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montory, united to the continent by a neck of land. The adventures of Ulysses and his companions at this place, with all the extraordinary things which Homer has recorded of Circe, must serve to amuse you between Casa Nuova and Piperno; the road affords no other.
At Piperno, anciently Privernum, you quit Circe, for Virgil's Camilla, a lady of a very different character, whose native city this is.*
Near to Piperno, an abbey, called Fossa Nuova, is si, tuated on the ruins of the little town of Forum Appii, the same of which mention is made in the Acts of the Apostles, and by Horace, in his account of his journey to Brundu, sium.
Inde Forum Appi Differtum nautis, cauponibus atque malignis.t The abbey of Fossa Nuovo is said to have made a very valuable acquisition of late, no less than the head of St. Thomas Aquinas. We are told, in the memoirs of that saint, that he was taken ill as he passed this way, and was carried to this convent, where he died. His body was afterward required by the king of France, and ordered to be carried to Thoulouse; but before the remains of this holy
• Hos super advenit Volscâ de gente Camilla,
Agmen agens equitum et florentes ære catervaş,
ÆNEID. lib. vii.
person were removed from the convent, one of the monks, unwilling to allow the whole of such a precious deposite to be carried away, determined to retain the most valuable part, and actually cut off the saint's head, substituting another in its stead, which was carried to Thoulouse, very nicely stitched to the body of the saint. The monk, who was guilty of this pious fraud, hid the true head in the wall of the convent, and died without revealing the secret to any mortal. From that time the supposititious head remained unsuspected at Thoulouse; but as impostures are generally detected sooner or later, the venerable brethren of Fossa Nuova (this happened much about the time that the Cock-lane ghost made such a noise in London) were disturbed with strange knockings and scratchings at a particular part of the wall:-On this noise being frequently repeated, without any visible agent, and the people of tije neighbourhood having been often assembled to hear it, the monks at length agreed to pull down part of the wall at the place where the scratching and knocking were always heard. This was no sooner done, than the true head of St. Thomas Aquinas was found as fresh as the day it was cut off ;--on the vessel in which it was contained was the following inscription.
Caput divi Thomæ Aquinatis. And near it a paper, containing a faithful narrative of the whole transaction, signed by the monk who did the deed.
Some people, not making a proper allowance for the difference between a saint's head and their own, say, this cannot possibly be the head of Thomas Aquinas, which must have putrified some centuries ago; they say, the paper
is written in a character by much too modern; they say, the monks contrived the whole affair, to give an importance to their convent; they say—but what signifies what they say ? In this age of incredulity, some people will say any thing. We next came to Terracina, and here I must finish my letter ; in my next I shall
carry you to Naples.
• The head of Thomas Aquinas.
Naples Terracina, formerly called Anxur, was the capital of the warlike Volsci.* The principal church was originally a temple of Jupiter, who was supposed to have a partiality for this town, and the country around it. Virgil calls him Jupiter Anxurus. Enumerating the troops who came to support the cause of Turnus, he mentions those who plough the Rutulian hills,
Circeumque jugum ; queis Jupiter Anxurus arvis
Qua saturæ jacet atra palus, &c.t Near this place we fell in again with the Appian way, and beheld, with astonishment, the depth of rock that has here been cut, to render it more convenient for
passengers. This famous road is a paved causeway, begun in the year of Rome 441, by Appius Claudius Cæcus the censor, and carried all the way from Rome to Capua. It would be superfluous to insist on the substantial manner in which it has been originally made, since it still remains in many places. Though travellers are now ob liged to make a circuit by Casa Nuova and Piperno, the Via Appia was originally made in a straight line through the Palude Pontine, or Palus Pomptina, as that vast marsh was anciently called : it is the Atra Palus above mentioned, in the lines quoted from Virgil. That part of the Appian road is now quite impassable, from the augmentation of this noxious marsh, whose exhalations are disagreeable to passengers, and near which it is dangerous to sleep a single night.
Anxur fuit quæ nunc Terracinæ sunt; urbs prona in paludes.
Tır. Liv. lib. iv, † And the steep hills of Circe stretch around,
Where fair Feronia boasts her stately grove,
Keysler and some others say, that Appius made this road at his own expense. I do not know on what author. ity they make this assertion ; but, whatever their authority may be, the thing is incredible, Could a Roman citizen, at a period when the inhabitants of Rome were not rich, bear an expense which we are surprised that even the state itself could support? Though this famous road has received its name from Appius, I can hardly imagine it was completed by him. The distance from Rome to Capua is above one hundred and thirty miles ; a prodigious length for such a road as this to have been made, during the short course of one censorship; for a man could be censor only once in his life. This was an office of very great dignity ; no person could enjoy it till he had previously been consul. It was originally held for five years ; but, a hundred years before the time of Appius, the term was abridged to eighteen months. He, however, who, as Livy tells us, possessed all the pride and obstinacy of his family, refused to quit the censor. ship at the end of that period : and, in spite of all the efforts of the tribunes, continued three years and a half beyond the term to which the office had been restricted by the Æmilian law. But even five years is a very short time for so great a work; yet this was not the only work he carried on during his censorship. • Viam munivit, says the historian,' et aquam in urbem duxit.' The Appian road was carried on, afterwards, from Capua to Brundusium, and was probably completed so far, in the time of Horace; as appears by this verse, in one of his epistles, addressed to Lollius,
Brundusium Numici melius via ducat, an Appi.* Terracina is the last town of the ecclesiastical, and Fundi the first of the Neapolitan, dominions. This last town stands on a plain, sheltered by hills, which is seldom the case with Italian towns: it probably derives its name from its situation. There is nothing very attractive in
• Whether it is best to go by the Numician or Appian way to Brundu. sium?
this place, now, more than in Horace's time ; so we left it as willingly as he did,
Fundos Aufidio Lusco Prætore libenter
Linquimus. Continuing our route, partly on the Appian way, we came to Mola di Gaeta, a town built on the ruins of the ancient Formiæ. Horace compliments Ælius Lamia, on his being descended from the first founder of this city,
Auctore ab illo ducis originem,
Princcps. + The same poet puts the wine, made from the grapes of the Formian hills, on a footing with the Falernian,
mea nec Falernæ Temperant vites, neque Formiani
Pocula colles. I Cicero had a villa near this place; and it was on this coast where that great orator was murdered in his litter, as he was endeavouring to make his escape to Greece. The fortress of Gaeta is built on a promontory, about three miles from Mola ; but travellers, who have the curiosity to go to the former, generally cross the gulf between the two; and immediately, as the most remarkable thing in the place, they are shewn a great cleft in a rock, and informed that it was miraculously split in this manner at the death of our Saviour. To put this beyond doubt, they shew, at the same time, something like the impression of a man's hand on the rock, of which the following account is given.-A certain person having been told on what occasion the rent took place, struck the palm of his hand on the marble, declaring he could no more believe their story, than that his hand would leave its stamp on the rock; on which, to the terror and confusion of this
* We willingly leave Fundi, where Aufidius Luscus is chief magistrate.
+ From whom the illustrious race arose,
Who first possess'd the Formian towers. FRANCIS. My cups are neither enriched with the juice of the Falernian grapes aor that of those from the Formian hills.