Niccolò Marcello Venuti.

A description of the first discoveries of the antient city of Heraclea, found near Portici, a country palace belonging to the king of the Two Sicilies. In two parts.. online

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Online LibraryNiccolò Marcello VenutiA description of the first discoveries of the antient city of Heraclea, found near Portici, a country palace belonging to the king of the Two Sicilies. In two parts.. → online text (page 4 of 11)
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ner, the City Pompeia lies buried ' ; fo named
from the Pomp and Triumphs of Hercules, which
Seneca calls, Pompeias Celebrern Campania urhem.
Vide Summcnte, Pliny, Florus, Seneca and Vel-
leius, who writes thus of his Great Grandfather.
Tantum hoc (fociali) hello Romanis fidem pr^flitijfe^ ut
. , . Herculaneiim fimul cum T. Bidio caper et^ Pomfe-
ios cum L. Sylla oppugnaret \ and Seneca ^ defcribes
it thus, Celebrem Campania urbem^ in qua ah altera
parte Surrentum^ Stahianumque littus^ ah altera Her-
culanenfe convenitmt^ mareque ex aperto rediiSlmn ame-
710 fitu cingunt^ decidijfe terramotu^ vexatis quacunqiie
adjacent regionihtis, Strabo calls it Uo^ttociocv^ Pom-
peiam ; and Servius adds a Story, founded on
iEneid 7. and Verfe 662, viz. Hercules in quadam
Campania (urhe) pompam triumphis fuis exhihuit, tin-
de Pompeii dicitur Civitas, And Strabo % Pompeiam
quam Sarnus praterjiuit. This has in modern Ages,
been called, ^orre Ottava^ or Cajirum Turris o5favi
lapidis^ becaufe it is eight Miles from Naples, and
becaufe the Kings of Angia caufed a Tower to be
built there : Till in the Year 1345, a Greek Her-
mit came there and planted a Vineyard, with Slips
brought from his own Country. This Wine
pleafed King John the Firft, fo well, that he grant-
ed him the fole Privilege of fixing the Price of
the Greek Wines. But the Hermit dying inteftate,
the Society belonging to the Cathedral of Naples,
claimed a Right to fucceed him, as he died with-
out Will, and to that Purpofe, they fent Annually
two Agents from Naples, to fettle the Price of the
Greek Wine. So from the Hermit, and the Ma-
nagers of the Wine, it took the Name of Torre
del Greco. But Antonio Sanfeiice is of Opinion,

» Solin. cap. 8. Columella lib. 3. cap. 2. ^ Lib. 6. Quasfl.

Natural, cap. i. *= Vid. Cellarium, qui citat verfus Statii,
Siiii, Paulini Nolani, &:c.

4 that

\Antient C/Vj g/^ HER A CLE A. 33

that the Situation of Pompeia was, where npvv^
Hands 'Torre della Nunztata,

To conclude j if this Country (notwithftanding
its having been deftroyed by frequent Thunders
and Lightnings, and laid wade by the terrible E-
ruptions of Vefuvius, and covered with Ruft and
Drofs,) appears fuch a pleafant Place in our Time,
What muft it have been in former Ages ; in the
Time of Auguftus, when the Roman Triumphers,
without any Fear of the Flames, ufed v/ith Pleafure
to frequent it ? Wherefore 'tis not to be wondered
at, that they lliould have embellifhed the City of
Heracka with Statues, Temples, and the grand and
magnificent Theatre, which (to the Amazement of
the whole World) is now to be feen, in the Caves
that have been dug in our Days. On which Sub-
ject, I cannot refrain inferting in this Place, an E-
pigram, which I litt upon iii Martial, viz.

Hie eft Fampineis viridis modo Vefevus umhriSj

Prejferat bic madidos nobilis Uva lacus,
Hac juga^ qtiam Nyjce colles plus Bacchus anmvii 5

Hoc nuper Satyri Monte dedere choros.
^ Hie Veneris fedes -, Lacedamone gratior illi %

Hie locus Herculeo nomine clarus erat,
Cunufa jaceni fldmfmSy (^ trifti merfa favilla^

Necftipen vellent^ hoc licuijfefibi,


Of the firft Eruption of Vefuviusy and alfo of that
which defiroyed the Cities of Heraclea and Potnpeia.

