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sunt frumenta, vento separentur: at si compluribus diebus undique silebit aura, vannis expurgentur. My road lay along the coast for nearly twenty miles; at last I struck into an arid and dreary plain. A ridge of bare hills of no great height stretched away towards the promontory called Capo delle Colonne, and obstructed the view towards the sea. On the opposite side, at the distance of ten miles, rose the well-wooded mountains of the Sila. The plain through which I was passing was not wholly uncultivated: a few fields of wheat and Indian corn ripe for the sickle prove that it only required the industrious hand of man to be applied to it to cause it to be as fertile as it was in former days, when it furnished subsistence for the numerous inhabitants of Croto. I have passed to-day the dry channels of several mountain torrents, which must render the road impassable in winter, and the river Tacina, the ancient Targines, in which there was a considerable body of water. At the ford I was surprised to find a large party of women, and, as I could see no village in the vicinity, I inquired whence they came, and they pointed to a village on the hills, five miles distant. They were employed in bleaching linen, and seemed to be very merry, when I approached. This confined plain, with scarcely a breath of wind, stretched for upwards of seven miles, when I reached a nearly perpendicular ridge, at the summit of which the small village of Cutro is placed. I was obliged to take refuge in the miserable locanda, and felt so thoroughly knocked up that I resolved to give up my intention of proceeding forward to Cotrone. A pretty fair modicum of wine, however, revived my spirits, and, after resting a couple of hours, I again proceeded on my journey. The country became better cultivated as I approached the city of Cotrone, and it was with feelings of great delight that I beheld its castle as I issued from the small valley of the AEsarus. This river, which is the scene of some of the most beautiful bucolics of Theocritus, I found to be less picturesque than I was prepared to expect, but it is curious how much our feelings influence our opinions even of external objects, and it may be that my jaded spirits made me unable to appreciate the beauties of the AEsarus. Cotrone is a walled town, and, as I entered its gates, I was prepared to be pulled up by the sentinel; however, I passed unchallenged. It was evening, and the public square was crowded. The descendants of that Milo, whose feats of strength are among the wonders of our boyish days, stood before me. It was in vain that I looked round to discover the athletic forms and brawny muscles of former times. The stare of stolid ignorance, the look of unintelligent curiosity, were the only striking features in the character of the modern inhabitants of Cotrone. Yet nature is still unchanged; the same mountain protects its harbours from the storms of the south; the soil of the surrounding country would yield as abundant crops as it ever did in former times. To support the physical powers of the human body, nature is as lavish in her gifts as she was two thousand years ago. It is the mind that is degenerated, the intellectual powers that seem to be extinct. The walls of the city once encircled a space of twelve miles, now they scarcely form a circuit of one mile, and the inhabitants have abundant room within the precincts of the ancient fortress. As I alighted in the public square, I seemed to be an object of curiosity to the inhabitants, who were enjoying the cool of the evening at the door of the principal coffee-house. My muleteer discovered a house where I could be furnished with a bed, and, though it was not particularly clean, I had little doubt that I should sleep soundly. As I had no letter to any of the inhabitants of Cotrone, my first object was to secure myself against the annoyance of the police, who are far more troublesome in my eyes than the brigands, and I thought it my wisest plan, though much tired, to present myself before the chief magistrate of the city. This person, I found, was called Baron Brancaccio, and from his rank I imagined that I should find gentlemanlike behaviour. The entrance to his house did not prepossess me in favour of its interior. The weighty cares of office seemed so entirely to have absorbed the attention of his excellency, that his external senses were not alive to the nauseous odours that arose from his court-yard. Having found a servant at the entrance, whose face and hands might well have vied with any sweep in London, busily employed in preparing supper, I requested that my passport might be presented to the magistrate. After waiting some time in a ruined ante-chamber, I was somewhat amused to see a little consequential fellow, dressed in a very puppyish manner, protrude his head from an inner chamber, and say, “Cosa volete f" meaning, in our language, “What the devil do you want *" This unceremonious address and insolent tone, of course, excited in me an unwillingness to show any more deference to him than was required by a regard to my own self-respect. I stated briefly that, being a stranger, I had imagined that it was necessary for me to show my passport to the chief magistrate of the village (not caring to dignify Cotrone as a town) where I passed the night, and I had, therefore, waited on him. Besides, I had reason to believe that the country was not always quite safe for travellers, and I had always found the magistrates in every part of Italy ready to throw the shield of their protection over me, and to point out in what direction I could