Research Seminar

3 February 2022, 17.00, at the Swedish Institute of Classical Studies in Rome and on Zoom

Emelie Byström

Nymphs on Sicily: Space, Politics, and Narrative

This illustration shows several coins from Syracuse, minted between 530 and 400 BC, depicting the nymph Arethusa

Numerous Greek settlements on Sicily connect the name of the city to the name of a nymph. Likewise, the earliest and most accurately datable objects connected to Sicilian nymphs are coins showing individual nymphs as personifications of the cities themselves. Contemporary to the coins are the victory odes of Pindar, celebrating the Sicilian athletes, in which nymphs are seen as bearers of civic identity. Why is the focus on these minor nature deities so prominent on Sicily?

In my Ph.D. project, I study the connection between nymphs and their role in colonial narratives on Sicily during the period 734-264 BC. The study is, so far, structured into two main parts. In part one, a wide spectrum of evidence is drawn upon to reconstruct, as far as possible, the presence of nymphs at each part of the island. The second part is comprised of several chapters devoted to the role of nymphs in colonization processes. During the seminar, I will give you an overview of my material and my progress so far.

Emelie Byström is a doctoral research fellow at the Department of Archaeology and Ancient History, Uppsala University. She currently holds the annual fellowship in Classical Archaeology at the Swedish Institute in Rome where she is working on her project Founding females: Nymphs in colonial narratives on Sicily, 734-264 BC

Preregister for limited places by sending an email to (FFP2 mask and Super Green Pass required).
If you want to follow the seminar via zoom please click here to register!