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

. (page 9 of 11)
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 9 of 11)
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La njirtu feminuda, e d^Jadorna,
J'vi r empio inter ejfe ; i'vi foggioma
Sete di Jangue, e V tradimento indegno.

Ma DiOf che agP innocenti al fin compart c
Soccorfo inafpcttato in mille guije,
Manda un Eroe da remota parte :

Shiefii e Te/eo : con ejjo Jfirea dinjife

Amor, pieta, fenno, fvalore, ed arte :
Pot ruppe il Laberinfa, t i mofiri icccife.

I * ' two

104 -^Description of the

two Brothers, Sons of Telefias and Hiera % coming
into Italy, and having overcome the Giant Sitoni,
made themfelves Matters of yf^///^ and Fifa^ as Li-
cofron relates, who adds, that they joined with
^neas in Italy.

Simul quoque {fcedus inihunt) gemini filit
Mijforum Regis (cujus aliquando latitans hafiam
Curvahit viri Deus, crura viticihus coUigans)
^archon ^ Tyrrhenus lupi fervidi^
Herculeo frognati fanguine, ^

"Which agrees with the Opinion of Dionyfius
HalicarnaiTeus, concerning the Origin of the Tuf-
cans, who writes. Alii T^irenum Telephi malum filiumy
vemjfeque pofi Trcjam Captatn in Italiam.

'Tis very well known, that the Tyrrhenians
mingled themfelves with the Aborigines ; and
Tyrrhenus with his Navy, fettling in the maritime
Parts, gave his Name to the Sea, which is to this
Day called Mare Tyrrhenum \ and Tarcon fet-
tling in the Centre of Italy, became Mafter of
Tufcany, fixing his Court at Cortona, which Silius
calls thus ^

Cortona fuperbi

"Tarchontis domus

Then he proceeds to fay, that he led the Tuf-
cans to the Afliftance of iEneas, who aflerted, that
the Trojans had their Rife in Tufcany ; for Dar-
danus, the Founder of Troy, was the Son of
Coritus, King of Cortona.

Let us now leave this long DigrefTion, and re-
turn to the Enumeration of other ancient Paintings
which were found under Ground, befides what
were mentioned before. Which follows, viz.

3 The Giants of Flegra & Pellene. Vid. Mariano Valguar-
nera. ^ Vid. Virgil. lib. X. v. 153. lib. XI. v. 72^ £512.
^ Vid. la Differtaz. fopra I'Antiquita di Cortona del Signer Ab-
bate Ridoliino Venuti nel torn. 4, dell' Acidemia Eirufca.


^Antmit City of H ER ACLE A. loj

A Pidlure of Mercury above-mentioned, with a
little Bacchus, two Palms eight Inches, by two
Palms and one Inch.

Two Pidures one Palm eight Inches, by one
Palm four Inches, both reprefenting a Vidlory.

Another, one Palm fix Inches, by four Palms
two Inches, reprefenting a Chace of Stags and

Another of the fame Size, containing a VelTel
of Flowers, with a Kid on each Side.

Another, two Palms three Inches, by one Palm
one Inch, reprefenting a Temple.

Another, one Palm five Inches, by two Palms
one Inch, reprefenting a Temple adorned with fe-
veral Columns.

A pretty Frieze or Grotefquc, eight Inches by
four Palms, which had run entirely round the Wall.

Two others, four Palms by two Palms, with fe-
veral Views, Buildings, and Architedlure,

A perfect Square, being one Palm ten Inches,
in which are two Mufes •, the one playing on a
Harp, the other maflced.

Another Piece, one Palm five Inches, by two
Palms, reprefenting a Lion, fome Cattle, and

Another of the fame Size, containing feveral
Centaurs, Buildings, Houfes and Viev/s ; and two
others ten Inches, by one Palm nine Inches, with
the fame Figures.

Three fquare Ones Fellows, one Palm by eleven
Inches, reprefenting a Medufa's Head.

Another, eleven Inches by feven Inches, with
Heads of fiditious Animals.

Another, nine Inches by one Palm, containing a
Stag, with a Bird flying to peck at him.

Another, four Inches and an half by nine Inches,
reprefenting a Peacock.

- P Another

io6 A Description of the

Another of the fame Size, reprefenting alfo 2

Another, two Palms two Inches, by one Palm,
reprefenting a Bacchanalian playing on the Cymbals.

