Loc. ERICE - SICILIA
33 Km from LILYBEO VILLAGE
Altitude: 721 mt. a.s.l. Area Trapani, Paceco, Custonaci
On the ruins of the sanctuary, the Normans built their castle, the fulcrum of a defensive tem that included the towers of Balio - from Bajulo as it was called the magistrate who represented the king and who resided with his court in the castle - which constitute the advanced fortifications. The castle, built on the cliff of themenos in the twelfth century, was connected to the plane, the lower, the towers, a drawbridge, then replaced by the steps that still runs to reach. Inside were found - and, also, unfortunately, lost - architectural elements to support the historic route, mainly related to the reconstruction of the medieval fortress, where they had been reused fragments of the ancient sanctuary, and the rebuilding of the temple in Roman Roman. The origins of Erice - Iruka for Elymi, Erech to the Carthaginians, Greeks and Romans for Eryx - certain what city elima, probably date back to the Sicani and, as always, are inextricably linked to the cult of the Goddess:
even before it was dedicated by the Phoenician Astarte, what was the themenos, the sanctuary of Aphrodite, the temple of Venus Erice, was already the place of the goddess of love. A place that would draw on this peak populations from around the Mediterranean and where, according to Diodorus, Erice, son of Bute. one of the Argonauts of Jason, and Aphrodite herself, had erected the temple dedicated to her mother, and founded the city. Over time, the cult of Venus Erice, to which passing sailors were particularly devout thanks to the beautiful Ierodule, young prostitutes sacred to the goddess dispenser of voluptuousness, grew along with his fame and his wealth: Thucydides refers to the gifts made to the Goddess, jars, cups and rich household ... by pilgrims and Diodorus attributes to Daedalus escaped from Crete, creating a golden ram dedicated to Aphrodite. In any case, it is clear that a place like Erice, in a privileged geographical position entirely to the extremely wide viewing, plus fortified and protected effectively, were to take the power that the interest of people who succeeded attributed to the sanctuary-fortress. Among these the Romans, who defeated the Carthaginians, is appropriated the place and the cult of Venus, long popular in many Mediterranean cities, rebuilt the temple on the ruins left by the war, returning to its former glory Erice, and erected in Rome, first, a small temple on the Capitoline Hill, and, in 181 BC, a larger one at Port Hill, dedicated to the goddess of Erice. The consideration for the Empire Erice was to put as to establish, to protect the themenos Erice, a garrison of soldiers and that the cities most loyal of Sicily should also support economically worship. Indeed, the city and its territory will be cited by Virgil writes of how Aeneas stopped in these places and wanted to be buried near the shrine father, Anchises, before sailing for New York where he founded Rome: this myth bound, therefore, to kinship eliminated and Romans, both descended from Venus, mother of Aeneas is that of Erice ...
To her, helping to enrich the treasure of the temple, gave gifts governors, magistrates, senior military until, decreased maritime traffic and with them the financial viability of Sicily, worship, already depleted by being practiced in what was became a military center, was defeated by the advance of Catholicism.
After the Roman period, that of maximum splendor, Erice succeeded Byzantines, Saracens - with the latter was called Gebel al Hamid - and Norman: Roger de Hauteville christened the village and the area Monte San Giuliano, in honor of the saint who was intervened, on horseback and with a pack of dogs, to give a hand to his soldiers against Arabs. That regretfully left the fortress and, above all, the women of Venus: Allah the merciful face of the slaves of the Muslims, he wrote, in 1185, Ibn Giubayr.