Empedocles was another very important political figure for Akragas. He lived from 492 to 430 BC and after Theron’s death abolished tyranny. He was entrusted with the government of the city. He was a very wise and respected individual, not only for his political role but also for his writings and recognised philosophical and medical knowledge. During this period ancient Agrigento reached the height of its power, which still echoes amongst its ruins.
The economic situation continued to prosper even after Theron’s reign, making Akragas one of the richest Greek cities, and its inhabitants the most opulent in Sicily.
The fields flourished, cultivated with vineyards and olive groves, and the products were exchanged in the copious and thriving trade with Carthage. In the meantime, the temple construction sites that crowded the southern part of the city continued uninterrupted.
Diodorus tells us that the people of Agrigento in that period enjoyed great prosperity and were accustomed to luxury from birth. It was for this very reason that, as Diogenes Laërtius recounts, Empedocles criticised his fellow citizens, stating that “the Agrigentines live luxuriously as if they would die tomorrow, but build their houses as if they would live forever”.
A legend tells that Empedocles died in 430 BC by throwing himself into Etna ‘s crater.