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Archaic and Classical Greek SicilyA Social and Economic History$
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Franco De Angelis

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780195170474

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195170474.001.0001

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The Geographical and Historical Setting

The Geographical and Historical Setting

(p.28) 1 The Geographical and Historical Setting
Archaic and Classical Greek Sicily

Franco De Angelis

Oxford University Press

Iron Age conditions in Sicily are considered to see what role the preceding geographical and historical setting played in shaping the societies and economies established by Greeks. Sicily lost its status as the core of East-West exchange that it had in Late Bronze Age interregional networks in favor of Etruria and Sardinia, because of their extensive metal resources. Sicily’s indigenous peoples witnessed a deflation in socioeconomic complexity, with fewer settlements and a lower population, when Greek and Phoenician settlers arrived in the eighth century. Sicily had become a frontier zone. As Greece was rapidly developing, Greeks could satisfy in Sicily their growing appetite for a larger share of the Mediterranean’s resources and possibilities. Sicily’s coasts were little populated and much land needed to be cleared, factors which conditioned the social and economic decisions of the early Greek settlers. In such conditions of land abundance, the control of labor became crucial.

Keywords:   Late Bronze Age, Iron Age, interregional networks, exchange, complexity, metals, indigenous peoples, settlers, underpopulation, labor

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