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scarcely expect that much of it will have survived such a lapse of time. However, I resolved to examine the exact appearances at the confluence of the two rivers, and accordingly, as soon as I had crossed, I proceeded down the banks to that part of the plain which is called Gadella. I heard afterwards that excavations had been attempted here, but water always rises as soon as they have penetrated a few feet below the surface. I persevered till I reached the confluence, notwithstanding there was a great deal of marshy ground, and in the winter season it must be quite impassable. There was not the slightest appearance of any buildings having been at this spot, nor can I imagine that Sybaris was placed here, unless nature has completely changed the ground on which I was standing. This city of which I am speaking was not a small village, like many of the others which I have visited, but contained a population, if we can believe ancient writers, of three hundred thousand ; and even if we should consider this an exaggeration, still it must be allowed to have been of great size. The inhabitants were famed for their luxury and opulence to such a degree, indeed, that a Sybarite and voluptuary became synonymous terms. One of the dresses of its inhabitants, which came into the possession of Dionysius of Syracuse, was sold to the Carthaginians for 120 talents, upwards of 20,000l. You can thus have some idea of the size and importance of Sybaris, and it is strange that its remains should have so entirely vanished. I tried to get across the river Coscile, but the plain through which the river flowed was soft, and the stream ran so rapidly, that I had to creep slowly along its banks for several miles before I reached a spot where I could safely pass. I proceeded on to Cassano without encountering any further difficulties, and was received with great kindness by a friend of the judge of Rossano, Signor Cafasi, to whose care the old lady recommended me. The appearance of Cassano is highly picturesque, as it rises gradually like the steps of an amphitheatre up the sides of a steep mountain, extending round the rock on which stands the ruins of the ancient baronial castle belonging to one of the noblest families of Naples, the Duke of Cassano. The town contains somewhere about five thousand inhabitants, and exhibits considerable commercial activity from the manufacture of liquorice and even cotton and silk, which are grown, spun, and wove in Cassano. At the entrance of the town there is a spot called Bocca d’Auso, from which smoke is occasionally seen to issue, and near it are some sulphureous hot springs, with baths constructed, for public use by the Cassano family. It was still early in the day, and I resolved to examine a little more of the site of Sybaris on the other side of Coscile. I ordered two active little ponies, which my host offered to procure for me, and, accompanied by Signor Cafasi, started for the site of the ancient Cossa, which was said to be situated at a spot called Cività, three miles distant from Cassano. It is mentioned by Caesar (B.C. iii. 22), who calls it “Cosa in agro Thurino,” and states that Milo laid siege to it, and was killed under its walls. These very walls may be imperfectly traced, and the foundations of some buildings are scattered here and there on the summit of a rising ground. What remains is very little, and shows that it had at no time been of great size. I looked round for inscriptions, but nothing of the kind could be seen. There is a tower called Torre di Milone. After I had satisfied myself-as to the ruins of Cossa, we rode towards the confluence of the Coscile and Crati, keeping down the left bank. There are no remains of buildings to be seen, but there are numerous irregular hillocks, which I do not doubt would be found to be the foundations of buildings. It was quite evident to the eye that the channel of the Coscile had been changed, whether by some convulsion of nature or by the hand of man it is impossible to say. History says that it was by the hands of the inhabitants of Croto, who wished to obliterate the very existence of their enemy Sybaris. The old channel is called Abbotitura, and contains a good deal of water; and at no great distance from it is what is called Laghetto, a small lake which communicates with the sea, and which my guide told me abounded with eels, mullets, and a variety of other fish. Some have considered Laghetto as the site of the port of Sybaris, but no remains of buildings are to be seen. The agnus castus was growing in these marshes very luxuriantly. Both species were abundant, the larger with white and purple flowers, and the smaller with purple flowers alone. It was called “castus,” as you are aware, from its alleged anti-venereal properties, though modern naturalists, I believe, are not quite agreed on this point. At all events, the ancients were of this opinion.
