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tum ruins of the so-called Palace of Theodoric, i.e. the platform of the Temple of Jupiter Anxur. The path is difficult to find, but the ascent repays the fatigue, with a magnificent view of M. Circeo and the islands on one side, with the plain of Fondi, and the promontory of Gaeta, with Ischia (in clear weather) on the other. Out in the valley behind are seen lines of polygonal walls.
The ill-fated Emperor Galba was born in a villa near Terracina. The narrow pass beyond the town, between the cliffs and the sea, is Lautulae, occupied by the Roman troops who mutinied after the 1st Samnite war and intended marching to Rome, when their insurrection was quelled by Valerius Corvus. The defile was secured by Fabius Maximus in the second Punic war to prevent Hannibal from advancing by the Appian Way.
A little beyond Terracina, the high-road to Naples passes through the arched gateway called Portella, which was once the frontier of the Neapolitan kingdom.
An excursion should certainly be made (Via Torre Badino) from Terracina (2 hours drive) to the isolated Circean Mount (Monte Circello), which, in distant view, resembles Capri, and which is always so grand a feature, looming like an island (which geologists say it never was) above the long flat lines of the marshes.
* Vedi quel monte, ove si digiuna
—F. degli Uberti.
A road of twelve miles leads to S. Felice, a small town on the southern slope of the promontory, and the rest of the ascent must be accomplished on foot. There is a good road up to the Semaforo.
The origin of the actual town of Oerceii is uncertain, but it stood on the site now occupied by S. Felice, under which its polygonal walls and drains can be traced. It is first mentioned in the account of Tarquinius Superbus, who colonised it at the same time as Signia. It was taken by Coriolanus and restored to the Volsci. In B.C. 340 it formed one of the cities of the Latin league. After it fell again into the hands of the Romans, it was never very faithful to them. At the time of the second Punic War it had declined, and was one of the cities which declared themselves unable to contribute to the supplies of the army. It is called a small town (irokixviov) by Strabo, as it now is. Many wealthy Romans however resorted to it under the Empire, and both Tiberius and Domitian owned villas here, remains of which can be seen. Its oysters, if not the best, were celebrated.
'Ostrea Circaeis, Miseno oriuntur echini.'
—Horace, 'Sat.' II. iv. 33.
'Circaeis nata forent, an
—Juvenal, 'Sat.' iv. 140.
The triumvir Lepidus was exiled hither by Augustus, after his deposition.
Until A.d. 1118 the Roman city of Rocca Cercea existed, and was then considered to be the strongest fortress in the possession of the Church. It belonged to the Frangipani from 1185 to 1203, but soon after that time must have perished, when S. Felice arose in its place. This was sold to Pietro Caetani, nephew of Boniface VIII., by the Annibaldeschi in 1301, was confiscated by Alexander VI. in 1500 with other Caetani properties, but was restored to the family in 1506 by Julius II. In 1713 it was sold to Prince Ruspoli by Duke Michelangelo Caetani.
Behind the town one must ascend the hill (1775 ft.) to visit the impressive remains, which are supposed to belong to the city of Circe the Enchantress, but in reality are the enclosing walls of a Roman fortress against the Volsci. Few places in Italy are more romantic, very few situations more striking; none have been more frequently celebrated by the Latin poets. Toward the sea the promontory ends in a great limestone precipice, towards the Pontine Marshes. Several ancient writers considered that it had been an island, and Homer so represents it, if indeed this place was in his mind when he related the adventures of Ulysses. Many authors mention that the tomb of Elpenor, a companion of Ulysses, was shown upon the Circean Mount, and Strabo relates that the cup of Ulysses (from which when his companions drank, they were changed into beasts) was preserved here as a relic. Dionysius says it continued to be shown even in the age of Augustus.
At the summit are remains locally supposed to belong to a Temple of the Sun. Here was also supposed the abode of Circe, described by Virgil:—
'Proxima Circeae raduntur litora terrae:
—Aen. vii. 10.
A quarry-cave called Grotta della Maga still preserves the memory of Circe. Her priestesses are said to have kept a number of dried herbs gathered on the mountain (the flora of which is very rich), in the portico of the temple, for the cure of the bites of venomous serpents, which are, however, rare here.
'Nec me latere fluentes
—Claudian,' In Rufin.' i. 150.
Aristotle seems to have heard of the Circean Mount as producing some deadly poison, but Strabo wisely says that the descriptions of the poisonous herbs here are probably invented to confirm the claim of the promontory to have been the abode of the witch Circe.
The port of Oirceii was probably to the north of the promontory, at the spot called Porto di Paolo, where are the remains of an extensive town with temples, exedrae, and great piscinae.
Immediately under the promontory of this (N.W.) side begins the long Lago di Paolo, shut in by the sea-dunes. The tower called Torre di Paolo was built by the Caetani under Pius IV. (xv. c).
