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Book on Sicily?

Post  Saesara on Thu Apr 25, 2013 11:12 pm

Can anyone recommend a good book on the Ancient Sicilian religion? If it gives a good description on the temples, all the better. I just checked out "Sicily Through Symbolism and Myth " by Paulo Fiorentino from the library, and it was disappointing. Not a bad book in itself, just not what I was expecting. Instead of shooting in the dark again, I was hoping one of ya'll could help. sunny
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Re: Book on Sicily?

Post  Erodius on Fri Apr 26, 2013 12:06 am

Hm, I'm not sure what you mean.

If you mean the religion of the Sicilian Greeks, it was not fundamentally different from any other Greek religion, and typically closely followed the customs of the Greek polis and region from which the oikists (Greek colonists) had come.

Large parts of Sicily were also under the control and settlement of the Phoenician Carthaginians, who practiced a quasi-Hellenized form of Phoenician religion (and were alleged by the Greeks and Romans, with some archaeological evidence to support it, to have practiced live human sacrifice of infants and toddlers, a practice which was every bit as horrifying to the Greek and Roman writers as it would be to us today.)

As far as the religion of the native, indigenous Sicilian tribes, I'm sorry to say, we know virtually nothing whatsoever. They left no written records at all, and were probably largely absorbed into the Carthaginian and Greek cultures even before the Romans took over the island.

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"O Best of Gods, blest daimon crown'd with fire . . . hear, and from punishment my soul absolve, the punishment incurr'd by pristine guilt, thro' Lethe's darkness and terrene desire: and if for long-extended years I'm doom'd in these drear realms Heav'n's exile to remain, O grant me soon the necessary means to gain that good which solitude confers on souls emerging from the bitter waves of fraudful Hyle's black, impetuous flood!"
-Iulianic Hymn to Apollon-Helios, ll. 65-106

"Having come for punishment, one must be punished. One must not pull apart the god within oneself."
-Iamblichus, Vita Pythagorica

"Truth would you teach, or save a sinking land,
All hear, none aid you, and few understand."
-Alexander Pope


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Re: Book on Sicily?

Post  Saesara on Fri Apr 26, 2013 12:28 am

I was unspecific, sorry. In "Empedocles and Pythagorean Tradition" by Peter Kingsley, a mystery cult in Sicily is often mentioned in relation to Persephone and Demeter. He also alludes to a connection with Hekate. I'm trying to follow up on that thread. I also was interested in learning a bit more about the earth Goddess Hybla. In my brain, that cumulated to "Sicilian Religion". Embarassed

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“…but now it seems that I alone of all men am bound to be deeply grateful to the ruling gods, to all of them, surely, but above all the rest to the Mother of the Gods. For all things am I grateful to her, and for this among the rest, that she did not disregard me when I wandered as it were in darkness.”
-Emperor Julian, Hymn to the Mother of the Gods

"I am a child of Earth and starry Heaven; But my race is of Heaven alone."
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Re: Book on Sicily?

Post  Erodius on Fri Apr 26, 2013 12:50 am

Saesara wrote:I was unspecific, sorry. In "Empedocles and Pythagorean Tradition" by Peter Kingsley, a mystery cult in Sicily is often mentioned in relation to Persephone and Demeter. He also alludes to a connection with Hekate. I'm trying to follow up on that thread. I also was interested in learning a bit more about the earth Goddess Hybla. In my brain, that cumulated to "Sicilian Religion". Embarassed

A cult of Persephone and Demetra with a connection to Ekate is probably an outgrowth of the cult at Eleusis, to be sure. I recall having read once of a Sicilian 'mimic' of Eleusis. I don't recall where.

Here is Theoi's references to Demetro-Persephoneian cult in Sicily, probably the best compilation you'll find:
http://www.theoi.com/Cult/DemeterCult3.html#Sikelia

I can only find references to 'Hybla' from a few Roman poetic sources. It seems to have been a town in Sicily, which likely gave its name to a goddess worshipped there; likely a form of Demeter or Persephoneia, I would guess, based on contextual clues. The use of town and regional names to refer to local forms of divinities was very common.

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"O Best of Gods, blest daimon crown'd with fire . . . hear, and from punishment my soul absolve, the punishment incurr'd by pristine guilt, thro' Lethe's darkness and terrene desire: and if for long-extended years I'm doom'd in these drear realms Heav'n's exile to remain, O grant me soon the necessary means to gain that good which solitude confers on souls emerging from the bitter waves of fraudful Hyle's black, impetuous flood!"
-Iulianic Hymn to Apollon-Helios, ll. 65-106

"Having come for punishment, one must be punished. One must not pull apart the god within oneself."
-Iamblichus, Vita Pythagorica

"Truth would you teach, or save a sinking land,
All hear, none aid you, and few understand."
-Alexander Pope


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Re: Book on Sicily?

