« 前へ次へ »
beautiful country to the south, the staircase to the east, and in front the colossal statue of Hercules. The staircase is remarkable for its size, and the variety of the marbles with which it is adorned. If you wish to see specimens of all the marbles of this country, collected in a short space, visit this palace. The stairs are formed of single blocks of the marble of Trapani, in Sicily, called Lumachella, and at each landing are lions exquisitely sculptured, with numerous statues of allegorical figures. The sides are of the finest marbles, among which you see the choicest breccias of Dragoni, and the marbles of Vitulano in Principato Ulteriore. There are twenty-four Ionic pillars adorning the centre of the vestibule, made of the red breccia of Mons Garganus in Apulia, and sixteen of the portico are of the yellow breccia of the same mountain. This staircase seemed to me to throw into the shade the other parts of the palace. On entering the chapel, after examining the staircase, it appears to be dwarfish, though I have no doubt that this idea may arise from contrast. Marbles again abound here, furnished by the quarries of Mondragone, of Castro Nuovo, in Sicily; Corinthian pillars of the yellow marble of Sicily, approaching in colour to the “giallo antico,” and the purest white marble of Carrara. Here, too, they have collected the finest specimens of ancient marbles, the “giallo antico” and “verde antico.” The theatre also is suited in size and magnificence to a royal palace, being richly adorned with marbles of every kind—in fact, no expense or labour had been spared to render it worthy of a royal residence. The gardens behind are said to be laid out in the English style; with the exception, however, of patches of grass, which were sadly parched, there is little to remind you of England. There is a fine sheet of water, in which swans were bathing their snow-white necks; and the cascade is particularly striking, more so, perhaps, from the small quantity of water which one is accustomed to see in this country. Having satisfied our curiosity, we proceeded along a part of Mons Tifata, so often mentioned in the campaigns of Hannibal, towards the Ponte Maddaloni, about five miles distant from Caserta. The view from this mountain across the fertile plain of Campania, with Vesuvius and Capri in the distance, is very striking. The hills around were covered with olive-trees and vines. The aqueduct now used to furnish water for the gardens and palace of Caserta, had been constructed in ancient times by the inhabitants of Capua to convey water to their city, but had fallen to decay after Capua was destroyed. The springs are at the foot of Mons Taburnus, in the vicinity of the village Airola; the largest being called Fizzo, and of the others the most abundant is Fontana del Duca. From the source of these springs to Caserta the distance in a direct line is twelve miles, the windings making it upwards of twenty-one miles. There are a number of bridges and tunnels. The largest bridge is the Ponte Maddaloni, along which we rode. It consists of three tiers of arches, one above the other. The first tier, consisting of nineteen arches, was the ancient level, which conveyed water to Capua; but as Charles III. wanted water for his cascade, it was necessary to raise two other tiers, of which the second consists of twenty-seven, and the third of fortythree. Having heard much in praise of this aqueduct from my Neapolitan friends, I confess to have been a little disappointed, as its effect is
much weakened by the contracted nature of the arches; yet the landscape around is beautiful, thickly covered with vineyards, olive-trees, with small villages peeping from among them. On reaching S. Agatha de' Goti we found that we had time to proceed forward to Airola through the valley, which is the site, according to Cluverius, of the celebrated pass called Furculae Caudinae, or Caudine Forks, where the Romans are believed to have sustained one of the greatest disasters that befel them in the whole course of their history. It is to Livy (ix. 2) that we owe its picturesque description, but I have a strong feeling that the historian must have drawn on his imagination, and worked up a pretty tale to amuse his readers. His words are : Saltus duo alti, angusti silvosique sunt, montibus circa perpetuis inter se juncti; jacet inter eos satis patens clausus in medio campus, herbidus, aquosusque, per quem medium iter est; sed antequam venias ad eum, intrandae primae angustia sunt, et aut eadem, quate insinuaveris, retro via repetenda; aut si ire porro pergas, per alium saltum arctionem, impeditioremdue evadendum. “There are two narrow defiles, or gorges, covered with wood, united by a continuous range of mountains on each side, enclosing a plain of considerable extent, abounding in grass and water, through which the road passes; before you reach the plain, you must pass the first defile, while the other way back is by the road along which you have entered; or, if you venture to proceed forward, it must be by the other glen, still more narrow and difficult.” The Romans advanced incautiously through the first gorge, but when they came to the second, they found it blocked up by trees thrown across, with a mound of large stones. Hastening back by the road by which they had entered, they found it also shut up by the same kind of obstructions. They are thus represented as caught in a trap, and, according to Livy, a body of Roman soldiers, which must have amounted to at least thirty thousand men, had to surrender to the Samnites. It is probable, however, that we have not got the entire truth here, as Cicero (De Sen. 12) speaks of it as a battle “Caudinum praelium;” and again (De Off. iii. 30), “Cum male pugnatum ad Caudium esset”—“When the unsuccessful battle of Caudium had been fought”—so that there had probably been a defeat, which is not alluded to by Livy, and it may have been only the remnant of the army that surrendered. At all events the question arises, where was this remarkable gorge so graphically described by Livy This road, along which we have been passing to-day, a mere mule-path, was certainly not by any means the one along which we should expect a large army to pass if there was any other more easy of access. There is an open and natural pass a few miles farther south, along which the Appian Way was afterwards conducted, passing the villages Arienzo, Arpaia, and Monte Sarchio, and leading on to Beneventum. The Roman army was encamped at a village, Calatia, the ruins of which are found at Le Galazze, about half way between Caserta and Maddaloni. They were induced to believe that the Samnite army had gone east to attack Lucera, which, you may recollect, is situated overlooking the Tavoliere of Apulia, and they started with the intention of relieving Lucera from this siege. If they were at all acquainted with the passes of the country—and we can have no doubt that they must have been—they would naturally proceed along the pass through Arienzo, and not by this mountainous ridge through Airola. We have no means to guide us except this description of Livy, for it is never again mentioned in history. If the army consisted of thirty thousand men, or fifty thousand, as Appian (Samn. Exc. iv.) asserts, I cannot believe that a general would have been induced to lead them through this hilly country, when he believed that there was no enemy to oppose him. Cluverius, however, places the Caudine Forks between St. Agatha de' Gothi, where we now were, and Airola, towards which we were proceeding to spend the night. On leaving St. Agatha we ascended by an almost impassable path, and about three-quarters of a mile from the village we entered a very narrow valley, which bears certainly a resemblance to the description of Livy. Its entrance, however, is by no means so narrow as to make it possible to blockade it in the way that he tells us. A small stream—the Isclero, the ancient Isclerus—passes through it, and if they entered it by the ravine—yet how could such a large body of men do so?—the enemy could very easily have prevented them from returning. The valley widens somewhat, but to no great breadth, and is closed by a considerable hill, at one side of which runs the stream where no army could ever have passed, and on the other side it is so narrow, that I have no doubt that trees and stones would have been a sufficient barricade to an army cooped up in this narrow space. The hills on both sides are of considerable height, and quite impossible for an army to penetrate, if they were opposed. It is a romantic little valley, and now well cultivated. In the first place, I think it is too small; and in the next, I cannot imagine that the Roman army would ever have marched in this direction, if they believed that there was no opposition at Arienzo. Having satisfied our curiosity, and being convinced—at least I was so—that this was not the site of the Roman disaster, if the Roman army consisted of thirty thousand men, we proceeded on to Airola, where we arrived after sunset, and found, as we had anticipated, great difficulty to get accommodation for ourselves and horses. Money, however, will procure everything except cleanliness in such places, and we contrived to find beds, which gave my companions a foretaste of what they must endure if they intended to travel through the byways of Italy. I am casehardened, and slept soundly enough through the fierce onslaught, but my friends had never closed their eyes when the first faint glimmer of light appeared. At daybreak we rode leisurely forward to the post-road leading from Naples to Benevento, and, proceeding backwards to Arienzo, traversed the ground which native writers have fixed as the scene of the disaster. The freshness of the morning was delightful, and as we approached Arienzo, the numerous orange and fruit gardens gave it a gay and pleasing appearance. The entrance to this pass, close to Arienzo, is somewhat narrowed, but it could never, unless great changes have taken place, have been blocked up, as Livy describes it to have been. The valley widens as you advance east from Arienzo, and extends at least three miles across, never becoming narrower. Here, no doubt, there is room for a large army, yet, if this be the spot, Livy's description does not in the least apply to it. It is strange that we should never hear of this picturesque defile in any of the subsequent transactions that took
place in this quarter between Hannibal and the Romans. I cannot help thinking that Livy's description is nothing else than a
Purpureus pannus late qui splendeat.