On the other side, Monte Circello is the point of a bay which is closed at the other end by Gaeta. It is the 'Sinus Amyclanus' of Pliny, and formed the southern boundary of Latium.
The number of sea-birds about Monte Circello forms an attraction to ornithologists.
In returning to Velletri, or Rome, a divergence should be made from Foro Appio (a public conveyance runs in connection with the diligence) to Sezze Romano (L. Nazionale), the Setia of the Volscians, which is beautifully situated on a hill above the marshes. Some ruins here (besides interesting polygonals) are shown as those of a temple of Saturn. The women of Sezze have very pretty and peculiar costumes.
From the base of the hill of Sezze (1046 ft.), a road to the right leads (six miles) to Piperno (490 ft.), named from the ancient Privernum (14 miles N.), a picturesque place, with many fragments of Gothic domestic architecture, and a charming piazza adorned with old wine and orange-trees, and a cathedral. It has been celebrated in all ages for its brigands. In the early history of Rome, it made common cause with Fondi, was conquered, and its rascally chief, Vitruvius Vacca, was beaten to death at Rome. His house on the Palatine was razed, and according to some the neighbourhood of its site received the name of Campo Vaccido (?) The views toward the castled heights of Rocca Gorga and Maenza, over the vale of Amaseno are grand.
Three miles north lies the famous monastery of Fossanuova, which was founded by Benedictines, and existed in the IXth. c. In 1135 it passed to the Cistercians, who were succeeded by Carthusians, after the suppression under the French. In the twelfth century the monastery was restored by Frederick Barbarossa, and in the thirteenth century it was rebuilt under his grandson, Frederick II. (1208). The facade of Italian Gothic is extremely handsome, the interior is exceedingly simple and pure, like that of Casamari. Over the crossing rises an octagonal tower.
Hither S. Thomas Aquinas, 'the great Angelical,' came on his way from Naples to the General Council at Lyons in 1274, and here he died. He lay sick for some weeks, and during his last illness dictated a commentary on the Song of Solomon. When the last Sacrament was brought to him he desired to be taken from his bed and laid upon ashes strewn on the floor. His body was taken hence, first to Fondi, then to Toulouse, except the tiead, which is preserved in the cathedral of Piperno. On that whiCh was intended for his tomb is inscribed:
'Occidit hie Thomas, lux et fax amplior Orbi,
* Entering the monastery of Fossanuova, he went first to pray before the Blessed Sacrament, according to his custom. Passing thence into the cloister, which he never lived to go out of, he repeated these words: This is my rest for ages without end. He was lodged in the abbot's apartment, where he lay ill for nearly a month.
'While lying ill, he had continually in his mouth these words of S. Austin, "Then shall I truly live, when I shall be quite filled with you alone, and your love; now I am a burden to myself, because I am not entirely full of you." In such pious transports of heavenly love he never ceased sigrhing after the glorious day of eternity. In his last moments one of the monks asked him by what means we might live always faithful in God's grace. He answered, "Be assured that he who shall always walk faithfully in His presence, always ready to give Him an account of all his actions, shall never be separated from Him by consenting to sin." These were his last words to man, after which he only spoke to God in prayer.'—Alban Butler.
'In his last illness, the monks, notwithstanding his feeble condition, could not refrain from asking him to expound to them the Canticle of Canticles, which has wholly to do with the mystic marriage of the soul with Christ. The Angelical looked at them with unutterable gentleness and said, '4 Get me Bernard's spirit, and I will do your bidding." Finally, he gave way to them, and surrounding the bed on which he lay, they heard from the lips of the dying Theologian how there is no strength, or peace, or light for man, in earth or heaven, without the charity of Christ and the merits of His Cross.
'Growing weaker, Thomas became conscious that his hour was drawing very nigh.- He sent for Reginald, his socius, and with deep contrition, made a review of his entire life, which in reality was simply a manifestation of the abiding and angelic purity of his heart and spirit. Having done this, he begged the brethren to bring him the body of our Lord, and the Abbot, accompanied by his community, proceeded to the chamber of the dying man, bearing the Blessed Sacrament. Immediately the great Angelical perceived his Master's presence, with the help of the brethren he rose from his pallet, and, kneeling upon the floor, adored his King and Saviour. When the Abbot was on the point of administering to him he exclaimed: "I receive Thee, the price of my soul's redemption, for the love of whom I have studied, I have watched, and I have laboured! Thee have I preached, Thee have I taught, against Thee have I never breathed a word, neither am I wedded to my own opinion. If I have held aught which is untrue respecting this Blessed Sacrament, I subject it to the judgment of the Holy Roman Church, in whose obedience I now pass out of life." Then as the Abbot lifted up the spotless Element he uttered his favourite ejaculation: "Thou, 0 Christ, art the King of glory ; Thou art the Everlasting Son of the Father I"
'He was taken from exile on the early morning of March 7,1274, in the prime of manly life, being scarcely eight-and-forty years of age.
