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two great battles and a three years' siege in Ravenna, Odoacer agreed to a joint sovereignty, but was soon after murdered at a banquet. Then Theodoric 'commenced a reign of thirty-three years, in which Italy reposed in peace under his just and vigorous and parental administration.'
The serene impartiality of Theodoric's government in religious affairs extorts the praise of the most zealous Catholic. Himself an Arian, he attempted nothing against the Catholic faith. He kept aloof from religious dissensions, devoting himself to maintaining the peace, securing the welfare, promoting the civilisation, and lightening the financial burthens of his people. But in the last year of his reign the bigotry of his Catholic subjects (chiefly shown in their persecution of the Jews) 'drove the most tolerant of princes to the brink of persecution.' He was persuaded to listen to accusations of treason against the philosopher Boethius, whom he caused to be imprisoned at Pavia, and eventually murdered in his cell. The execution of Boethius was followed by that of his father-in-law, the venerable Symmachus, head of the Senate, whose only crime was his grief for the death of his friend. 'After a life of virtue and glory, Theodoric descended with shame and guilt to the grave.' One evening, it is related, when the head of a large fish was served on the royal table, he suddenly exclaimed that he beheld the angry countenance of Symmachus, his eyes glaring fury and revenge and menacing his murderer. He retired to his chamber, expressed to his physician his contrition for his crimes, and died three days after in the palace at Ravenna, bequeathing Italy to Athalaric and Spain to Amalaric—his two grandsons, children of his daughter Amalasontha.
A little further down the Corso Garibaldi is the Church of S. Maria in Porto, still much frequented, and formerly celebrated on account of a miracle-working image of the Virgin (praying) transferred hither from S. Maria in Porto Fuori in the 16th century. The church was built in 1553 from the ruins of the ancient Basilica of S. Lorenzo in Caesarea. It contains :—
Right, 4th Chapel. Palma Gicrvane. Martyrdom of S. Mark,
About two miles beyond the gate called Porta Alberoni (built 1793, in honour of Clement XII., as an approach to the Port of Ravenna) is the desolate Church of S. Maria
in Porto Fuori, built at the end of the nth century, in consequence of a vow made at sea by one Pietro Onesti, called 77 Peccatore. The name in Porto is derived from the belief that the huge basement of the four-sided (here unusual !) campanile is that of the ancient Pharos, or lighthouse of the Port . The original pavement is now far below the
S. Maria in Porto Fuori.
surface, but Time has buried all the ancient buildings in Ravenna as in Rome. Many of the Princesses of the Polentani family were interred here in mediaeval times. The interior contains :—
Left Aisle. A sarcophagus in which the body of the founder was laid in 1119.
Choir. This and several other portions of the church are covered with frescoes by the early fourteenth-century master Pietro da Rimini. They have been wrongly attributed to Giotto. 'The frescoes of the presbytery and of the Chapel of S. Matthew at the extremity of the southern nave are the only ones that repay a minute examination. In the former series, the history of the Virgin is abridged into six compartments, of which the Massacre of the Innocents,' and her own Death are the most remarkable, the former for much invention and merit in the composition, the latter for the characteristic attitudes of the Apostles and the beauty of the Virgin's face, and for the singularity, that the
'Herod's daughter, introduced in this fresco, is shown as a portrait of Francesca da Rimini.
Saviour receiving his mother's soul in his arms is represented with the" youthful face of the Catacombs and the ancient mosaics. Other Byzantine reminiscences also occur here. The Massacre is broken by a pointed-arched niche, within which our Saviour is represented administering the Eucharist, presenting the wafer to S. Peter with his right hand, and the cup to S. Paul with the left, a composition strongly resembling that on the "Dalmatica di S. Leone," and a Martyrdom, in a chapel at the extremity of the northern nave, is completely the traditional composition of the Menologion. But the frescoes in the Chapel of S. Matthew,1 though much injured, are the most interesting. The first represents his call to the apostolate : he is seated, a young man of pleasing countenance, and wearing the same red falling cap worn by Dante in the chapel of the Bargello; he appears about to rise up and follow our Saviour—an admirable figure, full of dignity, who turns away—signing to him most expressively. In the second compartment, he is seen healing a multitude of sick and infirm people at the capital of Ethiopia, where, according to the legend, he preached the gospel after the dispersion of the Apostles. The attitudes and expression of the decrepit band are excellent. In the third, almost destroyed, a large dragon is still visible, crouching before him. Two magicians, we are told, then tyrannized over the country, and came to interrupt his preaching, each accompanied by his dragon, spitting fire from its mouth and nostrils; S. Matthew went forth to meet them, and, making the sign of the cross, the monsters sank into slumber at his feet. Of the remaining compartments, the best preserved is the sixth, representing the baptism of the young King and Queen, the crown of his ministry; both are in white, the King in front, the Queen, with braided hair and her hands meekly crossed, behind him. The two last compartments, the seventh and eighth, probably represented the Apostle's martyrdom thirty-five years afterwards, during which interval he had acted as bishop of the Church of Ethiopia. The lower compartment is quite effaced ; in the lunette above it, angels are seen wafting the soul to heaven.'—Lindsay's ' Christian Art.'
