ABOUT THE PROJECT
The Leontius Project is my attempt to translate and share 20 years of research centred around my family origins in Macedonia, Southern Italy and beyond. It is my personal showcase of stories, events, ways of life and personalities (of every kind!) that I class as the nuts (pun intended) that make my tree worth shaking!
Leontius Pilatus was a 14th century Italian scholar from Seminara in the region of Calabria. Calabria in the 1300s was still very much a Greek society flowing on from the influences of both ancient Magna Graecia and medieval Byzantium. Greek (or Griko) was the language of many of its people and would continue to flourish until the area became latinised in the 1500s.
Because of his ability to speak both Greek and Latin, Leontius came to the attention of some of the most influential writers of his day. Leontius' greatest contributions were his Greek to Latin translations for Boccaccio's Genealogia deorum gentilium (Genealogy of the Gods of the Gentiles). These were the first non-biblical genealogies to be presented in "family trees" and diagrams that are still commonly used today. They accompanied narratives of success, failure, tragedy and scandal, and candidly told the stories of the gods.
Now in the 21st century there is a resurgence of another kind. Historical records are being digitised and made accessible with the mere click of a button. Thousands of individuals are ordering DNA kits with hopes of identifying the provenance of their bloodlines - and maybe some long lost relatives along the way. Though our eyes are mostly fixed on the future, to know one's past is to truly know oneself. Whether they be significant events, ancestral patterns or other inherited characteristics, there are many things for us all to learn.
"Know Thyself" (Temple of Apollo)