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Cefalù

The birth of Cefalù has its roots in the fertile soil of the myth which says that the city would be populated, for the first time, by the Giants, descendants of Noah, or founded by the Sicani (between 3000 and 2700 BC.) or by the Phoenicians, these last ones would have called the city as Ras Melkart, the promontory of Hercules whose legend says that in Cefalù, this hero and half-god has built a temple dedicated to the Holy Father Jupiter. Here also lives the myth of Daphnis who began the world to the joy of pastoral poetry and, blinded, his father Mercury changes him into the rock which, according to Servius (fourth-fifth century AD.), has a human appearance.
Kephaloidion is the greek name of the city that was, in fact, an indigenous center in the end of the fifth century BC, prosperous, thanks to contacts with the peoples living in or passing in Sicily. In 396 BC Imilcone a Carthaginian General, allies with the inhabitants of Cefalù. In 307 BC the city was conquered by the Syracusans and assigned to the governor Leptine. In 254 BC is taken, by deception, by the Romans becoming, then, a Decumana City; Cephaloedium is the Latin name. Traces of the Hellenistic-Roman road system are scattered all over the city that can be found under the domination of the Roman Empire, the Vandals and Goths, the Eastern Empire, the Arabs and then the Normans. There are few traces left by the Byzantines (some remains of fortifications), only in the usages and traditions related to those Arabs who conquered Cefalù 858 (the name of the city becomes Gafludi); magnificent and monumental the traces received by the Normans. The Great Count Ruggero in 1063 took possession of the city and his son, Ruggero II, return definitely Cefalù to Christianity by founding, for first, the Church of S. Georgio (1129) and, then, the Basilica Cattedrale (1131). This construction allows the King to dissolve the vow made when, catched by a sudden terrific storm, promises to build, to the honor and glory of the SS. Salvatore, a Cathedral in the place that would have seen him safe.

 

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