Giacobbe Giusti, Found in the Salento Minerva Aeneid: the statue confirmed the landing of Enea

Giacobbe Giusti, Found in the Salento Minerva Aeneid: the statue confirmed the landing of Enea




These days the temperature reaches the threshold of 35 degrees, if not more. It is a charming place, where the Adriatic sea is the backdrop to the streets where a bright light is combined with limestone houses. A land with strong tourist, rich in culture and history. Meeting the head of the construction site, the archaeologist Amedeo Galati, on Cathedral Square and walk along the short stretch that separates the square from the site of the archaeological excavations. We are stopped a few times by locals trying to know the latest news about the findings. We feel the excitement in the country, because in those ancient stones is reliving a distant history millennia now, the time when the lands of Puglia rang the native language of the Mediterranean: the greek.

They are in Castro because again the epics are borne out in the archaeological finds. Or so it seems. An ancient temple dedicated to the goddess Athena, would be found in Salento, where now stands Castro. That would be the “fortress with the temple of Minerva” where, in the legend told nell”Eneide ‘, Virgil placed the landing of the Trojan hero Aeneas, fleeing the city destroyed by the Achaeans.

From Book III dell”Eneide ‘, “the breezes hanker grow and become closer to open the port and the fortress appears the Temple of Minerva”.
The city, in Roman times, had its name Castrum Minervae.

Area of ​​excavations, which is near the Cathedral, spoke recently in a book, ‘Castrum Minervae’ (Farewell, Galatina 2009), Professor Francesco D’Andria, professor of archeology and director of the graduate school in classical and medieval archeology at the University of Lecce. In the text they were collected the results of excavations of 2007-2008. The current excavations, begun years ago, have recovered thanks to a project called “In the footsteps of Aeneas” and that is the implementation of an archaeological park over the area Comunale.

Just in recent weeks, the surprise. In the yard directed by the archaeologist Amedeo Galati, the important discovery of the torso, evidence of the presence on the site of a temple dedicated to the goddess Athena, already in age messapica. That is the time when the South was integrated into Italian culture magnogreca.

The hypothesis that the artifact represents Athena is corroborated by the correspondence between the setting of the arms on the chest and found that observed in the iconography typical dell’Atena Iliac, the Messapian period, with a strong Eastern influence (see photo for comparison). That is confirmed by the previous discovery, always in the excavations at Castro, in town huts, a bronze statuette depicting the goddess Athena, now housed and displayed in the town museum, housed in the impressive castle, however, very well preserved.

The statuette has a Phrygian cap, a clear denunciation of inspiration iconographic Eastern. Moreover, the first settlement in the area affected by messapico gravitated Taranto, Spartan colony. Only in Roman times, the town messapica initially called – in all probability – Lik, would be renamed Castrum Minervae. The ancient name of Castro, Lik, is confirmed by the so-called map of Soleto, a fragment in black paint which is the oldest geographical map from western classical antiquity, currently preserved in the National Archaeological Museum of Taranto and depicting the southern Salento. There they read clearly an indication of the Gulf of Taranto and the position of the city of Otranto (Hydruntum).

Castro-mappa di Soleto

The torso found in the excavations at Castro, in town Capanne, has a size of 1.10mx0.90m, suggesting that the whole body should reach about 2.5m high, excluding the base, which are most probably attributed decorations found in the excavations.

Also carry a pretty picture of the time when the body is removed from the floor of the excavation, I had the chance to see, in their stratigraphic complexity, right next to a door of the old city, dating back to IV-III century. B.C.

Castro4- excavations

In recent days, they were also found her hand and left forearm. This gives hope that other surprising discoveries can emerge in further excavations. The history of these lands thousands of years continues to speak.

Castro5- scavi

Below, an aerial image with legend of the excavations in which is found the bust attributed to the goddess Athena.”


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