Boccaccio was intent simply on the art of telling tales. He knew enough of classical literature to feel the possible dignity and permanence of prose, and he told his stories as they were told to him in a supple, pleasant vernacular that obeyed him absolutely and never led him off by its own strangeness into byways foreign to the tales and to himself. whose plot may be elaborate.
The modern jars in any of the wine districts of Italy, such as Asti Montepulciano or Montefiascone, thin earthen two-handled vessels holding some twenty quarts, are almost identical with the ancient amphoræ. Suetonius speaks of a candidate for the quæstorship who drank the contents of a whole amphora at a dinner given by Tiberius. This amphora was probably of a smaller size.
The mode of drinking from the ἀμφορεύς, bottle or amphora, and from a wine skin, is taken from a painting on an Etruscan vase.
The crossbowman is aiming at a target to the left of the picture.
From a catalogue of the Arsenal of the Emperor Maximilian I. (6. 1459, d. 1519).
Leonardo da Vinci, the great Italian artist and scientist, who lived in the fifteenth century, spent years experimenting with the idea of flying. He made a number of sketches of wings to be fitted to the arms and legs of man. His plan for a parachute was soundly worked out and his idea that the wings of a flying machine should be patterned after the wings of the bat found expression in the doped fabric covering of our early airplanes.
Pompeii was preserved, and not destroyed. To its inhabitant, on the day of the eruption it was destroyed; but for us who now look upon it, and study its history, it has been preserved.
There was one oven which remained uninjured. It had two openings; the loaves went into one of these, in the shape of dough, and were taken out at the other opening baked. Everything seemed to be in a fine state of preservation, and the oven could be made use of again for a repetition of its work of eighteen centuries ago.
The oven when found was full of bread. Some of the loaves were stamped to indicate that they were of wheat flour, and others to indicate that they were of bran flour. The oven had been carefully sealed, and there were no ashes in it. Eighty-one loaves were found in it, a little stale, to be sure, and very hard and black, but lying in the same order in which they were placed on the 23d of November in the year 79.
In Milan the visitation of 1630 was credited to the so-called anointers,—men who were supposed to spread the plague by anointing the walls with magic ointment—and the most horrible tortures that human ingenuity could devise were imposed on scores of victims, regardless of `rank` or of public service. Manzoni's great historical novel, "The Betrothed" has well pictured conditions in Italy during this period.
Among the dark whites of Europe the Portuguese, Spanish, Italians, and Greeks are conspicuous. In speech they are kin to each other, and to the fair whites. How different they are otherwise! They are handsomer in face, more lithe and graceful in body, more quickly aroused, more changeable in purpose, than the fair whites. Their faces, their gestures, their movements, more emphatically betray their emotions. They live more in the present than the somewhat sober and sombre northern peoples.
If Leonardo da Vinci's aerial flight experiments do not seem to have been carried out on a large scale, it is perhaps not the same with the parachute, the use of which is much safer. The description of Leonardo da Vinci was reproduced later, not without a notable improvement in the mode of representation of the apparatus, in a collection of machines, due to Fauste Veranzio and published in Venice in 1617.
Principle of the helicopter, drawing by Leonardo da Vinci
The examination of the original drawings of the great Italian artist is intersting. We reproduce by heliogravure a complete plate; it makes it possible to follow the thought which presided over its execution. We let Dr. Hureau de Villeneuve interpret it.
We see in the second row on the right a small character quite similar to a demon or a genie, for he wears a flame on his head and, next to this flame, a Latin cross. His arms end with the fingers of a bat. The figure is not yet finished when Leonardo already recognizes its insufficiency and, guessing the little muscular action of the arms, thinks of using the force of the legs. So we see a little higher, in the same plank, a vigorous man placed on his stomach, his legs bent and about to launch a violent kick. The protruding muscles, traced by an anatomist's pencil, reveal the great painter in an unassuming drawing.
