Изображения страниц
PDF
EPUB

klos, in whom we are now told that we ought to see a Phoenician Melkart. Here we look on a city raised by the Phoenician as the trophy of his greatest work of destruction against the Greek, founded to be the Phoenician substitute for Greek Himera, but which practically became a Greek city raised by Phoenician hands, and which kept on the life, and even the name, of Himera on a new site. Nearer is the lowlier hill on which once stood Himera itself, the only colony from Greece along the whole northern coast of Sicily, the scene of the great salvation that was wrought when the barbarians of East and West came forth against the Greek in East and West, and when the Persian king and the Carthaginian judge felt the might of Europe on one day. The projections of the coast may hinder us from seeing every one of these spots at the same moment from any one point on the hill of Cefalu. But all come within our range of sight; we can see the furthest, even if some of the nearer chance to be hidden. And they are all sites which concern the colonizing and conquering races which strove for Sicily, Phoenician, Greek, and Koman, while of the older folk of the land they tell us nothing. Nothing is seen on this side to suggest the thought of Sikans or Sikels, and Elymian Segesta and Eryx lie beyond our range to the west.1 But on the right, towards the east, our Sikel height looks out on a land almost wholly Sikel. A crowd of sites once occupied by settlements of the elder

1 It may perhaps be needful to explain that tho Sikans {Zinavoi, Sicani) are the oldest known people of Sicily, most likely kindred with the Basques; that the Sikels (SucfXoJ, Siculi), who have given their name to the island, were an Italian people, speaking a tongue akin to Latin ; while of tho Klymians f/EAv/uot, Elymi), who held Segesta and Eryx nothing can be said for certain. They claimed a Trojan descent, which proves only that this settlement was old and their origin unknown. These are the three most ancient nations of the island, among whom, first Phoenicians and tlu-n Greeks, came as colonists.

folk are studded along the coast. Apollonia crowns a neighbouring hill; Agathyrnon bounds our view; between them come two of the most memorable sites in Sikel history. These are the later offshoots of the race, when the Sikel had learned of the Greek to plant colonies in his own land, the Halaisos of Archonides, whose Greek name did not hinder his Sikel patriotism, and the more distant Kale Akte, the last creation of that Ducetius who came so near to being the Philip of Sicily. We look on these Sikel sites, while the Greek points further to the East, the Tyndaris of Dionysios, and Mylai, outpost of Messana, lie beyond our range. Contrasting the view on the two sides, we feel that the hill of Cephaloedium was in some sort a Sikel outpost, guarding the land to the east, which Phoenician and Greek had both in a manner passed by, from the land to the west, which they made their chiefest battle-ground in Sicily.

I have assumed that Cephaloedium was a Sikel town. I mean in the same sense that any other town in Sicily was a Sikel town. That is, it was in Sikel occupation when Phoenicians and Greeks began to colonize, and there is no evidence that either Phoenicians or Greeks ever permanently wrested the spot from its Sikel owners. It may have come under any amount of Phoenician influence at one time and of Greek influence at another, and it would doubtless, like other Sikel towns, have largely adopted Greek manners and the Greek tongue before it passed under Roman dominion. It is in no way shown to be a Greek foundation because we know it only by a Greek name. It is a strange thing that we know the head of Phoenician Sicily only by a Greek name; the true Phoenician name of Panormos is uncertain. And we may risk the guess that Kcc^aAoioxov was what we may call a Greek translation of a name of not very different sound in the Latin speech of the Sikels; Cujntivm, nearly akin to Capitolium, was the actual name of another Sikel town. Nor is it proved to be a Phoenician foundation by saying that the Phoenicians could not have neglected such a site. It is easy to show another site hard by much better suited for Phoenician purposes than the steep and lofty headland itself. A little way along the coast to the east of Cefalil is a small peninsula now covered with a mediieval castle, bearing the name of Torre della Caldara. It is exactly such a spot as those on which the Phoenicians loved to plant their factories. A settlement on such a spot would of course be only a factory for trade and not a colony for dominion; but it is plain that, till the Phoenicians of Sicily withdrew to their three great strongholds in the West, many of their settlements were nothing more than such factories. There is no evidence in history to make us think that Cephaloedium ever was a Phoenician city; but there is everything short of direct evidence to make us think that the men of Canaan took care that this tempting little promontory should be made useful for their purposes in another fashion. From thence the cunning merchant, with his ensnaring ways and his tempting wares, made profit out of the Sikels on the height of Cephaloedium, not forgetting at favourable moments to add a little kidnapping and a little piracy. Such were the usual conditions of Sicilian life till the Phoenician withdrew before the Greek into his special corner. Then the field was left for the Sikel and for the Greek colonist, everywhere his master, sometimes in the full sense of lord, sometimes only in the sense of teacher. At Cephaloedium we have every reason to believe that, save perhaps for one moment1, the Greek was a teacher only.

