Enna (Sicily) 95 Enna - Έννα

Ἔννα - Enna, Classical to Late Antique polis, Enna in Sicily, Italy
polis

Modern description Princeton Encyclopedia

Principal city of the province of that name located 950 m above sea level on a wide rocky plateau in central Sicily. Cicero called it 'Umbilicus Siciliae'; and accurately described the town and its environs in a famous passage of his orations against Verres (4.107), which stresses the altitude, isolation, abundance of water, pastures, groves, and lakes in the entire area. A few necropoleis of the 9th-8th c. B.C. with rock-cut tombs imitating natural grottos (tombe a grotticella) near Calascibetta and Pergusa constitute the only remains of the original Sikel settlement. Ancient Greek sources state that Enna was founded by Syracusans in 664 B.C. (Stephanos of Byzantium) or in 552 B.C. (Philistos). These dates may not refer to an actual foundation; they reflect however a phase of Syracusan penetration of the site during the 7th-6th c. B.C. In its Greek period, and even more so in its Roman period, Enna was famous for its cult of Demeter and Kore. Not only did Enna possess one of the most renowned sanctuaries of the two goddesses, but according to the poetic tradition related by Cicero (loc. cit.) and Diodorus Siculus (5.32) it was in the vicinity of Enna, on the shores of present-day Lake Pergusa, that Hades, dashing with his chariot from a dark cave, snatched Kore-Persephone away to the Underworld. The urban sanctuary, which contained highly revered statues of Demeter, Kore, and Triptolemos, must have been located on the high spur of rock still called Rock of Ceres, in front of the mediaeval Castle of Lombardy. The only extant traces of the shrine are a few steps, cuttings, and storage pits carved in the natural rock. Coins represent the only real archaeological evidence for the cult; the earliest are silver litras from the middle of the 5th c. B.C., with a youth sacrificing at an altar on the obverse, and Demeter in a quadriga on the reverse. In 396 B.C. Enna fell under the rule of Dionysios I of Syracuse. It recovered its freedom when the tyrant died, but fell again under Agathokles in 307 B.C. In 277 it must have been under Carthaginian control since it was liberated by Pyrrhos during his brief expedition to Sicily. In the first Punic war Enna sided with Rome against the Carthaginians, but during the second Punic war, in 214 B.C., it attempted to revolt against the Romans. The rebellion was cruelly suppressed by Pinarius, who slaughtered the citizens gathered in assembly within the theater. From that day Enna lost its privileges of civitas libera atque iminunis and became civitas decumana. Between 136 and 132 B.C. Enna was the center of the revolt of the slaves, led by Eunus of Apamea. Eunus was proclaimed king and around him gathered slaves and freedmen from all parts of Sicily. The Roman army was in great danger and in vain the Consul L. Calpurnius Piso attempted to capture Enna. This was accomplished by Consul P. Rupilius in 132 B.C.; Eunus was captured and killed. Archaeological evidence for this war is provided by the numerous lead sling-shots, inscribed with the name of the Consul Piso or the symbols of the slaves, which have been found around Enna. In 70 B.C., when Cicero went to Enna to gather proof of the thefts and robberies committed by Verres, Enna must still have been a city of notable size and importance, especially as a pan-Sicilian religious center. The city must have declined fairly rapidly in the course of the 1st c. B.C., since Strabo, at that time describes Enna as 'a town of few inhabitants.'; Enna recovered its importance only after the Arab conquest and in the Middle Ages, when it took the name of Castrogiovanni. (P. ORLANDINI)

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