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Let's talk Sicily

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Let's talk Sicily

Postby pster » Thu Jun 20, 2013 10:55 am

We want to stay on a very good sandy beach in September. So far, it seems like the choices are Fontane Bianche in the east and San Vito lo Capo and Mondello in the west. And it seems like Fontane Bianche is preferable because of the warmer water. What about Giardini Naxos you ask? Well, I get the sense that the sandy part won't be the free part.

Thoughts? I know there are some Sicily experts here!
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Re: Let's talk Sicily

Postby pster » Wed Sep 18, 2013 6:07 pm

Just got back from Sicily. Thought I might do a brief trip report, but not sure if anybody is interested nor what I would focus on. I learned a great deal about Sicilian history and about how to approach the island as a tourist. If anybody has any questions, let me know.
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Re: Let's talk Sicily

Postby Markos » Thu Sep 19, 2013 1:59 pm

pster wrote:Just got back from Sicily...If anybody has any questions, let me know.


Are there any tourist sites there marking the Athenian attack in 415 B.C.? That failed expedition has been called the Vietnam of Greek democracy, but it is actually much worse than that. Had Athens won that battle, and that war, human history, I submit, would have been radically different, and radically better.

Do the Sicilians have much consciousness of the impact of this event in their history?
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Re: Let's talk Sicily

Postby pster » Thu Sep 19, 2013 3:05 pm

There is the quarry where the Athenian prisoners were held. I didn't have time to see that one, although I did see one of the other quarries in Siracusa. I only spent one night in Siracusa, but I suspect that there are probably some bits of wall from the Athenian siege. But I'm not positive.

I only talked a little history with the locals and the Athenians never came up. I think that Sicily probably has more history than any other place on earth. If you want to take over the world, you usually start with Sicily. The list of inhabitants is long: native peoples, Carthaginians, Greeks, Romans, Vandals, Goths, Byzantines, Arabs, Normans, Germans (ie Frederick II), Spaniards. Typically, it would take a century to subdue the island and one could hold it for another century; the Romans and Spaniards held it somewhat longer. Given that this history is so wrapped up with European history as a whole, I suspect that your typical Sicilian has little knowledge of the details, but probably has some sense of the scope.

I can't get my mind around the counterfactual of what would have happened if Athens had won at Siracusa. I think that an easier argument could be made that history would have been much different if the Romans had lost to the Carthaginians in the First Punic War. That war was the first time Rome acquired territory outside the Italian peninsula, ie Sicily, and thus set it on its hegemonic course. It was decided in the seas around the island, but also in the harbours and on the hills in Western Sicily. And it was much much closer than Athens vs. Siracusa, dragging out for twenty years rather than just one or two.
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Re: Let's talk Sicily

Postby daivid » Sun Sep 22, 2013 12:25 am

pster wrote:

I can't get my mind around the counterfactual of what would have happened if Athens had won at Siracusa. I think that an easier argument could be made that history would have been much different if the Romans had lost to the Carthaginians in the First Punic War. That war was the first time Rome acquired territory outside the Italian peninsula, ie Sicily, and thus set it on its hegemonic course. It was decided in the seas around the island, but also in the harbours and on the hills in Western Sicily. And it was much much closer than Athens vs. Siracusa, dragging out for twenty years rather than just one or two.


How much did you see related to the Carthaginian era?
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Re: Let's talk Sicily

Postby pster » Mon Sep 23, 2013 6:45 pm

We saw one Carthaginian wall in the basement of the Norman Palace in Palermo and another in Erice. Erice sits 750 meters above sea level on an inverted cone. For two years near the end of the First Punic War, the Romans held the bottom and the top while the Carthaginans attacked from the middle. I love that story and so really wanted to see that wall.

http://www.seepalermo.com/normanb.gif

http://hannibalbarca.webspace.virginmed ... c-wall.jpg

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/c ... aly_18.jpg

I didn't make it down to Marsala (Lilybaeum), but that is the place to go for the best Carthaginian stuff. You can go out to the island of Motia which was the original Carthaginian settlement and you can see the remains of Carthaginian ship that they found in 1971.

http://www.phototroina.com/public/repor ... ia0170.jpg

http://www.hotelcentrale.sicilia.it/wp- ... /mozia.jpg

http://www.mmdtkw.org/CNAf0206bMarsalaPunicShip.jpg

Sorry, I was going to post some pics of my own, but my wife used our friends' camera to take pictures of all things Carthaginian. Not sure why!
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