In front of the church is an avenue of horse-chestnuts, and on a spur of hill to the left is the Castle of Tarsatto, once belonging to the Frangipani, now in the possession of Count Nugent, and completely restored. In the castle is a collection of statues from Minturnum, a gift of Ferdinand I. of Naples to Field-Marshal Nugent. From it a flight of steps conducts to a pleasant field-path which rounds the shoulder of the next hill and brings one back to the steps by which the church is reached. The view from the plateau is very extensive, the islands of Veglia and Cherso, in conjunction with the spurs of Monte Maggiore, seeming almost to enclose the sea, while to the south the Velebit range towers, generally cloud-capped.
The church of SS. Vito and Modesto was built in 1631 after the pattern of S. Maria della Salute. In the wall by the entrance is a cannon-ball, a memento of the English bombardment of 1813. On the quays there is to be seen much the same mixture of types and costumes as at Trieste. The country people wear a black loose coat with sleeves, over a kind of sweater which hangs below it; the trousers resemble broad breeches with a bit of loose stocking showing above the shoe. The rawhide shoes are of the same kind as those worn at Grado, at Monte S. Angelo across the water, and all over the country further south, pointed in shape and turned up at the toes, generally brown, with the upper part covered with lacing. On the men's heads are little caps, black, brown, or red.
While we were having dinner in the Piazza Adamich a military band came and played two morceaux; after which they marched off to the accompaniment of music, looking very picturesque, with the light from candles in lanterns hanging from staves flashing from the brazen instruments and lighting up the coloured uniforms against the dim background of garden and distant house.
The islands of Cherso and Veglia divide the Quarrero into three channels: that between Istria and Cherso, the Canale di Farasina; between Cherso and Veglia, the Canale di Mezzo (becoming the Quarnerolo further south); and between Veglia and the Croatian mainland, the Canale di Maltempo or della Morlacca, in front of which the little island of S. Marco lies. The scenery of the last-named channel is much finer than the Quarnerolo, and its interest is enhanced because the steamer passes Segna or Zengg, the rocky nest of the Uscocs, the pirates who were so troublesome in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries; but its first name, the Canal of Evil Weather, is an accurate description of what may be expected, since here the "Bora" blows with the greatest fury, making it the most dangerous part of the whole coast. There is scarcely enough of interest in the town itself to make it worthy of a visit, since the picturesque and horrible exploits of its savage inhabitants (which are its chief title to fame) may be read in the histories of the Uscocs. They were refugees from Bosnia and Herzegovina, driven out by the Turks; the word "Scochi" in Slav meaning exiles or fugitives. Their first establishment was at Clissa, near Spalato, under Pietro Crussich, lord of Lupoglavo in Istria. From this place they made raids on the Turks, who at last collected an army and besieged the place for a year. The castellan was killed in a sortie, and the castle surrendered in 1537. They then retired to Segna, where they were received and paid by the Emperor. The original band numbered only five or six hundred, but they had with them many assistants, Dalmatians banished by the Venetians or escaped from the galleys, and brigands of other nations, as well as indigenous camp-followers. At first they only attacked the Turks, more or less straightforwardly, but gradually became mere pirates. The Venetians fought fruitlessly against them for some time, and finally became embroiled with Austria over the question. They were most daring in their enterprises. On January 19, 1599, eight hundred of them disembarked at Portolungo and assaulted Albona. They had entered the suburb, when the citizens rushed to arms, led by the valiant parish priest Don Priamo Luciani Cristoforo Negri, and succeeded in beating them off. They then retired on Fianona, which they took by surprise, established themselves there, hoisted the Austrian flag, and obliged the inhabitants to swear fealty to Austria. One man who refused, Gaspare Calovanich, they flayed alive! Many other outrages were committed, shipping was attacked, and sailors robbed. The war which followed only ended with the peace of Madrid, September 26, 1617, by the provisions of which the Uscocs were to be interned and scattered over the Austrian provinces, and their ships destroyed; whilst the Venetians were to restore conquered places to Austria. A few of the Uscocs who were left at Segna went on in their evil ways, and in February, 1619, took a Venetian ship with 4,000 zecchins-worth of cargo. The Republic made a claim, and Austria punished them with death and restored the booty. This was the last of their raids. Sir Gardner Wilkinson says that out of a number hanged in 1618 nine were Englishmen, of whom six were gentlemen.
They are described as being without discipline, but ready to follow their captains blindly. They feared no fatigue, climbed the rocks like cats, slept in the open air, preferred tactics of surprise, and cared for nothing but the satisfaction of their cupidity. Some were dressed gipsy-fashion, with arms and breast bare. The bulk, however, wore a dress resembling that of the Morlacchi—tight hose, shoes of cord or rawhide, a red-brown waistcoat without sleeves, and a red felt cap on the head. They wore their hair in long locks, with wild-looking moustaches, had earrings of iron or silver, and their weapons were semicircular axes, and knives which they carried in their girdles. Altogether a fearsome crew to have to do with!
Segna belonged to the Counts Frangipani, whose eyrie was fixed at Castel Muschio on the island of Veglia. It is near the northern end above a wide bay on the sea side of a broken plateau, partly crowned with fortress-walls, in front of which a few houses sparkle white in the sun. Only one tower remains, with doors on first and second-floor level and a S. Mark's lion in relief. The island was the ancient Curicta, near which there was a sea-fight between the ships of Caesar and Pompey in 49 B.C., when the Istrians took the part of the latter. The Caesarian fleet under Dolabella was destroyed, and Caius Antonius, Caesar's general, was shut up in Veglia, where he was encamped with two legions. The soldiers constructed three rafts made of two rows of boats fastened together with chains, and with a platform of beams upon them, and a great tower at one end, by means of which the rowers were to be protected and the enemy attacked. Octavian, Pompey's admiral, retired behind Cherso, but left the channel fouled with ropes and chains fastened to the rocks. In the afternoon the rafts which had been launched reached the narrow part of the strait. The two smaller ones got through, but the largest stuck. Octavian then attacked. On the big raft were one thousand Opitergian colonists, under the captaincy of the tribune Vulteius. They fought till night, when, seeing that their case was hopeless, they determined to die rather than surrender. At dawn the struggle recommenced, the Istrians joining in the attack. The end was the suicide of Vulteius and his followers, and the surrender of the cohorts on the island.
From 1126 the islands of the Quarnero belonged to Venice, but the peace of Zara in 1358 ceded Dalmatia to Hungary and Veglia with it; and, when Ladislas sold Dalmatia to Venice in 1409, Veglia was excluded, being formally ceded by the last Count Giovanni in 1480. Nicholas Frangipani, who was count in 1409, had nine sons, and left his property equally divided among them, so that there were nine counts of Veglia at the same time. Giovanni, the eldest, to make himself secure against his brothers, put himself under the protection of Venice in 1452, married a daughter of Paolo Morosini, and published his will in 1453, by which he left the island to the Republic if he died without issue, thus making it clear to his brothers that he was determined that they should never have the island, and that if they tried to take it by force he would be protected by Venice. At the same time he swore to the inhabitants to preserve their ancient laws and customs. He had no intention of keeping his word in any particular, and played off Matthias Corvinus, king of Hungary, against Venice in the most unblushing manner, making traitorous suggestions to both sides alike, and attacking the towns of either party alternately. His subjects, being much oppressed, invited the Hungarian general, Magiar Blas, to invade the island in 1480, saying that he would be received as a Messiah. He came and attacked Castel Muschio; but the count invoked the protection of Venice. A few days later Veglia was bombarded by the Hungarians, the Venetian galleys not being able to render much assistance. The people refused to fight, saying that they preferred to have even Turks as rulers rather than their count. After consultation with the Venetian officers they were summoned to the Palazzo Pubblico; and the count told them that he was the servant of Venice, and that they must swear fealty to the Republic and would be protected. Accordingly the oath was taken by all, and the Hungarians were obliged to make terms. They were allowed to return safely to the mainland. The count then began to threaten those of his subjects who had been in favour of the Hungarians, and many fled in fear. The captain-general of the Venetians, as corrective, published an order authorising the inhabitants to kill any of the count's people who molested them. Count Giovanni bit his lips, determining to be revenged when the captain-general had gone, but never had the chance, as he was carried off to Venice, at which the Veglians rang the bells for joy. The Venetians set matters in order; but the count wrote letters saying that he would soon return to Veglia and punish all traitors; in consequence of which the Veglians assured the governor that, should he do so, they would either call in the Turks or leave the island waste and uninhabited. To solve the difficulty the Venetians pensioned him off. He became, however, soon dissatisfied with the amount and fled from Venice, his disappearance being regretted by no one. He was an abominable character, and among the evil deeds of which he was guilty was the making of false seals to enable him to forge documents.
A considerable portion of the walls built by the Venetians round the town still remains, overgrown with ivy, and the city is still entered by the old gate-openings, the Porta di Su and the Porta Pisani, though the actual gateways have disappeared. On one of the towers guarding the latter is a rather fine relief of the Venetian lion. Close to the cathedral is the castle of the Frangipani, two of the towers being within the bishop's garden. The sea washes the rocks on which they are built, and in time of storm the spray flies over the curtain wall.
Our prowlings around the walls attracted the attention of two guards, who, after following us for some time, stopped us to question our proceedings. The production of the Statthalter's letter which I carried with me satisfied them that we had no nefarious designs, and it was returned to me with the remark (made rather regretfully, I thought) that it was all "in order." Travellers will find it advantageous to obtain some kind of "permit" if their tastes are likely to lead to the exhibition of unusual curiosity in relation to buildings and their surroundings.
