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MACELLA or MAGELLA (Μάκελλα: Macellaro), a town in the NW. of Sicily, which is noticed by Polybius (1.24) as being taken by the Roman consuls, C. Duillius and Cn. Cornelius, as they returned after raising the siege of Segesta, in B.C. 260. It is interesting to find the same circumstance noticed, and the name of this otherwise obscure town mentioned, in the celebrated inscription on the rostral column which records the exploits of C. Duillius. (Orell. Inscr. 549.) It would seem from Diodorus, that at an earlier period of the same war, the Romans had besieged Macella without success, which may account for the importance thus attached to it. (Diod. 23.4. p. 502.) The passage of Polybius in reality affords no proof of the position of Macella, though it has been generally received as an evidence that it was situated in the neighbourhood of Segesta and Panormus. But as we find a town still called Macellaro, in a strong position on a hill about 15 miles E. of Segesta, it is probable that this may occupy the site of Macella. The only other mention of it in history occurs in the Second Punic War (B.C. 211), among the towns which revolted to the Carthaginians after the departure of Marcellus from Sicily. (Liv. 26.21.) As its name is here associated with those of Hybla and Murgantia, towns situated in quite another part of the island, Cluverius supposes that this must be a distinct town from the Macella of Polybius; but there is clearly no sufficient reason for this assumption. The name is written in the old editions of Livy, Magella; and we find the Magellini enumerated by Pliny among the stipendiary towns of the interior of Sicily (Plin. Nat. 3.8. s. 14), while Ptolemy, like Polybius, writes the name Μάκελλα. (Ptol. 3.4.14.) The orthography is therefore dubious, as the authority of so ancient an inscription as that of Duillius is of no avail in this case. The coins which have been ascribed to Macella are of very dubious authenticity.


hide References (4 total)
  • Cross-references from this page (4):
    • Polybius, Histories, 1.24
    • Pliny the Elder, Naturalis Historia, 3.8
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 26, 21
    • Claudius Ptolemy, Tetrabiblos, 3.4
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