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SICILIAN PEOPLES - Prehistory

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« on: December 13, 2007, 10:09:03 am »

                                     

SEALE, Richard William.

[Ancient Sicily] Sicilia Antiqua. London, c.1750. Coloured.
Map of ancient Sicily, with an inset map showing the island,
Malta & Gozo and the coast of Africa with Carthage.











Greek Temple built upon Sicanian ruins








                                                        The Sicanians





Some Terms



B.C. - Before the traditional birth of Jesus Christ. Also B.C.E., before the "common" era.

Bronze Age - Era of first tools and weapons made from copper and bronze, in Greece beginning around 3000 BC, prior to Iron Age.

chalcedony - Mineral formations of quartz and similar substances, formerly used to make primitive tools.

Copper Age - Earliest period of the Bronze Age, varying by region, before copper was alloyed with tin to form bronze for tools and weapons.

Early Minoan - Minoan (Cretan) civilization from 4000 BC to 2100 BC.

Indo-European - Many societies of Europe, southern Asia and southwest Asia, identifiable by 1000 BC based on linguistic similarities.

Iron Age - Era of tools made from iron, beginning around 1200 BC, in Greece around 1100 BC, in Sicily probably with Greeks circa 700 BC. Followed Bronze Age.

Late Bronze Age - In Sicily the era from about 1270 BC until circa 650 BC, immediately prior to Iron Age introduced by Greeks.

Late Minoan - Minoan (Cretan) civilization from 1550 BC to 1100 BC.

Middle Minoan - Minoan (Cretan) civilization from 2100 BC to 1550 BC.

Minoan - Aegean civilization of ancient Crete, from 4000 BC to 1100 BC.

Mycenean - Late Bronze Age civilization of ancient Peloponnese contemporary to Late Minoan (Cretan) development. Relating to ancient Mycenae.

Neolithic - literally the "New Stone Age" immediately preceding the Bronze Age.

Phoenician - Semitic language of ancient Phoenicians.

Pleistocene Epoch - Geological era ending ten thousand years ago (8000 BC), before the Holocene (present epoch).

Proto-Sicanian - Various hypothetical, indigenous Sicilian cultures, somewhat influenced by eastern Mediterranean societies, thought to immediately precede identifiable Sicanian culture from around 3000 BC until circa 2000 BC.

Sicania - The "Sikania" of Homer's Odyssey, referring to Sicily and particularly the Sicanian Mountains.

Sicanian - Native people of Sicily, from "sika" for chalcedony (Italian "selce") found in valleys they inhabited. Origins identified from 2000-1600 BC following Proto-Sicanian cultures.

Siceliots - Greek colonists of Sicily and their descendants.

Sicels - Also Sikels from Greek "Si'Keloi," Italic people arriving in eastern Sicily circa 1200 BC.

Sikelia - Classical Greek name for Sicily, based on name of "Si'Keloi" (Sicels).
 




 
Their origins are elusive.

Of Sicily's three most ancient peoples (Sicanians, Sicels, Elymians), the indigenous Sicanians (or Sicans) of central and western Sicily were present at the earliest date, as the evidence suggests a more recent introduction of the Sicel ("Siculian") civilization in eastern Sicily and the Elymian one in the northwest.

It is important to note that elements of all three societies may indeed have been indigenous; it may have been the Sicels' culture, rather than the people themselves, that arrived from other regions. (It is theoretically possible that comparatively small numbers of individuals from a more "advanced" society could have arrived in ancient Sicily, possibly for trade, bringing knowledge of their own deities, cuisine and writing systems to the early Sicanians or Sicels.)

Archeologically and socially, differences between the Sicans and Sicels were subtle in more "recent" times (i.e. 600 BC), though their languages --eventually using characters based on Phoenician-- were distinctive of each other. The most relevant archeological finds, and certainly those devoid of external cultural influences, relate to the period before Phoenician and Greek incursions into Sicily (circa 800 BC).

