Greek temple of Segesta
Segesta, originally Egesta, ancient
city of Sicily, west of the modern city of Palermo. Although tradition
attributes its foundation to refugees from Troy and connects it with the
legendary hero Aeneas, the city actually was founded by the Elymi, an indigenous
people who gradually were absorbed by Greek colonists. In the 5th century BC,
Segesta was engaged in frequent strife with the neighboring city of Selinus. The
appeal of the people of Segesta to the Athenians for aid was one of the
ostensible reasons for the Athenian attack (415 BC) on Syracuse, which sided
with Selinus. A later appeal to the Carthaginians resulted in the destruction of
Selinus in 409 BC and a long war between the Carthaginians and the Greeks.
Agathocles, tyrant of Syracuse, captured Segesta in 307 BC, but it soon regained
its freedom. In the First Punic War (264-41 BC), the inhabitants of the city
allied themselves with the Romans. The site was abandoned in the Middle Ages.
The ruins include a large theater and an unfinished temple, one of the
best-preserved Doric temples in Sicily.
People and Places