Cults Myths and Legends of Ancient Sicily
1. Religion in Ancient Sicily

Beyond the division into Mediterranean lineage and Indo-European lineage, made previously, we can think of identifying, in principle, four distinct cultural elements that take into account the temporal factor with which they followed on Sicilian soil:

  • An indigenous element that includes all the cultural part handed down by the Sican and Sicilian populations, flourishing before the arrival of the Greeks and which mainly affects the eastern and central areas and only minimally the western part of the island.
  • A Phoenician-Punic element which is also associated with the Elymian component, which affects part of central Sicily and especially the western area of ​​the island.
  • A Greek element that starting from the eighth century. BC it affected almost the whole island and largely absorbed the indigenous cultural component.
  • The Roman element that, starting from the III, IV century BC, affected our island, merging, given the cultural affinity, with the present Greek element.

Without a shadow of a doubt, among the various peoples who have inhabited Sicily, the one who has given the greatest imprint, for the high moral and religious culture and the fertile imagination of its writers, was the Greek people. The Roman religion itself underwent a process of Hellenization even before we heard of Sicily as a Roman province, therefore, the arrival of the Romans did not bring substantial changes to the cults and deities venerated on the island previously. And in fact, after the Hellenization process of the Latin cults, the only difference between the Roman and Greek divinities was often only the name. It must be said, however, that in the case in which a corresponding Italic divinity was not associated with a Hellenic divinity (eg Apollo), the transposition of the Hellenic divinity took place in its entirety.

The archaeological findings are an important source for understanding which were the cults and myths of ancient Sicily and the sectors of indigenous, Punic, Greek and Roman influence. However, the simultaneous presence of two or more cultural elements in the same place is not rare, demonstrating a partial fusion of the various cultures present on the island at the time, as documented by the discovery of some funerary niches of the XNUMXst century. AD, now preserved in the regional archaeological museum of Palermo[1], which show Greek, Punic and Roman elements at the same time. In fact, the Punic symbols of Tanit (a triangle on whose vertex a horizontal line and a circle are represented) are accompanied by inscriptions in Greek, while the representation of the furnishings inside the aedicules is Roman.

 

GREEK DIVINITY

ROMAN DIVINITY

Afrodite

Venus

Apollo            

 Apollo

Ares

Mars

Artemide

Diana

Asclepius

Aesculapius

Athena

Minerva

Cronos

 Saturn

Demeter

Cerere

Dionysus

Free

Hephaestus

Volcano

Era

Juno

Hermes

Mercury

Estia

Vest

Poseidon

Nettuno

Zeus

Jupiter

 

[1] Vincenzo Tusa and Ernesto De Miro: Western Sicily. p.35

 

Ignazio Caloggero

[wp_ad_camp_1]

Cults Myths and Legends of Ancient Sicily by Ignazio Caloggero

Cults Myths and Legends of Ancient Sicily

Share / Share
Share

Facebook Comments

Share This Post
Have your say!
00
Share