IT has been a Matter of great Debate among the
Learned, whether Mount Vefuvius did, for the
tirft Time, caft forth its inteftine Flames, (and
therewith cover the Country round about) under

F ' '" ±t

34 -^Description of the

tht Reign of the Emperor Titus Auguftus, of
whether it had not before, in remoter Ages, thrown
up Flames ; of which (byReafon of the Number of
Years it had lain quiet) we had no certain Account
left. The fabulous Story of the Giants of Phlegra,
plainly manifefls the great Vulcanos which had been
raifed up round Puzzuoli, among which, the mod
wonderful is, Vulcanos Hole^ or the Sulphur Pit^
where the internal Fire may be feen thro' great
Cavities ; alfo in the Baths, in the Sands of the
Idand of Ifcia ; where I have obferved Iron Drofs,
and burnt Pumice, lie in Strata; and an old Poet
in the Time of Julius Cefar, fays concerning Etna,

Dicitur in/tdiis flagrans JSnaria quondam^
Nunc extin5ia fuper : tutifqiie Neapolim inter
Et Cumas locus eft multis jam frigidus annis^
Sluamvis aiernum pingtiefcat ah ubere fulphur,

A Paflage out of a Book of Natural Philofophy,
entitled The Natural Hiftory of the Unherfe^ gave
Occafion for the Royal Academy of Infcriptions,
at Paris, to debate on that Head ^ It will not be
amifs to give you a brief Account thereof

The Abbot Bannier, fearched the antient Au-
thors, and found that Mount Vefuvius was fup-
pofed to have made an Eruption before the Reign
of TituS, but did not find any particular Account
of it : On the contrary, that neither the Italians
themfelves, nor even Recupitus in his Treatife orl
that burning Volcano, make any mention thereof '».
Strabo fays % that the Places about Vefuvius arc
tery fertile, except thofe near the Opening, which
are quite barren, and look covered with Allies ;
where they perceived Caverns of Stone of the fame
Colour, as tho' they had been burnt and calcined

3 Memoires de Litterature, torn. icj. Des Embrafemens du
Mont. Vefuve. ^ De lucendiU Montis Vefuvii, « Strabone
lib, s. pag. 247.


A?itient city of ¥L^K kChE ^. 35

jby Fire, from which one may imagine that they
were ibmetimes fired by a Volcano, which defilled,
when all the combuftible Matter was jpent. So
Strabo, who was an excellent Writer a long Time
before the Reign of Titus, pofitively aflerts, that
there was a Volcano on the Top of Vefuvius, but
did not know when it was made •, Diodorus Sicu-
lus ^ nightly mentions a former Eruption, but does
not give any particular Account of it.

Pltny, to whom this EruptioA was fo fatal, men-
tions in two Places the Mountain Vefuvius : Of its
Situation ^ ; and in L. 14. treating about the
Wines, he fays, ex Us minor Aiijiro l^editur^ ceteris
ventis alitur^ ut in Vefwvio Monte^ Surrentinifque col-
lihtis : Which fhews, that he knew nothing, either
of the Volcano, in this Mountain, or of the ful-
phureous Quality of the Earth, otherwife he would
(as Strabo does,} have attributed the Fruitfulnefs of
the Vines to thofe Caufes ; for in the fame Book
he mentions Mount Etna, No5fiirnis mirus incendi/s.
JNor can aiiy Thing be gathered from Cornelius
Tacitus % who lived in the Time of Tiberius, and
fays, that this was a moft delightful Place : J^iie-
qiLvm Mons Vefuvius ardejcens faciem loci verteret ;
Whence one may conclude, that one Eruption of
Vefuvius was after the Retirement of Tiberius into
the liland of Capri^ and that the Hiflorian only al-
ludes to that great one in which Pliny peri (lied j for
the Detail, and Circumflarices of vvhich, 1 refer you
10 Pliny junior. Even the Letter that contains the
moil: exact Account thereof 'J, makes no Mention
of any former Eruption.

In lik'if Manner Euiebius "" fpeaks only of x\nt^
in the I'ime of Htus, and Scaliger, in his Notes,
fays nothing of any other Eruption of 'Vefuvius,

* Diod. Sic. lib. 4. ^ Plin. lib. 3. pag. 154. ediz, in fog.
^ Annal lib. 4, cap. C;. ^ Plin. jun. lib. 6. ep. 16.

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Online LibraryNiccolò Marcello VenutiA description of the first discoveries of the antient city of Heraclea, found near Portici, a country palace belonging to the king of the Two Sicilies. In two parts.. → online text (page 4 of 11)