Another, one Palm four Inches, by one Palm five
Inches, with a naked Bacchanalian fitting on a

Another, one Palm four Inches by eleven Inches,
with a Bacchanalian.

Two Pieces Fellows, each fix Inches by eight
Inches, containing two Dolphins.

A Jupiter embracing Ganymede, five Palms by
four Palms and an half.

If it were pofilble to fee this magnificent Tem-
ple entire : Who knows but in fome Corner or
other, I might find an Infcription of this Artificer,
whofe Work has now (after fo many Ages that it
has lain hid under the terrible Ruinsj been dif-
covered extremely well preferved ? Pliny afiures
us % that the ancient Painters were wont to put
their Names in the Pidlures ; and as a Proof,
quotes thefe Verfes, which were feen in the Tem-.
pie of Juno Ardeatina.

IDignis digna loca pi^uris condecoravit
Regina Junonis fwprema conjugis Templum^
M. Ludius Elotas Mtolia oriundus,
^em nuncy ^ poji femper oh artem banc Ardea

But could he have guefled at the Name of the
famous Painter of thefe Pi6lures in Heraclea ?
Who knows ? I have fnewn that the Building of
the Theatre and the neighbouring Parts, was about
the Time of Auguitus. But I know, that the an-
cient Painters were wont to paint on Tables ; and
that Ludius, the celebrated Painter in Auguftus's

=» Plinio, lib. 35. cap, io»


Antient C//y ^/^ H E R A C L E A. 107

Time, was the firfl (as Pliny relates) that intro-
duced painting on the Walls as before defcribed *.
Hk primus inftituit amcsniffimam parietum pi^w^
ram. Villas^ i^ porticus^ ac topi art a opera^ lucos^
nemoray colks^ pifcinas^ euripos^ amnes^ littora qua^
lia quis optarat^ varias ibi ohamhulantium fpecies^
cut navigantium^ terraque Villas adeuntium afelliSy
aut vehiculis. Jam pifcantes^ aucupantefque^ aut
venantes, aut etiam vindemiantes. Sunt in ejus ex»
emplaribus nohiles palufiris accejj'u^ VilLe fiiccolantium
fpecie^ mulieres lahentes^ trepid deque feruntur, Plu^
rinice pr^terea tales argutice^ facet iffimi f ales. Idem-'
que fuhdialibus maritimas urbes pingere iriftituit^ blan-^
dijfimo afpectu, minimoque impendio. Could thofe be
the Works of Ludius ? Let the Reader judge
whether I am miftaken or not. However, this is
certain, that his Majedy the King of the Two Si-
cilies is the only Perfon in the whole World, that
can boafl of having fuch antique Pidures fo well
^preferved ; all other Paintings on Walls being faded
by Length of Time. The mod beautiful were
thofe found in the Efquiline Palace of Titus, which
periilied almoft as foon as they were difcovered :
But they v/ere immediately copied and engraved
by Pietro Santo Bartoli ; and (if it had been pof-
fible to preferve them) would have raifcd the Ad-
miration of the whole World. Who knows but
thefe Paintings in Heraclea were done by the fame
Hand } And what imports this PafTage of Pliny ?
Sed nulla gloria Artificum (/?, nifi eorum^ qui tabulas
pifixere, eoque venerabilior apparet antiquitas ; when
there is not fuch a Thing in the World as an an-
tique Pidture, excepting a painted Slate found
fome Years ago in a. fubterraneous Cavity in the
Territories of Cortona, which is now in the PofTef-
fion of Signor Nicolo Vagnucci, Knight, at Cor-
tona, who is one of the principal Supporters of
,* Vid. Demontiofum de Pidura Veterum,

P 2 our

io8 -4 Description of the

our Tufcan Academy. This Piece reprefents a
Mule crowned with Laurel, with a mufical Inflru-
ment hanging on her Shoulders, and will be de-
fcribed in the Hiftory of the Antiquities of Cor-
tona, which will foon be publifhed by Order of
the faid Academy, where the Colours have been
examined, and appear to be covered with a certain
hard Sort of Bitumen, or at leaft with fome un-
known Kind of Varnifh ; in which Art Apelles
excelled ; of whom Pliny fpeaks thus : Unum imi-
tari nemo poiuit^ quod ahfoluta opera illinihat atra-
mento ita tenuis ut id ipfum repercujfu claritatis colo-
rumvim excitaret^ cujiodiretque a pulvere^ i^ fordihus^
ad maniim intuenti demum appareret : Which fome
of the Learned think, ought to be read tid numejty
I fhould rather take it to be lumen. And thus
much may fuffice about the Varnifh, which, at my
Defire, was made Ufe of to the above-mentioned


>f Defcripiion of ether Buildings in Heraclea, and of
the Antiquities found in them.

