The History of Sicily

Magna Graecia

The term Magna Graecia, refers to the array of cities in the Greek homeland, as well as their various colonies. The first Greek settlers came to Sicily from Chalcis, a city on the island of Euboea in the eighth century B.C. According to Thucydides, they concentrated their colonies on the eastern and southern parts of the island and founded Naxos, near modern Taormina. Another colony founded by these early settlers was Katane (now Catania), south of Mt. Etna, in 735.

Syracuse, founded in 736 by the Corinthians, was to remain the most important and strongest Greek city, but others include Gela and Messina. In response to Siracusan expansion, the Greeks of Gela, a colony founded by people from Rhodes and Crete in 689, moved westward and established sub-colonies at Akragas (now Agrigento) and Selinunte. Both of these sites, which contain the remnants of many Greek temples, are sources of important archaeological information.


Temple of Concord, Agrigento