The Thesmophoria of Morgantina
In the ancient city of Morgantina, Sicily there are five sanctuaries with strong ties to the goddess Persephone - the North, South, West, San Francesco, and Cittadella. With multiple sanctuaries dedicated to Persephone, it is reasonable to hypothesize that one functioned as the thesmophorion, or sanctuary where the festival of the Thesmophoria was celebrated. This secret festival was limited to female participants and ensured the fertility of the crops and the family. While the San Francesco sanctuary has recently been proposed as the thesmophorion for Morgantina, this paper will explore the possibility that, when applying the criteria used with the San Francesco sanctuary, the Cittadella sanctuary should be given at least equal consideration as thesmophorion of Morgantina. The paper begins with background on Morgantina and the Thesmophoria, followed by comparative evidence from the sanctuary of Demeter and Kore in Corinth and the thesmophorion of Bitalemi in Sicily, with the sanctuary in Bitalemi serving as an example of a thesmophorion in Sicily, accounting for regional differences that may exist in the celebration of Greek festivals. A review of the architectural remains and archaeological finds from both the San Francesco and Citadella sanctuaries will be compared and contrasted with each other and the two sanctuaries in Corinth and Bitalemi to see if it is plausible to identify the Cittadella sanctuary as a thesmophorion. To conclude, this paper will analyze the San Francesco and Cittadella sanctuaries, discussing the possibility of the Cittadella sanctuary as the thesmophorion of Morgantina.