Much of our knowledge of the earliest Sicilians comes to us from Greek literary sources or, in some cases, quasi-historical ones. Given to poetic embellishment, few of these "foreign" authors appear to be particularly reliable, and some (particularly Diodoros Siculus) are notoriously whimsical. One need only look to the rather negative Greek and Roman characterizations of the neighboring Phoenicians and Carthaginians to appreciate the fact that historical bias and revisionism are nothing new.
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« Reply #1 on: December 13, 2007, 10:15:38 am »








Precious little knowledge of the Sicanians is based on elements important in the identification of any civilization --their own language, literature, religion, recorded history or centuries-old traditions. In most of these respects, our study of Sicanian (and "Proto-Sicanian") recorded history is extremely limited compared to that of the ancient Assyrians, Chinese, Ethiopians, Egyptians, Phoenicians, Greeks and Romans.

When evidence is scarce, archaeology becomes an imprecise science, relying heavily upon theories and (often) supposition. Beyond vague generalities, "expert" archeologists rarely agree upon the subtler implications of their discoveries. Their conclusions are often based on art (or what remains of it), traces of architecture (typically foundations and necropoli), comparative studies (the influence of well-known foreign cultures) or historical hearsay (foreigners' descriptions), fortunately augmented by scientifically reliable analysis (such as dating processes).

In the case of long-extinct cultures such as that of the Sicanians, archeology is our best route to greater knowledge, though it is now complemented by multi-disciplinary studies involving climatology and other topics. Certain genetic research, for example, can provide general information regarding migration patterns of ancient peoples, though even identifying typically "Sicanian" gene markers has, for the moment, proven challenging.

The very term "indigenous" is rather subjective because "modern" humans actually migrated to the Mediterranean region, albeit tens of millennia ago. (Nobody has "always" been here; in terms of remote human ancestry, we're all "African.") Sicanians are said to be indigenous to Sicily because theirs is the earliest society which can be identified as inhabiting our island.
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« Reply #2 on: December 13, 2007, 10:18:06 am »











Humans were present in Sicily at the end of the Pleistocene Epoch, about 10,000 years ago. Cave drawings confirm a presence by 6000 BC, if not earlier, and there is no evidence to suggest anything but a continuous presence since that period. In general terms, early Sicily may be represented by the following periods:

8000 BC - early settlements and cave drawings in coastal areas such as Addaura (near Palermo).

3000 BC - use of copper tools in certain localities, probably reflecting non-Sicilian influences.

2500 BC - use of bronze throughout "Proto-Sicanian" Sicily; contact with foreign cultures.

1600 BC - presence of an identifiable, distinct "Sicanian" culture across Sicily.

1200 BC - arrival of Sicels in eastern coastal areas, encouraging Sican migration westward.
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« Reply #3 on: December 13, 2007, 10:19:01 am »






There is little evidence that the Sicanians ever made wide use of any written language before the introduction of the Phoenician alphabet (shown here with the Greek and Early Roman alphabets), which they wrote from right to left. (Mycenean script has been found on some pieces of pottery.)

On a pre-historic level, it seems probable that they were descended, for the most part, from Sicily's Bronze Age inhabitants. Indeed, the Sicans probably represented the main group descended from these first indigenous Sicilians.

The theory of the Sicanians' Iberian origin is supported by a rather few linguistic factors thought to be shared with early Iberian tongues, though the evidence is hardly conclusive. The name of Spain's ancient Sicano River has been cited to suggest a common link, but it could be merely coincidental. It was the Greek historian Thucydides who first suggested Iberian roots, yet his authority for this is not known.

That said, the best (and most recent) scholarly position is that the Sicanians were indeed natives of Sicily, while the Sicels immigrated from mainland Italy (possibly from Liguria, Latium or even Alpine regions) and the Elymians from the Asian regions of the eastern Mediterranean, perhaps via northern Africa.
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« Reply #4 on: December 13, 2007, 10:23:04 am »








Though largely hypothetical, a logical theory has been advanced that the Sicanians were not initially part of any Indo-European population, though recent discoveries imply at least isolated contact with some Mycenean and Minoan cultures --probably on the basis of trade. Living independently of other societies, the earliest Sicani naturally would have developed as a unique population lacking clearly-defined cultural links to the Indo-European cultures of Italy, Greece and the eastern Mediterranean. (In this way they were similar to the earliest Iberians.) The Sicanians' name probably derives from the chalcedony called "sica" found in some of the areas they inhabited, and from which they styled tools in the Neolithic era. An Iron Age presence is indicated at Gela, Sant' Angelo Muxaro and other sites in the Agrigento area. The Minoan and Mycenean links explain possible similarities of the Thapsos and Castellucio cultures to Aegean ones.

