Category: sicily

GREEK TEMPLES OF SICILY: 

THERE are at least a thousand reasons to visit Sicily, the great island – indeed the largest in the Mediterranean – that forms the triangular football to the boot that is the Italian peninsula. They are all very good reasons, including amazing landscapes, a uniquely complex and delicious cuisine, a history that is diverse and multifaceted beyond belief, excellent wines, a vast array of archaeological sites, an even vaster one of historical towns and villages. But one key reason to visit the island is missing from the list above: Greek temples!

Greek temples are one of the earliest well-defined expressions of what we now recognise as the Western tradition in architecture, and one of the most influential ones by a vast margin to this day. They go back to the 8th or 7th centuries BCE, and, as the name entails, they are indeed a key achievement of the Archaic Greeks. They originated in what is the south of modern Greece, namely the Peloponnese and Central Greece, where Greek temple architecture appears to have its main roots, probably derived from local wooden predecessors.

The Greek mainland’s architectural style is the Doric one, considered to be the most austere and ‘male’ in character. The eastern Aegean and Asia Minor were famous for their own development, the more elegant and ‘female’ Ionic style, conceived about a century after the Doric one. Its most prominent examples at Samos, Ephesus, and Didyma (much better preserved than the other two) are also marked by their vast monumental size. What is so remarkable about the Greek temples of Sicily then?

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Tuna fishing, Sicily, Italy, 1975. Photographed by Leonard Freed.

The Capuchin catacombs, Parlemo, Sicily, Italy, 1973. Photographed by Leonard Freed.

It is the duty of a good shepherd to shear his sheep, not to skin them.

Family on scooter, Palermo, Sicily, Italy, 1963. Photographed by Bruno Barbey.

Aftermath of the battle of Gela, Sicily, 12 July 1943. American soldiers, civilians and casualties in the cathedral square

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Original “LIFE” caption: “At the feet of the two American soldiers lies the dead body of an Italian sergeant. The piles of clothing and dark splotches of blood were left after most of the dead and wounded were taken away. In the background the flag flies over the Ranger headquarters. The stall ahead of the gaping Sicilian in a white suit is an outdoor bookstore”.

An Italian civilian policeman provides an American soldier a refreshing drink of water following Operation Husky: the Allied invasion of Sicily and the capture of the town of Troina from Axis forces. August, 1943.

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Charles Luciano, Sicily, Italy, 1949

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Photo by Slim Aarons.

Italian POWs captured during the invasion of Sicily in Syracuse, July 1943.

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Sulfur miners working nude because of the heat in the Floristella Grottacalda mines in Sicily, ca. 1950

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