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Agrigento

Agrigento (ägrējānˈtō) [key], Lat. Agrigentum, city (1991 pop. 55,283), capital of Agrigento prov., S Sicily, Italy, on a hill above the Mediterranean Sea. It is an agricultural market and a tourist center, but per capita income is among the lowest in Italy. Sulfur and potash are mined. Founded c.580 B.C. as Acragas (or Akragas) by Greek colonists of Gela, the city became one of the most prosperous in the Greek world, as is indicated by the imposing ruins that remain. It was destroyed c.406 B.C. by Carthage but recovered. During the first of the Punic Wars the city suffered at the hands of both the Romans and the Carthaginians. It fell definitively to Rome in 210 B.C. during the Second Punic War. After the fall of Rome, Agrigento passed to the Byzantines and then to the Arabs (9th cent.) and to the Normans (11th cent.). Of note in the city are the remains of several Doric temples (6th–5th cent. B.C.), Roman ruins, Christian catacombs, and archaeological and art museums.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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