Aelian, Historical Miscellany 1.27
It is also said that there is a temple to Adephagia (Gluttony) in Sicily, and a statue of Demeter Sitos (the corn goddess).
Aelian, Historical Miscellany 2.33
The nature of rivers, and their streams, are visible to us. But men who honour them, and have statues made of them, in some cases set up anthropomorphic statues, while others give them bovine form. In Sicily the Syrakousans represent Anapos as a man, whereas they honoured the spring Kyane with the statue of a woman.
Aristophanes, Daitaleis fragment
But after that I sent you, you did not learn this at all; but only learnt to drink, and sing loose songs at Syracusan feasts, and how to share in Sybaritic banquets, and to drink Chian wine in Spartan cups.
Diodoros Sikeliotes, Library of History 4.82.5-6
And after this Aristaios visited other islands and spent some time in Sicily, where, because of the abundance of the fruits on the island and the multitude of flocks and herds which grazed there, he was eager to display to its inhabitants the benefactions which were his to bestow. Consequently among the inhabitants of Sicily, as men say, Aristaios received especial honour as a god, in particular by those who harvested the fruit of the olive-tree. And finally, as the myths relate, he visited Dionysos in Thrace and was initiated into his secret rites, and during his stay in the company of the god he learned from him much useful knowledge. And after dwelling some time in the neighborhood of Mount Haemus he never was seen again of men, and became the recipient of immortal honours not only among the barbarians of that region but among the Greeks as well.
Diodoros Sikeliotes, Library of History 4.84.1-4
At this time we shall endeavour to set forth what the myths relate concerning Daphnis. There are in Sicily, namely, the Heraean Mountains, which, men say, are naturally well suited, by reason of the beauty and nature and special character of the region round about, to relaxation and enjoyment in the summer season. For they possess many springs of exceptionally sweet water and are full of trees of every description. On them also is a multitude of great oak-trees which bear fruit of extraordinary size, since it is twice as large as any that grows in other lands. And they possess as well some of the cultivated fruits, which have sprung up of their own accord, since the vine is found there in profusion and tree-fruits in quantities beyond telling. Consequently the area once supported a Carthaginian army when it was facing starvation, the mountains supplying tens of thousands of soldiers with sources of food for their unfailing sustenance. It was in this region, where there were glens filled with trees and meet for a god and a grove consecrated to the nymphs, that, as the myths relate, he who was known as Daphnis was born, a son of Hermes and a Nymph, and he, because of the sweet bay (daphnê) which grew there in such profusion and so thick, was given the name Daphnis. He was reared by Nymphs, and since he possessed very many herds of cattle and gave great attention to their care, he was for this reason called by the name Bucolus or “Neatherd.” And being endowed with an unusual gift of song, he invented the bucolic or pastoral poem and the bucolic song which continues to be so popular throughout Sicily to the present day. The myths add that Daphnis accompanied Artemis in her hunting, serving the goddess in an acceptable manner, and that with his shepherd’s pipe and singing of pastoral songs he pleased her exceedingly. The story is also told that one of the Nymphs became enamoured of him and prophesied to him that if he lay with any other woman he would be deprived of his sight; and indeed, when once he had been made drunken by a daughter of a king and had lain with her, he was deprived of his sight in accordance with the prophecy delivered by the Nymph.
Diodoros Sikeliotes, Library of History 5.3.5-6
And Artemis received from the gods the island at Syracuse which was named after her, by both the oracles and men, Ortygia. On this island likewise these Nymphs, to please Artemis, caused a great fountain to gush forth to which was given the name Arethusa. And not only in ancient times did this fountain contain large fish in great numbers, but also in our own day we find these fish still there, considered to be holy and not to be touched by men; and on many occasions, when certain men have eaten them amid stress of war, the deity has shown a striking sign and has visited with great sufferings such as dared to take them for food. Of these matters we shall give an exact account in connection with the appropriate period of time.