The cathedral, erected in 1133 in thanksgiving for a great victory over Corsairs gained with the assistance of Venice, was therefore dedicated to S. Mark. It consists of nave and aisles with an apse of five sides of an octagon, which bears the date of 1688. The nave arcade is semicircular, the arches varying in height, some being stilted, and rests upon sixteen columns of granite, Istrian stone, red marble of the island, and pavonazzetto. Several are in more than one piece, one or two are made up to the requisite height with another stone, and two are octagonal. Most of them have but the slightest projection for base, the level of the pavement having apparently been raised. Most of the caps have Byzantine thistly acanthus worked with great use of the drill, one has quaint gambolling beasts and birds within arched forms in place of foliage, which show imitation of Oriental ornamental forms, and one, which has hollows for inlays of squares and diamonds, bounded by the leaf shapes, is exactly like one in the pergola of the director's house at Salona, which came from the campanile, Spalato. There is a fine early Renaissance choir-screen with an ambo at each side, made of the red variegated marble of the island; an angel of white marble supports the book-rest. To the north of this screen is a rather late Gothic chapel with apse of three sides and lierne vaulting. It has octagonal wall shafts and shields as bosses, with devices upon them, and the arms of the Frangipani. The place of the altar still shows on the pavement, and it has been suggested that the silver pala belonged to this chapel. Two more chapels open from the south aisle through Venetian slightly ogee arches, with saints at the top emergent from leaves, and a cable moulding within and dentils without. In one, the columns have been replaced by Renaissance half-columns; in the other, the fourteenth-century shafts still remain. In the choir are two fine Gothic tomb slabs, commemorating a fourteenth-century bishop and an arch-priest (1494), and other slabs with coats of arms in high relief.
The silver pala is preserved just within the west door upon the south wall, behind glass in tolerably large sheets, so that it can be easily studied. The present parroco replaced the old heavy wooden framing by one of lighter construction. It is thought to have been a triptych originally. Each of the wings has ten figures in two rows of five, one above the other—twenty in all. On the right S. Peter occupies the middle of the top row with S. John the Baptist below; on the left are S. Paul and S. Nicholas in the corresponding places. All the figures stand on brackets. The upper centre is occupied by the Madonna and Child standing on the crescent moon; below is the Coronation of the Virgin; the other four niches have figures of angels, three half-lengths in each, one above the other. SS. Jerome and George are recognisable among the other saints. The heads are much too large, and the figure-work is coarse. The niches are trefoiled and ogee-headed, with crockets and finials and octagonal colonnettes between, springing from corbels, and crowned with imbricated pinnacles; they have piercings resembling window tracery, with rosettes between each repetition. The bar which divides the two ranges of figures, and the frame have very beautiful triple rows of vine-scrolling in exceedingly low relief, which is quite lost at a little distance. An inscription gives the name of Peter Grimani and the date of 1742; but this must refer to a restoration, as the style suggests the fifteenth century, and would agree quite well with the date 1405, when one of the Frangipani is recorded to have established the chapel of S. Vito in the cathedral. The treasury now contains nothing of importance—at least, inquiries only produced a showy processional cross of the seventeenth century.
The cathedral is entered from an archway beneath the campanile; on the other side of the arch is the church of S. Quirinus, a Romanesque building in two stories. The lower portion is now a wine-store; the upper, reached by steps, is vaulted like a crypt, nine spans resting on four low columns. It has been modernised, but the three apses are untouched externally, crowned with a corbelled arcuated cornice, the centre one being the largest. The cathedral has a doorway on the south side not now used; the round arch has a torus moulding, pilaster strips, and caps beneath a gabled hood, made of the local marble and bleached by the sun to a delightful varied yellow.
Close to the Porta di Su is another Romanesque church—S. Maria. The interior has been modernised, though a few caps resembling those in the cathedral remain; but the tower (at the west end) has two stories, with two circular-headed windows with buttress between unspoilt. At the other side of the road is S. Francesco, which has a tower of five stories near the east end, and long trefoil-headed windows. The high-altar-piece in this church (a Madonna with saints) is ascribed to Pordenone (1531), and there is an interesting pulpit with five marquetry panels, S. Francis receiving the stigmata in the centre, and personifications of four Christian graces in the others, good work of the seventeenth century.
The Venetian clock-tower, now a cafe, bears the date 1493 on a panel of the winged lion above the pointed arch, but must be earlier than that date, as it also bears the Frangipani escutcheon. The loggia was behind it. In this piazza are carved panels from a Venetian well or fountain, with an inscription of 1558 ascribing its erection to Antonio Gradenigo, swags of flowers and fruit, a S. Mark's lion with a tower by the sea, &c.; and in the walls here and there are encrusted a few antique inscriptions.
A walk of about forty minutes brings one to the shore of Val Cassione, a nearly semicircular bay with only a narrow entrance from the Quarnerolo. The water is generally smooth like a pond, the mountain of Treskavac, which rises to the north-east, sheltering it. The island of Zoccolante, girdled with ilex and maples, lies opposite the village of Ponte, and on it is the Franciscan monastery of Cassione. A pergola shelters the path from the boat-house to the porch, and the cloister is full of flowers and bushes. The church has an altar-piece by Girolamo da S. Croce, signed and dated 1535, and a Raffaellesque Virgin and sleeping Child. The library contains a few early printed books. Throughout the island, except in this convent and in the town of Veglia, the Slav liturgy, granted by Pope John VIII. (872-882), is in use.
The usual route to Castel Muschio and Veglia is from Fiume, but one of our visits was made from Arbe to Besca Nova, a most picturesque and equally evil-smelling port, sheltered by widely stretching rocky points (one of which bears the appropriate name of Punta Scoglia), which rise to mountainous masses behind the little town, with a modern cemetery chapel on one of the lower spurs. The houses straggle round the curve of the shore, with groups of trees here and there, and little creeks running up into the land, crossed by narrow bridges; the streets, mere alleys often, scarcely permitting two persons to pass each other, rise to a church round which they cluster more thickly. At this end of the town the houses cling to the side of the hill above and below the street, and are approached by steps which descend to the front, though there are also doors on the street level convenient for elopements, and wonderful great chimneys of great originality and variety. There were a good many boats in the harbour, and we had an excellent opportunity of seeing it from all points of view, for the pier at which the steamer stops is at one horn of the bay, and it is a walk of a quarter of an hour to the indifferent inn. We asked a couple of gentlemen who were coming out if we could get anything to eat there, and they replied: "Oh yes, if you go at once." We found, however, that we must order what we wanted and wait until it was cooked, so we left the civil padrona to her labours, and immediately were mobbed by a crowd of children to whom strangers were a godsend. A gendarme approached and asked for our credentials, but, being satisfied that we were not dangerous, offered to assist us in any way he could, and we found that the children disappeared for a time. I made inquiries of him as to a couple of pictures ascribed to Vivarini and Basaiti, which I understood were in the town, but he knew nothing about them. The Vivarini is a Madonna enthroned with two child angels at her feet, with three saints on either side of her and angels holding the baldacchino.
On our return to the inn the question of a carriage to Veglia engaged our attention. There was an officer of some kind in the room, who had taken one of the three carriages which appear to compose the transport of Besca Nova and declined to share it. The second was under repair, one of its wheels being in the hands of the wheelwright on the ground in front of the inn. The third had been engaged by two Italian gentlemen, father and son, and its appearance suggested doubts as to whether it would take five persons and our luggage over the backbone of the island. There was a diligence, but it started at 2 a.m., and the drivers tried to persuade us to sleep at Besca, saying they could take us on at 6 a.m. The dejeuner we had had, however, inspired so little confidence that we determined to get on to Veglia that night, sharing the third carriage with the Italians, though in the end we did not benefit very much by the arrangement. As the shadows began to lengthen, the horses were put to, the harness being supplemented with bits of rope in some places, and we packed ourselves and our belongings into the carriage, finding our fellow-travellers very pleasant companions. The narrow road runs up a rocky valley, at first with a considerable space of cultivated land on each side, vineyards and grain occupying the greater part; and before long Besca Valle came in sight, a barbarous-looking village, with curious reed-thatched huts for styes and cart-hovels, and with whitewashed walls to the houses which stood upon unparapeted terraces supported on great arches used for storage of different kinds. In the church of S. Lucia, some distance away, is the earliest Glagolitic inscription known. Our driver appeared to be on familiar terms with most of the population, and was continually calling out greetings to people some distance from the road.
The valley narrowed and the rocks rose higher, the clear bright green Fiumera foamed and tumbled in its rocky bed, and we passed a picturesque mill astride of it, backed up with trees. Soon the driver called our attention to a great rock hanging from the cliff which seemed as if its fall from the height was merely a matter of moments, but which had looked so, he said, for years. The continuous climb was interrupted by a wooded depression through which the road wound; it then crossed the stream and commenced a long ascent continuing for more than a mile, which we negotiated on foot. As we rose higher the view expanded, and we found it pleasant to turn and gaze at it, warm in the sunset-glow. The Velebit Mountains, with their summits hidden in the clouds, blushed a beautiful warm rose colour, while Arbe and the nearer island of Pervicchio which shelters the harbour, rather more orange in colour, contrasted with the pale sapphire of the sea, each increasing the brilliancy of the other. The shadowed valley at our feet, with mill, stream, and dark trees, enhanced the brightness of the distance and of the final glow upon Besca Nova, where the curve of its houses embraced the bay with chains of orange and cream colour.
A solitary horseman passed us while we were surmounting the stony waste through which the higher portion of the road winds, a greyish and reddish variegated marble used in buildings in the island, and just at the summit we met the diligence on its way to Besca. The sunset was superb, the glow of the sky reflected in the sea, with Cherso dark against it and the shores of Veglia laid out below us, showing Ponte and the Convent of Cassione, and Veglia beyond almost hidden in trees. As we descended the long slope the colour faded from the sky, and long before we reached the town of Veglia nothing could be discerned but the silhouettes of branch and leaf against the sky.
