20 November, 2008

Love Thursday: Positano, A History: Take 2

I am jumping on the Love Thursday bandwagon...and, seeing as how Positano is one of my greatest loves, this post is only fitting.

I found found this slightly different take on the origins of Positano. I'm a sucker for legends--the mystery, the romance, the adventure!!

The Legend of Positano:

"The legend recalls, in great detail, that one night a Saracen sailing vessel, that had stolen a precious Painting of the Madonna, suddenly found itself in the midst of a furious storm off the Positano coast. The south-west wind was threatening to make the mainmast come tumbling down any minute, the fury of the sea and of the rain beset the vessel sweeping men and objects overboard. The men of the crew had abandoned their duties and were running frantically from stern to stern on the high-prowed ancient Byzantine vessel, when all of a sudden the sailors heard a mysterious voice rising above the terrifying creaking of the foremast. Out of the howling gusts of the gale, a crystalclear voice apparently born of the wind repeatedly said: “Posa, posa!” (Lay me down). The Madonna, weary of roaming the seas, was asking to be brought to rest on land. The sailors understood and decided to obey, in the hope of reaching safety and with the premonition that they were face to face with a new reality: a miracle. All of the crew, converted to the Christian faith, got down to work like slaves, some went to the helm, others strove to get landward wind to fill the canvas of the one and only square sail: but miraculously every effort was superfluous because the vessel, as if propelled by a will of its own, started gliding towards the small bay where the Madonna was laid down on the small crescent shaped beach which nowadays is a favourite haunt of families on vacation. The storm had abated and billows were gradually receding. On the water line, still black from the early morning rain, the Byzantine Madonna shone out brightly from her cedar-tree tablet where a skilful artist of distant Greece had depicted her: and there she was found at dawn by the first fishermen going out to sea. The pious inhabitants of these shores built a temple on that very site and since that day the village took the name of Positano from the “Posa, posa” uttered by its Madonna (so the legend has it, for legends, we all know, are impatient of complex Greek etymological assumptions according to which the name Positano is a corruption of Poseidon)."

(From http://www.sorrento.cc/area-positano.php)

1 comment:

Chef Chuck said...

Great story, Powerful Painting!1
Thanks Chuck