ページの画像
PDF
ePub

found, it appears that the Emperor Antoninus had contributed a considerable sum of money from his treasury to convey water from a distant spring. Three noble arches of this aqueduct are still to be seen at a spot called Simari, and if a more minute examination was made than my time allowed, I have no doubt that it might be traced from a considerable distance. It was the assistance granted by the Emperors Adrian, Trajan, and the Antonines for the erection of such useful public works in the provincial cities of the empire that rendered them so justly popular. Another curious inscription in the Greek language has been found here, which shows that Greek games were celebrated in this city to a late period of the empire. Squillace was at one time under the Patriarch of Constantinople; it has long since submitted to the authority of the Pope. One part of the town is called Quartiere de' Giudei, showing that the Jews had formerly occupied a portion of it. The ruins of the castle are picturesque, and the cathedral, which is a building of some pretensions, possesses holy reliques, valuable in the eyes of the superstitious devotee, such as a small fragment of the holy cross, and a portion of the hair of the Virgin Mary and of Mary Magdalene. They were shown to me as of the most sacred character, and I have no doubt that it was expected that I should show them some honour, but I made no sign. On inquiring whether the bay of Squillace was still subject to sudden storms, as I knew from a passage in Virgil (AEn. iii. 553) it had been in former times, I was told that they had long since ceased, and as this appeared a curious natural phenomenon, of which I was of course sceptical, I inquired if they could at all account for the change. They told me that the storms had been caused by a set of evil spirits, who had taken up their abode in a grotto close to the village Stallati, but they had been put to flight by a band of angels, who had wasted the body of the holy Saint Gregory to this grotto, to whom it is now consecrated. The evil spirits have never since made their appearance, and the storms that infested the bay no longer bring disaster on the mariner. I went down to the shore, but there is no harbour or anchoring-place except when wind is off land. The water is said to be very deep close to the shore, and consequently there is no shelter in case of vessels finding themselves on a lee shore with a strong gale of wind. I decline, therefore, to believe that the coast of the bay of Squillace is more safe than it was in former times. Feudal habits and customs still maintain their ground in this remote part of the world, and I find that every village possesses its noble families, who pride themselves on the purity of their blood. Feudal enactments, which have no longer the force of law, still exercise an influence over the customs of the people. There used to be a particular dress for each class in society, and severe penalties were enacted against the use of swallow-tailed coats by any person who could not satisfactorily prove his title to nobility. Though this law is no longer in force, the different ranks are still to be distinguished by their dress, and in the costume of the women it is still more marked. On leaving Squillace this morning I descended into the eastern part of the plain which I had crossed about ten days ago between Nicastro and Maida. About twenty miles before me rose once more the lofty

mountains of the Sila in all their gloom, and with no pleasing associations connected with them. The road lay through extensive fields of wheat and Indian corn, with groves of mulberry-trees as food for their silkworms. I had been informed that I should pass the remains of an ancient temple at a spot called Roccelletta, close to the shore; I was a little disappointed to find it a large building of the middle ages, of which it was impossible to determine the use. At all events, it was neither of Roman nor Greek construction, and the tradition is that it was destroyed a few centuries ago by the Turks, who used to keep all this part of Italy in a constant state of terror. It is here, however, that geographers place Castra Hannibalis, and here possibly it might have been, but I could find not a vestige of ancient remains. I find this part of the isthmus more fertile and better cultivated than the western side. It is composed of undulating ridges, clothed with the olive and the vine, while the numerous villas of the more opulent inhabitants of Catanzaro gave a liveliness to the scene to which my eye had long been unaccustomed, and contrasting strongly with the desolation through which I had for some time been passing. There was an appearance of industry and activity, announcing my approach to a provincial capital; but on entering Catanzaro the exterior of the houses did not impress me with a high idea of its opulence, and the opportunity I have since enjoyed of examining the interior of some of them has fully confirmed my first impressions. It contains several shops, which had a respectable appearance, and seemed to be well filled even with English cloth. Indeed, I have been much surprised to observe in every part of Calabria that neither the cutlery nor the cloth of England have failed to penetrate into the country in defiance of the fiscal regulations of government, while there is the greatest abundance of sugar and coffee supplied by the contraband trade. The immense extent of coast renders it nearly impossible to prevent smuggling, and the officer stationed at each tower, who starves on eightpence a day, can scarcely be expected to possess sufficient resolution to withstand a bribe; and even if it were so, it would be no difficult matter to elude him. Malta, the Ionian Islands, and Gibraltar serve as an entrepôt for our goods, and from them the inhabitants of Calabria are furnished with many comforts at a cheaper rate than the fiscal regulations would allow them. The higher authorities even are said to connive at this infraction of the law. I had a letter to the royal governor of the province, but learning that he was in bad health, I forwarded the letter, and took up my abode at the Giglio d’Oro–the Golden Lily. I inquired if there were any booksellers' shops in Catanzaro, as I have lost a copy of Horace which I had brought with me, and which I wished to replace. Their answers in the affirmative delighted me ; I was disappointed, however, when I found that it contained nothing but prayer-books in Latin, and such catechisms as the following: “Question. Define monarchy. Answer. It is a power which is born of God, and created by the hands of man. Q. But are not kings sometimes tyrants? A. That is a calumny of foolish and silly men. Wrongs never proceed from kings, but arise from the corruption and malice of human nature. Q. Can the people be its own legislator, or originate political reforms ? A. Danton, Robespierre, St. Just, and the National Convention, of impious memory, show how far that is possible. Q. Why were our ancestors more fortunate, or less unfortunate, than we are A. Because they preferred their petitions to their princes for everything, and thus only obtained things that were useful and just. Q. What is the most glorious attribute of the Neapolitans? A. To be faithful to their king.” Such is a specimen of the silly nonsense to which the government grants its protection, and the kind of learning which it would wish to diffuse among the people.

