Hellenistic Sicily had long been neglected in scholarship, but recently has received increasing attention. In comparative approaches scholars (e.g., L. Campagna, H.-P. Isler, E. Portale, J. Prag, R.J.A. Wilson) attempt to assess standards and idiosyncrasies of Sicilian urbanism and architecture as well as cultural influences that shaped material culture particularly in the period of Roman rule. While many building types were studied comprehensively, among them theaters, bouleuteria, public baths, and houses, gymnasia attracted little attention. Literary sources, and particularly inscriptions testify to the existence of the institution of the gymnasion (andits appropriate personal) probably already in the 4th c BC, but certainly in the 3rd-1st centuries BC (cf. Ferruti 2004, Prag 2007, Mango 2009). Archaeological remains are overall scarce and hard to assess, however, so far including only one fully excavated example (Solunto; cf. Mango 2009). Consequently, identifications and reconstructions are debated.
This paper focuses on the archaeological remains of several examples that were identified in scholarship (and are not specifically discussed in other papers of this conference, such as gymnasia in Segesta and Syracuse), notably structures inMorgantina, Solunto, Akrai, and Agrigento. It critically discusses the urban context, identification, reconstruction, typology, and function of these structures. Given the remarkable uniformity of some building types throughout Hellenistic Sicily (e.g. bouleuteria, public baths, peristyle houses, in the 3rd and esp. 2nd century BC) it will be assessed whether gymnasia in Sicily ever conformed to a clearly definable building type as well as when and in which socio-cultural and historical contexts this type would have been introduced.