ELORO: WHAT (NOT) TO SEE
ELORO: WHAT (NOT) TO SEE
Photo Source: Giuseppe Perdichizzi
We have already mentioned the archaeological site of Eloro here . These are the remains of an ancient polis, a colony of Syracuse, which unfortunately is not enough to officially visit: the whole area is fenced and abandoned. Fortunately, the unofficial offers a couple of unexpected possibilities close to the sea ... The uncultivated vegetation, the steep ground, the presence of wells (in truth put in relative safety with metal gratings by the willing archaeologists who in the last century have worked of the few and insufficient diggings) and of hoes of hoe and bulldoz here and there by industrious tombaroli, make the visit of the site not without dangers (risk of a fine fine apart). From the point of view of safety, therefore, its fencing is justified. It is the neglect and its abandonment that I struggle to accept. Especially at the sight of the villa built between the l'Agora and the Asclepion that would have had to host the custodian of the archaeological area. What would make Eloro deserve more care and attention? The remains of a small archaic theater (unfortunately genially shredded by a casually fascist reclamation channel), of a Temple of Demeter and Kore, of a may be considered sufficient Stoà and the aforementioned Agora and Asclepion? Because if they were, his negligence and his abandonment would be a sin hardly forgivable.
stoa-eloro.jpg
The earliest traces of Greek culture on the promontory on which the polis stands can be dated to the 8th century BC. Eloro, so named for the proximity of the river of the same name, today Tellaro, was connected to Syracuse via the important Via Elorina. The rocky and rugged coastline on which it overlooks, which interspersed two splendid and frequent sandy beaches (we reflect on the increase of tourist appeal if Eloro was cared for and visitable) preserves signs of significant human interventions, suggesting that the morphology of the coast at the time must have been so different as to harbor port facilities.
The most important excavations were carried out at the beginning of the 20th century by Paolo Orsi and Rosario Carta. There was a recovery in the late 50s and 70s by Elio Militello, Vito Piscione and Giuseppe Voza. In 1965, Maria Teresa Currò strove to give systematicity to the historical information hitherto inferred from the excavations. And if the information that the Dott. Fabio Copani in this regard they are correct, since the '80s there seems to have been flat calm: in essence no one has moved a stone anymore (grave robbers, of course). Great! It is yet another sign that in Sicily we know how to value our resources ...
tellaro-eloro.jpg
The aspect that fascinates me most in the history of Eloro, in common with other ancient settlements siculi such as Noto Antica, is that its Hellenization happened peacefully and gradually compared to the more hasty, traumatic and frequent expulsion of the indigenous to the sound of the sword from the territories in which the Greeks decided to found a colony (in fact there are examples of the "gentle" ways in which the Corinthian Archia "turned" the Sicilians from Ortigia). Apparently the promontory of Eloro was already inhabited by the Sicels before the foundation of Syracuse, as well as, for example, Noto Antica. For the Greeks, the Sicilians never represented a military threat, since the organizational and technological gap between them was notable, therefore, unless they wanted to take possession of a new territory on which to found a new colony, they would have had no reason to drive them out of Eloro. However, it is true that the polis Eloro however developed on a promontory overlooking the mouth of the Tellaro (at the time navigable) and therefore could also act as a Syracusan outpost, to defend the Greek metropolis from the Sicilian raids south. However, as previously pointed out, it is equally true that there would have been no reason to work so hard to contain the Sicilian threat. Among other things, the Sicels, aware of the Greek warlike ability that had also swept away Pantalica, adopted an attitude of reverence and accommodation towards the powerful Syracuse. The need of the Syracusans was therefore not really the foundation of a new colony, but rather the rapid occupation of the last port useful south on the Ionian coast. To this end, the painless way of integration with the Sicilian population already established on the promontory of Eloro was decided, being located close to a river surrounded by fertile fields, as Dr. Copani points out , could have represented the ideal landing place for the foundation of a colony by Greeks of rival cities, then a threat to Syracuse far more real than Sicilian cities.
tellaro-eloro.jpg
Eloro was certainly inhabited until the Byzantine era, as evidenced by the traces of the construction of a church on the ruins of the stoà (common practice in Sicily, where the bases of older structures were used for the construction of new structures). The Torre Stampace, whose remains are visible at the south-east corner of the promontory was instead built by the Aragonese in the fourteenth century on the remains of a fortress of which there is evidence in Roman times. The only positive aspect of the archaeological area of Eloro is that the difficulty of being reached and being close to the Reserve of Vendicari, preserves it from being buried in the garbage, fate that can not be found elsewhere archaeological and monumental sites in the area, such as the Grotta di Calafarina, the Torre Scibini or the Torre Fano (of which, I hope, I will soon have the pleasure of speaking to you).
Text Source: Antonino Rampulla
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