Survived the war with Carthage and earthquakes: 2500-year-old statue installed in Sicily

By SSPDailyMar 25, 2024 12:38 PMPersonal Development
Survived the war with Carthage and earthquakes
Survived the war with Carthage and earthquakes. Source:

The huge statue of Atlas, which for centuries lay buried among ancient ruins, has been reconstructed and has taken its rightful place among the Greek temples of Agrigento in Sicily after a 20-year restoration. SSPDaily tells about it.

This was reported by The Guardian.

The 8-meter-high statue, dating back to the fifth century BC, was one of 38 that adorned the Temple of Zeus, which is considered the largest Doric temple ever built, despite the fact that it was never completed.

The statues were discovered more than two hundred years ago by the British architect Charles Cockerell, who came to Agrigento to study the ruins of the ancient city of Akragas, founded around 582 BC.

In Greek mythology, Atlas was a Titan who was forced to hold the sky on his shoulders, so his statues were used as support columns.

According to archaeologists, the figures of Atlas were located on the facade of the temple of Zeus and were supposed to support the roof. However, the construction of the sanctuary was not completed because Akragas was conquered by the Carthaginians.

Subsequently, the temple was completely destroyed by earthquakes and its fragments were used by locals as building materials.

In 1920, the archaeologist Pirro Marconi identified the wreckage and managed to restore the first statue of Atlas, which is now on display at the Agrigento Archaeological Museum.

In 2004, a major research campaign began in the Valley of the Temples archaeological park. As a result, 90 more fragments of statues were cataloged, belonging to at least eight Atlas sculptures. This led to the decision to assemble the statue in parts and install it vertically in front of the Temple of Zeus.

"The idea was to place one of these Atlas in front of the temple so that it could serve as a guardian of the structure dedicated to the father of the gods," said Roberto Sharratta, director of the Valley of the Temples Park.

The Valley of the Temples is the world's largest archaeological park and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Its 1600-hectare territory includes the ruins of seven temples, city walls, entrance gates, an agora, a Roman forum, as well as necropolises and sanctuaries.

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