History of Sicily
2 The First Peoples: 2.7.2 City of Sicilian origin

Main places of Sicilian origin:


(Kentoripa) 35 km. north-west of Catania, where the current Centuripe is located, stood the ancient Sicilian town of Centuripe, confirming the hypothesis that the center is of Sicilian origin, would be some tombs belonging to the Iron Age, and some inscriptions in Sicilian language including one engraved in a terracotta vase preserved in Karlsruhe in Germany, and perhaps datable to the XNUMXth century BC[1]. The era of the vase would indicate that even in the Hellenistic period the city maintained a Sicilian imprint.

Legend has it that Aeneas, before arriving in central Italy, passed through these parts and brought with him an ally named Lanoios who then founded Lanuvio in Italy, and in fact due to these considerations, Rome, Lanuvio and Centuripe were considered to be mythical kinship, which led Rome, during its occupation of Sicily, to protect Centuripe, and to favor its economic and cultural development. Centuripe was destroyed several times, after its last destruction carried out by Carlo D'Angiò in 1232, the city was rebuilt in 1548 on the site of the ancient Centuripe, thus erasing the ancient structure, remaining only scattered here and there some remains of the ancient inhabited.



It would be the city where Ducezio was born, the Sicilian king who led the rebellion of the Sicilian cities against the Greeks of Sicily (451 BC). also known as Neeton or Neaiton, it was located on the site of Noto vecchia destroyed by the 1693 earthquake. Tombs belonging to the Sicilian period were found in the place to indicate that a Sicilian center actually existed before the center was Hellenic


Meneo (or Menaion), was located near the current Mineo, the town would have been founded by Ducezio in 495 BC, he lived there until his transfer to Palike.


Founded in 453 BC by Ducezio, near the sanctuary of the Palici at Palagonia, it was erected by Ducezio as the capital of the confederate cities in the Sicilian League. In the place, in addition to the sanctuary, remains of houses ranging from the Bronze Age to the XNUMXth century have been found. B.C[2], the remains indicate that the city was fortified.


Your name.

From literary sources[3], it appears that in 451 BC Ducezio with his army was encamped there, where joined by the Syracusan army, he was definitively defeated. According to Di-Blasi[4] the site was not to be far from Amestrato (Mistretta).



It would be the city founded by Ducezio, once he returned from the exile of Corinth where he was sent after his defeat in 451 BC by the Syracusans. The site should correspond to that of the current town of Caronia in the province of Messina about halfway between Cefalù and Capo D'orlando.



(Trinacria) Just as Palike was considered the capital of the Sicilian cities confederate against the Greeks of Sicily, and precisely this fact would suggest that Tiracia is the same as Palike. Tiracia was the only one who after the death of Ducezio dared to continue to rebel in Syracuse[5] for which it was destroyed by these in 440 BC. 



According to the Solarino[6] Eloro was built by the Sicilians, even if from recent excavations there are archaeological finds not prior to the eighth century BC therefore not prior to the period of the Greek colonization of Sicily. Eloro, formerly Heloros stood near Noto Marina just north of the mouth of the River Tellaro, also formerly called Heloros.



(Messina) Even before the arrival of the Greeks, the site corresponding to the current Messina had to be occupied, this is evidenced by the discovery of the remains of a village from the Bronze Age and also by the fact that Zancle would be a Sicilian name which means' sickle 'name justified by the particular shape of the port.



It would seem that there were two Erbesso, one Sicana near Agrigento, the other Sicilian located between Syracuse and Lentini[7], for the first time we wanted to locate the site near Siculiana Marina, a locality not far from Siculiana in the province of Agrigento (C17a), this fact certainly does not harmonize with the hypothesis that instead he would like the remains found in Siculiana to be those of the town Sicilian named Siculi, on the other hand the name would favor the second hypothesis, for which either we want to think that the Sicana Erbesso was close to the Sicilian Siculi, or we could accept the hypothesis that in the indicated place there was a Sicilian Erbesso but that once conquered by the Sicilians it then took its name from them. As for the Erbesso in the Syracusan territory, Il Fazello wants it to occupy the same site as Pantalica, but as we will see, speaking of the Ible of Sicily, this locality is perhaps to be assigned to one of the Ible. However, there must have been a herb not far from Syracuse, this can be deduced from the story of Diodorus Siculus (lib. xxxx i.e. get it from 39.212), he tells that Erbesso was besieged by the Tyrant of Syracuse Dionysus in 403 BC



It was not to be far from the Sicilian towns Caleacte and Alesa, a tyrant of this city named Arconida helping Ducezio in the foundation of Caleacte in 448 BC[8], had to be well defended if in 403 BC it was able to resist the siege placed by the Tyrant of Syracuse Dionysius, so much so that in the end he had to give up and make peace with Erbita, after these facts, according to the story of Diodorus (39.217), the Tyrant of Erbita Arconida founded another city whose name was Alesa. According to Cicero (Verrine lib. III.120), this town was an agricultural center until, under the Roman governorship of Verre, due to a ferocious fiscal policy, most of the farmers abandoned their lands, contributing to a fast decay of the city.



