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In the time of the Roman monarchy Caere was one of the twelve confederated towns of Etruria. When Tarquinius Snperbtis was expelled from Rome, Livy relates that, with his two younger sons, he took refuge there. In B.C. 365, during the Gaulish invasion, Caere became the refuge of the Vestal Virgins and the Flamen Quirinalis, and its people are said to have successfully attacked the Gauls who were returning with the spoil of Rome, and to have taken it from them, which is unlikely. From the belief that Etruscan priests of Caere first instructed the Romans in their mystic religious rites has been deduced the word ceremony—' Caeremonia' (Caeremunus).

In the early times of the Empire the town is described by Strabo as having already lost all trace of its ancient splendour, but in the time of Trajan its medical waters—Aquae Caeritanae (Bagni del Sasso), the same which Livy mentions as flowing with blood—led to some return of its former prosperity. From the fourth to the eleventh century it possessed a cathedral and a bishop. The Lombards had meanwhile occupied it. Since then it has increasingly decayed, part of the inhabitants removing to a town on another site—Ceri Nuova—and leaving to the old city the name of Caere Vetus—Cervetri. As we pass the ruined church of ' La Madonna dei Canneti' in the reedy hollow, and ascend the hill of Cervetri the walls and towers built by its Orsini barons rise picturesquely along the crest of the hill, constructed with blocks of orange-coloured tufo, taken from the Etruscan fortifications. They end in a picturesque mediaeval gateway.

Here we must enter the town to engage the custode of the tombs and insist upon his accompanying us, which, with true Italian love of 'far nitnte,' he is not always very willing to do. Lights must also be taken. The ancient city, which was of oblong form, was nearly five miles in circuit, and filled the tufo promontory, one small corner only of which is occupied by the mediaeval town. Of all this scarcely anything, except a few fragments of wall rising upon the cliffs, can be discovered ; but it is not so with the Necropolis.

One must descend the path which turns to the right outside the gateway, leading immediately under the walls over some waste ground covered with the Virgin's thistle, and down a steep path into the ravine of 'La Buffalareccia,' watered by the stream called 'Ruscello della Madonna de' Canneti.' Mounting the opposite hill, we find ourselves on high breezy downs overgrown with sweet basil and violets, and with a delightful view towards the sea, as well as to the mediaeval city rising on its orange crags, half-buried in bay and ilex. This hill-side is called La Banditaccia—from being terra bandita, land set apart by the commune, while the final syllable of the name is due to its unproductive character; and this was the Necropolis of Caere. Many of the tombs were hollowed in the cliffs as in Northern Etruria, but the largest and most remarkable are burrowed out of the tufo beneath the upland turf, and are often quite plain. In other cases they are indicated by a tumulus, or a

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Many of the tombs are worth visiting, but that which is far the most striking is the furthest in the line, the Grotta dei Bassi-Rilievi, which is often filled with water, and difficult of access. When we first visited Cervetri, we considered this vast sepulchral chamber, adorned as it is with huge shields and other weapons, sculptured in the boldest relief out of the solid rock, and casting long shadows in the glare of the torchlight, to be one of the most striking sights we ever looked upon. But during later visits the tomb has been inaccessible from the water with which it was filled.

The Grotta de' Tarquinj (found 1846), the tomb of theTarquins, the family of the last of the Roman kings, is most interesting. It consists of two storeys, the lower chamber is reached from the upper, and is covered with inscriptions rudely cut and painted in red or black, in which the name of Tarchnas occurs at least thirtyfive times.

The Grotta dei Pilastri is supported by two fluted columns. It is surrounded by the usual shelf, with divisions all round for two bodies in each, and has an inner chamber for Heads of the family.

The Grotta de' Sarcofagi still contains three large tombs of alabaster—'a kind from the Circean Promontory.' One of these is in the shape of a temple, with lions and sphinxes at the angles. Two of these support grand figures of warriors. One lies flat upon his back like a Templar, the other has turned away upon his side toward the wall. The third sarcophagus bears no figure, and is beautifully transparent. It is so seldom that monumental effigies can still be seen in situ in the Etruscan sepulchres, that this tomb is most interesting, as well as impressive. It is often filled with water, but it is possible to enter, by creeping round the couches upon which the sarcophagi are laid, and the reflection of the torches in the water adds to the effect of the scene.

The Grotta del Triclinio is covered with nearly-effaced paintings of an archaic character, banqueting-scenes, repeated again and again, and animals. Bas-reliefs of a boar and panther are sculptured near the entrance. The paintings in this tomb are especially interesting, because Pliny mentions ancient paintings, believed to be of earlier date than the foundation of Rome, as existing in his time at Caere.

These are the most remarkable of the tombs on ' La Banditaccia,' but there is another tomb on the other (S.) side of the road, leading up to Cervetri, which should be visited, not so much for what it is now, but as the place where the most remarkable of the Etruscan ornaments now in the Vatican were discovered (1836). This tomb is called the Grotta Regulini-Galassi from its discoverers, the archpriest Regulini of Cervetri and General Galassi. The opening to the tomb is a rude arch surmounted by a block of nenfro, formerly under a low bank in a ploughed field. This gives entrance to two chambers.

