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Online Encyclopedia
Originally appearing in Volume V18, Page 774 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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MONTE SAN GIULIANO, a town and episcopal see of Sicily, in the province of Trapani, 2 M. E.N.E. of Trapani, on the summit of an isolated bare hill, 2465 ft. above the sea. Pop. of commune (1901), 28,939; of town, about 3000. The town occupies the site of the ancient Eryx, a city of the Elymi, a people who claimed to be sprung from a mixed settlement of Trojans and PhocianS after the fall of Troy (E. A. Freeman, History of Sicily, i. 195, 542), but regarded as f3ip0apoa by the Greeks. The city' was famous for the temple of Venus Erycina, to the foundations of which a wall of 12 courses of masonry in the castle probably belongs. The worship was a relic of the Phoenician cult of Astarte. In 415 B.C. the Athenian envoys were shown the treasure of the temple at Eryx as available for the expenses of the war, which treasure turned out to be only silver-gilt and not of solid gold (Thucydides vi. 46). The town must have become a part of the Carthaginian dominion in 405 B.C. It was seized by Pyrrhus in 278 B.C., and was ceded to Rome at the end of the First Punic War. In Roman times the temple (like that of Diana Tifatana, near Capua) possessed territory of its own, being dependent neither on the state nor on any neighbouring town, and a considerable number of female slaves. The place was the residence of the quaestor in charge of the western half of the island, ard Verres, as praetor, seems to have spent a good deal of time here. Considerable portions of the city wall are preserved on the north-west; on the east and south the precipitous cliffs formed a sufficient defence. The remains date from a reconstruction of Roman times,' in which the material of two earlier periods has been used: the large blocks belonging to the original fortifications bear Phoenician masons' marks; but the long line of towers at regular intervals is a thoroughly Roman characteristic. The castle, dating from the middle ages, with three lofty towers guarding the entrance, occupies the south-eastern extremity of the town. The cathedral, founded in 1314, has a fine porch and Gothic facade.

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