best avoid dangers. He told me that he had nothing to do with my passport, and addressed me in a most discourteous tone. As I neither cared for nor feared him, I concluded the interview by saying that I had expected that he would have treated me, as an unprotected stranger from a distant land, with at least common civility, and that he was the first magistrate, in the station which he held, from whom I had not received assistance and kindness. His master, the royal governor of the province, had deputed one of his officers to wait on me to inquire in what way he could forward my views, and I had, consequently, little expected this treatment from the sotto intendente of Cotrone. The little fellow seemed bursting with indignation, but as I kept my temper, and said nothing that was not strictly true, I was safe from the exertion of his authority. I have no doubt that he was more annoyed from the circumstance of our interview taking place in presence of his servant, whom I observed to be grinning in the corner. It was scarcely worth taking notice of this adventure, except to show the various annoyances to which a traveller is subject in this remote part of Italy. On returning to my hostess, I found that I must forage for myself, and proceeded to the Giglio d'Oro. The shades of evening had already set in when I entered the eating-house, a low-roofed chamber, the gloom of which was only heightened by a few glimmering lamps. I stopped an instant on the threshold, and threw a hurried glance over the inmates of
the apartment. It was furnished with several long benches of the rudest construction, and the tables consisted of a single plank supported by four pieces of wood, from which the bark had not been stripped. In one corner sat a sailor supping on a dish of salad, not apparently of the most inviting sort, and throwing many a wistful eye on a flask of wine which he had just emptied. In another part of the chamber lay a peasant of the lowest class, who rose as I entered, and paid his bill with four grani, or twopence English. The landlady offered me maccaroni and treglia, a kind of fish plentiful on the coasts of the Mediterranean, and if she and her cooking utensils had been a little more cleanly, I should have found little fault with her supper. The wine was detestable, and yet what could be expected, as my whole expenses only amounted to eightpence.
Cotrone is the site of the ancient Croto, one of the most celebrated of the republics of Magna Græcia, founded as early as B.c. 710, and flourishing for five hundred years. It was the residence of Pythagoras and of many of his most distinguished disciples, being indebted to the principles and doctrines inculcated by them for much of the eminence to which it rose.
Its youth was remarkable for that robustness of frame which is requisite to ensure success in athletic exercises, and it was a common saying that the least able of the wrestlers of Croto was superior to the first of the other Greeks. The conquest of Sybaris was a brilliant epoch in its history, but from this period the inhabitants became enervated by luxury and love of pleasure. The city extended on both sides of the river Æsarus, of which not a vestige can now be seen in that direction. Time has obliterated every trace, and I found vineyards and corn-fields where lofty buildings once stood. It is said the harbour which now exists was formed of the stones of old buildings, and this is by no means improbable, though the stones are small and have no appearance of having been used for
any other purpose.
The old harbour is supposed to have been at the mouth of the Asarus, and the present town is thought to have been the ancient fortress of Croto. About six miles from Croto, on the promontory of Lacinium, stood a temple of Juno, which was scarcely inferior in celebrity to the city for the magnificence of its decorations, and the veneration with which it was regarded.
At daybreak I issued from the gate of Cotrone to visit the ruins of this temple, situated on the promontory, now called Capo delle Colonne, from the pillars that once adorned it, but which have all disappeared except one. It is mentioned by many of the Greek and Latin poets :
Hinc sinus Herculei, si vera est fama, Tarenti
VIRG. Æn, iü. 551.
For shipwrecks fear'd. I passed along a barren, uninhabited coast, and as I approached the point the hills gradually became less high, till they at last entirely disappeared, and a level plain of about a mile in extent lay before me. A single column rose in the distance, a monument of distant ages, the connecting
link between the past and the present. The grove of pines and the gloomy forest, which gave solennity to the imposing ceremonies of a false religion, and filled with awe the minds of a superstitious people, had yielded to the effects of time. A few stunted cedars and some low brushwood were all that now remained in the immediate vicinity of the promontory. There was nothing but this solitary column to remind me that I was approaching a spot rich in historical recollections. One or two ill-constructed houses, the summer residence of some of the more opulent inhabitants of Cotrone, and a ruined watch-tower, were the only indications of human existence. There was also a small chapel, dedicated to the worship of the Madonna del Capo, who now occupies the place of the pagan goddess. The painting of the Madonna was exhibited to me with much reverence by an old man, to whom the care of the chapel is entrusted. I thought of the famous Helen painted by Zeuxis which had once adorned the temple of Juno, and sighed to think that the Virgin Mary was represented by such a daub.
