Richard Francis Burton.

Etruscan Bologna: a study online

. (page 13 of 14)
Online LibraryRichard Francis BurtonEtruscan Bologna: a study → online text (page 13 of 14)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

Infern,' the conclusion is happy. Petronio is for-
bidden by his family to wed a rustic : Minghett,
after attempting suicide, consoles himself with Flippa,
whose ' Padr ' or ' Par ' is Barba Pasqual. There is
a general song and dance lasting through six pages,
and Sandrin dismisses the audience before living
happily with La Togna ever after. Here, evi-
dently, we have a pre-shadowing of Goldoni in
Florentine and Bulgnes, instead of in Venetian.

The next is a more ambitious production, and
Professor Bianconi considers it the most correct
in point of orthography a trifle which, as in


Milton's day, has hardly been placed upon a settled
basis. It is entitled 'La Liberazione di Vienna
assediata dalle armi Ottomane, Poemetto giocoso ;
e la Banzuola, dialoghi sei, del Dottore Lotto Lotti,
in lingua popolare Bolognese' (no date but 1746
in the last plate), We gather from the preface
that the work of this citizen, ' a good Catholic,'
has often been reprinted, despite the poetical licence
of certain sentiments. It is an old-fashioned octavo
of 248 pages, with 12 copper-plates, including a
burlesque frontispiece, where Fame flogs a kicking
Pegasus : the illustrations are curious enough for
the costumes and views of the city in the last
century. The dialect is mixed : in those days
there were various phrases, pronunciation, accent,
and proverbial sayings in the several quarters of
the city, especially in those which, being nearest to,
had most intercourse with, Romagna, Lombardy,
and Tuscany. Moreover, the filatoglieri (silk-
workers) had their own variety. Similarly we find
at Venice two distinct dialects, one in the Cana-
vecchio (Old Canal) to the north ; the other in that
peculiar region the Castello, south : the same is the
case even in Rome, where the Trasteverini do not
speak like their eastern fellow-citizens.


The first part (pp. 1-88) is entitled in Bolognese
' Ch' n' ha cervell ava gamb ' (who hath no brains
has legs), ' o sia La Liberazione di Vienna.' It is
preceded by the normal sonnet ' Dal Sgnor Duttor
Jacm' Antoni Buzzichell,' which ends thus :

Dla to penna mi ammir la gran furtuna

Ch' sa in t' un medesm temp, grav e burlesca,
E battr sod (to hit hard), e andar sbactand la LUNA (to
chaff the moon, i.e. the Crescent.)

The poemetto, relating the attack of Sulayman
the Magnificent with his 300,000 men, is divided
into five cantos, each preceded by its argument ;
and the following is a specimen of the first stanza,
which opens like Ariosto :

A cant la stizza, al fugh, gl' arm, e la rabbia

D' qlor ch' in t' al nostr vlen cazzar i pj,

D' qla zent qsi dsprpusta, ch' sempr s'arrabbia :

pr dir mii d' qla maledetta znj

Ch' aveva fatt pinsir d' grattarz la scabbia
Ben ch' a n' aven' scador, prch' Damndj
Ch' e sempr in nostr ajut, e in nostra dfsesa,

1 ammurto la candela ch' era impresa. 1

1 I sing the wrath, the fire, the arms, and the rage
Of those who would thrust their feet into our country,
Of that folk so inconsequent, which is always in a fury :
Or, better to say, of that accursed brood
Which had thought to have scratched its itching,
Although without much chance, for the Lord (Dominiddio)
Who is ever in our aid and our defence,
Put out the candle which they had lit.


