[image ALT: Much of my site will be useless to you if you've got the images turned off!]
mail:
Bill Thayer

[image ALT: Cliccare qui per una pagina di aiuto in Italiano.]
Italiano

[Link to a series of help pages]
Help
[Link to the next level up]
Up
[Link to my homepage]
Home

[image ALT: link to previous section]
previous
Chapter
This webpage reproduces a chapter of
The Cities and Cemeteries of Etruria

by George Dennis

published by John Murray, Albemarle Street
London, 1848.

The text is in the public domain.


[image ALT: link to next section]
next
Chapter

p454 Chapter LVII

PERUGIA. — PERUSIA.

The City.

Sint tibi Flaminius, Thrasymenaque litora testes.

Ovid.

Vix crediderim tam mature tantam urbem crevisse, floruisse, concidisse, resurrexisse.

Vell. Paterculus.

Happy the man who with mind open to the influences of Nature, journeys on a bright day from Cortona to Perugia! He passes through some of the most beautiful scenery in all-beautiful Italy, by the most lovely of lakes, and over ground hallowed by events among the most memorable in the history of the ancient world. For on the shores of "the reedy Thrasymene," the fierce Carthaginian set his foot on the proud neck of Rome.

The day on which I retraced my steps over this well-beaten road, is marked in my memory with a white stone. Before leaving the Tuscan State, I halted at the hamlet of Riccio to dine, for the worthy merchant, my chance-companion, was wont to make this his house of call. The padrona was not long in answering our demands, for we had not arrived at sunset, expecting all manner of impossibilities and unheard-of dainties, but had drawn on her larder at the reasonable hour of noon, and had left our p455appetites to her discretion. The sun shone warmly into the room — the hostess smiles cheerily — a glorious landscape lay beneath our window — and what mattered it that the dishes stood on the bare board; that the spoons and forks were of tin, and that the merchant's servant, and a bearded pilgrim in sackcloth, Rome-bound for the Holy Week, whom, in his pious generosity, my companion had invited to partake, sat down to table with us? Travelling in Italy, for him who would mix with the natives, and can forget home-bred pride, prejudice, and exigencies, levels all distinctions.

At Monte Gualandro, we entered the Papal State. Here at our feet lay the Thrasymene,1 a broad expanse of blue, mirroring in intenser hues the complexion of the heavens. Three wooded islets lay, floating it seemed, on its unruffled surface. Towns and villages glittered on the verdant shore. Dark heights of purple waved around; but loftier far, and far more distant, the Apennines reared their crests of snow — Nature's nobles, proud, distant, and cold, holding no communion with the herd of lowlier mountains around them.

Such was the scene on which the sun shone on that eventful day, when Rome lay humbled at the feet of Carthage, when fifteen thousand of her sons dyed yon plan in lake with their blood. From the height of Monte Gualandro the whole battle-field is within view. At the foot of the hill, or a little further to the right, on the shores of the lake, Flaminius, on his way from Arretium, halted on the eve of the battle. Ere the sun had risen on the morrow he entered the pass between this hill and the p456water, and marched on into yon crescent-shaped plain, formed by the receding of the mountains from the lake, unconscious that he was watched from these very heights on which we stand, by Hannibal's Balearic slingers and light-armed troops, and that the undulating ground at our feet concealed the enemy's horse. Seeing the foe in front, he marched on through the pass, till it widens into the plain, and there, enveloped by a dense mist which arose from the lake, he was suddenly attacked on every side by Hannibal's main force in front, and by the cavalry and other ambushers in the rear. Flaminius then saw he was entrapped, but nothing daunted, he made a more desperate struggle for victory; and so furious the contest that ensued, so intent were all on the work of destruction, that an earthquake which overthrew many cities in Italy, turned aside the course of rapid rivers, carried the sea up between their banks, and cast down even mountains in mighty ruin, was unknown, unfelt, by any of the combatants, —

"An earthquake reel'd unheededly away!
None felt stern Nature rocking at his feet."

