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THE GREEK THEATER OF SEGESTA
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Segesta is the most important of Elymian cities. Its location is extremely impressive because it is situated on an articulated and complex system of hills, embellished by the inclusion of its main monuments: the theater and the temple. The legend says it was founded by the survivors of the Trojan War led by Aeneas, who, before coming to Rome, left a sizeable colony of his countrymen, including his old father. Elimi were an extremely refined people, and for this subject to the dominant influence of Siceliot Greek culture, but known in a subordinate position, as all so-called indigenous peoples of Sicily. Elimi maintained relations with neighboring civilizations but trying to always have an autonomy that led them to fight with the Greeks in alliance with the Carthaginians, and with the latter in alliance with Rome. Segesta soon became a powerful city that had almost always a contentious relationship with Selinus. In terms of material culture we know little, but what little leads us to think that, while strongly Hellenized, Segesta was able to offer autonomous solutions in terms of architecture and earthenware production, as well as the language. The most significant elements of Segesta are the theater, the temple and the sanctuary of Contrada Mango.

 

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The theater was built in or around the middle of the IVth or in the second century. B.C. on the summit of Mount Barbaro for the intrinsic panoramic quality of that location. In the site of the theater was a cave with the Bronze Age material, later incorporated in the construction, as was the case in the construction of the theater of Syracuse. Studies conducted by Vincenzo Tusa and Sebastiano Tusa emerges as the workers and the theater of Segesta originators have been under Greek environment given the canonicity of the project. It is one of the most successful examples of theater architecture placed in the transition from the Greek to the Roman type. The auditorium was partly carved into the rock, partly obstructed by a massive retaining wall. Although the theater was in a non-Greek city, it had to have that role and those functions in the city almost identical to the one that a similar monument had in the Greek ones. It was partially excavated in the early century and recently restored. It is now part of the archaeological site of Segesta and is regularly used for theatrical performances.

Bibliographical references:
V. Tusa (1991), Segesta, Sellerio Editore, Palermo.
S. Tusa, Parco Archeologico di Segesta. www.regione.sicilia.it/bbccaa/Dirbenicult/bca/L_Parchi/parco_segesta.html

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