Page:EB1911 - Volume 25.djvu/40

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25
SICILY

cremation Is always present. Typical cemeteries of this period have been found at Licodia Eubea, Ragusa and Grammichele. After the failure of Ducetius to re-establish the Sicel nation- ality, Greek civilization triumphed over that of the Sicels entirely, and it has not yet been possible to trace the survivals of the latter. See Orsi in Romische Mitteilungen, 1898, 305 sqq., and Atti del Congresso Internazionale di Scienze Storiche (Rome, April 1903); also Archeologia (Rome, 1904, 167-191).

In the north-west corner of the island we find a small territory occupied by a people who seem to have made much greater advances towards civilized life. The Elymi were a people of uncertain origin, but they claimed a mixed descent, partly Trojan, partly Greek. Thucydides, however, unhesitatingly reckons them among barbarians. They had considerable towns, as Segesta and Eryx, and the history, as well as the remains, of Segesta, shows that Greek influences prevailed among them very early, while at Eryx Phoenician influence was stronger.

But, as we have already seen, the Greeks were not the first colonizing people who were drawn to the great island. As in Cyprus and in the islands of the Aegean, the Phoenicians were before them. And it is from this presence of the highest forms of Aryan and of Semitic man that the history of Sicily draws its highest interest. Of Phoenician occupation there are Early two > or ratner three, marked periods. We must always

Phoenician remember that Carthage — the new city — was one of Mettle- the latest of Phoenician foundations, and that the days meats. Q £ t k e Carthaginian dominion show us only the latest form of Phoenician fife. Phoenician settlement in Sicily began before Carthage became great, perhaps before Carthage came into being. A crowd of small settlements from the old Phoenicia, settlements for trade rather than for dominion, factories rather than colonies, grew up on promontories and small islands all round the coast (Thuc. vi. 2). These were unable to withstand the Greek settlers, and the Phoenicians of Sicily withdrew step by step to form three considerable towns in the north-west corner of the island near to the Elymi, on whose alliance they relied, and at the shortest distance by sea from Carthage — Motya, Solous or Soluntum, and Panormus (see Palermo).

Our earlier notices of Sicily, of Sicels and Sicans, in the Homeric poems and elsewhere, are vague and legendary. Both races appear as given to the buying and selling of slaves OraeA (q^ x^ 2g^ j xxiv. 21). The intimate connexion be-

tfOJI< " tween old Hellas and Sicily begins with the foundation of the Sicilian Naxos by Chalcidians of Euboea under Theocles, which is assigned to 735 B.C. (Thuc. v. 3-5). The site, a low promontory on the east coast, immediately below the height of Tauromenium, marks an age which had advanced beyond the hill-fortress and which thoroughly valued the sea. The next year Corinth began her system of settlement in the west: Corcyra, the path to Sicily, and Syracuse on the Sicilian coast were planted as parts of one enterprise. From this time, for about 150 years, Greek settlement in the island, with some intervals, goes steadily on. Both Ionian and Dorian colonies were planted, both from the older Greek lands and from the older Sicilian settlements. The east coast, nearest to Greece and richest in good harbours, was occupied first. Here, between Naxos and Syracuse, arose the Ionian cities of Leontini and Catana (728 B.C.), and the Dorian Megara Hyblaea (726 B.C.). Settlement on the south-western coast began about 688 B.C. with the joint Cretan and Rhodian settlement of Gela, and went on in the foundation of Selinus (the most distant Greek city on this' side), of Camarina, and in 582 B.C. of the Geloan settlement of Acragas (Agrigentum, Girgenti), planted on a high hill, a little way from the sea, which became the second city of Hellenic Sicily. On the north coast the Ionian Himera (founded in 648 B.C.) was the only Greek city in Sicily itself, but the Cnidians founded Lipara in the Aeolian Islands. At the north-east corner, opposite to Italy, and commanding the strait, arose Zancle, a city of uncertain date (first quarter of the 7th century B.C.) and mixed origin, better known as Messana (Messene, Messina).

