Adranus: Ancient Sicilian God Worshipped in Adranum

Adranus, a Sicilian divinity who was worshipped in all the island of Sicily, but especially at Adranus, a town near Mount Aetna. (Plut. Tim. 12; Diod. 14.37.) Hesychius (s. v. Παλικοί) represents the god as the father of the Palici. According to Aelian (Ael. NA 11.20), about 1000 sacred dogs were kept near his temple.

Some modern critics consider this divinity to be of eastern origin, and connect the name Adranus with the Persian Adar (fire), and regard him as the same as the Phoenician Adraimelech, and as a personification of the stun or of fire in general. (Bochart, Geograph. Sacra, p. 530.)

The 1000 Hounds of Adranus (Aelian, Hist. Anim. xi. 20)

Adranus is a town in Sicily,a according to Nymphodorus, and in this town there is a temple to Adranus, a local divinity. And they say that he is there in very presence. And all that Nymphodorus tells of him besides, and how he shows himself and how kindly and favourable he is to his suppliants, we shall learn some other time.

But now I shall give the following facts. There are sacred Hounds and they are his servants and ministers ; they surpass Molossians in beauty and in size as well, and there are not less than a thousand of them.

Now in the daytime they welcome and fawn upon visitors to the shrine and the grove, whether they be strangers or natives. But at night they act as escorts and leaders, and with great kindness conduct those who are already drunk and staggering along the road, guiding each one to his own house, while those who indulge in tipsy frolics they punish as they deserve, for they leap upon them and rip their clothes to pieces and chasten them to that extent.

But those who are bent on highway robbery they tear most savagely.

 Plutarch, Timoleon 12:

[…] they all suspected and repulsed the appeals of the Corinthians except the people of Adranum. These dwelt in a city that was small, but sacred to Adranus, a god highly honoured throughout all Sicily […]

Expecting, therefore, that the Corinthian leader would be no whit better than those who had preceded him [this refers to 2 Greek commanders who promised freedom to Sicily, but instead devastated it], but that the same sophistries and lures were come to them again, and that with fair hopes and kind promises they were to be made docile enough to receive a new master in place of an old one, they all suspected and repulsed the appeals of the Corinthians except the people of Adranum.

These dwelt in a city that was small, but sacred to Adranus, a god highly honoured throughout all Sicily, and being at variance with one another, one party invited in Hicetas and the Carthaginians, while the other sent an invitation to Timoleon.

And by some freak of fortune, both generals hastening to answer the summons, both arrived at one and the same time. [3] But Hicetas came with five thousand soldiers, while Timoleon had no more than twelve hundred all told. Taking these with him from Tauromenium, he set out for Adranum, which was three hundred and forty furlongs off.

[…] And as he (Timoleon) thus spoke, he took his shield, put himself at the head, and led the soldiers on as if to certain victory. And they followed, emboldened by his example, being now distant from the enemy less than thirty furlongs. And when they had traversed these too, they fell upon the enemy, who were confounded and took to flight as soon as they perceived them coming up; wherefore not many more than three hundred of them were slain, while twice as many were taken alive, and their camp was captured.

Moreover, the people of Adranum threw open their gates and joined Timoleon, reporting to him with terror and amazement that at the beginning of the battle the sacred portals of their temple flew open of their own accord, and the spear of the god [Adranus] was seen to be trembling to the tip of its point, while copious sweat ran down his face.

Diodorus Siculus, Bibliotheca historica, xiv. 37

[…] Dionysius founded in Sicily a city just below the crest of Mount Aetne and named it Adranum, after a certain famous temple [that of Adranus].

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