- On 21st July 2022
- In Blog
Unmapped Italy - 1
Sites that will leave you speechless
When you have lived somewhere like Italy for just over 20 years, you think and believe that you have seen most of the amazing sights and places that this beautiful country has to offer. Especially when it comes to its modern and ancient architectural history and the outstanding artifacts that have been unearthed during the last couple of centuries.
However, I have been left in a state of confusion and inquisitiveness when it comes to the discovery of arguably one of the most significant finds ever made around our coastline, in the ancient city of Salerno, Southern Italy, which previously was part of the Greek city of Poseidonia, Paestum in Magna Graecia (in Roman Times).
Begging the question – Why did I not know about the discovery of the Tomb of the Diver, unearthed in June 1968 by the Italian archaeologist Mario Napoli, when he excavated a small necropolis, as previously mentioned 1.5km South of Salerno.
The tomb, which is the only unscathed example found of a frescoed painted tomb from around the time 500 BC, depicts a human diving into the curling and waving water in the roof slab, whereas the wider images of the four walls are of a symposium made from local limestone, showing either guests at the symposium or alternatively the entertainment for the guests who are adorning the three chaise sofas in all their finery of crowns whilst reclining on these sofa chairs.
For me though, the significant piece is most definitely the roof slab made of limestone, (for obvious reasons) where the young man is seen diving from the pillars strongly believed to be the pillars of Hercules (an ancient name for the straits between the Mediterranean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean) known in more modern times as the Straits of Gibraltar.
Further, the additional hypothesis attached to what the overall image depicts is one that is both confusing but also leads many historians and historical fellows to believe that maybe it has a lot to do with the imagery that this is a young man diving into death, heading towards the afterlife and eternal living once he has passed through the water, with the symposium being the backdrop for such an event.
Whatever your beliefs and understanding of such an important historical artifact, I would strongly suggest that you take the time to visit the grave featuring the Tomb of the Diver and the Symposium which is safely stored in the Museum of Paestum in Campania for all to see.