Bandiera Sicilia trinacria

Looking at the flag of Sicily, you will surely wonder about the particular figure placed in the center.

Thinking of the beautiful Mediterranean island, you will surely have thought of something that had to do with oranges, or perhaps referred to Etna.

And instead this strange woman, a few ears of corn, eagle's wings, snakes… and three legs!

Let's discover together the fantastic past of this ancient region rich in history and tradition.

The three legs

This symbol is called Trinacria or Trischele (the three legs), and it is a very ancient and already widespread symbol in much of the then known world.

Suffice it to say that a similar symbolism was used by the Vikings a long time ago and took the name of Triskell . It consisted of three triangular-based Ss that behaved in a similar way to the legs of the trinacria.

In symbolism the three takes on a particular meaning, indeed, if you think about it, it is the concept on which most religions are based.

Three is perfection.

Trinacria Sicily

And there are also three angles of the triangle pointing upwards, a fundamental geometric figure which symbolizes the moral stability dictated by the two basic angles and the spiritual perfection which tends upwards. (Sicily is a triangle)

Above all, the trinacria belongs to the same family as the Swastika, a symbol associated today with a macabre period in human history, but once considered the symbol of the sun and cyclical change . Even for some centuries it was considered the symbol of Jesus Christ.

It was also considered a symbol with apotropaic powers (from the Greek apotropaios , which drives away evil).

The leg itself and in particular the knee was a symbol of strength, in fact it was customary for Spartan warriors to paint one on their shield.

But the origins of the three legs can plausibly be attributed to a less esoteric aspect, in fact by observing the geography of the island it is easy to notice three promontories that tower over the island: Capo Peloro, Capo Passero and Capo Boeo.

The woman

Medusa Caravaggio painting

It is almost universally recognized that in the center of the Trinacria there is the head of Medusa, the powerful and wicked Gorgon daughter of Forco and Ceto.

The plots of the adventures of Perseus are composed around Medusa, the hero who through his cunning and his strength managed to decapitate the Gorgon, restoring peace.

But wanting to thoroughly analyze the image placed on the trinacria we will realize that something is not right.

We have to use a different reading key!

Taking a step back we will realize that Sicily was influenced so much by the Greeks, who in turn were influenced by the Egyptians.

Based on this, the elements available take on a profoundly different meaning.

The snakes

For the Egyptians, the snake was an animal considered sacred, in fact it represented the ability to be reborn and rejuvenated, the continuous cycle between life and death.

Analyzing the image precisely we can see four snakes in total, two for each direction. Most likely we can attribute to this symbolism the dualistic principle of the Absolute, the balance between good and evil, light and shadows.

Eagle wings

Always keeping Egyptian symbology and esotericism as a reference, we can attribute to eagle wings the meaning of vital force, as a spirit that wins over matter, which fits perfectly if we consider the warm temperament of the Sicilians.

Ears of wheat

This element is the one that least needs interpretations, because it is common as a symbol and obviously refers to the abundance and richness of the earth .

The dancing nymphs and the origin of the island

A curious and amusing legend wants to explain the birth of Sicily and the reason for its beauty and richness.

According to the myth, there lived nymphs who loved to travel around the world, visiting the most beautiful places and taking something from time to time: ripe fruit, stones, earth.

They wanted to sing and dance without stopping, always looking for some place that could offer them new emotions.

One day, however, they crossed a stretch of sea where the water was particularly clear, the sky was splendidly blue and the wind was light.

So they decided to start dancing, and in doing so they started throwing everything they had collected into the world.

At that very moment, the sea beneath them began to gurgle and little by little rich and lush lands, rivers, plains and hills began to emerge .

The nymphs continued to dance for days and the Sicilian promontories came to life right below them, thus giving Sicily the triangular shape it still maintains today.

Taormina Beautiful island

Sicily: origin of the ancient name

Until now we have considered the flag of the beautiful island in the Mediterranean.

But what does Sicily mean?

Experts of history and languages ​​of the past attribute to the word Sicily the union of two very ancient words: Sik (the fig tree) and Elia (the olive tree).

Quite authoritative and sensible consideration given that they are two of the fruits that grow more luxuriantly on the island, but the myth offers a much more interesting version

Princess Sicily

Just like Rome, according to the myth, Sicily also has royal origins.

It is important to say that this is not a myth dating back to the period of Magna Graecia, in fact it was reborn in the period of Byzantine or Saracen domination.

(Don't forget that before the island was called Trinacria)

The protagonist of this story is a princess called Sicily from the distant eastern lands beyond the Mediterranean. After the first few years of his birth, an oracle was summoned.

The prophecy foresaw that she would die devoured at the age of fifteen under the attack of a ravenous monster , called Greco-Levante (a clear reference to the Byzantine Empire, seen in a negative way by the inhabitants of the island).

The only solution to the problem would have been to leave before he turned fifteen, and so he did.

For three months she sailed alone in the Mediterranean Sea and when she thought she was at the end of her days, she finally landed on a beautiful and flourishing island.

Very soon she was able to eat and refresh herself, but having satisfied her physiological needs, she realized she was still alone. An uninterrupted cry began which continued for a long time until all her tears were consumed.

When all seemed lost, a young man appeared to the young Sicily and explained what had happened: following a plague all the inhabitants of the place had long since died.

The reason she was there on that island with him was because the gods chose them to repopulate the island. For this reason the island was called Sicily, in honor of the woman who bore the first new generation.

Clearly the legend has been adapted, in fact, wanting to find more authentic roots, we lead to the myth of Egesta.

She too was abandoned by her father on a boat to escape from the clutches of a monster sent by Poseidon. However, pushed by favorable winds, he managed to land in Sicily where he married Crìmso, a river god.