SICANI, in ancient geography, generally regarded (together with the Elymi) as the oldest inhabitants of Sicily. Sicania (the country of the Sicani) and the Siculi (q.v.) or Siceli are mentioned in Homer (Odyssey, xx. 383, xxiv. 307), the latter apparently being known to the Greeks as slave-dealers. There existed considerable difference of opinion among the ancients as to the origin of the Sicani. From the similarity of name, it would be natural to identify them with the Siculi, but ancient authorities expressly state that they were two distinct peoples (see SICILY: History, ad init.). At first the Sicani occupied nearly the whole of the island, but were gradually driven by the Siceli into the interior and the N. and N.W. They lived chiefly in small towns and supported themselves by agriculture. These towns were not subject to a single king, but each had its own ruler and constitution. The most important of the towns to which a Sicanian origin can be with certainty assigned and whose site can be determined, are: Hyccara (Muro di Carini), taken and plundered by the Athenians during the Sicilian expedition (41 5 B.C.); Omphake, between Agrigentum (Girgenti) and Gela ( Terranova) ; and Camicus (site unknown) , the residence of the mythical Sicanian king Cocalus, constructed for him by Daedalus (q.v.), to whom he had given shelter when pursued by Minos, king of Crete.
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)