The site was located near Tusa (ME), not far from the sea, (eight stakes according to the story of Diodorus Siculus[9]) founded in 403 BC by the Tyrant of Erbita Arconida, was therefore called Alesa Arconida to distinguish it from other cities with the same name, (this would be confirmed by the discovery of some coins bearing this name). According to other testimonies also reported by Diodorus himself, Alesa was founded by the Carthaginians, after the peace that took place between the Carthaginian Imilcone and the Syracusan Dionigi. During the Roman occupation, the city was treated favorably by the Romans who considered it a free city, i.e. exempt from paying taxes.[10]. As proof of the good relations between Alesa and Rome there is a statue found in the place[11], dedicated to the Roman Caminis Niger, at the base of which is a dedication by four warships (respectively Halaesa, Kaleakte, Herbita and Amestratos)



The dedication under the statue found in Tusa, on the northern coast of Sicily, indicates that the site should not have been very far from the city of Caleacte, Alesa and Erbita, and in fact, currently, not far from Tusa there is the town of Mistretta, which in a map of 1600[12] (specify the map better), is still called by the name of Amestrata, it is therefore plausible to think that from Amestratos or Amestrato it passed to Amestrata and finally to the current Mistretta.


Take action.

Also known as Agyrion, it was the homeland of the historian Diodorus Siculus who was born there in the early 1600st century BC, between Leonforte and Regalbuto, there is a town named Agira, which in the above mentioned XNUMX map is called Agirone, it is believed that the he ancient homeland of Diodorus, lies below the modern town of Agira. This town as well as Erbita and other Sicilian towns was impoverished by the heavy tax burden by the Roman governor Verre[13].                    



We wanted to identify the site of the ancient fortified center with the current locality Vassallaggi, not far from S. Cataldo (AG) the ancient center according to the story of Diodorus[14], was conquered in 451 BC by the Sicilian Ducezio, head of the Sicilian league who rebelled against the Greeks, and then reconquered by the Agrigento and Syracusans, putting an end to the revolt. Excavations have identified early Bronze Age kiln tombs as well as indigenous pottery. From the remains, starting from the sixth century BC, a Hellenization of the center can be found, most likely attributable to nearby Agrigento.


I absorb.

Not far from Leonforte in the Province of Enna, there is a small village called Assoro, whose origin must be very ancient. It is remembered by the historian Diodorus Siculus (lib. XIV.58) about the Carthaginian expedition which took place in 396 BC. On that occasion the Sicilian cities, except the city of Assoro, allied themselves with the Carthaginians.


(In it). The Sicilian town was not to be very far from Centuripe, mentioned by the historians Tucidide and Diodoro, the mercenaries hunted from Catania by the coalition formed by the Sicilians of Ducezio and Syracuse took refuge there, they transformed the name into Etna which they had previously also given to Catania when it was under their control[15]. During the disastrous Athenian expedition to Sicily in 413 BC Inessa was among the few Sicilian cities that sided with Syracuse[16].



in this locality, not far from Adrano, the remains of a stone settlement were found whose date and type and some Sicilian inscriptions[17], would suggest an unknown Sicilian center, a large bronzes storage room was found, considered among the most important in Italy starting from the end of the XNUMXth century BC the abandonment of the Sicilian center occurred towards the XNUMXth century BC and perhaps from connect with the foundation of nearby Adrano by the Greeks. 



The site was identified in the Gelese hinterland at M. Bubbonia, where chamber tombs were found with both indigenous (XNUMXth century BC) and Greek material from the XNUMXth and XNUMXth centuries BC preserved in the archaeological museum of Gela.


 Lake of Dissueri.

On the state road 17bis between Gela and Niscemi, you can take state road 190 which leads to the lake of Dissueri, an artificial basin on which the gela river arrives, in this area there is a prehistoric necropolis with oven tombs like those of Omphake and therefore typical of Sicilian populations, datable to the final bronze age from the thirteenth to the ninth century BC, however, it is not known which Sican or Sicilian center it corresponded to.


Notes: the distinction between the localities of Sican origin from those of Sicilian origin is not always clear, therefore some of the localities indicated below may have an origin prior to that of the Sicilians and therefore belong to the Sican period.


Leontinoi (Lentini) 


Abacaenum (Tripi) 

Akis Saturnia (Acicastello) 

Altavilla Milicia 




Bidi (Vizzini) 

Bidio (Calatabiano)

Capitium (Capizi) 


Castel of Judica 


Echetele (Grams claws) 

Erbesso (Caves)


Galatians Mamertinus 


Halicyae (Salemi) 

Hybla Heraia 

Hippana (Prizzi) 

Isia (Linguaglossa) 

Ispa (Ispica) 



Altobrando locality 

Mojo Alcantara 


Neai (Noto) 



Polizzi Generosa 





Tissa (Randazzo) 


Ziz (Palermo) 

Xiphonia (Acireale)


[1]              (15.342) (37.35) Filippo Coarelli: Archaeological Guides - Sicily.

[2]              (15.203) Filippo Coarelli: Archaeological Guides - Sicily.

[3]              (39.70)

[4]              (14.110) Giovanni E. Di-Blasi: History of the Kingdom of Sicily.

[5]              (39.90)

[6]              (5.94.I) Raffaele Solarino: The County of Modica

[7]              (5.95.I) Raffaele Solarino: The County of Modica

[8]              (15.165) Filippo Coarelli: Archaeological Guides - Sicily.

[9]              (39.217)

[10]            Cicero, Verrine lib. III.13

[11]            (15.394) Filippo Coarelli: Archaeological Guides - Sicily.

[12]            (C41)

[13]            Cicero, Verrine. lib III.67-74)

[14]            (Diodorus Siculus XI.91)

[15]            (Diodorus Siculus XI.76) (29.45.II)

[16]            (Thucydides VI.94).

[17]            (15.339) Filippo Coarelli: Archaeological Guides - Sicily.




History of Sicily by Ignazio Caloggero

Share / Share

Facebook Comments

Share This Post
Have your say!