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"This wonderful man may often have sat under the poplars on t charming island of Cicero in dreamy meditation, but he would nc have dreamt that an emperor should one day stand before his door the dress of a penitent, and that it was reserved for him to play a greai part in Rome, indeed in the history of the world, than either Marius Cicero."—Gregoravius.
Below S. Domenico we reach the Cartiera, the pape manufactory, of M. Lefebvre, in whose gardens are som charming little cascades—cascatelle—of the Fibreno.
Here, turning to the left, we ascend the olive-clad hills, by a beautiful terraced road of about three miles, to Arpino. The country is rich and smiling, and the people prosperous and well cared for. Men and women alike wear sandals, pointed at the toe. Arpino stands finely on twin hills, one summit occupied by the Cyclopean, the other by the Roman city.
"There is a great charm in seeing for the first time, in the mysterious distance, a place to which belong two celebrated names, which mark epochs in the world's history, and have been known to us from childhood. Memories of youth return to strengthen the impression—school scenes when Cicero was explained, even the look of the well-worn school-book in grey paper, Cicero's Orations, above all the declaiming of the never-to-be-forgotten 'Quousque tandem Catilina.' And there before us is Cicero's birthplace."—Gregorovius.
The Roman city of Arpino is entered by a gateway with Roman masonry. Near it is a tomb, which the local antiquary Clavelli describes as that of King Satumus, the legendary founder of the city.
Arpinum was an ancient city of the Volscians, from whom it was taken by the Samnites, and from them, B. C. 305, by the Romans, under whom, in B. c. 188, it obtained the Roman franchise, and was enrolled in the Cornelian tribe. C. Marius was born here, being of ignoble birth.
"Arpinas alius Volscorum in monte solebat
Jiivenal, Sat. viii. 245.
And M. Tullius Cicero, whose father was of equestrian rank.
"Hie novus Arpinas, ignobilis, et modo Koma e
Juvenal, Sat. viii. 237.
Cicero constantly speaks, in his works, of his native Arpinum. He describes its inhabitants as rustic and simple, as was appropriate to the rugged district in which they lived, but with all the virtues of mountaineers, and he applies to Arpinum the lines in the Odyssey about Ithaca :—
Tpijx», aXX' dyaOt) rouporpo^of ovrt lyuye
Odyss. ix. 27.
When Arpino rebelled against Pius II. and was taken by his general, the Pope desired that it might he spared "for the sake of Marius and Marcus Tullius." Arpino itself has always been very proud of its distinguished citizens, whose busts adorn its little Casa Communale. The sites of houses are pointed out which are reputed to have belonged to them, though there is no reason to suppose that Cicero lived nearer than the Fibrenus. The church of St. Michaele is shown as occupying the position of a Temple of the Muses; and that of S. Maria di Civita, on the apex of the hill, of a Temple of Mercury Lanarius.
The painter Giuseppe Cesari, commonly known as the "Cavaliere d'Arpino" (1560—1640), was born here, in a house which is still pointed out .
"The Cavaliere d'Arpino formed a great school, by means of which he directed the Roman practice, and formed a decided opposition 10 other masters, particularly the school of the Caracci."—Kugler.
"The Cavaliere d'Arpino left behind himprogeniem vitiosiorem. He was bora a painter, and in so vast and difficult an art, had endowments sufficient to atone, in part, for his defects. His colouring in fresco was admirable, his imagination was fruitful and felicitous, his figures were animated. His works are almost innumerable."—Lanzi.
Mounting above the houses on the left of the town, a stony path over glaring steeps of limestone rock thinly planted with olives, leads to the Citta Vecchia. It has considerable remains of Cyclopean walls, and behind a church on the citadel is one of the earliest architectural monuments in Europe, a most remarkable arch of gigantic rough-hewn stones without cement, projecting in different courses till they meet . It is said to resemble the gates at Tiryns and Mycenae.
"It may be mentioned that the Cyclopes assisted in making the gate at Mycenae (vide Pausanias in Argol), and there they cut and even squared their blocks; and that Diomede, who of course had often seen that gate, founded the city of Arpi, in Apulia. Query: Did any of that or any other Greek colony reach Arpinum, the name of which seems a derivative ?—for the gate of Arpinum, now called Acuminata, remains in such a state, that the size, the form, and even the number of stones seem almost a copy of the gate of Mycenae. The blocks also on each side of the portal advance, in the same manner, as if to embrace a triangulni stone above the opening. The triangular stone, with the two jambs, and
the architrave, unfortunately do not remain, but the upper part of the opening could have been closed in no other manner."—Gell.
"I stood high on the Cyclopean walls and gazed with rapture upon the Latian landscape, for the citadel being in such a lofty situation, the view around is grand and extensive. The hill of Sora looked like a little pyramid, like one of those in Egypt ; and, in its black shadow, lay
the town ; and fully exposed to view was the valley of the I.iris, majestically surrounded by high hills. There is La Posta from whence the Fibrenus flows; there Sette Frati (Seven Brothers) dedicated to the sons of Felicitas, where that strange Alberic had the vision, which preceded that of Dante and may perhaps have been the foundation of it. Many other places and castles glimmer in the blue atmosphere of these most glorious mountain ranges. On the Roman side we see Veroli, Monte San Giovanni, Frosinone, Ferentino, and at the side rises an obelisk-like hill surmounted by the castle of Arce, and another on which stands the solitary and very black tower of Monte Negro. All these castles are of Satumian origin, and strange is the scene upon which one gazes, when sitting upon these ivy-covered Cyclopean walls, over which the elements have swept for thousands of years.
"It is a historical panorama which surrounds Arpinum, and I shall not leave its citadel without first recalling that" short and true picture into which Valerius Maximus compressed the career and origin of Marius. From that Marius, he says, a low-born Arpinian, an obscure man in Rome, who was even as it were disliked as a candidate, rose that Marius, who subjugated Africa, drove King Jugurtha before his chariot, annihilated the armies of the Teutons and the Cimbri, whose two-fold trophies were seen in the city, whose seven consulships are registered in the Fasti, who, from an exiled Consul and a proscribed man, became a proscriber. What is more full of contrasts than his career? Yes, this is a man who, regarded as miserable, seems most miserable, or, as fortunate, most fortunate."—Gregor&vius.
On regaining the high road, we must (before returning to Sora) turn to the left for about half a mile, to visit the wonderfully beautiful Falls of the Liris at Isola. The cascade (greatly increased by the draining of the Lago Fucino) falls in a mass of water, encircled by smaller streams, from beneath an old castle, almost into the midst of the picturesque town of Isola. The colour is really glorious, and the Iris is even more beautiful than that of Terni.
(It is a pleasant drive of 13 miles from Isola down the valley of the Liris to the station of Rocca-Secca on the line from Naples to Rome. Arce (seven miles from Arpino) is seen upon the left: it is supposed to be identical with Arcanum, where Quintus Cicero had a villa.* Jtocca-Sccca, hi<,h on the mountain-side, is falsely mentioned by many authors as the birthplace of S. Thomas Aquinas, who was