later MENAINON (Mineo) Catania, Sicily.
In the W foothills of the Hyblaei Mountains, an
archaic settlement on a high peak that dominates from
the E the valley of the river of Caltagirone or of the
Margi. This settlement belonged to the indigenous culture
of Licodia Eubea (6th c. B.C.). The city, under the name
of Menai, flourished especially during the 5th c. B.C.
when, in 459 (Diod. 11.78.5
) it was refounded by the
leader Ducetius, who was a native of the place. In 453
B.C. its inhabitants were moved to the nearby center of
Paliké near the well-known sanctuary of the Palici (Diod.
). No traces of life survive between the second
half of the 5th c. B.C. and the end of the 4th c. B.C. The
city, under the name of Menainon, began once more to
flourish in the Hellenistic period, as attested by its rich
necropoleis. After the Roman conquest the city minted its
own coinage. Its existence during the Roman period is
attested by Cicero (Verr
. 3.22.55; 3.43.102) and Pliny
). The site continued to be inhabited until the
Arab Conquest and again during the following centuries.
The archaic settlement is evidenced by an agger wall
with a pottery dump of the culture of Licodia Eubea,
which has been uncovered next to the ruins of the mediaeval castle, and by some archaic graves found in the
districts of Pietre Nere and St. Ippolito. Necropoleis of
the end of the 4th c. B.C. are in the districts of Acquanova and Calvario, of the Hellenistic period (St. Ippolito, Porta Udienza, contrada Pietra Catona and Piano
delle Forche) and of the Roman period (St. Ippolito).
Within the habitation center the finds consist only of two
red-figure lekythoi with painted female heads typical of
the end of the 4th c. B.C., and of some archaic and Hellenistic terracottas now in the National Museum of Syracuse. The only architectural monuments preserved within the village, besides the archaic wall, are a nymphaeum
datable to the middle of the 3d c. B.C. and a bastion,
probably mediaeval, both in the district of St. Agostino.
The village is preparing an antiquarium near City Hall.
At a distance of 3 km from the village, in the district of
Caratabia, there is a pair of rock-cut funerary chambers
whose walls are decorated with an incised frieze of riders
and deer, attributable to the culture of Licodia Eubea.
P. Orsi, NSc
(1899) 70; (1901) 347;
(1903) 438; (1904) 373; (1920) 337; W. Kroll, RE
(1931); G. V. Gentili, “Fontana-ninfeo di età ellenistica
nella zona detta Tomba Gallica,” NSc
(1965) 192ff; A.
Messina, “Grotta con graffiti nella campagna di Mineo,”
Cronache di Archeologia
4 (1965) 30ff; id., “Menai-Menainon ed Eryke-Paliké,” CronArch
6 (1967) 87ff.