of this tradition, its citizens became in later times famed for their riches and importance, which they owed in a great measure to the wisdom of their code of laws ...'on them by Zaleucus. Their prosperity was injured by what at first appeared calculated to promote their interests, They became intimately connected with Dionysius the elder, who married the io of one of its principal citizens, and in consequence of this alliance the city fell into the hands of his son Dionysius, who tyrannised over it in a manner that can scarcely be credited. From that time the prosperity of the city gradually declined, and after it became part of the Roman Empire, it sank into insignificance. Such was the city the site of which I proceeded, in company with a friend of my host, this morning to visit, and found it to be upwards of four miles distant from Gerace, close to the shore. Its ancient walls can be traced nearly round its whole circumference. A portion of them to the south are in a tolerable state of preservation, and show that they were constructed of large blocks of calcareous limestone, in which the country around abounds. For half a mile on the side next the sea the remains of the wall are visible, so that the sea seems to have undergone no change in this part of the coast for the last two thousand years. The site of the city occupied a space of ground about two miles in length by less than a mile in breadth, extending from the sea-coast, at what is called Torre di Gerace, to the rising ground leading to the Apennines. From the slopes of these hills the city extended towards the sea, and had its harbour, if harbour it can be .. at the mouth of the little river St. Ilario. A French nobleman, the Duc de Luynes, was here a few days ago, and caused the foundation of a building of considerable size to be excavated. The basement is constructed of massive blocks of limestone, placed over each other without mortar, and close by are scattered pieces of immense columns of the same material, which had no doubt decorated the building. It is situated outside the walls, on the brow of a hill of no great height, yet so as to overlook any building lying between it and the sea. All the intervening space is covered with fragments of ancient buildings, of which only one at the north-east corner would appear, from the immense blocks of stone for its foundation, to have been of considerable size. I examined with care every spot close to the shore for the site of the Temple of Proserpine, which Strabo mentions as the richest and most magnificent that Italy possessed, but not a vestige of it can be seen, if it is necessary to suppose that it was close to the shore. We know that it suffered severely from Pyrrhus, but we can scarcely imagine that its foundations should not still exist. It may possibly be the building which I have just mentioned as having fragments of pillars lying around. There is a hill called Esopis, mentioned by ancient geographers, on which the citadel of Locri was situated. I vainly tried to determine which of several ridges ought to be considered the spot where it stood. There is no hill of a very decided character, though several ridges run down to within a quarter of a mile of the sea. There are three small hills, on one or other of which may have been the fortress; three ruined forts are now seen on them, called Castellaccio, Mantelle, and Sietta. Some have thought that Gerace was the ancient Esopis: this is impossible, as it is at least four miles from the site of these ruins; and, besides, no ancient remains have been discovered in its immediate vicinity, There are, indeed, a few ancient marble pillars in the cathedral and a single inscription; these, however, could easily have been transported from the shore, and we know that this has been often done elsewhere. I have not the slightest doubt that Locri was situated on this site, and did not include Gerace, which had its origin in the middle ages, when the inhabitants took up their residence at some distance from the sea, that they might be in some degree beyond the reach of piratical corsairs. As I was not pressed for time, I wandered away towards the mountains, and stumbled on what must have been the remains of an aqueduct, which had to penetrate through a rock for a considerable distance. Along this shore, in the summer season, water must have been brought from the hills to supply such a population as Locri contained.

Having satisfied my curiosity respecting the ruins of Locri, I proceeded on my return to Gerace, passing through a grove of olive-trees and a vineyard, where that peculiar species of vine, from which the Vino Greco is procured, was trained to a trellis-work five or six feet in height. In the vicinity of Naples the vines are trained from tree to tree; it is seldom the case here. We passed also a few mulberry-trees, which supply food for the silkworm, and I find that the manufacture of silk is pursued with considerable success. I expressed a wish to see their cocoons (bacche di seta), but I observed from their answer that they were averse to the proposal, and I afterwards found the cause of the refusal to be not particularly flattering to me. They are afraid to expose the silkworm to the gaze of a stranger lest an ill-omened look should destroy them. I am thus subject to the imputation of a Jettatore, of whom I have already spoken. They have, however, a mode of neutralising the effect of the evil eye by making use of incense, together with palms that have been blessed on Easter Sunday; olives, too, that have been blessed have the same effect, if they are burned in the room where a Jettatore has been. This superstition respecting the evil eye is found everywhere throughout Italy, and seems to be applicable to everything. Sannazaro, who was born A.D. 1458, says, in his sixth eclogue:

L'invidia, figliulo mio, se stessa macera,
Esi dilegua come Agnel per fascino.

