Notes on the Castellieri or Prehistoric Ruins of the Istrian Peninsula
By Captain R. F. Burton, Vice-President London Anthropological Society, H.M.'s Consul, Trieste.

[From Anthropologia, 1875, p. 375-415.]

The Honorary Foreign Secretary read the following letter and paper:—


This paper, or rather lecture, though forwarded to the Anthropological Society before the end of the last year (1873), has only just seen the light. The reason, I am assured, is the scanty patronage extended to our young Association, which deserves much for doing hard and honest work. We have adhered to our ancient platform — holding nothing human alien to our study, and sedulously avoiding the favourite groove which runs Anthropology into Palaeontology. Why Psychology, for instance, should be forbidden to the anthropological student we are at pains to understand, and we are certain that its absence does more harm than good. We are ever ready to extend the hand of friendship to all misguided men; at the same time, we refuse to see a noble expanse of science narrowed into the field of stones and bones. And although we write without other object but that of being useful to the public, we require funds for printing in a collected form what would be dispersed if offered to the publishing market. Is it too much to hope that a greater measure of encouragement will be dealt to us 1

Richard F. Burton,

Trieste, October, 1874.

Anthropologia, Vol. 1, Plate 7
The Pre-historic Village and Castelliere
in Istria restored by R.F. Burton

Part I. — Preliminaries.

With great pleasure I propose this subject to my fellow students of the London Anthropological Society and to the readers of our young ANTHROPOLOGIA. The very existence of the Istrian Castellieri is, I believe, as yet a secret to England. Indeed, the well-known authority on "Rude Stone Monuments," James Fergusson, writes to me as follows:-—

"So far as I know, nothing is known of your Castellieri. A description would be interesting and important, as showing that they are` or are not connected with the Nurhags of Sardinia, or the Torri dei Giganti of Malta and the Balearics. The Mediterranean Islands, in fact, contain many stray antiquities, of the origin of which wo know nothing, and we must wait till congeners are found for us on the continent of Europe."

]  ]  ]   ]

At the northern extremity of the Adriatic Gulf (Mare Superum), where ends the watery channel representing the throat of the Mediterranean mouth, lies a little triangle of land, in shape much resembling a uvula. This is Istria. The exact dimensions and limits of the little peninsula are 116 kilometres from the northern base line (N. lat. 45° 33') to the southern apex, the flattish lump, known as Punta de Promontore (N. lat. 44° 46'): 49 kilometres expresses the greatest breadth from the eastern flank Monte Maggiore (E. long. G. l4° 15' in round numbers) to the port and acting capital, Parenzo, on the west (E. long. G. 13° 35' 40"). The extensive seaboard covers 193 linear kilometres, and the land frontier 99, running from north-west to south-east. The whole peninsula measures 274 and the area 3,410 square kilometres; (1) the parallel of N. lat. 45° passing through it. With a sea frontage nearly doubling the land frontier, and with an average altitude of a thousand feet above the sea, Istria enjoys a delightful climate, except in the rare spots where the redoubtable Bora (Boreas), the gift of the frigid Carso and — the Save Valley, attracted by the warmer air of the Adriatic Gulf, — invades the genial lowlands. Its choice position must have rendered it, in early times, a fit habitation for uncivilised man, who would naturally prefer it to cold and sterile Krain or Carniolia, locally called Cragno, its limitrophe to the north-east and east. The neighbourhood of the sea supplies its coast with winter rains, while the calcareo-cretaceous formation, which discharges its drainage through crevices and hollows [377] into the sea, where fresh-water springs, locally called "Pole," (2) or "Polle" abound, subject the interior to summer droughts. These will be remedied by enforesting and by extending the cistern-system of Venice and the tálábs or tanks of Hindostan.

Fazio (or Faccio) degli Uberti, in his poem the "Dittamondo," iii. 2, justly says:—

"Ed Istria vidi come nel mar cova."

"And Istrian land I saw brood o'er the sea."

The late Dr. Kandler, of Trieste, concerning whom more presently, — describes his natal country as follows: —

"He who looks upon this region from the seaboard admires tho regular and beautiful forms of the highlands, the feracity and the glorious vegetation of the lowlands, the number and safety of the roads and harbours; nor has he any difficulty in understanding the high praise lavished upon it by Cassiodorus, (Nat. circ. A.D. 468,) who wrote from Ravenna. On the other hand, those who enter it from the interior, compelled to traverse a succession of ground waves, whoso northern slopes are not unfrequently naked and sterile; wearied and confused by the multitude of tumultuous shapes, find every feature presented to the worst advantage. Unable to perceive the general plan, they harsh-judge the country; according to them, the coast, harbours, the rich vegetation of the shores, the smiling fields, the frequent towns, and the monuments of antiquity, are so many accidents which fortune has cast like waifs and strays upon its coast." (3)

Thus we have a complete contrast with the Libanus and the seaboard of Syria and Palestine, whose beauties must be beheld from above: those who cruise by the "Holy Land" see little but steps of dry wall, supporting in endless succession the several terraces, and effectually concealing the rich vegetation which they defend from floods and earth-slips.

