Akrillai (Ἄκριλλαι in Greek and Acrillae in Latin) was an ancient Greek colony located in the modern province of Ragusa, Sicily, Italy, where the town of Chiaramonte Gulfi stands today. The ruins of the old colony can be found in the contrada (quarter) Piano del Conte-Morana and Piano Grillo. A necropolis dating from the 6th-5th century BC has been identified in the contrada Paraspola-Pirruna.

The name appears in different forms among different authors: Akrilla, Akrille; in ancient sources: Akrillaiu; the name is variously written by Latin writers Acrilla and Acrille.

South-east Sicily Citites of V century
South-east Sicily and the Greek cities in red and the Native settlements in blue. The Via Selinuntina in yellow and the Via Elorina in green.


Hellenic era

The city was founded by the Corinthian and Syracusan colonists at the same time of Kamarina (598 BC), overlooking the Valley of the Hipparis to establish their power against the city of Gela, founded by a Cretan-Rhodian effort. Akrillai was also a road-station on the route from Syracuse to Gela and Akragas. By passing via Akrai and Kasmenai, the road avoided the low Hyblaean Mountains and Hybla Heraea.

The city based its economy on trade, thanks to its strategic position along the Via Selinuntina. Near to Akrillai was the Hellenistic settlement of Scornavacche, where recent excavations have found several clay ovens. Throughout its existence Akrillai remained under the influence of the mother-city Syracuse, with which it was allied. According to the Roman historian Titus Livius, the city was used as a fortress and military base during the Carthaginians' second Sicilian campaign. In 406 BC, after the fall of Akragas and Gela, the city was destroyed for the first time, as the Carthaginians passed on their way to attack and besiege Syracuse.

Roman Acrillae

Titus Livius also recounts[1][2] the battle fought at Akrillai in 213 BC between Syracusan forces guided by the strategos Hippokrates, and the Roman army led by the consul Marcus Claudius Marcellus:

One night in 213 BC, whilst the city of Syracuse was under siege by the Romans, the Syracusan army managed to find an unguarded passage between the Roman lines. Epicides, brother of Hippokrates, was left to guard the city, whilst his brother took the army to Akrillai and prepared to counter attack the Romans. The consul Marcello, marching towards Akrillai from Akragas, arrived at the colony to find the Syracusan army busy establishing their camp. The consul, strong from months of preparation against the Carthaginians, ordered the attack and the Syracusan army, disorientated and unarmed, was divided from its cavalry and commanders. Powerless in this situation, Hippokrates was forced to take refuge in Akrai.

With the defeat of Hippokrates’ Syracusans, the city of Akrillai became part of the Roman province of Sicily, its name Latinized as Acrillae.[3]

Arab Gulfi

In 827 AD the town was destroyed again, this time by the Arabs of Asad ibn al-Furat. The name Acrillae disappeared and the rebuilt centre was known by the Arab name of Gulfi, which means "the rose-garden" and "place rich with vegetation". The nearby river Dirillo also takes its name from Acrillae: called Achates (agate) during the Greek-Roman era and said to be where agates were first found,[4][5][6] in Arab times the river was called Wadi Ikrilu (River of Acrille).


Akrillai was discovered by the historian Corrado Melfi and identified by the archaeologist Antonio Di Vita, an academic of the Lincei, who conducted several campaigns of excavation. The many findings are housed in the Hyblean Archaeological Museum of Ragusa and in the Regional Archeological Museum of Syracuse.


  1. ^ thelatinlibrary.com Livy, Book XXIV, 35-36 in Latin.
  2. ^ Livy, Book XXIV, 24.35-24.36
  3. ^ Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography (1854), ed. William Smith, LLD (20.68)
  4. ^ Theophrastus, On Stones
  5. ^ Pliny the Elder, The Natural History, Book XXXVII Chapter 54, at the Perseus Project
  6. ^ The Chambers Dictionary (2001) Edinburgh: Chambers Harrap Publishers. P.27


  • This article includes material from its counterpart in the Italian-language Wikipedia « it:Akrillai » , specifically from this version.

External links

Media related to Chiaramonte Gulfi at Wikimedia Commons

Coordinates: 37°02′N 14°41′E / 37.033°N 14.683°E

Acropolis of Athens

The Acropolis of Athens is an ancient citadel located on a rocky outcrop above the city of Athens and contains the remains of several ancient buildings of great architectural and historic significance, the most famous being the Parthenon. The word acropolis is from the Greek words ἄκρον (akron, "highest point, extremity") and πόλις (polis, "city"). Although the term acropolis is generic and there are many other acropoleis in Greece, the significance of the Acropolis of Athens is such that it is commonly known as "The Acropolis" without qualification. During ancient times it was known also more properly as Cecropia, after the legendary serpent-man, Cecrops, the supposed first Athenian king.

While there is evidence that the hill was inhabited as far back as the fourth millennium BC, it was Pericles (c. 495–429 BC) in the fifth century BC who coordinated the construction of the site's most important present remains including the Parthenon, the Propylaia, the Erechtheion and the Temple of Athena Nike. The Parthenon and the other buildings were damaged seriously during the 1687 siege by the Venetians during the Morean War when gunpowder being stored in the Parthenon was hit by a cannonball and exploded.