That the Sicans apparently assimilated more rapidly and easily than the Sicels with the colonising Greeks suggests at least some affinity, if not commonality, between Sicanian and Hellenistic culture. This peaceful amalgamation took just a few centuries, from about 700 BC to 400 BC, and before long many Sicanian cities were essentially Greek. Our knowledge of this gradual union of Sicanian and Hellenistic culture is primarily archeological. Even today, the actual sites of ancient Sicilian localities (including Sicanian settlements) mentioned in Greek and Roman accounts are occasionally discovered and identified. A future find could yield greater information about the Sicanians.

Despite literary references to the contrary, there is little evidence to suggest a strong central government (or monarchy) among the Sicanians. Like the cities of Phoenicia and Greece, the Sicanian settlements were probably independent, or at least quasi-autonomous, forming a very loose confederation. There appears to have been little, if any, open conflict with the Sicels to the east and the Elymians to the northwest, though the arrival of each seems to have encouraged the Sicanians to migrate toward other areas.
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« Reply #5 on: December 13, 2007, 10:25:58 am »








Before the arrival of the Sicels, the Sicanians (or the prehistoric predecessor culture from which they emerged) probably occupied most of Sicily, though they were hardly isolated.

Localised distinctions and "foreign" influences are often mentioned. For example, similarities of southeastern Sicilian prehistoric cultures to Maltese, Mycenean, Minoan or north African ones, or similarities between the cultures of northeastern Sicily and the Lipari Island cultures having links to mainland Italic ones.

Much has been discovered of Sicily's Bronze Age (2500-1250 BC) societies, with the southeast Sicilian Thapsos and Castelluccian cultures the object of much study in the last few decades. It has been suggested that there were significant differences between the prehistoric cultures of far-eastern and far-western Sicily. When did these cultures emerge as the Sicilian society we refer to as Sicanian? Were Bronze Age peoples such as the Castelluccians "Sicanians" as we understand that term today?

Such questions are not easy to answer, but "Proto-Sicanian" might be a good name for the societies of these early Sicilian peoples. "Society" usually presumes interaction among communities, while "history" usually is thought to begin with the existence of some form of recorded knowledge beyond cave drawings (through oral history, pictographs, hieroglyphs, cuneiform, runes, letters), and it's difficult to know when Sicanian "recorded" history actually began.

Little is known of the Sicans' literature or mythology. Developed some time before 1200 BC, the Phoenician alphabet was used in some form in early Etruscan and Greek, and also influenced the writing systems of Hebrew and Aramaic. The only known alphabet of the Sicanians was essentially Phoenician. It would not be inappropriate to postulate that an identifiably "Sicanian" culture existed in many parts of Sicily by 1600 BC; it certainly existed before the presumed date of arrival of the Elymians and Sicels a few centuries later.

To place this in a wider Mediterranean context, the Biblical Book of Exodus (a point of reference for Jews, Christians and Muslims) describes events involving Moses and Ramses II in Egypt around 1300 BC, though the work itself was written sometime afterward.
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« Reply #6 on: December 13, 2007, 10:26:59 am »









It is difficult to overlook the frequency with which Greek and Roman writers mention the Sicanians --among them Appollodorus, Diodorus Siculus, Herodotus, Homer, Strabo, Pausanias and Ovid. Indeed, one of the Greeks' earliest names for Sicily was "Sikania." In his Histories, Herodotus mentions the Sicanian city of Kamikos (near present-day Sant'Angelo Muxaro in the Agrigento area), and the legendary Sicanian king Kokalos figures in the myth of Daedalus and Icarus.

Sicanian architecture was simpler than that of the Phoenicians and Greeks. Few standing structures survive from the Sicanian culture, but the so-called "Temple of Diana" (shown here) overlooking Cefalų was built upon an older Sicanian temple to their own goddess of the hunt --analogous to the Phoenician Astarte, Greek Artemis and Roman Diana.

With the exception of the legendary Kokalos, who (like King Arthur centuries later) was probably based on a historical figure, few prominent personages are identified with the Sicanians, though the name of the Sicanian Mountains recalls their legacy.