When first coasting along the shores, and even when inspecting the maps, travellers are apt to suspect that Istria is an exception to the rule of the earth. In all great triangular peninsulas, whose apices face southwards — India, for instance, to quote no other — [378] the sides are bounded by Ghats or lateral ranges, flanking an inner basin or table land of low elevation. The lesser features, like Sinai, present a smaller V of highlands, enclosed in a much larger trigon of lowlands, e.g. A view from the sea suggests that Istria has a regular slope from the lofty north-eastern, eastern, and southeastern frontiers, the Slavnik (Tajano) block, the Cici mountains, and the Monte Maggiore, alias the Caldiera. Hence Pliny, in his pregnant style, writes "Histria ut peninsula excurrit" (Nat. Hist. iii. 23); and native geographers have considered it as a buttress of the Julian Alps, thrust forth by Nanos, Monte Re or Regio,* (4) and by the Mons Albius or Albanus, known as the Monte Nevoso or Sehneeberg. Pliny (Nat. Hist. iii. 19), in a passage evidently corrupt, tells us, "Some writers have stated its (Istria's) length to be 40 miles (M.P. xl.), and its circumference 125 (M.P. cxxv.) And the, same as to Liburnia, which adjoins it, and the Flanatic Gulf, while others make it 225: others, again, make the circumference of Liburnia 180 miles." The words in italics may also be read, "And the circumference of Liburnia which joins it with the Flanatic Gulf, some make 225, while others make the compass of Liburnia to be 180 miles." Strabo (vii. 5, § 3) gives the whole voyage along the coast of Istria at 1,300 stadia, or about 155 miles.

In the charts we find four great valleys in the Istrian centre, debouching upon the sea — one to the north-west, two to westward, and one to the south. The first is the Dragogna, whose characteristics are meadow lands and Salinas. The second, which divides the peninsula in two, takes a variety of names, e.g., Val Quieto at the mouth, and Val de Montona higher up: it is the only stream (5) in Istria that deserves the name of rive — the little Risano is a mere brook, — and that can carry to the Adriatic the rich growth of timber lining its banks. The third and fourth, the Val di Leme (Culleus Limenis) and the [379] Canale and Val d'Arsa (the classic Arsia, which divided Italy from Liburnia) are deep and precipitous Wadys, Fiumaras, or ravines of limestone in the upper part, and in the lower true Fjords.

It is not till the geographer has inspected the interior that he finds a true basin, mostly of green and ruddy sandstones, locally called tasello (Mergel Sandstein) and masegno (quartzose and micaceous), which contrast so sharply with the grey limestone. Beginning immediately beyond the old town of Couvedo or Covedo, the Roman Cubida (?), this hollow, in places laterally cut by high dividing ridges, extends to the shores of the Lago di Cepich: it is approached seawards by ridges averaging 1,500 feet in height. In places it is only 500 feet above sea level, and the four water-courses, like the African giants, must break through the rocky rims of the basin before they find their way to the Adriatic.

Our peninsula was doubtless inhabited in early ages, and local students still trace in its modern Veneto-Italian speech remnants of the old Illyrian Histri or Istri, whose dialect has been vaguely connected with Etruscan, Umbrian, Euganean, Illyrian, Keltic, Greek, and Phoenician. (6) The Carni held the Alpine tract, which, extending from the Tricorno or Triglou (Tri-glav) to the Nanos, finally forms the "Carso," (7) and they owned Concordia, Aquileja, and Tergeste, the modern Trieste (?). The Iapydes, or Iapodes, occupied the lands between the Nanos and the Mons Albius or Albanus, upon whose eastern flanks they came in contact with the Liburni. (8) About B.C. 600, certain Gallo-Keltic tribes who [380] had accompanied Bellovisus occupied the Ocra (9) (the lowest part of the Alps between Nanos and the Schneeberg). In this and the following century, Pelasgo-Ionic and Thracian peoples flocking from Greece and Pontus easily intermingled with the older possessors of the soil, the Pelasgo-Umbrians and the Etruscans, and settled upon the parts nearest the sea. This last wave of emigration is referred to in the traditions of Medea and Jason, of Apsyrtos or Absyrtus, of the Argonauts and the Colchians, collected by Pomponius Mela, Strabo, Pliny, Trogus Pompeius, and Justin. Hence the country assumed the name of Istria, and for ever lost its ancient name. The existence of Thracians is also proved by the Periplus (Periegesis) of Scymnus of Chios, written by command of Darius Hystaspes.(10) Some 300 B.C. we find that, according to Cleonymus of Sparta, who navigated the Adriatic, Istria ruled that water, and Floras informs us that "the city of Tarentum sent ships to trade with the shores of the Peninsula." (11) The Istrian war (B.C. 177), circumstantially related by Livy (lib. xli. 1 passim), the destruction of Nesactium, and the foundation of Aquileja by the Romans, brings the country into connection with authentic history.