Nowhere then more fittingly than on the heights of Cefalu could we look for the foremost monument of Sikel antiquity in the whole island, one which fairly divides the interest of the 1 Sec Diodoros, xiv. 78; cf. xx. 56.

place with the wonderful church below. No spot could be better suited than the Cephaloedian headland for the purposes of a primaeval town. The rocky peninsular hill rises steeply above the sea on three sides, leaving a ledge between its foot and the water, on which ledge stands the present town of Cefalu. Striking indeed is the effect of the stern square rock as seen from below, rising sheer above the houses and the minster. The whole circuit of the hill is fenced in with later walls, marking no doubt the extent of the ancient and now forsaken town, while the central point of the hill, yet more steep and rocky, soars above all, the primieval acropolis crowned with the castle of Saracen emirs and Norman kings. The forsaken site is full of remains of buildings of various dates, and among them is one of an interest altogether unique. Here, where we have no sign that either Phoenician or Greek ever fixed his dwelling, we can see in a very small space two dates of the work of the Sikel himself, and two dates of the work of his Roman master. A building yet stands on the slope of the hill in parts of whose walls we still see that piling of vast irregular stones to which those who love to burn their fingers with doubtful theories rejoice to give the dangerous name of Pelasgian. Of three doorways one has jambs belonging to this earlier time, jambs built of huge blocks with no attempt at workmanship, while they carry a lintel which makes some approach to the artistic forms of the Greek. Kindred with this lintel are two other doorways, the chief of which has sloping monolith jambs with a degree of finish which suggests that all the work of this kind is an insertion in a far earlier wall, and that the more regular rectangular blocks in the upper part of the walls belong to the same date. Here we surely see the work of the primaeval Sikel—or, if any one chooses, the work of the Sikan his predecessor—strongly contrasted with the work of the later Sikel brought under Hellenic influences. We long, but we long in vain, for some piece of evidence which would connect this later work with any of the few names of Sikel worthies which have come down to us. We would fain see here a dwelling-place of Ducetius, the man who came so near to founding a free and united Sikelia, whose works still live on the hill of Mineo and whose memory lives in the holy place of the Sikel gods at its foot.1 It would be enough if we could see in it the house of the first Archonides, the friend of Ducetius, the ally of Athens, or of the second Archonides, on whose site at Halaisa we have already cast a glance.2 But this is mere guess-work, though it is quite possible that a German scholar might in a special dissertation, prove either way to demonstration. It is enough that this unique building is the house of somebody, and not, as local tradition calls it, seemingly after a guess of good Fazello in the sixteenth century, a temple of Diana.3

One comment must be made here. If we had found here a Greek temple like the grandest at Girgenti, that would by no means prove that it was not, if not Sikel work, yet at least work done at the bidding of Sikels. Many, I suspect, go to Segesta and do not remember that Segesta never was a Greek city, and that the Doric style of its temple proves only the spread

1 The latest description of the lake of the Palici in its present state was given by Mr. Arthur Evans in the Manchester Guardian, May 14, 1889.

