Sperlonga’s legend: the silent Amyclae


Founded by the greeks, the old town of Amyclae in Sperlonga has been holding a mystery for thousands years.

Would you like to look into Amyclae’s legend?
There are few clues but maybe we will find our way to reveal the secret of the silent town.

Amyclae was the name of a very old town set in today ‘south Latium, that mysteriously disappeared three thousands years ago.
We can’t really say exactly where this town was built. However many latin poets tell us that Amyclae lied in a hypothetical triangle among the towns of Sperlonga, Fondi and Terracina.

Why are we so uncertain?

Well, truth to be told, nobody ever found a single ruin of Amyclae.

So, how came that we started telling the story of this town?

As said before, many latin poets and writers wrote about Amyclae during the Roman Age.
And they gave us few but important clues: Amyclae reigned in silence (“et tacitis regnavit Amyclae“, Plinius, Naturalis Historia) and was destroyed by the snakes (“Amyclae a serpentibus deletae“, ibid.).

What could that mean?

First of all, during the Old Roman Age (when the latin poets wrote about this), Amyclae was already a legend (and we must admit that it is still so).
So if we believed in the latin poets, it would be like if someone considered us witnesses for some fact that happened in the Middle ages.
But as all the legends do, Amyclae gives to Sperlonga and its surroundings the charm of mystery.
One thing’s for sure: the legend of Amyclae has to do with history and myth. And with a couple of riddles (silence and snakes).

Many people have tried to solve the mystery.
The “snake” could be, for exemple, the symbol of some people who came to destroy the town.
Concerning the silence, instead, someone says that the Amyclans used to follow the sect of Pythagoreans who were obliged to silence, and so they weren’t able to give the alarm when they were attacked.

Actually each one of the triangle towns tries to collect proofs that Amyclae was lying over its own territory.
So do the Sperlongani!
To be honest, most of the clues that we have collected show the fact that Amyclae was set somewhere around Sperlonga.
But as this is a legend yet: every hypothesis could be true.

What we know for sure is that there was a town called Amyclae, next to the town of Sparta, in Laconia (Greece), too.
It was there that Ulysses and all the achaean warriors met, under the command of Agamemnon. And it was exactly there that they decided the assault to Troy, after Helen, the wife of King Menelaus of Sparta, had been abducted by Prince Paris of Troy.

Now, there’s something funny. The people in Laconia today use to tell the same legends about their village as the ones we can hear in Sperlonga: Amyclae’s inhabitants were not allowed to talk and the town died in silence.
Furthermore they believe that the snakes had destroyed the town. That’s what we’ve learned also from the poets about the Amyclae in Sperlonga.

The mystery deepens…

How can it be possible?
Two towns miles away from each other can have the same history?

Someone may be wrong.

However, a very important fact connects the Roman Age and Sperlonga with the laconian Amyclae. And with the achaean warriors.
Maybe we’ll be able so to find out some more clue about this legend.

The Emperor Tiberius strongly believed that his family (the gens Claudia) descended directly from the hero of the Odyssey: Ulysses.
As Tiberius had a deep passion for arts and and was obsessed by beauty, he asked three greek artists from Rhodes (Athenodorus, Polydorus and Agesander) to sculpt the main episodes of Ulysses’ life and adventures.

Tiberius was therefore sure that Amyclae had existed next to his villa in Sperlonga.

And so do we!

Today we can admire the great beauty of the masterpieces that decorated Tiberius’villa in Sperlonga’s National Archaeological Museum.
Come visit the Villa and the magnificent sculptures: you won’t forget the experience!
Have a look around, maybe by chance you’ll be the one that finds the ruins of Amyclae!

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