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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

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

Giovanna Ceserani

Edinburgh University Press

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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