'It is but natural, it is but beautiful, that he, who in early boyhood had been stamped with the signet of S. Benedict, should return to S. Benedict to die. He had gone forth to his work and to his labour in the morning, and he returned home to lhis brethren in the evening-tide.*—Vaughan, 'Life of S. Thomas Aquinas.'
'If we now hear the name of scholasticism we think not unjustly of a labyrinth which a prosaic, petty, and musty understanding, dissecting things and classifying them a-rain, has built up in centuries of barren leisure. Who would now dive into the "Summa Theologiae" of Thomas Aquinas? who would venture into this dark forest of spirits, in the midst of which lies the Aristotelian-Christian Minotaur of thought? This colossal edifice of philosophy we look upon now as an astonishing antiquity, and its hair-splitting distinctions, its moral and speculative investigations, its problems which lie far away from every object of life, no longer occupy a race which has grown more practical or material, or freer and more simple in thought. But let us not forget that even those systems were foundations for the science of thought, besides which we must confess that man in the nineteenth century is just as helpless, with regard to the highest problems which the mind can propose, as a scholastic of the middle ages, or as the first man in paradise.'—Gregorovius.
The valley of Fossanuova is watered by the Amasena, the Amasenus of Virgil:—
'Ecce, fugae medio, summis Amasenus abundans
—Aen. xi. 547.
It is only four or five miles from hence to Sonnino (1410 ft.), in a most picturesque situation beyond the line, beside which will be noticed the ancient road.
'Sonnino se voit de loin sur la pointe d'un rocher. Les bâtiments sont uniformément gris, couleur de ruines. On distingue la base de quelques tours à moitié démolies; c'est tout ce qui reste de l'enceinte fortifiée. Deux ou trois constructions neuves, d'un blanc cru, font tache dans le paysage et troublent l'harmonie triste du lieu. La route elle-même me parut sinistre, quoiqu'elle fût toute en fleurs. Les oliviers, les vignes, les clématites, les ronces, les genêts, fleurissaient à qui mieux mieux; les boutons du myrte allaient s'ouvrir, et pourtant ce luxe vigoureux d'un printemps d'Italie no vous parlait ni d'amour ni de plaisir. Nous sondions la profondeur des ravins qui bordaient l'escarpement des rochers arides, nous plongions dans l'épaisseur impénétrable des halliers. Quelques champs larges comme la main, appuyés sur les contreforts de pierres sèches, nous expliquaient la vie nouvelle des indigènes, leur travail opiniâtre et le maigre fruit de leurs sueurs. Çà et là sortait de terre une poignée de froment, d'avoine ou de maïs: mais la principale culture est celle des oliviers, et l'œil so promenait tristement sur leur feuillage bleuâtre.'—About, ' Rome Contemporaine,' p. 312.
'Le Cardinal Antonelli est né dans un repaire. Sonnino, son village, était plus célèbre dans l'histoire du crime que toute l'Arcadie dans les annales de la vertu. Ce nid de vautours se cachait dans les montagnes du midi, vers la frontière du royaume de Naples. Des chemins impracticables à la gendarmerie serpentaient à travers les mâquis et les halliers. Quelques forêts entrelacées de lianes, quelques ravins profonds, quelques grottes ténébreuses, formaient un paysage à souhait pour la commodité du crime. Les maisons de Sonnino, vieilles, mal bâties, jetées les unes sur les autres et presque inhabitables a l'homme, n'étaient que les dépôts du pillage et les magazins de la rapine. La population, alerte et vigoureuse, cultivait, depuis plusieurs siècles, le vol à main armée et gagnait sa vie à coups de fusil. Les enfants nouveau-nés respiraient le mépris des lois avec l'air de la montagne, et suçaient, avec le lait de leurs mères, la convoitise du bien d'autrui. Ils chaussaient de bonne heure les mocassins de cuir crout, ces clôches (cioccie) avec lesquelles on court légèrement sur les rochers les plus escarpées. Lorsqu'on leur avait enseigné l'art de poursuivre et d'échapper, de prendre et de n'être point pris, la valeur des monnaies, l'arithmétique des partages et les principes du droit des gens tel qu'il se pratique chez les Apaches ou les Comauches, leur éducation était faite. Ils apprenaient tout seuls à jouir du bien conquis et à satisfaire leurs passions dans la victoire. En l'an de grâce 1806, cette race appétente et rusée, gratifia l'Italie d'un petit montagnard appelé Jacques Antonelli.'— About, ' La Question Romaine,' p. 139.