Sicilia (Roman province)
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|Province of the Roman Empire|
|•||Established after the end of First Punic War||241 BC|
|•||Fall of the Western Roman Empire||476 AD|
|Today part of|| Italy
Sicilia was the first province acquired by the Roman Republic. The western part of the island war was brought under Roman control in 241 BC at the conclusion of the First Punic War with Carthage. A praetor was regularly assigned to the island from c.227 BC. The Kingdom of Syracuse under Hieron II remained an independent ally of Rome until its defeat in 212 BC during the Second Punic War. Thereafter the province included the whole of the island of Sicily, the island of Malta, and the smaller island groups (the Egadi islands, the Lipari islands, Ustica, and Pantelleria).
- 1 History
- 2 Culture
- 3 Major centres
- 4 See also
- 5 Notes
- 6 External links
First Punic War
Agathocles, tyrant of Syracuse from 317 and King of Sicily from 307 or 304 BC, died in 289 BC. A group of his Campanian mercenaries, called the Mamertines, were offered compensation in excange for leaving the city. They took control of Messina, killing and exiling the citizens, and taking their wives for themselves.
In response to this, the Syracusan general Hiero, who had reorganised the mercenaries and was able to bring banditry under control in 269 BC, before advancing on Messina. The Carthaginians, always eager to prevent the excessive empowerment of a single force and to keep Sicily divided, offered aid to the Mamertines. Hiero had to return to Syracuse, where he assumed the title of king. Shortly thereafter, the Mamertines decided to expel the Carthaginian garrison and seek aid from the Romans instead.
At Rome, there was a debate on the appropriateness of helping the Mamertines. Previously, Rome had intervened against Campanian mercenaries who had followed the Mamertines' example and taken control of Rhegium (modern Reggio Calabria). Moreover, it seemed clear that intervention in Sicily would lead to conflict with Carthage. According to the lost historian Philinus of Agrigentum, who was favourable to the Carthaginians, there was a treaty between Rome and Carthage which defined their respective spheres of influence and assigned Sicily to the Carthaginians. This "Philinus Treaty" is known to us from Polybius, who mentions it in order to deny its existence. Polybius also claims that the Romans were encouraged to intervene by economic motivations, on account of the wealth of Sicily in this period. The Senate gave the decision on whether or not to help the Mamertines to the popular assembly, which decided to send help. This was not a formal declaration of war against Carthage, but the intervention in Sicily sufficed as a casus belli and thus marked the beginning of the First Punic War (264-241 BC).
This was the first time that Roman forces had campaigned outside the Italian peninsula. Hiero, allied with Carthage against the Mamertines, had to face the legions of Valerius Messalla. The Romans quickly expelled the Syracusans and Carthaginains from Messina. In 263 BC, Hiero changed sides, making a peace treaty with the Romans in exchange for an indemnity of 100 talents, thus ensuring the maintenance of his power. He proved a loyal ally of the Romans until his death in 215 BC, providing aid, specially grain and seige weapons, to the Romans. This assistance was essential for the conquest of the Carthaginian base at Agrigentum in 262 BC. Hiero's loyalty is reflected in the peace treaty imposed on the Carthaginians at the end of the war, in which they were forbidden to attack Hiero or his allies. It seems, however, that pro-Roman sentiment was not universal at Syracuse and that there was a group opposed to Hiero which favoured the Carthaginians.
At the end of the First Punic War, Rome had conquered the majority of the island, except for Syracuse, which retained a broad autonomy (although required to accept Roman supremacy in the region). In addition to Syracuse, the kingdom of Hiero was granted a number of centres in the easternpart of the island, such as Akrai, Leontini, Megara, Eloro, Netum and Tauromenium, and probably also Morgantina and Camarina.
