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LOCRI EPIZEPHYRII



Salvatore La Rosa
WWW.LOCRIANTICA.IT Welcome to Magna Graecia ARCHAEOLOGICAL FINDS

 
THE PINAKES


The pinakes are one of the highest and finest artistic examples that the ancient culture of Magna Graecia has handed down and their importance is such that archaeologist Paolo Orsi himself, speaking of them, stated that: "It only takes the famous pinakes, endless source of research for scholars of religion and cults, to bring joy to the artists and mark the glory of a museum".

Persephon opens the Mystic Basket

Trousseau Offering
PERSEPHONE OPENS THE MYSTIC BASKET
(Image source: G. Incorpora - Locri Antica e Gerace,
Ponte Nuovo Editrice, Bologna 1980 - II Edizione - pag. 47)
TROUSSEAU OFFERING
(Image source: G. Incorpora - Locri Antica e Gerace,
Ponte Nuovo Editrice, Bologna 1980 - II Edizione - pag. 47)

Unearthed in fragments (it was a ritual custom to break them) inside large votive deposits brought back to light during excavations at the Sanctuary of Mannella (the modern name of the place on whose slopes rise the Sanctuary ruins), the pinakes are terracotta relief plaques which date back to a period that ranges from 490 b.C. to 450 b.C.

The Abduction of Persephon

THE ABDUCTION OF PERSEPHONE
(Image source: L. Costamagna e C. Sabbione - Una cittÓ in Magna Grecia Locri Epizefiri,
Laruffa Editore, Reggio Calabria 1990 fig. 62)

Since the pinakes are tied to the worship rituals that took place at the Sanctuary, known all over the Greek world as Persephoneion, it is not surprising that most of them represent scenes from the myth of Persephone, although there are examples in which are represented also other deities, such as Aphrodite.

 
MYTHOLOGY

Persephone is the daughter of Zeus and Demeter. Hades felt in love with her and, during an absence of Demeter, he kidnapped her while she was picking up some flowers nearby Pergus lake, and took her to the Avernus.
 
Demeter desperately searched for her everywhere until, thanks to Helios, she discovered the name of the abductor.
 
Then, angry, she spoke to Zeus to get her daughter back but, since Persephone, by eating some pomegranate grains, had broken the fasting which would have allowed her to go back to the Earth, her request wasn't complied.
 
Therefore Demeter, goddess of the harvest,  threatened to make the earth unfruitful and Zeus, worried about the situation, made possible an agreement by which Persephone had to remain for six months (autumn and winter)in the Avernus and for six months (spring and summer) with her mother. (According to a different version of the myth: for a third of the year  with Hades and for two third with Demeter).
 
Since her abduction Persephone became the goddess of hell, also called by the Greek Kore (hence the name of the feasts dedicated to her and called Koreies).

The Romans called her Proserpine.

Persephon and Hades on the Throne

The Abduction of Persephon (other representation)
PERSEPHONE AND HADES ON THE THRONE
(Image source: G. Incorpora - Locri Antica e Gerace,
Ponte Nuovo Editrice, Bologna 1980 - II Edizione - pag. 47)
THE ABDUCTION OF PERSEPHONE (other representation)
(Image source: Prof. G. Incorpora's private archive)

Due to the large number of pinakes unearthed during the excavations and their often poor conditions, so far their classification isn't complete. Nowadays the greatest part of the pinakes can be admired at the National Museum of Reggio Calabria, while some of them are exposed at the National Archaeological Museum Of Locri Epizephyrii.

     
     

 

 

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