Jonathan Prag: Research


Principal research interests:

  • Hellenistic & Roman Sicily
  • Hellenistic and Roman Republican epigraphy
  • Sicilian epigraphy
  • Mid- and Late Roman Republican history
  • Roman Republican imperialism and provincial history
  • Punic identity
  • Cicero

My PhD (London 2004) was on the 'provincialization' of Republican Sicily, examining various aspects (identity, epigraphy, military presence) of the transformation of the island under Roman provincial rule and the development of Roman provincial government in relation to the first provincia of the Republican empire. The major elements of that study were published in various articles (see publications).

The majority of my current research begins from that general starting point of ancient Sicily, with a broad focus on the western Mediterranean in the 'long Hellenistic' period (broadly, the fourth to first centuries BC), engaging with epigraphic evidence (particularly from Sicily), examining questions of identity in the western Mediterranean (including Punic identity), exploring the origins and development of the provincial system under the Roman Republic and in particular the nature of Roman imperialism, as well as continuing to work on the principal literary source for Roman Sicily, Cicero's Verrines. I am actively participating in collaborative projects with colleagues in France, Italy, and Spain.

Recent publications include:

  • Prag, J.R.W. 2015. Cities and civic life in late Hellenistic Roman Sicily (with an appendix on Cicero, In Verrem 3.12-13 and the status of cities in Sicily after 210 BC). Cahiers du Centre Gustave Glotz 25 (2014), 165-208.
  • Prag, J.R.W. 2014. Bronze rostra from the Egadi Islands off NW Sicily: the Latin inscriptions. Journal of Roman Archaeology 27: 33-59
  • Prag, J.R.W. and Quinn, J.C. (eds.). 2013. The Hellenistic West: Rethinking the Ancient Mediterranean. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.



Current projects:

1. I. Sicily: A major project to catalogue and make available texts, translations, images, and metadata of the inscriptions on stone from ancient Sicily (all languages, from the Archaic to later Roman periods; currently c.3,250 texts, final total projected to be c.4,500 texts) online in EpiDoc format. The project has received substantial financial support from the John Fell Fund of the Oxford University, and includes a collobrative project with the Museo Archeologico Regionale Paolo Orsi at Syracuse, Sicily, to catalogue the museum's collection of inscriptions on stone. A major collaboration with the Museo Civico Castel Ursino at Catania, the Comune di Catania, and the Liceo artistico statale "M.M. Lazzaro" resulted in a major exhibition, 'Voci di Pietra', which opened in July 2017. Collaborations are also in place with colleagues in Messina, Catania, Halaesa, Agrigento, Palermo and elsewhere. The project is a content contributor to EAGLE, and we are collaborating with Trismegistos to establish unique identifiers for all Sicilian inscriptions, and we are actively engaging with the project.

The project went live in a working draft in January 2017 and remains under continuous development:

Further information can be found at the project blog.


2. Remodelling Roman Imperialism: During 2016 I held a British Academy mid-career fellowship (2016), the purpose of which was to develop a project to make data relating to the imperialism of the Roman Republic freely available online, and to provide a range of data visualisation tools to query that data. The object of doing so is to provide the basis for a fresh assessment of Roman Republican imperialism, which breaks free of some of the constraints created by both ancient and modern historiographic frameworks and challenges many of the existing preconceptions regarding both regional variation (especially East vs West) and periodisation (e.g. the significance of 146 BC) in our existing accounts of Roman imperialism. A first discussion of some of the results is available (in German) in Prag, J.R.W. 2017. Die Römische Republik und der Westen. In M. Haake and A.-C Harders (eds), Politische Kultur und soziale Struktur im republikanischen Rom (Stuttgart), 287-307. The website is currently under development, and further articles will follow.


2. Non-Italian Manpower: auxilia externa in the Roman Republic: This project is concerned with the very extensive, but little studied subject of the use of non-Italian soldiers (formally entitled auxilia externa) by the Roman Republic. A brief statement of the project's aims is available in pdf. The core research for this project was undertaken with an AHRC Research Leave Award in 2008. As part of the Remodelling Roman Imperialism project, much of the data for this topic will be placed online, and I am currently working on a monograph on the subject, entitled Non-Italian Manpower.
Preliminary work has been published as:

  • Prag, J.R.W. 2015. Auxilia and clientelae: military service and foreign clientelae reconsidered. In M. Jehne and F. Pina Polo (eds.), Foreign Clientelae in the Roman Empire: A Reconsideration (Historia Einzelschriften 238, Stuttgart: Franz Steiner Verlag), 281-294.
  • Prag, J.R.W. 2011. Troops and commanders: auxilia externa under the Roman Republic. In Truppe e Commandanti nel mondo antico, eds. D. Bonanno, R. Marino, D. Motta, Palermo = ORMOS – Quaderni di storia antica, n.s. 2 (2010): 101-113.
  • Prag, J.R.W. 2011. Provincial governors and auxiliary soldiers. In N. Barrandon and F. Kirbihler (eds), Les gouverners et les provinciaux sous la République romaine. Rennes: Presses universitaires de Rennes. 15-28.
  • Prag, J.R.W. 2007. Auxilia and Gymnasia: A Sicilian Model of Roman Imperialism.Journal of Roman Studies 97: 68-100pdf copy available


