The island of Ortygia

Ortygia has a link, due to its name, with the Greek island in the Aegean Sea, Delos (Delo in Italian). The Greek island is part of Unesco’s World Heritage List, just like Ortigia in Syracuse, Sicily. Their bond is identical in their name; In fact, both in antiquity they were called “Ortigia” that from the greek word meaning “quail”. Then the Greek Ortigia changed its name to “Delos”, a word that derives from the greek “Deloo” meaning “one who shows” “Island Light”, because on that legend has it that he was born the sun god, Apollo and the goddess of hunting, Artemis (identified with the goddess Diana). According to Greek mythology, Latona, to escape the wrath of Hera, the betrayed wife of Zeus, sought a refuge where the children had to give birth by the ruler of the gods and spotted him wandering on a small island in the waves of the Aegean sea, Ortigia precisely.

Here she gave birth to the twins Apollo and Artemis and to thank the island barren of having welcomed, gave her the gift of prosperity, transforming the arid terrain of the island in a land full of light, staring with the pillars in the seabed and thus stopping his wanderings for the Mediterranean. In return it wanted permission to build there the sanctuary of the god Apollo; For this reason, over the centuries, the island was sacred to the Greeks and who preached the worship of the sun god. Pindar and other poets have subsequently told of this link between the two Ortigia, highlighting the points they had in common; Pindar calls “worthy sister of Delos” and devotes all’Ortigia Sicilian verses; Midnight Antonio, professor of Greek letters, translates them in the book “The odes of Pindar,” by writing about it in the third volume:

“… It is the sister of Delos, one of the Cyclades because Delos, the birthplace of Diana, was called again Ortigia, being as the Ortigia Sicily abundant quail Ortighes called by the Greeks; for this name the two islands are sisters. »
(The odes of Pindar, Volume 3 p. 23)

Ortigia The Sicilian had as its patron goddess Artemis, also called Diana. This was because she transformed the nymph Arethusa (symbol of the entire city and beloved by the god Alpheus, son of the god Ocean, which wanted to escape) in the renowned source that still flows through the rocks of Ortigia up near the sea. And also to Ortigia, stands the Temple of Apollo oldest Doric Sicily, indicating that here the cult of the sun god was present and important. These similarities therefore urged poets to compose verse on the two islands, which initially bore the same name. But it is not known, however, which of the two has first taken the name of “Ortigia” since the cult of Apollo at Delos it is in the sixth century BC and the foundation of Syracuse dates back a century earlier, in the seventh century BC, and it was not clear when and how the island of Ortigia named it still bears. Thus, there is a certain mystery that makes it even more fascinating origins islet Sicilian who proves to have roots that are lost over time and blend with those of Greek mythology.