This project is my vision of the Trinacria, the ancient symbol of the Sicily, a Region in southern Italy. This symbol dates back to when Sicily was a colonial extension of Magna Graecia.

I modeled everything in ZBrush, rendered with Arnold in 3ds Max, then composited in Photoshop.


Heraldry

The symbol of Trinacria recalls mythological and ancient Greece elements; it is composed by three major components: a triskelion, the Medusa’s head and three wheat ears. Let’s see them in detail.

Current flag of Sicily

Triskelion

The three legs bent at the knees form a triskelion (from Greek “τρισκέλιον“,  prefix “τρι-” (tri-), “three times”+ “σκέλος” (skelos), “leg” ) representing the three points of the triangular shape of the island of Sicily, or the three historical Valli of the Island (Val di Noto, Val Demone, Val di Mazara) during the period of the Emirate of Sicily (831 to 1091 AD).

Historical map of Sicily

The thesis on the origins of Trinacria has a substantial reference in the history of ancient Greece. The Spartan fighters carving in their shields a white leg bent at the knee: a symbol of strength.

The Trinacria was officially recognized worldwide on Sicily’s flag in World War II, but the symbol had made its first debut several years before.
In the Asia Minor, between the sixth and fourth centuries BC, the Trinacria was engraved on the coins of various cities, in ancient regions such as: Aspendo (in Panfilia, on the eastern Mediterranean), Berrito and Tebe (in Troade: territory around the city of Troy, between the Scamander and the Hellespont), Olba (in Cilicia, between Armenia and Syria) and in some cities of Lycia (South-West, close to the sea).

Silver Drachma from Sicily, minted during the reign of Agathocles (361–289 BC)
Tree-legged symbol of Sicily depicted as a proto-heraldic device on the shield of a Greek warrior

Medusa’s head

At the center of the triskelion it is placed the head of Medusa, the Gorgon.
Gorgons are three mythological figures, daughters of sea deities, Ceto and Phorcys: Medusa (the queen), Stheno (“the mighty”), Euryale (“the wide sea”). Physical aspect of Gorgons vary, according to the earliest Greek literature they have hair made of living, venomous snakes, and horrifying visage that turned those who beheld her to stone. Also, they had boar tusks, hands of bronze and golden wings.

According to Mythology, once Medusa was a beautiful human maiden, turned into Gorgon by the Greek goddess Athena as “act of jealousy”.
The presence of the Medusa’s head in the symbol recalls the destructive aspect of Athena and represents the protection of the Island by this goddess, the patron goddess of Sicily. For this reason, the Medusa’s head has the function of a Gorgoneion, a special apotropaic amulet intended to turn away harm or evil influences.

Wheat ears

The three ears of wheat represent the extreme fertility of the land of Sicily. Under the Romans, Sicily’s forests gave way to the first large grain farms. As a source of hard wheat, Sicily became the “granary of the Roman Empire.”


References (external links)