The third and final installment from my Sicilian sketchbook comes from Agrigento in the southwest of Siciliy, home to the Valley of the Temples.
It’s two months since we left and the memories, the feelings of calm and joy, are already starting to fade. But the temples, dating back to the 5th Century B.C., aren’t going anywhere. They stand as an inspiring reminder of a group of people who long ago turned to dust.
Art, whether in the form of Doric columns or shaky scribbles of ink on paper, is one way to spit in the face of old man time. Creative energy unleashed into the world can have repercussions that are unforeseeable to the people who create it. Sometimes it’s that attempt at timelessness that is art’s greatest inspiration. And sometimes it’s just fun to whip out a sketch pad in the shadow of an ancient temple and scribble away.
The temple in this sketch is the Temple of Juno Lacinia. It’s 2,465 years old, give or take. When it was about 50 years old the Carthaginian army, under the command of Hannibal Mago, attacked the city of Akragas. Hannibal caught a touch of the plague and died there. His replacement, Himilco, a kinsman of Hannibal, restored his soldiers morale by sacrificing a child to his god. Give me that old time religion. The Temple of Juno was torched but eventually it was restored under the Romans. They even replaced the old terracotta roof with a brand new marble one.
They don’t make them like that anymore.