[ocr errors]

AFTER resting for some hours at Catanzaro I determined to visit Tiriolo, a village nine miles distant, picturesquely situated on a declivity of the Apennines, from which I could look down on the Tuscan and Ionian seas at the same time, and from which the water flows into both seas. It was the post-road to Naples from the capital of the province, and yet the path was only intended for mules. The inhabitants of Tiriolo are a race of sturdy mountaineers, and its women were particularly striking for their Amazonian figures. Their dress adds to their masculine appearance, and I confess that I felt no inclination to do anything to excite their indignation. I met several who were carrying water on their head, and I could not but admire the magnificence of their form. They had their gown tucked up so completely behind them that it could scarcely be observed, while a piece of red cloth, employed as a petticoat, was carelessly wrapped round them, and as it opened displayed a snow-white chemise reaching to their knees. They wore neither shoes nor stockings, and from the appearance of their lower extremities I imagine that they are as great a luxury as to my own countrywomen in former times. The men were clothed in a loose mantle, and wore the conical-shaped hat which is the usual protection for the head in the south of Italy.

It is curious that we should have no account of any ancient city being. placed at this spot, though many coins have been discovered; and what is more strange, a bronze tablet was found in 1640, on which is inscribed a decree of the Roman senate, B.C. 186, against a society devoted to the worship of Bacchus, which had excited their alarm from the licentious and profligate character of its devotees. This decree is alluded to, by Livy (xxxix. 18), and it is surprising that a copy of it should be found in this remote part of Italy. The tablet has by some means been transferred to the Royal Museum of Vienna, where I have seen it. The position of the ancient city is considerably below the present village, and at this spot the peasants are continually picking up valuable coins and cameos; , I ascended to the summit of a lofty hill behind the village, from which Mount AEtna and Stromboli can easily be distinguished when the horizon is unclouded. Though my view was not so extensive, I was amply repaid for the fatigue of the ascent. I was standing on the last of that lofty range of mountains, which, shooting out from the Alps, runs down through the centre of Italy, and here sinks abruptly nearly to a level with the sea. The plains of Maida and Catanzaro lay before me, and beyond them the mountains again rose with the same abruptnes; and continued their course to the extreme point of Italy. To the north my view was confined by mountains towering one above another; to the east my eye rested on a point of land which I knew to form the promontory of Capo delle Colonne, the site of an ancient temple, which I am on my way to visit. Through the narrow isthmus, which extended below me, separating the Tuscan and Ionian seas, it has been proposed to cut a canal; but in the present unsettled state of the country no work of that importance will ever be attempted. Murat cherished this idea, and might have carried it out, if his love of war had not absorbed his thoughts. On entering the locanda I was addressed by a gentleman who had heard of my arrival, and who was kind enough to show me a manuscript history of Tiriolo, giving a minute account of all the ancient remains that had been discovered in this vicinity. It was written by the clergyman of the parish, and was a curious instance of diligence devoted to a small subject. There is scarcely a village of Italy that does not contain a topographer, and it is amusing to observe what importance the most trivial facts assume in their descriptions. We may ascribe the number of these innocent productions to the rigid censorship of the press, and to the prohibition of every kind of publication which can act practically upon human feelings or interests. Topography and local history are subjects on which the mind may be allowed full liberty to expatiate, and may be permitted, without molestation, to communicate thoughts to the world. It is needless to say that the freedom of the press is unknown in this country, and that the information communicated by the government is of the most meagre kind. Having fully satisfied my curiosity at Tiriolo, I hastened back to Catanzaro, and had scarcely reached my inn when one of the officers of government waited on me, to express the regret of the governor that he was unable to receive me, at the same time requesting to know in what way his authority could forward my objects. He told me that there was a museum belonging to Signor Ferraro, which might be worthy of my attention, and the governor had deputed him to introduce me. I visited the collection, and found it to consist of many coins, cameos, and other curiosities, which, however, had not been arranged. The following are the enacting clauses of the decree of the senate, to which I have alluded, respecting the Bacchanalians, and which was found at Tiriolo: CENSWERE . HOMINES , PLOWS , W. OINWORSEI. VIREI. ATQUE . MVLIERES. SACRA . NE. QVISQVAM . FECISSE . VELET. NEVE . INTER. IBEI. WIREI. PLOWS . I)WOBWS , MWLIERIBWS . PLOWS . TRIBWS , ADFWISSE . WELET .

