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Sicily from Aeneas to AugustusNew Approaches in Archaeology and History$
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Christopher J. Smith and John Serrati

Print publication date: 2000

Print ISBN-13: 9780748613670

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748613670.001.0001

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The Charm of the Siren: the place of classical Sicily in historiography

The Charm of the Siren: the place of classical Sicily in historiography

Chapter:
(p.174) 13 The Charm of the Siren: the place of classical Sicily in historiography
Source:
Sicily from Aeneas to Augustus
Author(s):

Giovanna Ceserani

Publisher:
Edinburgh University Press
DOI:10.3366/edinburgh/9780748613670.003.0013

This chapter explores the figure of the Siren in Giuseppe Tomas di Lampedusa's short story ‘The Professor and the Siren’. She is characterised as somehow more than Greek: she is eternal, one of the pre-Olympic deities, expressing in herself a synthesis between bestiality and immortality that cannot be articulated. After encountering the Siren, the Professor thinks of the temples of Agrigentum as ‘modern’; he can find comfort only in the images of archaic and early classical Greek art. The chapter argues that a historicisation of the model of continuity allows a deeper insight and accounts for a more complex relationship with Sicily's Greek past, and examines the model of Tommaso Fazello's work in its own terms. It also highlights the critique and problematisation of Fazello as a ‘model’ by the Sicilian Enlightenment at the end of the eighteenth century.

Keywords:   Siren, deities, immortality, temples, Agrigentum, historicisation, Sicily, Tommaso Fazello, Enlightenment

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