North of the Greek colony of Leontinoi and on the southern edge of its ancient chora, today’s Piana di Catania, rises a hilly ridge from which the hill of Colle San Basilio stands out. The most ancient human traces of the site seem to date back to the Early Bronze Age (first half of the 2nd millennium BC) and human occupation is recorded until the medieval period (XIII cent.) in alternate periods. Its major development seems to be attested during the III century BC when it became a military outpost, a phrourion, to control the vast territory of the Greek city. Inside the fortress there is a monumental hypogeal building with pillars, whose use, although not yet clarified, seems to find specific comparisons with numerous water cisterns distributed in the Mediterranean, then transformed into a church during the medieval period when the site was granted in emphyteusis to the Basilian Monks by King Roger II.
Mr Italo Giordano, specialised archaeological guide in Sicily, will be giving a lecture entitled: Controlling territory: the Greek fortress of San Basilio near Lentini, Sicilyon Wednesday, 21 November 2018. The presentation is part of The Archaeological Society Malta’s lecture programme and will be held at 6 pm at the National Museum of Archaeology, Republic Street, Valletta.
Photo caption: The Greek fortress of San Basilio, Lentini, Sicily