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DREPANA (Trapani) Sicily.

The main city of the province that bears the same name is at the NW tip of Sicily; its name (sickle), both in Greek and Latin, derives from the shape of the narrow tongue of land on which it rises.

Remains of various prehistoric settlements, as early as the paleolithic period, have been found around Trapani but for the Classical period there is no archaeological evidence since the city did not mint coinage and no public inscription has ever been found. For this reason some would deny that Drepana became civitas during the Roman period.

The ancient sources mention it as the harbor of the Erycinians from the time of the Dionysian wars (Diod. 15.73); later it became known also as the trading center of the Erycinians (Diod. 24.11). During the first year of the Punic war, i.e. ca. 260 B.C., Hamilcar moved part of Eryx's population to “the sickles” and turned the site into a fortress (Diod. 23.9).

During the summer of 249 B.C. the Romans were defeated by Aderbal in a naval battle near Drepana but recovered their losses in the naval battle which Lutatius Catulus won in 241 B.C. near the Egadi islands. Drepana passed under Roman control, probably as censorian city, but lived meagerly, as shown by the lack of archaeological finds and by the fact that the site always remained a complementary base of the stronger Lilybaion.

The city's National Museum Pepoli has a considerable archaeological collection, including various objects of the Classical period mostly from Eryx, Selinos, and Motya.


G. M. Columba, Monografia storica dei porti dell'antichità nell'Italia insulare (1906) 264ff; V. Scuderi, Il Museo Nazionale Pepoli in Trapani (1965).


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    • Diodorus, Historical Library, 15.73
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