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…

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…

An Offering to the Goddess

This terracotta figure from Siracusa’s archaeological museum is one of hundreds of examples of statuettes found around the island of Ortigia that is attributed to the cult of Demeter and Kore (Persephone). I find this divine figure especially interesting because more recent images of Santa Lucia, the patron saint of Siracusa who is celebrated in…

Mother Goddess

During our tour these past days, we spent a provoking morning in Siracusa, first at the archaeological park, and then at one of Europe’s best archaeological museums, the Museo Archeologico Orsi. Pictured here is one of the museum’s star pieces, a “Mother Goddess,” dated to be from 550 BC and made of local limestone. Found…