Italy
Piazza Pretoria

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4 travelers at this place:

  • Day115

    Bathtime

    February 19 in Italy ⋅ ⛅ 14 °C

    This I could enjoy.
    A Roman slipper bath, alas no longer available as far as I can see.

    Finally I have found something really old in Sicily. A Copper Age double cell tomb cut into the rock. About 5000 years old.

  • Day115

    Admiral's church

    February 19 in Italy ⋅ ⛅ 13 °C

    Like the bridge, this is another gift to Palermo from the Syrian-Greek adventurer George of Antioch. This guy fronted up to the ambitious Norman King Roger II after being in service to the North African Zirid Sultan, Tamim ibn Muizz. Before you know it he commanded the Sicilian navy, such as it was.
    The word "admiral" comes to us from them, derived from the Arabic title “emir al-bar,” roughly translating to “chief military commander of the sea.”
    He was pretty successful, (for example capturing the Byzantine island of Corfu and establishing a Norman colony on the coast of modern-day Tunisia,) and used this success to build and donate the Matorana to Palermo. As is often the case, he overreached himself trying to capture the whole Byzantine Empire, and died in 1151 or 1152 in the Aegean (1151 or 2).
    Naturally the official name is the Church of Santa Maria dell’Ammiraglio.
    Although fire destroyed much of the original work, about half has been preserved or restored for us to see how richly decorated it must have been. Traces of the mosque out of which it was made can be seen. In the photo the 2nd story screen would have separated female from male.
    Today the Martorana is home to the Italo-Albanian Catholic Church. Italo-Albanians, called the Arbëreshë, migrated to Sicily and Southern Italy in the late Middle Ages as the Byzantine Empire slowly disintegrated. The Arbëreshë church’s adherence to the Byzantine rite means that masses in the Martorana are held in ancient Greek, the same as when the church was founded 800 years ago.
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  • Day116

    Brands you can trust

    February 20 in Italy ⋅ ⛅ 12 °C

    In the museum:

    The set of IKEA saucepans, with a base designed for electric hobs, are over 3000 years old! In those days they made them in bronze rather than aluminium.

    The stone holes from the same period are actually standard measures for grain. In the bottom of each one there is a plug so your purchase can be bagged in front of you.Read more

  • Day116

    My oath

    February 20 in Italy ⋅ ☀️ 14 °C

    The museum is in a nice old villa build around a courtyard.
    One type of fascinating article on display are these lead sheets called "defixiones", from the Latin verb defigere, (stab immobilise nail down.)
    They have been half-inched from the sanctuary of Demeter Malophoros at Selinunte, where they had been deposited 2700 years ago.
    Originally they would have been folded up, had pins stuck through them and then been placed in contact with the infernal cthonic divinities, who were sometimes named as guarantors.
    By now you may have guessed what was written on them.
    Curses.
    Thousands have been found, usually relating to love affairs desired or thwarted, and judiciary disputes. Included was the name of the target, (sometimes only that,) incomprehensible signs suggesting magical associations and details of what is supposed to happen. Some of them clearly have a structure as if copied from a catalogue or handbook on cursing.

    Maybe this explains the expressions on the faces of the 3 citizens?
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Piazza Pretoria

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