The Elymians (Greek Elymoi, latin Elymi ) belonged together with the Sicels and Sicani to the pre-Greek inhabitants of Sicily. The Elymians settled particularly in western Sicily. Their main cities were Eryx ( Erice today ), Segesta (also Egesta ) and Entella. Their settlement area is from Belize in the east and the line Monte Iato - limited Montelepre in the north - Partinico.
The exact origin of the Elymians is unclear. Thucydides leads them back to Trojans that allegedly settled under their leader Elymos here. They are among the Trojans, who fled with Aeneas from Troy, but then not moved on with him to Lazio. As Aeneas is considered the progenitor of Romulus and Remus, the legendary founders of Rome, the Romans saw after the conquest of Sicily, the Elymians as kindred people at that deserved preferential treatment.
In Virgil Elymos Helymus means and by Servius was the founder of the cities Asca, Entella and Egesta. Suggest a Ligurian origin, the names of their cities. Recent findings that the 9th / 8 Century BC are dated, but suggest a Italic origin and close relations with the Italians. This is also supported by recent philological studies.
According Hellanicus they were ousted by the Oinotroi from southern Italy. They were mostly allied with the Phoenicians and the Greeks over until their Hellenization in the 5th century BC hostile. After the Hellenization they are no longer mentioned.
For the Elymian language there are only sparse certificates, which are also known only since the 1960s. First, we wanted to recognize Ligurian or Illyrian connections here. This proved to be untenable. Apparently the Elymian language is a dialect of the Sicelian very similar - that is an Indo-European, Italic language. The existing language certificates have been found mainly in the form of graffiti on 600 ceramics in Segesta (8th- 6th centuries BC) and as a coin legends on coins from the 5th century BC in Eryx and Segesta.
The Elymians should not be confused with the Iranian Elymäern.