History of Morgantina

The ancient city of Morgantina is situated on the Serra Orlando ridge, near the modern town of Aidone in the central Sicilian province of Enna. Overlooking the broad plain of Catania, it sits astride the pass through the mountains to the Plain of Gela in the South.

Ruins of Morgantina

The Archaic settlement on Cittadella

Inhabited as early as the Bronze Age, Morgantina had an important Iron Age settlement of longhouses centered on an acropolis known as the Cittadella. In the second quarter of the sixth century B.C., buildings that are Greek in construction technique and decoration appear, and the cemeteries seen a major influx of imported Greek ceramics.

The early period of the city’s history ended in 459 B.C., when the Sikel leader Duketios captured Morgantina in a vain attempt to free central Sicily from Greek control. The Serra Orlando plateau became the site of the city. In 396 B.C. Morgantina was captured by Dionysios of Syracuse, and for the next two centuries it remained in the Syracusan sphere of influence. It was its greatest period of prosperity and building during the third century BC as an outpost of the Hellenistic kingdom of Syracuse under King Hieron II. Morgantina’s fate would change at the end of the third century B.C., when it took the wrong side in the Second Punic War, was sacked by the Roman army in 211 B.C. and given to Spanish mercenaries. This catastrophe was followed by a slow decline through the second and first centuries B.C., ending with the abandonment of the site in the first century A.D.

Arial view of Morgantina