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ELISA CHIARA PORTALE

Reshaping civic space: some remarks on the transformations of the towns of Roman Sicily in the late Republic and early Empire

Abstract

Recent scholarship pointed out how the towns of Sicily experienced wide urbanistic and architectural transformations during the Hellenistic period. After the long debate on the chronology of the phenomena of material growth and dense urbanization shown by the archaeological record, that previously had been assigned exclusively to the Early Hellenistic period, it’s now generally accepted that several cities, especially in North-Western Sicily, reshaped their urban panoplia after the Roman conquest of the island, in the 2nd-1st centuries B.C., renovating extensively both civic and private buildings. Less known are the further transformations of the urban landscape between the late Republican and early Imperial times, because of the gaps of the evidence and the limited attention payed to this by the historians and the archaeologists. The paper aims to explore such evolution of the urban landscape through some examples (Segesta, Solunto, Halaesa, Agrigento, Tyndaris), trying to pinpoint tendencies, agents and purposes that lay behind the different achievements.