Along the coast off Marsala, by the saltworks, some small islands rise next to each other to create a lagoon: it is the Stagnone Islands Orientated Nature Reserve. Among them, the most important is definitely Mothia.
Its role in history is not insignificant. Because of its strategic position in the Mediterranean, the Carthaginians decided to set up there a commercial outpost. Unfortunately, however, Mothia suffered the consequences of the struggle between Greeks and Carthaginians for domination over Sicily. When it was attacked and destroyed by Dionysius of Syracuse, its inhabitants moved to the promontory in front, where Marsala eventually appeared.
The remains of its civilization and its flourishing economic activity have been brought to the light by a long series of archaeological excavations. The great pride of the island is the famous statue of the so-called Mothia’s Charioteer. The life-size sculpture (nearly 6 feet high) is made of white Anatolia marble, and was found without its arms. There are still many doubts about the origin and the subject represented. The tunic and the complex hairstyle make us think of a high-ranking person. The author, albeit not Greek, was however influenced by the Greek “austere” style and possessed extraordinary plastic skills. The proportions are harmonious and elegant, with an exquisite pleated tunic adhering to the body. It probably dates to the 5th century B.C around 470-480.