The Neapolis

The senses tell the Ierone

Flutes, shouting and silence during the sacrificial rite

In Greek tradition, the bloody sacrifices began with a procession led by a virgin with a basket of bread, cereal grains and the “sacrificial knife”.
The sacrifices were marked by the alternation of music, silence and invocations.
The flute gave vitality to the rite and accompanied some of its moments. In the sacrificial act music helped to underline the solemnity of the ceremony.
In this way, the participants were more predisposed to religious sentiment and sacred action.
Following prayers and the throwing of cereal grains, the victim was slaughtered, after which the music stopped and the women began to shout.

Culinary practices and the spirit of sacrifice: mageiros

During the sacrifice, the figure of the chef (mageiros) was fundamental.
The mageiros held the role of butcher and sacrificer.
Their work involved the trade of meat, killing the victim, and preparing the food.
Of these three roles, the cook was undoubtedly the most familiar: the mageiros would light the fire, set the table, knead the flat bread, season the meal with local spices and cut the meat on the sacrificial table.
Cooking should not, moreover, be confused with hunting. Wild animals could not be offered to the gods; only domestic animals were sacrificed and eaten.

”Fragrant” and perfumed altars

Believed to be of divine origin, perfumes were essential in the celebration of worship.
Birth, marriage and death were always accompanied by fumigations and perfumed unctions with purifying properties.
Fragrances also played an essential role in funerals, because they facilitated the passage to the afterlife. The dead were wrapped in perfumed sheets or buried with precious containers and fragrant plants.
Even during sacrifices, essences permeated the atmosphere of the places and were greatly important. After the animal offerings, natural resins with intense notes such as myrrh and incense were burned on the altar.
The Greek poet Hesiod, in his mythological poem Theogony, wrote about “fragrant altars.”

The Altar of Hieron II: Blood and fire place

The cultural significance of tragedy

The Ear of Dionysius and the Grotta dei Cordari

The architecture of the Piazza

Inside the Cathedral of Ortygia

The functions of Castello Maniace

The Church of St. Lucia to the Abbey

Ortygia. Venus rising from the waters of the port

The Cathedral of Syracuse

The Spanish fortification

The Greek Theatre of Syracuse

The Culture of Pantalica

Roman Syracuse, a military power thanks to the genius of Archimedes

The Venationes

Crypt of San Marciano

The Euryalus Fortress

Giudecca, the hidden Jewish heart of Syracuse

The Jews, a wandering people

Temple of Apollo

Piazza del Duomo, a sacred place of the ancient Greeks

Pantalica: where nature and history merge

Castello Maniace

Neapolis from past to present

The catacombs of San Giovanni

Syracuse during the tyranny of Dionysius

Traces of Christianity in Syracuse

Where seas and civilisations meet

The Roman Amphitheatre

King Hyblon’s kingdom: Pantalica, between history and legend

The Church of San Giovanni alle Catacombe

Legends and magic echoes in the Latomie of Syracuse

The Senatorial Palace

The Dionysian Walls: a masterpiece of Greek engineering

The Gladiator performances

The Athenaion of the tyrant Gelon

The Museion and the Grotta del Ninfeo

Byzantine Pantalica