3. Cicero's Verrines: I am participating in a French research group (CNRS - UMR 8585, Centre Glotz, Paris), directed by Sylvie Pittia, working on a translation and commentary of Cicero, In Verrem II.3 (the 'De frumento'). Two conference volumes have already published as part of that project:

  • Dubouloz, J. and S. Pittia (eds). 2007. La Sicile de Cicéron, Lectures des Verrines. Besançon: Presses universitaires de Franche-Comté.
  • Prag, J.R.W. (ed.). 2007. Sicilia Nutrix Plebis Romanae: Rhetoric, Law, and Taxation in Cicero’s Verrines (BICS Suppl. 97). London: Institute of Classical Studies.

A second project is underway to produce a translation and commentary of In Verrem II.2 (the 'De praetura siciliense'): I am participating in this as Chercheur associé in the laboratoire ANHIMA (=Anthropologie et histoire des mondes anciens), UMR 8210 du CNRS, for the project 'Edition, traduction et commentaire du De praetura Siciliensi (Verrines 2, 2) de Cicéron. Les communautés de Sicile à l’épreuve de la domination romaine'.

This programme of research has also sponsored multiple seminars on Roman provincial Sicily, and I recently published a contribution to one of these:

  • Prag, J.R.W. 2015. Cities and civic life in late Hellenistic Roman Sicily (with an appendix on Cicero, In Verrem 3.12-13 and the status of cities in Sicily after 210 BC). Cahiers du Centre Gustave Glotz 25 (2014), 165-208.


4. The Taormina Financial Inscriptions: a collaborative project with Dr Filippo Battistoni (Scuola Normale Superiore di Pisa), Prof. Lorenzo Campagna (Messina), Dr Alessia DiMartino (Pisa), and Dr Anna Magnetto (Pisa). The project aims to produce a complete new edition of the dossier of inscriptions on stone from the Hellenistic city of Tauromenium (modern Taormina) in Sicily, to be published in the OUP series Oxford Studies in Ancient Documents. Although all 13 texts have previously been published in various locations, no comprehensive study exists, and no study has examined the stones themselves in any detail (details and images of most of which are currently not in the public domain). The inscriptions contain in excess of 1,000 lines of text, recording financial incomings and outgoings over several years, probably in the course of the first century BC. A brief overview is available in pdf.


5. Entre la paz y la guerra: alianzas, confederaciones y diplomacia en el Occidente mediterráneo (siglos III-I aC)” (Symmachía) (a Project funded by the Spanish Ministerio de Cicencia e Innovacion, within the national plan I+D+I 2008-2011 (Historia y Arte (Historia): HAR2011-27782). The project is directed by Dr Enrique García Riaza (Dep. Ciències Històriques i T. de les Arts Universitat de les Illes Balears, Spain), with the participation of myself, Dr Laurent Lamoine (Clermont, France) and Eduardo Sánchez Moreno (Madrid, Spain). The aim of the project is to explore the nature of diplomatic interaction between Rome and local communities in the western Mediterranean in the period of imperial expansion. A website, which includes an extensive thematic and regional bibliography for the subject, can be found at The project was renewed for a further three-year term which will conclude with a workshop at Merton College, Oxford, in November 2018.

7. Halaesa, a Hellenistic and Roman polis in northern Sicily.

  • Through the generous assistance of dott.ssa G. Tigano of the Messina Soprintendenza per Beni Culturali Ambientali, I have been able to develop a new edition of a recently discovered honorific inscription on bronze, in two copies, from the Hellenistic site of Halaesa, in northern Sicily. Early versions of this study were presented at research seminars at Oxford (Feb. 2010), Pisa (May 2010), Copenhagen (March 2012) and Pisa (December 2012). A full edition (of which a preliminary summary is already available as SEG 59.1100) will be published later this year in the new Journal of Epigraphic Studies, volume 1 (2018).
  • In collaboration with dott.ssa G. Tigano and R. Burgio, of the Messina Soprintendenza per Beni Culturali Ambientali, I have prepared a publication of the c.50 inscriptions on stone now known from ancient Halaesa, which is currently in press.
  • In collaboration with prof. Lorenzo Campagna of Messina University, I am co-directing a programme of excavation and research on the acropolis of ancient Halaesa, the site of the Temple of Apollo known from ancient sources. We recently completed a second full season of excavation and a website presenting some of the results of the project is under construction at


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