The whole discovery and uncovering of the frescoes is due to the personal diligence of the poor priest attached (1875) to the church. If the notion of making this the Campo Santo of Ravenna is carried out, we may hope that much more will be disclosed.
Half a mile (right) from the Porta Serrata (the gate at the end of the Corso Garibaldi beyond S. Spirito), is the Tomb
'Shown as the Chape] of S. John the Evangelist.
of Theodoric, erected in his life-time. After the fall of the Gothic kingdom, when the ashes of Theodoric were dispersed, the building itself was preserved from destruction by being consecrated for Catholic worship under the name of S. Maria della Rotonda. The dome was surmounted by a porphyry vase as late as 1509, when it was thrown down during the siege of Ravenna by the Papal army under Francesco Maria della Rovere.
Tomb of Theodoric.
'A quelque distance de Ravenne, au milieu d'une plaine immense, entrecoupée çà et là de ruines, de marécages, et dont l'aspect sévère, la nudité morne rappellent les solitudes grandioses de la campagne romaine, on voit s'élever de loin le tombeau de Théodoric, que ce Barbare de génie fit construire de son vivant. Tout dépouillé qu'il soit des ornements qui le décoraient, cet édifice, bâti de blocs de marbre et de pierres carrées, frappe encore par sa masse imposante, et peut être regardé comme l'un des plus curieux monuments de l'architecture du siècle. Sa forme circulaire, la disposition des fenêtres qui en éclairent l'intérieur, le dôme solide recouvrant la voûte, l'énorme coupole dont il est couronné, tout donne à ce mausolée un cachet essentiellement original, rappellant le caractère demi-byzantin, demi-barbare, qui distinguait le roi des Goths. Mais ce qui imprime à ce tombeau quelque chose de plus saisissant encore, c'est que le sarcophage renfermant le corps de Théodoric a été enlevé, et depuis tant de siècles qu'une persécution intolérante a fait jeter au vent les cendres de ce prince, parce qu'il était arien, le sepulchre est demeuré vide des vestes du puissant souverain qui avait voulu s'y assurer un repos éternel. Tel qu'il est aujourd'hui, l'aspect de l'edifice, transform^ en une chapelle tout a fait nue et abandonnee, inspire une tristesse profonde. Les bases massives de ses piliers baignent dans la fange d'un marecage. Ses portes sont verdies par l'humidite; la coupole qui le surmonte a ete fendue par la foudre, et dans la crypte, pleine d'une eau moisie, s'agitent des animaux immondes.'—Dantier, 'VItalic'
'I know few monuments so interesting as the Tomb of Theodoric, and it is highly picturesque externally. The body of the structure is round and elevated high in the air on a decagonal basement supported by circular arches, now filled nearly to the soffit with water; the interior is lighted by ten small loop-holes only; the sarcophagus is gone; the roof is of one solid stone, or rather rock, hollowed into the shape of a cupola, and dropped as it were from heaven—three feet thick, more than thirty in diameter, and weighing two hundred tons— the broad loops or rings, by which it was lowered, jutting out, externally, like ragged battlements, having never been smoothed away. The whole building, though not large, has a rugged, craggy, eternal character about it—weeds tuft themselves among the masonry, and the breeze dallies with them as on the mountain-side, and the scene is nearly as lonely. This monument, although unquestionably of Roman masonry, is the sole relic of what alone can pretend to the title of Gothic architecture— and most eminently characteristic it is of the indomitable race of the north; one would think they feared that neither Alaric nor Theodoric could be held down in their graves except by a river rolling over the one and a mountain covering the other.'— Lindsay's ' Christian Art.'
'The dome is 36 ft. in diameter, and consists of a single stone. This stone was brought from the quarries of Istria. It is excavated within, and worked to the proper convexity without; but how so enormous a mass was raised to its present position, it is difficult to conjecture. The achievement would seem to be beyond the scope of mechanical power; and we are left to the supposition that an inclined plane was employed, rising from the ground at some distance from the building, and terminating at the level of the walls. The singular handles, carved in the outer circumference, are believed to have assisted in moving the stone.
'From an examination of the upper story of the mausoleum, it appears that it was once encircled by a decagonal arcade; upon which, probably, stood the statues of the Twelve Apostles, which Louis XII. carried off into France. The construction of the arch of the original entrance is peculiar. The stones are dove-tailed into each other, in a manner which was afterwards much employed by the architects of the Middle Ages.'—H. Golly Knight.
'The spirit of Theodoric, after some previous expiation, might have been permitted to mingle with the benefactors of mankind, if an