OSSERO AND CHERSO
On one of our journeys we went by boat from Trieste to Lussin Piccolo, stopping only at Pola. It was just before Easter, and many sailors from the fleet were going home for a holiday. The quay was crowded with passengers, and a queerly shaped engine, belching forth thick smoke, with train attached, was drawn up behind them. This we thought a fair subject for a snap-shot, but the production of the camera attracted the attention of a policeman who would not be satisfied until it was put away, though the arsenal was behind us. The sailors swarmed on board and filled the whole fore part of the boat—fine-looking fellows for the most part, and very good-humoured. Their kits were done up in handkerchiefs with the map of Europe printed on them in red, blue, or buff. They were full of jokes, and were, in fact, just like a lot of big schoolboys. Some of them gathered in a ring and sang in parts for some time; the music sounded better a little way off than near. There were also Montenegrins on board who had been working on some railway in course of construction. One of them had two pairs of corduroy trousers on, the upper whitish, the under the usual brown-green.
Lussin Piccolo lies at the head of a deep bay, and climbs the ridge along which the road runs to Lussin Grande, a place which is now much smaller than its neighbour, but more picturesque and pleasant. The bigger hotels are at Lussin Piccolo, where the larger harbour allows the steamers to call. It has become a winter residence for Russians and Austrians; and the keeper of the largest cafe told us that many of the former came, instancing an officer of the guards who stayed six months, and told him he was better off there than in St. Petersburg, or indeed Manchuria, where he expected to be sent if he returned! The harbour is called Val d'Augusto, because the fleet of the Emperor Augustus is said to have remained at anchor there for a whole winter. It may be true, for at the battle of Actium his fleet was principally manned by Dalmatians. From above the town the view looking towards Ossero is rather fine, the summits of the hills along the spine of the island rising one beyond the other, culminating in Monte Ossero, paling and getting bluer with greater distance. The sea, of a blue quite different in its quality, runs into the land in many little inlets, while beyond are Veglia and the mainland mountains often capped with clouds.
The road to Lussin Grande runs along the slope of the hills, rounding tree-clad spurs and diving into hollows, with frequent peeps down into little coves where boats are drawn up. In one of these a little fellow was paddling himself about in a tub. On seeing us looking at him, he raised the usual boatman's cry, "Barca, barca, Signori, per Lussin Grande," and burst into a peal of laughter, in which we joined. The port is delightfully picturesque; at the entrance is a church approached by a flight of steps, with a terrace and cypresses, towards which nuns were wending their way for "benediction"; the sun glowed upon white walls, dark trees, and tiled roofs; while the harbour in shadow, full of boats rich with the colour of nets and sails, and the reflections of the blue sky upon its rippled surface, afforded an attractive contrast. One round tower of the walls remains, built of stone, with machicolations and Ghibelline battlements added in brick and plastered; a modern slab over the door gives the date 1455. A kind of public garden called the Piazza del Pozzo, from an old rope-worn well within it, contains many different kinds of flowering and shady trees with seats beneath them, and aloes grow on the rocks above the entrance to the harbour on both sides. The town contains several fine houses, and in the churches are a few interesting pictures, though architecturally they are not very noticeable. One of them has a curious tiled ogee-shaped dome over the sanctuary. The pictures are: in S. Nicolo, a Byzantine Madonna and Child with S. Joseph; in S. Maria degli Angeli, a Bartolommeo Vivarini—God the Father above, surrounded by angels; below, an enthroned Madonna with SS. Augustine, Catherine, and Cicely on one side; on the other, SS. Agnes, Jerome, and Lucy: the picture is dated 1475. There are also a Pietro della Vacchia called a Titian, and a few others.
The women wear a curious head-dress something like a turban with a long end hanging down the back; they generally have a loose sleeveless jacket over a white full-sleeved blouse and a skirt in many pleats and often of many colours, and an apron; sometimes a handkerchief is thrown over the head instead of the head-dress. They also wear elaborate earrings, a number of rings fastened together with a drop below, all of metal.
From Lussin Piccolo we drove in the opposite direction to Ossero, the ancient Apsoros or Auxerrum, following a narrow road through olive-yards, along the shore or some way up the hill among a bewildering variety and luxuriance of vegetation. On the island, which is about eighteen miles long, though nowhere more than two in breadth and seldom more than one, there are three villages besides the two Lussins. They are Neresine, Chiunschi, and S. Giacomo. At Neresine we were told that there was an English-speaking landlady. So we looked her up at the "Gasthaus Amicorum." We found that she and her husband had been in America, and were told several strange stories of curious occurrences which she had known of while there, especially with regard to the drugging of drinks, which made one think she must find her life rather lacking in excitement in this little out-of-the-way place where she was apparently going to end her days. There is a Franciscan convent here with a handsome campanile looking much more ancient than its date (1590-1604), with double lights and a balustrade round the top. In the church are pictures attributed to Girolamo da Santa Croce and the younger Palma. The ascent of Monte Ossero may be made from here (1,900 ft.). The top is a bare, stony wilderness like the backbone of Veglia.
The weather was lovely, and we constantly came upon subjects which would tempt the artist to stop and sketch—a monk seated under an olive-tree in the shade; cattle and sheep tethered to the grey trunks, grouping themselves as they clustered for company; a boat under sail seen through the branches of the trees against a headland on the more distant hills of Arbe and the mainland; and so on. The hillside was clothed with bushes and plants in flower, among which we recognised the oleander, white rose, juniper, laurustinus, fig-trees, ilex, cypress, strawberry arbutus, a small-leaved myrtle, grape hyacinths thick on the ground, giant and quite small spurges, a euphorbia with thorny trailing stems and heart-shaped leaves, great ericas as high as a man, in some places cyclamen in clumps by the wayside like daisies, a bush trifolium something like cytisus but scentless, thyme, and a kind of sage, while the bay-trees were so fully in bloom that they looked a pale yellowish green instead of their usual colour. Just before we reached the bridge connecting the islands of Ossero and Cherso, which has to be crossed before the town of Ossero is reached, great banks of spurge made the roadside as yellow as fields full of charlock in England.
In a wall at the entrance of the town the S. Mark's lion still watches, though the two fortresses which report says were here are no longer traceable. The cathedral is Lombardesque in style, built by Bishop Antonio Palcic (1465-1474), and has a rather pretty doorway ascribed to George of Sebenico, who was certainly employed by him upon other works, and a massive campanile of 1675, which dominates the place. The nave is five bays long, the arcade is round-arched with pretty caps and ornamented archivolts, and the floor is paved with red and white marble in chequers. The holy-water basins are simple, and the columns of the ciborium rest on two red marble caps of the fourteenth century upside down, one base of the same and one of the Lombardi period, showing the use of older material. The church still retains a line monstrance, one or two other pieces of silver-work, and some embroidered vestments, though no longer the seat of a bishop, and over the high-altar is a picture of the school of Titian. The monstrance is late Gothic, with a foot added in the seventeenth century. It is decorated with many niches and figures, and a fine cresting round the domical top. The curved surfaces above and below the glass tube have scroll-work upon a blue enamel ground, part of which has come away. In these places there is no sign of pattern upon the silver, but only a general cross-patching showing that the arabesques and other patterns were not soldered to the ground beneath, but only arranged with the enamel flux before firing. The architectural details are gilded, the rest is silver.
There are some remains of Roman walls still traceable, between which and the mediaeval walls is the site of a large seven-aisled church, perhaps a pair of twin basilicas. Upon the ruins of the seventh aisle the present church of S. Maria was erected, and within it the ancient bishop's throne, constructed of fragments of ninth-century carved slabs, was still preserved till a few years ago. It was only after persistent inquiries that we found it in a store-shed with other fragments of ninth-century carving and some Roman antiquities thought of little importance, though the inscriptions and other marble fragments and the stone funerary urns are in their company. In the show museum are Roman fragments, lamps, Pansiana pottery stamps, bronze vessels and utensils, iron fragments, glass phials, &c. On the hill, not far off, prehistoric tombs with interesting objects have been found; but the greater part of the finds have been sent to more important museums.
The sea-passage, which is crossed by a swing bridge, is called the "Cavanella di Ossero"; through it a strong current runs. The island of Cherso, the ancient Apsirtide, is a miniature of Monte Maggiore, with some fine mountain scenery in it, and a curious fresh-water lake, the surface of which is only 50 ft. above sea-level, though it is 225 ft. deep in some parts. The finest mountain scenery is near Smergo, where the rock rises sheer from the water to the height of 1,000 ft. Here is the "Dirupo di Smergo," a cave with a domed top. At one time the sea broke into it, laying bare the interior, which is like a giant amphitheatre with ribbed roof and sides. The fragments then detached lie at the foot of the rock, making a wall between the sea and the cave. The city of Cherso is best reached from Pola or Fiume. It lies at the head of a winding inlet, protected by a round tower at the point, a relic of the fortifications of an earlier period. It belonged to Venice from 1126 or 1130 till 1358, becoming finally Venetian in 1409, and was granted in feud to various patrician families, so that all the objects of art in the city show distinct traces of Venetian influence. The piazza by the harbour is triangular in shape, the narrow streets, with many picturesque houses in them, climb the hillside from the water, and the ancient walls remain on the land side. The loggia is a simple seventeenth-century building supported on six stone piers; in the back wall are encrusted two inscriptions—one Roman, one mediaeval. The cathedral was burnt in 1827, but the west door still remains, very closely resembling that of Ossero. A picture by Alvise Vivarini is preserved in the priest's house—a Madonna with SS. Sebastian and Catherine, and SS. Christopher and Cosmas.