Akrai (Ancient Greek: Ἄκραι; Latin: Acrenses) was a Greek colony founded in Sicily by the Syracusans in 663 BC. It was located near the modern Palazzolo Acreide.

Ancient Greek dialects

Ancient Greek in classical antiquity, before the development of the common Koine Greek of the Hellenistic period, was divided into several varieties.

Most of these varieties are known only from inscriptions, but a few of them, principally Aeolic, Doric, and Ionic, are also represented in the literary canon alongside the dominant Attic form of literary Greek.

Likewise, Modern Greek is divided into several dialects, most derived from Koine Greek.

Ancient Greek sculpture

Ancient Greek sculpture is the sculpture of ancient Greece. Modern scholarship identifies three major stages in monumental sculpture. At all periods there were great numbers of Greek terracotta figurines and small sculptures in metal and other materials.

The Greeks decided very early on that the human form was the most important subject for artistic endeavour. Seeing their gods as having human form, there was little distinction between the sacred and the secular in art—the human body was both secular and sacred. A male nude of Apollo or Heracles had only slight differences in treatment to one of that year's Olympic boxing champion. The statue, originally single but by the Hellenistic period often in groups was the dominant form, though reliefs, often so "high" that they were almost free-standing, were also important.


Casmenae or Kasmenai (Casmene in Italian) was an ancient Greek colony located on the Hyblaean Mountains, founded in 644 BC by the Syracusans at a strategic position for the control of central Sicily. It was also intended as a military forward-position on the Via Selinuntina road that connected Syracuse to Akragas (modern-day Agrigento) - also on that road were Gela and Akrillai to Casmene's west and Akrai to its east. Destroyed by the Romans in 212 BC, Casmene was abandoned during the 3rd century BC and never inhabited again.

The site was discovered by the Sicilian archeologist Paolo Orsi during the first half of the 20th century, after he had identified the most probably site at Monte Casale in Buscemi at 830m above sea level, on an extinct volcano near Monte Lauro, 7 km from Giarratana and 12 km from Palazzolo Acreide. Remains of the defensive walls, long 3.400m, are still visible with the base of one of the temples and some dwellings.

Chiaramonte Gulfi

Chiaramonte Gulfi (Sicilian: Ciaramunti) is a town and comune in the province of Ragusa, Sicily, southern Italy.

Corrado Melfi

Corrado Melfi, Baron of St. John (Chiaramonte Gulfi, January 16, 1850 - January 9, 1940) was an Italian historian and archaeologist. At the end of the 19th century he discovered the archeological site of Akrillai and the minor site of Scornavacche, not far from Akrillai. In 1912 he gave large accounts of his discoveries in his Cenni storici su Chiaramonte Gulfi.

The findings of excavations are housed in the Hyblean Archaeological Museum of Ragusa and in the Archeological Museum of Syracuse.

Cycladic culture

Cycladic culture (also known as Cycladic civilisation or, chronologically, as Cycladic chronology) was a Bronze Age culture (c. 3200–c. 1050 BC) found throughout the islands of the Cyclades in the Aegean Sea. In chronological terms, it is a relative dating system for artefacts which broadly complements Helladic chronology (mainland Greece) and Minoan chronology (Crete) during the same period of time.


Demonax (Greek: Δημώναξ, Dēmōnax, gen.: Δημώνακτος; c. AD 70 – c. 170) was a Greek Cynic philosopher. Born in Cyprus, he moved to Athens, where his wisdom, and his skill in solving disputes, earned him the admiration of the citizens. He taught Lucian, who wrote a Life of Demonax in praise of his teacher. When he died he received a magnificent public funeral.

Greece in the Roman era

Greece in the Roman era describes the period of Greek history when Ancient Greece was dominated by the Roman Republic (509 – 27 BC), the Roman Empire (27 BC – AD 395), and the Byzantine Empire (AD 395 – 1453). The Roman era of Greek history began with the Corinthian defeat in the Battle of Corinth in 146 BC. However, before the Achaean War, the Roman Republic had been steadily gaining control of mainland Greece by defeating the Kingdom of Macedon in a series of conflicts known as the Macedonian Wars. The Fourth Macedonian War ended at the Battle of Pydna in 148 BC and defeat of the Macedonian royal pretender Andriscus.

The definitive Roman occupation of the Greek world was established after the Battle of Actium (31 BC), in which Augustus defeated Cleopatra VII, the Greek Ptolemaic queen of Egypt, and the Roman general Mark Antony, and afterwards conquered Alexandria (32 BC), the last great city of Hellenistic Greece. The Roman era of Greek history continued with Emperor Constantine the Great's adoption of Byzantium as Nova Roma, the capital city of the Roman Empire; in AD 330, the city was renamed Constantinople; afterwards, the Byzantine Empire was a generally Greek-speaking polity.

