PARCO ARCHEOLOGICO DI SEGESTA

 
Tempio di Segesta

The Park

The Archaeological Park is located in Segesta, a city that between the second century BC and the first BC, had a great period of prosperity on the model of the micro-Asian cities; in it is present also a phase late ancient and Byzantine, a Muslim village with a mosque, followed by a Norman-Swabian settlement with a summit castle and a church founded in 1442 on the ground from the already articulated stratigraphy, all in the northern acropolis.

The oldest dwellings in the city - the end of the sixth century BC - are located along the slopes of the mountain; the urban plant, with various transformations and constructions realized in the centuries V a.C. - II d.C., in which are also visible some possible viari paths, extended, on two peaks: North Acropolis (public buildings, agora, theater and, at lower elevation, a house) and South (dwellings: "house of the ships") connected by a saddle and defended to the East and to the South by very steep natural walls, while the other slopes were equipped, in classical times, with a wall belt with monumental doors and, in the early imperial age, of a second one, located at a higher altitude.

Outside the walls, in 430 - 420 BC, stands the Temple of Doric-Sicelian type; Outside the walls is visible the sanctuary in the Mango district (VI-V century B.C.) and a Necropolis of the Hellenistic period in the area facing the “Porta di Valle”.

Further archaeological investigations will allow to widen the historical-cultural framework outlined at present even for the most recent periods.

 

 

The Temple

A Doric-Sicelian peripteral of 6×14 columns, was not completed probably as a consequence of the events of the end of the V century BC. (of 409-408); another theory wants it so strangely built because intended for a non-Greek cult.
The temple follows the canons of classical architecture of Sicelian cities, especially of Selinunte, not disregarding the Attic models. We don't know which divinity it had been dedicated, nor has it been identified the altar; however, modest structures of a simple sacred building, identified during the explorations conducted inside the temple, certainly bring us back to a ancient cult.

 

 

The fortification of the city

The lower defensive wall (early 5th century B.C.), which encircled the western flank of the mountain, closed the valley where the opening of a city gate which at the end of the fifth century BC is equipped with towers (VII-VIII) and then restricted by a wall connected to the West tower. Higher up, the main door (Porta Stazzo) was controlled by a fortified bastion (sheepfold in modern times) and flanked by three towers (IX-XI).
Between the end of the 4th century and the middle of the 3rd century BC, the Porta di Valle sees its closure, but then transformed into a powerful war apparatus with catapults and warehouses for stone bullets; in the second half of the IIIrd century B.C. was born the middle walls between towers VI and IX that left out the Porta di Valle causing its tragic decline.

During the first imperial age, was built a new wall at a higher altitude, given the contraction of the urban apparatus, equipped with nine towers and with two doors (Porta Teatro and Porta Bastione) so that the whole defensive system in the valley was definitively abandoned; Porta di Valle was reused as an oil mill.

 

 

The Theatre

Inside the archaeological park of Segesta there is a theater dating from the middle of the second century BC, based on stylistic and stratigraphic elements, that is, when the city, under the political sphere of Rome, realizes a its new monumental layout. Overall, the structure has undergone extensive remodeling in the nineteenth century. We do not have any historical source that mentions or describes this monument and what happened in it. However, given the presence of the not far bouleuterion, it is certain that here entertainment shows, like many other theaters of antiquity, which went on for whole days from morning to sunset.

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