Persephone’s Guidance 

As the seasons change where I live in the northeastern United States, and the days are darker longer, I turn to Persephone for assistance during the transition to winter. Part of the “Queen of the Underworld’s” responsibilities, once she descends into Hades each autumn, is the role of psychopomp–a guide for new souls crossing over;…

Early Bronze Age Sicily

From the Museo Archeologico Paolo Orsi in Siracusa, this door slab with carved spiral, anthropomorphic motifs is from the early Bronze Age. It’s dated to be from sometime between the 22nd and 15th century B.C. and was collected from a tomb in Castelluccio, an archaeological area between Noto and Palazzolo Acreida in southeastern Sicily. Yes,…

Silver Scylla

The hill-top town of Aidone hosts a world-class archaeological museum containing treasures unearthed at Morgantina, an ancient Greek town down the road a stretch. Morgantina was founded in 850 BC, and over the next 400-600 years the settlement was destroyed and rebuilt until it was finally abandoned in 211 BC. Throughout the centuries, the citizens…

She was Popular

Sicily’s archaeological museums are full of terracotta statuettes of goddesses, many of which represent Demeter. Like these pictured here, the goddess of the grain, agriculture, and fertility is portrayed sitting on a throne with her cylindrical headdress (called a polos) and rows of pendants upon her breast. These from Agrigento’s museum are dated to the…

Go Figurines

The mixing of cultures throughout the Mediterranean, especially in coastal cities and towns, is evident throughout Sicily. Record of such are these “ushabti” housed in the G. Whitaker Museum on Mozia near Marsala. Ushabti are funerary figurines that were common in Ancient Egypt. Buried with the dead, they represent servants or serfs for the deceased…

Hail Demeter, Hail Kore

Demeter and Kore-Persephone were fervently venerated in Sicily in ancient times. This exhibit from the Regional Archaeological Museum at Aidone features two acroliths (That is, sculptures that have been constructed of stone, such as marble, and other materials, such as, in this case, iron, and draped with fabric) most likely depicting the mother goddess and…

“Pip” Whitaker

On the island of Mozia, off of Marsala, is the G. Whitaker Museum, named for Giuseppe, or Joseph Whitaker (1850-1936), who was affectionately known as “Pip.” Pip was the son of Joseph Whitaker, Senior, an entrepreneur from West Yorkshire, England. The Whitakers, like their industrious counterparts the Woodhouses, Hopps, Inghams, and Pynes, came to Sicily…