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Atlas to guard the Temple of Zeus in Sicily again

AGRIGENTO, Italy – The Valley of the Temples archaeological park in Agrigento, Sicily, announced that the statue of Atlas will rise again at the Temple of Zeus.

“The re-installment of the statue of Atlas is the culmination of a more comprehensive restoration,” says Roberto Sciarratta, director of the Valley of the Temples archaeological park. Sciarratta added that “it is an extraordinary project, which belongs to the world but which was born here in the Valley of the Temples.”

The Valley of the Temples is located on Sicily’s southern coast in the area the Romans called Magna Graecia, or “Greater Greece,” a region that ran from the western tip of Sicily to modern-day Apulia at the “heel of the boot” formed by the Italian peninsula. Settlers brought Hellenic civilization to the region around 800 years BCE. The local Italic peoples became Hellenised and adopted Greek culture. Greek is still spoken in parts of Italy because of the Hellenic diaspora.

An Atlas figure at the Temple of Olympian Zeus in the Valley of Temples, Agrigento, 2006 [Ambra75, Wikimedia Commons, CC 4.0]

The Valley of the Temples is the result of massive efforts by the 100,000 or so local inhabitants, whom Plato would describe as building like they would live forever and partying like it was their last day. The building in the Valley – which might be better referred to as a ridge – represents some of the best-preserved examples of art and architecture surviving from Magna Graecia,…

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