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MO´TYCA or MU´TYCA (Μότουκα, Ptol.: Eth. Mutycensis, Cic. et Plin.: Modica), an inland town in the SE. of Sicily, between Syracuse and Camarina. It was probably from an early period a dependency of Syracuse; and hence we meet with no mention of its name until after the Roman conquest of Sicily, when it became an independent municipium, and apparently a place of some consequence. Cicero tells us that previous to the exactions of Verres, its territory (the “ager Mutycensis” ) supported 187 farmers, whence it would appear to have been at once extensive and fertile. (Cic. Ver. 3.43, 51.) Motyca is also mentioned among the inland towns of the island both by Pliny and Ptolemy; and though its name is not found in the Itineraries, it is again mentioned by the Geographer of Ravenna. (Plin. Nat. 3.8.14 ; Ptol. 3.4.14; Geogr. Rav. 5.23.) Silius Italicus also includes it in his list of Sicilian cities, and immediately associates it with Netum, with which it was clearly in the same neighbourhood. (Sil. Ital. 14.268.) There can be no doubt that it is represented by the modern city of Modica, one of the largest and most populous places in the Val di Noto. It is situated in a deep valley, surrounded by bare limestone mountains, about 10 miles from the sea.

Ptolemy notices also a river to which he gives the name of Motychanus (Μοτύχανος ποταμός), which he places on the S. coast, and must evidently derive its name from the city. It is either the trifling stream now known as the Fiume di Scicli, which rises very near Modica; or perhaps the more considerable one, now known as Fiume di Ragusa, which flows within a few miles of the same city.


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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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