This most interesting province, overrun by the barbarians, subject to a succession of conquerors, annexed by Venice, colonised by Slavs, and now part of the Austrian empire, has been copiously [381] written about. The "Saggio di Bibliografia Istriana," a stout 8vo of 484 pages, published by the learned Dr. Carlo de' Combi, of Capodistria ("Tipografia Tondelli, Capodistria," 1864), contains the names of 3,060 works, divided into twelve classes, viz.: Geography and chorographical materials; natural science; ethnography; history, ecclesiastical annals, auxiliary historical studies (documents à servir), legislation and administration, political economy, beneficence and education, biography, various minor works, and classics. To these are added an Appendix and a scholarly Index. (12) That much is not known about Istria in England we may judge from the fact that our guide books dismiss in four pages the whole subject, Pola included. (13)

Already, during the last century, the illustrious Gian Rinaldo Carli, of Capodistria, in many erudite publications, especially in that entitled "Delle Antichità italiche," had called attention to the great monuments and to the historic importance of his native land. In the third decade of the present century, the Istrian Canon, Pietro Stancovich, of Barbana, collected, in three volumes ("Biografia degli Uomini distinti dell'Istria"), notices of 478 fellow countrymen who had distinguished themselves in various civil and military careers. He was followed by Dr. (LL.D.) Domenico de Rossetti (ob. 1842), who, writing upon history and legislation, zealously defended the rights and privileges of his beloved Trieste, and who founded the Minerva (literary club); the Winckelmann monument; the Petrarchesca and Piccolomini collections; the Archeografo Triestino; and other literary associations. He was fortunate enough to leave a pupil, the late Dr. (LL.D.) Pietro Paolo Kandler, who surpassed all three in the extent and the success of his labours. Concerning this Istrian worthy, it will be necessary to say a few words. (14)

The late Pietro Kandler was descended from a Scotch family (Chandler), which had settled at Trieste, during the early seventeenth century. Born at Trieste, on May 23 (24?), 1804, he studied law at Padua and Vienna, and finally graduated at Pavia. Returning to Trieste in 1826, he became a pupil, a confidant, and a collaborateur of Dr. D. de Rossetti, and filled various important posts in the magistracy of his native city. He founded the museum; he forwarded the Imboscamento or enforesting of the Carso; and he became conservator of the antiquities of the Litoral (Istria, Trieste, and Gorizia); a councillor of government, and finally member of the Imperial [382] Tribunal. He took a highly patriotic part in the proceedings of 1848. He retired from public life in 1854. He lived modestly, devoting all his fortune and his leisure to favourite studies, and he died poor on January 18th, 1872. It is a pleasure to add that his compatriots have not shown themselves forgetful of his services, and that his unpublished maps and manuscripts have been secured for his native province.

Dr. Kandler began to write upon Istrian antiquities during his fifteenth year, and continued his beloved study to the last. The titles of his various works and opuscules fill eleven closely printed pages of the Biography; the list of his imprinted maps and memoirs nearly five more. He wrote equally well in Latin, German, and Italian, and his epigraph, "RESVRRECTVRIS," over the gateway of the Catholic cemetery at Trieste is admired for its simplicity; at any rate, it is better than the banal "In Domino requiescentibus" of its neighbour. He had all the instincts of a traveller and an anthropologist. He began his work by learning the ground; as a student he personally inspected Hungary, Croatia, and Slavonia, Styria, and Lower Austria. After taking his degree he visited Lombardy, the Swiss Lakes, and the lands about Trent and Venice. But his favourite autumnal beat was the maritime zone, between Aquileja and Fiume, including Istria, Carsia (the Carso country), Gorizia and the Julian Alps (formerly the Iapydian or Albian mountains), and by repeated journeys he made himself thoroughly master of this nucleus. He travelled on foot, not after the fashion of a modern tourist; and he carefully mapped the country as he went over it. He was an anthropologist in his zeal and ardour for collecting facts and in his horror of premature generalisation.