In the chapel of the Mother of God is a Byzantine Madonna and Child on a gold ground. The carnations are brownish; there is a cross on the breast and on both sides of the head, with the Greek monogram [Greek: ME ThY]. There are also some fine stalls in the church of the Franciscan monastery; but there is not very much of interest in the town except the numerous Venetian houses.
HISTORICAL SKETCH OF DALMATIA
The history of Dalmatia is obscure and confused for a great part of its course. That there were Greek and Phoenician colonies along the coast and on the islands is certain; the earliest of the former was that founded by the Syracusans in Issa (Lissa) in 390 B.C. A Cyclopean building, the so-called Gradina Gate at Gelsa, is attributable either to this colony or to that of 385 B.C. in the ancient Pharia (Lesina). Tragurium (Trau) and Epetium (Stobrec) were daughter colonies of Issa. The largest number of inscriptions and coins have been found on Lesina and Lissa. Celts were in the country from about the same period. The Roman conquest was brought about by the appeal of the people of Issa for help against the powerful native queen Teuta. Illyria, south of the Narenta, became a Roman province in 168 B.C., though war with the inland tribes continued till 34 B.C., when Augustus took the ships of the pirates of Curzola and Meleda and the Liburnians, and conquered the inland tribes at Promona—eight long and disastrous campaigns in all. There was, however, another revolt in 6 A.D., when the danger to Rome was so great (800,000 men being in rebellion) that Augustus sent seven legions under such generals as Tiberius, Germanicus, and Postumius, who took several years to overcome their resistance, so that it was not till 12 A.D. that Tiberius enjoyed his triumph. Some of the cities were made municipia, and some colonies, and from this time Dalmatia was loyal to Rome. The Antonines erected important buildings in Jadera and Burnum, and they also fortified Salona.
Roman Dalmatia included the whole coast from Istria to the Drina, part of Albania, all Montenegro, Herzegovina, Croatia, Servia, almost all Bosnia, and some of the islands of the Quarnero. The legions for the most part remained near the coast, which gradually increased in commercial prosperity and civilisation; broad and safe roads were made to the interior uniting the Save and the Danube on one side, and the Drina on the other. From Burnum a road by way of Petrovac reached the basin of the Save; from Salona a fan of carriage-roads spread out—one across the Dinaric Alps by AEquum and the hill of Prolog to the Danube, another by the same hill to Livno and Kupres, a third between Delminum and Serajevo. From Narona (Vid) the great Roman Road of the Narenta started, and in Albania was the Via Ignatia from Durazzo and Vallona to Salonica. The great coast-road from Zara went past Scardona and Salona to Narona and Scodra; the inner land route commenced at Tarsatico (Fiume) and went by Zengg over the Velebits to Clambeta (near Obrovazzo) and Zara, then by Nadinum, Asseria (Podgradje), Burnum, Promona, Municipium Magnum, and Andetrium to Salona.
Illyricum was divided into Liburnia, from Istria to the river Kerka, the people belonging to the juridical Convent of Scardona, which settled the business of eighty-nine cities; from the Kerka to the Narenta they sent their representatives to Salona; and Illyris Graeca, from the Narenta to Drilone in Epirus, which belonged to the juridical Convent of Narona. With the successive Eastern invasions and the consequent race differentiations, maritime and inland Dalmatia were separated, and the Turkish conquest made the Dinaric Alps into a bulwark not to be crossed.
The Illyrians furnished the Romans with many distinguished soldiers, of whom Claudius Gothicus, Aurelian, Septimius, Probus, and Carus of Narona were soldier emperors. Diocletian was the most celebrated. More than sixty Roman settlements are known. For about seventy years the country was ruled by the Goths. After the recovery of Italy by Belisarius and Narses it belonged to Byzantium from 537, and was ruled from Ravenna by a catapan at Salona. The war with Chosroes in 600-614 strained the Byzantine resources and thus denuded the coast of soldiers, so that the Avar and Slav inroads met with little resistance under Heraclius (610-640), who had called in the latter to drive out the Avars; Narona, Salona, Epidaurus, Burnum, and Rhizinium were destroyed. In 641 Pope John IV., a Dalmatian by birth, sent Abbot John to Istria and Dalmatia to ransom prisoners and collect relics.
The Croats and Serbs exterminated the Avars in the middle of the seventh century and delivered the province, the Croats occupying the west to the river Cetina, the Serbs the east from the Cetina to Albania. Under the Serbs the southern portion was divided into four zupanje, of which the only name which has survived is Trebinia, which reached from Cattaro to Ragusa and included the mountain regions. The Croat dukes recognised the sovereignty of the Carlovingians, as is proved by the oldest inscription extant, that of Tripimir (852), being dated by the rule of the Emperor Lothair. The title of king was assumed by Muncimir in 914. Two or three of the kings resided at Nona in the eleventh century—Stepan ([symbol: dagger] 1052), Peter Cresimir and Svinimir ([symbol: dagger] 1089). The widow of the last invited her brother Ladislas of Hungary to take the kingdom. In 1097 Coloman I. of Hungary married the daughter of Roger of Sicily. Under Coloman II. (1102-1113) the coast towns from Zara to Spalato were Hungarian, while Ragusa and Cattaro remained under the protection of Byzantium.
The government of the Dalmatian cities was democratic to a considerable extent, the oligarchy embracing a large proportion of the inhabitants, and the monasteries were expected to contribute to the common needs and share in the defence of the town. The supreme official was called prior; judges and tribunes also are mentioned in contemporary documents. A certain dependence upon the Greek Empire was recognised, for in Zara the strategos, the catapan, and the proconsul of Dalmatia appear even after the time of the Croatian kings. The Venetian doge had the title of King of Dalmatia given him by the Emperor of Constantinople about the end of the eleventh century in return for the help given by the fleet against the Normans.
During the whole of the twelfth century Venice and Hungary contested the possession of Dalmatia, victory inclining to Venice, who, by policing the Adriatic, made her protection valuable to the coast cities. The pirate raids from which the coasts suffered were of varied nationality—Saracen and Turk, Uscoc and bands of native pirates. Of these latter the Narentans were the most powerful. They remained pagan till near the end of the ninth century, and beat off an attack by Doge Pietro Candiano in 887, killing him. He was buried in the atrium at Grado. For one hundred and sixty-eight years they carried on the contest with Venice, being most powerful during the tenth century, when Otho I. sought their alliance. They had then become Christian, and assisted in driving the Saracens from Monte Gargano. In 992 the confederate Dalmatian cities asked for the protection of Venice, in response to which the expedition under Orseolo II. was fitted out, and broke their power. The population of the Narenta valley is now but 12,000, in spite of the facts that Metkovic, near the mouth, is the terminus of the railway from Serajevo and Mostar, and that the government has spent much money in dredging and embankment works at the mouth of the river. The boundary of Herzegovina is but a mile from Metkovic, for which it serves as port. Vid, a few miles away, is the ancient Narona. A good many inscriptions and antique fragments have been found there, and are now encrusted in the wall of a house. For many years Vid was a bulwark of Christianity against the Turks, and the minarets of a little Turkish village, Liubuski, in which half the population, male and female, wear Turkish costume may be seen not far away.
By the middle of the fourteenth century Lewis of Hungary had acquired the whole of Dalmatia from Zara to Cattaro. In 1409-1420 Venice bought the territory from Hungary, with the exception of Ragusa, which for some fifty years remained under Hungarian protection, but after 1467 was protected by Turkey. In the sixteenth century the Cross and the Crescent were bitterly opposed; Austria became the Christian champion in place of Venice towards the end of the seventeenth century, and at the fall of the Republic Istria and Dalmatia were given to her in 1797 by the treaty of Passerino. From 1806 till 1814 they were French; but the peace of Vienna settled their destiny as forming part of the Austrian dominions, in which they have remained till the present day.
It was very early in the morning when we arrived at Arbe the first time; so early, in fact, that the innkeeper was still in bed and had to be interviewed from his chamber-window, and we had to deposit our belongings at the door before commencing our explorations breakfastless. On this occasion we were unfortunate. The skull of S. Christopher was exposed on the altar, but the shrine was locked up, and the parroco had gone into the country to visit a sick man, with the key in his pocket, while the ciborium was swathed in festival draperies. We therefore determined to satisfy ourselves with a cursory inspection, and arranged to return the next year; for the steamboats are not like suburban trains, missing one of which merely means a slight delay. Many of the islands have but one or two services in the week; and staying for the next boat may derange the plan of a whole tour.
The city looks most attractive from the sea as one approaches. It occupies a long tongue of land midway along the western coast, and the walls drop into the water both towards the harbour and the open sea. They are nearly complete in their circuit, but have lost their battlements and some portions of their substance. There is a good deal of ruin within them, which makes the foregrounds uninteresting and squalid. To the west is a public garden planted with fir-trees, and with seats here and there. Aloes grow plentifully on the rocks to the south-west.
