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Eth. E´LYMI (Eth. Ἔλυμοι: the form Ἕλυμοι and Helymi appears to be incorrect), a people in the extreme W. of Sicily, who are reckoned among the native tribes of the island, but distinct from the Sicelians and Sicanians. (Scyl. p. 4; Thuc. 6.2.) The general opinion of the Greeks derived them from a Trojan origin: this is distinctly stated by Thucydides (l.c.); and the history of their arrival and the foundation of their two cities, Eryx and Egesta, is circumstantially related by Dionysius (1.52). In all the legends concerning them their eponymous hero Elymus is a Trojan, and appears in close connection with Aeneas and Aegestus or Acestes. (Strab. xiii. p.608.) This notion of their Trojan descent may probably be understood, as in many other cases, as pointing to a Pelasgic extraction. A wholly different tradition was, however, preserved by Hellanicus, who represented the Elymi as having been driven from the S. of Italy by the Oenotrians, previous to the similar migration of the Siculi. (Hellan. ap. Dionys. 1.22.) Scylax also, though he enumerates the Elymi among the barbarian inhabitants of Sicily, seems to reckon them distinct from the Trojans. (Scyl. p. 4.13.) They appear to have maintained constant friendly relations with the neighbouring Phoenician settlements of Motya, Solus, and Panormus, and are mentioned at an early period as co-operating with that people in expelling the Cnidians, who had attempted to form a settlement in Sicily itself, previous to their establishment at Lipara. (Thuc. l.c.; Paus. 10.11.3.) No mention of them occurs in later times as a separate people: their two cities Eryx and Egesta had become to a great extent Hellenised, and assumed the position of independent political bodies.

The existence of a city of the name of Elyma rests wholly on the authority of a passage of Dionysius (1.52), in which there is little doubt that the true reading should be Ἔρυκα,, as suggested by Sylburg and Cluver. (Sylburg. ad loc.; Cluver, Sicil. p. 244.)


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  • Cross-references from this page (2):
    • Pausanias, Description of Greece, 10.11.3
    • Thucydides, Histories, 6.2
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