Sicily and the Greeks: Apollo Archêgetês and the Sikeliote Network

Irad Malkin

in A Small Greek World

Published in print November 2011 | ISBN: 9780199734818
Published online January 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199918553 | DOI:

Series: Greeks Overseas

Sicily and the Greeks: Apollo Archêgetês and the Sikeliote Network

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In contrast to Rhodes and its back-ripple effect, setting out from different origins, Greeks (Dorians and Ionians from different places) converged on Sicily, where they developed a “positive” collective identity (not as a contrast to non-Greeks) based on their common historical experience as colonists on the new regional-island identity (Sikeliôtai) and on ritual articulations in relation to Delphi. With foundation prophecies Delphi was perceived (as common in Greek colonization) as corollary to the mother city and thus common to all. It was also the destination of a common Sikeliote sacred embassy (theoria) that would commonly set out from the altar of Apollo Archêgetês, situated by the symbolically important “first colony” in Sicily (Naxos), indicating the opening up of a new land for Greek settlement and enmeshing Sikeliote Greeks in Panhellenic networks.

Keywords: Sicily; Apollo; Delphi; theoria; Naxos; regional identity; Sikelôtai; colonization

Chapter.  10141 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Classical History

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