March 29, 2012

The name Termini Imerese is derived from the Latin "Thermae Himerenses" or "Hot Springs of Himera." Indeed, the remains of arched Roman aqueducts are visible at Termini. The name also derives from the toponymic "Imera" which was the name the ancient Greeks applied to the settlement near present-day Termini that they came to occupy. The story of Imera is the only historically noteworthy episode that can be linked to the ancient history of Termini Imerese.

Imera was founded in 678 BC by Greek colonists from Zancle (Sickle), modern Messina. Zancle itself had been founded in the previous century by Greek colonists. It is probable that a prehistoric settlement already existed there, populated by Sicanians.

The Greek town of Imera represented the furthest westward penetration of the Greeks on the North Coast of Sicily, and thus, represented a threat to the Carthaginians, who had colonized the western area of Sicily and founded Palermo and Solunto, the latter city being only 30 kilometers distant from Imera. In 480 BC, the Carthaginians decided to invade the region. Hamilcar, a Carthaginian general who was an ancestor of the famous Hannibal who later fought the Romans, assembled an army said to number 30,000 men to march upon Imera. The Greeks of Imera sought and received help from their fellow Greeks of Agrigento and Syracuse. The three combined Greek armies literally massacred the Carthaginians, and thus the Carthaginian threat to the Sicilian Greeks was effectively eliminated, at least for the remainder of that century.

In 409 BC, Hannibal, grandson of Hamilcar, led a large Carthaginian army against Imera. This time, the Greeks were defeated and Imera was destroyed. It is believed that the survivors of the battle fled to either Termini or Caccamo (famous for its Norman castle), and founded the two towns or developed existing settlements.

Termini Imerese is the ancestral home of my mother's side of my family.

The family names from Termini Imerese include: Mormino. Gentile, Scarpaci, Sansone, and Comparato.

Termini Imerese, Sicily @ 1904