Segesta, as previously discussed in the blog of conflict with Selinunte, was also a site with a history dating back to last millennium BC. Legend, and assumed factual by some historians, is that the founders were surviving Trojans who fled after their historic defeat. The city is referred to in this context by a number of Ancient Greek poets.
All that remains is a beautiful temple that is one o& the most intact of this architecture in the world. Despite its relative completeness it was never finished as it lacks the ornamental trimmings of a completed work. But it is spectacular to behold in a relatively remote but pastoral setting.
The reason for not being complete is still a mystery. Some say it lack funds due to continuous wars with Selinunte. Others say it was quickly started as a tribute to Athens in anticipation o& their support against that same enemy.
In its continued battles, and ultimate defeat, of its neighbour Selinunte Segesta remained a viable city into 1st century BC. But although it survived, it was often subjected to severe events over the centuries. It’s most devastating was at the hands of the despot Agathocles of Siracusa, having landed in the West of Sicily on his return from Africa (307 BC). Though received into the city as a friend and ally, suddenly turned upon the inhabitants on a pretence of disaffection, and put the whole of the citizens (said to amount to 10,000 in number) to the sword, plundered their wealth, and sold the women and children into slavery. He then changed the name of the city to Dicaeopolis, and assigned it as a residence to the fugitives and deserters that had gathered around him.
Romans belief and acceptance of Trojan history gave the city special status even into the first century AD – despite some alliances with the Carthageans during the Pubic Wars.
The city rose again to some prominence and given the status:
“sine foedere immunes ac liberi”- a free and immune city.
Close by is also the remains of well preserved Roman type theatre which is open allowing you to test the acoustics as you walk down to your seat to enjoy a goblet of wine before the play begins,