Hi my friends! In this article you will have the honor of discovering the history of the first Greek colony to have been founded in Sicily: the colony of Naxos, in the province of Messina. Enjoy the reading! 🙂
Naxos was founded in 735 – 734 BC from the settlers from Calcide Eubea and the island of Naxos respectively – today’s Nasso – from which the colony takes its name.
A few years later, around 729 BCE, the same settlers who founded Naxos founded Katane (today’s Catania) and Leontinoi (today’s Lentini).
The foundation of Naxos takes place almost simultaneously with that of Syracuse, which took place between 734 and 733 BC. However, it is claimed that the first Greek colony to have been founded in Sicily is precisely that of Naxos.
The fact that Naxos was of Calcidese origin, therefore Ionic and allied with Athens, and Syracuse was of Corinthian origin, therefore allied with Sparta, immediately made the relations between the two colonies very tense, although they were equally of Greek matrix. The city was destroyed in 403 BC by Dionysius I tyrant of Syracuse in the war against Athens, of which Naxos was an ally and the respective inhabitants were sold as slaves.
The first Greek colony in Sicily lasted three hundred years. The few who managed to survive the slave trade, took refuge in the villages located on Mount Tauro, located just above Naxos, inhabited by the Sicilians who practiced farming and agriculture. In the following years it was founded on this area Tauromenium, today’s Taormina.
The archaeological area appears today as a small treasure, thanks to which archaeologists were able to analyze the urban structure of the Greek archaic cities. The colony is cut by three large Plateie, each crossed by the Stenopoi, of which a total of 14 are counted in the inhabited area.
In the area you can find, on the Stenopoi and near the Plateie, several inhabited areas or remains of period dwellings, made entirely of lava stone.
Curious is the area of the temenos, of which unfortunately some ruins and some hints of basement remain. This is the first example of a calcidese sanctuary in Sicily. Furthermore, within this area there should have been two temples, unfortunately not survived until today.
Arriving at the end of the archaeological area you can see the monumental defensive walls of the colony, overlooking the sea. If there is the possibility, you can also cross the walls and take a stroll on the beach, admiring the fortification of Naxos from the outside.
Naxos today appears as a small testimony of a world not far from ours, made up of wars, conquests and alliances. Not very far, therefore, from what is happening today. There are those who say that history is a continuous succession of different events, while there are those who think it is a cyclic repetition of events that occur several times during the time.
I prefer to be between the two definitions, without embrace completely neither one theory nor the other.
And which side are you on?
… To you
Entire video, subtitled in English: