COMENIUS«GREEK AND ITALIAN CIVILIZATIONS:RUINS, MUSIC AND MUSICALINSTRUMENTS»PART A
This year the 2ndGymnasium of Heraklion is having aneducational journey of knowledge, cogitation andentertainment. It ambitiously intends to travel to places wherethe Greek element has been surviving since the 8thcentury BC,succeeding to keep the memories of a great nation alive; anation which carried the torch of Greek spirit all over the world. We will also step on the footprints in the sands of time of theItalian civilization. Italy is the wellspring of Western civilizationand has been a world crossroads for over 2,000 years.Continuous learning, creativity, and technologicaladvancement on the Italian peninsula have shaped virtuallyevery aspect of Western culture. Italy was home to many well-known and influential civilizations,including the Etruscan, Greek, and the Roman ones.
Italian civilization From antiquity until the mid-17th century, Italy wasconsidered as the central place of Western culture and thestarting point of worldwide phenomena such as the RomanEmpire, Roman Catholic Church, and the Renaissance.During this period, Italy gave birth to a number of famouspainters, sculptors, poets, musicians, mathematicians andarchitects that created a niche of their own in history. Both the internal and external facets of Western culturewere born on the Italian peninsula, whether one looks atthe history of the Christian faith, civil institutions,philosophy, law, art, opera, science, or social customs andculture.
Tu ne quaesieris, scire nefas, quem mihi, quem tibifinem di dederint, Leuconoe, nec Babyloniostemptaris numeros. ut melius, quidquid erit, pati.seu pluris hiemes seu tribuit Iuppiter ultimam,quae nunc oppositis debilitat pumicibus mare:Tyrrhenum sapias, vina liques et spatio brevispem longam reseces. dum loquimur, fugerit invidaaetas: carpe diem, quam minimum credula posteroQuintus Horatius FlaccusCARMEN 1.11
Do not ask, for it is forbidden to know, Leuconoe,what end the gods have given to me, or to you. Do not trythe Babylonian numbers. It is better to suffer whatever comes.Perhaps Jupiter has allotted you many winters, or perhapsthis is the last, which now wears the sea against the rocksof Etruria. Be wise, strain the wine, and for a brief hourcut short long hopes. Even as we speak time flies unbiddenSeize the day, not trusting in tomorrow.HoraceOdes I.11Transl. Mary L. J. McMenomy
FROSINONE Frosinone is a town andcommune in Lazio, in centralItaly, the administrative seat ofthe Province of Frosinone. It islocated about 75 km south-eastof Rome. It is commonlyidentified as the capital of thegeographical region of Ciociaria. Frosinone is the place where the“Istituto Comprensivo 1°, ourpartner school, is located andalso the place of our destinationfor the next ten days.
ANCIENT ROME Ancient Rome was an Italic civilization thatbegan growing on the Italian Peninsula asearly as the 8th century BC. Located alongthe Mediterranean Sea and centered on thecity of Rome, it expanded to become one ofthe largest empires in the ancient world. In its approximately twelve centuries ofexistence, Roman civilization shifted from amonarchy to an aristocratic republic and toan increasingly autocratic empire. Throughconquest and assimilation, it came todominate Southern Europe, Western Europe,Asia Minor, North Africa, parts of NorthernEurope, and parts of Eastern Europe. Romewas preponderant throughout theMediterranean region and was one of themost powerful entities of the ancient world. Itis often grouped into "Classical Antiquity"together with ancient Greece, and theirsimilar cultures and societies are known asthe Greco-Roman world.
ROME “The Eternal City„ with thegreat history and the uniquemonuments, has offered a lotto the science, culture andarts. Rome was supposedlyfounded in 753 BC and eversince has been the capital ofthe Roman Empire, one of themain centres of Christianity,the home of the RomanCatholic Church and the seatof the Italian Republic. Its historic centre is listed byUNESCO as a World HeritageSite.
Ostia Antica Ostia Antica is a large archeological site,close to the modern suburb of Ostia(Rome). "Ostia" in Latin means "mouth". Atthe mouth of the River Tiber, Ostia wasRomes seaport, but due to silting the sitenow lies 3 km from the sea. The site isnoted for the excellent preservation of itsancient buildings, magnificent frescoesand impressive mosaics. Ostia may have been Romes first colony.