In addition to the aforementioned Philinus, there were other accounts of the First Punic War written by authors opposed to Rome, such as Sosilus of Sparta. The work of Philinus was analysed and criticised by Polybius, while that of Sosilus was entirely rejected by him as the "vuolgar gossip of a barber's shop." A pro-Roman account was written by the historian Fabius Pictor, which is criticised by Polybius as well. The resulting representation of the war in the ancient source material is very partial: the motivations of the Mamertines are left opacque and by the time of Polybius (about a hundred years after the war began) there were different opinions even at Rome. The ancient accounts' impression that a war between Carthage and Rome was inevitable also seems questionable. Even the traditional explanation that Carthage was threatening Rome at the Straits of Messina seems anachronistic according to Moses Finley, since Carthage had never shown any inclination to expand into Italy. Probably no one at Rome foresaw that intervention at Messina would lead to a conflict on such a scale. According to the account of Polybius, this changed only after the conquest of Agrigentum. Finley says "this argument appears too simple and schematic, but it is correct in the sense that only then did Rome take the essential decision of crating a fleet, without which there was no hope of fighting the Carthaginians on equal terms.". The reaction of the Carthaginians to Roman intervention, however, is easily explained: Sicily had always been fundamental for Carthaginian control of the seas.
In any case, the fact that the Romans ultimately conquered the island makes it difficult to produce a balance reconstruction of conditions on Sicily in this period. What is certain is that the First Punic War had a disastrous effect on the territory. Both Rome and Carthage carried out atrocities: 250,000 inhabitants of Agrigentum (Philinus' homeland) were sold as slaves in 262 BC and seven years later the Carthaginians demolished the walls of the same city and set it on fire. In 258 BC, the Roman conquest of Camarina saw the majority of the inhabitants sold into slavery and 27,000 inhabitant of Panormus suffered the same fate (although 14,000 were redeemed). In 250 BC, Selinus was razed to the ground by the Romans and it was not inhabited again until Late Antiquity. Lilybaeum resisted a Roman seige for ten years, until the conclusion of the war after the Battle of the Aegates.
The first Roman province?
The Roman victory in the First Punic War placed the entire island of Sicily in Roman hands. Previous Roman conquests in Italy had resulted in direct annexation or asymmetric treaties with Rome as hegemonic power. These treaties guarenteed substantial internal autonomy to the socii: they were required to contribute troops when requested but not to pay any form of tribute. Probably because of the island's complex mixture of ethnicities and perhaps also in order to recoup the expenses sustained during the war through a system of fiscal control, which excluded the concession of broad autonomy, Sicily came to be defined by a different institutional system.
Eventually, the provincial structure would consist of a praetor, assisted in financial matters by two quaestores, one based at Lilybaeum and one based at Syracuse. But it is not clear how this system took form. It has been suggested that from 240 BC the government of western Sicily was entrusted to a quaestor sent annually to Lilybaeum. Scholars like Filippo Coarelli and Michael Crawford consider it possible that the government of Sicily was entrusted to a privatus cum imperio, that is an aristocrat with no official post and with a military command conferred on a personal basis, sent annually with administrative and judicial competence. Extraordinary governors of this kind were seen already during the First Punic War and occur again during the Second Punic War. Assuming that there was a quaestor at Lilybaeum, it is unclear whether this position was created immediately after the end of the war or sometime later, or if it was one of the quaestores which already existed, that is one of the quaestores classici (treasurers of the fleet), that had first been created in 267 BC, when the number of quaestores was increased from four to eight. Nor as it clear if there were two quaestores in the province from the beginning (one in Lilybaeum and one in Syracuse), since in all the provinces that were subsequently established, there was only one quaestor. According to Antonino Pinzone this difference is explained by the fact that Sicily "came under the control of Rome in two stages," so that "the position of the quaestor of Lilybaeum is to be considered a kind of fossil and his influence is to be imputed to the financial and military arrangements inherited from the quaestor (classicus?).".
Subsequently, in 227 BC, two new praetores were created (praetores provinciales): one, Gaius Flaminius Nepos, was sent to Sicily; the other, Marcus Valerius Laevinus, to the new province of Corsica and Sardinia. Originally, the term provincia indicated the extent of the competences of a magistrate (especially the possession of imperium); eventually it came to indicate the territory under their control. The change of 227 is reported by Gaius Julius Solinus:
The two islands under the control of Rome were made provinces in the same moment when in that year [227 BC] M. Valerius was assigned as praetor of Sardinia by lot and C. Flaminius of the other island.— Collectanea rerum memorabilium, 5.1
It was in 227 BC that an annual grain tribute was imposed on the Sicilian communities by a ex frumentaria. This is best-known for the province of Sicily from the 1st century BC context (as a result of Cicero's Verrines). At that time, the tribute consisted of a tenth of the harvest and it is possible that this system derived from the Syracusan kingdom (the lex Hieronica, derived in turn from the Ptolemaic grain tax). The tithe decuma was contracted out to the highest bidder (whoever promised to collect the largest amount of modii). These contractors were called decumani. It seems that this lex frumentaria had results which were "not excessively grievous for the cities to pay ... and the small Italians proprietors livin on the island. It developed in the context of Gaius Flaminius' focus on the development of small proprietors and of their class.".
