foreign ruling powers. Overall, the main goal of this study is to shed light on how identity was formulated and anchored in Sicily under Roman rule.
Greeks and Phoenicians had already settled in Sicily in the eight century BCE. In 264 Rome was brought onto the stage by a group of Campanian mercenaries seeking protection from the Syracusan kingdom. These mercenaries effectively began the First Punic War. An agreement was reached between Rome and Syracuse, but the war waged with Carthage was long. It lasted roughly two decades, ending in 241 with a peace treaty between the two foreign powers. Sicily came under Roman hegemony. Despite some later disturbances the island enjoyed a long period of peace and prosperity lasting several centuries.
The coming of the Romans was an impactful event, which we may expect to have influenced the way people formulated their identities. My study therefore looks at how the populace of Roman Sicily used inscribed (Greek and Latin) funerary monuments to formulate and anchor their identity in light of Roman hegemony (ca. 300 BCE to 600 CE). I will discuss identity formation from the viewpoint of anchoring innovation, but at the same time we may critically question this framework. To what extent is anchoring innovation a useful tool that helps scholars to better understand identity formation in the Greek and Latin inscribed funerary monuments of Roman Sicily? Thus, my research hopes to contribute to the anchoring innovation tool, to our understanding of identity formation in Sicily, and to our knowledge of interactions between rulers and subjects more generally.