Greek Dark Ages

The Greek Dark Ages, Homeric Age (named for the fabled poet, Homer) or Geometric period (so called after the characteristic Geometric art of the time),

is the period of Greek history from the end of the Mycenaean palatial civilization around 1100 BC to the first signs of the Greek poleis (city states) in the 9th century BC.

The archaeological evidence shows a widespread collapse of Bronze Age civilization in the Eastern Mediterranean world at the outset of the period, as the great palaces and cities of the Mycenaeans were destroyed or abandoned. At about the same time, the Hittite civilization suffered serious disruption and cities from Troy to Gaza were destroyed and in Egypt the New Kingdom fell into disarray that led to the Third Intermediate Period.

Following the collapse, fewer and smaller settlements suggest famine and depopulation. In Greece, the Linear B writing of the Greek language used by Mycenaean bureaucrats ceased. The decoration on Greek pottery after about 1100 BC lacks the figurative decoration of Mycenaean ware and is restricted to simpler, generally geometric styles (1000–700 BC).

It was previously thought that all contact was lost between mainland Hellenes and foreign powers during this period, yielding little cultural progress or growth, but artifacts from excavations at Lefkandi on the Lelantine Plain in Euboea show that significant cultural and trade links with the east, particularly the Levant coast, developed from c. 900 BC onwards. Additionally, evidence has emerged of the new presence of Hellenes in sub-Mycenaean Cyprus and on the Syrian coast at Al-Mina.

Grotta-Pelos culture

The Grotta-Pelos culture (Greek: Γρόττα-Πηλός) refers to a "cultural" dating system used for part of the early Bronze Age in Greece. Specifically, it is the period that marks the beginning of the so-called Cycladic culture and spans the Neolithic period in the late 4th millennium BC (ca. 3300 BC), continuing in the Bronze Age to about 2700 BC.

The term was coined by Colin Renfrew, who named it after the sites of Grotta and Pelos on the Cycladic islands of Naxos and Milos, respectively. Other archaeologists prefer a "chronological" dating system and refer to this period as the Early Cycladic I (ECI).

Kastelli Hill

Kastelli Hill (also Kasteli; Greek: Λόφος Καστέλλι or Καστέλι) is a landform at the city of Chania on the island of Crete in the present day country of Greece. The Minoan city of ancient Cydonia was centered on Kastelli Hill, which later was selected by the Romans as the site of an acropolis.

List of ancient Greek cities

This is a small list of ancient Greek cities, including colonies outside Greece proper. Note that there were a great many Greek cities in the ancient world. In this list, a city is defined as a single population center. These were often referred to as poleis in the ancient world, although the list is not limited to "proper" poleis. Also excluded from the list are larger units, such as kingdoms or empires.

A city is defined as ancient Greek if at any time its population or the dominant stratum within it spoke Greek. Many were soon assimilated to some other language. By analogy some cities are included that never spoke Greek and were not Hellenic per se but contributed to Hellenic culture later found in the region.


In the culture of ancient Greece, the term paideia (also spelled paedeia) (; Greek: παιδεία, paideía) referred to the rearing and education of the ideal member of the polis. It incorporated both practical, subject-based schooling and a focus upon the socialization of individuals within the aristocratic order of the polis. The practical aspects of this education included subjects subsumed under the modern designation of the liberal arts (rhetoric, grammar, and philosophy are examples), as well as scientific disciplines like arithmetic and medicine. An ideal and successful member of the polis would possess intellectual, moral and physical refinement, so training in gymnastics and wrestling was valued for its effect on the body alongside the moral education which the Greeks believed was imparted by the study of music, poetry, and philosophy. This approach to the rearing of a well-rounded Greek male was common to the Greek-speaking world, with the exception of Sparta where a rigid and militaristic form of education known as the agoge was practiced.

Phylakopi I culture

The Phylakopi I culture (Greek: Φυλακωπή) refers to a "cultural" dating system used for the Cycladic culture that flourished during the early Bronze Age in Greece. It spans the period ca. 2300-2000 BC and was named by Colin Renfrew, after the settlement of Phylakopi on the Cycladic island of Milos. Other archaeologists describe this period as the Early Cycladic III (ECIII).

Province of Ragusa

The Province of Ragusa (Italian: Provincia di Ragusa; Sicilian: Pruvincia 'i Rausa) is a province in the autonomous region of Sicily in southern Italy, located in the south-east of the island. Following the suppression of the Sicilian provinces, it was replaced in 2015 by the Free municipal consortium of Ragusa. Its capital is the city of Ragusa, which is the most southerly provincial capital in Italy.

Timeline of ancient Greece

This is a timeline of Ancient Greece from its emergence around 800 BC to its subjection to the Roman Empire in 146 BC.

For earlier times, see Greek Dark Ages, Aegean civilizations and Mycenaean Greece. For later times see Roman Greece, Byzantine Empire and Ottoman Greece.

For modern Greece after 1820, see Timeline of modern Greek history.

Archaeological sites in Sicily
Province of Agrigento
Province of Caltanissetta
Province of Catania
Province of Enna
Province of Messina
Province of Palermo
Province of Ragusa
Province of Syracuse
Province of Trapani

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