I looked at the spot where Sybaris is supposed to have stood, and found it difficult to believe that it could have been selected for such a purpose. Within a couple of miles of the mouths of two rivers, it must at all times have been subject to the effluvia of much stagnant water, and, indeed, we know that it was unhealthy from a proverb among them “that he who did not wish to die before his time ought not at Sybaris to see the sun either rise or set.”
I inquired of my intelligent host respecting the position of Thurium, but its supposed site would have carried me back to the country of the brigands, and I need not tell you that it would have required a strong temptation to induce me to place myself once more within their grasp. He said that there is a spot called Turione between the villages Spezzano and Terra Nuova, where coins, vases, and images are frequently found in great numbers, and where he himself has seen the fragments of a marble column. This he considered to be the site of the ancient Thurium. -
It was now necessary to return to Cassano, through which I strolled, visiting the Capuchin monastery, situated on a hill from which there is an excellent view of the plain through which the Crati flows, and in the distance the Ionian Sea is seen, while behind rose the lofty mountain Polino, on which snow lies till the middle of July. The eyes stretched over a wide plain, covered here and there with patches of grain, but the greater part is uncultivated. Varro (R.R. i. 44) speaks of it as of surprising fertility, producing wheat a hundred-fold, and if it were reclaimed I do not doubt that nature would be as ready as in former times to reward man for his industry. I turned towards Rossano, which I had left this morning in no very joyful mood, and my eye could not help resting on its dark woods, feeling something in the same way as the person alluded to by Lucretius (ii. i.) is said to regard from shore a ship on the point of being wrecked:
Suave, mari magno turbantibus aequora ventis,
“It is pleasant, when the seas are roughened by violent winds, to view the dangers of another when we are safe on land, not because there is any pleasure in seeing another in distress, but because it is pleasant to witness those anxieties from which we ourselves are free.” I felt a delight, which only those who had gone through the anxieties that I had endured during the last few weeks, can fully understand. You may ask me why these plains, on which I was looking, should be uncultivated. It is easily explained to you, who are a political economist; they have no outlet for their surplus produce; the inhabitants can derive no benefit from their industry. This is the complaint which I have heard in every part of the country, equally from the friends as from the enemies of the present government. The very parties who are carrying on the government have exclaimed, “Could not his sacred majesty, whom may God bless, find some means by which we could get rid of our produce 2 This is the only change for which we pray.” The Capuchins are employed at the present moment in raising Angelo di Acri, who had been some hundred years ago one of their fraternity, to the rank of a saint in the Roman calendar. A hundred years must always elapse before any such attempt can be made, and it then altogether depends on the sum of money that can be raised to bribe the Papal See, or, to speak less offensively, to pay all necessary expenses, whether he shall receive the honour solicited. The question is considered in Rome, and a regular trial takes place, in which the character of the embryo saint is freely canvassed by a lawyer appointed for the purpose, who is called Avvocato del Diavolo—“the Devil's Advocate.” The trial is, of course, a mere farce, if the money is forthcoming, and the objections of the advocate are considered to be the mere ebullitions of his Satanic Majesty's envious spirit. The money—about eight hundred pounds, I believe—is paid into the papal treasury, and whoever dares to call in question the high honour assigned to the individual is excommunicated by the canons of the Church. Those whose sanctity does not entitle them to this rank must rest contented with the lower dignity of Venerabile and Beato. This is one of the absurdities of Popery introduced during the dark ages of the Church, and it is strange that this pretension should not now be allowed to fall into desuetude. The number of saints in the Roman calendar is often matter of surprise; but it need not be so, when we find that this small district of Calabria has furnished ninety individuals who have been considered worthy of being canonised. Seventy have been entitled to the honour of “Beati.” Ten of the Roman pontiffs owe their birth and education to Calabria. The quantity of holy relics