THAT the above Theatre was near fand
even joined) to the City Heraclea, is proved
by the other Buildings andHoufes which were im-
mediately afterwards difcovered : Among which
was one that had a pretty Appearance, with a
handfome Door, and an Iron Gate, which prefently
broke in Pieces. Entering at the Top, and clear-
ing away the Earth, I perceived a fmall Gallery
leading to a Ground Chamber, plaiftered, and
painted red, in which v/ere found fome Vefiels
and Bottles of thick Cryflal, full of Water ; a
Brafs Tweefer Cafe, containing three or four Stiles
or Graves, which are the Initruments they for-
a merly

Antient City 0/ H E R A C L E A. 10^

merly ufed in writing on the waxed Tables : But
what was moft valuable, was another Inftrument-
Cafe of the fame Metal, which being opened,
was found to contain a fmali thin Roll of Silver,
wrote full of Greek Charadlers ; and as in the un-
rolling, it happened to break j his Majefty thought
it advifeable to put it up in his Cabinet for the
prefent, left by any Body's indifcreet Curiofity it
might be deftroyed.

At the other End was a commodious Stair-cafe
to go to the upper Apartments, where I went into a
Room, the Cieling of which was entirely demo-
lifhed, and which had probably been the Kitchin,
by reafon of the great Qiiantity of Brafs and
Earthen Veffels found therein, fuch as Difhes,
Trivets, and other Things too numerous to de-
fcribe here, and which 1 did not examine minutely.
There I faw Eggs miraculoufly preferved •, and Al-
monds and Nuts that retained their natural Colour,
but being opened, the Infide was like powdered Coal.
In fome other Ruins near thereto, was found a Brafs
Ink-ftand, which retained the black Colour of the
Ink fo well as to be capable of tinging any Thing.
I fhall not give a particular Account of the Frag-
ments of Earthen Veffels, burnt Wood, Locks,
Keys, Latches, Bolts, Door Rings, Hinges, Spears,
cut Stones, and Medals, of which the greateft Part
that were found, were of Nero, with the Temple
of Janus on the Reverfe. There were found Mo-
faic Pavements, but very ordinary, being com-
pofed of what Vitruvius calls Pavimentum fertile ;
thefe are in Imitation of Scrolls, and the like. It
is furprifing how they could bring the Stones into
fuch beautiful Order, and difpofe the different Co-
lours fo exadlly ; of which a wonderful Example,
is a Square which was found in the Middle of a
Pavement in the Adrian Villa, which was pub-
lifhed, engraved on a Copper Plate.


iio A Description of the

In another Part were the Ruins of a Bath, paved
with little Squares, in which were feveral Sorts of
Veflels and ilavers of Brafs gilt. In another Part
was found a Cellar or Vault, which for its Singu-
larity, deferves to be made particular mention of.

Thro' a Door of white Marble, we came into
a Room thought to be about fourteen Yards or
more in Length (becaufe they had not quite cleared
the Ground away) and eight Yards broad. In the
Middle of one of the Sides was a Door which led
into another Place of the fame Length, but almoft
fquare. Round the Infides of both thefe Rooms,
there ran along, ciofc to the Wall, about half a
Yard high, a Kind of Bench covered with Marble
Pavement, which feemed, at lirft Sight, to have
been ufed for a Seat, having along the Bottom a
pretty Moulding : But on coming to examine it
nearer, I perceived on the Top, fome round Stones
or Stopples of Marble, which being removed, I
found were the Covers of fome great Earthen Jars
fet in with Mortar, the Necks of v/hich were in-
clofed juft within the Bench. On one Side there
was (as it were) a great Window formed in a Sort
of an Oblong Square, and flopped up with Earth,
which appeared at firft Sight to be the Mouth of
an Oven or Furnace, the W^all being all black
within, but it was found at laft to be a Kind of
Clofet, that reached a Cane's Length into the
Wall •, in v/hich was difcovered untouched, and
very well preferved, a fmall Sett of Steps of diffe-
rent coloured Marble, not unlike what are put upon
Altars to fet the Candles and Flower-pots on. But
I imagine the Ufe of thefe was to fet the fmall
Veflels or Bottles of Cryftal, or other Kinds (for
the keeping the Samples of W^ine or other Drink)
upon. The great Veflels were of a roundifli Form,
excepting that the Mouth came up above the Le-
vel of the Pavement, and was inclofed in that


Antieni City ?/" H E R A C L E A. lit

Marble Bench, or Scat : I believe they would hold
ten Barrels Tufcan Meafure each.

