The event is promoted by the Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology of the University of São Paulo (MAE-USP) and the Laboratory of Study on Ancient City (LABECA), with the collaboration of the Laboratory of Medieval Studies (LEME) at the Faculty of Philosophy, Letters and Humanities (FFLCH-USP).
Μεγίστη καὶ ἀρίστη νῆσος is the title of this symposium dedicated to the Archaeology of Sicily. This sentence, which means “the largest and noblest island,” is found in Strabo (Geog. II, 5, 19): “On the coast of the Tyrrhenian Sea to the coast of Liguria there are many islands, the largest of which are Sardinia and Cirno, and then Sicily: this is the greatest and the noblest among other [islands] that are among us. ” Strabo is a Greek man, born in a city of Turkey, but educated in a Hellenistic context, therefore, his perspective is in agreement with the universalist concept of Roman Empire. He does not express an aesthetic opinion about the island, but in the passage quoted above one notices the complexity of a land – a place of crucial events in the history of the Mediterranean – that is a palimpsest of cultures, inhabited since the “Time of the Myth”. Therefore, the definition chosen to title the event can be considered adequate to define Sicily in each epoch, since its location in the Mediterranean, its resources and its cultural wealth made it a desirable land at any time in history.
This meeting aims to stimulate new research challenges and widen the field of scientific inquiries, and for this reason the studies of Sicily from the proto-historical (13th-8th century BC) to medieval period will be presented. In fact, there are few studies, developed in Brazil, which deal with history of Sicily in later eras to that of the Greek foundations (8th-4th century BC). Therefore, we believe that it is important to show the advances of the archaeological studies of different historical periods, in order to encourage new possibilities of studies in Brazil.