This morning I mounted my mule long before the dawn appeared in the east, that I might make some progress before the heat of the day became overwhelming. As the sun rose I found myself in a wood with open glades here and there, in which large herds of horses were grazing, that started away into the recesses of the wood as soon as we made our appearance. The country had little signs of cultivation, and it was not without feelings of pleasure that I perceived at some distance before me a large house, which looked somewhat like an old baronial mansion in England, though on our approach it lost considerably of its dimensions. It belonged to a family called Petrizzi, who possess a large property in this quarter; but the chief members have been obliged to leave the country for the following reason. It appears that one of them paid his addresses to a young lady of Catanzaro, who was an object of affection to another gentleman in the same city. She was believed to feel favourably inclined to the latter, and did not seem so sensible of the honour done to her by the Petrizzi as they thought due to their rank. This was an unpardonable offence, though it did not produce, as you might have expected, an open and so far honourable collision between the two rivals. The Petrizzi waylaid their opponent, and got rid of him by the dastardly stiletto. This is one of the worst peculiarities of the Italian character, and it is difficult to imagine how it should have become so deeply rooted in the whole nation. In this case the government interfered, and two of the brothers have been obliged to leave the country. At daybreak a few muleteers passed me on their way to Catanzaro, having panniers well filled with cheese and fruit. . It is in this way it is said that they introduce smuggled goods. The cherries along this coast are the largest and most delicious I have ever tasted, and on them I made my breakfast as I jogged along. In a distance of fifteen miles there was only one locanda, which was closed, as its master was engaged reaping at a considerable distance. The water which I could procure was quite warm, and I have never suffered more from heat than in my ride to-day. The grain is already nearly all cut, and to-day I witnessed what I had not before seen, the mode which they employ to separate the grain from the stalks. They use horses for the purpose of treading it out. I saw a peasant driving eight horses round in a small circle, four abreast, and under them was spread the corn. The thrashing-floor was a raised place in the field, open on all sides to the wind. It was covered with clay, which was very hard, and had evidently been smoothed by a roller. In fact, we had here Virgil's directions (Georg. i. 178) exactly followed out at a distance of two thousand fears : y Area cum primisingenti acquanda cylindro, JEt vertenda manu, et cretà solidanda tenaci, Ne subeant herbac, neu pulvere victa fatiscat.

And let the weighty roller run the round,
To smooth the surface of th’ unequal ground;
Lest, crack'd with summer heats, the flooring flies,
Or sinks, and through the crannies weeds arise.

Towards evening I saw their mode of winnowing, which was done by merely throwing up the grain against the wind, which blew away the chaff, while the heavier parts fell down. The man had a wooden spade, vanga as they call it, which is the ancient pala lignea mentioned by Cato (De Re Rust, cap. xi.), or ventilabrum. I inquired if they ever made use of a basket, and the winnower said that they did so occasionally, but it depended on the strength of the wind. They could modify the quantity thrown up more easily with a spade. This basket is the vannus of the ancients, which Virgil (Georg. i. 166) calls “mystica yannus Iacchi,” the mystic basket of Bacchus. It will remind you of what Matthew (iii. 12) says: “Whose fan is in his hand, and he will throughly purge his floor, and gather his wheat into the garner ; but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.” Columella (ii. 21) alludes to the use of the vamnus in cleaning corn: Ubi paleis immista

« 前へ次へ »