Second Punic War
The Second Punic War, which ran from 212 to 202 BC, was initiated by Hannibal, who was aware of the importance of the Italian socii to Rome and accordingly decided to attack the Romans on their own turf, passing through Gaul, over the Alps and into Italy. In a particularly difficult moment for Rome after the defeat at the Battle of Cannae (216 BC), Hiero II died (215 BC). His successor was his fifteen year old grandson Hieronymus, who decided to switch to the Carthaginian side. This act arose from a period of intense conflict at Syracuse between the pro-Roman aristocratic faction and the pro-Carthaginian democratic faction. Hannibal himself had sent two brothers of Syracusan descent, Hippocrates and Epicydes, in order to rouse the people against the Romans.
The survivors from the Roman side of the Battle of Cannae were sent to Sicily and forbidden to leave until the end of hostilities. Hieronymus' decision to change sides caused Roman troops to be dispatched to the gates of Syracuse. The Carthaginians also sent troops to the island and contended with the Romans for control of the island. The conquest of Syracuse in 212 BC by the forces of Marcellus was a decisive moment for the war, which resulted either from the betrayal of the city by members of the Syracusan aristocracy, or by a Spanish mercenary in the Carthaginian camp. The conquest of Syracuse was costly for the Romans on account of the topography of the city, the defensive machines built by Archimedes, and the extensive fortifications, especially the Euryalus fortress, originally built by the tyrant Dionysius I (404-367 BC) to protect the western end of Epipolae. The city was sacked and many inhabitants were killed, including Archimedes.
Marcellus then dispatched a lot of booty to Rome, including works taken from temples and public buildings (and was criticised for this by Polybius): according to Livy, it was the arrival of this booty that first gave rise to Roman enthusiasm for Greek art. The Romans considered it opportune to replace Marcellus, hated by the Syracusans, with Marcus Valerius Laevinus. Following these events, Syracuse was incorporated into the province of Sicily, becoming its capital and the seat of its governor.
The whole of Sicily was now in Roman hands, except for Agrigentum, which held out until 210 BC, when it was betrayed by Numidian mercenaries. In the summer, the time came to hold the comitia centuriata at Rome, in order to elect the consuls. The task of organising the elections was expected to fall to Marcellus as senior consul, but he sent a letter to the Senate when it recalled him, declaring that it would be harmful to the Republic to leave Hannibal to his own devices. When the Senate received this, there was debate as to whether it was better to recall the consul from campaign even though he was unwilling or to cancel the elections of consuls for 209 BC. In the end it was decided to recall Valerius Laevinus from Sicily, even though he was outside Italy. The senate ordered the Urban praetor, Lucius Manlius Acidinus to take a letter to Valerius, along with that sent to the Senate by Marcellus, and to explain to him why they had decided to recall him.
Valerius Laevinus set out from Rome with ten ships and arrived in Sicily safely, entrusted control of the province and command of the army to the praetor Lucius Cincius Alimentus, then sent the commander of the fleet, Marcus Valerius Messalla to Africa with part of the fleet to investigate the preparations of the Carthaginians and to raid their territory. When he returned to Rome, he informed the Senate that no Carthaginian forces remained on the island, that all the exiles had returned home and work had resumed in the fields. This was an exagerration, insofar as Laevinius spent almost all of 209 BC trying to revive Sicilian agriculture. Not only was all independence of Sicily brought to an end, but the majority of the islands commercial activities were redirected toward Italy. However, in 210 BC, the Senate decided to restore autonomy to Syracuse, which retained a large hinterland.
