In Horace’s Satire I.5 (translation), he describes a comical journey from Rome to Brundisium along the Appian Way. I didn’t travel on the Appian Way, but I did travel, first by train and then by car, from Rome to Brundisium. Horace stopped in Barium; we stopped in Bari. Horace finished his trip with Vergil in Brundisium. From there, Vergil departed for Greece, and when he returned to Brundisium, he was felled by a high fever and died there. Although he was later buried in Naples, the town of modern Brindisi honors Vergil with a set of stairs leading up to a Roman column.



  
  

Since I have always enjoyed reading Vergil’s poetry, this visit held great importance for me. On earlier trips, I visited Mantua (the city of his birth) and Naples (where he is buried). Many people in Puglia (Apulia) don’t even know that this monument exists. They visit the area for the beautiful beaches, Pugliese food, the unusual trulli (conical shaped stone houses built first in the 18th and 19th centuries by farmers who could easily dismantle them to avoid taxes), and the easygoing southern Italian lifestyle.

In Bari Vecchia, the old part of the city, I especially enjoyed seeing houses that chose to include Latin inscriptions above their doors.

 

Post tenebras spero lucem. (After darkness, I hope for light.)

 

Ingredere has aedes quisquis amicus eris. (Whoever will be friendly, enter this house.)

 

Today, in Ostuni, I noticed a couple more.

Nimis moderata durant. (The very restrained things last.)

 

O quam difficile se ipsum noscere. (Oh, how difficult it is to know oneself.)

 

Because Latin was used through the Middle Ages and into the Renaissance, I find it everywhere in these older cities, regardless of the time period that stands out the most in terms of architecture and monuments. And finally, I pay homage to the sea (Adriatic, here), a place referred to by every poet and author from this land surrounded by seas.


     

Advertisements

In Horace and Vergil’s Footsteps

4 thoughts on “In Horace and Vergil’s Footsteps

  1. Pingback: SALVI | Iacobeia and Faber

  2. What a wonderful trip! Thank you for sharing the Latin inscriptions. I hope to follow in your (and Vergil’s) footsteps one day and make it to Brundisium.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s