Segesta (in ancient Greek: Ἕγεστα) was an ancient Elymian city located on Monte Barbaro, in the municipal area of Calatafimi-Segesta in the north-western part of Sicily, a few kilometers from Alcamo and Castellammare
Inside the archaeological park, it houses a Doric-style temple and a Hellenistic theater partly excavated in the rock of the hill. Other excavations have brought to light a Hellenistic-Roman town and a medieval village.
It played a leading role in the Mediterranean basin.
According to the myth, it was founded by Aceste (who was its first king), son of the Trojan noble Egesta and the river god Crimiso. Virgilio instead reports the legend according to which it was founded by Aeneas to rest the old men and women, after they had set the ships on fire just before resuming the journey.
The hostility for border reasons with Selinunte was secular.
The first clash took place in 580 BC. and Segesta emerged victorious.
In 415 BC Segesta asked Athens for help to intervene against the initiative of Selinunte supported by Syracuse. The Athenians took Segesta's request as a pretext and decided on a great expedition to Sicily, they besieged Syracuse but were disastrously defeated.
The clashes ended in 409 BC, when Selinunte was besieged and destroyed by the Carthaginians, again invoked by the Segesta people.
In 307 BC many Segestani were killed or sold as slaves by the Syracusan tyrant Agàtocle for not having provided him with the requested economic aid.
Agàtocle, after the ferocious repression, changed the name of the city to
"Diceopoli" or city of justice.
In 276 BC the city surrendered to the powerful army of Pyrrhus, returning under Punic influence upon his departure
After the first Punic war it passed to the Romans who freed it from the Carthaginians, giving it back the original name of Acesta.
By virtue of the common legendary Trojan origin, it was made tax-free and assigned a vast territory that allowed it to experience a new phase of prosperity.
It is thought that Segesta was abandoned after the invasions of the "Vandals", but investigations and researches revealed an extensive village of the Muslim age, followed by a Norman-Swabian settlement and today witnessed by a castle at the top of Monte Barbaro.
It has always been famous for its Doric Temple and the Ancient Theater and today it is experiencing a new season of discoveries thanks to scientific excavations that aim to restore an overall image.
The city, which occupied the summit of Monte Barbaro as mentioned, consisted of two acropolises separated by a saddle, defended by steep rock walls on the south and east sides, while the less protected side was equipped with
of a wall initially provided with monumental doors replaced during the first imperial age by a second line of walls at a higher level.
Outside these walls, along the ancient access roads to the city, there are two important sacred places, namely the Doric-type Temple (430-420 BC) and the sanctuary of Contrada Mango (VI-V century BC).