The Sicel leader Ducetius instigated a revolt of his people against the colonizing Greeks, but there appears to have been no such movement among the Sicans. The Greek name "Sikelia" probably came from the name of the Sicels (or Sikels).

The Sicanians, like many native peoples around the world, needed no name to describe their own society.
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« Reply #7 on: December 13, 2007, 10:32:47 am »








Genetic Research:





In general, studies of population genetics in Sicily tend to confirm, rather than refute, what we already presume to know about the various Sicilian peoples based on available historical, archeological and ethnological information. Here is a brief summary of an early genetic study involving potential identification of Sicily's three "native" peoples correlative to genetic factors in the current population:

Autosomal Microsatellite and mtDNA Genetic Analysis in Sicily






DNA samples from 465 blood donors living in 7 towns of Sicily have been collected according to well defined criteria, and their genetic heterogeneity tested on the basis of 9 autosomal microsatellite and mitochondrial DNA polymorphisms for a total of 85 microsatellite allele and 10 mtDNA haplogroup frequencies.





A preliminary account of the results shows that:



a) the samples are genetically heterogeneous;

b) the first principal coordinates of the samples are correlated more with their longitude than with their latitude, and this result is even more remarkable when one outlier sample (Butera) is not considered;

c) distances among samples calculated from allele and haplogroup frequencies and from the isonymy matrix are weakly correlated (r = 0.43, P = 0.06) but such correlation disappears (r = 0.16) if the mtDNA haplogroups alone are taken into account; d) mtDNA haplogroups and microsatellite distances suggest settlements of people occurred at different times:

divergence times inferred from microsatellite data seem to describe a genetic composition of the town of Sciacca mainly derived from settlements after the Roman conquest of Sicily (First Punic War, 246 BC), while all other divergence times take root from the second to the first millennium BC, and therefore seem to backdate to the pre-Hellenistic period.






A more reliable association of these diachronic genetic strata to different historical populations (e.g. Sicani, Elymians, Sicels), if possible, must be postponed to the analysis of more samples and hopefully more informative uniparental DNA markers such as the recently available DHPLC-SNP polymorphisms of the Y chromosome.





V. Romano, F. Calė, A. Ragalmuto, R. P. D'Anna, A. Flugy, G. De Leo, O. Giambalvo, A. Lisa, O. Fiorani, C. Di Gaetano, A. Salerno, R. Tamouza, D. Charron, G. Zei, G. Matullo and A. Piazza

- - - Annals of Human Genetics, January 2003 (Volume 67, Number 1, Page 42).   




About the Author: Palermo native Vincenzo Salerno has written biographies of several famous Sicilians, including Frederick II and Giuseppe di Lampedusa.


http://www.bestofsicily.com/mag/art141.htm
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« Reply #8 on: December 13, 2007, 10:56:14 am »



Elymian-Greek Votive Statuette








                                                          The Elymians     





by Vincenzo Salerno
   




Some Terms


 
B.C. - Before the traditional birth of Jesus Christ. Also B.C.E., before the "common" era.

Bronze Age - Era of first tools and weapons made from copper and bronze, in Greece beginning around 3000 BC, prior to Iron Age.

Copper Age - Earliest period of the Bronze Age, varying by region, before copper was alloyed with tin to form bronze for tools and weapons.

Early Minoan - Minoan (Cretan) civilization from 4000 BC to 2100 BC.

Indo-European - Many societies of Europe, southern Asia and southwest Asia, identifiable by 1000 BC based on linguistic similarities.

Iron Age - Era of tools made from iron, beginning around 1200 BC, in Greece around 1100 BC, in Sicily probably with Greeks circa 700 BC. Followed Bronze Age.

Late Bronze Age - In Sicily the era from about 1270 BC until circa 650 BC, immediately prior to Iron Age introduced by Greeks.

Late Minoan - Minoan (Cretan) civilization from 1550 BC to 1100 BC.

Middle Minoan - Minoan (Cretan) civilization from 2100 BC to 1550 BC.

Minoan - Aegean civilization of ancient Crete, from 4000 BC to 1100 BC.