In stanza 4 of the same canto we have an
expression which has lately been made world-
famous by Prince Bismarck :

E ch' la s' ave da frizr in t' al so grass. 1

The first canto marshals the Christian and the
infidel forces, including ' Mustafa prim Visir,' the
' Bassas ' of various places Mesuputamia, Bosnia,
Damasc, and Alepp Msir Agha of the Gianizr, and
others. In the second there is a dialogue between
the Devil (Diavl or Belzebu), the Re Pluton, and
Povr Macumett, who is called to relate in presence
of ' 1' Deita ch' assistn ai argumint ' why the
Turk attacks Leopold Imperator. Mohammed is
opposed by a certain ' Squizimbraga, un duttor'
the doctor, professor, or savant is, of course, a
favourite gibe with the town versus gown, and
the historic ' duttour Balanzon/ who was a real
personage of that name, still appears at every
carnival. Macumett so pleases Pluto that he
receives as a gift ' una furca antigh, antigh.' In
Canto 3 we have the siege and the sufferings of
' i puvr Chstian ' ; the 4th shows the relieving
army of Sobieski (1683) guided by ' Gabriell Anzlin

1 And which had to fry in its own grease.


Bndett' appearing in ' s' la muntagna d' Kalem-
bergh,' and putting the Ottomans to flight. The
1 Quint Cant ' sings the triumph of the Christians.

E i Bulgnis al so solit in dardella
Con al fugh portn' al cil 1' ovra si bella. 1

The 'loot' is also carefully enumerated. The
pocmetto has its merits, but it can hardly com-
pare with the ' Rape of the Tub,' by Tassoni,
whom Dickens (' Italian Notes ') confounded with
Tasso. ' La Secchia Rapita ' proposed for itself the
patriotic task of ridiculing petty feuds about
nothing between neighbouring cities; and its
admirable wit, intermingled with charming poetical
descriptions, found a worthy echo in some of
Byron's latest masterpieces.

The second part (pp. 93-248) is entitled
' Remedi per la Sonn, da lezr alia Banzola, 2 Dialogh
S j ' (' cures for sleep, to be read on the bench or foot-
stool, 6 dialogues '). It is addressed ' Alle Oneste
Cittadine di Bologna,' by the 'Vecchietto,' Lotto
Lotti, who quotes for their benefit ' Marc' Aurelio's '

1 And the Bolognese, after their fashion, in great excitement

By their fiery valour raise their noble work to the sky.
2 The banzuola or banzola is quite Bolognese, and corresponds
with the scamnum or low stool of the Romans ; it is also used for a


saying : ' The retired life of women bridles the
tongues of men.' The author was induced to collect
the various ' bizzarie ' of sentiment, sayings, and pro-
verbs, by the example of Signor Carlo Maria Mazzi,
who published learned and amusing comedies in the
Milanese dialect. All the dialogues are in irregular
verse, rhymed and unrhymed ; the persons, men and
women, vary from two to six. They have also their
' moral ' : No. I., ' Al Servitor,' teaches to distrust
servants who are apt to chatter about the secrets of
the house. No. II., ' Gropp,' e macchia 1 is a warn-
ing against gadding about. No. III., ' La Cantatriz,'
encourages mothers to teach their daughters music
and singing, but warns them against the cupidity of
husbands who would make their children profes-
sionals. The music lesson (p. 159) is good :

Cricca (the ' Mestr '). Ossu, sgnora, ch' la vigna
Za dsen su : fa, fa.

Sandrina (Alessandrina, the pupil) sings :

L> empio oggetto da me abborito
Trovi scherno, e non pieta !

Cricca. O vj su alligrament.

Trovi sche-e-e-e,
Sandrina. E-e-e-e non pieta.
Cricca. Pieta, sol, db.

1 ' Far gropp' e maccia ' (not ' macchia '), i.e. ' to do knot and stain,'
is still a saying at Trieste when a man finishes off a business at


No. IV. dialogue, ' La Miseria,' bids the gude-
wife save money against a rainy day, as hus-
bands often go to ruin. ' Al Bagord ' (Le
Noceur], No. V., illustrates the saying of ' Dione
Filosofo,' that 'la Donna civile non solo dev'
essere onesta, ma non deve dar cagione alcuna, che
in lei si sospetti mai cosa disonesta ' familiar to
England through 'Caesar's wife.' No. VI. and last
is ' L' ippucondria,' in which the wife is taught how
to treat a hypochondriac husband : ' Scannacapon
ammala ' is relieved by the contrivances of ' Buni-
fazia, so mujer' and Mado Pira, the servant-woman,
rather than by the medgh (medico) and spzial
('pothecary). ' Finis ' is preceded immediately by

Pira. 1

Scann. I Baslaman a Sgnerj.

