Aidone, Italy

Morgantina is an archaeological site in east central Sicily. It was inhabited in several periods. According to Strabo Morgantina was founded by a pre-Roman Italian group known as the Morgetes of Rhegium. Dionysius of Halicarnassus wrote that the Morgetes were led by a king named Morges. The earliest historical date associated with Morgantina is 459 BCE, when Ducetius, leader of the indigenous Sicel population of central Sicily, attacked the city and captured it. Morgantina was probably still under Ducetius' control when he was defeated at Nomai by Syracuse in 449 BCE.

No later mention of Morgantina is made until Thucydides lists it as part of the terms of a truce in the war of 427–424 BCE between Syracuse and the Dorian cities of Sicily on one side, and Kamarina, the Khalkidian cities of Sicily, the Sikels, and Athens on the other side. Thucydides says that Syracuse agreed at the Congress of Gela to give Morgantina to Kamarina in return for payment of an indemnity. Kamarina was destroyed in 405 by the Carthaginians. Morgantina therefore must have been independent from at least this date, although it was soon recaptured by Dionysios of Syracuse in 396. Syracuse retained (occasionally more nominal than actual) control of Morgantina until the Second Punic War. In 317, Morgantina received the tyrant Agathocles, then in exile, and offered him help in returning to Syracuse. He was elected praetor at Morgantina, and later dux.

As part of the Syracusan kingdom of Hiero II, Morgantina fell under the hegemony of Rome when Hieron became a Roman vassal in 263. In 214, Morgantina switched its allegiance from Rome to Carthage. Morgantina remained autonomous until 211, when it became the last Sicilian town to be captured by the Romans. It was given as payment by Rome to a group of Spanish mercenaries. In 133, Morgantina was the place where Eunus, the leader of the slave rebellion known as the First Servile War, died. In the Second Servile War, Morgantina was besieged and taken by slaves. The final mention of Morgantina comes again from Strabo, who notes that in his own time, the first century CE, the city had ceased to exist.

A few literary sources describe Morgantina and its economy. Most famous of these are the references to the vitis murgentina, a strain of grape mentioned by Cato, Columella, and Pliny the Elder. These grapes were prized for their wine — Pliny called it 'the very best among all those that come from Sicily' — and had been transplanted from Sicily to mainland Italy by the 2nd century BCE.



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Unnamed Road, Aidone, Italy
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Founded: 5th century BCE
Category: Prehistoric and archaeological sites in Italy

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User Reviews

Anita Vium (18 months ago)
The site is large and impressive with many (ca 40) info boarda explaining the use of the buildings etc Good view of the site and Etna.. We went in january and we were the only guests there. it's worth a trip!
Fred Vezzani (2 years ago)
Absolutely great site. Huge, well documented and gorgeous views of Sicily
Tobias Cook (3 years ago)
Great place to walk on the streets and sit on the steps of where the ancients did thousands of years ago. Also, the area has been reasonably well-maintained. The signage looks great, there are benches for resting under the trees in certain areas, and they tall weeds have all been knocked down around the ruins. Amazing views as well.
Justin Vassallo (4 years ago)
Super impressive ruins. A must see for anyone. Pity that not enough money is available for care and restoration. Information boards could be much more informative and helpful. Be ready to spend 3 hours if you intend to skim through. A whole day if you're really into it.
Brady Nielsen (4 years ago)
Morgantina seems to be one of those amazing places that still has yet to really be discovered. I say that because this place is like a whole history lesson of pre-Roman times with so much to see, but doesn’t seem to get much tourist traffic. Admittedly, it is a drive from the more regular tourist spots on Sicily, and it is a bit difficult to find, but well worth an afternoon to visit if you have the time. I can see here that others have mentioned problems with faded information signs and unclear visiting hours, but I didn’t have a problem getting in during an afternoon, and I found the signs to be sufficient for reading. The really amazing thing about this site is that the whole layout of the pre-Roman village is still preserved to the point that you can make out the layout of the city and get a very good idea (from the layout, topography, and information signs) of what day-to-day life was like for these people. The ruins are beautiful and definitely make a great challenge with easy subjects for any novice to professional photographers out there. (The fact that there aren’t many visitors certainly helps as well.) The parking is great and the fee is minimal. Bring water and prepare to be educated.
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