Magna Graecia Magna Graecia is the name of the coastalareas of Southern Italy that were extensivelycolonized by Greek settlers who beganarriving in the 8th century B.C. It extends fromCumae (Ancient Greek Kyme), the first Greekcolony, to the south coasts of Italy and theisland of Sicily. The colonists brought with themthe Greek way of living and thinking, enrichedit and consequently spread it in all the knownMediterranean Basin. A journey to MagnaGraecia is an exploration of the Mediterraneancivilization which gave birth to the greatestcivilizations of the world.
CUMAE (KYME) Cumae was the first ancientGreek settlement on Italianmainland (Magna Graecia). It issaid to have been founded in the8th century B.C. by EuboeanGreek settlers who had alreadycolonized the island of Ischia. It islocated northwest of Naples. Thecolony was also the entry point inthe Italian peninsula for theEuboean alphabet, the localvariant of the Greek alphabetused by its colonists, a variant ofwhich was adapted andmodified by the Etruscans andthen by the Romans and becamethe Latin alphabet.
CUMAE (KYME) CUMAE was the seat of the CumaeanSibyl. The Sybil was a propheticpriestess sacred to the Greek godApollo. The Cumaean Sibylprophesied by “singing the fates” andwriting on oak leaves. These would bearranged inside the entrance of hercave but, if the wind blew andscattered them, she would not help toreassemble the leaves to form theoriginal prophecy again.
CUMAE (KYME) CUMAE became a sacred place in Romanmythology according to Virgil’s tales. The Sibylwas a guide to the underworld (Hades), itsentry being at the nearby crater of Avernus.Aeneas employed her services before hisdescent to the lower world to visit his deadfather Anchises, but she warned him that it wasno light undertaking:“Trojan, Anchises son, the descent of Avernus is easy.All night long, all day, the doors of Hades stand open.But to retrace the path, to come up to the sweet air ofheaven,That is labour indeed.” (Aeneid 6.126-129.)
Ruins of the Temple of Apollo,Cumae Archaeological Park
Pompeii The town was founded around the 7th–6th century BC by the Osci or Oscans. Ithad already been used as a safe portby Greek and Phoenician sailors.Pompeii was captured for the first timeby the Greek colony of Cumae, alliedwith Syracuse. Romans took control ofPompeii around 200 BC. On August 24,79 AD, Vesuvius erupted, burying thenearby town of Pompeii in ash andsoot, killing 20,000 people, andpreserving the city in its state from thatfateful day. Pompeii was lost for about1500 years until its initial rediscovery in1599.
Pompeii While some people fell deadon the spot, several othersdied at exit points, trying toescape from the killer lava. Asif this was not enough, thetorrent of the lava wasfollowed by the flowing ofwhite ash from the volcano,which systematically coveredthe lava like a topping ofsnow. Entire families, homes,streets, buildings, animals,verily the entire city wasburied underneath the layersof hot ash and lava.
PAESTUM (POSEIDONIA) Paestum is the classicalRoman name of a majorGreco-Roman city inthe Campania region ofItaly. It was foundedaround the end of the7th century BC bycolonists from the Greekcity of Sybaris, andoriginally was known asPOSEIDONIA.
PoseidoniansThe Poseidonians forgot the Greek languageafter so many centuries of minglingwith Tyrrhenians, Latins, and other foreigners.The only thing surviving from their ancestorswas a Greek festival, with beautiful rites,with lyres and flutes, contests and wreaths.And it was their habit toward the festival’s endto tell each other about their ancient customsand once again to speak Greek namesthat only a few of them still recognized.And so their festival always had a melancholy endingbecause they remembered that they too were Greeks,they too once upon a time were citizens of Magna Graecia;and how low they’d fallen now, what they’d become,living and speaking like barbarians,cut off so disastrously from the Greek way of life.C. P. Cavafy
Sicily A great many mythologicalcharacters visited or lived in Sicily:Persephone was abducted by Hadesnear Etna in the Sicilian hinterland,Arethusa, originally an Arcadiannymph, fled the amorous advances ofthe river God Alpheios and ended upas a spring in Siracuse, Charybdis, thewater sucking daughter of Poseidoncreated the dangerous whirlpools thatalmost sank Odysseus while passingthrough the Straits of Messina,Hephaestus was believed (at least byGreeks in the Sicilian colonies ofMagna Grecia) to have his forge inMount Etna, and Aiolos, the God ofWinds resided in the Aeolian Islands.