Bunif. J

The author has succeeded in fulfilling the diffi-
cult promise of his preface (p. 96). ' In tale imi-
tazione pero ho proccurato, per quanto ho potuto, di
scansare certi equivoci sporchi, ed indecenti di parole,
che la favella Bolognese suol partorire, perche, tolti
da voi ' (to the citizenesses), ' verrei ad offendere la
vostra modestia, ed a svegliarvi quella verecondia,
che sul vostro volto e la Rocca della vostra


The third is a little octavo of 96 pages, ' Poesi
in Dialett Bulgneis D' Camell Nunzi :' Bulogna,
Stampari Militar, 1874. It consists of sonnets, of
various pieces, epigrams, &c., and, finally, of the say-
ings of Ze-Rudell. Of the sonnets, the most
amusing are the ' Matrimoni ed lusfett con la
Rusali ' and the ' Pensir ed lusfett per la nascita
d' un fiol d' zeinqu mis.' The unfortunate ' Balanzon '
also appears on two occasions, ' Pr' una strenna
del Duttour Balanzon,' and ' Dscours fatt pr' al
Duttour Balanzon.' Ze Rudell discourses on
various themes, such as ' in Lod dla Puleint ' (in praise
of polenta, or porridge) ; ' in Mort d' un Toe '
(tacchino, or turkey) ; ' in Mort d' un Oca/ and on
the ' Manira d' cunzar 1'insala ' (to prepare a salad).
The third (p. 58) begins with

Dies ires, dies ilia.

L'Oca e morta e piu non strilla
S' find 1' oli in dla luzerna,
Pace a lei, requiem eterna ! 1

In a rhyme (p. 61), addressed 'all' Illustrissem
SgnorCommendatourProfessour Franzesc Rizzol/we
find the following sharp political allusions (1866) :

1 The goose is dead and no more hisses,
Ended the oil in its lantern,
Peace to its manes, requiem eternal !


Arcurdav (he perceived) ch' fra i amala (sick)
Che P Italia ha un mal in dl' uter,

Ch' 1' an s'andass mai a

Mo sperain ch' 1' ha nnira"

E d' sta pesta guarird (will be cured of this evil),
Tolt da R6mma al mal Franzeis (Morbus Gallicum)
L' amala' 1' sintrd mane peis. (will not feel the worse).

The following is a specimen of the epigrams
(p. 27) :-

Un Muntanar mandd a Bulogna un fiol (figliuolo),

Per cavari un Duttour, mo 1' impar6 (but he learned)

Dop zeinqu ann, che lii fava al lardarol : (that he was a charcutier]

Non ostant con al teimp, al s' rassegno,

Digand (saying), ' le mei (better) ch' al seppa frd i salam (salami)

Che un Asen (asino) frd i Duttur ch' as' mor ed fam.'

In these extracts from the 'Rem Bulgneisi ' it
would appear that the modern dialect is growing
broader, with more of the sing - song. For in-
stance, ' duttour,' with emphasis on the penultimate
vowel, takes the place of ' duttor ' ; ; ztadein ' of
' ztadin ; ' ' Bulogna ' of ' Blogna ; ' and so forth. The
same is noticeable in the prose ; for instance, in the
first sentences of the preface : ' Tutt i liber del
mond hann una prefazion,' e la vrev (vorrei.) aveir
anca me. Le bein veira ch' an (that I do not)
so da ch' banda em prinzipiar' (on what side to
begin). ' A diro che la prefazion la fa 1'effett
del Wermutt, dl' asseinzi, dl' amaron e dl' antipast
premma del dsnar (before dinner), ch' i preparen


al stamg (stomach) a dar una bona magna ' (good

My kind friend, Dr. Bianconi, further obliged
me with the following ' Detti popolari in dialett
Bolognese ' :

1 . ' La piu trista roda del car (carro) 1' e quella
qu' zirla' (strida) said of the bad workman who
complains of his tools, of much cry and little wool,
and of the noisy and pushing mediocrity.

