Abbildungen der Seite

visitors of a metal mirror also found in the same position; but the affidavits make no mention of it.

The whole of the fragments found on the 4th of February were carefully collected, and the next day, in presence of the former witnesses and a notary public, were examined and compared with the entire vases found in January by the Signor Carnevali. The consequence of this comparison was a solemn judgment that the fragments and the entire vases were of the same composition and materials.

This identity being established, the same value was, of course, attached to the vases of the Signor Carnevali, which had been found not under the peperine, as to that of Signor Tomasetti, and to the fragments discovered on the 4th of February, under the rock. As, therefore, the Tomasetti vase and the fragments were in themselves in nowise curious, the antiquaries proceeded to the examination of the Carnevali vases with the same satisfaction as if they had been found under the rock with the others.

The Doctor Visconti addressed the above letter to his friend, Signor Carnevali, in April; and the memoir, having been read in the Archæological Society at Rome, was shortly after published, together with the affidavits before alluded to. This memoir discusses the contents found in the Carnevali vases, which are, indeed, so curious, that it was thought worth while to give a drawing of them, which, after personal examination, I can aver to be very correct.

The whole memoir goes to prove that the vases and

the nails, and all the Alban fragments, belong to a state of society existing in this mountain before the volcano of Albano was extinguished,—that is, at some unknown period before Ascanius founded Alba Longa, in the year 1176 before the Christian æra.

It is premised that the peperine under which the Tomasetti vase, and (by inference) all the vases, were laid, was originally a volcanic substance thrown up at the great convulsion, and gradually formed into stone. These burials, then, did not take place after, but before, the present surface was formed; therefore they belong to a people who lived at Alba before the lake was formed and the crater became extinct : these people Visconti calls Aborigines. With this foundation the Roman antiquary endeavours to show that the burials may have belonged to a people even of the extreme antiquity requisite for such a supposition.

For the burnt bones are no objection: burning the dead was practised by the very ancient Greeks, by the very ancient Trojans, by the very ancient Thebans, by the very ancient Romans, and the very ancient Gauls ; also by the modern Indians.

The vessels of earth are no objection, for the tomb of Belus contained a vase of glass, therefore clay must be much more ancient; besides which, Numa had a college of potters; and, in the time of Julius Cæsar, the colonists at Capua discovered some very old monumental vascula of pottery, with some inscribed brass tablets, saying they belonged to the tomb of Capys; add to this, these very

ancient pottery works were of a dark colour, as are the Carnevali vases, as if tinged with the oxid of iron, and their composition differs from the common clay by the addition of a certain quantity of volcanic sand, and, according to a chemical analysis, they are thus combiŋed in every 100 parts :

[ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small]

The different contents of the deposit are no objection, for the large outward jar, the cinerary urn, the ointment vase, and the metal ornaments within the cinerary vase, the calefactorium, the perfume vase, the vase called guttus, the five other vases, perhaps for wine, and milk, and honey, the bowl, and the three platters, may be all shown to be of most ancient usage. The same may be said of the funereal lamp of rough workmanship, and more especially of a little rude idol which seems to be one of the oscilla, a sacrifice to Dis, in place of the human victim, and of that sort which Rachel stole from her father. “ Erat Laban ad tondendas oves, et Rachel furata est idola patris sui.

As for the bronze utensils, they are also of the highest antiquity, for brass was the first metal employed; the fibula may have pinned the amianthus or other cloth in which the ashes were wrapped, a conjecture more probable from its being made without soldering: the elegance of the workmanship does not surpass that of the coin of Servius Tullius. Tubal Cain was a worker in all works of brass and iron. The small wheel, the little lance-head, the two hooks, the stylus, were part of the sepulchral munera buried with the" dead; the spoked wheel was as old as the time of Homer; the stylus also, having the obliterating part moveable, differs from the usual form, and, therefore, is of great antiquity; styli were used at Rome in the time of Porsenna.

So far the Roman antiquary. It is now our turn to make a few remarks. In the first place, then, it should be told that, in the month of May following the discovery, the ground whence the interments were extracted was covered up, and shown to no one even upon inquiry. An English naturalist who visited the spot was unable to discover the precise excavation; and it was the opinion of the same gentleman that the stone called peperine was, in fact, a tufo gradually formed by the sand and water crumbling down the declivity from the summit of the hill, and not a volcanic formation, of which he discerned no signs. According to this supposition, there is no necessity for having recourse to the extreme antiquity assumed by the Doctor Visconti.

In the second place, although there was only one entire vase actually found under the rock, and that vase was of much more simple workmanship, and con

tained none of the curious implements of the others, the Signor Carnevali, in showing his museum, makes no distinction between the two discoveries, but, on the contrary, endeavours, both by his silence, and, when he is pushed, by his assertions, to confound the two, assuming that his whole museum is of equal antiquity with the said Tomasetti vase.

This remark becomes more important, although more invidious, when it is told that the articles of the museum are for sale, the price of a complete interment being fifty louis d'or. This incomprehensible dispersion of such treasures does not quite agree with the following flattering conclusion with which Visconti perorates.


“These monuments are come into your house,

• Data sunt ipsis quoque fata sepulchris :

it seems to me that the most venerable antiquities strive to get into your hands, for a few days since you have acquired that very ancient os grave, never yet published, weighing four pounds and a half, with an anchor on one side and a tripod on the reverse : perchance it is the destiny of tripods to fall into the hands of the best of men. I recommend to you these innocent utensils * that have lasted for so many years, more

* “ Vi raccomando questi innocenti stoviglie.”—Lettera, &c., p. 29.

« ZurückWeiter »