The monumentalization of Akragas

The most beautiful city of mortals

Pindar , in the 5th century BC, called Akragas the most beautiful city of mortals.
In fact, it was in the 5th century that ancient Agrigento went through a period of particular splendour and prosperity, which allowed the city to truly monumentalise the spaces, starting with Theron and continuing with Empedocles.
Over the course of history, events unfolded in this order: in 480 BC, Theron, tyrant of Agrigento, moved against Himera to fulfil his dream of an outlet to the Tyrrhenian Sea, which was essential to expand the area of trade. It was thanks to an alliance with Gelon, tyrant of Syracuse , that he managed to defeat the Carthaginian army.
The Greeks of Sicily obtained an overwhelming victory in the battle, rewarded by a huge booty and large number of prisoners taken as slaves.
Many who had taken refuge in the territory of Agrigento during their escape were captured and divided among the city’s inhabitants: it is said that some citizens owned as many as 500 slaves each!
The large supply of labour provided by the Carthaginian slaves made it possible to build important works. Throughout the 5th century, Akragas was known as a  wealthy city and looked like a large construction site, where works in progress alternated with newly erected majestic and colourful temples, streets adorned with fine artwork and even a pool, the Kolymbetra, in the valley below the Sanctuary of the Chthonic Deities.

The Sanctuary of Asclepius: a place of welcome for the sick

Akragas in the beginning

The Akragas building sites

Vegetation in the Gardens

The Temple of Heracles

Empedocles, the political philosopher

The lively decorations of the temple

The Temple of Demeter

The cult of Demeter and Persephone

Reinforcement of natural ramparts

The sanctuary of the chthonic deities

The Temple of Hera Lacinia

The most beautiful city of mortals

The Kolymbetra Garden

A monument for the victory over Carthage: the Temple of Olympian Zeus

Theron, tyrant of the arts and victories

Phalaris, the terrible tyrant

Sacrifices for the goddesses that made the fields fertile

The Temple of Concordia

The Twelve Labours of Heracles

From pagan cults to Christian worship: the Church of St. Gregory

The Temple of Asclepius

The Eleusinian mysteries

The walls of Akragas in the fifth century BC