Lipari

From Academic Kids

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Lipari and the Aeolian Islands.

Lipari (Roman Lipara, ancient Greek Meligunis) is the biggest of the Aeolian Islands, in the Tyrrhenian Sea off the north coast of Sicily, and also the island's main town. It has approximately 11,000 inhabitants and during the tourist season (May-September) its population reaches up to 200,000.

Lipari is one of a chain of seven islands in a volcanic archipelago that straddles the gap between Vesuvius and Etna. It is supposed (H. Pichler) that the island was created by a succession of four volcanic movements, the most important of which should be the third one, presumably lasting from 20000 BC to 13000 BC. A further important phenomenon should have happened around 9 000 BC (C14 exams by Keller). Steaming fumaroles may still be seen.

Its position has made the harbor of Lipari strategic. In neolithic times Lipari was, with Sardinia, one of the few centers of the commerce of obsidian, a hard black volcanic glass prized by neolithic peoples for the sharp cutting edge it could produce. Lipari's history is rich in incidents and is witnessed by the recent retrievals of several necropolis and other archaeological treasures. Man seems to have inhabited the island already in 5 000 BC, though a local legend gives the eponymous name "Liparus" to the leader of a people coming from Campania. Its continuous occupation may have been interrupted violently when the late 9th century Ausonian civilisation site was burned and apparently not rebuilt. Many household objects have been retrieved from the charred stratum.

Colonists from Cnidia under Pentathlos arrived at Lipara in 580 BC and settled on the site of the village now known as Castello or la Cittade. The colony successfully fought the Etruscans for control of the Tyrrhenian. Allied with Syracuse at the time of the fateful intervention of Athens in the west in 427 BC, Lipara withstood the assault of Athenians and their allies. Carthaginian forces succeeded in holding the site briefly during their struggles with Dionysios I, tyrant of Syracuse, in 394, but once they were gone the polis entered a three-way alliance which included Dionysios' new colony at Tyndaris. Lipara prospered, but in 304 Agathokles took the town by treachery and is said to have lost pillage from it in a storm at sea. Many objects recovered from wrecks of antiquity are now in the Aeolian Museum at Lipari. Lipara became a Carthaginian naval base during the first Punic War, but fell to Roman forces in 252-251, and again to Agrippa in Octavian's campaign against Pompey. Under the Roman Empire, it was a place of retreat, baths (the hydrothermic waters are still used as a spa) and exile.

The 13th century AD citadel built by the Aragonese above the town is constructed on the Greek acropolis.

During Fascism, it was a destination for the confinement of members of the political opposition: among them, Emilio Lussu, Carlo Rosselli, Giuseppe Ghetti. The pale pumice of lipari is processed and exported all over the world.

An interesting Aeolian Museum has recently been created to collect a relevant part of the retrievals; its disparate sections relating to the human history of these islands from prehistoric to classical times, also cover vulcanology, marine history, and the paleontology of the western Mediterranean.

External links

it:Lipari mt:Lipari nl:Lipari ja:リーパリ

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