Thereafter, Sicily became one of the most prosperous and peaceful Roman provinces, although it was disturbed by two serious rebellions. The first of these is known as the First Servile War (c.138-132 BC), was led by King Antiochus Eunus who established a capital at Enna and conquered Tauromenium as well. Eunus defeated the Roman army several times, but in 133 he was vanquished by Consul Publius Rupilius near Messina; the war ended with the capture of Tauromenium and Enna in 132 BC, and about 20,000 of the unfortunate slaves were crucified. The Second Servile War (104-101) was led by Athenio in the western part of the island and by Salvius Tryphon in the east. This war was terminated by Manius Aquillius. Both wars are described by Diodorus Siculus in terms which suggest that there were massive numbers of slaves from the eastern Mediterranean in Sicily (c.200,000), with significant economic and social implications for the island.
At the end of Sulla's second civil war, in 82 BC, Pompey, a very rich and talented young general, was sent to Sicily by the dictator, Sulla, to recover the island from the supporters of Marius and thereby secure the grain supply to Rome. Pompey crushed the opposition and, when the cities complained he responded with one of his most famous statements, reported by Plutarch as "why do you keep praising the laws before me when I am wearing a sword?" He expelled his enemies in Sicily, putting to death the consul Gnaeus Papirius Carbo.
The government of the island in this period was controlled by a praetor, who was assisted by two quaestores (who focussed on financial matters), one based at Syracuse and one at Lilybaeum. Some communities continued to possess a popular assembly, but there was an increasing concentration of power in the hands of local elites.
From 73-71 BC, the praetor of the province was Gaius Verres, who was denounced by the Sicilians for extortion, theft, and robbery and was prosecuted at Rome by Cicero, whose speeches against him, known as the Verrines, still survive. Since these prosecution speeches are the main evidence for Verres' actions, it is hard to get an objective idea of the impact of his activities on Sicily. Cicero emphasises a very harsh implementation of the grain tax (for his personal profit rather than that of the Republic) and the theft of artworks, including sacred votive offerings. Verres had expected the power of his friends and the deft manipulation of legal procedure to ensure his acquittal, but after a blisteringly effective first speech from Sicily, he fled into exile.
In 70 BC, the praetor Caecilius Metellus fought successfully against the pirates which infested the seas around Sicily and Campania, who went on to plunder Gaeta and Ostia (69-68 BC) and captured the son of Marcus Antonius Orator at Misenum. In the course of the subsequent war against the pirates in 67 BC, the sea around Sicily was assigned to Plotius Varus. In 61 BC, Clodius was sent to the island as quaestor.
After Verres, Sicily recovered rapidly, although not reimbursed for the robberies of the former praetor. Nor did Caesar's Civil War (49-45 BC) interrupt business as usual. Caesar's opponents had grasped the strategic importance of the island of Sicily as a base for attacking North Africa or for defending against an attack from Africa. However, after Julius Caesar crossed the Rubicon and began the civil war he took control of the island; Asinius Pollio was sent as Caesar's emissary, to remove the governor of the island at the time, Cato the Younger. The Caesarians were therefore able to embark from Lilybaeum to attack the supporters of Pompey in North Africa.
The situation changed with the assassination of Caesar (44 BC). In 42 BC, Sextus Pompey, son of Pompey Magnus, was appointed commander of the Roman fleet gathered at Massalia by the Senate. He came into conflict with the Second Triumvirate, consisting of Octavian, Mark Antony, and Lepidus and was proscribed under the lex Pedia for collecting other proscribed individuals and slaves from Epirus and carrying out various acts of piracy. He therefore took control Mylae, Tyndaris and then Messana. After this, all of Sicily had to submit to him. First he killed the praetor, Aulus Pompeius Bithynicus and then he defeated Octavian's legatus, Salvidienus Rufus in a naval battle off Rhegium (40 BC). Sextus Pompey was able to prevent the supply of grain to Rome from Sicily. Initially, Octavian could do little about this, but then the people at Rome forced a compromise. Thus in 39 BC, Sextus Pompey and the Second Triumvirate signed the Pact of Misenum, which recognised Sextus Pompey's control of Sicily, Sardinia and Corsica and granted freedom to the slaves in his custody. In exchange, Sextus Pompey promised to end the blockade of Rome, resume the Sicilian grain supply to Rome and not to gather any more slaves. The agreement did not hold and triumvirs turned their attention on Sicily. The conflict involved perhaps 200,000 men and 1,000 warships and wrecked great devastation on Sicily. The territory of Tyndaris and Messina was the most damaged.
