lilybaeum

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Ancient Worlds - BBC Two 

Episode 5 “The Republic of Virtue”

Selinunte (the ancient Selinus of the Greeks), on the southern coast of Sicily, Italy, was a notable Greek city. 

Ancient Selinus was founded by Doric Greek colonists from Sicily’s Megara Hyblea between 650 and 630 BC and it was destroyed in 409 BC. It was one of the most progressive Greek cities in Sicily, second in importance only to Syracuse, and famous throughout Magna Graecia.

In 409 most of Sicily’s other Greek cities were in decline after years of fighting, with their armies weak and disorganized. Among these were Agrigento (Akragas) and Syracuse, Selinunte’s allies. This opened an opportunity for Carthage, who controlled parts of western Sicily and had a great interest in the island. The Carthaginians sent over a vast army and after a nine-day siege Selinunte was taken and most of the defenders put to the sword while the majority of the remaining citizens were taken into slavery. Although the city was repopulated somewhat by the Carthiginians, it never achieved its former beauty, power or prestige. Before the close of the first Punic War with Rome in 250 BC, the Carthaginians removed all the inhabitants of Selinunte to Lilybaeum and destroyed the city. It seems certain that it was never rebuilt.

The Greek archaeological site of Selinunte contains several temples centered on an acropolis.

PART I

Archaeological site of Selinunte, province of Trapani, Sicily, Italy