1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Castrogiovanni

CASTROGIOVANNI (Arab. Kasr-Yani, a corruption of Castrum Ennae), a town and episcopal see of the province of Caltanisetta, Sicily, 95 m. by rail S.E. of Palermo, and 56 m. W. of Catania, situated 2605 ft. above sea-level, almost in the centre of the island, and commanding a magnificent view of the interior. Pop. (1901) 25,826. Enna was one of the cities of the Sicels, and the statement of Stephanus Byzantinus that it was colonized by Syracuse in 664 B.C. is improbable. The question is discussed by E. Pais, Atakta (Pisa, 1891), 63. It does not appear in history before the time of Dionysius I. of Syracuse, who, after unsuccessful attempts, finally acquired possession of it by treachery about 397 B.C. Its natural position rendered it a fortress of great importance, and it is frequently mentioned in subsequent history. In 134–132 it was the headquarters of the slave revolt, and was only reduced by treachery. Cicero speaks of it as a place of some importance, but in imperial times it seems to have been of little account. In A.D. 837 the Saracens attempted to take it, but without success; and it was again only by treachery that they were able to take it in 859. In 1087 it fell into the hands of the Normans; and the existing remains of fortifications are entirely medieval. There are indeed no remains of earlier days. The cathedral, founded in 1307, is of some interest. There are no remains of the famous temple of Demeter, from which Verres, as Cicero tells us, removed the bronze statue of the goddess. The lake of Pergus, where Persephone, according to one of the myths, was carried off by Hades, lies 4 m. to the south. The myth itself must have had some local origin, but has had so much Greek detail grafted upon it that the very names of the earlier Sicel deities have been displaced.