Cults Myths and Legends of Ancient Sicily by Ignazio Caloggero

Author: Ignazio Caloggero - ISBN: 9788894321913; ISBN-A: 10.978.88943219/13

Pages: 238 (E-Book pdf) (the book can be downloaded at the same time as the purchase)

Format: Ebook: Pdf, ePub and mobi (Kindle); © 2017 Centro Studi Helios srl

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Technical Information

 The book is the result of a careful and committed analysis of various works that mainly concern three sectors: Mythology, Archeology and Folklore. Among the authors studied and consulted, it is possible to mention the classics such as Diodorus Siculus, Thucydides, Pausanias, Cicero, Herodotus, Plutarch, scholars of the past such as Fazello, Di-Blasi, Ettore Pais, Adolfo Holm, Giuseppe Pitrè, Salomone Marino, Emanuele Ciaceri, Biagio Pace, and also the authors closest to us such as Ambrogio Donini, Vincenzo Facchini, Bernabò Brea, Vincenzo Tusa, Ernesto De Miro, Paolo Matthiae and others. The work is not just a simple summary of what other authors have written, but, on the contrary, there is, at the base, an intense work of "comparative analysis", which, together with the identification of a series of interrelated elements, in the three sectors subject to analysis, has made it possible to identify relationships that have escaped the scholars of the past, not, certainly due to their inability, but because, at the time, they were not in possession of all the information that, instead, we, today, have at our disposal, such as more or less recent archaeological discoveries that allow us to identify, with greater precision, the spread of certain cults.

Villa Romana del Casale - Polyphemus and Ulysses

The book was originally born as an appendix to another work, of greater dimension and commitment, namely the history of Sicily, also seen in terms of legendary tales. The "History" is made by man, by the single individual, and is the consequence of all his experience. Trying to understand man today, without having known his past, is like pretending to want to build the roof of a house without having laid the foundations. History is the man, is the consequence of his emotionality, his fears, his dreams, his love / hate towards his neighbor and, of course, his superstitions (religious and otherwise).

It is true that, when we talk about men, a good dose of scientific rigor is appropriate but it is equally true that we cannot speak of man regardless of his dreams, fears, superstitions and legends that have him always accompanied, since this would be tantamount to stripping humanity of the clothes it has always worn and will always wear. Moreover, the historical events that have marked the lives of many have often been the natural consequence of the dreams, fears and superstitions of a few.

There is no doubt that the popular uses and customs of the time we live in bear the traces of religious thought handed down by our ancestors. Often what has changed is not so much the type of rite, but rather the divinity or saint to whom this rite is addressed. Of this the clergy of the past were aware that, if on the one hand they accepted that some very ancient beliefs continued to live, on the other they condemned, with the threat of excommunication for those who practiced them, those that degenerated into licentious and not at all Christian ceremonies.

The reason the Church accepted that certain pagan rituals be mixed with Christian religious ceremonies is quite simple. It realized that it would be impossible to completely strip a people of the customs and traditions rooted in their culture for centuries; if instead she had accepted some, not only would it have been easier for her to exercise control, but, at the same time, she would have avoided losing popular support.

The book is basically divided into 7 chapters

  • In the first introductory chapter, the entire book is presented and summarized by talking about the evolution of religion taking into account its various components: indigenous element, Phoenician-Punic element, Greek element and Roman element. The other chapters deal with the various divinities and myths according to the origin and the reference epochs, for each of them we have tried to deepen their origins, their diffusion in Sicily and the syncretic aspects that link them to some events related to folklore or to religious holidays of our day.
  • The second chapter concerns the cults of indigenous origin, even when some of these undergo a process of Hellenization. We will then speak of Demeter and Persephone, Dafni, I Palici, Adrano and the goddess Ibla
  • The third chapter concerns the main Greek cults: Cronos, Zeus, Hera, Dionysus, Artemite, Hermes, Ares, Athena, Poseidon, Apollo, Aphrodite, Cybele, Hephaestus, Aslepius and the Dioscuri.
  • The fourth chapter concerns the cults of oriental origin: Baal, Tanit, Isis and Serapis
  • The fifth chapter, on the other hand, concerns some minor myths: Rea, Igea, Helios, Pan, Gaia, Pluto, I Galeoti, La Sibilli di LIllibeo
  • The sixth chapter concerns what are normally defined as heroes: Erice, Aristeo, The Pii Brothers, Orion, Heracles, Daedalus and Minos, Polyphemus.
  • The last chapter concerns the nymphs and river dyninities: Ciane, Aretusa, Imera, Etna, Galatea and Aci, Camarina, Crimiso, Crisa, Gele and Longane.

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The Secret of the Golden Goat
The secret of the golden goat on Rai 1

Extract from the Green Line Transmission of Rai 1 broadcast on Rai 1 on March 19 with an interview with Ignazio Caloggero


Aphrodite - VenusBirth of Venus (Botticelli ca. 1482)

Here is the summary

Presentation. 5

Introduction .. 10

  1. Religion in Ancient Sicily .. 24
  2. Cults of indigenous origin .. 26

Demeter and Persephone (Ceres and Libera) 36

Dafni 51

I Palici 54

Adrano .. 59

Ibla .. 61


Cronos (Saturn) 69

Zeus (Jupiter) 73

Era (Juno) 79

Dionysus (Free) 81

Artemis (Diana) 90

Hermes (Mercury) 98

Ares (Mars) 101

Athena (Minerva) 102

Poseidon (Neptune) 111

Apollo .. 114

Aphrodite (Venus) 122

Cybele. 129

Hephaestus (Vulcan) 133

Asclepius (Aesculapius) 137

The Dioscuri 141

  1. Cults of oriental origin .. 145

Baal. 153

Tanit. 156

Isis. 159

Serapis. 168

  1. Cults and Minor Myths. 169

Rea .. 170

Hygieia. 170

Helios. 172

Pan .. 175

Gaia .. 180

Pluto. 181

The Galeots 184

The Sibyl of Lillibeo .. 185

  1. The heroes. 192

Erice. 193

Aristeo .. 195

The Pii Brothers 197

Orion. 198

Heracles (Hercules) 200

Daedalus and Minos. 209

Polyphemus .. 217

  1. Nymphs and river gods. 221

Ciane. 224

Arethusa .. 226

Hymera .. 228

Etna .. 228

Galatea and Aci 229

Camarina .. 231

Crimiso .. 231

Chrisa .. 232

Gela .. 232

Longane. 232

Bibliography. 233

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