Professor Rebecca Sweetman of the School of Classics will give her Inaugural Lecture ‘Sailing the Wine-Dark Sea: the Archaeology of Roman Crete and the Cyclades’.
Commonly perceived as pawns in wider imperial machinations, Crete and the Cyclades have often been side-lined as peripheral due to their assumed seclusion. However, even a brief analysis of the archaeological evidence indicates that these islands not only played significant roles within the wider Roman Empire, but in some cases, they flourished as a result. Furthermore, these islands experienced the monumentalized manifestation of Christianity much earlier than their mainland counterparts to the west. This unexpected success can be seen in terms of resilience. To establish why this is the case, it is necessary to shed the bias of preconceived notions of insularity. In doing so, this allows the significant variety of communication networks the islands had to be identified. Following a brief introduction to the methodologies, topography and fieldwork, in this talk I will focus on how island resilience helped shaped the success stories of Crete and the Cyclades in the Roman and Late Antique periods.