Octavian was defeated at sea in the Battle of Messina (37 BC) and again in August 36 BC. But Octavian's lieutenant, Agrippa, a commander of great talent was able to destroy Sextus' fleet a month later at the Battle of Naulochus in September 36 BC. Octavian imposed a heavy indemnity on Sicily of 1,600 talents and the cities that had resisted him were harshly punished. Thirty thousand slaves in Sextus Pompey's service were captured; the majority were returned to their masters, but about 6,000, who had no masters, were impaled.
The historian Diodorus Siculus and the poet Calpurnius Siculus both came from Sicilia, as indicated by the surname Siculus. The most famous archeological remains of this period are the mosaics of a nobleman's villa in present-day Piazza Armerina.
In the Republican period, the main language employed in Sicily was still Greek, since the Romans had no policy of enforcing their language on communities. Even in the period of Cicero, Greek was the main language used by the elite and almost all the Sicilians mentioned by Cicero in the Verrine Orations have Greek names. Cicero also refers to the Greek calendar (in use throughout Sicily in this period), Greek festivals, relations between the Sicilian cities and panhellenic sanctuaries like Delphi, Sicilian victors of the Olympic Games, and Greek civic architecture. Literature remained almost exclusively Greek, with authors like Diodorus Siculus and Caecilius of Calacte.
The non-Greek languages of Sicily (Sican, Sicel, Elymian, and Punic) probably continued to be spoken in the countryside and employed in traditional religious cults, but were absent from elite and written contexts. There is direct testimony only for Punic (a brief inscription of the 2nd or 1st century BC from Aegusa). Some Mamertines probably retained their Italic dialect.
With the establishment of six Roman coloniae at the beginning of the Imperial period, Sicily received a large influx of Latin speakers for the first time and a Latin-Greek bilingualism developed which continued until the Byzantine period. Generally, in the Imperial period, Latin replaced Greek in an ever increasing number of areas, while Greek was confined to lower registers, although it retained its historic prestige and was widely used by the population. Latin became firmly established as the elite language, with Calpurnius Siculus, Flavius Vopiscus, and Julius Firmicus Maternus producing literary works in Latin, although there are also examples of Sicilian authors who wrote in Greek during the Imperial period, such as Pantaenus, Aristocles of Messene, Probus of Lilybaeum, and Citharius. In this period the non-Greek languages must have definitively disappeared, although Punic may still have been spoken at the end of the Imperial period based on the testimony of Apuleius. Numerous Jewish and Samaritan communities are attested on the island in the Imperial period, although they usually appear in the record using Greek or Latin.
Catana or Catina (Catania) was conquered at the beginning of the First Punic War, in 26 BC, by the Consul Manius Valerius Maximus Corvinus Messalla. Part of the booty from the conquest was a sundial which was set up in the Comitium in Rome. Additionally the city was required to pay tribute to Rome (civitas decumana). The conqueror of Syracuse, Marcus Claudius Marcellus built a gymnasium in the city. Around 135, in the course of the First Servile War, the city was conquered by the rebel slaves. Another revolt in the area, led by the gladiator Seleurus in 35 BC, was probably suppressed after the death of its leader. In 122 BC, following volcanic activity on Etna, there was heavy damage from the volcanic ash raining down on the rooves of the city which collapsed under the weight. The territory of Catina was further impacted by eruptions in 50, 44, 36 BC and finally by the disastrous lava flow of 32 BC, which ruined the countryside and the city of Aitna, as well as the disastrous war between Augustus and Sextus Pompey, but with the beginning of the Augustan period, a long and difficult socio-economic recovery began. At the end of the war, all Sicily is described as heavily damaged, impoverished, and depopulated in a wide range of areas. In book 6 of Strabo in particular there is reference to the deleterious state of Syracuse, Catania, and Centuripe. After the war against Sextus Pompey, Augustus established a colonia in Catania. Pliny the Elder lists the city, which the Romans called Catina among the cities which Augustus promoted to the rank of Colonia Romana in 21 BC, along with Syracuse and Thermae (Sciacca). Groups of veterans of the Roman army were settled in the cities which had received this new status. The new demographic situation certainly contributed to change the style of municipal life in favour of the new "Middle Class." Catania retained a notable importance and wealth in the course of the late Republic and the Empire: Cicero calls it the "richest" of the cities and it must have remained thus in the later Imperial period and Byzantine times, as the literary sources and numerous contemporary monuments suggest, which makes the city almost unique among those of Roman Sicily. In order to pay the stipendium, the large coastal cities like Catania, extended their control in the course of the High Empire, over a vast swath of the interior of the island which had become depopulated as a result of the large estates which dominated agriculture in the period. Christianity spread rapidly; among the martyrs during the persecutions of Decius and Diocletian, were Saint Agatha, patron saint of the city, and Euplius. The Diocese of Catania was established at the end of the 6th century.
