Monday, January 16, 2012

Crown your Ancestors or bury them: The Struggle to protect the Temple of Aphrodite in Thessaloniki

In an ancient part, of the modern city of Thessaloniki, now a part of the municipality of Thermaikos lays the Square of Antigonidon. Once part of a sacred district of temples, today if one were to drive by the square you would never realize that under the areas urban sprawl and sandwiched in-between modern buildings lays a treasure of enormous significance, a beautiful 6th century temple to the Goddess Aphrodite.

First excavated in 1936, the temple, which is 200 years older than the Parthenon was all but forgotten during the Nazi occupation of Greece in World War II. It was not until 2000, that fate of this lost treasure resurfaced due to the demolition of a two story building, which rested above the temple. This allowed archaeologists once again to excavate the location. This time having the opportunity to uncover one-third of this forgotten piece of Thessaloniki’s history and thanks to the efforts of those involved, a small fraction of the treasures from this site is now on display in the Archaeological Museum of Thessaloniki.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Western Hellenism Forgotten: The Italiote and Siciliote

To the average person, the terms Italiote and Siciliote mean exactly nothing, but to those familiar with history, they would be accepted as terms referring to the Pre-Roman Greek speaking inhabitants of the Apennine Peninsula and the island of Sicily. However, these two terms are much more. If one takes the time to learn and understand the history of the region, they will come to realize that they refer to a forgotten ethnos that encompass all the native inhabitants of the region. As such, Italiotes and Siciliotes are the indigenous inhabitants of Magna Graecia, who currently makes up the Italianized people of Southern Italy. The ancient region of Magna Graecia was divided by two geographical locations, the southern portion of the Apennine Peninsula, which was referred to as Italia and the island of Sicily. This ethnos today has been incorporated in to the modern Italian identity, as merely Southern Italians. It is this ethnos’ undying urge to reclaim its freedom that attracts Southern Italians to today’s many movements for Southern Italian autonomy.