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ECHETLA

ECHETLA (Ἐχέτλα: Eth. Ἐχετλάτης, Steph. B. sub voce a city or fortress of Sicily, on the confines of the Syracusan territory. It is first mentioned by Diodorus, who tells us that it was occupied in B.C. 309 (during the absence of Agathocles in Africa) by a body of troops in the Syracusan service, who from thence laid waste the territories of Leontini and Camarina. But it was soon after reduced, notwithstanding the strength of its position, by Xenodicus of Agrigentum, who restored it to liberty. (Diod. 20.32.) It is again mentioned by Polybius (1.15) as a place situated on the confines of the Syracusan territory (as this existed under Hieron II.), and that of the Carthaginians: it was besieged by the Romans at the outset of the First Punic War. These are the only notices found of Echetla, and the name is not mentioned by Cicero or the Geographers. But the above data point to a situation in the interior of the island, somewhere W. of Syracuse; hence Fazello and Cluver are probably correct in identifying it with a place called Occhiala or Occhula, about 2 miles from the modern town of Gran Michele, and 6 miles E. of Caltagirone, where, according to Fazello, considerable ruins were still visible in his time. The town occupied the summit of a lofty and precipitous hill (thus agreeing with the expressions of Diodorus of the strong position of Echetla), and continued tinned to be inhabited till. 1693, when it suffered severely from an earthquake; and the inhabitants consequently migrated to the plain below, where they founded the town of Gran Michele. (Fazell. 10.2, pp. 446, 450; Amic. Lex. Topog. Sic. vol. ii. p. 150; Cluver. Sicil. p. 360.)

[E.H.B]

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