ANTIQUARIUM E TEATRO – ERACLEA MINOA

 
Teatro di Eraclea Minoa

L’antica città di Eraclea Minoa si estende su un bianco promontorio proteso verso un incantevole paesaggio marino. Le origini di Minoa affondano nel mito antichissimo della spedizione di Minosse in Sicilia sulle tracce di Dedalo, l’architetto del labirinto, fuggito in volo con ali di cera insieme al figlio Icaro. Diodoro racconta la tragica fine del  re cretese per mano di Kokalos signore dei Sicani, presso cui Dedalo si era rifugiato. I compagni di Minosse, in fuga, avrebbero fondato la città di Minoa.

The myth alludes to the frequent cultural and commercial contacts between East and West that have been archaeologically attested during the Mycenaean period. According to Herodotus, Heraclea was named after Heracles by Eurileon, the only survivor of the Spartan Dorieo's expedition to Sicily at the end of the 6th century BC.

The ancient city of Eraclea Minoa extends over a white promontory jutting out into an enchanting seascape. The origins of Minoa lie in the ancient myth of the Minos expedition to Sicily on the trail of Daedalus, the architect of the labyrinth, who fled in flight with wings of wax together with his son Icaro. Diodorus tells of the tragic end of the Cretan king at the hands of Kokalos, lord of the Sicani, where Daedalus had taken refuge. The companions of Minos, on the run, would have founded the city of Minoa. The myth alludes to the frequent cultural and commercial contacts between East and West archaeologically attested during the Mycenaean period. The name of Heraclea, on the other hand, according to the testimony of Herodotus, was imposed in honor of Heracles by Eurileonte, the only survivor of the Spartan Dorieus expedition to Sicily, at the end of the sixth century BC. Founded by the Selinuntini in the 6th century, the city soon entered the sphere of influence of Akragas. After the Carthaginian invasion of 409-406 BC Heraclea fell under Punic control. With the advent of the Romans, the city, recolonized by Publio Rupilio in 132 BC, was involved in servile wars. From the 1st century BC archeology records a long abandonment and a new frequentation only in the 5th-6th century AD. with the construction of a funerary basilica. The city was protected by an imposing wall, about 6 km long, which embraces the entire extension of the plateau. The excavations, begun in the 50s of the last century, have revealed, in addition to the walls, the theater, the necropolis and a large sector of the town, of which houses dating back to two different construction phases are visible, the oldest in the IV-III century BC, the most recent of the II-I century BC The necropolis, outside the walls, has returned evidence between the sixth and fourth centuries BC.

The city was protected by an imposing wall, about 6 km long, which encompasses the entire extension of the plateau. Excavations, which began in the 1950s, have brought to light, in addition to the walls, the theatre, the necropolis and a large sector of the settlement, in which dwellings dating back to two different construction phases are visible, the oldest from the 4th-3rd century BC, the most recent from the 2nd-1st century BC. The necropolis, outside the walls, has yielded evidence between the 6th and 4th centuries BC.

 

Perched on the slope of a hill and facing the sea, the theatre dates from the 4th century BC. The remains of a sanctuary, dedicated to a female divinity, are visible on the summit terrace. The cavea is built of marl ashlars, while the ambulatory around the orchestra is carved into the rock. The steps are divided into nine sectors by stairs, which allowed the spectators to move around. An ambulatory separated the first row of seats with armrests and backrests for the authorities (proedria). Around the orchestra, where the choir performed, you can see the water drainage channel, known as the eurypus.

It is likely that the stage building, which has not been preserved, was made of wood, as some clues found by archaeologists would suggest.

The area of the stage was occupied by residential structures during the 2nd century BC, when the theatre was probably disused.

Due to its location near the sea and in a windswept area, the theatre is subject to a serious process of deterioration, which has been remedied by the construction of a temporary cover.

Leaning on the slope of a hillock and facing the sea, the theater dates back to the 4th century BC. On the top terrace it is visible the remains of a sanctuary, dedicated to a female divinity. The cavea is built in marl blocks, while the ambulatory around the orchestra is carved into the rock. The staircase is divided into nine sectors by ladders, which allowed the movement of spectators. An ambulatory separated the first row of seats with armrests and backs for the authorities (proedria). Around the orchestra, where the choir performed, you can see the drainage channel, called Eurypus. It is likely that the scenic building, which has not been preserved, was made of wood, as some clues found by archaeologists would also suggest. The area of ​​the stage was occupied by residential structures during the second century BC, when the theater was probably abandoned. The theater, due to its position near the sea and in a place beaten by the wind, is subject to a serious process of decay, which has been tried to remedy with the construction of a temporary roof. At the entrance to the archaeological area, a small Antiquarium houses a significant selection of finds, figured ceramics, terracotta statuettes and furnishings, which tell the story of the city. The archaeological area is open to the public from 8.00 am to one hour before sunset every day from Monday to Sunday including holidays.

The archaeological area is open to the public from 8.00 am to one hour before sunset every day from Monday to Sunday including holidays.

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