Legend of Palici


The Palìci are a pair of twin gods from Greek and Roman mythology. In Mineo, in the archaeological area of ​​Palikè, there is their sanctuary, the most important of the Sicilian population.
The origin of the mythology is not certain: the myth of the Palici is told in the Etneas of Aeschylus of which few fragments remain. According to the most widespread version of the legend, the Palici are two brothers, sons of Zeus and the nymph Talia, who impregnated by the father of all the gods and about to give birth, decides to give birth to her two children underground to hide them from anger. of Hera, wife of her lover. Once born, the twins came out of the womb of the earth causing the fractures and the bubbling that would have originated the craters, and therefore the lakes, of Naftia. "Pàlin ikèsthai", hence "Palici", in fact means "born twice": from the nymph and from the earth.
The cult of the Palici was centered around two small lakes that emitted sulphurous vapors next to which the sanctuary was built dedicated to the Palici and founded the Sicilian city of Paliké.
The ordalic oath, the oracle and asylum were exercised in the sanctuary of the Palici. The oath took place around the cavities from which jets of water flowed. There it was possible to establish contact with the divinity on condition that the accused respected a ritual. The oath approached the cavities and pronounced the formula of the oath, inscribed on a tablet, which was thrown into the water, if this did not float the man was considered perjury and punished with death or blindness. The oracle indicated the divinity and the type of sacrifice necessary to obtain the favor. Inside the sanctuary, slaves mistreated by cruel masters could find refuge. The latter could not take away their servants by force, except after having guaranteed with an oath to the Palici to treat them humanely.

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