Sicani (Greek Σικανοί Sikanoi) or Sicanians were one of
three ancient peoples of
Sicily present at the time of Phoenician and
Greek colonization. The
Sicani dwelt east of the
Elymians and west of
the Sicels, having, according to Diodorus Siculus, the boundary
with the last in the ancient Himera river (Salso) after a series of
battles between these tribes.
2 Herodotus and King Minos
4 See also
6 External links
Sicani are thought to be the oldest inhabitants of
Sicily with a
recorded name. The Greek historian Thucydides claimed they
immigrated from the
Iberian Peninsula (perhaps Valencia) driven
Ligurians from the river Sicanus, drawing his information from
the Sicilian historian Antiochus of Syracuse, but his basis for saying
this is unknown. Timaeus of
Tauromenium considered them as
aboriginal. Some modern scholars think the
Sicani may have been an
Illyrian tribe that gained control of areas previously inhabited by
native tribes. Archaeological excavation has shown that they had
received some Mycenaean influence.
Elymians are thought to be the next recorded people to settle
Sicily, perhaps from the Aegean, Anatolia, or Liguria. They settled in
the north-west corner of the island, forcing the Sicanians to move
across eastward. The
Sicels were the next to arrive, from mainland
Italy, and settled in the east. Historical records start with the
Phoenicians, who established colonies in the 11th century BCE, and
especially with the Greeks, who founded the colony of Syracuse, which
eventually became the largest Greek city, in 734 BCE. Other Greek
colonies were established around the island. The indigenous Sicilians
were gradually absorbed by these colonizing peoples and finally
disappeared as distinct peoples under Roman occupation.
Herodotus and King Minos
Herodotos: The History, VII.170-171
Minos, according to tradition, went to Sicania, or Sicily, as it is
now called, in search of Daedalus, and there perished by a violent
Tribes of Hellenic Sicily
A few short inscriptions using the
Greek alphabet have been found in
the extinct Sicanian language. Except for names, they have not
been translated, and the language is unclassified due to lack of
Ancient peoples of Italy
^ Diod., v.6.3-4
^ Thucydides, His. VI,2,3,4.
^ "Sicily: Encyclopedia II –
Sicily – History". Experience
Festival. 7 October 2007. Archived from the original on 31 December
^ "Aapologetico de la literatura española contra los opiniones".
Ensayo historico. 7 October 2007.
^ "Greek Identity in the Western Mediterranean". 2004.
^ As reported in
Diodorus Siculus V,6,1-3.
^ Fine, John (1985). The ancient Greeks: a critical history. Harvard
University Press. p. 72. ISBN 0-674-03314-0.
^ Fine, p.72
^ Herodotus, The History, George Rawlinson, trans., (New York: Dutton
& Co., 1862
^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds.
Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute
for the Science of Human History.
^ The World's Writing Systems. 1996:301.
^ 'Sicanian' at Linguist List
The death of
Minos in Sicily
Sicilian Peoples: The Sicanians by Vincenzo Salerno
Languages of Sicily
Gallo-Italic of Sicily
Mediterranean Lingua Franca
Southern Italian K