For three hours did the Romans maintain the unequal contest, till at length, when their leader Flaminius fell, they broke and fled, rushing, some to the mountain-tops, which they were not suffered to climb, others to the lake, in whose waters they vainly sought safety. Six thousand, who had broken through the foe at the first attack, and had retired to a height to await the issue of the fight, effected their escape, only to be captured on the morrow. Ten thousand scattered fugitives carried the news to Rome.2

p457 The road crosses the plain — now overflowing with oil and wine, then steeped in a deeper flood, whose hue is traditionally preserved in the name of a brook, Sanguinetto — to the village of Passignano, where the mountains again meet the shore. Here the traveller may halt to taste the fish, for which the lake retains its ancient reputation;3 but as he values skin and comfort, let him not tarry here the night, for legions of light-armed foes lie thirsting for his blood, and the powers also of air and water — "mali culices, ranaeque palustres" — are in league to rob him of repose.

To set the Thames on fire is an achievement beyond our degenerate days, but the Thrasymene, if we may believe tradition, was of more inflammable stuff, and was once utterly burnt up by fire from heaven.4

On the summit of the hill beyond the lake, are fresh objects of admiration, in a vale of Italian richness below, and ruined towers of feudal grandeur above; but ere I had half studied the scene, I found myself in the little town of Magione. Here my companion drew bit; and I could not blame him, for he was welcomed heartily by the two sister landladies, and a welcome from the younger, one of the finest specimens of the sex I have seen in this land of Junos, were enough to stay the steps of any man. The fair Clotilda has already been made a public character by p458Miss Sedgwick; she is no longer the unripe maiden, but in the full fructification of beauty, and it may be, with less

                         "Of Cornelia's mien
Than the light air of Egypt's graceful queen."

But these are not matters for the antiquary — "Aroint thee! witch!"

The road from Magione to Perugia traverses the rich vale of the Caina, a stream which seems to have retained its Etruscan name.5 Perugia is seen at some miles' distance, crowning its lofty olive-girt height with a long level line of domes and towers. About two miles before reaching it, a tower with a few houses about it, by the road-side, marks the site of one of the most interesting tombs around Perugia; it will be described in the following chapter. The site is called La Commenda, or is better known as the Torre di San Manno.

Perugia is one of the very few Etruscan cities that retains anything like its ancient importance. One of the "heads of Etruria" of old, it is still among the first cities of Central Italy. Its glory has not utterly departed, nor has it even greatly waned, for it is yet a large and wealthy city, with fifteen thousand inhabitants.a

It is not for me to describe or even enumerate the manifold objects of interest in Perugia, either in its picturesque streets, its cathedral and five-score churches, or in its treasures of architecture, sculpture, and painting. Those of the latter art alone, the works of Perugino and the Umbrian school, are so abundant as generally to absorb what little time and attention the traveller passing between Florence and Rome has to spare for a provincial city; so that few give a thought or an hour to the antiquities in p459which Perugia is equally wealthy, except, it may be, a Giovanni minutes' call, on their road to Rome, at the Grotta de' Volunni, which has become a somewhat fashionable lion.

The walls of Perugia are in many parts ancient, agreeing in character with those of Chiusi and Todi, and composed, like them, of travertine — a material which preserves the sharpness of its edges in a remarkable degree, so as to give to a structure composed of it an appearance of much less antiquity than it possesses. Some portions of these walls are fine specimens of ancient regular masonry. On the west of the city they may be traced for a long distance, rising to the height of twenty or thirty feet, falling back from the perpendicular, and banded near the top with a projecting fascia. Behind the cathedral are also some fine fragments of rusticated masonry. At the Porta S. Ercolano is a portion, forty feet high, in courses of eighteen inches, very neatly joined. This gateway is of ancient construction as high as the imposts, which now support a Gothic arch. The same may be said of the Arco di Bornia and the Porta Colonia. The former was originally spanned by a flat lintel of cuneiform blocks, like the gates of the Theatre of Férento; and has a fine fragment of ancient wall in on either hand.6 The Porta Colonia is skew or oblique, and has some ancient masonry in front. The Arco di San Luca has also a Gothic arch on much earlier foundations, which the cement, unless subsequently applied, marks as Roman.7

p460 The best preserved and the grandest of all the ancient gates of Perugia is the

Arco d' Augusto,

so called from the inscription, AVGVSTA PERVSIA, over the arch. It is formed of regular masonry of travertine, uncemented, in courses eighteen inches high; some of the blocks being three or four feet in length. The masonry of the arch hardly corresponds with that below it, and is probably of subsequent date and Roman, as the inscription seems to testify, though the letters are not necessarily coeval with the structure. The arch is skew, or oblique; and the gate is double, like those of Volterra and Cosa.8 Above the arch is a frieze of six Ionic colonnettes, fluted, alternating with shields; and from this springs another arch, now blocked up, surmounted by a second frieze of Ionic pilasters, not fluted. All the work above the lower arch is evidently of later date than the original construction of the gateway.9 The entire height of the structure, as it now stands, cannot be less than sixty or seventy feet.

This gate stands recessed from the line of the city-wall, and is flanked on either hand by a tower, projecting about twenty feet, and rising, narrowing upwards, to a level with the top of the wall above the gate. The masonry of these p461towers, to the height of the imposts of the arch, corresponds with that of the gate itself, and seems to be the original structure; all above that height is of a later period. Within the city a noble wall of rusticated masonry rises to the height of fifty or sixty feet, now unconnected with the gate, whatever it may have been of old.10

This gate still forms one of the entrances to the city, though there is a populous suburb without the walls. Its appearance is most imposing. The lofty towers, like ponderous obelisks, truncated — the tall archway recessed between them — the frieze of shields and colonnettes above it — the second arch soaring over all, a gallery, it may be, whence to annoy the foe — the venerable masonry overgrown with moss, or dark with the breath of ages — form a whole which carries the mind most forcibly into the past.

Another ancient gate very like that of Augustus,11 is, or rather was, the Arco Marziale or Porta Marzia; for what is now to be seen is the mere skeleton of the gate, which was taken down to make room for the modern citadel. But to preserve so curious a relic of the olden time from utter destruction, Sangallo the architect built the blocks composing the façade into a bastion of the fortress, where, imprisoned in the brick-work, they remain to be liberated by the shot of the next besiegers of Perugia, and seem as much out of place as an ancient Etruscan would be in the streets of the modern city.

p462 Tomb of the Caecinae.

is in the University of Perugia, and is rich in Etruscan antiquities, especially urns, inscriptions and bronzes — the produce of the tombs in the neighbourhood.

Among the most ancient relics are some small square cippi of fetid limestone, like those of Chiusi, with archaic figures in low relief. In one of these a number of females are dancing to the music of a subulo; a lion is reclining on each side above.12

One of these cippi is circular and displays a death-bed scene. A child is stretched embracing the corpse of its parent — praeficae are beating their breasts and wailing the dead — many other figures stand with their hands to their heads in the usual attitude of grief — priests and augurs with chaplets and litui, are gathering round an altar. On this monument rests a tall fluted column, terminating in a pine-cone, and bearing a funeral inscription in Etruscan characters.13 There are other singular pillars — columellae — of travertine, two or three feet high, all bearing sepulchral inscriptions.14

The Etruscans of Perugia generally burned their dead, for very few sarcophagi are discovered on this site. The cinerary urns are similar to those of Chiusi, but mostly of travertine, though sometimes of nenfro, or a similar dark grey stone; and the urns, it may be, are of the latter, p463while the figures on the lids are of the former. He who has seen the ash-chests of Volterra and Chiusi, will not find much of novelty here; indeed the urns are interesting rather for their inscriptions, than for their intrinsic beauty or singularity. The subjects are not very varied. Among them are, combats of the Centaurs and Lapithae — the sacrifice of Iphigenia, more common at Perugia than on any other Etruscan site15 — the hunt of the Calydonian boar — Medusa's head between flowers — Scylla contending with two warriors — Glaucus, or the male deity of the same class, coiling his fishes' tails round the legs of a man armed with a club — a winged female seated on a hippocampus — two men riding on a sea-horse, one playing the Pandean pipes, the other the lyre.

This Museum affords proof that the Etruscan modes of burial were adhered to, after the city had become a dependency of Rome; for several urns, truly Etruscan in every other respect, bear inscriptions in Latin letters; though a native character is still conspicuous even in some of these.16

In this Museum is an inscription, celebrated as the longest yet known in the Etruscan character, having no less than forty-five lines. It is on a shaft of travertine three feet and a half high and nine inches square; the inscription is on two of its sides, and the letters, which are coloured red, do credit to Etruscan carving.17 It was discovered near Perugia in 1822. The subject it is in vain to guess at. Sundry attempts have been made at interpretation, among which is one which pronounces it p464to be written in choice Irish, and to be a notice to marines about the voyage across the Bay of Biscay to Carne in Ireland!18 A notice attached to it hints more modestly that it may possibly refer to agrarian matters.

In vases the Museum of Perugia is not rich, yet it possesses a few worthy of notice. Such is an amphora of large size, five feet high, in the later style, though without varnish. The subject is Penelope and her son Telemachus; the design betrays great beauty and freedom, particularly in the figure of a female behind the chaste queen. Another vase in the same style represents a bridal-scene — a subject often found on vases, but never on urns or sarcophagi. There are also some vases in the earliest style, with bands of animals, black and purple, on a pale yellow ground.

As beautiful painted pottery, like that of Vulci and Tarquinii, is very rarely found at Perugia, it seems probable that it was not manufactured on the spot. The ware which is most abundant, is unpainted, of black or red clay, sometimes with archaic figures in relief, though not in the style peculiar to Chiusi and its neighbourhood.19

There are a few small urns, and several heads, portraits of the deceased, in terra cotta. One of the latter has a physiognomy thoroughly Egyptian.

In bronzes this Museum is much richer than in pottery. Here are many laminae of this metal, with reliefs of men, animals, and chimaeras, mostly in a very rigid style of art. A minotaur, or human figure with a bull's head. — A draped female, with a bough on her shoulder and an unguentarium in her hand. — A fragment representing a biga — the horses p465and charioteer being broken away. — Two small fragments; one with Hercules shaking hands with some divinity who bears a four-pronged sceptre — the other a god, one of the nine great Etruscan deities who wielded the thunder, grasping a man by the hair, who cries for mercy and tries to stay the impending vengeance. — A fragment, beautifully chiselled, representing the beardless Hercules drawing his bow on two armed warriors. — A winged sphinx, with a tutulus, like a foolscap.

There are also many little deities and other figures in bronze; some of very archaic, even oriental character. Such is the goddess shown in the annexed woodcut, with two pair of wings, a tutulus on her head, and a dove on her hand. Another has a single pair of wings sprouting from her bosom. A third is a mermaid, with but one fish-tail, instead of two as usual.

All these relics of Etruscan toreutic art, besides others now at Munich, and some reliefs in silver in the British Museum, were found in 1812, on a spot called Castello di S. Mariano, four miles from Perugia, but not in a tomb; which makes it probable that they were buried for concealment in ancient times.20 They are supposed to be the decorations of sacred or funeral furniture.21 p466There are also in this Museum, some fragments of a curule chair, turned in an elegant Greek style, resembling the representations of furniture painted or carved in Etruscan tombs.

Of other articles in bronze there are very massive handles, probably of censers or braziers — ponderous hinges — helmets, some with cheek-pieces, as represented on the native monuments — spears — a pair of greaves, with the inscription "Tutas," in Etruscan letters, on each22paterae, pots and vases of various forms — strigils — ladles — strainers — armlets — fibulae — and some very beautiful specula or mirrors.23

There is also a collection of coins.24

A very singular monument was discovered in a tomb near Perugia, in 1844. It is a sarcophagus of nenfro, with reliefs on three of its sides; those at the ends representing figures reclining at the banquet, one with a lyre p467and plectrum, attended by slaves; that in the front of the monument displaying a remarkable procession, which demands a detailed description. It is headed by a man with a wand, apparently a herald, preceding three captives or victims chained together by the neck, whose shaggy hair and bears distinguish them as a separate race from the rest — apparently ruder and more barbarous. Two of them carry a small situla or pail in one hand, and a burden on their shoulders, which looks like a wine-skin; the third has his hand fastened by the same rope which encircles his neck. They are followed by two veiled women, engaged in conversation with the man who heads the next group. This is composed of two horses or mules neatly laden, attended by three men, the first with a spear, the next with a helmet and a sword, and the third without weapons, but in an attitude of exultation. A large dog, with a collar round his neck, accompanies these figures. Then march three men with lances, one with a burden on his shoulder, followed by two others similarly armed, driving a pair of oxen and of goats. The subject, from its position on a sarcophagus, has been supposed to be funereal, and to represent a procession of victims to be sacrificed at the tomb. But other than funereal scenes are often found on such monuments; and there are great difficulties attending such an interpretation. It seems to me much more satisfactory to suppose that it is a return from a successful foray. There are the captives bound, and made to carry their own property for the benefit of their victors; their females behind, not bound, but accompanying their lords; their faithful dog following them into captivity; their beasts of burden laden with their goods; their weapons and agricultural implements carried by one of their guards; and their cattle driven on by the rest. That the conquerors have no armour may be explained by p468supposing them not regular military, but the inhabitants of some border town.25

The style of art is very rigid, yet not deficient in expression; and the monument is evidently of early date, undoubtedly prior to the Roman conquest.26

Perusia, like Cortona, is of high antiquity. Justin calls it of Achaean origin;27 while Servius makes it appear that it was an Umbrian settlement.28 Its antiquity is as undoubted as its former splendour and importance.29 That it was one of the Twelve cities of the Etruscan Confederation is established by abundant testimony.30

We have no record of its early history. The first mention made of Perusia is of the time of Fabius, who, after having crossed the dread Ciminian forest, is said by p469some traditions to have won a victory over the Etruscans, under the walls of this city — a battle which is more generally believed to have been fought at Sutrium. However that may be, as Livy remarks, the Romans won the day, and compelled Perusia, Cortona, and Arretium to sue for a truce, which was granted for thirty years.31 This was in 444 (B.C. 310). In the following year, however, Perusia joined the rest of the Etruscans in opposing the power of Rome; and after the fatal rout at the Lake of Vadimon, it still held out till Fabius marched against it, defeated the Etruscan army under its walls, and would have taken the city by storm, had it not surrendered into his hands.32

We next find Perusia in conjunction with Clusium, in the year 459, opposing the praetor Fulvius; but the confederates were routed by him with great slaughter. Yet this defeat did not break the spirit of the Perusians; for no sooner had the consul Fabius withdrawn his army, than they excited the rest of the Etruscans to revolt; but Fabius, quickly re-entering Etruria, overcame them anew, slew 4500 of the citizens, and captured 1740, who were ransomed at 310 pieces of brass each man.33 Not yet even did they relinquish their struggle for independence, but in the following year, after sustaining two other defeats, one near Volsinii, the other near Rusellae, they were compelled, in conjunction with Volsinii and Arretium, to sue for peace; when a truce for forty years was granted them, on the payment of a heavy fine.34

At what precise period Perusia fell under the Roman yoke does not appear, but it must have been soon after the events last recorded, as ere the close of the fifth century of Rome, the whole of Etruria had lost its independence. Perusia joined the other cities of Etruria in furnishing p470supplies for Scipio's fleet at the close of the Second Punic War; its quota, like that of Clusium and Rusellae, consisting of corn,º and fir for ship-building.35 It is supposed to have been colonised about the year 711,36 and a few years after, it played a conspicuous part in the civil wars of Rome; for Lucius Antonius, being hard pressed by Augustus, then Octavius Caesar, shut himself up in this city, which the latter besieged, and starved into surrender. He gained little, however, by the capture; for one of the citizens, in despair, set fire to his house, and slew himself on the ruins; and the flames spreading, reduced the whole city to ashes.37 It was afterwards rebuilt, and colonised afresh by Augustus,38 as the inscriptions over its gateways testify, and its still maintained its rank among the chief cities of Etruria, even in the latter days of the Roman Empire, when it sustained a siege by the Goths, and was ultimately taken by Narses.39


The Author's Notes:

1 The Lacus Thrasymenus, Thrasumenus, Trasymenus, or Trasumenus of antiquity. Polybius (III.82) calls it Ταρσιμένη λίμνη, which Mannert (Geog. p416) takes to be correct, as probably taken from the oldest native dialect. Many of the ancients also called it Tharsomenus, instead of Thrasumenus. Quintil. Inst. Orat. I.5.

Thayer's Note: The Latin spelling usually seen nowadays is Lacus Trasimenus: in Italian Lago Trasimeno, in English Lake Trasimene.

2 For this battle see Liv. XXII.4‑7; Polyb. III.82‑84; Sil. Ital. V; Appian. Reb. Hann. p319, ed. Steph.; Oros. IV.15. Pliny (II.86) states that in the same year the news of no less than fifty-seven earthquakes was brought to Rome.

3 Sil. Ital. V.581.

4 Plin. II.111.— Trasymenum lacum arsisse totum . . . . Valerius Antius narrat. It is a pity to spoil a pretty tale; but in justice to the pure waters of the lake it must be said, that before Pliny's time, Valerius Maximus (III.7.ext.6),º had recounted it among Hannibal's great deeds — Trasimenum lacum dirâ inustum memoriâ. Silius Italicus (V.70‑74) also made Jupiter cast his bolts into its waters —

Fulmina Tyrrhenas Trasymeni torsit in undas:
Ictusque aethereâ per stagna patentia flammâ,
Fumavit lacus, atque arseunt fluctibus ignes —

both making a mere metaphor of what Antias recorded as a fact. Strange that he should have found a Pliny to repeat his folly.

Thayer's Note: Lakes occasionally do catch fire; and of course it is precisely because it doesn't happen very often that Pliny notes the report. Between a god hurling thunderbolts on the one hand and the rotting matted vegetation of a reedy marsh releasing methane gas into the hot Italian sun on the other, I side with Antias and Pliny.

5 Caina is an Etruscan family name, frequently met with at Perugia, and at Chiusi and its neighbourhood. It is the augmentative of Caie, or Caia (Caius).

6 On one side it flanks the approach to the gate, and is in receding courses; on the other, it rises to the height of 20 feet beneath the modern buildings. The largest block I observed was 5 feet by 2 — very small in comparison with the colossal masonry of Cortona.

7 The Porta di San Pietro is evidently Roman, modernised, as set forth in the inscription attached to it. The Arco di Maestà, or de' Buoni Tempi, is Roman below, Gothic above. The Arco della Conca seems wholly medieval.

8 The gate is 14 feet 6 inches wide, 20 feet 4 inches deep, and about 22 feet from the ground to the spring of the arch, the keystone of which will consequently be nearly 30 feet from the ground. There are 17 voussoirs. The moulding round it is very simple, not unlike that of the Porta di Giove at Falleri. In the spandrils there seems to have been on one side a massive head, now quite disfigured; on the other a projecting stone, though not in a corresponding position. This head may have been the keystone of the original arch, which the architects of the existing structure did not choose to replace. This gate is sometimes called Arco della Via Vecchia.

9 Canina, Arch. Ant. VI. p55. He says that though there are no valid documents to prove this gate older than the time of Augustus, to which the inscription would refer it, it is at least constructed in a manner similar to works of the most ancient times.

10 Canina (Archit. Ant. V. p96) points out the similarity of this gate to an ancient one at Antioch, called the Gate of Medina.

