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Ancient Sicily: a cultural history (Geintegreerde Activiteit)


Admission requirements

This course is open for all students interested in Ancient History. The course is compulsory for students of the BA in Classics (year 2 and 3).


This course offers an introduction to the cultural history of Sicily from the coming of the Greeks in the 8th cent B.C. up to (and including) the coming of the Arabs in the 7th cent A.D.

Ancient Sicily is many respects unique. Its particular cultural blend is at least partly the product of the presence of foreigners. Migrations occurred in various forms: as colonisations, as conquests, as invasions, as trade ventures. Greeks, Carthaginians, Romans, Vandals, Arabs: all left their mark on the island. Their presence raises in an acute form questions of cultural interaction and of cultural identity.

Ancient Sicily is also well-known for its rich cultural remains and its wide variety of sources. It offers some of the best-preserved ancient temples, stunning late-roman mosaics and coins of an extraordinary high quality. It produced some major literary figures, and also attracted the attention of outside writers.

The study of ancient Sicily clearly requires an interdisciplinary perspective. In this course, lectures are offered by specialists in the fields of architecture, archaeology, numismatics, papyrology, Arab history, Greek literature, Roman literature, Greek philosophy and military history. The lecturers do not only offer their view on particular elements of Sicilian cultural history, but also bring along their own particular methodologies and sets of questions. Together they present a mosaic of a society that continues to excite the imagination.

Course objectives

Historical knowledge of Ancient Sicily


Please note that this course starts on September 5th.

See timetable Classics

Mode of instruction

Lecture series

Assessment method

There will be two exams: one after the first series of lectures, the other after the second series of lectures. Both exams will count for 50% of the final grade; it is possible to compensate an insufficient mark for one exam with a sufficient one for the other.

The exams consist of essay questions about the lectures and the literature. In addition a number of factual questions will be asked about chronology and topography. The questions of the exam will be posed in English; it is possible to answer them either in English or in Dutch.


In this course we make use of Blackboard. More information about the course schedule and literature can be found on the Blackboard-site.

Reading list

Required reading:

  • M.I. Finley, A history of Sicily Ancient Sicily to the Arab conquest (London 1968; 1986). This book is out of print; though a German translation has appeared in 2010 that may also be used. A copy of the English version will be made available at the Classics Reading Room in the University Library.

  • Additional literature (consisting of shorter articles and book chapters) will be listed on the blackboard-site.


Via uSis

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

Studeren à la carte


Dhr. Dr. L.E. Tacoma