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MYLAI (Mylae, Milazzo) Sicily.

A small city in the province of Messina at the isthmus of a narrow peninsula that extends ca. 6 km toward the Aeolian islands. It was a sub-colony of Zankle founded in 717-716 B.C., and it probably never enjoyed political autonomy since its destiny depended on that of Zankle-Messene, of which it was considered a stronghold. In 426 B.C. the Athenian Laches (Diod. 12:54), and again in 315 B.C. Agathokles (Diod. 19:65), before attacking Messene, occupied Mylai. In 260 B.C. Caius Duilius obtained in its waters the first Roman naval victory against the Phoenicians; again near Mylai, in 36 B.C., Octavian defeated Sextus Pompey. Excavations have revealed a continuous series of cemeteries: from the Middle Bronze Necropolis (15th-13th c. B.C.) in the Sottocastello district to that of the Iron Age (llth-9th c. B.C.) in Piazza Romana, which is a true urnfield of Villanovan type, to the Hellenistic cemetery in the S. Giovanni district. No traces remain of the habitation center, which must surely have occupied the acropolis on which later rose the mediaeval castle. A Roman mosaic is preserved in the St. Francis' Monastery. A rare type of Byzantine grave in the shape of an aedicula can be seen at the entrance to the highway called the Strada Panoramica. Finds and reconstructions of the cemeteries are at the Museum in Lipari.


L. Bernabò Brea & M. Cavalier, Mylai (1959)MPI.


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