The best known – and from our perspective the most interesting – of all the tales associated with the sibyl is supposed to date to the reign of Tarquinius Superbus – Tarquin the Proud. Most interesting, perhaps, is the legend of the Cumæan sibyl, who took her name from the nearby town of Cumæ, a Greek colony dating to about 500 B.C.– a time when the Etruscans still held sway much of central Italy and Rome was nothing but a city-state ruled over by a line of tyrannical kings. It remains blocked with soil and has not been properly explored by anyone. Upon death a soul is lead by Hermes to the entrance of the underworld and then carried across the Acheron. Of alternative explanations, only one–that the tunnels were once part of a system designed to supply hot mineral-rich waters to bathhouses above–feels plausible, though it certainly does not explain features such as S-bends designed to hide the wonders ahead from approaching visitors. Give a Gift. Ovid, in Metamorphoses, has her lament that “like a fool, I did not ask that all those years should come with ageless youth, as well.” Instead, she aged but could not die. Virgil depicts her scribbling the future on oak leaves that lay scattered about the entrance to her cave, and states that the cave itself concealed an entrance to the underworld. The narrow entrance to the tunnel complex at Baiae is easy to miss amid the ruins of a Greek temple and a large Roman bath complex. For another, using a compass, Paget determined that the terrace where the tunnel system began was oriented towards the midsummer sunrise, and hence the solstice, while the mysterious passage itself ran exactly east-west and was, thus, on the equinoctial sunrise line. After a decade of exploration, he and Jones had formulated answers to those questions. The underground stream that Paget dubbed the “River Styx.” The water level is significantly lower now than it was in the 1960s, and the bed of the stream has been choked with rubble dumped there by successive investigators. Hats off to you, Mike. Privacy Statement In the diagram, you can see that the “Styx” is at sea level, so maybe some ancient engineer figured that a tunnel dug to that depth would hit water. The painting can be seen in the Uffizi Gallery. the little sliver of an entrance doesn’t help the creepiness factor Little seems to have changed at Baia since Paget’s day. Because of this, the quest continued, and gradually the remaining searchers focused their attentions on the old Roman resort of Baia, which lies on the Bay of Naples at a spot where the Phlegræan Fields vanish beneath the Tyrrhenian Sea. Italy’.”, The Myths of the Thanksgiving Story and the Lasting Damage They Imbue, Hegra, an Ancient City in Saudi Arabia Untouched for Millennia, Makes Its Public Debut, Missing Australian Masterpiece Spent 115 Years Hiding in Plain Sight, Medicinal Plant May Have Evolved Camouflage to Evade Humans. It is fair to say that most of those who have come after him have admitted themselves more or less baffled by at least some of the odder aspects of the tunnels. When I got there, I said to myself, 'I don't give a damn what happens, I am going to take my time.'" And if visitors were tired, befuddled or perhaps simply drugged, it would have been possible to create a powerfully otherworldly experience capable of persuading even the skeptical. Swung closed, this would have masked the entrance to a second tunnel that acted as a short-cut to the lower levels. Basing his thinking on the remains of some ancient pivots, Paget suggested that the spot had at one time harbored a concealed door. The water at the River Styx is not sea water, it is fresh, drinkable, water, not even stagnant. An overview of the tunnel system at Baia – 3D modelling by John Smout of the Oracle of the Dead site. (The Greeks certainly had the tech to fashion the cave by 600BC.). Cookie Policy Hidden deep within the bowels of the earth and ruled by the god Hades and his wife Persephone, the Underworld was the kingdom of the dead in Greek mythology, the sunless place where the souls of those who died went after death. So there we have it. There the mystery rested, and it was not revived until the site came to the attention of Ferrand Paget – who liked everyone to call him “Doc” – in the early 1960s. I wish we had more definite information. Two thousand years ago, Baiæ was a flourishing spa, noted both for its mineral cures and for the scandalous immorality that flourished there. Lewis also found a tunnel leading up to Paget’s “sanctuary” from the back end of the Styx. It was necessary to clear this tunnel to gain access to the sanctuary. The discovery of a further, blocked, tunnel at the back of the hill suggests that the complex at Baia may have been constructed to allow just such a journey.

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