2. ' L' e sempre mei (meglio) rusgar (rossichiare,
to gnaw) un os (osso) che un baston.' So the
Triestines say : ' Meyo rosigar un osso che un

3. ' Quel sgnor 1' a fatt tant armesa (armaggio,
or preparations), e po al s' en anda con el piv in
tal sac.' So the Triestines, who must be visited
in the highly Conservative quarter called La 'Rena
(from the Roman arena or amphitheatre), have it :
' Se n' andato colle pive in sacco.' The piva is
the bag, the zampogna is the pipe, of the bag-pipe,
and when the former is not distended, the latter
sinks into it. The meaning is our popular saying
' he shut up.'

4. ' An s' i p6 diri una parola ch' el salta a la
grand ' (alia granata, that is in furore, or si stizza}.


Trieste prefers ' Che ghe (gli) vegna (venga) la mosc'
al naso ' (the fly to his nose) said of a man who
has a peppery temper.

5. ' Fiol car (figlio caro) quand a' s' vol combinar
un' affair, b'sogna dar un colp a la bott (a blow to
the barrel) e un alter al sere ' (al cerchio, to the hoop)
a cooper's metaphor for ' age quod agis.'

6. ' Eh ! la sra abilita anch questa, d' mudar el
rason cmod s' fa al bisacc ' (bisaccia, scrip or satchel).
This vulgar saying means that a man should be able
to change his intentions as easily as he carries or
deposes his (travelling) bag.

7. ' Avedi pazienzia (abbiate pazienza) : al ien
beli rason (they are good reasons), ma non caven un
ragn (ragno, a spider) d'in t'un bus ' (dal buco).
The Triestine form is ' Nol caveria una maladeta

(i.e., cosa, not worth a d ) dal muro : so the

latter, who make no difference between singular and
plural verbs, say

E anche questi ve dig 5 in confienza (confidence)

No i gaveva (essi non avevano) studia una maladeta.

8. ' Lu al dsior mei (parla meglio) qu' un liber
stiazza ' (stracciato, lacero}. This 'chaff' to a man
who talks like a (torn) book becomes in Triestino
' Lu (or el) parla meyo de un libro strazza,

S 2


9. ' Al s' 1' e giccia (egli se 1' e gettata) dri dal spal
(dietro le spalle) e bona nott ;' in Trieste, ' El se lo ga
butta drio le spalle, e buona notte, Siori ! ' (Signori) ;
applied to a man who gets rid of a business.

10. 'Cos' e mai sta pladour (rumore) b a fai ? '
(What's the meaning of all this row ?) The Triestines
say : ' Cossa xe 'sto baccan (i.e., baccanale) che fe ? '
In the terminal nunnation the stranger must be
careful to pronounce the third liquid rather after the
French nasal fashion (bombon), than the Italian and
English (man) : it most approaches the Spanish.

11. ' An basta aver rason, b'sogna trauer chi v'la
daga ' ; in Trieste, ' No basta aver razon, mabisogna
trovar chi vi la daga ' it's not enough to be in the
right, you must find people to believe it.

Since my last visit to Bologna Prof. Bianconi
informs me that he has found one of the greatest
rarities produced by Bolognese typography of the
fifteenth century ; it is one of the two only copies,
the other being in Rome. The subject of the poem
is the jousting, or tournament, 1 held at the venerable

1 From the ' Trattato sopra le Gioste ed i Tornei del Senatore
Berlingiero Sessi,' printed in the volume containing the ' Prosi degli
Accademici gelati' (Manolessi, Bologna, 1671), we learn that the first
tournament known in Italy took place at the old Etruscan capital in
A.D. 1147.


city on October 4, A.D. 1470, by order of ' Giovanni
(?) Bentivoglio, Signore della Citta.' The author,
Francesco Cieco of Florence, writes his 204 octaves
in rather rude and rustic Italian. He enters into the
minutest details concerning the sport ; he describes
the Piazza and the stockades with which it was
provided ; he records the various cities that supplied
combatants ; he relates how on one side the Benti-
voglio chose 60 knights, whilst as many were
opposed to them by Antonio Trotti di Alessan-
dria, Capitano dei Bolognesi ; he names the com-
batants ; he notes the various modes of weapons,
the harness, and the devices of the cavaliers, together
with the ornaments of the fair dames, whose beauties
he compares with the most famous charmers of
antiquity ; he narrates the order of the several gests,
and finally he leaves the victory with the ' parte
Bentivolesca.' This famous tournament was also
described by Giovanni Sabbattino degli Ariendi
(See Giordani's ' Almanacco Storico-Archeologico
Bolognese,' 1836; and Antonio Bertolini's 'Eccita-
mento,' November, 1838, p. 685).