In the early Middle Ages Arbe was prosperous owing to its trade and its position on the high-road between Venice and the East. The plague of 1456 depopulated it, and all the richer people fled except the bishop, Johannes Scaffa, and five canons. In 1463 Bosniaks flying from the Turks came to increase the population and were well received, but the town never recovered its prosperity. The empty streets and ruined houses and churches near the cathedral testify to the desolation. The style of the houses is Venetian for the most part, as might be expected, since it was the port of call for those going to Greece or the Holy Land. Some of them are very interesting and beautiful. The quay has several fronting on to it, specially a lofty tower-like building of the fourteenth century with later windows and balconies inserted. Many marble coats of arms may be seen here and there, and the windows and door-jambs often have charming carved ornaments. The Palazzo Nemira shows a pleasing combination of late Gothic and Renaissance detail in pierced panels and balustrading; and the parroco lives in a house which has a good doorway of the usual Venetian-Gothic type. The house in which Archbishop De Dominis was born (for some time Dean of Windsor, and celebrated for his scientific attainments), a palace of somewhat later date, is now a kind of club and reading-room, in which the innkeeper apparently has the right of serving his patrons with meals. The families of De Dominis and De Hermolais gave many bishops to the see between the twelfth and fifteenth centuries. The loggia is well preserved or has been well restored. Overlooking it is a window from which a parrot screams insulting remarks to passers-by.
Arbe was known to the ancients as part of Liburnia. Pliny mentions it, and so does Porphyrogenitus. There was a second city in the island in antiquity called Colento, of which every trace has disappeared. The island belonged sometimes to the Croats, sometimes to Byzantium, and sometimes to Hungary, but from 1115 was mainly under the influence of Venice. The history of the Church goes back to the tenth century, but the first bishops' names are uncertain. A Zaraitan record of 986 mentions a Bishop Petrus. In 1062 a Bishop Dragus is named as being at the consecration of S. Pietro in Valle, the oldest Benedictine convent in Arbe. In the communal archives are preserved the oldest MSS. of the kings of Dalmatia and Croatia of the tenth century.
The cathedral is a basilica with nave and aisles. The main apse is octagonal outside and semicircular within; the apse to the north aisle also exists; that of the south aisle has been replaced by a square chapel. The nave arcade consists of six bays of round arches, resting on five pairs of columns which, though they are made up with plaster and painted, are probably antique, since the caps differ enormously in height and column and cap frequently do not fit. Some of the capitals might be late Roman, but most of them are very rude imitations. Super-abaci are used. The ciborium is hexagonal and rests on six columns of Greek cipollino, with the top and bottom mouldings worked on them; the caps are Byzantine of the sixth or seventh century, but without super-abaci. The front arches have huge Renaissance swags in the spandrils and a moulded cornice with classic enrichments; at the back are three ninth-century panels with arch and spandril in one piece, carved with ornament similar to that on the baptistery of Calixtus at Cividale; the pyramidal roof terminates in a carved finial. The greater part of the building is of the thirteenth century. The church, having become ruinous in 1237, was restored in 1287, and again in 1438 and 1490. It is now the chief parish church of the diocese of Veglia. The west door belongs to the last restoration; in the tympanum is a poorly carved Pieta. It is flanked by some remains of a flat arcading. The wheel-window above, though Romanesque in design, bears the date 1439. A pink marble is used in this facade with very good effect. In the north wall is a square marble panel with an enthroned Christ, of Byzantine type, like the ciborium and the nave columns a relic of an earlier building. The stalls are fine of their kind, and we were told that an offer of 50,000 florins and a new set had been made for them and refused. They are dated 1445, and are elaborately carved with figures and the usual nerveless foliage of the period, of which other good examples occur at Zara and Parenzo. In a chapel in the north aisle is a polygonal Renaissance font of rather pleasing design, with S. John the Baptist in the central panel and fruit, &c., hanging in the others. In the apse of the north aisle is an early Madonna with the Child, robed in red and blue with golden diaper patterns; and over an altar in the south aisle is an interesting tempera picture in a frame of the fourteenth century, painted on a gold ground, with Greek inscriptions and technique. In the central panel is a Crucifixion, on the left is S. Matthew, and on the right S. Christopher.
S. Christopher was patron of the town and diocese, and the greatest relic is his head, now that those of Shadrach, Meshech, and Abednego have disappeared. The first mention of it occurs in the eleventh century, when Bishop Dabrana or Domana (1080-1086) brought it forth with prayers and hymns to deliver Arbe from an attacking horde which had besieged the city for a month. A great stone fell from heaven into the camp of the besiegers on that occasion, and the missiles which they shot recoiled upon them. In Arbe, S. Christopher's Day is kept on May 9, the day of this discomfiture, instead of July 25 as elsewhere. Other deliverances took place in 1097 from Coloman of Hungary, and in 1105 from a Hungarian Count Sergius, according to tradition. The shrine appears to be work of the twelfth century, and is based on the antique, but betrays Byzantine influence also. It is decorated with gilded reliefs upon a ground of silver. It is a rectangular wooden box with a pyramidal lid, to which the silver plates are nailed. The subjects upon the four sides are: 1. A seated king and an archer shooting at S. Christopher, who is bound to a stake; the arrows fall deflected and broken by the hand of God, which appears by the saint's head. Above is a canopy supported on twisted columns. 2. The saint is beheaded beneath a canopy; the hand of God again appears by the headless trunk. Two soldiers in Roman costume stand by, one with lance, and the other with raised sword. 3. Three holy men holding scrolls, barefoot and robed in tunic and toga. 4. Three holy women, two holding a cross; the heads have been restored. All these figures have large heads, especially those standing under the round-arched arcade, with alternate twisted and ringed colonnettes. The lid has repousse subjects upon all four surfaces: 1. Christ enthroned, blessing and holding a book, with the monograms IC and XC; in the corners the lion and eagle with books. 2. S. John with the eagle and monogram IONS. 3. S. Christopher, beardless, as a standard-bearer, and with a royal
mantle, with inscription FOR; at his feet a male
and a female figure—donors probably. 4. The Virgin standing with monograms [Greek: MH ThY]. An angel with a book stands near. The skull is surrounded by a double crown, the outer of gold set with precious stones, the inner of silver ornamented with lilies. The tradition is that the reliquary was the gift of Queen Elizabeth of Hungary.
In the sacristy are also three strips of champleve enamel from a destroyed reliquary, with figures of eight of the Apostles—Matthew, James, Bartholomew, Andrew, Thomas, Philip, Thaddeus, and Svhon (Simon)—seated and holding symbols in one hand and churches in the other (which have central domes sometimes, and pediments over the doors, while the roofs and towers look much later than the thirteenth century, to which they are generally ascribed). The colours used are blue, green, yellow, white, and red, and the style resembles that of the Maestricht school. Eitelberger describes another plaque on which SS. Peter, John, Mark, and three others were represented. This seems to have disappeared since his time, as it was not shown me with the others.
The campanile of the cathedral is one of the finest in Dalmatia, and is older than the year 1212, in which year there is mention of it. It is 20 ft. square and more than 100 ft. high, with four stories separated by ornamented string courses, a base and a pyramidal top. The base has a door and eight windows, two on each side, on a higher level. The lowest story has also two windows on each side, but beneath three corbelled arches. In the next the windows are each coupled, with a central colonnette and an arch above springing from the central and angle pilaster strips. In the third the windows have three lights and coupled colonnettes beneath a similar arch, but the story is loftier. In the top story (which is as deep as two of those below) there are four lights with coupled colonnettes and a square framing round them; a cornice slightly projecting and a balustrade complete the perpendicular part. All the arches are round and the window shafts have neither cap nor base. The leaf ornament of the strings imitates the antique. The pyramidal top is octagonal, and bears an inscription recording its restoration after damage by lightning; the lower portion seems to be original.
Four of five other churches have campaniles, of which S. Andrea is the best, apparently twelfth-century work, as are the three apses at the eastern end. S. Giustina has a curious bulbous top, plastered and painted red. The churches generally have a semicircular apse and flat wooden ceilings; those without campanili have bell-turrets on the west wall, many of them no longer in use. S. Andrea was rebuilt in the middle of the fifteenth century, and has a good Venetian Renaissance doorway. In S. Antonio, just beyond the cathedral is a fifteenth-century altar-piece with carved and painted figures. In S. Andrea is a woefully repainted Bart. Vivarini, signed and dated 1485, and in the Franciscan convent of S. Eufemia, some way outside the walls, there are said to be two pictures by the same artist.
Of S. Giovanni Battista, which was so interesting for the construction of its apse and ambulatory, scarcely anything remains—just the exterior wall of the apse and north wall of the nave, with remains of one door with an inscription. The obliging owner or renter of the ground showed us a piece of the mosaic pavement in rather bad repair, which he said the Duke of S. Stefano wished to buy, but it was impossible to get it up from the grass which had grown round it, apart from the difficulty of the three permessi required from the bishop, the authorities, and the proprietor. He had the earth swept off the piece which we saw, and there was no grass growing just there. The patterns are interweavings rather Roman in design, the colours used being black, red, rose-pink, and white. The church is said to have been the first cathedral; later it belonged to a Franciscan convent which was used as the palace of the bishop some seventy years ago. Round the cloister were two stories of rooms, with a curious chapter-house in the corner. The site is now laid out as a garden, with pergolas and a terrace-walk looking over the sea; amid these are still a good many architectural fragments lying about, some of which appear to go back to the tenth century. Four boxes full of such fragments were sent to the Museum of S. Donato at Zara without any claim being made for expenses, but were refused.
One ought not to omit mentioning the chapel of the Campo Santo, which has a strange facade with three great conventional shell forms above a rose-window, and a carved architrave with Renaissance motifs above the door. It was restored in 1867; the adjoining ruinous building has 1657 over its door.
S. Pietro in Valle is some six miles from Arbe, and is as yet undescribed. Signor Rismondo, whose kindness I have just referred to, offered to drive us out to it, an attractive offer which I was exceedingly sorry to have to decline; but the times of sailing of the boats are not elastic, and it would have meant spending four days more on the island, an amount of time which I could not spare. He also wanted to take us to below Loparo, where he said the geological formations are strange and impressive. The cliffs facing the mainland are riven into detached pinnacles estimated to be as high as the campanile of the cathedral, and the scenery is savage in the extreme.
