A TASTE OF SICILIAN HISTORY

LAKE

Enna is a small city on a plateau in the center of Sicily. Its foundation dates back to time immemorial. It is called the navel of Sicily. It is part of the Erei mountain chain and is located at an altitude of about one thousand and one hundred meters above sea level. Like all Greek cities, Enna was a city-state that had its own government and its own mint. It coined a coin called ennaion. With Greece Enna shared the same language and the same religion. The main worshiped goddesses were Demeter and her daughter Kore. Nobody knows exactly where the temples of Demeter and Kore stood, but it is certain that the main temple of Demeter in Sicily was that of Enna. Being Demeter the goddess of the crops, she was invoked to have a good harvest. It is said that during time of famine, even the Senate of Rome used to send a delegation to Enna to propitiate Demeter.
The people of Enna buried the dead by digging small rooms in the rock, usually facing south. In the room, painted terracotta vases were placed next to the corpse. Tombs have been excavated with well preserved skeletons and red-figure and black-figure vases. Sometimes in the mouth of the skeleton has been found a coin. The Greeks believed that to get to the Hades (the kingdom of the dead) the soul of the dead should pay a coin to Charon who ferried the dead across the Styx and the Acheron, rivers that divided the world of the living from that of the dead.
Enna has always been a city devoted to religion. When Cicero, the great Roman orator came to Enna to collect evidence against Verres, he was so surprised by the religiosity of the city that he had a feeling that the inhabitants of Enna were omnes sacerdotes (all priests).

Ettore Grillo, author of these books:
– A Hidden Sicilian History
– The Vibrations of Words
-Travels of the Mind
http://www.amazon.com/author/ettoregrillo

THE ARABS IN SICILY

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The Arabs remained in Sicily for two centuries and brought with them good culture in the fields of art and literature. They also improved the agricultural irrigation systems. Likewise, they also brought the new Islamic religion, so that Sicily swarmed with mosques. According to some authors, at the time of the Arab occupation there were more mosques in Palermo than in Istanbul. There were also many mosques in Enna, but they were all converted into Catholic churches after the Normans took the Arabs’ place in Sicily. One of these converted churches in Enna is that of Saint Michael, whose Moresque features are still visible.

This is an excerpt from A Hidden Sicilian History by Ettore Grillo
Ettore Grillo, author of these books:
– A Hidden Sicilian History
– The Vibrations of Words
-Travels of the Mind
http://www.amazon.com/author/ettoregrillo

THE HISTORY OF INDIVIDUALS

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Everyone has a unique history and a special life. Some people— prophets, great philosophers, musicians, artists, kings, heroes, and so on—have left a mark on the books of history. Good or evil, the ones who have stood out are remembered by posterity; people like Julius Caesar, Napoleon Bonaparte, Adolph Hitler, Josef Stalin, and others. At their demise, the lives of ordinary people are like dead leaves swept away by the wind when fall arrives. They sink into oblivion as history pays them no mind. In addition to the history of individuals, there is that of nations, but no book can include the biographies of all the people who formed the nations of the world.
In truth, if it were possible to write an enormous book of history, it should record the life stories of everyone who has populated the earth through the centuries and millennia, for each living being has something different and particular to say, often worthy of being handed down through the generations.

This is an excerpt from A Hidden Sicilian History by Ettore Grillo
Ettore Grillo, author of these books:
– A Hidden Sicilian History
– The Vibrations of Words
-Travels of the Mind
http://www.amazon.com/author/ettoregrillo

SICILY UNDER THE SPANISH: THE INQUISITION

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The main difference between the Medieval Inquisition and the Spanish Inquisition is that the former was directed by the Pope, while the latter was under the authority of the king of Spain, who enforced the Inquisition’s rules not only in Spain but also in the Spanish possessions like Sicily, Sardinia, and Mexico. Spanish kings used the Inquisition not only to judge heretics and witches, but also to get rid of their political opponents, on the pretext they were heretics.
One of the most atrocious instruments of torture was that called “the mouse.” The inquisitor inserted a live mouse into the vagina or the anus of the person suspected of heresy or witchcraft. The head of the small rodent was directed towards the inner organs of the prisoner. Sometimes the anus or the vagina was stitched closed. The little animal, striving to find a way out, penetrated the victim’s body, scratching and biting it, provoking shooting pain.