11 Like that it has a projecting head in one spandril, and something like one in the other to correspond, besides a third on the top of the arch, which gives the whole a resemblance to the celebrated Gate of Volterra. Above this is a frieze of six pilasters alternating with figures, instead of shields, three of men, and two of horses' heads. Over this is the inscription —

COLONIA VIBIA

and below the frieze is also the same inscription as on the other gate:—

AVGVSTA PERVSIA

12 Micali, Ant. Pop. Ital. tav. LVIII.2.

13 Inghirami, Mon. Etrus. VI. tav. Z 2.

14 These are all phallic. Such monuments abound in this district, especially at Chiusi. That they were sepulchral there is no doubt; it is proved both by the inscriptions on them, and by their discovery in tombs. In Lydia, the traditional mother-country of Etruria, they had a similar application; for one of colossal size has been discovered on the tumulus of Alyattes, at Sardis (Bull. Inst. 1843, p58), though this may be the same thing that was taken by Mr. Steuart (Lydia and Phrygia, p4) for one of the terminiοὐροι — which Herodotus (I.93) tells us surmounted that monument. Dr. Braun regards them as Mithraic symbols. Bull. Inst. loc. cit.

15 Vermiglioli, Bull. Inst. 1831, p10; Gori, Mus. Etrus. I. tav. 172; Inghirami, Mon. Etrus. VI. tav. L.

16 Such as "Thania. Caesinia. Volumni." — "L. Pomponius Efarsiniae Cnaiusº (Gnatus?) Pia" — "L. Volumni. Lal. Theonius."

17 Micali (Ant. Pop. Ital. III. tav CXX) gives this inscription, but his "facsimile" by no means does it justice. It is also given with various readings by Vermiglioli, Iscriz. Perug. I. p85.


[image ALT: zzz]

Thayer's Note: The inscription Dennis is writing about is in fact the famous Perusine Cippus shown here. His description does not quite match the artifact, which has 46 lines of text, not 45; and currently at least, it is not lined out in red — yet I find it unthinkable that someone would have cleaned off the pigment since 1822.

For three large fully readable photographs of this face of the inscription, see this page.

18 Etruria Celtica, I. pp377‑387.

19 Micali says the pottery of Perugia is so inferior, especially in the design of the figures, that it is not worthy of notice. Mon. Ined. p217.

20 For descriptions and illustrations of these bronzes, see Vermiglioli's work thereon, Saggio di Bronzi Etruschi, Perugia, 1813; Micali, Ant. Pop. Ital. III p32‑41 tav. XXVIII.6; XXIX.1‑5, 9; XXX.1‑3, 5; XXXI. The spot where they were found is celebrated in Perugian annals for a victory obtained, in the fifteenth century, over a band of British condottieri.

21 Micali, Ant. Pop. Ital. III p40 tav. XLV. They have often been supposed to have formed the adornments of a votive car, but Micali maintains that there is nothing in the form, size, or subjects of these articles to favour that view. Duplicates of many of them, and other works in bronze and silver, equally (p466)remarkable, discovered on the same spot, are preserved in the Glyptothek at Munich.

22 Vermiglioli (Giorn. Scient. et Letter. di Perugia, 1840) interprets this "defend me," deriving it from the old Latin verb tuto used by Plautus. Micali (Mon. Ined. p338) agrees with him.

23 Among these is a singular one representing "Mean," or the Goddess of Fate, attended by another goddess, called "Leinth," crowning "Hercle," or Hercules, with Cerberus at his feet. Gerhard, Etrusk. Spiegel, II. taf. CXLI; Gottheiten der Etrusker, tav. V.4.

