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PHI´NTIAS (Φιντίας: Eth. Phintiensis: Alicata), a city on the S. coast of Sicily, situated at the mouth of the river Himera, about midway between Agrigentum and Gela. It was not an ancient city, but was founded about 280 B.C. by Phintias, tyrant of Agrigentum, who bestowed on it his own name, and laid it out on a great scale, with its walls, temples, and agora. He then peopled it with the inhabitants of Gela, which he utterly destroyed, compelling the whole population to migrate to his newly founded city. (Diod. 22.2, p. 495.) Phintias, however, never rose to a degree of importance at all to be compared to that of Gela: it is mentioned in the First Punic War (B.C. 249) as affording shelter to a Roman fleet, which was, however, attacked in the roadstead by that of the Carthaginians, and many of the ships sunk. (Diod. 24.1, p. 508.) Cicero also alludes to it as a seaport, carrying on a considerable export trade in corn. (Cic. Ver. 3.83) But in Strabo's time it seems to have fallen into the same state of decay with the other cities on the S. coast of Sicily, as he does not mention it among the few exceptions. (Strab. vi. p.272.) Pliny, indeed, notices the Phintienses (or Phthinthienses as the name is written in some MSS.) among the stipendiary towns of Sicily; and its name is found also in Ptolemy (who writes it Φθινθία); but it is strange that both these writers reckon it among the inland towns of Sicily, though its maritime position is clearly attested both by Diodorus and Cicero. The Antonine Itinerary also gives a place called “Plintis,” doubtless a corruption of Phintias, which it places on the road from Agrigentum along the coast towards Syracuse, at the distance of 23 miles from the former city. (Itin. Ant. p. 95.) This distance agrees tolerably well with that from Girgenti to Alicata, though somewhat below the truth; and it seems probable that the latter city, which is a place of some trade, though its harbour is a mere roadstead, occupies the site of the ancient Phintias. There is indeed no doubt, from existing remains on the hill immediately above Alicata, that the site was occupied in ancient times; and, though these have been regarded by local antiquarians as the ruins of Gela, there is little doubt of the correctness of the opinion advanced by Cluverius, that that city is to be placed on the site of Terranova, and the vestiges which remain at Alicata are those of Phintias. (Cluver. Sicil. pp. 200, 214. See also the article GELA) The remains themselves are of little interest.


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