Our second visit to Arbe was made from Zara, which we left in rather stormy weather, the waves outside the harbour flashing with little white caps, while flaws of rain constantly hid the island of Ugljan on the other side of the channel. The boat was rather a small one, belonging to the Zaratina company, with a crew which consisted of a captain, who also acted as supercargo, an engineer, a stoker, a cook, one deck-hand, and a cock. The cock's name was Nero, and he had voyaged with the boat for two months (as the engineer testified) without suffering even from the most tempestuous weather. There was an awning over the central portion of the boat and flapping pieces of sailcloth, apparently intended to shield the very varied merchandise which was being brought on board, and we found that it was possible to shelter beneath it by observing the direction of the wind and keeping to leeward. The crew comforted some women who feared the roughness of the waves (one of whom carried a new hat in a large paper-bag, which became rather dilapidated under the attentions of the wind and the frequent showers) by saying it would be all right when we got round the point behind which Nona lies; and as the boat was very buoyant and seaworthy we found it possible to enjoy the passage notwithstanding the doubtful weather. As we turned down the bay to Val Cassione, however, the wind shifted a point and blew dead against us, and we began to think that the boat was very small for such a sea. The women and a child had to disembark here, and were almost in tears, and the length of time that the boatmen took to make up their minds to come out from the harbour and face the choppy sea did not reassure them. Nero marched bravely up and down the deck, giving vent every now and then to a rather cracked crow, and we wondered how he escaped being blown overboard! Fortunately he carried very little sail, only two feathers remaining in his dilapidated tail; but his spirit was high, and he was always ready to respond to the challenges of the engineer.
As we rounded the point after leaving Val Cassione the wind shifted again and the weather improved as if by magic. The clouds gradually melted away, and the blue of the sky palpitated through the grey; the sun shone warm upon the barren, featureless coast, adding colour to the dispiriting grey of the limestone spotted with the dark green of shrubs, a characteristic of most of the Dalmatian islands, and the Velebit Mountains became clear, in some places to the summits, though the greater part of the chain was still cloud-capped and barred with heavy purple shadows.
The party at lunch consisted of the captain, the engineer, and a priest who was now the one passenger beside ourselves. We comfortably filled the table in the little cabin. The captain said that since the phylloxera damaged the vines two-thirds of the Dalmatians (the country people) had emigrated. He seemed to hold them in slight estimation, perhaps because he was a sailor, which he said none of them are in that part of the country (a statement we had an opportunity of verifying, for we noticed that a very slight motion of the boat makes them sick), and so ignorant "that it would require 2,000 years of teaching to civilise them!" The captain himself belonged to one of the outlying islands, where his wife and family lived and where he spent two nights in each week; and he took a gloomy view of the prospects of the "Dalmati," as the Italian-speaking Dalmatians call themselves. He said when he was a boy the language used in the schools generally was Italian, then it was changed to German for a time, but Croat is now universal, so that in twenty years Italian will no longer be understood along the eastern littoral; which will be bad for the culture of the country, almost the whole of which is Italian, and has been so for centuries.
Our priest left us at a little convent with a chapel and two houses standing close to the water's edge; and at Novaglia we took on board a party of emigrants, some of whom were quite boys, while one was grey-headed. Most of them wore the picturesque costume of the Morlacchi; but the next day we saw them again, clad in the characterless, sack-like slop-suit which seems to be thought a mark of civilisation, having lost much of their individuality without gaining anything in exchange. A number of friends lingered on the shore to see them off; but there was no such singing as we heard next day at Loparo beyond Arbe, the birthplace of the founder of the Republic of S. Marino, where some twenty or more were waiting for us on a barge in the pretty bay, singing a farewell song which wailed over the water as we approached. As they boarded the steamboat they kissed their friends on both cheeks, and crowded to the side as we got under way again, repeating their melancholy song and waving adieus; while all along the tops of the hills which flank both sides of the harbour figures silhouetted against the sky, waved in response, and stood watching the boat as long as we could distinguish them.
When we reached Arbe, cresting its rocky point with a picturesque confusion of walls, campanili, and house-roofs that seemed to grow out of the rocks, so well do they harmonise with them, the afternoon was sunny and delightful, though the roads showed signs of the rain which had recently fallen. At sunset we climbed again to the public garden and enjoyed the well-remembered view of towers and walls grey against the glowing sky, the most beautiful grouping of one of the most picturesque places that I know, intensified by the charm of the changing colours as the glow gradually faded, and the opalescent sea by slow degrees took its place in the quiet harmonies of twilight.
The continuation of the Canale della Morlacca, which washes the mainland, is the Canale della Montagna, on the west side of which is the island of Pago, the Gissa of the ancients. The city of the same name was founded by the Venetians, and was originally a defensive military post against the Uscocs. The bay upon which it is situated lies open to the "Bora," and therefore cannot always be entered in winter. For this reason Val Cassione, on the west side of the narrow island, is the usual port. A road over a slight hill conducts to the south end of the bay and the city, in front of which the water is so narrow that it is bridged over. On the near side are the celebrated salt-works, the richest in Dalmatia. There are a few Roman remains, including those of a camp; and near Novaglia is a tunnel 300 yards long, lighted by pierced apertures, said to have belonged to a Roman aqueduct. The scenery outside the island of Pago is uninteresting; the islands have little elevation, beauty of form or colour, nor is there sufficient vegetation to disguise the dull grey of the rocks, though, as the boat turns to the west to gain the mouth of the Canal of Zara, the Velebit Mountains behind may become imposing under certain circumstances. The first time we went to Zara the sun was setting at this part of the voyage, and the sky effect was fine, while the Velebits flushed a pinkish purple with blue-purple shadows, the silhouette only showing in places beneath heavy masses of cloud, in which some of the summits were hidden. Falling showers here and there softened and veiled the strong light and shade, relieved by the prismatic hues of a rainbow. As the sun sank lower the mountains and clouds gradually became a pallid grey, while the sky to westward passed through many gradations of colour and tone as the clouds slowly dispersed and night fell. Far away over the darkening water the electric lights of Zara flashed and glittered, reflected in chains of sparkles which grew longer as we approached.
The boat turned to the left into the old port, and thus we escaped the ordeal of the dogana to which passengers landing at the new quay are subjected, and entered the town through the Porta Marina, the entrance for all travellers arriving by water until, in 1868, the walls towards the sea were thrown down, and the Riva Nuova constructed. It is proposed to extend this fine promenade to Borgo Erizzo eventually. In making it some remains of Roman walls were found. The city was declared "open," and the cannon were transported to the arsenal. On the other side of the water is the island of Ugljan, with its conspicuous Venetian castle of S. Michele, to which the peasants make a pilgrimage on Michaelmas Day. From the height which it crowns, the second Canal of Zara may be seen, and the islands of Incoronata, Isole Grosse, and the open sea beyond. It is said that the coast of Italy can be seen with a telescope on a fine day. The remaining portions of the fortifications have been planted with trees, or turned into gardens, and form pleasant promenades both during the day, when the shade of the trees is acceptable, and at evening, when the sea breeze blows cool from off the water. Among the trees are found palms and Paulownia in flower. Outside the Porta Terra Ferma a large bastion has been made into a public park, named after General Blazekovic, who created it in 1888-1890. The fortifications, commenced by Sanmichele in 1533, were finished ten years later by his nephew Giovanni Girolamo: a drawing for the Porta Terra Ferma exists in the Uffizj at Florence, showing the whole depth to the bottom of the ditch, which much improves the proportion. It was approached diagonally across a wooden bridge; the road is now direct, and the ditch filled up. The isthmus joining the peninsula to the land had been cut through to strengthen the older fortifications, of which one tower, the pentagonal Bo d'Antona, alone remains. When the new works were carried out, as a stronger defence against the Turks, the suburbs were destroyed, and the ditch was subsequently turned into the cisterns below the Cinque Pozzi. This great reservoir, made in 1574, was provided with an elaborate system of filtering-beds, the water being collected from the roofs until the aqueduct was opened in 1838. The sand was renewed once in a hundred years.
The inner portion of the other gate, the Porta Marina, was, according to local tradition, brought from AEnona. It is part of a triumphal arch erected by a Roman lady, Melia Anniana, to her husband, Laepicius Bassus, with additions of the period of the Renaissance. It bears a long Latin inscription referring to the battle of Lepanto, October 5, 1571, and on the water side has a pretty, early Renaissance upper part, with the lion of S. Mark and amorini supporting a shield within an architectural framing.
Zara (anciently Jadera) is traditionally the capital of the Liburnians. It became a Roman colony in 78 B.C., and many Roman fragments have been found which attest its splendour and prosperity under the Empire. Trajan built an aqueduct, of which traces have been found through Borgo Erizzo to and beyond Makarska. Stone pipes of the same kind were found on the shore at Zara Vecchia, in the ruins of the Templars' castle on the hill Kastel; above the lake of Vrana, and in the marshes through which the road from Vrana to Benkovac passes. It is believed that the source was a spring at Biba on this hill. Salona, during the time of its prosperity, was of more importance than Zara; but after its destruction by the Avars in 639 the latter again became of first importance in Dalmatia, the Byzantine fleet being stationed there when Ravenna was taken by the Lombards in 752, and the town becoming the dwelling of the "strategos." In 804 Donatus, bishop of Zara, acted as envoy with the doge of Venice in concluding peace between Charlemagne and the Byzantine Emperor Nicephorus. In the tenth century it was known as Diadora. In 991 it became Venetian for the first time, but without severing its relations with Byzantium; and Orso Orseolo fortified it in 1018. Somewhat later, the Venetians made it their principal city, putting the bishoprics of Arbe, Veglia, and Ossero under the metropolitan in 1154, and making Domenico Morosini, son of the doge, Count of Zara. The inscription on the nuns' church of S. Maria records the fact that Coloman entered Zara in 1105; from that date the Hungarian period commences, though apparently the Venetians still had rule over maritime Dalmatia. The sacking of the city by the French in 1202 appears to have been due to the greed of the Venetians, and to their desire to get even with the Hungarians also. Between 1169 and 1201 a Pisan fleet, probably allied with Hungary, took Pola from the Venetians; but it was retaken before long, and the discords between Henry or Emeric, son of Bela of Hungary, and his brother Andrew facilitated the taking of Zara. It is recorded that Andrew had most of the magnates on his side; but Emeric went alone and unarmed to the malcontents, saying: "Now I wish to see who of you will dare to raise his hand against his king"; and all quietly and in silence let him pass. He then took his brother, led him out, and imprisoned him in a certain castle. The magnates fell at his feet asking pardon. Truly in those days divinity did hedge the king!
