Palinuro, the mith

Palinuro is a wonderful seaside resort of Cilento, another flagship of our wonderful Blue Flag territory and placed in the context of the Cilento and Vallo di Diano National Park, which extends on the small peninsula of the homonymous promontory, Capo Palinuro, renowned for its scenic beauty, its natural beauties and for the presence of caves both emerged, which can be visited by boat, and submarines, reachable only by immersion.

Palinurus’ smile travels through the books V and VI of the Aeneid, the greatest epic poem in dactylic hexameters in Latin literature, and its myth hovers between the pages, unfolding in all its suggestive beauty. “Nunc me fluctus habet versantque in litore twenty” is the verse that opens the sad story of the helmsman of Aeneas who fell into the dark waters at night, deceived by the god Sonno, while sailing his fleet to Italy, fallen into the sea, Palinuro he would have remained for three days at the mercy of the waves and currents, invoking in vain the name of his companions, by now deaf and with ears lined with wax like Odysseus who did not want to hear the bewitching song of the sirens. The point where Palinuro would have been lost, swallowed up by the waves, would correspond, according to the description of the Aeneid, to the stretch of coast of Campania of the Tyrrhenian Sea, between the inlet of Pisciotta and the Gulf of Policastro, right in front of the homonymous chief Palinuro.

The Auster, a southern wind that blows from the south, (and translated with Noto from the Aeneid), will lead Palinuro to the Italic beaches where it will face a fateful fate. Palinuro, landed on the mainland, will be captured by the locals, killed and thrown back into the sea, like a sea monster to get rid of. The prophecy of Neptune, which had given Venus its approval to rescue the fleet of Aeneas in exchange for a victim, had come true: Unum pro multis dabitur caput. “Caput” signifies the head of Palinuro, his sacrificial leader sacrificed as a victim for the salvation of Aeneas and his people. In book VI, the protagonist will be the breath of the tormented spirit of Palinuro, who will meet Enea during his famous descent into Hades, in the company of the Sibilla Cumana: he will ask the hero to give a dignified burial to his body thrown into the sea and kidnapped by so that his tomb would no longer be the unknown and dark sea but the maternal and welcoming earth. He begs him to find his body and return it to the earth, but the Sibillina will reveal that Palinuro’s body will never be found again. The heartbreaking story of Palinuro’s non-burial will also be taken up by Dante in the Divine Comedy, in canto VI of Purgatory, when Palinuro asks Virgil, now in a perspective that is no longer pagan but sublimated to a sense of Christian and medieval allegory, of the relationship between prayers of the living and requests for suffrages by purgative souls.

The eponymous head of Palinuro, is the stone simulacrum of the story of Enea’s helmsman, and symbolically symbolizes this village.

Some excavations carried out around the 50s brought to light an archaic necropolis dating back to the 6th century. B.C. with burials and funerary furnishings, including a coin depicting the PAL-MOL inscription on one side and the effigy of a running boar on the other.

Some clues and some legend would indicate the human presence in those places, already three centuries earlier.

There are no traces or elements attributable to the Roman era, although it is likely that the characteristics of the promontory were used with assiduity by the commercial and military ships of ancient Rome.

With the Saracen raids and the decline of nearby Molpa there was the urban and residential increase of Palinuro in conjunction with the Norman occupation.