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TOMBS OF CORNETO.

same symbolical meaning as the Cupid and Psyche of the Greeks, for the evil genius is drawing Cupid, Le. the bodily appetites and passions, towards the things of this world, represented by a tree and a labourer ^hurrying along with a huge stone on his head, as if to intimate that man is born to trouble, and his lot below is all vexation of spirit; while, on the other hand, Psyche, or the more exalted part of human nature, draws him back, and her persuasions are seconded by the good genius, who, be it remarked, does not seize the soul, like the antagonist principle, but tries, with outstretched arms and gentle looks, to win it to herself. Behind her is a gate, through which a soul is calmly passing, as if to contrast the tranquil bliss of a future existence with the labour, unrest, and turmoil of this. It is a simple truth, eloquently and forcibly told." —Dennis.

These are the most important of the tombs. The next group of sepulchres is further on across the Montarozzi, two miles from Corneto.

The Grotta dell e Bighe is covered with much-injured but once brilliant frescoes, representing on the end wall a banquet, on the side walls dances. The paintings are in a double frieze, the lower and larger of the two having a red ground. The smaller frieze is crowded with figures, and among them are several bigte, or two-horse chariots, whence the name given to the tomb. In the pediment over the door are two leopards and two geese, in the pediment above the banquet is a large amphora with a small naked figure on either side, and, beyond these, seated figures crowned with myrtle and olive.

The Grotta del Mare consists of two small chambers measuring fifteen feet by ten, and derives its name from four sea-horses painted upon the pediment of the outer chamber.

The Grotta del Barone, so called from Baron Stachelberg, by whom it was discovered in 1827, is decorated by a single narrow frieze, with a border of coloured stripes. The subject seems to be a race and the distribution of prizes.

The Grotta Francesca, discovered by Chevalier Kestner in 1833, is decorated with representations of a funeral dance, with pipes and castanets.

The Grotta delle Iserizioni, discovered in 1828, is unlike the others. It is not situated in flat table-land, but is entered from the face of the cliff opposite the hill of Turchina. It is sometimes called the " Grotta delle Camere Finte" from the false doors, which form part of its decorations, one in each walL Between these are different pictures, games and dances being the subjects. Two figures seem to be playing at dice, two naked men are boxing, two others are wrestling. In another compartment is a horse-race, in another a Bacchic dance. On the right of the entrance is a boy sacrificing a fish upon an altar, before which stands the divinity with a rod in his hand. Over his head is written " Welthur." Above the entrance are two panthers, and beyond them, on either side, a recumbent fawn and a goose. On the opposite pediment are panthers, lions, and stags.

"The inscriptions in this tomb give us some insight into its history. The first is a long semicircular line of letters, and may be translated— 'The Priestess Caesanna Matuessa calls these games in honour of the Lar deceased, the glory of his age, the protector of our temples and our commerce.' Following this comes the funeral procession. First, the newly-elected Lar Matuesius, perhaps brother to the priestess,—then the families of the Lucumones, who are his nearest of kin, or whose offices oblige them to bear a part in his funeral train. One individual only is given of each family, on account of the confined space in which they are represented. Here we see (identified by the names inscribed on the walls) the Lenca and the Pompey, both very noble houses of Tarquinii. Following them, the Prince Aruns Athvinacna representing the younger branches of the ruling house. Aruns means a cadet prince. After this come the Laris Phanuris or sacred mourners for the king, and the Velthuri or presidents of the various games and sacrifices. The races are contested by the royal guard, here called 'Laris Larthia' or TOMBS OF CORNETO. 325

* Guardia Nobile.' The wrestling is between Nucertetes, or Nicotetes, and 'the Greek' perhaps some celebrated freedman or slave. The boxing is between Anthasi and Verenes the son of Mea. This at least is a probable version of the story, and satisfied us after a very long and careful study of this tomb. The deceased Lar himself is not mentioned amongst the inscriptions, for his name and simple epitaph would be deeply engraved upon his ponderous coffin, which lay, with his likeness in full length upon the lid of it, on one side of this painted chamber."— Mrs Hamilton Gray.