24 Some coins, with a wheel on one side, and a bipennis on the reverse, with an Etruscan V, are attributed to Perugia by the worthy Jesuits, Marchi and Tessier. Aes Grave, class III. tav. IV; cf. Melchiorri, Bull. Inst. 1839, p123. They think that the wheel shows the dependence of this city on Cortona, of which this is the sole type; and that the battle-axe is expressive of the ancient name, whose initial is also marked — "Verusia," or, as they write it, "Ferusia," — which they derive from the Latin ferio; just as they derive "Tutere," the inscription on the coins of Tuder, now Todi, from tudes, a tundendo — implied by the club, a constant device on those coins. But this system of referring the names of Etruscan cities to a Latin origin is more ingenious than well-founded. "Peruse," which occurs in an Etruscan inscription in the Museum Oddi, of Perugia, seems to be the original form of the word. Micali, Ant. Pop. Ital. I p140. That the coins with the legend "Peithesa," have been erroneous attributed to Perugia, has been already stated. Ut supra, p89.

25 It was supposed by Signor Melchiorri, that this relief represented a colony going forth to fulfil the vow of a "sacred spring," according to the ancient Italian rite. Bull. Inst. 1844, p42. Vermiglioli agrees with this opinion. Bull. Inst. 1844, p143. But this between has been ably shown by Dr. H. Braun, to be untenable; yet his opinion that it represents a funeral procession, with human and other victims to be sacrificed at the tomb to the manes of the deceased, though ingeniously supported (Ann. Inst. 1846, pp188‑202), does not solve every difficulty, and I therefore offer in the text what seems to me a more plausible interpretation.

26 Dr. Braun considers it to be contemporary with the earliest paintings in the tombs of Tarquinii.

An illustration of this singular monument is published in the Mon. Ined. Inst. IV. tav. XXXII.

27 Justin. XX.1 Perusini quoque originem ab Achaeis ducunt.

28 Serv. ad Aen. X.201. — Sarsinates qui Perusiae consederant. The Sarsinates were an ancient Umbrian tribe, who inhabited the Apennines. Polyb. II.24, 7; Strabo, V.p227; Plin. III.19; Festus, v. Ploti. Cluver (II p577) hence concludes that Perusia was built long prior to the Trojan war, because the Umbrians, when driven out of Etruria by the Pelasgi, built Sarsina beyond the Apennines. Servius seems to hint that Perusia was founded before the latter city. Servius (ad Aen. X.198) records another tradition, that it was built by Aules, father or brother of Oenus, who founded Mantua, as Virgil tells us. Aen. X.200.

29 Appian. Bell. Civ. V.49 δόξαν ἀρχαιότητος ἐχούσῃ καὶ ἀξώσεως.

30 Appian (loc. cit.) expressly asserts it. And Stephanus also (v. Πεῤῥαίσιον). Livy twice cites its among the chief cities of Etruria capita Etruriae — one (IX.37) classing it with Cortona and Arretium, and again (X.37) with Volsinii and Arretium; here calling the trio — urbes validissimae.

31 Liv. IX.37. Diodorus (XX. p773) also places this victory at Perusia.

32 Liv. IX.40.

33 Liv. X.30, 31.

34 Liv. X.37.

35 Liv. XXVIII.45.

36 This inference is drawn from the inscription "Colonia Vibia" on the ancient gate called Porta Marzia; because C. Vibius Pansa was consul in that year. Cluver. II p578; Cramer, Ancient Italy, I p219.

37 Except a temple of Venus. The citizens had previously been accustomed to worship Juno, according to the rites of the Etruscans, but after this catastrophe they set up Vulcan in her place, as patron deity of Perusia. Appian. Bell. Civ. V.49; Dion Cass. XLVIII.14; Florus, IV.5; Vell. Paterc. II.74; Sueton. Aug. 9, 96; Lucan. I.41; Serv. ad Aen. VI.833.

38 Dion Cass. loc. cit. It is subsequently mentioned as a colony by Strabo (V. p226), Pliny (III.8), Ptolemy (p72, ed. Bert.), and is placed by the Peutingerian Table on the Via Amerina. See Vol. I. p146.

39 Procop. Bell. Goth. I.16; IV.33.


Thayer's Note:

a Perugia has always been wealthy, and is now far larger. The 2000 census gives its official population as 156,673 for the entire comune, that is, the town proper and the township around it. By my estimate, that puts the figure for the city proper at about 100,000.


[image ALT: Valid HTML 4.01.]

Page updated: 23 Mar 09