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KASSAR (“Krastos”) Sicily.

Fortifications on the mountain overlooking the village of Castronovo. The Arab name, which dates from mediaeval times, means castle or fortified area. The fortifications have been partly explored. They date from the end of the 6th or the beginning of the 5th c. B.C. Some archaeological evidence connected with the Greek world has been found, while no documentation remains of a possible settlement by Sikeloi or Sikani.

Since the site commanded the large communication route between Akragas and Himera, this fortified center could well have been an Akragan outpost on the road to Himera. On the basis of a papyrus (Oxyrh. Pap. 4.665, 11. 1-7), which recounts the raids of Syracusan mercenaries in central Sicily during the second quarter of the 5th c. B.C., this fortified site could well be identified with the city of Krastos.

From the same area come various small bronzes in the shape of knucklebones, some surmounted by snakes, birds, or bulls. These bronzes have generally been considered comparable to many others found on the fringes of the territory belonging to the Greek colonies in Sicily, but a recent theory suggests that they represent the pre-coinage stage of the Sikel-Sikan culture. No evidence of life after the end of the 4th c. B.C. remains at the site.


L. Tirrito, “Sulla città e sulla comarca di Castronovo,” Giornale di Scienze, Lettere, Arti per La Sicilia 28 (1875); A. De Gregorio, Sa taluni bronzetti arcaici di Sicilia (1917); P. Marconi, NSc (1930) 555-57; B. Pace, Arte e Civiltà della Sicilia Antica 1 (1936) 208-9; D. Adamesteanu, “Monte Saraceno e il problema della penetrazione rodio-cretese nella Sicilia meridionale,” ArchCl 8 (1956) 139-40; A. T. Cutroni, “Osservazioni sui bronzetti di Castronovo: contributo agli studi sull'origine della moneta,” Kokalos 9 (1963) 129-36.


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