The Bolognese copy of Francesco Cieco, a
small quarto, wants frontispiece, pagination, and
index : the experts remember that about 1470 the


printing-press was introduced into Bologna by
Baldazzarre Azzoguidi, and, remarking that the types
are those adopted by this artist in his edition of
Ovid (A.D. 1471), they have concluded that the poem
was printed in the early part of the same year, or
shortly after the tournament was held. Prudential
reasons may be attributed to the suppression of the
printer's name.

I here end my study of the venerable ex-capital
of Northern Etruria, with the hope that readers
will take kindly into consideration the circumstances
under which it was written.

WATSON'S HOTEL, BOMBAY : Feb. 15, 1876.


Resume of a Letter addressed to Signor W. Helbig, by Cav.
A. Zannoni, upon the bronze articles supposed to be razors
(printed by the Bullettino dell* Institute di Corrispondenza
Archeologica, anno 1875. Roma: coi tipi del Salviucci, a
Spese deir Institute), 1875.

You ask me in yours of the iQth inst. two questions :

1. Have the supposed razors been found in the Felsina
Necropolis ?

2. If so, what objects accompanied them, or, to be more
precise, did these implements occur together with pottery and
bronzes of the primitive type, as, e.g., those of Villanova,
or were they discovered with painted pottery and historical
subjects in black and red ?

Before answering you, allow me to submit an outline
of my discoveries in the Certosa diggings (1869).

I first found the four groups, numbering more than
400 sepulchres ; the great series of figured pottery, black
and red ; the unique bronze situla ; the many-figured
steles, and the first specimen of Etruscan writing. The
Certosa is, therefore, one great period in the life of
Felsina, ' prince of Etruria.'

But, as was pointed out in my report of October 2, 1871,
at the opening of the ' Museo Civico,' the Certosa 'finds'
no longer form thfe isolated discovery from which I had
deduced that, between our old monastery and Bologna, ran


a highway, with tombs grouped to the right and to the left,
showing several and successive epochs in fact, the develop-
ment of Felsinean life. It appeared to me certain that
the earlier inhabitants would have pushed forward their
cemeteries from the limits of population, which, as my
discoveries in the Strada Pratello prove, represents a part
of the modern city ; and this, too, not only westward, but
to the other cardinal points. Evidently the citizens,
increasing in numbers and subject to social and political
changes, would deposit their dead in several and distinct
groups along the road, at increased distances of a hundred
yards or so ; sometimes above, at other times around, those
which preceded them. And therefore I expected to find
at least ten roadside groups between the two extreme
points, Bologna and the Certosa.

The fact of eight such groups coming to light have
proved my conjecture to be correct. Besides the four in
the Certosa proper, 1869, I discovered to the eastward
that is, in the direction of Felsina two more, below the
Arnoaldi property (end of September 1871); a seventh,
distributed under the Arnoaldi-Tagliavini farms and
the Certosa lane ; and, finally, an eighth (mid-August
1872), in the Benacci estate.

The Tagliavini find demanded fresh researches in
the contiguous Arnoaldi property, which presently yielded
another group. The first, of thirty-six sepulchres, pro-
duced very few figured vases, with red pottery, fibiilcs of
bronze and silver, and the remains of two cists. There
were some sculptured steles, far inferior in splendour to
those of the Certosa, but two had an especial value, on
account of their Etruscan inscriptions. This group, there-
fore, has the characteristics, without, however, the im-
portance, of the four which compose the Certosa find.

The sixth group (Tagliavini property) produced, as


first-fruits, four sepulchres, containing three skeletons, with
brown and red earthenware, and a dolium worked in
bands : its contents were burnt bones, silver fibula, and a
bronze knife. But it was a spark that kindled a mighty
flame. The adjacent Arnoaldi diggings, begun in early
December 1872, were continued till the end of June 1874,
and have already yielded 150 tombs. Here we gathered,
besides the brown and ruddy earthenware, a rich harvest
of pottery with graffiti geometrically worked in a large
and grandiose manner, and not wanting the usual ducks,
the doves, and even the monkey ; a great variety of
bronzes, such as fibula, and utensils, situla, cups, two cists
in repousse-work with bands and points, and, finally, a
sculptured stela with resetted crosses, resembling that of
Pisaro, consequently, those of the Certosa.

