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The Sicani are thought to be the oldest inhabitants of Sicily with a recorded name. The Greek historian Thucydides claimed they immigrated from Iberia, but his basis for saying this is unknown. The Elymians are thought to be the next recorded people to settle Sicily, perhaps from the Aegean or Anatolia. They settled in the north-west of the island. The Sicels were the next to arrive, from mainland Italy, perhaps Liguria, and settled in the east. Historical records start with the Phoenicians, who established colonies in the 11th century BCE, and especially with the Greeks, who founded the colony of Syracuse, which eventually became the largest Greek city, in 734 BCE. Other Greek colonies were established around the island. The indigenous Sicilians were gradually absorbed by these colonizing peoples and finally disappeared as distinct peoples under Roman occupation.
A few short inscriptions using the Greek alphabet have been found in the extinct Sicanian language. Except for names they have not been translated, and the language is unclassified due to lack of data.