Thus nearly all the east coast of Sicily, a great part of the south coast, and a much smaller part of the north, passed into


the hands of Greek settlers — Siceliots (2twXt«roi), as dis- tinguished from the native Sicels. This was one of the greatest advances ever made by the Greek people. The Greek element began to be predominant in the island. Among the earlier inhabitants the Sicels were already becoming adopted Greeks. Many of them gradually sank into a not wholly unwilling subjec- tion as cultivators of the soil under Greek masters. But there were also independent Sicel towns in the interior, and there was a strong religious intercommunion between the two races. Sicel Henna (Enna, Castrogiovanni) is the special seat of the worship of Demeter and her daughter.

The Phoenicians, now shut up in one corner of the island, with Selinus on one side and Himera on the other founded right in their teeth, are bitter enemies; but the time of their renewed greatness under the headship of Carthage Prosperous has not yet come. The 7th century B.C. and the perioA early part of the 6th were a time in which the Greek cities of Sicily had their full share in the general prosperity of the Greek colonies everywhere. For a while they outstripped the cities of old Greece. Their political constitutions were aristocratic; that is, the franchise was confined to the descend- ants of the original settlers, round whom an excluded body (Srjfios or plebs) was often growing up. The ancient kingship was perhaps kept on or renewed in some of the Siceliot and Italiot towns; but it is more certain that civil dissensions led very early to the rise of tyrants. The most famous if not the first 1 is Phalaris (q.v.) of Acragas (Agrigentum), whose exact date is uncertain, whose letters are now cast aside, and whose brazen bull has been called in question, but who clearly rose to power very soon after the foundation of Acragas. Under his rule the city at once sprang to the first place in Sicily, and he was the first Siceliot ruler who held dominion over two Greek cities, Acragas and Himera. This time of prosperity was also a time of intellectual progress. To say nothing of lawgivers like Charondas, the line of Siceliot poets began early, and the circumstances of the island, the adoption of many of its local traditions and beliefs — perhaps a certain intermingling of native blood — gave the intellectual life of Sicily a character in some things distinct from that of old Hellas. Stesichorus of Himera (c. 632-556 B.C.) holds a great place among the lyric poets of Greece, and some place in the political history of Sicily as the opponent of Phalaris. The architecture and sculpture of this age have also left some of their most remarkable monu- ments among the Greek cities of Sicily. The remains of the old temples of Selinus, with their archaic metopes, attributed to the 6th century B.C., show us the Doric style in its earlier state. In this period, too, begins the fine series of Sicilian coins (see Numismatics: Sicily).

This first period of Sicilian history lasts as long as Sicily remains untouched from any non-Hellenic quarter outside, and as long as the Greek cities in Sicily remain as a rule independent of one another. A change begins in the 6th century ,.™aii/es. and is accomplished early in the 5th. The Phoe- nician settlements in Sicily become dependent on Carthage, whose growing power begins to be dangerous to the Greeks of Sicily. Meanwhile the growth of tyrannies in the Greek cities was beginning to group several towns together under a single master, and thus to increase the greatness of particular cities at the expense of their freedom. Thus Thero of Acragas (488-472), who bears a good character there, acquired also, like Phalaris, the rule of Himera. One such power held dominion both in Italy and Sicily. Anaxilaus of Rhegium, by a long and strange tale of treachery, occupied Zancle and changed its name to Messana. But the greatest of the Siceliot powers, that of the Deinomenid dynasty, began at Gela in 505, and was in 485 translated by Gelo (q.v.) to Syracuse. That city now became the centre of a greater dominion over both Greeks and Sicels than the island had ever before seen. But Gelo, like several later tyrants of Syracuse, takes his place — - and it is the redeeming point in the position of all of them — as

1 Panaetius of Leontini (608 B.C.) is said to have been the earliest tyrant in Sicily.