The Unforgettable Adventure of a Scotswoman at the Cerveteri, 1838
From angelo alfani
There are not many women who have contributed to the “revealing” of the Etruscan world, these Elizabeth Caroline Johnstones can rightly be considered pioneers.
Born in 1801, she met John Hamilton Gray in the winter of 1828, a descendant of a wealthy Scottish family, who owned coal mines, beginning a “grand tour” to Europe, especially from white intellectuals. Knowledge and friendship had accumulated between for classical culture. For the thirty-year-old globetrotter, meeting Elizabeth was a classic love at first sight.
The two got married and the Scotsman also took holy orders, taking the title of Reverend. The young couple immediately shared, for the entirety of their existence, a keen interest in history, languages and literature, as well as in archaeology.
The Unforgettable Adventure of a Scotswoman at the Cerveteri, 1838
In 1833 the two Hamiltons went to Germany to “cure” a disease that had struck Elizabeth. The commitment to move south towards the warm Ligurian Riviera was unsuccessful, but living in Germany made it possible to meet scholars from the ancient Italic world and learn German, and something unusual for the time, and especially for a woman, Hebrew. The wealthy, cultured and inquisitive couple’s interest in Tyrion’s land was “shining”, as she herself describes, in the summer of 1837 by the Bishop of Litchfield, as well as the Dean of the glorious Shrewsbury School, by a visit, Dr. Samuel Butler.
The bishop’s enthusiasm for the exhibition of Etruscan tombs and artifacts at Pall Mall in London, organized by the collector Campanari, convinced two Scots to visit it. What impressed Elizabeth the most, which was the first exhibition dedicated to Etruscan antiquities outside Italy, was a large room with “for sale” vases and furnishings, as well as several other rooms that housed tombs. The reproductions were lit by torches, and still other rooms with various tomb paintings on the upper floor of the exhibition. This journey gave Mrs Elizabeth such an impact that she became determined and zealous to know and expand on the world that had conquered her since her first approach.
The exhibition was such a resounding success that it cut off the mandatory stages of the Grand Tour countries from the paths of European intellectuals who sought inspiration in beautiful Italy. Visit Pompeii, Tivoli, Villa Armerina. After the shocking impression of Ituria’s determination to immediately organize a tour of the tomb, the title of the travel diary kept by Elizabeth, “Written for the ignorant and to please the loving travelers, not For learned and antique dealers” as a gloss. Same author.
Meeting in Pisa with his friend Giuseppe Micali, a leading figure in the study of the Italic people, was full of suggestions and hints, but he did not fail to warn Mrs Grey: “It will be hard for a beautiful young lady because the streets And the wild nature of the places, not very accessible and not served at all!
“I think I rarely felt happy when our car stopped off the main road, about six miles west of Monterone, and we were on the road to Cerveteri. Although we were not shocked, I certainly Would not recommend this route for vehicles such as the Carriage in England, due to the steep climb in the country, and the deep gorge before reaching the climb,” Johnstone writes. The city appeared to him pitiful and poor, with two or three wealthy houses, including the Archpriest. The only inn, in half ruins, often by carts and mules, appeared so uninvited, especially to the smell emanating from it, that even his Italian servants refused to enter. The letter with Roman friends was addressed to Archpriest Regolini, who welcomed him outside the rectory door next to the Fountain of Mascheron, which included a large vegetable garden with an intense aroma of orange flowers and an attractive walnut, which But they installed the softness of three floors of concrete twenty-five years ago.
Johnstone recounts: “We were welcomed by a majestic-looking man in a dark, old, serious but benevolent manner. He told us that he was the archer, and insisted that we dine with him, after using his kindness to lead us to the ancient monuments we had come so far for. Naturally we first wanted to see the tomb which he himself had discovered, and with this intention we followed him, and again we brought back the road and the part of the road by which we had entered the city. . We passed an ancient burial cave that is now open to the day (“discovery”?), and walked about a mile along a pleasant and well-maintained country road that led to Serre-Novo. We then crossed a “style” to the right, entered a corn field, and we were told that the area was once a mound
In Monterone, but the roof/roof was dropped, whereas the base was raised on the contrary. It was torn to pieces for the tombs to see in every direction, and thus lost its original form. I do not know its real name, and therefore I will call it Monte Regulini”.