North end of the Forum, with the Temple of Jupiter
A. Portico at the Entrance of the Forum Triangulare.
B. Forum Triangulare.
1, 1. Colonnade.
3. Doric temple.
4. Semicircular bench, with sundial.
5. Sepulchral enclosure.
7. Well house.
8. Pedestal of the statue of Marcellus.
C. Open-air Gymnasium—Palaestra.
2. Pedestal with steps behind it.
3, 3. Dressing rooms.
D. Tank for Saffron Water.
E. Large Theatre.
1. Dressing room.
4. Ima cavea.
5. Media cavea.
6. Summa cavea, over a corridor.
7, 7. Tribunals.
F. Small Theatre.
1. Dressing room.
3, 3. Tribunalia.
G. Theatre Colonnade, used as Barracks for Gladiators.
1. Passage leading from Stabian Street.
3. Doorkeeper's room.
4. Passage to the Large Theatre, walled up.
5. Stairway leading down from the Forum Triangulare.
6. Athletes' waiting room—Exedra.
7. Room with remains of weapons and cloth.
8. Guard room.
9. Stairs leading to overseer's rooms.
11. Mess room.
H. Temple of Zeus Milichius.
4. Sacristan's room.
I. Temple of Isis.
3. Shrine of Harpocrates.
5. Hall of initiation.
6. Hall of the Mysteries.
7. Priest's residence.
K. City Wall.
L. Foundations of Steps.
1, 5. Cistern curbs.
2. Wash basin of masonry.
3. Lead reservoir from which water was conducted to the reservoir in the kitchen supplying the bath.
4. Steps leading to the reservoir.
2. Reservoir containing water for the bath.
3. Stairway to rooms over the bath.
4. Entrance to cellar under the inner end of the first wine press, in which were the fastenings of the standard of the press beam.
C. Furnace room.
J. Tool Room.
K, L. Sleeping Rooms.
N. Dining Room.
P. Room with Two Wine Presses.
1, 1. Foundations of the presses.
2, 2, 2. Receptacles for the grape juice, dolia.
3. Cistern for the product of the second pressing, lacus.
4. Holes for the standards of the press beams.
5, 5. Holes for the posts at the ends of the two windlasses used in raising and lowering the press beams.
6. Pit affording access to the framework by which the windlass posts were tied down.
1. Round vats, dolia.
R. Court for the Fermentation of Wine.
1. Channel for the fresh grape juice coming from P.
2. Fermentation vats, dolia.
3. Lead kettle over a fireplace.
4. Cistern curb.
S. Barn, nubilarium (?).
T. Threshing Floor, area.
U. Open Cistern for the Water falling on the Threshing Floor.
V-V. Sleeping Rooms.
W. Entrance to Cellar under the Inner End of the Second Wine Press; see B. 4.
X. Room with Hand Mill.
Y. Room with Oil Press.
1. Foundation of the press.
2. Hole for the standard of the press beam.
3. Entrance to cellar with appliances for securing the press beam.
4. Holes for the windlass posts.
5. Hole affording access to the fastenings of the windlass posts.
6. Receptacle for the oil, gemellar.
Z. Room containing the Olive Crusher.
A. The Forum.
1. Pedestal of the statue of Augustus.
2. Pedestal of the statue of Claudius.
3. Pedestal of the statue of Agrippina.
4. Pedestal of the statue of Nero.
5. Pedestal of the statue of Caligula.
6. Pedestals of equestrian statues.
7. Pedestals of standing figures.
8. Pedestal for three equestrian statues.
9. Speaker's platform
10. Table of standard measures
11. Room of the supervisor of measures.
B. The Basilica.
a. Entrance court.
2. Main room.
4-4. Rooms at the ends of the tribunal.
C. The Temple of Apollo.
6. Sacristan's room.
7-7. Rooms made from earlier colonnade.
D. D'. Market Buildings.
F. F. City Treasury.
G. Commemorative Arch.
H. Temple of Jupiter.
I. Arch of Tiberius.
K. The Provision Market—Macellum.
3-3. Market stalls.
