previous next


A mountain on the right side of the valley of the river Salso, a few km S of Caltanissetta. The name is a corruption of the Arabic name Gebel Habib (Mountain of the Dead), referring to numerous prehistoric and Greek graves dug into the rock. An indigenous settlement on the S slope of the mountain dates to the Chalcolithic period. During the 7th c. B.C. this center came into contact with the Greek colonists of Gela, who utilized the valley of the Salso (fl. Himera) as the main route for their commercial and political penetration toward the interior of Sicily. The vases, painted with lines and concentric circles, are undoubtedly of Geloan inspiration, but imitation of Corinthian pottery is also present. As in other centers in the Salso Valley, Greek influence was fully established in Gibil Gabib during the second half of the 6th c. B.C. when Attic pottery is predominant, together with terracottas from Gela and Akragas. At the end of the 6th c. the S slope of the mountain was barred by a fortification wall, probably indicating that Greek colonists were in complete possession of the center. The few houses so far excavated have a simple rectangular plan with two rooms. The center, abandoned at the end of the 5th c. B.C., was repopulated in the second half of the 4th c., as part of the general reconstruction of Sicily sponsored by Timoleon. It was finally abandoned ca. 310 B.C., perhaps after the war which Agathokles, tyrant of Syracuse, waged against cities and fortresses of the interior (Diod. Sic. 19.72). The finds from Gibil Gabib are in the museums of Gela and Caltanissetta.


D. Adamesteanu, NSc (1958) 387ff (with previous bibliography); P. Orlandini, Kokalos 8 (1962) 99ff; id., RendLinc (1965) 459.


hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: