From Theodosius to Constans II: Church, Settlement and Economy in Late Roman and Byzantine Sicily (AD 378-668)
thesisposted on 15.02.2011, 10:07 authored by Denis Sami
This thesis explores the archaeology of late antique Sicily from the time of Theodosius I (347–95) to the reign of Constans II (630–68). Analysing published data from urban and rural contexts I aim to define three research subjects that are: 1 – The potential different phases of Sicilian Late Antiquity; 2 – The part played by the Church and the impact of Christianity in this transitional period, and, finally, 3 – The definition of a regional economic pattern. During the centuries here investigated, Sicily went through three main phases named: the fall of the Roman Empire, the Byzantine conquest of the 6th century and the process of Byzantinization of the Sicilian society and culture. The Church played a key role in all these three phases initially negotiating with local elite and cultural background its presence within the urban walls. But after the Byzantine conquest and until the Arab occupation of Sicily, the Church imposed its authority through the building of churches, monasteries and chapels transforming the urban and rural landscape. After the Vandal invasion of North Africa, Sicily became the only food supply for Italy and this deeply impacted the provincial economy increasing production and trade with Italy resulting in a period of economical prosperity and cultural liveliness.