Grande River (Sicily)

Infobox River
river_name = Grande River

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basin_countries = Sicily
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The Grande River (Greek: polytonic|Ἱμέρας, Latin: Himera; Italian: Fiume Grande or Imera Settentrionale) is a river of Sicily, rising in the heights near Cozzo Levanche, and flowing approximately 35 km, through the "comuni" of Caltavuturo, Campofelice di Roccella, Cerda, Collesano, Scillato, Sclafani Bagni, Termini Imerese and Valledolmo (all in the Province of Palermo) to the Tyrrhenian Sea at the site of the ancient city of Himera. The drainage area is approximately 342 km², making it one of the principal rivers of Sicily to flow into the Tyrrhenian.

Historical significance

Himera was the ancient name of two rivers in Sicily, the Grande flowing to the north into the Tyrrhenian Sea, the other (the Salso River) to the south coast of the island, but which, by a strange confusion, were regarded by many ancient writers as one and the same river, which is in consequence described as rising in the center of the island, and flowing in two different directions, so as completely to divide Sicily into two parts. It is singular that, if we may believe Vibius Sequester, this absurd notion is as old as the time of Stesichorus, who was himself a native of the city of Himera. Mela is, however, the only one of the ancient geographers who adopts it. (Mel. ii. 7. § 17; Solin. v. § 17; Vib. Sequest. p. 12; Sil. Ital. xiv. 233; Antig. Caryst. 133; Vitruv. viii. 3. § 7.)

The northern Himera (the Grande), a much less considerable stream than the southern Himer (the Salso), is uniformly described as flowing by the city to which it gave its name (Plin. iii. 8. s. 14; Steph. B. "s. v." polytonic|Ἀκράγας; Vib. Sequest. p. 11); and Pindar speaks of the great victory of Gelon (which we know to have been fought in the immediate vicinity of the city) as gained upon the banks of the fair waters of the Himera ("Pyth." i. 153). Hence its identification with the modern Grande was necessarily connected with the determination of the site of that city, a question which was the subject formerly of dispute. Theocritus more than once alludes to the river Himera as a celebrated Sicilian stream; but in such general terms as to afford no indication which of the two rivers he means: the Scholiast, however, understands him to refer to the northern Himera. (Theocr. v. 124, vii. 75; Schol. "ad. loc.")


*Barrington|47 & notes

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