Naxos, Sicily - Encyclopedia




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NAXOS, the earliest Greek colony in Sicily, was founded by Theocles from Chalcis in 735 B.C., on the E. coast, S. of Tauromenium (mod. Taormina), in a low-lying situation just N. of the mouth of the river Alcantara, where the castle of Schiso now stands. The adoption of the name of Naxos, the island in the Aegean Sea, seems to indicate that there were Naxians among its founders. Within a few years it became strong enough to found Leontini and Catana. Naxos was the warmest ally of Athens in the Sicilian expedition. In 403 B.C. it was destroyed by Dionysius and handed over to the Sicels, but was never rebuilt. Its place was supplied in 358 by Tauromenium. Scanty traces of its walls are to be seen, of irregular blocks of lava, especially on the south, parallel to the river (E. A. Freeman, Hist. of Sic. i. 323). Without the city stood the altar of Apollo Archegetes, at which all sacred embassies that left Sicily sacrificed before their departure (Thuc. vi. 3).

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