Greece-Italy link through Zeus's oracle exhibit in Calabria

At national museum in Reggio Calabria until 9/6

14 March, 10:00

    (ANSAmed) - NAPLES, MARCH 14 - The "Dodonaios. The Oracle of Zeus and the Magna Graecia" exhibition explores relations between the two shores of the Ionian Sea in antiquity: Greece and Italy.

    It was inaugurated on March 8 at the National Archaeological Museum of Reggio Calabria (MArRC) and will remain open until June 9. The exhibition was curated by the museum's director, Carmelo Malacrino and Konstantinos I. Soueref, director of the Archaeological Museum of Ioannina.

    It is the result of a collaboration between the Reggio Calabria museum, the Museum of Epirus and the University of Salerno.

    In the exhibition there are objects from Dodona, the birthplace of the famed oracle, from the Archaeological Museum of Ioannina. Some have never before been out of Greece. Among them is a selection of small iron sheets with etchings that mark them as coming from cities in Magna Graecia. The objects tell of the archaeological and literary history of the sanctuary dedicated to Zeus, on whom Euripides and Herodotus wrote. The oracle was well-known in all the cities of Magna Graecia, including many in Calabria such as Hipponion, Reghion, Kroton, Sybaris, Thourioi, Heraklea, Metapontion, and Taras.

    ''Pilgrims,'' archaeologist Luigi Vecchio said, ''visited the sanctuary from every part of Epirus, Thessaly, Attica, Beocia, the Peloponnese, and Magna Graecia to ask the god mostly about personal issues - marriages, business - in a practice that lasted many centuries, from the 6th to the 2nd century BC, at least.'' He added that ''the most characteristic and suggestive element is the way in which this happened: in written form, on very small sheets of metals that could fit into the palm of a hand, with letters etched that measured only a few millimeters, that were folded or rolled and given as the question.'' The oracle's ''clients'' were of the middle and lower classes.

    Vecchio added that the ''priestesses interpreted the god's answers through the sounds of nature: the rustling of the large sacred oak and the flight of doves. These were sounds that echoed in the silence of the valley.'' The answer is written on the back of some of the sheets of metal. Some were ''recycled'' to ask new questions. ''The bronze sheets,'' MArRC director Malacrino said, ''from the Magna Graecia colonies in Calabria, along with some other finds in this large exhibition, lead the visitor through a fascinating journey to discover the deep and ancient link between Italy and Greece, and especially between the regions overlooking the Ionian Sea, which separates as well as unites the two shores. Through this exhibition, the National Archaeological Museum of Reggio Calabria confirms its place as cultural hub for the Mediterranean and as a meeting place for populations that share cultures and traditions. And, above all, it confirms that it serves as a laboratory for research and synthesis between studies and activities carried out by different institutes throughout the world.'' (ANSAmed).

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