“Envy, my son, wears herself away, and droops like a lamb under the influence of the evil eye.” This, as you are aware, is merely a continuation of a Roman superstition, as they, too, had evidently some dread of an evil eye. Thus Virgil (Eclog. iii. 103) says: Nescio quis teneros oculus mihi fascinat agnos.

“I know not what evil eye it is that is casting its envious glance over my tender lambs.” This idea of the palm averting the danger is also handed down from the ancients. Pliny (xiii. 9, 2), speaking of the dwarf-palm (chamaerepes), which he says grows in great quantities in Sicily, and which is still to be found in this southern part of Italy, states that the “hard interior of the fruit, when polished by the elephant's tooth” (dente politum), has a good effect against the evil eye (contra fascinantes). I told you that spitting in the direction of the person supposed to pos

sess this power was a mode of averting the danger. Pliny (xxviii. 7, 1) says the same thing: Simili modo et fascinationes repercutimus.-"In the same way, i.e. by spitting, we hurl back on the individual the effects of his evil eye.” I was curious to see the contents of the little purse made by the Capuchins, and suspended round the necks of the children, but I found the matter was regarded in too serious a light by mothers to venture on such an examination. It might have cost me dear, as the Italians are of a revengeful nature. It would have been strange if they had been found to contain a representation of the membrane virile, which we know was suspended round the necks of the Roman children. Varro (de L. L. vi.) says: Pueris turpicula res in collo quadam suspenditur, ne quid obsit, bonae scavae causá. There was lately found at Pompeii, over the mouth of a baker's oven, a stone priapus with this inscription: Hic habitat felicitas.—“Here dwells good luck.” In this province there are seventy-two cultivators of the silkworm, but the only silk manufactory on a large scale that I can hear of is at San Leucio, near Naples. It is supported by government, who supply it with children from the poorhouse, called Alberzo de' Poveri, paying at the same time fourpence a day for every child thus employed. In the plains of Sorento I found, on inquiry, that there were nearly three hundred persons employed in the manufacture of silk stockings, but they could not compete in colour or fineness with the workmanship of France or England; in strength of material they were far superior. In Penne, a city of the Abruzzi, the nuns of S. Chiara are celebrated for their silk embroidery; and in Teramo there is a manufactory of some importance. In respect to linen they have made but little progress, if I may judge from the tablecloths and sheets which I have had an opportunity of examining. They are generally coarse and ill bleached. The village of La Cava, near Salerno, has been most successful in its manufacture of linen, and employs about fourteen hundred and sixteen individuals. I had often heard it positively asserted by some of my learned Neapolitan friends that there were several villages in the remote parts of Calabria whose inhabitants had preserved the ancient Greek language, without much change, from the period when the whole of this coast was colonised by the Greeks. Bova, about twenty miles to the south of Gerace, was said to be one of them; and you will not be surprised that I was anxious to solve the problem, when it was so nearly within my reach. I had determined to visit it, if I could receive no satisfactory information at Gerace. I made my intention known to my host, when he stated that there were two muleteers from Bova in Gerace at that moment, and he immediately gave directions that they should wait upon me. I have been studying Romaic for the last six months, under one of the few Greeks who survived the fatal siege of Missalonghi, and it occurred to me that they might understand this modernised Greek. They had no difficulty in conversing, though my pronunciation, sounded somewhat strange in their ears. In respect to their origin, they understood that they had come from beyond seas a few centuries ago, and I have no doubt that it was a colony of Greeks, that had emigrated from the Morea at the same time that the Albanians came over. Their language appeared, with some slight variations, to be much the same as that now spoken in the Morea. I have thus been saved a journey of forty miles, and however insignificant this may appear to you in your temperate climate, I can assure you that it is a matter of great joy to me. I give you a few words collected from the muleteers of Bova, which, if you knew Romaic, would satisfy you that I am correct in my belief: Yout, bread, rupt, cheese, Kpagi, wine, yuvaika, woman, divöpav, man, Boöt, ox, dAoyo, horse, Toara, sheep, Boga)\!, cow, Wukávia, shirt, xolpabi, sow, Tow8a, hen. The words for cow, shirt, and hen seem peculiar, as I do not know them in Romaic. On my return from the ruins of Locri I visited the cathedral of Gerace, which I found to have suffered severely from the earthquake of 1783, being rendered useless for public worship. The ancient columns of which I spoke, as probably brought from the Temple of Proserpine on the shore, are of white marble, fluted, with the exception of three, which are verd antique, coarse red limestone, and granite. The capitals are of inferior workmanship, and can scarcely be supposed to have originally surmounted them. The great altar remains untouched, but it is in the crypt that divine service is now celebrated. In the cathedral the inscription to which I alluded was built into the wall, and was to the following effect:

