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Colonial religion and indigenous society in the archaic Western Mediterranean, c. 750-400 BCE

July 2010

This project examines the long-term responses of indigenous societies in Sicily and Sardinia to colonial religion in the ancient western Mediterranean. It conducts a comparative analysis of religious developments among indigenous, Greek, and Phoenician communities between the 8th and 5th centuries BC. It shows that while indigenous communities near Greek colonies in Sicily integrated Greek-style material culture and practices into their religious lives, those near Phoenician colonies in Sardinia and Sicily showed much less interest in Phoenician material culture and religion. This contrast is then explained in terms of the greater social accessibility and more communal features of Greek polis religion, which made its practices and material culture broadly attractive across cultural divides in a time of rapid social change.