Mycenean - Late Bronze Age civilization of ancient Peloponnese contemporary to Late Minoan (Cretan) development. Relating to ancient Mycenae.

Phoenician - Semitic language of ancient Phoenicians.

Sicanian - Native people of Sicily, from "sika" for chalcedony (Italian "selce") found in valleys they inhabited. Origins identified from 2000-1600 BC following Proto-Sicanian cultures.

Sicels - Also Sikels from Greek "Si'Keloi," Italic people arriving in eastern Sicily circa 1200 BC.
 

 

As a result of their rapid assimilation with the Greeks, the Elymians remain the most mysterious of Sicily's three ancient "indigenous" peoples (Sicanians, Sicels, Elymians).

By 1100 BC (BCE), the Elymians (or Elymi, Elimi or Elami, from the Greek Elymoi) had established several cities in northwestern Sicily, apparently displacing the Sicanians in these areas, though there is evidence of amalgamation. Unlike the Sicanians, a native people, the Elymians probably arrived from Asia Minor (now Turkey) in a migration that took them to northern Africa.

One could compare the Elymians to the medieval Visigoths, a people who wandered in search of a new homeland before finally settling in one (Spain). The Elymians' language, written (in later times) with Phoenician characters, was Indo-European. Among their more important settlements were Erice, Egesta (Segesta) and Entella (near Contessa Entellina).

The ancient Greeks sought to identify the Elymians with the inhabitants of Troy. While this theory is unsupported by known evidence, it does reflect at least a grain of truth if we consider that the Elymians were probably descendants of an eastern Mediterranean society influenced by the Greeks, Phoenicians, Assyrians and other peoples. (Anatolia is sometimes mentioned.)

This may partly explain their ready Hellenization after 600 BC, developing into a society virtually indistinguishable from that of Greek-founded cities such as nearby Selinus (Selinunte).

The Greeks, however, tried to paint the Elymians as a kindred race for the sake of political propaganda justifying their occupation of western Sicily --and ousting the Phoenicians' residual society, the Carthaginians, from that region.
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« Reply #9 on: December 13, 2007, 11:05:46 am »








While the Elymians, at least in their remote origins, were probably west Asian, the Sicels of eastern Sicily were probably Italic.

Unlike the Sicels, the Elymians appear never to have sought independence from the Greeks who colonised their corner of Sicily, nor did they engage in open conflict with the Phoenicians who established coastal outposts at Motia, Palermo and other places. The most credible explanation for this is that the Elymians embraced the benefits of increased trade, and already bore much in common with these newer arrivals.

Their language, like that of the Sicels (but unlike that of the Sicans), was Indo-European, offering the possibility for easy communication with the Phoenicians and Greeks.

Known Elymian civilisation bears a few traces of contact with Minoan cultures, though the implications are inconclusive: One theory suggests that the Minoans may have shared some remote roots with the Elymians, and probably traded with them.

Certain theories regarding the historically elusive Elymians have found their way into popular thought, yet remain unproven and, at best, circumstantial. We do not know whether the Elymians were the first to introduce the use of large horses in Sicily, and we do not know if they were the first Sicilians to use copper and bronze. In view of the facts as we know them, it may be more appropriate to attribute both developments to the Sicanians who were already here when the Elymians arrived, and had been influenced by other Mediterranean civilizations.

Scholars identify Sicily's Bronze Age with the Sicanians, citing 2500 BC as a credible date. The date of the Elymians' arrival in Sicily is also debated. While 1100 BC is generally agreed by scholars to be the most recent likely period of their arrival, the Elymians may have been present in northwestern Sicily centuries earlier. (It is sometimes difficult to distinguish early Elymian archeology from that of Sicanian civilization; the Sicanians appear to descend from the Neolithic peoples who once inhabited all of Sicily, including the areas later occupied by the Elymians and Sicels.)
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« Reply #10 on: December 13, 2007, 11:10:12 am »








Another mystery is their language.

We know more of Sicel than we do of either Elymian or the more linguistically isolated Sicanian. Little of the written Elymian language has been discovered in archeological elements dated to their civilization as it existed before the arrival of the Phoenicians and Greeks, and what has been found (using Greek characters with a few Phoenician ones in tablets found at Entella and inscriptions at Segesta) has not been satisfactorily translated.