Giardini Naxos Naxos was an ancient Greekcolony of Sicily. It foundedcolonies of its own and it wasknown as a religion center ofthe God Apollo. Giardini Naxos is a communein the Province of Messina. Itis situated on the coast of theIonian Sea on a bay which liesbetween Cape Taormina andCape Schisò. Today it is apopular seaside resort.
Taormina Taormina is a commune andsmall town on the east coast ofthe island of Sicily, in theProvince of Messina. Taorminas area was inhabitedby the Siculi even before theGreeks arrived on the Siciliancoast in 734 BC to found a towncalled Naxos. The theory thatTauromenion was founded bycolonists from Naxos isconfirmed by Strabo and otherancient writers.
AGRIGENTO (AKRAGAS) Agrigento is a city on the southerncoast of Sicily and the capital of theprovince of Agrigento. It is renownedas the site of the ancient Greek city ofAKRAGAS. Pindarus praised Akragas as “the mostbeautiful of the mortal cities”. It wasthe home of artists, philosophers, andimportant men of the ancient period The Valley of the Temples is one of themost outstanding examples of MagnaGraecia art and architecture, and isone of the main attractions of Sicily aswell as a national monument of Italy.
AGRIGENTORemains of one atlas in the Olympeion field
Piazza Armerina Piazza Armerina is an Italiancommune in the province of Ennaof Sicily. The town is famous chieflyfor its Roman mosaics in the VillaRomana del Casale. Villa Romana del Casale is aRoman villa built in the first quarterof the 4th century and locatedabout 3 km outside the town ofPiazza Armerina. Containing therichest, largest and most complexcollection of Roman mosaics in theworld, it is one of THE UNESCOWorld Heritage Sites in Italy.
Villa Romana di CasaleThe "bikini girls" mosaic, showingwomen playing sports
SIRACUSE Syracuse is a historic city in Sicily, the capital ofthe province of Syracuse. The city is notable for itsrich Greek history, culture, theatres, architecture,and as the birthplace of the preeminentmathematician and engineer Archimedes. This2,700-year-old city played a key role in ancienttimes, when it was one of the major powers of theMediterranean world. Syracuse is located in thesoutheast corner of the island of Sicily, right by theGulf of Syracuse next to the Ionian Sea. The city was founded by Ancient GreekCorinthians and became a very powerful city-state. Syracuse was allied with Sparta and Corinth,exerting influence over the entire Magna Graeciaarea of which it was the most important city. Oncedescribed by Cicero as "the greatest Greek cityand the most beautiful of them all", it laterbecame part of the Roman Republic andByzantine Empire.
Noto Noto is famous for its finebuildings of the early 18thcentury, considered amongthe main masterpieces in theSicilian baroque style. It is aplace of many religiousbuildings and several palaces.
CATANIA Catania is the second biggest town inSicily. Catania is nearby Etna. It wasfounded in 729 B.C. by colonists from theGreek city of Naxos (Sicily), under theguidance of a leader named Euarchus. Catania is known for its seismic history,having been destroyed by a catastrophicearthquake in 1169, another in 1693, andseveral volcanic eruptions from theneighboring Mount Etna volcano, themost violent of which was in 1669. One of the most important monument inCatania is the ancient theatre.
Mount EtnaIt is an active volcano in Sicily. It isthe tallest active volcano in Europe.
EtnaSnowy Etna, nurse of biting snow all year round,from whose depths belch forth holiest springsof unapproachable fire; during the days rivers of lavapour forth a blazing streamof smoke, but in times of darknessa rolling red flame carries rocks into the deepexpanse of the sea with a crash.That monster sends up most terrible springsof Hephaistos’ fire — a portentwondrous to behold.Pindar, Pythian Ode I, lines 15-27
CrotoneCrotone is a city and commune in Calabria,southern Italy, on the Ionian Sea coast. It wasfounded in 710 B.C. appr. as the Achaeancolony of Croton.Pythagoras the Greek Philosopher founded hisschool, the Pythagoreans, at Croton in 530 B.C.Among his pupils were the early medicaltheorist Alcmaeon of Croton and thephilosopher, mathematician, and astronomerPhilolaus.Its inhabitants were famous for their physicalstrength and for the simple sobriety of their lives.From 588 B.C. onwards, Croton produced manygenerations of victors in the Olympics and theother Panhellenic Games, the most famous ofwhom was Milo of Croton.
