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PHILOSOPHIANA (Sofiana) Sicily.

A statio of Roman Imperial date at the center of the large estate by the same name in the S central part of the island, on the inland route from Catania to Agrigento. The statio by this name mentioned in the Antonine Itinerary has been identified in the fertile green dell of Sofiana, between Piazza Armerina and Mazzarino, a few kilometers from the famous Imperial Villa of Casale, to which it was connected by a road visible in aerial photographs. Excavations have ascertained the area of the ancient town and uncovered a large structure with bath installations and cubiculi, dating to the first half of the 4th c. A.D. Under this building earlier structures were found, going back to the Augustan period. The late Roman building was in turn altered around the end of the 4th c. when a small Early Christian basilica with two apses was located within the calidarium of the baths. Further transformations occurred in Byzantine times, and the building, which was probably meant for travelers, continued in use until the Norman period, as shown by pottery and coins. Not far from this building an Early Christian basilica has been excavated; it has three naves, central apse, prothyron, and funerary crypt with two cellas in the S aisle. The basilica was surrounded by a cemetery with adult and infant graves. Roman and Christian cemeteries around the city area have been largely explored. The Roman cemeteries yielded vases of terra sigillata and sigillata chiara, glass vessels, and necklaces. Christian tombs contained the usual unpainted striated ware, lamps with Christian symbols, gold rings and earrings. A remarkable gravestone engraved with the seven-branched Jewish candlestick carried the name of the presbyteros Attinis. All the archaeological material from the excavations is preserved in the Gela National Museum.


D. Adamesteanu, RendLinc (1955) 199ff, 569ff; id., BdA (1956) 158ff; (1963) 259ff; L. Bonomi, RACrist 40 (1964) 169ff.


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