Indeed, it is their early assimilation with both societies, and particularly that of the Greeks, that often makes it difficult to clearly identify the Elymian culture at all. In other words, in archeological studies it is not always easy to distinguish early Elymian settlements from later Elymo-Greek ones (such as Hellenic Segesta) because the Elymians so rapidly adapted Greek art and architecture as their own.

It appears that the Elymians lived in just a few localities before 700 BC, but the hypothetical discovery of even a small --but exclusively Elymian-- settlement could shed new light on our knowledge of their civilization. (Even in Sicily, such archeological discoveries are not unknown.)
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« Reply #11 on: December 13, 2007, 11:14:17 am »








The "Elymo-Greek" culture emerged by 500 BC, flourishing in places such as Segesta and Erice, though in the latter locality Phoenician and Carthaginian traces are particularly evident. Ethnologically, this was an advanced society with a particular affinity to Hellenic ones.

As far as we know (genetic studies could alter the theory), the Segestans living in the third century BC were essentially Elymian descendants, with perhaps some Greek ancestry based on the influx of some Greeks from eastern Sicily.

Relations with Selinus (founded by settlers from Megara Hyblea descended from the Greek-born Megarians) were complicated, though apparently based on political considerations rather than ethnic ones.

The numerous Greek communities in Italy were founded by settlers originating in various parts of Greece, and this partly explains their alliances and differences, but there is nothing to suggest a "racial" discrimination against the Elymo-Greeks.

Except perhaps in Eryx (Erice), the Carthaginian cultural influence on the Elymo-Greeks seems to have been minimal, or perhaps minimized, over time as the Carthaginians were gradually reduced to a minor role in the central Mediterranean.

The culture of the Phoenicians and their residual society in northern Africa (the Carthaginians) certainly influenced the Elymi, especially through trade, and their coastal outposts were not far away.
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« Reply #12 on: December 13, 2007, 11:16:24 am »








The Elymians remain an interesting, though perhaps arcane, footnote to central Mediterranean history.

We do not know how many Elymians were alive when the Greeks arrived, but theirs was clearly the smallest population of the three native societies of Sicily, and this doubtless contributed to the speed of their assimilation and amalgamation.

Their religious cults were similar to those of the Greeks. The worship of the Greeks' Aphrodite probably shared its affinity with an earlier Elymian cult, also associated with the Phoenicians' goddess Astarte.

They appear to have venerated the dog, probably as a symbol of some particular trait or physical condition, and the name of Eryx (Erice) is based on that of a mythical Elymian king and hero.

We do not know with certainty what kind of government prevailed in Elymian cities and towns, but their society appears to have been a pacific one prior to the arrival of the Carthaginians and Greeks, whose complex Mediterranean politics brought the Elymians (and their Elymo-Greek descendants) into several particularly bloody wars.

Theories about the Elymians abound but by 700 BC, when the Phoenicians and Greeks arrived, there was little to distinguish their bronze-age society from those of the other Sicilians.

Except for observations based on discovery of a few artefacts, the archeological record offers little conclusive information about this most ancient civilization which shaped the earliest culture of northwestern Sicily.
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« Reply #13 on: December 13, 2007, 11:17:37 am »








Genetic Research:




In general, studies of population genetics in Sicily tend to confirm, rather than refute, what we already presume to know about the various Sicilian peoples based on available historical, archeological and ethnological information. Here is a brief summary of an early genetic study involving potential identification of Sicily's three "native" peoples correlative to genetic factors in the current population:







                             Autosomal Microsatellite and mtDNA Genetic Analysis in Sicily





DNA samples from 465 blood donors living in seven (7) towns of Sicily have been collected according to well defined criteria, and their genetic heterogeneity tested on the basis of 9 autosomal microsatellite and mitochondrial DNA polymorphisms for a total of 85 microsatellite allele and 10 mtDNA haplogroup frequencies.