During last summer (1874), the lane which separates
the Arnoaldi and Tagliavini diggings, explored by me at
the expense of the municipality, produced eighty most
important tombs ; and the axis of the line apparently
corresponds with that of the cemetery, which extends on
both sides under the two farms. Here, more remarkably
than in No. 2, Arnoaldi group, emerged the luminous
epoch of Villanova, far richer sepulchres, proved by the
engraved potteries and bronze utensils ; two banded
cists, two others of repousse-\vor\z. with bands and points,
and two with representations of quadrupeds like the far-
famed situla of the Certosa, not to speak of the number
and beauty of the situla, the large bronze pins, the bronze
vases, and the utensils whose forms show remarkable

The other Arnoaldi group (our No. 7) has yielded
hitherto sixteen sepulchres, identical with those of the
Certosa ; a large oxybaphon, a few other red-figured
potteries, also in the style of what we found at the


monastery ; a stela and the fragment of a second with a
bit of inscription.

But the history of Felsina returns to its origin in the
vast Benacci group, discovered in September 1873. Here
300 tombs show four epochs distinctly marked by their
stratification, namely : i. An age preceding Villanova
(Pelasgian ? ) ; 2. The first era of Villanova (Umbrian ?) ;
3. Gallic ; and 4. Roman.

The pre-Villanovan epoch appears splendidly in the
five sepulchres, which I will presently describe ; in earthen-
ware with peculiar graffiti, and in special bronzes for
utensils, arms, and ornaments.

And now comes the first Villanovan age, with some en-
graved potteries and others whose type has not hitherto ap-
peared ; with an extraordinary quantity and variety of fibula,
armillcz, and bronze pins ; with bronze vases, amongst
which six are banded, some are worked with repousse
points, and one cist, festooned in repousse, bears little geese
like those stamped on the earthenware. The so-called
tintinnabula yielded by Villanova here appeared in greater
numbers ; they are evidently not bells, but articles of toilette.

The Gallic epoch has offered various very long sword-
blades, like those from the tumuli of Magny-Lambert ;
and bronze vases resembling the discoveries of Upper
Alsace (' Aus'm Werth der Grabfund von Wald-Algesheim ' ;
Bonn, 1870). For our present purpose I need not note the
Roman age.

Here, then, are the successive peoples and life-periods
of Felsina Pelasgic, Umbrian, Etruscan, Gallic, and,
finally, Roman. The lower Benacci group shows the pre-
Villanovan (Pelasgic ?) and the early Villanovan age. The
Arnoaldi-Tagliavini and the Certosa lane record the
luminous epoch of the later Villanova ; the second stra-
tum proves the influence of the coming age, gradually


deteriorating in the first Arnoaldi group. In the
third it again rises, and it culminates in the four Certosa

After this sketch of my discoveries, I proceed to your
questions concerning the so-called ' razors ' ; and let me
at once state that the obtuseness of the edge, and the
small size of the articles, forbid our attributing such use to
them. 1

These lunated articles were found only in one part of
the Certosa, the Campo degli Spedali, scattered over the,
sub-surface ; none appeared in seven of the groups : the
four Certosan (proper), the two Arnoaldi ; and the Ar-
noaldi-Tagliavini and Certosa lane. The Benacci diggings,
however, yielded ' razors' in nine tombs, of which five
belonged to the pre-Villanovan (Pelasgic ?), and four to
the early Villanovan epochs. The following is a succinct
description of the articles and their accompaniments.

Of the four early Villanovan tombs which yielded 'razors,'
No. i was a square fosse (o'/o metre x 070 metre), contain-
ing the large cinerary urn of Villanovan type, with burnt
bones, covered with its cup ; to the northwards were some
small brown and red pots, one of them engraved round the

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 13

Online LibraryRichard Francis BurtonEtruscan Bologna: a study → online text (page 13 of 14)