SICILY. History of Art.
(.reek chorus by the introduction of the cpode between the strophe and
antistrophe. sEschylus resided long in Sicily, where he died (456) and was
interred at Gela. Pindar, Sappho and Alcaeus also enjoyed the hospitality
of Sicily and sang the praises of the victories of her sons in Olympia. Si-
monides composed appropriate lines for the gift dedicated to tlie gods by
Gehm after the battle of Himera in 480. Phormis, an officer of Gelon at
Syracuse, who invented moveable scenes, Epicharmus in 480, Sophron in
460 and Nenarchus in 460 were distinguished in the composition of come¬
dies. Nothing is more characteristic of the Sicilian enthusiasm for art than
the story that the Syracusans once set several Athenian prisoners, who were
languishing in the latomise (or quarries in which captives were condemned
to labour), at liberty, because they knew how to recite the verses of Euri¬
pides with pathos. Even during the decline of the Greek prosperity in Si¬
cily the national poetical bias was still pre-eminent, and at this period gave
birth to a new deseripition of poetry, the idyls, in which their inventor
Theocritus of Syracuse was unsurpassed , and which even in modern times
have found numerous admirers.
The Sicilians have never manifested much capacity for philosophical
research, although not entirely without, taste for studies of this nature. Py¬
thagoras found followers here. Xenophanes of Elea, whose philosophy con¬
tributed so greatly to the development of the idea of a Supreme Being
among the Greeks , died in Syracuse at an advanced age. Plato thrice vi¬
sited Syracuse. But the most illustrious thinker who was a native of Sicily-
was Empedocles of Acragas, distinguished as a natural philosopher, and also
as a practical statesman , physician , architect and orator. The names of a
number of celebrated physicians are recorded: Pausanias, Acron, Herodicus,
Menecrates. The distinguished Celsus was also a Sicilian, born at Centuripa?...
Eminent historians were: Antiochus, Philislus of Syracuse, Timaeus of Taor¬
mina , Dicaearchus of Blessana and the learned Diodorus (Siculus) of Agy-
rium, who wrote his celebrated Bibliotheca Historica in the reign of Augustus.
The most brilliant of the numerous orators were Corax and Thisias, teacher
of Isocrates , Gorgias and Lysias (Gorgias , the celebrated Greek sophist and
orator, was a native of Leontinoi, and Lysias was the son of a Syracusan).
Among the mathematicians and mechanicians Archimedes was the most dis¬
tinguished. Nicetas of Syracuse was the first who taught that the earth
moved and the sun remained stationary. Of theoretical musicians Aristoxenus
of Selinus, the inventor of the anapaestic rythm, deserves mention.
The Roman-Byzantine suxiremacy gave the death-blow to the intellec¬
tual activity of the Sicilians. The soldier who slew Archimedes may be
regarded as symbolical of this epoch. No architectural remains, save a few
amphitheatres, theatres and aqueducts, date from this period. The rapacity
of Verres and other governors despoiled the island of innumerable treasures-
of art. New works were not undertaken. The Christians possessed no
churches but employed the catacombs for sacred purposes. A single Byzan¬
tine church of small dimensions near Blalvagna alone remains from this
period. A proof of the abject condition to which Sicily had sunk is the
circumstance that down to a late period of the Blusselman supremacy not a
single author of eminence arose, although innumerable monks and priests
resided in the island. Theophanes Cerumens (842) and Petrus Siculus, the
historian of the Blanichteans , alone deserve mention. The wandering San
Simeon of Syracuse died at Treves.
The Blohaminedans were the first to infuse new life into the island.
They enriched the architectural art with new forms of construction and de¬
coration (pointed arch), and although no perfect specimens of their works
are preserved (the Cuba, Zisa etc. were altered during the Norman period),
yet the influence they exercised on mediseval architecture is still distinctly
recognised. The Arabians also inaugurated a new era in history and geo¬
graphy, a nd under king Ruggiero the first mediaeval geographer Edrisi com¬
pleted his great work (Nushat-ul-3Iuschtak). Among the Mohammedan Ka-
sides (poets) Ibn-IIamdis was the most, conspicuous. Art developed itself to