, Diod., Strab., but Κεφαλοιδὶς
, Ptol., and Pliny also has Cephaloedis: Eth. Cephaloeditanus
), a town on the N. coast of Sicily, between Himera and Alaesa.
It evidently derived its name from its situation on a lofty and precipitous rock, forming a bold headland (Κεφαλὴ
) projecting into the sea.
But though its name proves it to have been of Greek origin, no mention is found of it in Thucydides, who expressly says that Himera was the only Greek colony on this coast of the island (6.62); it is probable that Cephaloedium was at this time merely a fortress (φρούφιον
) belonging to the Himeraeans, and may very likely have been first peopled by refugees after the destruction of Himera. Its name first appears in history at the time of the Carthaginian expedition [p. 1.589]
under Himilco, B.C. 396, when that general concluded a treaty with the Himeraeans and the inhabitants of Cephaloediunm. (Diod. 14.56
But after the defeat of the Carthaginian armament, Dionysius made himself master of Cephaloedium, which was betrayed into his hands. (Id. ib. 78.)
At a later period we find it again independent, but apparently on friendly terms with the Carthaginians, on which account it was attacked and taken by Agathocles, B.C. 307. (Id. 20.56.)
In the First Punic War it was reduced by the Roman fleet under Atilius Calatinus and Scipio Nasica, B.C. 254, but by treachery and not by force of arms. (Id. xxiii., Exc. Hoesch. p. 505.) Cicero speaks of it as apparently a flourishing town, enjoying full municipal privileges; it was, in his time, one of the “civitates decumanae” which paid the tithes of their corn in kind to the Roman state, and suffered severely from the oppressions and exactions of Verres. (Cic. Ver. 2.52
.) No subsequent mention of it is found in history, but it is noticed by Strabo, Pliny, and Ptolemy, among the towns of Sicily, and at a later period its name is still found in the Itineraries. (Strab. vi. p.266
; Plin. Nat. 3.8. s. 14
; Ptol. 3.4.3
; Itin. Ant. p. 92; Tab. Peut.)
It appears to have continued to exist on the ancient site, till the 12th century, when Roger I., king of Sicily, transferred it from its almost inaccessible position to one at the foot of the rock, where there was a small but excellent harbour. (Fazell. de Reb. Sic.
9.3.) Some remains of the ancient city are still visible, on the summit of the rock; but the nature of the site proves that it could never have been more than a small town, and probably owed its importance only to its almost impregnable position. Fazello speaks of the remains of the walls as still existing in his time, as well as those of a temple of Doric architecture, of which the foundations only are now visible.
But the most curious monument still remaining of the ancient city is an edifice, consisting of various apartments, and having the appearance of a palace or domestic residence, but constructed wholly of large irregular blocks of limestone, in the style commonly called polygonal or Cyclopean. Rude mouldings approximating to those of the Doric order, are hewn on the face of the massive blocks.
This building, which is almost unique of its kind, is the more remarkable, from its being the only example of this style of masonry, so common in Central Italy, which occurs in the island of Sicily.
It is fully described and figured by Dr. Nott in the Annali dell'Instituto di Corrispondenza Archeologica,
for the year 1831 (vol. iii. p. 270--287).
|COIN OF CIPTHALOEDIUM.|