Denton Alexander Walthall
My dissertation investigates the nature of agricultural policy in Hellenistic and Roman Sicily. During the reign of the Syracusan monarch Hieron II (269–215 BCE), Sicily’s famed agricultural resources were comprehensively mobilized through the collection and sale of an annual grain tithe. When the Romans took control of the island during the Second Punic War, they retained the tithe and applied it to the whole of Sicily, thereby transforming the first of their provinces into the grain-basket of a burgeoning empire. In my dissertation, I explore the economic implications for the tithe-paying communities of Sicily and address the role of the Sicilian tithe in the development of Roman provincial administration. Focusing on the archaeology of agricultural administration—monumental granaries, patterns of rural land use, standardized grain measures, and the circulation of bronze coinage—my research offers new insights on a crucial moment in the social, economic, and political history of Rome.