Ancient Sicilian Devotion

As we prepare for our annual Feast of Santa Lucia on Sunday, Dec. 9 in NYC at Cacio e Vino (Details and register at https://experiencesicily.com/events/festa-di-santa-lucia/), we must first start long before Lucia’s time, in the 7th century B.C.E. During this ancient Greek era, women devotees prayed to the goddesses Persephone and Demeter for healthful fertility…

‘Tis His Season

The current grape harvest season makes me think of Dionysus (The Romans called the God of wine Bacchus.). This is a terracotta bowl fragment featuring a relief of Dionysus, god of wine, vegetation, theater, and ecstasy, from Morgantina, an ancient Greek town in Sicily (3rd to 1st century B.C.E.).

Demeter’s Joy: Summer 

Happy Summer! I present to you the magnificent Goddess of Morgantina, in celebration of the solstice. Scholars don’t know if she represents Aphrodite, Demeter, Persephone, or Hera. But her size (2.20-2.25 meters high), indicates that it was certainly a mystery cult statue of great importance. Personally, I believe that she is Persephone because her right…

A Bust of Persephone

Clay busts of Kore/Persephone, such as this one pictured from the archaeological museum in Aidone (Enna Province), have been found throughout Sicily, proving the significance of the goddess and her story. In the 5th century to the 3rd century B.C., for example, women devotees prayed to Kore for healthful fertility and protection during various stages…

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…

She’s Finally Home

At Aidone, finally, is one of the most magnificent statues of a goddess from the ancient Greek era. Dated to be from 410 BC, the figure’s torso was carved using limestone from a quarry near Ragusa and her head and arms from imported Parian marbel. It was produced using a pseudo-acrolithic technique, giving her chiton…

Here Lies History

In 1955, archaeologists identified Morgantina, an ancient Greek settlement outside of the town of Aidone in Central Sicily. Morgantina was founded in 850 BC and was abandoned in the 2nd century BC after the Romans destroyed it. It is still being excavated today. The findings of the archaeologists may be seen in the outstanding museum…