This was (to my great Difpleafure) entirely
ruined by taking the Marble and putting it to
other Ufes, before I could find any Remedy ;
and the great Wine Jars were broke, in taking out -,
but two of them being bound with Iron, were {tt
in the King's Garden ; and, if I am not miftaken,
I have feen in the Garden of the Villa Borghefe,
one of thefe VefTels -, others in the Villa Mattel, or
Mount Celio, and in other Places at Rome. In
the Year 1732, in the Space between the Chapel
of Corfini in the Lateran Bafilica, and the Wall of
Rome, were found fo great a Number of large
Earthen VefTels for keeping of Wine, that after
they had dug up one Hundred, they left a prodi-
gious Quantity buried under the Earth. Thefe
VefTels had narrow Necks and large Bodies, being
two Foot in Diameter. Mofl of them were marked
near the Neck, and fome were wrote upon with
Ink ; one of which was purchafed by my Brother
at the Mufeum of Signer Francefco Vettori, men-
tioned by P. Lupi of the Society of Jefus, in his
fine Treatife on the Infcription of St. Severa the
Martyr *. On one of thefe VefTels was this In-
The Names which were on the Handles and Necks
of thefe VefTels, were the Names of the Makers.
Thofe wrote with Ink were the Names of the
Owners of the Liquor contained within •, and by
Reafon of the Multiplicity of Names, it is ima-
gined to have been a Cellar for the Ufe of the
Soldiers who were flationed there to guard the
Walls ; and that whofefoever Name was wrote on
the VefTel, to him belonged the Wine contained
therein, whether he bought it, or it was his Al-


112 '^Description of tie

But returning to where we left off: In order X.6
preferve the famed and ftrong Wine of the Anti-
ents, it was necefiary to have thefe fubterraneous
VefTels, which, in feme other Places, have been
found one upon another : All which is agreeable to
the Law Inftrumenta 8. and the Law cum fundus 21.
ff. de ftindo Inftr. where it fays, Dolia defojfa^ in-
jixa : So that Pancirolus thinks, the Antients had
no Wine Vaults or Cellars, for this Reafon, quia
dolia, qu^ erant imbecilk^ fub terram dimittebant.
See Pliny «, where he fpeaks of Wine Vaults : But
as the Wine Veffels ought to be a Cart Load, and
to contain one hundred and twenty Bottles, which
according to fome Calculations is one thoufand fix
hundred, and according to others one thoufand nine
hundred and twenty Pounds weight, tho' Columella
calls them fefquiculeare triginta amphorartm dolium, I
cannot be certain, nor could I be in Time to meafure
the Quantity that each Jarr contained ; it is certain,
that they were of that Form, being by the fame
Author called ventrofe-, and there remains no Room
to doubt that they were not the Butts or Bolia of
the Latins, of which Nonius thus : Bolia funt vafa
grandia, quibus vinum recondttur. Neither could
they be very fmall, i^ one of them ferved the great
Diogenes for an Habitation, of whom Laerzius
fpeaks thus ^^ Bolium, quod in Metroo erat, pro do-
mo habuit^ ficut ipfe teftatur in epiftolis^ and you find
this Paffage in Juvenal ^

Dolia nudi

Non ardent Cynici : Ji fregeris, altera fie t

Cras domuSy aut eadem plumbo comrrdffa manebit,

» Plin. I. 14. c. 21. Apuin. Lexic. Agricult. male explfcat
omnia. ^ Diog. Laerz. lib. 6. fegm. 23.6 nota, che Metroo
fu il Tempio della Madre dei Dei in Atene, Gve fi confervano
le Les^i, le Donazioni, e. i. Contratti. Vid. Valefio ad Har-
pocrauoncm, pag. 272. Gregor. Niizianz. in Jambicis.

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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 9 of 11)