The fortress stands around the ruins of a Greek temple between Triscina and Selinunte.  Of history the castle has none and even its existence was forgotten by 1154.  Edrisi seems to describe it merely as a hamlet called ‘Al Asnam', which apparently means - the pillars.  However, no mention is made of the fortress otherwise known as Kastron or Kastelion of Selinunte.  Presumably the castle was built in answer to the Arab landing near Mazara in the ninth century, but it could be an earlier coastal fort built to defend against such landings.

Kastron occupies the southern end of the acropolis of ancient Selinunte and is set around what is now called Temple O.  The result is a fortress about 130' square with two rectangular turrets at the corners of the north front.  There is also rectangular turret half way down the west front and possibly a smaller turret at the SW corner and a larger tower projecting centrally in the south front.  The fortress bears little resemblance to other Byzantine castles which are listed under Aci castle.  Indeed it most resembles various post Roman forts in Wales, which often became later Welsh llys.  These were generally about 200' square and some comment is made on them here.  In the Mediterranean the nearest fortress to this in style is probably Ain Tounga in Tunisia.

Why not join me at other Sicilian castles?  Information on this and other tours can be found at Scholarly Sojourns.


Copyright©2019 Paul Martin Remfry