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Economy and Identity in the Roman Cyclades

Economy and Identity in the Roman Cyclades

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Published by: herodotean_fan on Apr 12, 2013
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Economy and Identity in the Roman Cyclades
A thesis submitted to theGraduate School of the University of Cincinnatiin partial fulfillment of therequirements for the degree of 
Master of Arts
in the Department of Classicsof the College of Arts and SciencesSpring 2011By
Margaret N. Sneeringer
B.A., Archaeology, Boston University, 2009
Committee Co-chairs: Steven Ellis, Ph.D., and Eleni Hatzaki, Ph.D.
AbstractThis thesis examines archaeological evidence for the economic and social changes whichoccurred in the Cyclades, Greece, while the area was under Roman influence and control fromthe second century BC to the fourth century AD. I will use specific islands (Melos, Paros,Sikinos, Keos, Delos, Syros, and Tenos) as case studies to demonstrate larger trends orcharacteristics of economic strategies and expressions of identity on several scales, ranging fromindividual settlements to island landscapes to the island group as a whole.Among both modern and ancient scholars, the preconception exists that compared to the formerglory of the islands during the Classical and Hellenistic periods, the period of Romanadministration in the Cycladic islands was characterized by economic and cultural poverty,offering little of value to the rest of the empire. In fact, the archaeology of the Cyclades offersstrong indications of successful local economies, as well as an excellent opportunity to examinethe complex dialogue between Greek and Roman culture and to explore aspects of identityexpressed through material culture. The dynamic nature of the power landscape in the Cycladesis reflected in the architecture, settlement patterns, and waxing and waning in significance of various island polities throughout the Roman period, and a resilient sense of local island identityis evident in the archaeological remains.

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