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The first inhabitants of Sicily were the Sicans, the Elymians, the Ausonians and the Sicels. Some of them were native and others came from Italy, Eastern Europe and Africa, and spread all over the island. But it was only with the arrival of Greek and Phoenician colonizers that Sicily entered “Great History” ( VIII century BC ). The Greeks founded the first Sicilian towns along the coast: Naxos, Syracuse, Leontinoi (Lentini), Katane (Catania), Zankle (Messina). Their inhabitants, in turn, founded new towns: Tauromenion (Taormina), Megara Hyblea, Gela, Selinunte, Himera, Milazzo, Girgenti (Agrigento), Segesta , Lilybaeum (Marsala), etc. These cities were fist ruled by oligarchies and later by tyrants. The largest and most powerful colony was Syracuse, which eventually subjugated all the other cities. But it soon came into conflict with Phoenician colonies, Mothya, Panormos and Solunto, laying in the western tip of Sicily and allied with the Elymians. The conflict ended with the victory of the Syracusans in the battle fought at Himera ( 480 BC ).
The war between the two powers, however, continued with alternating fortunes, until Rome, allied with the Greeks, finally defeated the Phoenicians andthe Carthaginians and replaced Syracuse in the rule of the island, after the destruction of Carthage at the end of the Punic Wars. The island was then made a Province, with a praetor in Syracuse and two Quaestors, in Syracuse and Lilybaeum. [ + ]

Ruined Ancient Greek Temple at the archeological site of Selinunte

Famous ancient mosaic featuring girls in bikinis at the Roman Villa of Casale in Piazza Armerina

Archaeological site in Tindari

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