possessed by this remote part of the world is astonishing. In the monastery of Belforte there is a finger of Stephen, the first Christian martyr, a piece of the holy cross and of the sepulchre in which our Saviour was buried; but, what is still more wonderful, there is a fragment of the rod of Aaron. At the village of Soriano there is a statue of St. Dominic, which was brought, in the month of October, 1530, from Spain, and presented to a chapel here by the Virgin Mary herself. This legend somewhat resembles that of the holy shrine of Loretto. You may recollect that I mentioned a miracle that was taking place at Ajeta, and that I tried to convince the judge of Scalea that it was a gross imposition. I have just heard the end of that silly trick. It would appear that the bishop of this diocese received orders from Rome to proceed to Ajeta, and put an end to what the papal authorities had no doubt would be found to be a device of Satan. I wonder if they were aware of the monks of St. Biagio practising the same imposition? You will be surprised to hear how simple was the plan adopted by Lo Monaco, and nothing can show more clearly how gullible people are in this part of the world. All that was done—and he has confessed it—was to throw the liquor over the statue, and to place basins full of the water near it, before he admitted the people. They saw the liquor still trickling down the statue, and did not doubt that the contents of the basins had been collected in this way. I hope to reach Taranto in three days, and I am glad to hear that there is little danger of my encountering brigands. The coast is such a desert that I am told I shall have great difficulty in getting along. I understand that there is no road, and that the villages are generally situated far inland. However, I shall not allow myself to be turned aside by any common difficulty. On consulting with my friends at Cassano, I thought that my next stage must be to the village of Roseto, and accordingly, at daybreak, I started, with the pleasant feeling that I had now nothing to fear from brigands. The freshness of the morning was delightful; a thick fog hung over the marshy ground, where the mighty Sybaris once stretched with its luxurious inhabitants, whose indolent repose a crushed rose-leaf was sufficient to disturb. There was a fragrance in the air from the orange and citron blossoms, and the distant Ionian Sea reflected a trembling light in the mirror of its gently moved waters. With what inimitable grace does Dante (Purgatorio, i. 115) describe such a scene: L'alba vinceva l'ora mattutina, Che fuggia 'nnanzi, si che dilontano Conobbi il tremolar della marina.
The dawn had chased the matin hour of prime,
Need I remind you that this trembling light of the waters is a favourite idea of Italian poets, and I am not surprised that it should be so, as 1.have never seen the appearance so vividly portrayed elsewhere. It seems to require the pure and bright air of such a climate as this to bring it out in perfection. Trissino, in the Sofonisba, says:
E resta in tremola l'onda marina.
visto il tremolar della marina.
You must not, however, imagine that these Italian poets were the first to observe this peculiarly beautiful effect, as you will find it alluded to by Virgil (Æm., viii.25), “aquae tremulum lumen”—“the trembling light of water.” The breeze blew gently, while the morning song of the birds resounded everywhere through the leafy boughs. It was a terrestrial paradise through which I was passing, and might have suggested to Dante (Purgatorio, xxviii. 1–23) his description of such a scene:
Un’ aura dolce senza mutamento
A pleasant air,
elcomed those hours of prime, and warbled shrill
Amid the leaves, that to their jocund lays
The country through which I was now passing was quite changed in character from that to which I had been lately accustomed. The hills were low, with many picturesque glens running inland.
To wander along this coast during winter must be an arduous task, as I crossed many broad ravines full of loose stones, evidently brought down by the torrents. The water spreads over a large space, as some of the channels were not less than a mile in breadth, though they gradually narrowed as they ascended the heights. Immediately after leaving Cassano, I crossed a small stream, Ragganello, the ancient Cylistarnus, and soon reached Francavilla, a wretched-looking village, though myrtles, pomegranates, figs, and oranges, showed that Nature was ready to bestow her choicest blessings.
The villages still continued to be on the heights at several miles from the sea, to protect them from the Turkish corsairs, who used, as I said before, to land and carry off the inhabitants as slaves. This state of things still continued to exist within the memory of the present genera