Music and Rite in a Western Greek Colony: the case of Locri Epizefirii

TitleMusic and Rite in a Western Greek Colony: the case of Locri Epizefirii
Publication TypeBook Chapter
Year of Publication2013
AuthorsBellia, A
EditorNika-Sampson, E, Sakallieros, G, Alexandru, M, Kitsios, G, Giannopoulos, E
Book TitleCrossroads: Greece as an intercultural pole of musical thought and creativity

Between 1909 and 1915, Paolo Orsi conducted excavations in the necropolis of Contrada Lucifero at Locri Epizefirii in South Italy. In the necropolis he discovered fourteen tombs that dated back to the VI and IV centuries B.C., containing musical instruments. They are the lyrai and the auloi, which, for their diffusion, history and significance, and the number and state of preservation, are undoubtedly of exceptional importance. The discovery of lyrai and auloi in the graves, where it was possible to verify that they belonged only to males, shows with particular emphasis the close link between the musical instruments and the funerary rites in Western Greek world. Their presence could be a clear reference to the retrospective presentation of the deceased: the musical instruments may characterize both his sex and his socio‐political role. In the tombs of Locri musical instruments were also buried with Attic pottery. The paintings on this pottery recall the world of the symposium. On the one hand, the presence of musical instruments may refer to a pattern of behaviour produced by osmosis between Greece and the heads of colonial indigenous communities of Magna Grecia, on the other, the presence of musical instruments may refer to the Greek elements of the paideia and the ritual. [Angela Bellia, p. 217]


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