網頁圖片
PDF
ePub 版

On the ascent it may be pleasant to consider the history of Tibur, which claims to go back much further than that of Rome. Dionysius says that it was a city of the Siculi, and called Siculetum or Sicilis, and others that the original inhabitants were expelled by Tiburtus, Coras, and Catillus, the three grandsons of Amphiaraus, the king and prophet of Thebes, who flourished a century before the Trojan war. Tibur was named after the eldest of the brothers.

'Tum gemini fratres Tiburtia moenia linquunt,
Fratris Tiburti dictam cognomine gentem,
Catillusque acerque Coras, Argiva juventus.'

'Aen.' vii. 670.
'Jam moenia Tiburis udi
Stabant, Argolicae quae posuere manus.'

Ovid, ' Fast,' iv. Ji.

'Nullam, Vare, sacra vite prius severis arborem
Circa mite solum Tiburis, et moenia Catili.'

Horace, ' Od.' I. xviii. 1.

1 Hie tua Tiburtes Faunos chelys et juvat ipsum
Alciden dictumque lyra majore Catilum.'

Statius 'Silv.' I. iii.

The inhabitants of Tibur frequently incurred the anger of Rome by the assistance they gave to the Gauls upon their inroads into Latium, and they were completely subdued by Camillus in B.c. 335. Ovid narrates how when they were requested to send back the Roman pipers, 'tibicines,' who had seceded to Tibur from offence which they had taken at an edict of the censors, they made them drunk, and took them thus in carts to Rome.

'Exilio mutant urbem, Tiburque recedunt.
—Exilium quodam lempore Tibur erat.—
Quaeritur in scena cava tibia, quaeritur aris:
Ducit supremos naenia nulla choros.

Alliciunt somnos tempus motusque merumque,

Potaque se Tibur turba redire putat.
Jamque per Esquilias Romanam intraverat urbem;

Et mane in medio plaustra fuere foro.'

'Fasti,' vi. 665.

The second line of this passage expresses the fact that Tibur
was an asylum for Roman fugitives, a result of its never
having been admitted to the Roman franchise.
In his Pontic Epistles, also, Ovid says :—

'Quid referam vcteres Romanae gentis, apud quos
Exsilium teUus ultima Tibur erat?'

'Font: i. Ep. 4.

Brutus and Cassius are said to have fled thither after the murder of Caesar. Under the earlier emperors, Tibur was the favourite retreat of the wealthy Romans—the Richmond of Rome—and, as such, it was celebrated by the poets. It was also the scene of the nominal imprisonment of Zenobia, the brave and accomplished Queen of Palmyra, who lived here after having appeared in the triumph of Aurelian. She was presented with a beautiful villa by the Emperor. 'Here the Syrian queen insensibly sank into a Roman matron, her daughters married into noble families, and her race was not yet extinct in the 5th century.'1 In an earlier age, Syphax, king of Numidia, died here B.C. 201, having been brought from Africa to adorn the triumph of Scipio. The town was surrendered by the Isaurian garrisons, which Belisarius had placed there, to the Goths under Totila, who both burnt and rebuilt it. In the 8th century the name was changed to Tivoli. In the wars of the Guelfs and Ghibellines it bore a prominent part, and was generally on the imperial side.

The climate of Tivoli was esteemed remarkably healthy, and was considered to have the property of blanching ivory.

'Quale micat, semperque novum est, quod Tiburis aura
l'ascit, ebur.'—Sil. Hal. xii. 229.

'Lilia tu vincis, nec adhuc delapsa ligustra,
Et Tiburtino monte quod albet ebur.'

Martial, viii. 28.

But since the existence of malaria, modern poetry has told a different tale :—

[ocr errors]

'Tivoli di mal conforto,
O piove, o tira vento, o suona a morte.'

As we ascend the hill, its wonderful beauty becomes more striking at every turn.

'The hill of Tivoli is all over picture. The town, the villas, the ruins, the rocks, the cascades, in the foreground ; the Sabine hills, the three Monticellii, Soracte, Frascati, the Campagna, and Rome in the distance; these form a succession of landscapes superior, in the delight produced, to the richest cabinet of Claude's. Tivoli cannot be described: no true portrait of it exists: all views are poetical translations of the matchless original.'—Forsyth.

Close to the gate of the town, on the right, is the picturesque five-towered Castle, built by Pius II. (1458-64).

A street, full of mediaeval fragments, leads to La Regina and on to La Sibylla, which all artists will prefer, and which has never merited the description of George Sand :—.

1 L'affreuse auberge de la Sibylle, un vrai coupe-gorge de l'OperaComique.'

It stands on the very edge of the precipice :—

'The green steep whence Anio leaps
In floods of snow-white foam.' — Macaulay.

