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 Senatorial Palace

Syracuse during the tyranny of Dionysius

The Venationes

The Ear of Dionysius and the Grotta dei Cordari

Ortygia. Venus rising from the waters of the port

Temple of Apollo

The cultural significance of tragedy

Inside the Cathedral of Ortygia

The Spanish fortification

Castello Maniace

The Greek Theatre of Syracuse

The functions of Castello Maniace

Piazza del Duomo, a sacred place of the ancient Greeks

The Cathedral of Syracuse

Legends and magic echoes in the Latomie of Syracuse

Pantalica: where nature and history merge

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

The Museion and the Grotta del Ninfeo

The catacombs of San Giovanni

The architecture of the Piazza

The Athenaion of the tyrant Gelon

Where seas and civilisations meet

Neapolis from past to present

The Jews, a wandering people

Giudecca, the hidden Jewish heart of Syracuse

The Church of San Giovanni alle Catacombe

Traces of Christianity in Syracuse

The Church of St. Lucia to the Abbey

The Gladiator performances

The Culture of Pantalica

The Roman Amphitheatre

The Altar of Hieron II: Blood and fire place

Crypt of San Marciano

The Euryalus Fortress

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

Byzantine Pantalica

The Dionysian Walls: a masterpiece of Greek engineering