Diodoros Sikeliotes, Library of History 5.4.1-2
Like the two goddesses whom we have mentioned Korê, we are told, received as her portion the meadows round about Enna; but a great fountain was made sacred to her in the territory of Syracuse and given the name Kyanê or “Azure Fount.” For the myth relates that it was near Syracuse that Pluton effected the rape of Korê and took her away in his chariot, and that after cleaving the earth asunder he himself descended into Hades, taking along with him the bride whom he had seized, and that he caused the fountain named Kyanê to gush forth, near which the Syracusans each year hold a notable festive gathering; and private individuals offer the lesser victims, but when the ceremony is on behalf of the community, bulls are plunged in the pool, this manner of sacrifice having been commanded by Herakles on the occasion when he made the circuit of all Sicily, while driving off the cattle of Geryones.
Diodoros Sikeliotes, Library of History 5.4.3-5.5.2
After the rape of Korê, the myth goes on to recount, Demeter, being unable to find her daughter, kindled torches in the craters of Mt. Aetna and visited many parts of the inhabited world, and upon the men who received her with the greatest favour she conferred benefactions, rewarding them with the gift of the fruit of the wheat. And since a more kindly welcome was extended the goddess by the Athenians than by any other people, they were the first after the Siceliotae to be given the fruit of the wheat; and in return for this gift the citizens of that city in assembly honoured the goddess above all others with the establishment both of most notable sacrifices and of the mysteries of Eleusis, which, by reason of their very great antiquity and sanctity, have come to be famous among all mankind. From the Athenians many peoples received a portion of the gracious gift of the corn, and they in turn, sharing the gift of the seed with their neighbours, in this way caused all the inhabited world to abound with it.
And the inhabitants of Sicily, since by reason of the intimate relationship of Demeter and Korê with them they were the first to share in the corn after its discovery, instituted to each one of the goddesses sacrifices and festive gatherings, which they named after them, and by the time chosen for these made acknowledgment of the gifts which had been conferred upon them. In the case of Korê, for instance, they established the celebration of her return at about the time when the fruit of the corn was found to come to maturity, and they celebrate this sacrifice and festive gathering with such strictness of observance and such zeal as we should reasonably expect those men to show who are returning thanks for having been selected before all mankind for the greatest possible gift; but in the case of Demeter, they preferred that time for the sacrifice when the sowing of the corn is first begun, and for a period of ten days they hold a festive gathering which bears the name of this goddess and is most magnificent by reason of the brilliance of their preparation for it, while in the observance of it they imitate the ancient manner of life. And it is their custom during these days to indulge in coarse language as they associate one with another, the reason being that by such coarseness the goddess, grieved though she was at the rape of Korê, burst into laughter.
That the rape of Korê took place in the manner we have described is attested by many ancient historians and poets. Carcinus the tragic poet, for instance, who often visited in Syracuse and witnessed the zeal which the inhabitants displayed in the sacrifices and festive gatherings for both Demeter and Korê, has the following verses in his writings:
Demeter’s daughter, her whom none may name, by secret schemings Pluton, men say, stole, and then he dropped into earth’s depths, whose light is darkness. Longing for the vanished girl her mother searched and visited all lands in turn. And Sicily’s land by Aetna’s crags was filled with streams of fire which no man could approach, and groaned throughout its length; in grief over the maiden now the folk, beloved of Zeus, was perishing without the corn. Hence honour they these goddesses e’en now.
