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NETUM

NETUM or NEE´TUM (Νέητον, Ptol. 3.4.13; Netum, Cic., Sil. Ital.: Eth. Netinus, Cic., Plin.: Noto Vecchio), a considerable town in the S. of Sicily, near the sources of the little river Asinarus (Falconara), and about 20 miles SW. of Syracuse. We find no mention of it in early times, but it was probably subject to Syracuse; and it is in accordance with this, that, by the treaty concluded in B.C. 263 between the Romans and Hieron king of Syracuse, Neetum was noticed as one of the cities left in subjection to that monarch. (Diod. xxiii. Exc. H. p. 502.) We have no account of the circumstances which subsequently earned for the Netini the peculiarly privileged position in which we afterwards find them: but in the days of Cicero Netum enjoyed the rights of a “foederata civitas” like Messana and Tauromenium; while, in Pliny's time, it still retained the rank of a Latin town (civitas Latinae conditionis), a favour then enjoyed by only three cities in the island. (Cic. Ver. 4.26, 5.22, 51 ; Plin. Nat. 3.8. s. 14; Ptol. l.c.; Sil. Ital. 14.268.) Ptolemy is the last ancient writer that mentions the name; but there is no doubt that it continued to exist throughout the middle ages; and under the Norman kings rose to be a place of great importance, and the capital of the southern province of Sicily, to which it gave the name of Val di Noto. But having suffered repeatedly from earthquakes, the inhabitants were induced to emigrate to a site nearer the sea, where they founded the modern city of Noto, in 1703. The old site, which is now known as Noto Vecchio, was on the summit of a lofty hill about 8 miles from the modern town and 12 from the sea-coast: some remains of the ancient amphitheatre, and of a building called a gymnasium, are still visible, and a Greek inscription, which belongs to the time of Hieron II. (Fazell. de Reb. Sic. 4.2; Castell. Inscr. Sicil. p. 101.)

[E.H.B]

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  • Cross-references from this page (2):
    • Pliny the Elder, Naturalis Historia, 3.8
    • Claudius Ptolemy, Tetrabiblos, 3.4
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