Plan of the Thermae Achillianae
Plan of the Thermae of the Rotunda
View of the Aqueduct at Valcorrente
Centuripe, surrendered spontaneously to the Roman consuls Lucius Valerius Flaccus and Titus Otacilius Crassus in 262 BC. As a result the city was declared free and exempted from taxation, as Cicero mentions in his Verrine Orations. After this a spectacular pace of development is detectable which led it to become one of the most important cities in Roman Sicily. This is attested both by the statements of Cicero and archaeologically by the great quantity of pottery and the imposing funerary monuments. A Greek inscription from the 2nd century BC recounts a Centuripan diplomatic mission to Rome and Lanuvium and part of a treaty with Lanuvium by which the two communities were declared twins. In 39 BC, Sextus Pompey took the city by siege and destroyed it for its loyalty to Octavian, but the latter rebuilt it and gave the inhabitants Roman citizenship as well. In the Imperial period, Centuripe produced imposing monuments whose remains still survive today. These include the Temple of the Augustales of the first or second century AD, of which columns and two monumental tower tombs can be seen on one side; the Dogana, of which only a raised flat area can now be seen; and Castle of Conradin. In the northwest of the town, in contrada Bagni, a paved street leads to the remains of a nymphaeum, suspended over a torrent of water, of which a brick wall with five niches survives, as well as remains of a pool for collecting the water and part of the aqueduct. Notable also is the continued production of coinage by the city in the Roman Republican period.
Tauromenium (Taormina) remained under the control of Syracuse until 212 BC when all of Sicily became a Roman province. Its inhabitants were considered foederati of the Romans and Cicero says in the Verrine Orations that it was one of three civitates foederatae (allied cities) and calls it a civis notabilis. As a result of this, the community did not have to pay the grain tax or provide ships and sailors in emergencies. In the course of the First Servile War (c.135-132 BC), Tauromenium was occupied by the rebel slaves who used it as a stronghold. Beseiged by the consul Pompilius, the starving garrison surrendered only when one of the leaders, Serapion, betrayed his companions and admitted the Romans to the city. In 36 BC, during the war between Sextus Pompey and Octavian, the latter's troops disembarked at Naxos and reoccupied the city. Later, in 21 BC, Augustus founded a Roman colonia in the city for his supporters, expelling those inhabitants who had opposed him. Strabo speaks of Tauromenium as a smaller city than Messana and Catana. Pliny and Claudius Ptolemy mention it as a Roman colonia.
Messana (Messina) surrendered by the Mamertines to the Romans in 264 BC, received the status of civitas libera et foederata (free and allied community) after the First Punic War, along with Tauromenium. During the Republican period, it suffered attacks during the Servile Wars (102 BC). Cicero mentions the city in the Verrine Orations as civitas maxima et locupletissima (a very large and wealthy community). In 49 BC, Pompey attacked the fleet of Julius Caesar and drove it into Messana's port. Subsequently, the city became one of the many bases of Sextus Pompey and it was sacked by the troops of Lepidus. Afterwards, it probably became a municipium.
Of the fate of the city during the Roman Empire, we know almost nothing. There is a tradition that St Paul visited the city on his way to Rome and preached the Gospel there. After the division of the Roman mpire it became part of the Eastern empire. In 407, under the Emperor Arcadius, Messana was made the protometropolis of Sicily and Magna Graecia.
