Definition: Mt. Aetna lies between the settlements of Tauromenium and Catana, in northeastern Sicily, where the volcano occasionally erupts, and did so in antiquity, producing a rich, fertile soil. It is the highest active volcano of Europe today, reaching more than 10,000 feet.
Roman myth said that Hephaestus and the Cyclops forged Zeus' thunderbolts inside Mt. Aetna.
Excerpt from Callimachus, Hymn 3 to Artemis 46 ff
"And straightway she [Artemis] went to visit the Kyklopes. Then she found in the isle of Lipara--Lipara in later days, but at that time its name was Meligounis--at the anvils of Hephaistos, standing round a molten mass of iron. For a great work was being hastened on: they fashioned a shores-trough for Poseidon. And the Nymphai [i.e. the companions of Artemis] were affrighted when they saw the terrible monsters like unto the crags of Ossa: all had single eyes beneath their brows, like a shield of fourfold hide for size, glaring terribly from under; and when they heard the din of the anvil echoing loudly, and the great blast of the bellows and the heavy groaning of the Kyklopes themselves. For Aitna cried aloud, and Trinakie cried, the seat of the Sikanians, cried too their neighbour Italie, and Kyrnos therewithal uttered a mighty noise, when they lifted their hammers above their shoulders and smote with rhythmic swing the bronze glowing from the furnace or iron, labouring greatly....
Therefore right boldly didst thou address them then : `Kyklopes, for me too fashion ye a Kydonian bow and arrows and a hollow casket for my shafts; for I also am a child of Leto, even as Apollon. And if I with my bow shall slay some wild creature of monstrous beast, that shall the Kyklopes eat.’ So didst thou speak and they fulfilled thy words. Straightway didst thou array thee, O Goddess."
- Arthur Geoffrey Woodhead , Roger J. A. Wilson "Aetna" The Oxford Classical Dictionary
- Harper's dictionary of classical literature and antiquities, Volume 1 edited by Harry Thurston Peck
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Alternate Spellings: Mt. Etna