But we should not omit to mention the very great benefaction which Demeter conferred upon mankind; for beside the fact that she was the discoverer of corn, she also taught mankind how to prepare it for food and introduced laws by obedience to which men became accustomed to the practice of justice, this being the reason we are told, why she has been given the epithet Thesmophoros, or Lawgiver
Dionysios of Halikarnassos, Roman Antiquities 20.9.1-2
Observing that Pyrrhus was embarrassed and was seeking funds from every possible source, the worst and most depraved of his friends, Euegorus, the son of Theodorus, Balacrus, the son of Nicander, and Deinarchus, the son of Nicias, followers of godless and accursed doctrines, suggested an impious source for the raising of funds, namely, to open up the sacred treasures of Persephonê. For there was a holy temple in this city that contained much wealth, guarded and untouched from the earliest times; included in this there was an unfathomed quantity of gold, buried in the earth out of sight of the multitude. Pyrrhus, misled by the se flatterers and because of his necessity that was stronger than any scruples, employed as his agents in the sacrilege the men who had made the proposal; and placing the gold plundered from the temple in ships, he sent it along with his other funds to Tarentum, having now become filled with great cheer. But a just Providence showed its power. For, though the ships, upon putting out from the harbour, found a land breeze and made progress, an adverse wind sprang up, and holding through the entire night, sank some of them, drove others into the Sicilian strait, and, in the case of those in which the offerings and the gold yielded by the offerings was being transported, drove them ashore on the beaches of Locri. The men on board the ships were submerged and perished in the backwash of the waves, and the sacred moneys, when the ships broke up, were cast ashore on the sand-banks nearest to Locri. The king, terror-stricken, restored all the ornaments and treasures to the goddess, hoping thereby to appease her wrath; nay, since he had dared to lay hands on the sacred moneys and to pledge them as a war fund, the divinity brought his intention to naught, in order that he might serve as an example and lesson to all men who should come after him.
Lycophron, Alexandra 1174 ff
The goddess Hekate shall make thee her attendant after thou art transformed into a dog. And the island spur of Pachynos shall hold thine awful cenotaph, piled by the hands of thy master, prompted by dreams when thou hast gotten the rites of death in front of the streams of Heloros. He shall pour on the shore offerings for thee, unhappy one, fearing the anger of the three-necked goddess, for that he shall hurl the first stone at thy stoning and begin the dark sacrifice to Haides.
Nonnos, Dionysiaka 13.309-332
To him came from Sicily longshot Achates, and shieldbearing comrades with him, a great host of Cillyrioi and Elymoi, and those who lived round the seat of the Palicoi; those who had a city by the lake Catana near the Sirens, whom rosy Terpsichore brought forth by the stormy embraces of her bull-horned husband Acheloös; those who possessed Camarina, where the wild Hipparis disgorges his winding water in a roaring flood; those form the sacred citadel of Hybla, and those dwelling near Aitna, where the rock is alight and kettles of fire boil up the hot flare of Typhaon’s bed; those who scattered their houses along the beetling brow of Peloros and the island ground of sea-resounding Pachynos; and Sicilian Arethusa, where after his wandering travels Alpheios creeps proud of his Pisan chaplet – he crosses the deep like a highway, and draws his water, the slave of love, unwetted, over the surface of the sea, for he carries a burning fire warm through the cold water. After these Phaunos came, leaving the firesealed Pelorian plain of threepeak Sicily the rocky, whom Circe bore embraced by Cronion of the Deep, Circe the witch of many poisons, Aietas’s sister, who dwelt in the deepshadowed cells of a rocky palace.
Phylarchos, History book 25 (fr. 45)
There was a law at Syracuse that the women should not wear golden ornaments, nor garments embroidered with flowers, nor robes with purple borders, unless they admitted that they were public prostitutes; and that there was another law, that a man should not adorn his person, nor wear any extraordinarily handsome robes, different from the rest of the citizens, unless he meant to confess that he was an adulterer and a profligate: and also, that a freewoman was not to walk abroad when the sun had set, unless she was going to commit adultery; and even by day they were not allowed to go out without the leave of the regulators of the women, and without one female servant following them
Plutarch, Greek and Roman Parallel Stories 18
To Dionysos alone did Kyanippos, a Syracusan, omit to sacrifice. Then one day in a fit of drunkenness he violated his daughter Kyanê in a dark place. She took off his ring and gave it to her nurse to be a mark of recognition. When the Syracusans were oppressed by a plague, and the Pythian god pronounced that they should sacrifice the impious man to the Averting Deities, the rest had no understanding of the oracle; but Kyanê knew, and seized her father by the hair and dragged him forth; and when she had herself cut her father’s throat, she killed herself upon his body in the same manner. So Dositheüs in the third book of his Sicilian History.