[merged small][ocr errors]

WHATEvER fault we may find with this people for their superstition and ignorance, there is a lovableness in their character which I am not utilitarian enough in my philosophy to resist. Amidst much superstition there is also a great deal of genuine piety and humble submission to the severest strokes of Providence, and I sometimes wish that my own countrymen were equally attentive to the performance of their religious duties. My worthy host was a good specimen of the higher class of Italians, of amiable character, strict in his devotions, and though firmly attached to the doctrines of the Roman Catholic religion, tolerant to those, like myself, who differed from him in opinion. I had an interesting conversation with him on the subject of religion, and stated many of the usual objections which Protestants bring against the corruptions of Popery, and, among other things, I drew his attention to the circumstance that the Bible, which we considered to be the “Word of God,” was not allowed to be circulated or read by the people. He had the common answer, that it would be dangerous to put it into the hands of the ignorant, as they would wrest it to their own destruction; but

opening a desk he brought out an Italian Bible, and said, “Here it is, and I value it above all books?” He said that there was an abstract of the Old and New Testament, and this could be read without danger by the least learned. Besides, he maintained that the doctrine of his Church was that Jesus Christ had established a church on earth, and an order of succession in the priesthood, and that to this priesthood were entrusted the inspired writings as the guide of that church, and through them alone was instruction to be communicated to the people; they were ordained to preach the Gospel to all nations. The question had evidently been considered by him, and he was armed at all points.

I objected to the indulgences for sins which the Pope is in the habit of granting; but he maintained that this was one of the calumnies of the Protestants, and that he gave no such indulgences. He granted, indeed, abatements of purgatory, and explained it in this way. They believe that the devil has permission to torment the saints in purgatory for a certain space of time, to cleanse them from the pollutions they may have contracted in this world, and thus make them fit for heaven. Now the Pope has the power of abating this space, and from what I afterwards learnt it seems as if, by proper management, the devil might be in a great measure cheated of his right. There are certain crosses in and about Rome, the kissing of which clears off so many days; and the holy staircase—that is the staircase of Pilate's judgment-hall, which has been brought to Rome and there preserved—if you climb up on your knees you will succeed in making a very serious impression on the period you are to be confined in purgatory.

The family of the Sotto-Intendente resided at Castel Vetere, and he pressed me so strongly to remain a day with them that I yielded to his wishes. . I left Gerace a little after daybreak. The country through which I passed differed little from that which I had traversed on my way to visit the ruins of Locri. There was the same want of cultivation, the same feeling of loneliness as yesterday. Proceeding along the seacoast I reached a few huts called Roccella, I then turned my steps into the interior, up the channel of a winter torrent, at this time without water. In the winter I do not see how intercourse can be kept up between the different villages. As I advanced, the country presented still greater desolation. It appeared as if some awful convulsion of nature had torn the hills asunder, and then thrown them together at random. The soil was of a dry clayey nature, and being without herbage or trees, the spot was a strange contrast with the usual scenery of Italy.

*i. small village of Castel Vetere was seen at some distance on the summit of a hill, which seemed perpendicular on all sides; but its gloomy appearance served only to increase the melancholy feelings which the scenery around was calculated to excite. The rock on which Castel Vetere stands is ascended by a winding path, and before the invention of artillery might have sustained a considerable siege. I was received with i. by the friends of the Sotto-Intendente, and the day passed quickly away in very agreeable conversation. I found here Baron Musco, a gentleman well acquainted with the English language, and who had spent much time in the society of the English. He is now residing on his property, and showed me some valuable gold rings and bracelets which had been found in some sepulchres at Giosa,

« 前へ次へ »