This is an excerpt from A Hidden Sicilian History by Ettore Grillo
Ettore Grillo author of these books:
– A Hidden Sicilian History
– The Vibrations of Words
-Travels of the Mind
http://www.amazon.com/author/ettoregrillo

THE PUBLIC LIBRARY IN ENNA (SICILY)

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The public library in my hometown is located within a few rooms of an old palace that long ago belonged to Andrea Chiaramonte’s family, who was one of the eminent noblemen in Sicily at the end of the fourteenth century. He fought against the Spanish, but was defeated by them and sentenced to death by beheading. He was executed in Palermo in front of the Steri Palace where he had established his court. Meanwhile, his family members forfeited all their assets in Sicily, including the prestigious palace in Enna, which later was split into three parts. One part was given to the Franciscan friars, one was used as a court of law, and the smallest part as a civic library.
The ancient and precious volumes are kept on the highest wooden shelves. To reach them you need a special ladder provided by the attendant. One day I was on the ladder looking for a book that told the history of my town, when something that looked like a scroll fell onto the floor after having slipped from a gap between two big volumes about the Spanish Inquisition in Sicily that were placed on the highest shelf. Therefore, the scroll was supposed to be a part of them, or was at least somehow connected to them.

This is an excerpt from A Hidden Sicilian History by Ettore Grillo
Ettore Grillo author of these books:
– A Hidden Sicilian History
– The Vibrations of Words
-Travels of the Mind
http://www.amazon.com/author/ettoregrillo

THE BASILICA OF SAINT SOPHIA IN ISTANBUL

20190613_122337Visiting the Basilica of Saint Sophia in Istanbul is like reading a book of history.
The most ancient Basilica of Saint Sophia was built by order of Emperor Constantine, the one who liberalized all religions in the year 313 AD. The basilica was dedicated to Divine Wisdom, in Turkish Haghia Sophia, but it didn’t last long, because it was destroyed by a fire.
Later, by will of Empress Theodora, wife of Emperor Justinian, the Basilica of Saint Sophia was rebuilt bigger than it was before. It is said the Emperor Justinian aimed at realizing a basilica bigger than the Temple of Solomon. Justinian is renowned for creating the Codex of Justinian, a body of laws which was the fundamental legal text for many years to come in continental Europe. This emperor was intolerant against the pagans. If they didn’t convert to Christianity they were executed. Due to his intolerance against the heathen, he shut down the Philosophy School of Athens.

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After the fall of the Eastern Roman Empire, the Basilica of Saint Sophia was converted first into a mosque, and later into a museum.
What surprised me was the closeness between Christian and Muslim symbols. In fact, verses of the Koran stood beside the mosaics portraying Jesus and Our Lady. This means to be tolerant.
In my opinion, only one God exists, the modes of worshipping God differ. The Basilica of Saint Sophia in Istanbul highlights the idea of tolerance and respect towards all religions.
Ettore Grillo, author of these books:
– A Hidden Sicilian History
– The Vibrations of Words
– Travels of the Mind
http://www.amazon.com/author/ettoregrillo

LET’S TALK ABOUT SYMBOLS

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The term, symbol comes from the Greek word sunbolon, which means put together. In ancient times, the sunbolon was an identifying token. It was an object split into two halves. Only the individual who possessed one half of the symbol was allowed to join the group or the tribe that held the other half. These days, the symbol has lost its original function; now, it is just considered as a veiled truth. Esoteric secrets are veiled, but understanding the symbol makes it possible to remove the veil and know the truth. Through the symbol, we can make a synthesis between different levels of existence, spirit and matter, sky and earth, cause and effect, part and whole. The sky is the most widespread symbol in humanity. All religions associate the sky with supernatural. Through the symbol the different parts become one. The symbols are not the creation of the human mind but predate it. You can find the same symbols in different parts of the earth, in populations very far from each other. For instance, the swastika is one of the most ancient and widespread symbols. Hitler borrowed it from ancient cultures. The swastika existed in India, Rome, America, and many countries since time immemorial. It was considered a bearer of good luck, peace, and well-being. Not everybody can easily understand symbols; this faculty belongs to mystics, initiates, and heroes.

Ettore Grillo, author of these books:
– A Hidden Sicilian History
– The Vibrations of Words
– Travels of the Mind
http://www.ettoregrillocom.wordpress.com
http://www.ettoregrillo.wordpress.com

http://www.amazon.com/author/ettoregrillo