4. Market for meat and fish.
5. Chapel of the imperial family.
6. Banquet room.
7. Round structure with water basin—Tholus.
L. Sanctuary of the City Lares.
1. Main room, unroofed, with an altar in the centre.
2. Apse, with shrine.
3. Recesses with pedestals.
4. Niche opening on the Forum.
M. Temple of Vespasian.
N. The Building of Eumachia.
O. The Voting Place—Comitium.
1. Recess opening on the main room.
2. Recess opening on the Forum.
P-R. Municipal Buildings.
P. Office of the duumvirs.
Q. Hall of the city council.
R. Office of the aediles.
The Street of Tombs
24. Villa of Diomedes.
16-23. Tombs—Group III.
16. Unfinished tomb.
17. Tomb of Umbricius Scaurus.
18. Round tomb.
19. Sepulchral enclosure.
20. Tomb of Calventius Quietus.
21. Sepulchral enclosure of Istacidius Helenus.
22. Tomb of Naevoleia Tyche.
23. Triclinium Funebre.
5-15. So-called Villa of Cicero.
1-4 a. Tombs—Group I.
1. Sepulchral niche of Cerrinius Restitutus.
2. Sepulchral bench of A. Veius.
3. Tomb of M. Porcius.
4. Sepulchral bench of Mamia.
4 a. Tomb of the Istacidii.
A. Herculaneum Gate.
C. Bay Road.
KEY TO THE RIGHT SIDE
33-43. Tombs—Group IV.
33. Unfinished tomb.
34. Tomb with the marble door.
35. Unfinished tomb.
36. Sepulchral enclosure with small pyramids.
37. Tomb of Luccius Libella.
38. Tomb of Ceius Labeo.
39. Tomb without a name.
40. Sepulchral niche of Salvius.
41. Sepulchral niche of Velasius Gratus.
42. Tomb of M. Arrius Diomedes.
43. Tomb of Arria.
31-32. Samnite Graves.
10, 11, 13, 14. Shops.
12. Garden belonging to Tombs 8 and 9.
15. Street entrance of Inn.
16-28. Rooms belonging to the Inn.
29-30. Potter's establishment.
1-9. Tombs—Group II.
1. Tomb without a name.
2. Sepulchral enclosure of Terentius Felix.
3, 4. Tombs without names.
5. Sepulchral enclosure.
6. Garland tomb.
7. Sepulchral enclosure.
8. Tomb of the Blue Glass Vase.
9. Sepulchral niche.
A. Herculaneum Gate.
B. City Wall.
D. Road along City Wall.
E-E. Vesuvius Road.
The Regions are given as they were laid out by Fiorelli, the boundaries being marked by broken lines. The Insulae are designated by Arabic numerals.
Stabian Street, between Stabian and Vesuvius gates, separating Regions VIII, VII, and VI, from I, IX, and V, is often called Cardo, from analogy with the cardo maximus (the north and south line) of a Roman camp. Nola Street, leading from the Nola Gate, with its continuations (Strada della Fortuna, south of Insulae 10, 12, 13, and 14 of Region VI, and Strada della Terme, south of VI, 4, 6, 8), was for similar reasons designated as the Greater Decuman, Decumanus Maior; while the street running from the Water Gate to the Sarno Gate (Via Marina, Abbondanza Street, Strada dei Diadumeni) is called the Lesser Decuman, Decumanus Minor.
The only Regions wholly excavated are VII and VIII; but only a small portion of Region VI remains covered.
The towers of the city wall are designated by numbers, as they are supposed to have been at the time of the siege of Sulla, in 89 B.C.
Arcangelo Corelli (1653-1713) left his home in Fusignano, near Bologna, a young violinist, for an extended concert tour. His gentle, sensitive disposition proving unfitted to cope with the jealousy of Lully, chief violinist in France, and with sundry annoyances in other lands, he returned to Italy and entered the service of Cardinal Ottoboni in Rome. In the private apartments of the prelate there gathered a choice company of music lovers every Monday afternoon to hear his latest compositions. Besides his solos these comprised groups of idealized dance tunes with harmony of mood for their bond of union, and played by two violins, a viola, violoncello and harpsichord. They were the parents of modern Chamber Music, the place of assemblage furnishing the name.