This is an almost isolated quarter of the town, occupying a distinct point of rock, called Castro Vetere, which is supposed to have been the Arx or citadel of ancient Tibur —probably the Sicelion of Dionysius. Here, on the verge of the abyss, with coloured cloths hanging out over its parapet-wall, as we have so often seen it in pictures, stands the beautiful little building which has been known for ages as the Temple of the Sibyl. It was once encircled by eighteen Corinthian columns, and of these ten still remain. In its delicate form and its r'.ch orange colour, standing out against the opposite heights of Monte Peschiavatore, it is impossible to conceive anything more picturesque; and the situation is sublime, perched on the very edge of the cliff overhung with masses of clematis and ivy, through which portions of the ruined arch of a bridge are just visible, while below the river foams and roars. Close behind the circular temple is another little oblong temple of travertine, with Ionic columns, now turned into the Church of S. Giorgio. Those who contend that the circular temple was dedicated to Vesta, or to Hercules Saxanus, call this the Temple of the Sibyl; others 1 say it is the Temple of Tiburtus, the founder of the city ; others that it was built in honour of Drusilla, sister of Caligula. We know from Varro that the tenth and last of the Sibyls, whose name was Albunea, was worshipped at Tivoli, and her temple seems to be coupled by the poets with the shrine of Tiburtus above the Anio.

'Illis ipse antris Anienus fonte relicto,
Nocte sub arcana glaucos exutus amictus,
Hue illuc fragili prosternit pectora musco:
Aut ingens in stagna cadit, vitreasque natatu
Plaudit aquas : ilia recubat Tiburnus in umbra,
Illic sulphureos cupit Albula mergere crines.'

Statius, Silv. L. 3.

Close to the temples a gate will admit visitors into the beautiful walks begun by General Miollis, and finished under the Papal Government. Those who are not equal to a long round, should not enter upon these, and in taking a local guide it should be recollected that there is scarcely the slightest ground for anything they say, and that the names they give to villas and temples are generally the merest conjecture.

The walks, however, are charming, and lead by a gradual descent to the caves called the Grottoes of Neptune and the Sirens, into the chasm beneath which the Anio fell magnificently till 1826,2 when an inundation which carried away a church and twenty-six houses led the Papal Government to divert the course of the river in order to prevent the temples from being carried away also, and to open the new artificial cascade, 320 feet high, in 1834. The Anio at Tivoli, as the Velino at Terni, has extraordinary petrify

1 Nibby, Dintomi, iii. 205.

a This fall, though natural, was itself the result of an inundation in A.D. 105, which is recorded by Pliny the Younger. (Ep. viii. 17.)

ing properties, and the mass of stalactites and petrified vegetation hanging everywhere from the rocks adds greatly to their wild picturesqueness.

'Puisque vous me dites que vous aver sous les yeux tous les guides et itinéraires de l'Italie pour suivre mon humble pérégrination, je dois vous prévenir que, dans aucun vous ne trouverez une description exacte de ces grottes, par la raison que les éboulements, les tremblements de terre, et les travaux indispensables à la sécurité de la ville, menacée de s'écrouler aussi, ou d'être emportée par l'Anio, ont souvent changé leur aspect. Je vais tâcher de vous donner succinctement une idée exacte; car, en dépit des nouveaux itinéraires qui prétendent que ces lieux ont perdu leur principal intérêt, ils sont encore une des plus ravissantes merveilles de la terre.

'Je vous ai parlé d'un puits de verdure; c'est ce bocage, d'environ un mille de tour à son sommet, que l'on a arrangé dans l'entonnoir d'un ancien cratère. L'abîme est donc tapissé de plantations vigoureuses, bien libres et bien sauvages, descendant sur les flancs de montagne presques à pic, au moyen des zig-zags d'un sentier doux aux pieds, tout bordé d'herbes et de fleurs rustiques, soutenu par des terrasses naturelles du roc pittoresque, et se dégageant à chaque instant des bosquets qui l'ombragent pour vous laisser regarder le torrent sous vos pieds, le rocher perpendiculaire à votre droite, et le joli temple de la Sibylle au-dessus de votre tête. C'est à la fois d'une grâce et d'une majesté, d'une âpreté et d'une fraîcheur qui résument bien les caractères de la nature italienne. Il me semble qu'il n'y a ici rien d'austère et de terrible qui ne soit tout à coup tempéré ou dissimulé par des voluptés souriantes.

'Quand on a descendu environ les deux tiers du sentier, il vous conduit à l'entrée d'une grotte latérale complètement inaperçue jusque-là. Cette grotte est un couloir, une galerie naturelle que le torrent a rencontrée dans la roche, et qui semble avoir été une des bouches du cratère dont le puits de verdure tout entier aurait été le foyer principal.

'De quelles scènes effroyables, de quelles dévorantes ejaculations, de quels craquements, de quels rugissements, de quels bouillonnements affreux cette ravissante cavité de Tivoli a dû être le théâtre! Il me semblait qu'elle devait son charme actuel à la pensée, j'allais presque dire au souvenir évoqué en moi, des ténébreuses horreurs de sa formation première. C'est là une ruine du passé autrement imposante que les débris des temples et des aqueducs; mais les ruines de la nature ont encore sur celles de nos œuvres cette supériorité que le temps bâtit sur elles, comme des monuments nouveaux, les merveilles de la végétation, les frais édifices de la forme et de la couleur, les véritables temples de la vie.

« 上一頁繼續 »