Lexicon of Sicily, about Himera

Sicilian encyclopedia for travel and knowledge

Himera is located on the northern coast of Sicily. The town of Himera was founded in 648 BC by Greeks from Zancle (now Messina) and was named after the River Imera that flows nearby. It was the first Greek settlement on this part of the island and was a strategic outpost just outside the eastern boundary of the Carthaginian-controlled west. In 480 BC the town was the scene of a decisive battle between the Greeks and Carthaginians. The Carthaginians had intended to take Himera and then move on to win control of the island from Greek hands, but the Greek victory put a temporary end to Carthaginian ambitions and consolidated the Greek position on the island. As for Himera itself, it paid the price for Carthage's defeat in 409 BC, when Hamilcar's nephew Hannibal Mago completely destroyed the town in revenge of his uncle's death. The only recognizable ruin in this city is the Tempio della Vittoria (Temple of Victory), a Doric structure supposedly built to commemorate the defeat of the Carthaginians (although recently some scholars have come to doubt this hypothesis). To the south of the temple was the town's necropolis. Some artifacts recovered from this site are kept in a small antiquarium. However, the more impressive displays are in Palermo's Museo Archeologico Regionale.