When pressed to compose a history for his natal province, he would reply, —

"The annals of Istria are written upon her surface from the mountains to the sea; but it is not a book who runs may read. Many pages have been blotted and falsified, and not a few have been absolutely torn out. To purify the ancient text from the excrescences, and the soilings of barbarous hands, from the violence of these and from the ignorance of those, and adequately to supply the deplorable lacuna, is a long and laborious task — a work of time, of study, and of art."

But to him it was also a labour of love. His position at Trieste gave him many opportunities, and by adding to actual explorations the arduous collation of archives, and of private as well as public documents, by examining every witness, by frequent discussions with friends who enjoyed his genial and humorous vein, and, better still, by constituting himself essentially a specialist, and by concentrating all the powers of his brain upon a single point, he ended with acquiring that "sixth sense" which is the reward of intense application, and the systematic training of high natural gifts. (15)

[383] But Dr. Kandler had confined himself to the study of Roman Istria; the science which arose with M. Boucher de Perthes reached him too late in life. His mind was large and receptive enough to accept the theory of prehistoric man; he declared, however, that the business of his youth must be that of his old age. In his various excursions he had carefully mapped the network of the Castellieri ("La Rete dei Castellieri"), which covers the Peninsula, but he had determined the remains to be those of Roman camps. Some twenty-three years ago (1850-51), a Keltic origin was assigned to them by Carl Freiherr von Czoernig (S.K.K. Apost. Maj. Wirkl. Geheimer Rath, Präsident, etc., etc., etc.) This distinguished official, who has lately published a large volume upon Gorizia, (16) could not believe that the warrior people had chosen the waterless summits of the hills for military positions, and, as in parts of the province half a dozen may be seen from a single spot, he justly assigned them to a population, not to an army. But years followed before the final step was taken, when Sig. (lately made Cavaliere) Tomaso Luciani, and his kinsman, Dr. (LL.D.) Antonio Scampicchio of Albona, by finding prehistoric instruments even in their native town, and by other satisfactory proofs, which will presently appear, set the question definitively at rest.

It would hardly be fair to speak of the Istrian Castellieri without a notice of Cav. Luciani's labours; as, however, that gentleman still lives, my account of his career must be succinct. His family, evidently and notably Italian, settled in the classical Respublica Albonessium, the only classical Istrian Republic, (17) as early as the fourteenth century, and acquired landed property. Born about 1820, he preferred, like the late Mr. Buckle, private study to the public school, and his early education was directed [384] by the learned Albonese, Antonio Lorenzini, who died in 1835. He travelled early through northern Italy, and worked at his own discretion in Padua and other centres of learning. An ardent patriot, and indignant against the effete and harassing system of home government, before the reform of 1848 and 1867 made Austria one of the most constitutional and progressive of European countries, he was involved in political troubles, and in 1861 he left his country for Milan. He removed to Florence with the transfer of the Italian capital (1865); and in 1866, when Venice became free, he settled there as an Italian citizen, and an employé of the Archivio de' Frari. Finding that the duties interfered with his studies, he resigned his appointment, and engaged in the pious task of copying and preparing for publication the documents of that valuable collection, which bear upon the history of his beloved province. In 1871 he attended the Congress of Bologna, and as the subjoined extracts show, he took a prominent part on that occasion. (18) He periodically revisits his native city, and he uses his leisure to extend his investigations. Sig.Luciani has obliged me with the following list of his highly meritorious labours.

