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IAETA or IETAE (Ἰεταί, Steph. B. sub voce: Eth. Ἰεταῖος, Id.; but Diodorus has Ἰαιτῖνος, and this is confirmed by coins, the legend of which is uniformly Ἰαιτινων, Eckhel, vol. i. p. 216: in Latin, Cicero has “Ietini,” but Pliny Ietenses), a town of the interior of Sicily, in the NW. of the island, not very far from Panormus. It was mentioned by Philistus (ap. Steph. B. sub voce as a fortress, and it is called by Thucydides also (if the reading Ἰετάς be admitted, in 7.2) a fortress of the Siculians Τεῖχος τῶν Σικελῶν), which was taken by Gylippus on his march from Himera through the interior of the island towards Syracuse. It first appears as an independent city in the time of Pyrrhus, and was attacked by that monarch on account of its strong position and the advantages it offered for operations against Panormus; but the inhabitants readily capitulated. (Diod. 22.10, p. 498.) In the First Punic War it was occupied by a Carthaginian garrison, but after the fall of Panormus drove out these troops and opened its gates to the Romans. (Id. 23.18, p. 505.) Under the Roman government it appears as a municipal town, but not one of much importance. The Ietini are only noticed in passing by Cicero among the towns whose lands had been utterly ruined by the exactions of Verres; and the Ietenses are enumerated by Pliny among the “populi stipendiarii” of the interior of Sicily. (Cic. Ver. 3.43; Plin. Nat. 3.8. s. 14.) Many MSS. of Cicero read Letini, and it is probable that the Λῆτον of Ptolemy (3.4.15) is only a corruption of the same name.

The position of Iaeta is very obscurely intimated, but it appears from Diodorus that it was not very remote from Panormus, and that its site was one of great natural strength. Silius Italicus also alludes to its elevated situation ( “celsus Ietas,” 14.271). Fazello assures us that there was a mediaeval fortress called Iato on the summit of a lofty mountain, about 15 miles from Palermo, and 12 N. of Entella, which was destroyed by Frederic II. at the same time with the latter city; and this he supposes, probably enough, to be the site of Iaeta. He says the mountain was still called Monte di Iato, though more commonly known as Monte di S. Cosmano, from a church on its summit. (Fazell. x. p. 471; Amic. Lex. Top. Sic. vol. ii. p. 291.) The spot is not marked on any modern map, and does not appear to have been visited by any recent travellers. The position thus assigned to Iaeta agrees well with the statements of Diodorus, but is wholly irreconcilable with the admission of Ἰετάς into the text of Thucydides (7.2): this reading, however, is a mere conjecture (see Arnold's note), and must probably be discarded as untenable.



hide References (3 total)
  • Cross-references from this page (3):
    • Thucydides, Histories, 7.2
    • Pliny the Elder, Naturalis Historia, 3.8
    • Claudius Ptolemy, Tetrabiblos, 3.4
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