Plutarch, Life of Nisias 1.3
It was fitting that the god Herakles should aid the Syrakousans for the sake of their goddess Kore who delivered Kerberos into his hands, but should be angry with the Athenians because they were trying to succour the Egestaians although they were descendants of the Trojans, whose city he had once destroyed because of the wrong done him by Laomedon their king.
Plutarch, Life of Nisias 25.1
Presently their diviners announced to the Syrakousans that the sacrifices indicated a splendid victory for them if only they did not begin the fighting, but acted on the defensive. Herakles also, they said, always won the day because he acted on the defensive and suffered himself to be attacked first. Thus encouraged, they put out from shore and when they won the battle against the Athenians the Syrakousans were given over to sacrificial revels because of their victory and their festival of Herakles.
Polyaenus, Stratagems 5.2.19
When his treasury was low, Dionysius imposed a tax on the people. They were unwilling to pay, saying that they often been forced to make contributions, and Dionysius did not think it wise to compel the payment of it. A few days later, he ordered the magistrates to take all the offerings from the temple of Asclepius (and there were many of them, both silver and gold), to carry them to the marketplace, and there to put them up for sale. The Syracusans eagerly purchased them at high prices; and a very considerable amount of money was raised. As soon as Dionysius had obtained the money, he passed an edict, that whoever had sacrilegiously bought any of the offerings from the temple of Asclepius, should on pain of death immediately return them to the temple, and restore them to the god. The edict was obeyed; the offerings were returned to the god, and Dionysius kept the money.
Polyaenus, Stratagems 5.3.3
Agathocles, having received information that some of the Syracusan leaders intended to attempt a revolution, offered a solemn sacrifice to the gods for a victory he had gained over the Carthaginians. And he invited to the banquet, which he made on that occasion, five hundred persons, whom he supposed most hostile to his government. The banquet was most sumptuous and magnificent. And after the company had all drunk pretty freely, he himself, with a scarlet robe in the Tarentine fashion thrown loosely around him, advanced into the midst of them, and sang, and played on the harp, and danced; while mirth and revelry prevailed around. When they all were in the height of enjoyment, Agathocles withdrew, as being tired, and wanting to change his clothes. A number of armed men immediately rushed in, and falling upon the company with their drawn swords, allowed no-one to escape.
Strabo, Geography 6.2.4
Syracuse was founded by Archias, who sailed from Corinth about the same time that Naxus and Megara were colonised. It is said that Archias went to Delphi at the same time as Myscellus, and when they were consulting the oracle, the god asked them whether they chose wealth or health; now Archias chose wealth, and Myscellus health; accordingly, the god granted to the former to found Syracuse, and to the latter Croton. And it actually came to pass that the Crotoniates took up their abode in a city that was exceedingly healthful, as I have related, and that Syracuse fell into such exceptional wealth that the name of the Syracusans was spread abroad in a proverb applied to the excessively extravagant — “the tithe of the Syracusans would not be sufficient for them.” And when Archias, the story continues, was on his voyage to Sicily, he left Chersicrates, of the race of the Heracleidae, with a part of the expedition to help colonise what is now called Corcyra, but was formerly called Scheria; Chersicrates, however, ejected the Liburnians, who held possession of the island, and colonised it with new settlers, whereas Archias landed at Zephyrium, found that some Dorians who had quit the company of the founders of Megara and were on their way back home had arrived there from Sicily, took them up and in common with them founded Syracuse. And the city grew, both on account of the fertility of the soil and on account of the natural excellence of its harbours.
Timaeus, Histories 22
It was customary in Sicily to make a sacrifice from house to house in honour of the nymphs, and for men to spend the night around their statues when quite drunk, and to dance around the goddesses.