We toured the tombs complex, led by Regolini, who, with a candle in his hand, jumped like a cricket and slid into every opening with the agility of a lizard. He spent the whole morning visiting the dunes, fascinated by the excavations and fascinated by the stories. About amazing discoveries. Joneston, ascending and descending Montarozzi, often tied with a rope, traveled to dromos lit by candles with such gusto that he could overcome any difficulty.
“We found that the archer was a skilled conversationalist and a keen connoisseur of the history of the ancient city”.
Upon his return, he was directed along the Ghetacio street, to the house of Calabrese, for further purchases. As the squire was absent, for “business in the lower Viterbo region”, he was greeted by the beautiful and hospitable wife “black eyes and hair, ivory colour”, who showed him rings in the shape of snakes, brooches, necklaces, gold harnesses , the scarab, which was filled with several copper trays. The rooms next to the large hall, closed, filled with vases, statues, bronzes, sarcophagi, objects of great artistic prestige, had already been promised to the Cavalier Visconti on behalf of the papal government, having the right of pre-emption.
In the center of the large room, the brazier, which was constantly fed with olive logs, heated several more large rooms. The children, the elderly, the men of servants sitting in a circle, indifferent, continued their work and their games.
He still says that upon his return to the rectory, some villagers came to him and showed him magnificent objects of gold: finely sculpted necklaces and bracelets. The rumor that two “foreigners full of money” were running around Cervetri was now in the public domain. So much so that the Reverend, turning to his wife, remarked: “We are collecting vases, scarabs and coins, we cannot collect everything”.
It was about thirteen when our passengers, exhausted and bewildered by the incredible morning, tried to leave the Archpriest to have lunch with food brought from the capital. To his great astonishment, “an unexpected one from the Roman Catholic priest, to whom we had already caused much trouble, who lives alone, who fasts twice a week, and who, when he wakes up, And the unsolicited invitation came. In the morning, what he certainly didn’t expect to occupy his time, and his kitchen emptied, by a group of hungry and curious strangers stumbling upon him when he Gets ready to nap.
With generosity of heart he ordered us to put away the provisions and ordered that a hot meal be prepared. In order not to stay too much, I can only tell you that it consists, like the Italian lunch, which is in no way the same as the English, in five courses, with a prelude of anchovies and olives in oil, and A final of donuts and fruit. The lunch ended with a visit to the magnificent garden adjacent to the rectory. A giant winekin for wine, recently taken from a tomb, stood between the yellows of lemons and the greens of oranges. Just one and a half meters tall, it can hold at least one hundred and fifty liters from the eye. The citrus grove is used as a vase for rosemary, sage, marjoram under sarcophagi and pottery”.
Long and dusty paths on trailing carriages, up and down on almost impassable mounds, gloomy and miserable places of rest were rewarded by the unveiling and countless purchases of an unknown world rich in history. Entire collection of hundreds of scarabs and gems, gold rings and necklaces, chests filled with Roman and Greek coins: geometric vases, with other twenty-three black figures and four with red figures. The most important work, however, was a magnificent Athenian red-figure cup signed by Euphronius the potter and painted by Onesimos.
The author’s story ends: “Since there is no hotel in Cerveteri, and to provide refreshments in one way or another, it is possible that Prince Ruspoli would allow the use of the palace, as Duke Torlonia in his beautiful The mansion will be in. Di Serie, it is common in Italy for important families to allow foreigners to stay in free rooms. The Cerveteri is a pleasant place, and interest in visiting it cannot fail due to the difficulty of reaching here.
The best time to venture into these areas is in October, when there is no malaria, and the days are neither too short nor too long. What they so bravely call roads is walkable during October, when the weather is more stable than in spring. I recommend future travelers to get torches and candles”
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