Tyndaris (Tindari) was the control of Hieron II during the First Punic War and became a Carthaginian naval base early in the war. The Battle of Tyndaris was fought nearby in 257 BC, in which the Roman fleet commanded by Gaius Atilius Regulus defeated the Carthaginians. Later, it was a naval base for Sextus Pompey, captured by Octavian in 36 BC. He ounded a Roman colonia, Colonia Augusta Tyndaritanorum, on the site, one of five coloniae founded in Sicily. Cicero calls the ity a nobilissima civitas. In the first century AD it suffered a major landslide, while in the fourth century AD it was damaged by two destructive earthquakes. It became the seat of a bishopric, was conquered by the Byzantines in 535 and fell to the Arabs in 836, who destroyed the city.
Thermae Himerae (Termini Imerese) was the site of a serious Roman defeat by Hamilcar Barca in 260 BC, during the First Punic War, but was subsequently conquered by them in 253 BC. Thereafter it remained loyal to Rome and was among the cities subject to tribute. After the destruction of Carthage in 146 BC Scipio Aemilianus returned works of art which had been taken by the Carthaginians to Thermae, including a statue of Stesichorus, who had spent time in the city. The base of one of these statues is preserved, with part of the inscription. After defeating Sextus Pompey, Octavian established a colonia on the site; this was probably a punishment of the city for having links with the Pompeian party. The impact of this action is clear from the numerous Latin inscriptions which survive at the site and from the extraordinary number of Roman and Italian names attested on the site. The former Greek inhabitants of the city practically disappear from record at the beginning of the Imperial period.
Panormus (Palermo) remained under Carthaginian control until the First Punic War and was site of one of the main conflicts between the Carthaginians and the Romans, until the Roman fleet attacked the city in 254 and made the city a tributary. Hasdrubal attempted to recapture the city but was defeated by the Roman consul, Metellus. Another attempt at reconquest was made by Hamilcar Barca in 247 BC, but the city remained loyal to the Romans, for which it received the title of praetura, the eagle of gold, and the right to mint coinage, remaining one of the five free cities of the island.
Drepanum (Trapani), conquered along with Eryx at the end of the First Punic War, became a flourishing commercial city, owing primarily to the port, its geographic location on Mediterranean sea routes, its active sea salt industry, which had been developed already in Phoenician times, and the extraction of coral.
Lilybaeum (Marsala), already prosperous under the Carthaginians, was the seat of one of the quaestores which Rome sent to Sicily annually. It was enriched by splendid mansions and public buildings. Among others, one of the quaestores at Lilybaeum was Cicero in the year 75 BC, who referred to Lilybaeum as splendidissima civitas (the most splendid community). Under Emperor Pertinax, the city became a large Roman colonia, called Helvia Augusta Lilybaitanorum.
Syracusae became the capital of the new Roman province after 212 BC. Despite the misgovernment and systematic despoliation of its artistic heritage by Gaius Verres, Syracuse remained the capital of the province and seat of its praetor. It continued to be a key port for commercial interaction between east and west. St Paul and Marcian of Syracuse (the first Bishop of Syracuse) spent time in the city proselytising. As a result of the Roman persecution of the Christians before the Edict of Constantine in AD 313, a deep network of catacombs were built under the city, second only to those of Rome. Successive attacks, starting with those of the Vandals in 440, impoverished the city until it was conquered by the Byzantine general Belisarius in 535. From 663 to 668, the city was the residence of Emperor Constans II and the metropolis of all churches in Sicily.
- "Appian, Sicily and the Other Islands, Fragments, section 2". data.perseus.org. Retrieved 2017-03-03.
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- Finley & 2009 129-130
- Finley & 2009 132
- Geraci & Marcone, op. cit., pp. 86-87.
- Geraci & Marcone, op. cit., p. 87.
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- Benigno e Giarrizzo, op. cit., vol. I, p. 59.
- Cited Finley & 2009 132
- Finley & 2009 133
- Finley & 2009 132-133
- Finley & 2009 134
- Geraci & Marcone & 2004 89.
- Guidetti & 322
- Michael Crawford, Coinage and Money Under the Roman Republic: Italy and the Mediterranean Economy, University of California Press, 1985, p. 104.
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- See "Questore" on treccani.it.
- Cited in Guidetti & 323.
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