2 The first Archonides will be found in Thueydides vii., xiv. 16; the second in Diodoros i.

Mark that their name is purely Greek, while the name of Ducetius (AowceTios) is native Sikel, that is Latin or something very near to it. The ealdorman of the Sikels was clearly a duke, till Greek influence made him an archin.

3 Fazello however (i. 374, ed. 1719) does not commit himself to tho dedication. He only says, "Templi ingentis diruti Dorica forma olim conditi clara visuntur monunienta." One would have looked for something like the ruins of Seliuunte.

of Greek culture among its Elymian people. So people are sometimes puzzled when they go to see Gothic walls at Carcassonne, and find only Roman walls, exactly like other walls of the same date. It mattered nothing in the Gaul of the fifth century A.d. whether a wall was built at the bidding of a Gothic king or of a Roman Augustus. Either would call in the best engineering skill of the time, and the result would be the same in both cases. So in the Sicily of the fifth and fourth centuries B.C., if a Sikel or Elymian prince or commonwealth wanted a piece of work to be well done, they would call in Greek artists to do it, till the time came, perhaps sooner than we think, when they had native artists capable of reproducing Greek models. It is hard to see anything distinctively Doric in the building on the hill at Cefalii; but we may be sure that, if Ducetius or either Archonides ever wished to build a great temple, it arose in as distinctly Doric a shape as the holy place of the Elymian at Segesta.

It is wonderful to see this relic of the most ancient times, recast in times which we still deem ancient, standing comparatively perfect among the scattered ruins of days which are almost modern. It has been preserved because the men of intermediate times took possession of it, and turned it to their own ends. The Sikel, or the Greek whom he sent for, was not the last builder who worked on the socalled Temple of Diana. We see there the work of the Roman or of the Sikel who had learned to call himself a Roman. And we see his work of two dates, most likely marking two creeds. The only part of the building which keeps a roof is covered with a brick vault of Roman work. The chamber which was thus formed is said to have once had paintings and inscriptions. They are not there now; perhaps they are in some museum. And over all rise the ruins of a small apsidal church, of rude masonry indeed, but still showing the traditions of Roman construction. On all these works of so many ages the castle of the Saracen looks down from above. The minster of the Norman looks up from below. All the successive holders of this memorable headland have left their mark upon its soil.

But the early possessors of this mountain city did not forget the low coast at their feet. Cephaluidium was emphatically a city set on an hill, but it was a hill closely overhanging the sea, and a city set on such a hill needed a haven. The need may not have been felt from the beginning; but it must have been felt as soon as men took the first steps in civilization; it must have been specially felt when the Phoenician came to trade. Two walls were accordingly built to connect the height with the sea. They were as the Long Walls of Athens would have been if Piraeus and its haven had been close at the foot of the acropolis. Large parts of both walls are still to be seen, east and west of the present town, and serving as the foundation of the walls which still bound it. And it is said that other large parts are there which are not to be seen; that is to say, they are not to be seen to be what they are; they are so carefully plastered. But there is enough at both ends to show us the character of the construction, and on the west side especially, where the wall rises close above the sea, the effect is most striking. There is the same piling of huge stones of various shapes as in the earlier part of the building above; only, whenever the shape of the stones allowed, there is a certain tendency to range them in rectangular, or at least in horizontal, courses. It is vain to guess at the date of these walls; they are surely earlier than the finer work above, and we may suspect, though with less confidence, that they may be later than the ruder work. They mark a great advance on the condition of the first dwellers on the hill-top; and we must

never forget that, on any of these sites, the Sikel may have been dwelling in the tents of the Sikan. At all events, those who built them had got beyond the first stage of human progress as conceived by Thucydides.1 They had learned better to know the sea ; they had learned that, if it might be a source of danger, it might also be made a source of well-being.