“A purple patch to shine from far.” I am sorry to be obliged to conclude by confessing that, so far as I am able to judge from a careful examination of the ground, nothing certain can be affirmed respecting the Caudine Forks, if any such narrow defile ever existed except in the historian's imagination. We were now on the great Appian Way, leading from Rome to Brundisium, the end of which you may recollect that I mentioned with a fountain as it entered the latter town:
Appia longarum teritur reginaviarum,
“The Appian, queen of ways, is passed along,” as Statius (Sylv. ii. 2, 12) calls it. We proceeded back to Arpaia along the course of this great Roman road, and observed some remains of it at the bridge close to Arpaia, where a massive wall had been built to raise the road to a proper level across a hollow. Arpaia is a miserable little village, and has been considered by some to be the site of Caudium, from which Furculae Caudinae derived their appellation; but the distance agrees better with a spot four miles farther on, nearer to Monte Sarchio. . About a mile from Arpaia there is a spot called Forchie, which might lead one to believe that here must have been the scene of the disaster. The sixteenth milestone is found at Arpaia. On the one side, in large Roman characters, is found IMP CAES - DIVI • F AWGWSTWS • COS - XI. TRIB - POTEST - WII. F - C “Imperator Caesar Divi Filius Augustus, Consul XI., Tribuniciá Potestate VII., Faciundum Curavit.” It is very interesting to find this inscription, showing that the milestone was erected in the eleventh consulship of Augustus, B.C. 23, a year marked by a severe loss, the death of his nephew Marcellus, not more grieved for by his mother Octavia than by his uncle. On the reverse, in small rude characters, appears the following long but interesting inscription, giving the names of several well-known characters in proper chronological order: D - N - FL - CLAWDIO IWLIANO PIO - FELICI INWICTO AWG i D. D. D. N. N. N. THEODOSI ARCADI HONORI BONO - REIP NATWS
Flavius Claudius Julianus, surnamed Apostata, “the Apostate,” A.D. 361—363, is a well-known character. Theodosius the Great was the opposite of Julian, and his strict orthodoxy has made him a peculiar favourite of the Catholic Church. In the age of Theodosius (A.D. 370— 395), “the ruin of paganism,” says Gibbon, “is perhaps the only example of the total extirpation of any ancient and popular superstition, and may therefore deserve to be considered as a singular event in the history of the human mind.” Next appear the names of Arcadius and Honorius, sons of Theodosius, and lastly Valentinianus III., Roman emperor from A.D. 425 to 455, in whose reign Attila, the scourge of the human race, made a descent, A.D. 452, on Italy. It is curious that this worthless little stone should in a short space span over nearly five hundred years, and give a collection of names famed in the world's history, which could not probably be furnished by any other in the world.
Proceeding forward from Arpaia through a cultivated plain, we saw rising to the left Mons Taburnus, now Taburno, the lower parts of which are still covered with olive-trees, as in the time of Virgil (Georg. ii. 38):
Oleå magnum vestire Taburnum.
“The lofty Taburnus clothed with olive-trees.” It rises to a considerable height, and has a table-land of some extent, such as I saw on Mons Tifata, near Capua; it is a royal domain, and here the royal herds and horses graze during summer, though the declivities towards the road looked rugged enough. We passed the bridge, Ponte Schito, over the Isclero, or Faenza, an old Roman construction, and then reached the small village, Monte Sarchio. We found nothing here to detain us; the old castle is picturesquely situated, and on looking back we could distinguish the ruined castle of Airola, where we had spent the night. The country through which we now passed is undulating, and at one spot, called Sferracavallo, there is a considerable descent. We entered the papal dominions at Epitafio, two miles from Beneventum, and found the country bare and bleak as we approached the town. Long before we arrived, we knew that we were nearing it by the shoals of priests and monks whom we met, and whom we imagined to look upon us with scowling eyes. The town lies low, and is not seen till you arrive within half a mile of the walls. Benevento, though in the centre of the kingdom of Naples, is subject to the Pope, and at its gates are papal sentinels, by whom we expected to be challenged, but no notice was taken of us, and we proceeded forward to the albergo unmolested. The province contains forty-five square miles, and was conferred by Napoleon on Talleyrand, but the Congress of Vienna restored it to the Holy See. We were now in search of the Lacus Ampsanctus, which is known as Mofete, and we made diligent inquiries in the town as to the direction we ought to take. No one, however, had heard of it, and we were therefore left to the mercy of an imperfect map, and to the little information we had picked up at Naples before we started. The day was too far advanced to admit of our proceeding in such a search; and, besides, there were many objects of interest around Benevento which were worthy of attention.