Goldery Star

The nymph Arethusa (or Aretusa) and her myth are central to the ancient history and culture of Siracusa, Sicily. So much so, that her image, surrounded by dolphins, is featured on the ancient coins of the city–from 415-400 BCE! This coin, which I photographed through a magnifying glass, may be seen in the newly opened…

At Selinunte, I Feel Ghosts

Yesterday, Tony, Dominic, and I visited the magnificent ancient city of Selinunte with our guide Gianluca. I’m always taken aback by this site because it’s expansive. It’s strewn with ruins of massive temples and abandoned homes. To me it possesses ghosts everywhere, who continue to protect it. Selinunte was a Greek city built on the…

Temple E Is Electric

Today considered Europe’s largest archeological site, Selinunte was a Greek city built on the southwestern coast of Sicily by colonists from the eastern Sicilian Greek outpost of Megara Hyblea. Founded around 651 BC, it displayed its power by building massive temples dedicated to various gods, like this one pictured, Temple E, which scholars believe was…

Holding Court in Siracusa

The Duomo of Siracusa represents layers of history. The foundation–both base and walls of the structure–is an ancient, Doric-style Temple of Athena, built in the 5th century BCE (Once inside, you can easily see the columns of the Greek temple!). During the Byzantine age in the 7th century CE, the temple was converted into a…

The Temple of Apollo

When you arrive on Siracusa’s Ortigia island from the land at the Piazza Pancali, you’ll find the remains of an ancient Doric temple dedicated to Apollo, the god of the sun, light, music, poetry, and prophecy. The Temple of Apollo was built in the first half of the 6th century B.C.E. The ancient Roman scholar…

Ancient Origins

In ancient Greek times in Sicily, especially in the eastern coastal cities such as Catania and Siracusa, extending to Enna, in the island’s center, Demeter and her daughter Persephone were venerated with fervor. Pictured here on this krater (a cistern used for mixing water with fermented grapes to make wine) from 425-400 BCE, now in…

One Ostrich, Two Ostrich

The corridor of the Ambulatory of the Big Game Hunt at the Roman Villa del Casale in Piazza Armerina has been called a “map of the world,” by some scholars. Capped by two floor lunettes on either side, one representing Mauritania, a country in Africa, and the other India, the extraordinary mosaic scenes along the…