The tarantella originated around five-hundred years ago in Taranto, the Italian region of Apulia. Also known as Salento, this land area projects out into the Adriatic and Ionian Seas (Isbister 549-553). During this time, Salento was considered to be a dark place, which sparked intellectual curiosity (Blackstone 184-206). This art form was thought to have originated from Greek and Roman societies to honor the gods; Bacchus, Apollo, and Dionysus (Sweeney 22-23). In Greek culture, female worshipers would honor Dionysus, becoming distracted from their work to dance and play kettledrums and tambourines (Blackstone 184-206).
The Italian tarantula, found in the fields around southern Taranto, was known to bite the bare feet of the harvest workers (Sweeney 2...
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... of Southern Italy’s culture and society (Bynum 1736).
Blackstone, L. ""The Spider Is Alive": Reassessing Becker's Theory of Artistic Conventions
through Southern Italian Music. ”Symbolic Interaction 32.3 (2009): 184-206. ProQuest Central, ProQuest. Web. 28 Feb. 2010.
Bynum, Bill. "Discarded diagnoses." Lancet 358.9294 (2001): 1736. Academic Search Elite.
EBSCO. Web. 28 Feb. 2010.
Isbister, Geoffrey K. "Necrotic arachnidism: the mythology of a modern plague." Lancet
364.9433 (2004): 549-553. Academic Search Elite. EBSCO. Web. 28 Feb. 2010.
Sweeney, Philip. "ARTS WORLD MUSIC: Arachnophenia; A 2,000-year-old dance
traditionally used to cure a tarantula's bite is taking Italy by storm. PHILIP SWEENEY sinks his teeth into the phenomenon of tarantella; [FOREIGN Edition]." Independent (2003): 22-23. Web. 28 Feb 2010.
Course Pack: “Tarantella”
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