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I Excavations at Paestum.
FEW cities illustrate more strik-
ingly the vicissitudes of fortune than the once powerful and flourishing city of Paestum. In the golden age of Rome Virgil and Ovid Join In praising its rose gardens, while Martial spoke of the carrying of vio- lets to Paestum as we speak of carry- ing coals to Newcastle. Situated on the lovely bay of Salerno', which rivals the Bay of Naples to the north of it, Paestum has been visited annually by thousands of tourists to view its two magnificent Doric temples, dedicated to Neptune and Ceres respectively, as among the most remarkable remains of antiquity. The reason for the ex- tinction of this once rlah city was, In a single word, malaria. Because of the sinking of the coastline a few feet, the river Salso (Silarus) formed a series of marshy lagoons, and by the 10th.century the place was de- serted, only a squalid village remain- ing in the neighbourhood of temples which archaeologists place next to the Parthenon at Athens for splendour. From an aeroplane the four-mile cir- cuit of the walls may be seen at a glance.
A Big Undertaking.
gUCH Is the national spirit of pres-
ent-day Italy that the public bodies of the province of Salerno club- bed together to raise funds to have Paestum excavated, and this work of considerable magnitude has been pro- ceeding for over a year under the direction of the Naples Museum. When the uncovering is completed, and the plan of the city is unfolded, it is con- fidently expected that ancient Paestum will vie with Pompeii in the extent, as it surpasses it in the glory of its architecture. The first part of the programme has been to uncover the walls and then the forum in the cen- tre of the city. Both these large operations are now completed. The next work is to follow out the line of the streets from the forum to the four gates, and the network of alleys in each quadrant. Then there are the cemeteries to be explored-the Greek one yet undiscovered ,and the Lucanlan one, which is known to preserve un- disturbed the treasures of Its frescoed tombs.
The Walls of Paestum.
MUCH of the history of the city has
already been illustrated from the clearing of the walls which proved to be a herculean task. The thick bushes that concealed the upper courses could be cleared away easily enough, but it was soon discovered that the silt with its limestone nodules had in the course of centuries petri- fied in places so hard as to require wedges and adzes as well as picks for its removal. This arduous work has not only been finished, but where the wall has -bulged out or fallen it has been reconditioned and rebuilt. The original wall was constructed by the Greeks, who colonised it, and called their walled town Poseidonia, after the god of (he sea- These were Sy- barites, who came from a more ancient colony Inside the heel of Italy, and there is no sign of the proverbial voluptuousness of Sybarls In '.he forti- fications and round towers of Paes- tum. Only when the Italic Lucan ians swept down from the Alburian
hills about 500 B.C., and captured it, they showed their determination to hold it by thickening the walls, and leplacing the round towers by more massive square ones- As it is, the Greek fortifications are the biggest yet found in South Italy, and the reconstruction oí these and the Lucanian works aboie them are an eloquent testimony to the
Italic determination to hold Italy, against the Greek settlers of the coast line.
The Temples of Paestum.
rpHE two Doric temples, mighty in'
their erect pillars, have stood for some 25 centuries as a witness to the glory that was Greece. Travellers in every age of the Christian eia have noted these monuments with admira- tion. The excavators, when clearing the great rectangular forum, and dis- covering its Doric colonnade, its shops, its silos for corn and oil vats, foun- tains and statue bases, came upon the Italic Temple of Peace, with its bases so intact that the situation of each pillar could be definitely marked, while capitals and panels were found in the debris with busts of gods and rude reliefs. But the main reason why this Temple to Pax has none of its tall pillars to show was a grand steal of the Middle Ages, when these col- umns were removed to help the con- struction of a small church at Salerno. This fact was forgotten, and soon the erroneous tradition sprang up that the church was itself part of a temple to Pomona built at Salernum. Italy de- crees that these pillars shall be re- turned and re-erected on the empty podium at Paestum. This action, part of the reconstruction plan of ancient sites both in Italy and Sicily, may herald other patriotic demands. Greece may politely ask the British Museum to return the Elgin marbles to the Parthenon at Athens and Kemal from Angora demand that Berlin return to Pergamos the panels of the high altar, which was the glory of that Asian cits' and Egypt require London, Rome, and New York to restore the obelisks that were 'shaken' from her!
The Streets of Paestum.
A BEGINNING has been made in ""? clearing from the main north south street of Paestum, th» ipetrlfied limestone mass which covers the well-laid pavement from Porta Áurea to Porta Justina. The market place itself, when un- covered, showed its splendid pave- ment of travertine slabs fitted in the crazy pattern Imitated in modern garden paths, and the wide footwalks
that flank it are laid In the same per-
manent style. These are a silent testi- mony to the commercial' wealth of ancient Paestum, and the traffic of its busy streets. Thanks to the epoch making discovery of Sir Ronald Ross, Italy can now conquer the enemy which long ago prepared the way for Goth and Vandal, and made Paestum un- healthy and then uninhabitable. The Italians may bring back to Paestum gardens with roses and the violets. Meanwhile, they have for some years the task of digging out the large area of the ancient city, a work which is bound to throw a flood of light on that obscure period of history when South Italy began to throw off it» older name of Magna Graecia.