Saturday, August 14, 2010

Giovane di Mozia

Just off the coast of Marsala in Sicily is the island of Mozia. This island was first settled in the 8th century BC and became a shipping center and trading post for the Phonecians and Carthaginians. Called Motoya, it was one of the most important settlements in the Mediterranean area. Dionysius the Elder of Syracuse destroyed the settlement in 379 BC. During the Middle Ages, Basilican monks settled on the island and renamed it San Pantaleo. In 1888 the ancient city was rediscovered by Joseph Whitaker, a wine merchant and amateur archeologist from England.
While excavating on the island, Whitaker uncovered the ruins of the Phoenician city of Motya. He died in 1936 and most of his finds are housed in a museum on the island that used to be his home.
The jewel of the island is a Greek statue discovered in 1979 called the Giovane di Mozia - the Young Man of Mozia.

The Young Man of Mozia is a breathtaking marble statue of a young man, perhaps an athlete, dressed in a finely-pleated, clinging tunic, with his hand on his hip. It is thought to be a work of the Greek sculptor Pheidias and dated about 440 BC.

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