Erix vs. Hercules
November 6th, 2018
Erice, Sicily is a spectacular medieval hill town. Its Temple of Venus, in fact a fortress built by the Normans stands at almost 800 meters above sea level and offers a spectacular view to both the Mediterranean Sea on its left and the Tyrrhenian Sea on its right. The ancient Elyminians people built Erice over a thousand years ago. Their ghosts have seen numerous rulers battling over their majestic town since: Greeks, Carthaginians and Romans, as well as Arabs, and the Normans ruled Sicily and conquered Erice at one time or another.
Erice is also a little bundle of mythical mysteries. The goddess of love Aphrodite’s own son, Erix, had died in a boxing match against no one other but Hercules and was buried on the spot where throngs of tourists are nowadays taking selfies, imbibe these magnificent views from the above and buy souvenirs. They are most likely unaware that Erix’s demise had given Erice its present name, back than when he was being lied down in the Shrine of Potnia, the protector of nature and fertility. Be warned, once you see Potnia with a helmet or a sword you’d realize that she was a powerful goddess not to be messed with. She was at her time protecting Mycenaean palaces and their cities perhaps even the ancient, mighty King Agamemnon, the conqueror of Troy.
A Night of Serious Drinking
Cobblestones and Fog
Such was Erice where I strolled around those cold, windy days of October. It was 6:45 AM on Sunday morning when I walked briskly through its narrow, cobbled streets. If an Elyminians ghost or two witnessed me, they did not make their presence known.
Or so I thought.