The French Crusaders had engaged the Venetians to take them to the Holy Land, but did not assemble at Venice at the time appointed, nor had they the money ready to pay for their transport. The Venetians, being men of business, demanded cash down; and so the favourable time for reaching Syria was allowed to pass without the expedition setting forth. Provisions and ships had been prepared, and the Venetians, wishing to use them, with the consent of Doge Enrico Dandolo, proposed to the French an attack on Zara, part of the booty to be used to pay for their passage. The attack took place on November 10, 1202, and the French stayed till April 7, 1203. The Venetians took all the booty, and threw down the wall on the seaward side, but it was restored shortly after. They also sent colonists to Zara after a rebellion and a reconquest in 1243.
The Venetian counts were generally citizens of Venice, and had no defined term of rule. In 1311 the city again returned to the Hungarians, and the result was the siege of 1312-1313, which ended in the condottiere Dalmasio, who was besieging, being offered the countship by the ban of Dalmatia and Croatia. To prevent this the Venetians offered to leave the Zaratines free to choose their own count, only reserving the right of confirmation. In 1345 Zara rebelled for the seventh time, when Andrea Dandolo was doge, and in consequence a long siege commenced on August 12. The Venetians had at Nona 20,000 men, horse and foot, who devastated the fields for three days and set fire to the villages; the countrymen fled to the city, so that there were more than 20,000 within the walls, of whom 6,000 only were armed. On August 30 they closed the port with a chain made of thirteen beams, and on September 1 sent an envoy to Andrew, king of Naples, to ask for aid. On the 8th they received letters from the King of Hungary promising help, and raised the Hungarian flag. The king sent the bani of Bosnia and Croatia to help them, but the Venetian senate bought the rescuers off! In January, 1346, the Venetians took the Castle of S. Damian and broke the chain of the port. The Venetian trenches consisted of a bastion 200 yards long and 100 yards broad built of wood on three sides. On the east it had ten towers, as many on the west, and fourteen on the north, being open on the south towards the fleet. They now controlled 25,000 men. On June 2, Ladislas of Hungary came to help the besieged, and encamped at Zemonico, seven miles away, with 100,000 cavalry. On July 10 he advanced close to the city with 2,000 of his best men. The citizens welcomed him with much joy, and the next day sent legates with great solemnity to offer him the keys of the city. On the 16th he attacked the bastion. On the 20th, Bernardo, patriarch of Aquileia, entered the city; but the king held aloof. The Venetians tried in vain to make terms, and the Zaratines attacked the bastion with good heart, burning one of the towers; but the Hungarians only looked on while the Venetians repelled the assault. The king's behaviour is mysterious. On July 30 he returned to Vrana, and so to Hungary; and, although his promised envoys went to Venice, they went for other purposes. He appears to have been using Zara as a pawn in some great game. Famine obliged the Zaratines to surrender, and the Venetians entered the city on December 21, 1347, the war having lasted two years and six months, and having cost the Republic from 40,000 to 60,000 ducats a month for soldiers' pay alone, without counting the shipping. Eleven years later Zara again became Hungarian, but was finally ceded to Venice in 1413 by the peace of Trieste.
The dialect spoken in the city is pure Venetian, and the municipality is the only Italian one in Dalmatia. Zara is still the capital, and the diet meets in the city. Here, too, are the only Italian schools in the province, the Slav majority in most places exercising its power to veto everything Italian. The only flourishing industry is the manufacture of maraschino, of which 300,000 bottles are exported annually. The cherries, which are the raw material, are imported from Sebenico, Almissa, and Poljica, near Spalato. The streets are narrow and impossible for carriage traffic; merchandise is put upon long narrow carts, with long poles projecting in front and cross-pieces at the end; the cart is then pushed and pulled by several men. The population is 13,000, and is increased by many country people in the mornings, who come to market, so that the streets and piazzas are crowded with a most distracting variety of costumes. Both men and girls from the country wear little red caps. The men have great light-coloured woollen coats which they throw over their shoulders without putting their arms in, light shirts, sometimes with an embroidered jacket, trousers with embroidery round the pocket-holes (which are in front of the thigh) and a split at the lower part of the side which is buttoned up. They sometimes have a sash round the waist with a knife. The women wear leggings woven roughly in patterns like the wrong side of a tapestry curtain, and shoes somewhat the shape of gondolas, thick skirts with patterned aprons, and small waistcoat-like jackets. Their hair is plaited round the head. The dress of the townspeople is less individual; the head is covered with a white or coloured kerchief, the dress is frequently black, and the modern blouse is sometimes seen. It is interesting to watch the boatloads of country-folk arriving either by the Porta Terra Ferma, close to which are steps and a small harbour, or on the quay by the Porta Marina. Lambs and kids are brought alive and killed and skinned on the quay, the women holding pots or jugs to catch the blood, which they seem to think valuable. The wall of the quay was being rebuilt when we were there the second time, and a diver was working at it. It looked odd to see the stones and buckets of cement lowered into the water with ropes.
There are two antique columns still erect: one, fluted, is in the Piazza S. Simeone, set up in 1729, and the other is in the Piazza dell' Erbe; it was used as a pillory, and the chains with the iron collars still hang to it, having, by centuries of friction, cut deep-curved grooves in the marble with swinging to and fro. This column also has sockets for the insertion of flagstaffs, and attached to it is a much-worn piece of eighth-century sculpture, with the motif of an ornamented cross beneath an arch fastened with clamps. The chroniclers of the seventeenth century record that near this place several drums of columns projected from the earth, and that two entire pillars were erect and united by a piece of the architrave. One was moved to S. Simeone, near to which Mr. T.G. Jackson saw in 1884 the base of a Roman arch excavated beneath the level of the piazza. Other similar fragments have been used in the foundations of S. Donato.
In the year 380 a bishop of Zara (Felix) is mentioned for the first time. S. Donatus is reckoned the fourth bishop, Andrew and Sabinianus (who are shown on a reliquary with Felix) traditionally preceding him. As his episcopate lasted into the ninth century it is evident that the list is not complete. His diplomatic mission took him either to Diedenhofen or Aachen and then to Constantinople, where he had the relics of S. Anastasia given him. It is probable that the sight of the great churches which he saw during his journeys suggested the plan of S. Donato, which was originally dedicated to the Holy Trinity. Porphyrogenitus compares it to S. Sophia, Constantinople, which seems strange in a Byzantine. It is circular in plan, about 60 ft. in diameter. Six gigantic piers, wider than the arches which rest upon them, placed ten feet from the wall, sustain a barrel vault, about 28 ft. high, over the ambulatory, which has strengthening arches. The piers of the upper story sustained the drum of a cupola which no longer exists. Opposite the entrance are three vaulted apses, the central one larger and deeper than the others and with four windows, the others having but one each; and these apses are repeated above, without the windows. In front of them are two smooth columns of Oriental yellow marble 7 ft. round, in place of piers, and thinner columns cut short occupy the same relative place above. The caps are antique and a good deal damaged. Three are composite like the arch of Septimius Severus, and one is Corinthian. The roof is now tiled. A Roman inscription on the fourth pilaster seems to indicate that there was a great temple to Augusta Livia, wife of Augustus, here; and when the floor level was lowered in 1888 a number of inscriptions were found, and portions of carved friezes and pillars used as foundation material and simply laid on the pavement of the Roman forum. Among these were portions of columns resembling both of the two still upright. Part of a flight of steps was also found, which may have been part of the sub-structure of the temple. Fragments of four different buildings have been recognised. Two stairs have served the upper story of the church—an early one with carved hood mould of the ninth century to the external door, now blocked up, and a second from the interior, which lands in a vestibule where some early mediaeval carvings are arranged. The upper portion is a double flight, arranged, perhaps, to use when this stair was a "Scala Santa" ascended by the faithful on their knees, whereby they gained the same indulgences as were attached to the Scala Santa at Rome. The building was a military magazine in 1649, again from 1798 to 1877, and then a wine-store till, in 1888, the museum was founded. In 1890-1891 the ancient entrance-door was found behind the eighteenth-century additions. It is a simple square-headed door with semicircular opening above, made of Roman uncarved material, with consecration-crosses sunk in the lintel and base of the right-hand jamb; to the right and left of the lintel a little above it are two simple brackets with crosses on them. The lintel itself is double, and treated as if it were wood. The cill was two feet below the ground level.