Other worth seeing cities or places ofMagna Graecia that are closelyrelated to the history of the twoneighbouring countries
Napoli It is the capital of Campania and the third-largest municipality in Italy, after Romeand Milan. In the 8th century B.C., a settlement calledParthenope was founded by settlers fromCumae in the Naples region. In the 6thcentury B.C., after the decline ofParthenope, the new urban zone ofNeápolis was founded, eventuallybecoming one of the foremost cities ofMagna Graecia, playing a key role in themerging of Greek culture into Romansociety and eventually becoming acultural centre of the Roman Republic.
Mount VesuviusMount Vesuvius is best known for its eruptionin AD 79 that led to the burying anddestruction of the Roman cities of Pompeii,Herculaneum and Stabiae.
Elea Velia is the Italian (and Latin) name of theancient town of Elea located in Campaniaregion. Originally it was founded by theGreeks as Hyele in Magna Graecia around538–535 BC. It is best known as the homeof the philosophers Parmenides and Zenoof Elea, as well as the Eleatic school ofwhich they were a part. The Eleatics were a school of pre-Socraticphilosophers. The group was founded inthe early fifth century B.C. by Parmenides.Other members of the school were Zeno ofElea and Melissus of Samos. Xenophanes issometimes included in the list, thoughthere is some dispute over this.
TARANTO Taranto was founded in 706 BC by Dorian Greekimmigrants as the only Spartan colony. Its origin ispeculiar: the founders were Partheniae ("sons ofvirgins"), sons of unmarried Spartan women andPerioeci (free men, but not citizens of Sparta). ThePartheniae arrived in Apulia, and founded the city,naming it Taras after the son of the Greek sea god,Poseidon, and of a local nymph, Satyrion. Taranto increased its power, becoming acommercial power and a sovereign city of MagnaGraecia, ruling over the Greek colonies insouthern Italy. Its independence and power cameto an end as the Romans expanded throughoutItaly.
Calabria Calabria is a region in southern Italy, located atthe "toe" of the Italian Peninsula. The capital cityof Calabria is Catanzaro. The most populatedcity and the seat of the Calabrian RegionalCouncil, however, is Reggio. It is bounded to thenorth by the region of Basilicata, to the south-west by the region of Sicily, to the west bythe Tyrrhenian Sea, and to the east by the IonianSea. In ancient times the region was the focus ofpowerful and prosperous Greek colonization,notably at Crotone, Sybaris, and Rhegium(Reggio di Calabria)
Sybaris Sybaris was a Greek colony onthe western shore of the Gulf ofTaranto in Calabria, at the verysouthern end of the Italianpeninsula. Enjoying an excellentweather, surrounded by fertileland, and extremely wealthydue to its busy port, the cityslevel of prosperity was vast, andits inhabitants were famous fortheir hedonism, feasts, andexcesses, to the extent that"sybarite" and "sybaritic" havebecome bywords for opulentluxury and outrageous pleasureseeking.
Thurii Thurii, also called by some Latinwriters Thurium, was a cityof Magna Graecia, situated onthe Tarentine gulf, within a shortdistance of the site of Sybaris,whose place it may be consideredas having taken. The ruins of thecity can be found in the Sybarisarchaeological park near Sibari inthe Province of Cosenza Calabria. Thurii was one of the latest of allthe Greek colonies in this part ofItaly, not having been foundeduntil nearly 70 years after the fall ofSybaris.
Lokri Locri is a town and commune(municipality) in the province of ReggioCalabria. The name derives from theancient Greek town Locris. Epizephyrian Locris (from Greek epi-Zephyros, "under the West Wind")wasfounded about 680 BC on the Italianshore of the Ionian Sea, near modernCapo Zefirio, by the Locrians, apparentlyby Opuntii (East Locrians) from the city ofOpus, but including Ozolae (WestLocrians) and Lacedaemonians. Strabosuggests that it was the Ozolae who werethe main founders.
