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「Modern Sicily: The History and Legacy of the Mediterranean Island Since the Middle Ages」
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Modern Sicily: The History and Legacy of the Mediterranean Island Since the Middle Ages

Charles River Editors

リリース日 : 2019/06/07

℗ © 2019 Charles River Editors

It is hard to find an island on the map more central than Sicily. Located at the crossroads between Europe and Africa, and between the Eastern and Western Mediterranean, Sicily has rarely been governed as an independent, unified state. Nonetheless, the island has always occupied a front-row seat to some of the most important events in history, and nowhere is this more obvious than during antiquity.

Very fertile in ancient times, Sicily was especially prized for its grain production. The island had been inhabited by native tribes since prehistoric times, but by the 9th and 8th centuries BCE, Sicily would be the staging area for a confrontation between the Greeks and the Phoenicians, seafaring powers that scrambled to establish colonies along its coasts. These colonies, in time, would grow independent, and by the Classical era (510-323 BCE), they would be waging wars of their own. 

However diverse Sicily might be, it is also paradoxically considered to be an emblem of Italy itself, a paradox it shares with Naples. No writer put it more aptly than the great Romantic poet Goethe. In an April 13, 1787 letter from Palermo, published in Journey to Italy, Goethe made the following declaration: “To have seen Italy without having seen Sicily is not to have seen Italy at all, for Sicily is the clue to everything.” As Goethe’s words suggest, Sicily is unquestionably unique thanks to its turbulent and rich history, but it shares the same qualities as the Italian nation overall, from its beautiful scenery, delicious cuisine, dazzling sunshine, and unparalleled cultural production to its problems with law and order, and its seeming impenetrability to outside visitors. Through it all, Sicily has been a true cultural melting pot, one that is responsible for some of the greatest contributions to Western culture.

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