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Title: A Measured Harvest: Grain, Tithes, and Territories in Hellenistic and Roman Sicily (276-31 BCE)
Authors: Walthall, Denton Alexander
Advisors: Childs, William A.P.
Luraghi, Nino
Contributors: Art and Archaeology Department
Keywords: Grain trade
Hellenistic Sicily
Hieron II
Subjects: Archaeology
Ancient history
Classical studies
Issue Date: 2013
Publisher: Princeton, NJ : Princeton University
Abstract: During the reign of the Syracusan monarch Hieron II (269-215 BCE), Sicily's famed agricultural resources were, for the first time, comprehensively mobilized through a sophisticated administrative system designed to collect an annual grain tithe from cities within his kingdom. Hieron's administrative system was so effective at harnessing the productivity of the island that the Romans, eager to feed their growing urban and soldier populations, retained the annual grain tithe and applied it to the whole of Sicily, thereby transforming the first of their provinces into the grain-basket of their burgeoning empire. As Roman authority replaced that of Hieron in Sicily, so the groundwork was laid for Rome's expansion across the Mediterranean. My dissertation recasts this narrative in terms of monumental granaries, standardized grain measures, and the circulation of bronze coinage--material elements of agricultural administration emerging from excavations on the island. Chapter One offers a brief historical introduction to topic of agricultural administration in Hellenistic and Roman Sicily and situates the dissertation within the existing field of scholarship. Chapter Two introduces a new and largely unstudied class of artifact into the discussion of agricultural administration, namely ceramic vessels used for measuring dry goods, such as wheat and barley. I use the standardized vessels to demonstrate that metrological unification may be treated as an index of political consolidation. Chapter Three presents a pair of monumental granaries at Morgantina and considers their function in relation to the agrarian policies pursued by Hieron and the Romans. I argue that the construction of the granaries at Morgantina is symptomatic of political control over agricultural resources. Chapter Four considers the substantial body of numismatic material from the agora at Morgantina in light of taxation and trade in grain. I argue that the circulation of bronze coinage at sites on the interior of the island may document transactions of grain for cash. Taken together, these three material elements offer a rich and contextual perspective on the impact of agricultural administration on the political, economic, and social environment of Sicily between the third and first centuries BCE.
Alternate format: The Mudd Manuscript Library retains one bound copy of each dissertation. Search for these copies in the library's main catalog
Type of Material: Academic dissertations (Ph.D.)
Language: en
Appears in Collections:Art and Archaeology

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