"To recapitulate these painted tombs in the order of their antiquity. First, I should place the Grotta delle Iscrizioni. Second—the Grotta del Barone, as partaking of the same archaic character, yet with advancement in certain of the figures. Third—the Camera del Morto, as being of very similar style, yet with less rigidity. Fourth—Grotta del Triclinio, which, though retaining certain archaicisms in attitude and design, shows much of Greek feeling. Fifth—Grotta Francesca, which, though of inferior merit to the last-named tomb, shows more freedom, its defects being rather the result of carelessness than of incompetence. Sixth—Grotta della Scrofa Nera (almost impervious to visitors), which, though of less pure Greek feeling than the Grotta Triclinio, betrays more masterly design, and less of that conventionality which in various degrees characterizes all the preceding. Seventh—Grotta Querciola, which displays great advancement in correctness and elegance, and much of the spirit of Hellenic art. Eighth—Grotta delle Bighe, whose upper band shows an improvement even upon the Querciola. All these must be referred to the time of Etruscan independence, for not one arrives at the perfection of the later painted vases, which date as far back as the fifth century of Rome. To a subsequent period belong—Ninth—the Grotta Cardinale; and, tenth—the Grotta Pompei, which can hardly be earlif than the latter days of the Roman Republic.

"It is worthy of remark, that all the painted tombs now open are beneath the level surface; not one has a super-incumbent tumulus, though such monuments abound on that site. More than six hundred, it is said, are to be counted on the Montarozzi alone; and they may be considered to have been originally much more numerous. They seem to have been all circular, surrounded at the base with masonry, on which the earth was piled up into a cone, and surmounted probably by a lion or sphinx in stone, or by a cippus, inscribed with the name of the family beneath. After the lapse of so many ages, not one retains its original form, the cones of earth having crumbled down into shapeless mounds, though several have remains of masonry at their base. One (popularly known as " II Mausoleo ") is nearly perfect in this respect. It is walled round with travertine blocks, about two feet m length, neatly fitted together, but without cement; forming an architectural decoration which, from its similarity to the mouldings of Norchia and Castel d'Asso, attests its Etruscan origin. It rises to the height of five or six feet, and on it rests a shapeless mound, overgrown with broom and lentiscus. The entrance is by a steep passage, leading down to a doorway beneath the belt of masonry. The sepulchral chamber is not in this case remarkable; but beneath a neighbouring tumulus is one of very peculiar character. The rock is hollowed into the shape of a Gothic vault, but the converging sides, instead of meeting in a point, are suddenly carried up perpendicularly, and terminated by a horizontal course of masonry. The form is very primitive, for it is precisely that of the celebrated Regulini tomb at Cervetri, one of the most ancient sepulchres of Etruria, and also bears much resemblance to the Cyclopean gallery of Tiryns in Argolis."—Dennis.

Beneath one of the tumuli of the Montarozzi, the Gonfaloniere of Corneto, Signor Carlo Awolta, opened, in 1S23, the wonderful virgin tomb, whose discovery led to all the other excavations near Corneto. He was digging for stones for road mending, when he came upon a large slab of nenfro. Gazing through a crevice beneath it, he says :—

"I saw a warrior stretched on a bed of rock, and in a few minutes I saw him vanish, as it were, under my eyes; for, as the atmosphere entered the tomb, the armour, entirely oxydized, crumbled away into the most minute particles; so that in a short time scarcely a vestige of what I had seen was left on the couch. . . Such was my astonishment, that it would be impossible to express the effect produced upon my mind by this sight; but I may safely affirm that it was the happiest moment of my existence.'

Turning down from the Montarozzi by the Grotta del Cardinale into the valley, the tourist should not fail to mount the opposite heights of Turchina, or Piano di Civita, for, though there are no remains of the city except a few blocks of the masonry which formed the foundations of its walls, the view is most beautiful of the orange-coloured cliffs LA MERCARECCIA.

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which are crowned by the towers of Corneto, and, beyond, of the wide expanse of blue sea with the beautiful headland of Monte Argentaro, its neighbouring islets of Giglio and Giannuti, and, in the distance, Elba, and even Monte Cristo.

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Some extraordinary caverned tombs, once adorned with bas-reliefs, which may still be traced here and there, exist at the spot called La Mercareccia, about a mile from Corneto, reached by a lane which turns off to the left above the road to Civita Vecchia.

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