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Segesta

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THE MYSTERY OF Elimi: SEGESTA

Opposite of Selinunte, maze of ruins, Segesta – its ancient rival Elima – is proposed as an absence, which emerged, the opposite edges of Mount Barbaro (little more than 400 meters above sea level), two magnificent “Cathedrals”: the Doric temple and the theater. Though, in recent times, major excavations by the Superintendency of Trapani has brought to light, close to the theater, substantial remains of cities. Four miles from Calatafimi, at the end of a short uphill road, and west of the old village, The great temple is offered in its solitary grandeur aristocratic. Perfectly preserved, was never completed, no one knows why: if deliberately, for reasons unknown to a native cult, the – most probably – the threat of impending danger. The interior, open loop, especially in the spring days resounds the echo of crickets chirping, and is penetrated by a brilliant light cut from the columns that cross their shadows on the ground. Scholars attribute this to a skilled architect greek, and someone said that “competes with the Parthenon in the subtlety of its refinements”.

At the eastern, on the highest peak of Mount Barbaro, you can also walk after a climb of about twenty minutes, the greek theater. Shell suspended in a vacuum, north-facing, in front of Monte Inici towards the Gulf of Castellammare, which can be seen, on clear days, the sea horizon, This architectural jewel enjoys a unique position. D’estate, the Company to increase tourism in the Province of Trapani, There organizes theatrical success, drawn from the great playwrights Latin. Dating back to the late second century. C, but altered by the Romans, could hold 4.000 audience; The auditorium is exceptionally drawn into the hillside and partly supported by a retaining wall block; twenty steps survivors, divided into seven wedges; The orchestra was equipped with an underground passage and a scale that allowed actors to surprise viewers, popping out of nowhere; there must be a scenic wall with ornate pillars and columns, whereas today, scenario of the valley sloping, between rocks and shrubs, hide and reappear actors. With Erice and Entella, Segesta (or Egesta) was one of the three main centers of population elimo and also became the most powerful, well known for its sulfur springs and curative. Much of what we know of his story concerns the continuing disputes with Selinus to the boundaries marked by the upper course of the river Mazaro. Often the subject of contention between Greeks and Carthaginians, allied with one or the other according to the dates and conditions of force. Indeed, the position of Segesta was such as to be easily put in check, and his inglorious fate was marked by his weakness. So, We find with Carthage in the sixth century; then, after the battle of Himera 480 a. C, with Atene. Athenian mission failed miserably against Syracuse, called for help from Carthage, that destroyed Selinunte and SegCsta totally absorbed. It was besieged by Dionysius of Syracuse, and then – defeated the Carthaginians – taken by Timoleon, and later by Agathocles. Pirro joined in an attempt to free the Greeks of Sicily, but when he retired, fell under the yoke of Carthage. Prospered under the Romans. It disappeared in the Middle Ages after the destruction and looting of Vandals.

Two spectacular monuments

Segesta, perched on Mount Barbaro, represented the most important cities Elymian, reference point not only of themselves Elimi (population probably composed of indigenous people and foreign), Also present at Entella and Erice, but also of the Punic, certificates in the western part of the island and pledged to contain the expansionist ambitions of Selinunte. According to tradition, The name comes from the nymph Egesta who gave hospitality to Aeneas in his wanderings, and Thucydides suggests that in reality were the Elimi Trojans fled from their homeland, to which were added to the Phocians. Although the site of the ancient city had already been identified by Fazello, since the sixteenth century, Segesta's fame has always been tied to the Doric temple and theater; only from 1987, research has begun to identify the nature of the city in different historical periods. The archaic settlement consisted of homes, partially dug into the rock, placed on artificial terraces along the slopes of Mount Barbaro and had a complex system of fortifications for the city gates with more of the internal courtyard type. Western Sull'altura, around the mid-fifth century. C., ie at the time of bitter disputes between Segesta and Selinunte, was raised, on the remains of an older building, The Doric temple, one of the most notable and best preserved of Sicily. The construction, of monumental size, with six columns on the short sides, presents itself devoid of celia and coverage, probably because they never completed, as also reflected in the columns without grooves, blocks of the steps is not chiseled and schedules incomplete. The temple is an expression of the rapid Hellenization of the city, Elima by tradition and culture, but soon adopted Greek models for the construction of major buildings and representative. Even the sanctuary indigenous in the Mango, dating from the early sixth century. C, it was made under the influence of Greek: a temenos, the great sacred enclosure, enclosed the sacred buildings, relevant to several structures, and probably was abandoned since the fifth century. C..C.
In the Hellenistic Segesta became a highly theatrical. The Acropolis south was occupied almost exclusively by private buildings to residential homes with a certain relief, known as the home of navarca, for the presence of three shelves in the shape of the bow of the ship, dating to the second to. C – inizi I a. C. Were based on the acropolis north the great public buildings, among which the agora (identified in the current forecourt parking) e it bouleuterion, both compromised by the settlement from the Middle Ages. In this context logical location is the famous theater built between the third and second century. C in a dominant position, facing north on the landscape of the surrounding hills and the sea. It was equipped with a stage structure with two side pavilions decorated with pillars, columns and telamons depicting the god Pan. Recent investigations have also identified, at the top of the auditorium, another area that was certainly making the theater much larger than the current image.
The viability of Segesta had a tortuous course, some of which followed the lines marked by the base of artificial terraces and was certified on several priority themes, one of which, Perhaps the major thoroughfare, running east-west. Between the late republican and early imperial age can be ascribed to the upper walls, interrupted by thirteen square towers and two city gates. The ancient city was subjected to, During the Roman Empire, a slow and gradual decline, until it was abandoned during the sixth century AD. C. It is only the beginning of the twelfth century that the northern top of the hill was reoccupied by a group of Muslim populations, as evidenced by the discovery of a large mosque, the first found in Sicily, characterized by a rectangular, covered by a gabled roof supported by four columns.
Towards the end of the twelfth century, the arrival of a Christian is attested by a feudal castle tower on two levels, built on the highest point of the site, and a church with three aisles ending in apses with space in front occupied by the Christian cemetery; and it was during this era that the mosque was probably demolished. The feudal phase is characterized by a strong expansion of the area inhabited by the general increase in quality of material life. Around the middle of the thirteenth century, the village and the castle was abandoned and never reoccupied. Only in the fifteenth century was built by the inhabitants of Calatafimi, at the foot of the castle, a small church dedicated to Saint Leo.