The tears of the Eliadi, a godsend

Time ago, during the harvest festival, the merchants came to towns bringing the most expensive goods, most notably gorgeous ambers. They said that the gods had given ambers to the men of the cold northern lands and that the ambers had arrived to them only after a long journey. Merchants opened their treasure chest, containing ivory objects, pins, rings,silver earrings, as well as bright and transparent ambers. They told that the young Fetonte, son of Apollo, god of light, had wanted, one day, to drive the chariot of the sun, but he had been unable to govern its fiery horses. As a result, he burnt the sky and dried up the lands and Zeus made him crash with one of his lightning in the Eridano river.

The Nymphs Eliadi, sisters of the unlucky young man, could not stop mourning his death. As a result, they were transformed by the gods into forever crying poplars. Their tears would become ambers, when dried up by the sun.

For the above reason, the merchants said that amber, the priceless gift of the gods, was a sign of wealth and power, it could cure diseases and protect anyone who wore it from any harm. In fact, elders said that priests, warriors, and princesses who lived in these lands used to wear necklaces of many amber threads in many different forms.


Texts: A. Lagi
Pictures: Museo Archeologico Nazionale di Volcei “Marcello Gigante
English translation: Scu association Pro Loco Buccino Volcei