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MAZARA (Μάζαρα, Diod.; Μαζάρη, Steph. B. sub voce: Mazzara), a town on the SW. coast of Sicily, situated at the mouth of a river of the same name, between Selinus and Lilybaeum. It was in early times an inconsiderable place, and is first noticed by Diodorus in B.C. 409, as an emporium at the mouth of the river Mazarus. (Diod. 13.54.) It was evidently at this time a dependency of Selinus, and was taken by the Carthaginian general Hannibal, during his advance upon that city. (Diod. l.c.) Stephanus of Byzantium calls it “a fort of the Selinuntines” (φρούριον Σελινουντίων, Steph. B. sub voce and it is mentioned again in the First Punic War as a fortress which was wrested by the Romans from the Carthaginians. (Diod. 23.9. p. 503.) [p. 2.300]

It does not seem to have ever risen in ancient times to the rank of a city. Pliny mentions the river Mazara, as does Ptolemy also, but neither of them notice the town. (Plin. Nat. 3.8. s. 14; Ptol. 3.4.5.) The existence of this last is, however, attested by the Itinerary, which correctly places it 12 miles from Lilybaeum (Itin. Ant. p. 89); but it was first raised to an important position by the Saracens in the 9th century, under whom it became the capital of the whole surrounding district, as it continued under the Norman rule. The western province of Sicily still bears the name of Val di Mazzara, but the town itself has greatly declined, though it still retains the rank of a city, and has about 10,000 inhabitants. (Fazell. de Reb. Sic. 6.5. p. 284; Smyth's Sicily, p. 224.) A few sarcophagi and inscriptions are the only remains of antiquity extant there.

The river MAZARA or MAZARUS, as it is called by Diodorus (Μάζαρος, Diod. 13.54), is still called the Fiume di Mazzara.


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