Interior view of Trajan's Basilica (Basilica Ulpia), as restored by Canina.
Basilica , a word of Greek origin, frequently used in Latin literature and inscriptions to denote a large covered building that could accommodate a considerable number of people. Strictly speaking, a basilica was a building of this kind situated near the business centre of a city and arranged for the convenience of merchants, litigants and persons engaged on the public service; but in a derived sense the word might be used for any large structure wherever situated, such as a hall of audience (Vitruv. vi. 5. 2) or a covered promenade (St Jerome, Ep. 46) in a private palace
Marco Polo, Vespucci's Countryman
Marco Polo, the Venetian, exercised a strong and lasting influence upon the minds of Toscanelli, Columbus, Vespucci, and, through them, upon others, although he died in the first quarter of the century in which the first-named of this distinguished triad was born. All these had this birthright in common: they were Italians; and, moreover, it was in Genoa, the reputed birthplace of Columbus, that Marco Polo's adventures were first shaped into coherent narrative and given to the world.
Amerigo Vespucci was born in Florence, March 9, 1451, just one hundred and fifty years after Dante was banished from the city in which both first saw the light. The Vespucci family had then resided in that city more than two hundred years, having come from Peretola, a little town adjacent, where the name was highly regarded, as attached to the most respected of the Italian nobility. Following the custom of that nobility, during the period of unrest in Italy, the Vespuccis established themselves in a stately mansion near one of the city gates, which is known as the Porta del Prato. Thus they were within touch of the gay society of Florence, and could enjoy its advantages, while at the same time in a position, in the event of an uprising, to flee to their estates and stronghold in the country.
Etruscan painting of a Ceremonial Burning of the Dead
Columbus was a man of commanding presence. He was large, tall, and dignified in bearing, with a ruddy complexion and piercing blue-gray eyes. By the time he was thirty his hair had become white, and fell in[Pg 4] wavy locks about his shoulders. Although his life of hardship and poverty compelled him to be plain and simple in food and dress, he always had the air of a gentleman, and his manners were pleasing and courteous. But he had a strong will, which overcame difficulties that would have overwhelmed most men.
Notary and Sbirro (policeman)--From two Engravings in the Bonnart Collection.
Interior of Italian Kitchen.
From the Book on Cookery of Christoforo di Messisburgo, "Banchetti compositioni di Vivende," 4to., Ferrara, 1549.
It was only in the course of the sixteenth century that the name of potage ceased to be applied to stews, whose number equalled their variety, for on a bill of fare of a banquet of that period we find more than fifty different sorts of potages mentioned.
Costume of an Italian Jew of the Fourteenth Century.--From a Painting by Sano di Pietro, preserved in the Academy of the Fine Arts, at Sienna.
From an Engraving by Callot.
We must not forget the protobianti (master rogues), who made no scruple of exciting compassion from their own comrades
From an Engraving of the "Solemn Entry of Charles V. and Clement VII. into Bologna," by L. de Cranach, from a Fresco by Brusasorci, of Verona.
Grand Procession of the Doge, Venice (Sixteenth Century).
Doge of Venice in Ceremonial Costume of the Sixteenth Century.
Doge of Venice
Costume before the Sixteenth Century.
Costumes of the Common People in the Fourteenth Century: Italian Gardener and Woodman.--From two Engravings in the Bonnart Collection.
Chief of Sbirri
Chief of Sbirri
View of St. Mark's Place, Venice, Sixteenth Century, after Cesare Vecellio.
From Hope's "Costume of the Ancients."
The material of the toga was wool, in the earlier time and for the common people; afterwards silk and other materials were used, coloured or bordered according to the `rank` or station of the wearer.