Sicilia (Roman province)


Sicilia (Roman province)

Sicilia (Latin for Sicily) was the name given to the first province acquired by the Roman Republic, organised in 241 BC as a proconsular governed territory, in the aftermath of the First Punic War with Carthage.

For the next six centuries, Sicily was a province of the Roman Republic and Roman Empire. It was something of a rural backwater, important chiefly for its grainfields which were a mainstay of the food supply of the city of Rome. The empire did not make much effort to Romanize the region, which remained largely Greek. The most notable event of this period was the notorious misgovernment of Verres, as recorded by Cicero in 70 BC in his oration, "In Verrem".

Despite its largely neglected status, Sicilia was able to make a contribution to Roman culture through the historian Diodorus Siculus and the poet Calpurnius Siculus. The most famous archeological remains of this period are the mosaics of a nobleman's villa in present day Piazza Armerina.

It was also during this period that in Sicilia we find one of the very first Christian communities. Amongst the very earliest Christian martyrs were the Sicilians Saint Agatha of Catania and Saint Lucy of Syracuse.

In 440, Sicilia fell to the Vandal King Geiseric. After the Byzantine conquest of the Vandal Kingdom, it became again a Roman Province.

ee also

History of Sicily

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