Post  Saesara on Fri Apr 26, 2013 1:35 am

Wow, you really are the fountain of knowledge everyone says you are.Smile Thank you!!

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“…but now it seems that I alone of all men am bound to be deeply grateful to the ruling gods, to all of them, surely, but above all the rest to the Mother of the Gods. For all things am I grateful to her, and for this among the rest, that she did not disregard me when I wandered as it were in darkness.”
-Emperor Julian, Hymn to the Mother of the Gods

"I am a child of Earth and starry Heaven; But my race is of Heaven alone."
-Orphic Tablets
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Re: Book on Sicily?

Post  Erodius on Fri Apr 26, 2013 11:55 am

Saesara wrote:Wow, you really are the fountain of knowledge everyone says you are.Smile Thank you!!


No problem Smile

_________________
"O Best of Gods, blest daimon crown'd with fire . . . hear, and from punishment my soul absolve, the punishment incurr'd by pristine guilt, thro' Lethe's darkness and terrene desire: and if for long-extended years I'm doom'd in these drear realms Heav'n's exile to remain, O grant me soon the necessary means to gain that good which solitude confers on souls emerging from the bitter waves of fraudful Hyle's black, impetuous flood!"
-Iulianic Hymn to Apollon-Helios, ll. 65-106

"Having come for punishment, one must be punished. One must not pull apart the god within oneself."
-Iamblichus, Vita Pythagorica

"Truth would you teach, or save a sinking land,
All hear, none aid you, and few understand."
-Alexander Pope


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Re: Book on Sicily?

Post  J_Agathokles on Fri Apr 26, 2013 12:31 pm

Erodius wrote:(and were alleged by the Greeks and Romans, with some archaeological evidence to support it, to have practiced live human sacrifice of infants and toddlers, a practice which was every bit as horrifying to the Greek and Roman writers as it would be to us today.)

I want to make it clear that there is absolutely NO archaeological evidence whatsoever, at all, of the Carthaginians having ever practiced any form of live human sacrifice. If you refer to the finds at the Tophet, most of the children found burried there are either infants who weren't even born, or children below the age of 5-7 years old. In the Phoenician - and general Semitic - a child was not a human being deserving of normal burial rites until they reached a certain age, 5, 7, or even 10 years old. The finds at the Tophet of Carthage show no sign of children having been killed, but rather that they were already dead and probably died of natural causes. Child mortality was very high in these ancient times, you know. So in order to give them something of religious last rights, their bodies were burnt in the Tophet in sacrifice. But again, nothing points to these children having been alive at the time of the sacrifice, and as I mentioned, a lot of them were even infants that weren't even born, so probably were stillborn or died during child labour.

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Re: Book on Sicily?

Post  Erodius on Fri Apr 26, 2013 1:05 pm

Those are speculations, just as it is speculated that the Phoenicians did sacrifice children. The archaeology is ambiguous, and there are archaeologists on both sides of the debate. There is no conclusion either way, based on the finds of children, whether they were sacrificed or died and were buried, or even perhaps, that deceased children were considered to have been sacrificed. We have several literary sources that alleged Phoenician peoples, including to Carthaginians, to have sacrificed children. However, these sources are not Phoenician themselves, but Greek, Roman and Israelite, all of whom were, at one time or another, enemies of the Phoenicians, and may certainly have been trying to paint them as evil. However, the fact that this whole idea existed to strongly, even if among the Phoenicians' enemies, lends me to believe that there is some sort of basis to it, even though it is likely exaggerated.

I recommend this article:
http://rogueclassicism.com/2010/02/17/child-sacrifice-at-carthage/

Essentially:

“Our study emphasizes that historical scientists must consider all evidence when deciphering ancient societal behavior,” Schwartz said. “The idea of regular infant sacrifice in Carthage is not based on a study of the cremated remains, but on instances of human sacrifice reported by a few ancient chroniclers, inferred from ambiguous Carthaginian inscriptions, and referenced in the Old Testament. Our results show that some children were sacrificed, but they contradict the conclusion that Carthaginians were a brutal bunch who regularly sacrificed their own children.”

_________________
"O Best of Gods, blest daimon crown'd with fire . . . hear, and from punishment my soul absolve, the punishment incurr'd by pristine guilt, thro' Lethe's darkness and terrene desire: and if for long-extended years I'm doom'd in these drear realms Heav'n's exile to remain, O grant me soon the necessary means to gain that good which solitude confers on souls emerging from the bitter waves of fraudful Hyle's black, impetuous flood!"
-Iulianic Hymn to Apollon-Helios, ll. 65-106

"Having come for punishment, one must be punished. One must not pull apart the god within oneself."
-Iamblichus, Vita Pythagorica

"Truth would you teach, or save a sinking land,
All hear, none aid you, and few understand."
-Alexander Pope


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