The painter was allowed to select as his models five of the most beautiful virgins of Croton. To this circumstance Ariosto (xi. 71) refers :
E, se fosse costei stata a Crotone,
Or in Crotona dwelt, where the divine
Since joined in her were all the charms he sought. I was only a few days too late to witness the celebration of the festival of the Madonna, which is observed with great ceremony by the inhabitants of Cotrone, and at which a fair is held on the plain.
This is a custom handed down from time immemorial, as we know that Juno was honoured in the same way, though with still greater magnificence, as the inhabitants of all the great cities on the coast assembled for this purpose. I did not hear that the Madonna had continued the miracle of her
predecessor, Juno, which is mentioned by Livy (xxiv. 3): Fama est, aram esse in vestibulo templi, cujus cinerem nullus unquam moveat ventus. " There is a report that there is an altar in the porch of the temple, the ashes of which can be blown away by no wind." The temple stood on the extreme point of a narrow tongue of land, where the view must have been confined to the clear blue sky above, and to the darkly rolling ocean beneath. The castellated towers of Croto and the lofty mountains of the Sila were objects of interest, but their beauty was lost in the distance
Far off, near Cape Rizzuto, a rocky islet was visible to the south, which is believed to represent Ogygia, the island of Calypso, so beautifully described by Homer. I could have wished to visit it; there was no boat, however, at my command. A few yards below the lofty column the waves dashed lazily against the rock, which for ages had withstood their ceaseless roar, and now was cut into a thousand fantastic shapes. The founders of this temple seem to have built for eternity, so massive are the stones of its foundation. On one side, which is most perfect, five rows of stones, ten feet in length, had supported this magnificent edifice. Above this a thick wall of brick, no doubt of a later date, had been raised, the unbroken masses of which lie in various directions. Towards the sea a portion continues still entire, and reaches a height of nearly thirty feet. The column, which seems to be about thirty feet in height, and which gives name to the cape, is of the Doric order, being fluted and broader at the base than at the capital. It is supported on a pediment of four rows of stones, placed on each other without mortar. The length of the temple on the western side, which is most perfect, is upwards of four hundred feet. Scarcely any attempt has been made to clear away the earth, so that the true dimensions cannot exactly be made out. It was impossible to wander amidst its ruins and reflect on its ancient grandeur without recalling to recollection the names of Pyrrhus and Hannibal. Polybius (iii. 33, 56) tells us that the most interesting monument the temple possessed was an altar, on which the Carthaginian general had inscribed, in Punic characters, a brief account of his various exploits. At no great distance I looked on three capes, Japygum tria promontoria, now known by the names, Capo delle Castelle, Capo Rizzuto, and Capo della Nau. On my return to Cotrone I visited the harbour, which contained only a few boats and feluccas; nor could any vessel of a large size enter from the accumulation of sand at its mouth. I then strolled through the streets, and found the houses small and dirty. I attempted to enter the castle, within which there is said to be several ancient inscriptions. This, however, was a vain attempt, as the sentinel stepped forward and said that I could not advance without the permission of his commanding officer. As he was confined by sickness, I was unable to satisfy my curiosity, and retired to my lodgings, where I meant to remain for the rest of the day to recover from my fatigue. Here, however, an enemy attacked me in a way that made me speedily evacuate Cotrone. I found my room possessed by legions of flies, brought out by the mid-day sun, and I could invent no method by which I could obtain a moment's rest. I found that it was one of the peculiar plagues of Cotrone at this period of the year, and to me they were far more annoying than the mosquito— no very agreeable companion, I can assure you. This attack determined me at once to leave Cotrone, and proceed forward to Strongoli, which was at least twelve miles distant. I was on the point of mounting a mule, when the head police-officer presented himself, warned no doubt by some of his myrmidons that I was on the point of taking my departure. His civility contrasted strongly with the insolence of his superior, and I had no difficulty in satisfying him that my passport was correct. I was glad to learn from him that I ran no danger in proceeding to Strongoli, and, mounting without further delay, I issued from the walls of Cotrone. I passed several bands of reapers, who attacked my muleteer with