Abacaenum (Ancient Greek: Ἀβάκαινον;[1] Ἀβάκαινα[2]) was an ancient city of Sicily, situated about 6.5 km from the north coast, between Tyndaris (modern Tindari) and Mylae (modern Milazzo), and 13 km from the former city.


Abacaenum was a city of the Siculi, and does not appear to have ever received a Greek colony, though it partook largely of the influence of Greek art and civilization. Its territory originally included that of Tyndaris, which was separated from it by the elder Dionysius when he founded that city in 396 BCE.[3] Dionysius defeated the Carthaginian general Mago in the battle of Abacaenum in 393 BCE.[4] From the way in which it is mentioned in the wars of Dionysius, Agathocles, and Hieron,[5] it is clear that it was a place of power and importance: but from the time of Hieron it disappears from history, and no mention is found of it in the Verrine orations of Cicero. Its name is, however, found in Ptolemy,[6] so that it appears to have still continued to exist in his day. Its decline was probably owing to the increasing prosperity of the neighbouring city of Tyndaris.

There can be little doubt that the ruins visible in the time of Tommaso Fazello, at the foot of the hill on which the modern town of Tripi is situated, were those of Abacaenum. He speaks of fragments of masonry, prostrate columns, and the vestiges of walls, indicating the site of a large city, but which had been destroyed to its foundations.[7]


Coin of Abacaenum.

There are found coins of Abacaenum, both in silver and copper. The boar and acorn, which are the common type of the former, evidently refer to the great forests of oak which still cover the neighboring mountains, and afford pasture to large herds of swine.


  1. so in Diod. and Steph. Byz.
  2. so in Ptol.
  3. Diodorus Siculus, Bibliotheca historica xiv. 78 § 5
  4. Diodorus Siculus, Bibliotheca historica xiv. 90. §§ 3-4
  5. Diodorus Siculus, Bibliotheca historica xiv. 90 § 3, xix. 65 § 6, xix. 110 § 4, xxii. 13 § 2
  6. Ptolemy iii. 4. § 12
  7. Tommaso Fazello, de Rebus Siculis ix. 7; Cluverius Sicil. Ant. p. 386.

Coordinates: 38°03′23″N 15°06′07″E / 38.0563°N 15.1020°E / 38.0563; 15.1020

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