A preliminary account of the results shows that:

a) the samples are genetically heterogeneous;

b) the first principal coordinates of the samples are correlated more with their longitude than with their latitude, and this result is even more remarkable when one outlier sample (Butera) is not considered;

c) distances among samples calculated from allele and haplogroup frequencies and from the isonymy matrix are weakly correlated (r = 0.43, P = 0.06) but such correlation disappears (r = 0.16) if the mtDNA haplogroups alone are taken into account; d) mtDNA haplogroups and microsatellite distances suggest settlements of people occurred at different times: divergence times inferred from microsatellite data seem to describe a genetic composition of the town of Sciacca mainly derived from settlements after the Roman conquest of Sicily (First Punic War, 246 BC), while all other divergence times take root from the second to the first millennium BC, and therefore seem to backdate to the pre-Hellenistic period.

A more reliable association of these diachronic genetic strata to different historical populations (e.g. Sicani, Elymians, Sicels), if possible, must be postponed to the analysis of more samples and hopefully more informative uniparental DNA markers such as the recently available DHPLC-SNP polymorphisms of the Y chromosome.





V. Romano, F. Calė, A. Ragalmuto, R. P. D'Anna, A. Flugy, G. De Leo, O. Giambalvo, A. Lisa, O. Fiorani, C. Di Gaetano, A. Salerno, R. Tamouza, D. Charron, G. Zei, G. Matullo and A. Piazza

- - - Annals of Human Genetics, January 2003 (Volume 67, Number 1, Page 42).   





About the Author: Palermo native Vincenzo Salerno has written biographies of several famous Sicilians, including Frederick II and Giuseppe di Lampedusa.


http://www.bestofsicily.com/mag/art144.htm
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« Reply #14 on: December 13, 2007, 11:51:26 am »



Sicel-Hellenic from Centuripe
Circa 550 B.C.






                                                             The Sicels





by Vincenzo Salerno
   




Some Terms



B.C. - Before the traditional birth of Jesus Christ. Also B.C.E., before the "common" era.

Bronze Age - Era of first tools and weapons made from copper and bronze, in Greece beginning around 3000 BC, prior to Iron Age.

Copper Age - Earliest period of the Bronze Age, varying by region, before copper was alloyed with tin to form bronze for tools and weapons.

Early Minoan - Minoan (Cretan) civilization from 4000 BC to 2100 BC.

Indo-European - Many societies of Europe, southern Asia and southwest Asia, identifiable by 1000 BC based on linguistic similarities.

Iron Age - Era of tools made from iron, beginning around 1200 BC, in Greece around 1100 BC, in Sicily probably with Greeks circa 700 BC. Followed Bronze Age.

Late Bronze Age - In Sicily the era from about 1270 BC until circa 650 BC, immediately prior to Iron Age introduced by Greeks.

Late Minoan - Minoan (Cretan) civilization from 1550 BC to 1100 BC.

Middle Minoan - Minoan (Cretan) civilization from 2100 BC to 1550 BC.

Minoan - Aegean civilization of ancient Crete, from 4000 BC to 1100 BC.

Mycenean - Late Bronze Age civilization of ancient Peloponnese contemporary to Late Minoan (Cretan) development. Relating to ancient Mycenae.

Phoenician - Semitic language of ancient Phoenicians.

Sicanian - Native people of Sicily, from "sika" for chalcedony (Italian "selce") found in valleys they inhabited. Origins identified from 2000-1600 BC following Proto-Sicanian cultures.

Sicels - Also Sikels from Greek "Si'Keloi," Italic people arriving in eastern Sicily circa 1200 BC.
 

 


The Sicels (or Sikels, from the Greek Sikeloi), though considered one of the three "indigenous" societies of Sicily (with the Sicanians and Elymians), were an Italic people who arrived several centuries before the Phoenicians and Greeks, probably between 1200 and 1000 BC (BCE), perhaps shortly after the arrival of the Elymians.

It is fair to say that we probably know more about the Sicels than we do about the Sicanians or Elymians, from archeological as well as Greek literary sources. Though the Elymians assimilated with the Greeks quite readily and easily, the Sicels constituted a highly developed society that the Greeks respected profoundly, even if occasional conflicts arose between Sikelian and Hellenic populations.

Indeed, it took several centuries for the Sicels to complete assimilate and amalgamate with their Greek neighbors.

Except for the Romans, the Sicels were the only predominantly Italic people to settle in Sicily in large numbers as colonists.
« Last Edit: December 13, 2007, 11:56:35 am by Bianca2001 » Report Spam   Logged

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