The museum contains Roman and pre-Roman antiquities, inscriptions, lamps, carved fragments, coins, bronze and glass vessels, pottery, &c.; mediaeval fragments, carved and gilded panels, lanterns and ensigns from Venetian galleys, a crozier of Limoges work of the thirteenth century found under the pavement of S. Crisogono, arms and carvings of the Renaissance period, &c. But perhaps the most interesting things are the plans of the early churches which have either been destroyed or very much altered, and the early mediaeval carvings; among these are two very curious slabs with figures under arches, one of which was found under the pavement of S. Crisogono, while the other, closely resembling it in style, came from S. Domenico. The former shows the Flight into Egypt and the Massacre of the Innocents; the latter the Nativity and Adoration of the Kings. They probably formed part of a chancel enclosure. There are also fragments of ciboria, altar frontals, or sarcophagi, while a column sawn in two has furnished decorated jambs to the door of the upper church. On a lintel of the early church of S. Lorenzo is a Christ in a mandorla, supported by angels with a sacred tree on each side and a griffin beyond; a rough astragal moulding surrounds the subject. The jambs have a rough arabesque scroll, terminating in a two-headed bird. These carvings are all of the ninth century.
The church of S. Lorenzo is in the courtyard of the military command building on the Piazza dei Signori. The sides are in courts entered from the Calle Larga and Via del Teatro Vecchio. It has a nave and aisles about 21 ft. long and about 14 ft. broad, with four pillars, springing from which are three unmoulded arches. The arches are stilted, and at the height of the real springing an impost projects in profile. The central compartment has a wagon vault, the other two quadripartite vaults. The aisles have semi-domes running north and south, resting on cross arches, with squinches in the corners. The choir has two stories, the lower with three square-ended apses, and entered by a door flanked by pillars. The walls which separate the apses ran up to a tower. The vault is a transverse wagon pierced by wagon vaults at right angles. The architecture is very simple, and shows Byzantine influence, but the construction is hidden by plastering. The nave caps are debased Corinthian, with ornamented volutes and one row of flat acanthus-leaves, the abacus being square. The front leaf in each shows a half-length of a male figure with nimbus, his arms raised as if in prayer, the body hidden by a shorter loaf. The columns are of different sizes, but the caps are all the same. The entrance door towards the Calle Larga has a simply moulded round arch; the other has been mentioned as being in S. Donato. The upper story of the choir has pillars with carved caps supporting an arch of two orders, now built up, formerly no doubt an oratory. The church is mentioned in a document of 919.
S. Domenico (which no longer exists) was of somewhat the same character; but the choir was without dividing walls, and thus became an upper church. It was only 21 ft. square and had three columns on each side, the last close to the wall. The vaults were domically quadripartite, springing from pilasters which rested on the caps. The arcade was round-arched, the central and right-hand apses were square-ended, and the left had a semicircular niche. The under church was wagon-vaulted without architectural features. The foundation of a chapel was found on the Riva Nuova with five niches of a six-niched circle and an entrance passage in the sixth, which turned at right angles to the north to reach the street. In the angle thus formed between the entrance and the main building a sarcophagus stood. This circular-niched plan occurs elsewhere in Dalmatia, as in the baptistery here, and SS. Trinita at Spalato, and the dimensions are generally so nearly the same as to suggest some common original design. S. Pietro Vecchio is considered to be the oldest church in Zara. It is now desecrated, but was used as a sacristy to the fourteenth-century church of S. Andrea, belonging to the Fishers' Confraternity, the sixteenth-century apse of which projected into the nave as far as the first pillar. It was cleared out by order of the Central Commission in 1886. It is about 38 ft. long by 19 ft. broad, and is built of ancient fragments with very little architectural character. One of the two columns bears a Roman inscription, and both have crosses cut in them. One of the caps is a damaged antique; the other is an antique base upside down; neither column has any base. The church is an irregular rectangle in plan, divided into two naves which end in apses by two pillars and a pier. The pilasters are not upright, the arches are deformed, and the two altar niches have half-cupola vaults on a rectangular plan, with arches thrown across the corners. There are two original doors, both built up. The pier between the two apses has a round-arched niche in it. The church is mentioned in 918 in the will of Prior Andrea.
There was a cathedral here in very early times, referred to in a will of 908 as S. Anastasia. It was originally S. Pietro, and the dedication was changed when the relics of S. Anastasia which S. Donato brought from Constantinople and placed in the church of the Holy Trinity were transferred to the cathedral. This church was destroyed by the Venetians in 1202, but probably portions of it were worked up in the new building which the Crusaders are said to have erected as a votive church after the pope had excommunicated them all for the sack of Zara. This seems, however, a legend, since the new building was not consecrated till May 27, 1285, the Archbishop Lorenzo Periandro officiating, assisted by the Metropolitan of Spalato and the suffragan bishops of both dioceses. On the vault of the ciborium and on the jamb of the main door are inscriptions, dated respectively 1332 and 1324, recording their erection by "Joannis de Bvtvane, archiep: Jadren." Certain portions show by their style that additions and alterations were made, still later. The length is 170 ft. and the width 65 ft.
The facade has three doors, and is divided by pilaster strips which emphasise the width of the nave; at either side of the central door is a shallow recess filling the space between it and the pilaster strips. The door itself has spiral and simple colonnettes in the jambs, with corresponding arch moulds of four orders. In the tympanum is a later relief of the Virgin and Child enthroned, with two saints, beneath a pointed trefoil arcade; and on brackets at the sides are four figures of Apostles. On the side doors the tympana have the Agnus Dei, and that to the left has the Annunciation on brackets, one figure on each side of the door. The colonnettes and arch moulds are both twisted in this door; in that to the right they are plain; the figures on brackets are similar. The lintels and jambs have elaborate arabesque scrolls, which remind one of Provencal Romanesque ornament. The lower part of the wall has courses of pinkish marble among the white, and bands of inlaid ornament decorate both the wall and the campanile. Above the string course over the doorways is a Romanesque-looking arcade with another which fills the slope of the aisle walls, with animals standing at the ends. The central portion has a restored wheel-window with radiating colonnettes and round arches, and above it in the gable is another with cusped tracery of a later date; round this an arcading ramps as at the end of the aisles, and the lower rose is flanked by arcading in two stages arched only in the upper one. Both of these arcadings have coupled colonnettes, and are manifestly much later than the lower part of the facade. The walls of the north aisle have an arcading separated into groups by pilasters, echoing the internal divisions, with a gallery above, like S. Nicola, Bari, and others of the Apulian churches. A cornice of corbelled arches crowns the nave wall. The campanile was commenced in 1449 by Archbishop Lorenzo Venier, and carried up by Archbishop Matteo Valaresso in 1460 to the height from which Mr. T.G. Jackson completed it. It has five stories and an octagonal pyramidal termination. The three upper stories have two window openings in each, the lowest being single lights, while the upper two have a central colonnette and two stilted round arches beneath a containing arch. A string with corbelled arches below divides the stories, and the square portion terminates with a balustrade in the usual manner.
The inside was altered in the eighteenth century and the beginning of the nineteenth. The nave arcade, which continues to the apse, consists of ten round arches on each side resting alternately on columns and piers with columns attached which have cushion caps. Some of the columns are spirally fluted and have decadent antique caps. Some are cipollino, and two are apparently cut from antique columns, one having four shafts attached to the central cylindrical mass, and the corresponding one on the other side being panelled, with octagonal colonnettes attached. The pier at the choir steps has two small columns instead of one. Two bays of the aisles equal one bay of the nave, and pilasters run up from the piers, dividing the triforium arches into groups of six, on the tops of which figures stand. The triforium arcade has round arches with coupled colonnettes of red marble on the face and varied caps; the voussoirs are alternately red and grey; and a string with carved leaf pattern, much like that at Trau, runs along the triforium, between the nave arcade and the balustrade. The nave arcade terminates at each end with a single arch. The apse has a marble seat running round it, with the bishop's seat in the centre raised on several steps. It has exactly the same ornament on its sides as is on the font in the baptistery. The wall is sheeted with red marble. The ciborium has pointed arches resting upon Corinthianising caps and columns of cipollino carved in coffered patterns or spiral and zigzag channelling; a cornice of acanthus-leaves runs above the arches. It was erected by Archbishop Butuane, consecrated in 1332, and restored in 1901-1902. The presbytery pavement is of 1336. The stalls, once painted and gilt, are very fine examples of Venetian-Gothic wood carving, and were partly made for Archbishop Biagio Molin in 1420-1427, whose arms are carved on them; but those of his predecessor and successor, and those of Valaresso, under whom the work was probably completed, also appear. Between the stalls, elaborately pierced and carved scroll-work runs up to the canopy level, where little figures stand in niches. Above the canopies, which are slightly pointed fluted shells, and separated from them by curious ogee-shaped gables, are thirty-six half-length figures of prophets, emergent from scrolls and holding labels. Above one of the side altars are six small Carpaccios on panel much repainted—the one with the figure of S. Martin bears his signature; also a Palma Giovine and an Andrea Schiavone.
Beneath the step of the high-altar is the sarcophagus of Oriental marble, with porphyry cover, of the three saints, Agape, Chionia, and Irene, whose remains are interred in the crypt. The crypt is entered by two flights of stairs from the sides of the choir. It is of an irregular shape, about 70 ft. long, 23 ft. broad, and 15 ft. high. Eastwards it suddenly broadens out to a width of 33 ft. and terminates in a semicircle. In this apse there are three windows. Two rows of nine columns extend to just above the point where the change in width begins, and four more follow the external curve of the wall. These support quadripartite vaulting. The columns have heavy square caps and square bases. In one is a grated aperture as if for relics. The sarcophagus altar has a much worn representation of the Martyrdom of Sant' Anastasia, with her name inscribed in Lombardic letters between two foliage scrolls. Fragments of early work are visible here and there, pointing to the reconstruction of the crypt. It is very dark, and is now used as a store, having become too damp for ritual purposes.