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fully held, in the Campagna of Rome, the hereditary fiefs of Zagarolo and Colonna; and the latter of these towns was probably adorned with some lofty pillar, the relic of a villa or temple. They likewise possessed one moiety of the neighbouring city of Tusculum; a strong presumption of their descent from the counts of Tusculum, who in the loth century were the tyrants of the apostolic see. According to their own and the public opinion, the primitive and remote source was derived from the banks of the Rhine; and the sovereigns of Germany were not ashamed of a real or fabulous affinity with a noble race, which in the revolutions of seven hundred years has been often illustrated by merit, and always by fortune. About the end of the 13th century, the most powerful branch was composed of an uncle and six brothers, all conspicuous in arms, or in the honours of the Church. Of these, Peter was elected senator of Rome, introduced to the Capitol in a triumphant car, and hailed in some vain acclamations with the title of Caesar; while John and Stephen were declared Marquis of Ancona and Count of Romagna by Nicholas IV., a patron so partial to their family, that he has been delineated, in satirical portraits, imprisoned as it were in a hollow pillar. After his decease, their haughty behaviour provoked the displeasure of the most implacable of mankind. The two cardinals, the uncle and the nephew, denied the election of Boniface VIII. ; and the Colonna were oppressed for a moment by his temporal and spiritual arms. lie proclaimed a crusade against his personal enemies; their estates were confiscated; their fortresses on either side of the Tiber were besieged by the troops of S. Peter, and those of the rival nobles; and after the ruin of Palestrina or Praeneste, their principal seat, the ground was marked with a plough-share, the emblem of perpetual desolation. Degraded, banished, proscribed, the six brothers, in disguise and danger, wandered over Europe without renouncing the hope of deliverance and revenge. In this double hope, the French court was their surest asylum; they prompted and directed the enterprise of Philip; and I should praise their magnanimity, had they respected the misfortune and courage of the captive tyrant. His civil acts were annulled by the Roman people, who restored the honours and possessions of the Colonna; and some estimate may be formed of their wealth by their losses, of their losses by the damages of one hundred thousand gold florins, which were granted them against the accomplices and heirs of the deceased pope. All the spiritual censures and disqualifications were abolished by his pnident successors; and the fortune of the house was more firmly established by this transient hurricane. The boldness of Sciarra Colonna was signalized in the captivity of Boniace, and long afterwards in the coronation of Lewis of Bavaria; and by FROM FRASCATI TO PALESTRI.VA. 121

the gratitude of the Emperor the pillar in their arnis was encircled with a royal crown. But the first of the family in fame and merit was the elder Stephen, whom Petrarch loved and esteemed as a hero superior to his own times, and not unworthy of ancient Rome. Persecution and exile displayed tu the nations his abilities in peace and war; in his distress, he was an object, not of pity, but of reverence; the aspect of danger provoked him to avow his name and country: and \ hen he was asked,' Where is now your fortress?' he laid his hand on his heart, and answered, 'Here.' He supported with the same virtue the return of prosperity: and, till the ruin of his declining age, the ancestors, the character, and the children of Stephen Colonna, exalted his dignity in the Roman republic and at the court of Avignon."—Gibbon s Roman Empire, ch. lxix.

The ancient Via Labicana, now the high road to Naples by Valmontone, runs at the foot of the hill upon which Colonna is situated.

An excellent new road leads from Frascati to Palestrina, passing for the most part through the remains of the fine old chestnut forest, with which these mountain slopes were once covered. The road ascends first to Monte Porzio, which most picturesquely crowns an olive-clad hill with its gaily painted houses. Hence, by a beautiful terrace, with glorious views through the vineyards into the Sabina, we climb up to Monte Compatri, above which stands the great Convent of S. Silvestro. We are now high above Colonna, and Monte Porzio becomes very effective rising against the faint distances of the vast plain in which Rome is asleep. From Monte Compatri the new road descends, and falls into the high road from Rome before reaching the Villa Doria at S. Cesareo. On the left, Zagarolo is seen, in a striking position at the end of a ravine. We pass some Roman tombs hewn in the rocks of the hollow way; the Via Prenestina with its ancient paving-blocks appears by the side of the road; and, passing a great Casino called 77 Parco dei Barberini, we reach the foot of the hillj up which Palestrina clambers, at the inn of S. Rocco.

CHAPTER V.

GROTTA FERRATA AND MARINO."

(This is a very pleasant excursion from Rome, and may be taken between two trains from the Frascati station; or, both Grotta Ferrata and Marino may be visited in driving from Frascati to Albano.)

THE great castellated monastery of Grotta Ferrata is only about two miles from Frascati on the slopes of the Alban hills. It is the only Basilian monastery in the Papal States, and its monks perform the service in Greek according to the Greek ritual. The story of its foundation is that of S. Nilus.

S. Nilus was a Calabrian Greek, born near Tarentum. He did not embrace a religious life till his old age, when his wife, to whom he was tenderly attached, was dead, and then he became a Greek monk of the order of S. Basil, and soon was elected abbot of his convent. Driven by the Saracens from the east of Italy, he fled with his brotherhood to Monte Cassino, where the abbot received them kindly, and appointed them a residence in the neighbourhood. While he was here, Aloare, widow of Pandolfo, Prince of Capua, who had incited her two sons to the murder of their cousin, came to S. Nilus to beseech absolution for her crime. He refused, unless she would yield up one of her sons to the family of the murdered man, but she could not make up her mind to the sacrifice, upon which S. Nilus denounced her sin as unforgiven and foretold her punishment. Shortly after, one of the princes was assassinated in a church by his brother, who was himself put to death by order of Hugh Capet, King of France.

S. Nilus next took up his abode at Rome in the convent of S. Alexis, where he wrought many miracles, among others the cure of an epileptic boy. Rome was at this time distracted with internal dissensions, and had been besieged by the Emperor Otho III., who had persuaded Crescentius, Consul of Rome, by his false promises, to deliver up S. Angelo, and had there murdered him; and, putting out the eyes of Pope John XVI., had set up Gregory V. in his place. S. Nilus alone ventured to oppose the marauders, rebuking them as the enemies of God, and writing to the Emperor, "Because ye have broken faith, and because ye have had no mercy for the vanquished, nor compassion for those who had no longer the power to injure or resist, know that God will avenge the cause of the oppressed, and ye shall both seek for mercy and shall not find it." He then fled to Gaeta, and afterwards to a cave at the spot now called Grotta Ferrata.

Two years after, Gregory V. died miserably, and Otho, on his knees at Grotta Ferrata, implored the intercession of Nilus, promising a rich endowment for his convent. But his offers were all sternly refused by the saint, who said with solemnity, that he asked nothing from him but that he would repent of his sins and save his own soul. A few weeks after, Otho was obliged to fly from the people, and was poisoned by the widow of Crescentius. Nilus had betaken himself in

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