Reggio di Calabria After Cumae, Reggio is one of the oldestGreek colonies in southern Italy. The colonywas settled by the inhabitants of Chalcis in720 B.C. on the site of the older settlement,Erythrà , meaning "the Red one". It is the oldest city in the region, and despiteits ancient foundation – Ρήγιον was animportant and flourishing colony of MagnaGraecia - it boasts a modern urban system,set up after the catastrophic earthquake onDecember 28, 1908, which destroyed most ofthe city. Reggio, with Naples and Taranto, is home toone of the most important archaeologicalmuseums, the prestigious NationalArchaeological Museum of Magna Græcia,dedicated to Ancient Greece.
Palermo Palermo is the capital of Sicily andthe Province of Palermo. The city isnoted for its history, culture,architecture and gastronomy,playing an important rolethroughout much of its existence; itis over 2,700 years old. Palermo islocated in the northwest of theisland of Sicily, right by the Gulf ofPalermo in the Tyrrhenian Sea. The city was founded in 734 BC bythe Phoenicians as Ziz. The Greeks,who were the most dominantculture on the island of Sicily due tothe powerful city state of Syracuseto the east, instead called thesettlement Panormus because of itsfine natural harbor.
Messina Founded by Greek colonists in the 8thcentury BC, Messina was originally calledZancle, from the Greek: ζάγκλον meaning"scythe" because of the shape of its naturalharbor. In the early 5th century BC, Anaxilas ofRhegium renamed it Messene in honour ofthe Greek city Messene. Messina is the capital of the Italianprovince of Messina and the third largestcity on the island of Sicily. It is located nearthe northeast corner of Sicily, at the Strait ofMessina, just opposite Villa San Giovannion the mainland.
Lentini Lentini, historically Leontini orLeontium, is a town and commune inthe Province of Syracuse, southeastSicily. The ancient city was founded asLeontini by colonists from Naxos in 729B.C. It is virtually the only Greek settlementin Sicily not located on the coast,being some 6 miles inland.
Gela The city was founded around 688 BC bycolonists from Rhodos (Rhodes) and Crete,45 years after the founding of Syracuse. Thecity was named after the river Gela. Aeschylus died in this city in 456 BC. Theinscription on Aeschyluss gravestonemakes no mention of his theatrical renown,commemorating only his militaryachievements:“Beneath this stone lies Aeschylus, son ofEuphorion, the Athenian,who perished in the wheat-bearing land ofGela;of his noble prowess the grove of Marathoncan speak,and the long-haired Persian knows it well”.
Heraclea Minoa It was an ancient Greek city,situated on the southern coastof Sicily at the mouth of the riverHalycus. Its ruins are now found near amodern town of the same name inthe commune Montallegro in Italy.Archaeological finds suggest thatit was founded in the middle of the6th century BC, and wasabandoned around the beginningof the 1st century AD.
Selinunte Selinunte was one of the mostimportant ancient Greek city onthe southern coast of Sicily. It wassituated between the valleys of theBelice and Modione rivers. Thearchaeological site contains fivetemples centered on an acropolis.Of the five temples, only theTemple of Hera, also known as"Temple E", has been re-erected.
Himera Himera was an important ancient Greekcity of Sicily, situated on the north coastof the island, at the mouth of the river ofthe same name (the modern Grande),between Panormus (modern Palermo)and Cephaloedium (modern Cefalù). Itsremains lie within the borders of themodern commune of Termini Imerese. Himera was a colony of Zancle, butThucydides tells us that, with theemigrants from Zancle, who were ofChalcidic origin, were mingled anumber of Syracusan exiles, theconsequence of which was, that, thoughthe institutions of the new city wereChalcidic, its dialect had a mixture ofDoric.
At this point, the first part of our educational program “Greekand Italian civilization”, which began in our schools inSeptember 2012, comes to an end. All of us, students andteachers, who had eagerly anticipated for this journey tooccur, are happy to say that this whole experience wasbeyond all our expectations. So filled with creativity,experience, and indelible memories, we come back moreexperienced and at the same time more conscious citizens ofa world without cultural boundaries. We had the opportunityof stepping on the footprints in the sands of time of the twocivilizations, the Greek and Italian one, where they livedtogether in harmony and their “syncretism” has been creatingacross the ages reciprocal influences and eternal bondsbetween the two neighbouring countries.
We will continue the second part of ourprogram during the next school year(2013-2014), passing from Rome toAthens, the two eternal cities, going toGortys, the capital of Crete during theRoman Period (Greece), and ending ourcultural journey in Candia - Chandax, thecapital of Crete during Venetian Period(Heraklion - Greece).