'In the outer chamber, at the further end (when the tomb was opened), lay a bier of bronze, formed of narrow cross-bars, with an elevated place for the head. The corpse which had lain on it had long since fallen to dust. By its side stood a small four-wheeled car, or tray of bronze, with a basinlike cavity in the centre. On the other side of the bier lay some twenty or thirty little earthenware figures, probably the lares of the deceased. At the head and foot of the bier stood a small iron altar or tripod. At the foot lay also a bundle of darts, and a shield; and several more shields rested against the wall. All were of bronze, and beautifully embossed, but apparently for ornament alone. Nearer the door stood a four-wheeled car, which, from its size and form, seemed to have borne the bier to the sepulchre. And just within the entrance stood, on iron tripods, a couple of cauldrons, with a number of curious handles terminating in griffons' heads, together with a singular vessel—a pair of bell-shaped vases, united by a couple of spheres. Besides these articles of bronze, there was a series of vessels suspended by bronze nails from each side of the recess in the roof. The tomb had evidently contained the body of a warrior.

'The door of the inner chamber was closed with masonry to half its height, and in it stood two more pots of bronze, and against each doorpost hung a vessel of pure silver. There were no urns in this chamber, but the vault was hung with bronze vessels, and others were suspended on each side of the entrance. Further in, stood two bronze cauldrons for perfumes, as in the outer chamber; and then, at the end of the tomb, on no couch, bier or sarcophagus, not even on a rude bench of rock, but on the bare ground, lay— a corpse ?—no, for it had ages since returned to dust, but a number of gold ornaments, whose position showed most clearly that, when placed in the tomb, they were upon a human body. The richness, beauty, and abundance of these articles, all of pure gold, were amazing. There were, a head-dress of singular character—a large breastplate, beautifully embossed, such as was worn by Egyptian priests—a finely-twisted chain, and a necklace of very long joints—earrings of great length—a pair of massive bracelets of exquisite filagrees work—no less than eighteen fibulae or brooches, sundry rings, and fragments of gold fringes and laminae, in such quantities, that there seemed to have been an entire garment of pure gold. Against the inner wall lay two vessels of silver with figures in relief,'—Dennis, 'Cities of Etruria.'

'Now comes the grand wonder—this had been a woman! Whether a warrior queen or a priestess, none can tell. Greatly honoured and sovereign in power she had certainly been, and her name was 'Larthia,' which, as 'Lars * means 'sovereign or greatly exalted man,' probably means 'sovereign or greatly exalted woman.' A quantity of vases were in the tomb, some of them bearing the names of 'Larthia,' and others of 'Mi Larthia.'—Mrs. Hamilton Gray, ' Sepulchres of Etruria.'

On the edge of Monte Abetone, where Canina placed the sacred wood of Silvanus mentioned by Virgil is the tomb called Grotta Campana (1850), a single chamber, divided into three parts by Doric columns. The first chamber displays a remarkable fan-like decoration on the ceiling. On the walls are reliefs in stucco, and the number of curious vases found here are preserved in their places.

The Tomba del Vestibolo Rotondo is on Monte d'Oro. On Monte Padula, a mile off, occurs another important tomb, having a central chamber, a vestibule, and dependent small chambers. The Grotto Torlonia, with quasi-Greek pilasters in its vestibule, is not distant,. The first chamber contains fifty-two sepulchral shelves.

The ancient Baths are to be found at Orta della Paola, two miles west towards the sea, beyond the picturesque village of Sasso, which latter commands a beautiful prospect.

It is a twelve miles' walk of great attractions from Cervetri by Castel Giuliano to Bracciano.

Three miles east of Cervetri is Ceri Nuova, the mediaeval town fortified by the Orsini.

(In the hilly country between Corneto and Civita Vecchia, picturesquely situated in a wild district, is Tolfa, much resorted to in summer on account of the mineral baths in its neighbourhood for the cure of rheumatism, gout, and neuralgia. A little to the west of this is Aluminiera, with very remunerative alum-mines.)

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CHAPTER XXIX

COBNETO

(Corneto, 6300 inhab., may easily be seen in the day from Bome by taking the earliest train on the Leghorn Railway, and,returning by the latest; or it may be combined with a second day's excursion to Ponte del Abbadia. There are three tolerable inns at Corneto—Alberghi di Filippo Benedetti; Piazza Cavour, Gius. Giudizi; Via dell' Independenza.

A visit to the magnificent Etruscan collection in the Vatican ought both to precede and follow an excursion to Corneto, and will give it a double interest. In the Vatican also are copies of the most important paintings in the Corneto tombs, which, having been taken when the originals were less injured than they are now, will explain much that is of necessity hastily and ill seen by the flickering torchlight. The careful study of Dennis' Cities and Cemeteries of Etruria will also add greatly to the pleasure of seeing the places le describes.

The first care of every one on arriving at Corneto should be to secure the services of the custode of the tombs on the Monterozzi, who will also supply lights, though wax tapers—' cerini'—may with advantage be taken out from Bome.)

THE journey as far as Palo has already been described. Beyond Palo, passing on the left the square tower called Torre Flavia, Ladispoli, a modern bathing place, and Casa di Furbara, we reach the station of S. Severa, with a picturesque mediaeval castle projecting into the sea, and built upon a foundation of polygonal blocks of masonry, being a remnant of the ancient walls which may be traced for some distance enclosing a quadrangular space about half a mile in circuit, and which marks the site of Pyrgi (turres), the 'Pyrgi veteres' of Virgil,1 the port and arsenal of Caere, from which it is six miles distant (63 kil. from Rome).

Pyrgi was famous for its temple of Eileithyia,2 or Leucothea3 (identified by late Romans with their Dea Matuta), founded by the Pelasgians, and so wealthy, that when in B.C. 384 Dionysius of Syracuse descended upon Pyrgi, he carried off treasure from it to the amount of 1000 talents. There are no remains of the temple existing. Strabo speaks of the town as a small one, and in the time of Rutilius it was only a large villa.

'Alsia praelegitur tellus, Pyrgique recedunt;
Nunc villae grandes, oppida parva prius.'

—Itin. i. 223.

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