The print is undated, but the chronology has to be or close to it, as it accompanies the new application for a printing privilege.
Weaver , Robert L. Louisville : University of Louisville , , — On the family of oboists Bucquet or Bouquet see Morales, L'artiste , Murphy , P. Bloomington : Indiana University Press , , On the technical limitations of Torres's press see Esses, Dance , 96— Every effort has been made to secure necessary permissions to reproduce copyright material in this work, though in some cases it has proved impossible to trace copyright holders.
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Optional message. Loading metrics Abstract views Abstract views reflect the number of visits to the article landing page. Usage data cannot currently be displayed. How one realizes, down in this cavern, the effect upon some cultured ancient like Rutilius Namatianus of the catacomb-worship among those early Christian converts, those men who shun the light, drawn as they were from the same social classes towards the same dark underground rites!
One can neither love nor respect such people; and to affect pity for them would be more consonant with their religion than with my own. But it is perfectly easy to understand them. For thirteen centuries this pilgrim-movement has been going on. Thirteen centuries? These pilgrimages are in the blood of the people: infants, they are carried there; adults, they carry their own offspring; grey-beards, their tottering steps are still supported by kindly and sturdier fellow-wanderers.
Popes and emperors no longer scramble up these slopes; the spirit of piety has abated among the great ones of the earth; so much is certain. But the rays of light that strike the topmost branches have not yet penetrated to the rank and seething undergrowth. And then—what else can one offer to these Abruzzi mountain-folk? Their life is one of miserable, revolting destitution. They have no games or sports, no local racing, clubs, cattle-shows, fox-hunting, politics, rat-catching, or any of those other joys that diversify the lives of our peasantry.
Their existence is almost bestial in its blankness.
I know them—I have lived among them. For four months in the year they are cooped up in damp dens, not to be called chambers, where an Englishman would deem it infamous to keep a dog—cooped up amid squalor that must be seen to be believed; for the rest of the time they struggle, in the sweat of their brow, to wrest a few blades of corn from the ungrateful limestone. Their visits to the archangel—these vernal and autumnal picnics—are their sole form of amusement.
The movement is said to have diminished since the early nineties, when thirty thousand of them used to come here annually. It may well be the case; but I imagine that this is due not so much to increasing enlightenment as to the depopulation caused by America; many villages have recently been reduced to half their former number of inhabitants. One may call this a debased form of Christianity. Whether it would have been distasteful to the feelings of the founder of that cult is another question, and, debased or not, it is at least alive and palpitating, which is more than can be said of certain other varieties.
But the archangel, as was inevitable, has suffered a sad change. What is now left of Saint Michael, the glittering hierarch? Can he still endure the light of sun? And will it be long ere he, too, is thrust by some flaming Demogorgon into these same realms of Minos, into that shadowy underworld where dwell Saturn, and Kronos, and other cracked and shivered ideals?
Then, at last, the sun came out in a sudden burst of light, opening a rift in the vapours and revealing the whole chain of the Apennines, together with the peaked crater of Mount Vulture. The spectacle cheered me, and led me to think that such a day might worthily be rounded off by a visit to Sipontum, which lies a few miles beyond Manfredonia on the Foggia road.
But I approached the subject cautiously, fearing that the coachman might demur at this extra work. Far from it. I had gained his affection, and he would conduct me whithersoever I liked. Only to Sipontum? Why not to Foggia, to Naples, to the ends of the earth?
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As for the horse, he was none the worse for the trip, not a bit the worse; he liked nothing better than running in front of a carriage; besides, e suo dovere— it was his duty. Sipontum is so ancient that it was founded, they say, by that legendary Diomed who acted in the same capacity for Beneven-tum, Arpi, and other cities. But this record does not satisfy Monsignor Sarnelli, its historian, according to whom it was already a flourishing town when Shem, first son of Noah, became its king.
He reigned about the year of the creation of the world. Two years after the deluge he was years old, and at that age begat a son Arfaxad, after whose birth he lived yet another five hundred years. The second king of Sipontum was Appulus, who ruled in the year Later on, Saint Peter sojourned here, and baptized a few people.
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Of Sipontum nothing is left; nothing save a church, and even that built only yesterday—in the eleventh century; a far-famed church, in the Pisan style, with wrought marble columns reposing on lions, sculptured diamond ornaments, and other crafty stonework that gladdens the eye. Earthquakes and Saracen incursions ruined the town, which became wholly abandoned when Man-fredonia was built with its stones. Of pagan antiquity there are a few capitals lying about, as well as granite columns in the curious old crypt.
A pillar stands all forlorn in a field; and quite close to the church are erected two others—the larger of cipollino, beautified by a patina of golden lichen; a marble well-head, worn half through with usage of ropes, may be found buried in the rank grass.
The plain whereon stood the great city of Sipus is covered, now, with bristly herbage. The sea has retired from its old beach, and half-wild cattle browse on the site of those lordly quays and palaces. Not a stone is left. Malaria and desolation reign supreme. It is a profoundly melancholy spot.
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Yet I was glad of the brief vision. I shall have fond and enduring memories of that sanctuary—the travertine of its artfully carven fabric glowing orange-tawny in the sunset; of the forsaken plain beyond, full of ghostly phantoms of the past. As for Manfredonia—it is a sad little place, when the south wind moans and mountains are veiled in mists.
Venosa, nowadays, lies off the beaten track. There are only three trains a day from the little junction of Rocchetta, and they take over an hour to traverse the thirty odd kilometres of sparsely inhabited land. It is an uphill journey, for Venosa lies at a good elevation. They say that German professors, bent on Horatian studies, occasionally descend from those worn-out old railway carriages; but the ordinary travellers are either peasant-folk or commercial gentlemen from north Italy. Worse than malaria or brigandage, against both of which a man may protect himself, there is no escaping from the companionship of these last-named—these pathologically inquisitive, empty-headed, and altogether dreadful people.
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They are the terror of the south. And it stands to reason that only the most incapable and most disagreeable of their kind are sent to out-of-the-way places like Venosa. One asks oneself whether this town has greatly changed since Roman times. To be sure it has; domestic calamities and earthquakes such as the terrible one of have altered it beyond recognition. Yet the tradition is an old one, and the builder of the house, whoever he was, certainly displayed some poetic taste in his selection of a fine view across the valley.