The “ Piceni ” are considered today among the most mysterious and little known peoples of archaic Italy. [...]
Le Marche another Italy
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Curated by Mariano Pallottini
The first people who lived in the territory of the Marche identifing himself with it was the “Piceni”. Piceni’s identity emerges along with the archeological excavations in the last century, highlighting aspects of this fascinating and mysterious people of warrior-farmers.
One of these recent moments of fame for the Piceni has to do with the Hollywood movies.
In 2012, the fantasy genre, after the success of Avatar, proposed to the world the story of an alien people, image of what we ourselves were originally, that fight for their land against the evil and hyper “terrestrial”. It was the movie “John Carter of Mars”, a revival of a ’30s cartoon made by Walt Disney.
The production gave the definition of the characters to the same costumeer of the higly successful film Apocalypto and Avatar: Mayes Rubeo.
Mayes – that over recent years lived with her husband in Todi, Umbria, began to study the peoples of antiquity with the attributes of the “martians”; a proud people, who loved peace and harmony, but that, if defied, is ready to fight with vigor to the last, freedom loving above all other virtues.
At one point, the costumer met the mysterious people on the Adriatic coast of central Italy – of wich we had knowledge thanks to its proximity to his place of residence – in wich he found the characters he sought. [...]
The name of the Picena civilization conventionally refers to the culture which developed in the mid Adriatic between the IX e IV centuries A.D. and Piceni is what this population, albeit, of different ancestry are called, as they were by large united by the same language or similar dialects which gave birth to this culture.
The name of the Piceni people is mentioned by the Latin writer Plutarch, during the Trajan era, and are also referred to as the Peucezi (Pseudo Scylax), Picenti (Polybius, Titus Livius e Pliny), Picentini (Strabo), which is what, at beginning from the IV century. A.D., the Greeks and Romans called these populations stationed along the central Adriatic zone.
Then from the IV century A.D. the Latin and Greek authors (Strabo, Polybius, Pliny and Livius) talk to us of a population originating from Sabina situated between the territories of the Marches and Abruzzo now renamed thanks to their fame as great warriors and good farmers for the abundance of the products found in their area. [...]
The descendants of Peucetios and his friends came from the Aegean seventeen generations before the Trojan War, or perhaps they were those Achaeans (in the Iliad) who came as pirates after defeating the Minoans, or the Mycenaeans who emigrated to Italian shores after the destruction of Troy, or those called the Pelasgians. Who knows with certainty? “Certainly it was one or more of these groups. Look it up in the Roman expansion starting from the central territories, from the IV century A.D. and extending progressively through the Italian peninsula, brought about the integration and elimination of the Picena culture.
In Sirolo you will find an interesting archeological area at Pini place. This area is very important because it is the only one in Marche in which is possible visiting a sector of Picene Necropolis.
In 1989, in this archeological area it has been found out the “Sirolo Princesse Grave”, a funerary complex belonging to a Picene noble lady buried with a sumptuous set including also two chariots, referable to the Vi century b. C.
The two found chariots are of different typologies: a biga and a gig; as for other similar finds of central Adriatic Italy, they were disassembled and positioned in the sepulchre grave. This was a typical procedure of the Picene community funeral rites of the close Numana...
Since 1958 Ferretti Palace has become the centre of Marche Region Archeological National Museum (also MANM). It represents a concrete historical-archeological synthesis running by ancient Prehistory until the threshold of the diffusion of roman culture. We have to dedicate an apart chapter to Piceni Civilization that is present in the museum with an as much rich as prestigious collection...
Nowadays inside the museum you can admire the evidences of periods such as Paleolithic, Neolithic, Eneolithic, Bronze Age, Piceni and Gaul Senoni civilizations.
Your tour may be extended by visiting the recently discovered ruins standing in front of Ferretti Palace, Roman Amphitheatre ruins dominating the hill of the museum in Birarelli Str. (ancient prison of Ancona) and the rests found during the diggings for the modern underground car parking located in Stamira Sq....
Our local history is, however, more ancient than Romans, it began around the 9th century b.C. with the Picenes. According to the greek historian Strabo (that lived most part of his life in Rome), at the beginning of the Iron age the Picenes moved in our lands and the whole Marches from the Sabina Region, that nowadays is the province of Rieti. The confirmation of this fact comes from the finding in 1973 of the Penne S. Andrea epigraphs written in picene language, in which the Picenes define themselves SAFINUS SAFINAS TUTAS, that is Sabines of the Sabine community. During that migration, tells Strabo, they were led by a bird sacred to the god Mars: the woodpecker, that is PICUS, thus Picenes.