We go down again to the lower town, the present Cefalu, the town which, in its present state, has risen around the great church of King Roger. The town stands, as has been said, on the narrow ledge between the sea and the foot of the hill, and some of its streets naturally climb a certain way up the hill. Every Sicilian town has its honorary epithet, as one or two, faithful Worcester among them, have in England. Sometimes one sees the reason for the name, sometimes not. It is easy to see why Castrogiovanni should be called L'Insuperabile; Saracens and Christians, if they did get in at the end, both found it hard work. It is not so clear why Cefalu should bo called La Piacentissima. It is not particularly unpleasing, that is, not particularly dirty and squalid, as Sicilian towns go; but there are Sicilian towns which have a more generally pleasing air. Perhaps it is held to have been made more pleasing by a change which, in Sicily, as in other parts, specially commends itself to the municipal mind. The gates of Exeter and of Oxford are gone; the Micklegate Bar at York was once very near going; and so at Cefalu, Mr. Dennis in 1864 speaks of four gates, all of them still abiding, one of them "of Norman times with a circular arch". No gates were to be seen in 1889. Mr. Dennis further speaks of the domestic remains, of two houses specially of King Roger's day, in the main street. A single window is all that seems now to be left to speak for any of them. But the great church is spared, the wonder of Cefalu below, as the Sikel-house is the wonder of Cephalcedium above, and one of the architectural glories of Sicily. Only to what architectural style shall we say that the church of Cefalu, like the other famous churches of Sicily, belongs 1 The matter is a very simple one; only, like many matters of the kind, it is apt to be confused by a careless use of words. If any one chooses to call these Sicilian buildings Norman, because they were built at the bidding of Norman princes, he can do so; the reason is as good an one as one often finds for names of the kind. Only then he must find some other name for the contemporary style of Normandy and England, to which the name of Norman is commonly given, with perhaps somewhat better reason. And if anybody chooses to call the style Saracenic, he will be right in a sense, but he will be likely to lead people wrong, as suggesting that the buildings were built during the time of Saracen dominion. Sometimes, in lighter moments, the thought comes in that a series of buildings begun by the great Count of Sicily and carried on by the great King, might be most fitly called Rogeresque. The name sounds droll, but it is at least distinctive, and can lead to no confusion.

The buildings of the Norman princes of Sicily, the two Rogers and the two Williams, are in truth Norman in one sense and Saracen in another. So far as architecture proper goes, the Norman rulers of the island simply went on using a style which they took over from their Saracen predecessors. Saracen artists, we have every reason to think, were set to build churches and palaces for their Norman masters. It is quite certain that those churches and palaces were built, so far as architecture goes, after Saracen models. But architecture proper is not necessarily everything in a building, and the Norman princes of Sicily did not reign over Saracens only. They had other subjects who practised other arts, arts indeed which to the Saracen were

No. 359.—Vol. Lx.

forbidden. The princes who could set the Saracen to rear their walls and columns, and who could then set the Greek to inlay the walls of the Saracen with his imperishable mosaic, could call into being houses and churches such as no other princes in the world could rival.

The style, it must be remembered, is one which systematically uses the pointed arch, but which is not Gothic, which is not even an approach to Gothic. The Saracens had used the pointed arch for ages; when they worked for Norman masters, they went on using it; that is all. The style, we might say everywhere but at Cefalu, has nothing to do with the Norman of Northern Europe. England and Sicily were ruled at the same time by Norman kings; but there is no likeness in the architecture of the two countries. The great churches of Sicily set the plain pointed arch, commonly stilted, on columns taken from classical buildings or closely copied from classical models. The nave of Cefalu or of any of its fellows is best described as a basilica with pointed arches. And in its general effect the whole church of Cefalu does not differ from its fellows; that is to say, its effect is about as unlike that of Durham or Saint Stephen's at Caen as the effect of any church can be. Yet, oddly enough, in some particular features there is at Cefalu a certain approach to the forms of the Northern Norman, such as is not to be seen at Monreale or Messina or Catania or in any church at Palermo. I say in any church, because in one narrow street in Palermo there is a house, or rather a range of houses, of the noblest Northern Romanesque, unlike anything else in Sicily, but which would be quite at home at Lincoln or at Le Mans. This would seem to show that the Northern style was perfectly well known in Sicily, but that its inhabitants, Normans and others, commonly preferred the style of the country. At Cefalii the great west doorway is

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »