"Gymnasia in Hellenistic Sicily"A Critical Reassessment of Typology and Function
Hellenistic Sicily had long been neglected in scholarship, but recently has received increasing attention. In comparative approaches scholars (e.g., L. Campagna, H.-P. Isler, E. Portale, J. Prag, R.J.A. Wilson) attempt to assess standards and idiosyncrasies of Sicilian urbanism and architecture as well as cultural influences that shaped material culture particularly in the period of Roman rule. While many building types were studied comprehensively, among them theaters, bouleuteria, public baths, and houses, gymnasia attracted little attention. Literary sources, and particularly inscriptions testify to the existence of the institution of the gymnasion (and its appropriate personal) probably already in the 4th cBC, but certainly in the 3rd-1st centuries BC (cf. Ferruti 2004, Prag 2007, Mango 2009). Archaeological remains are overall scarce and hard to assess, however, so far including only one fully excavated example (Solunto; cf. Mango 2009). Consequently, identifications and reconstructions are debated. This lecture focuses on the archaeological remains of several examples in eastern Sicily that were identified in scholarship, among them structures in Syracuse, Morgantina, Megara Hyblaea, Akrai, and Cava d’Ispica. It critically discusses the urban context, identification, reconstruction, typology, and function of these structures. Given the remarkable uniformity of some building types throughout Hellenistic Sicily (e.g. bouleuteria, public baths, peristyle houses, in the 3rd and esp. 2nd century BC) it will be assessed whether gymnasia in Sicily ever conformed to a clearly definable building type as well as when and in which socio-cultural and historical contexts this type would have been introduced.
Wednesday 3 May 2017 (13h15 - 15h00) - Anthropole - 4030