  • 1846. L'Isola di Cherso, sue condizioni presenti e passate. I. Lettera al Dr. Pietro Kandler, stampata nell'Istria, peridico settimanale. Anno I. Nro 35, dei 13 giugno, 1846, a pagine 140-142.
  • 1846. Cherso ed Ossere. Antichità. II. Lettera al Dr. Kandler. (Istria, An. I., Nro 38, 39: 27 giugno, 1846, pag. 156-158.)
  • 1847. Di alcune Traccie d'antichi edifosi e d altri indizi d'antichità romane esistenti in Fasana, in Dignano e in Albona. Lettera al M. R. Don Matteo Callegan, Parroco-Arciprete in Fasana. (Istria, Anno IL, Nri 15, 16: 27 febbraio, 1847, pag. 59-62.)
  • 1847. Emende ed Aggiunte alle Memorie istoriche antiche e moderne della Terra e Territorio di Albona etc., scritto indizzato al Dr. P. Kandler. (Istria, Anno II. , Nri 67, 68, pag. 215-277. Nri 69, 70, pag. 283-286. Nri 73, 74, pag. 300-302. [385] Nro 75, pag. 305, 306. Le pagine 275-277, contengono la indicazione dei Castellieri e delle altre antichità del territorio di Albona: nelle ulteriori 283 etc., solo riportate molte iscrizioni Tenete e romane.
  • 1862. L'Istria, scritto descrittivo che abbraccia con brevi tocchi topografia, orografia, idrografia, geologia, meteorologia, clima, vegetazione, flora, fauna etc., nella Strenna Aurora, Ricordo di Primavera, a beneficio dell'Asilo infantile di Rovigno, Anno II. (Rovigno: Tipografia istriana di Antonio Coana, 1862, da pag. 88 a 103.)
  • 1864. Quarnaro Albona Istria. Studi storici etnografici, nell' Alleanza. Giornale internazionale politico-letterario. Milano, 1864, Nri 15, 16, 17, 19, 20 e 21.
  • 1866. L'Istria. Schizzo storico-etnografico. Firenze, 1866.
  • 1869. Mattia Flacco Istriano di Albona. Studio critico, con documenti, per metter fuori d'ogni dubbio che il Fiacco, {l'un des plus savane Theologiens de la Confession d' Augsbourg, come dice il Bayle,) fu nativo non da altro luogo che da Altana in Istria. (Pola, Tipografia Seraschin, 1869.)
  • 1864 a 1873. Nel Dizionario corografico illustrato dell'Italia, che forma parte dell' Italia sotto l'aspetto fisico, storico, letterario, artistico, militare e statistico etc., ohe si pubblica a Milano dal Dr. Francesco Vallardi, sotto la direzione del prof. Amato Amati, gli articoli che riferisconsi all'Istria e particolamente gli articoli Albona Buje Capodistria Carsia Dignano Istria Montona Muggia Monte Maggiore Parenzo Pedena Pirano Pisino Pinguente Portole Pola Quarnaro Quieto Rovigno.
  • 1872 e 1873. Notizie e Documenti per la conoscenza delle cose istriane, nel Giornale La Provincia. (Capodistria: Tip. de Gius. Tondelli — ora Trieste — Stab. Tip. Appolonio e Cagniu.) Sono Note e Prospetti statistici — Atti publici — estratti — indicazioni — regesti sopra svariate materie riferentisi all'Istria, tratti dall'Archivio Generale Veneto dette dei Frari dal Museo Civico, e dalla Marciana di Venezia.
  • 1873. Fonti per la storia dell'Istria negli Archivi di Venezia, nell'Opera intitolata — Il Regio Archivio generale di Venezia, Compilato, dietro incarico ministeriale, per la Esposizione Universale di Vienna, — da pag. 334-352. (Venezia: Tip. Naratovich, 1873).

The following unpublished letter of Cav. Luciani to a friend Luigi, Dr. (now Cav.) Buzzi, still resident at Trieste, will show that, beginning in 1859, in 1870 he had thoroughly appreciated the prehistoric importance of the Castellieri. I send it you without translation, in the abiding faith that the readers of Anthropologia will far prefer the original. The document is most valuable, because it recounts the course of discovery, and the few notes which I have added are chiefly drawn from the communications of the able and amiable author addressed to myself

"Onorevole Signor Ingegnere Luigi Dott. Buzzi,
"In Trieste.

"Il sig. D. M. ed Ella, distintissimo signor Ingegnere, ch'io per inopinate combinazioni non ho potuto incontrare e conoscere in un mio recente passaggio per Trieste, mi hanno posto, per eccesso di benevolenza, in un grave impiccio di fronte ai lettori del Cittadino. Mi riferisco alle lettere che si sono scambiate a riguardo mio nei n.ri 26 e 28 del detto giornale.

"Io non sono uno scienziato, non sono un paleo-etnologo; non lo sono assolutamente. Delle scienze io ne so appena quanto occorre per non averne pretesa — Però la coscienza del mio scarso sapere non mi rende pusillo, mi ha tolto mai il senso del mio dovere. Quindi sono ben lontano dal negare o nascondere cose che possano comunque giovare e in generale alla scienza, e in particolare alla storia del mio paese, che amo tanto. E a dimostrarle co' fatti la mia franchezza, e insieme il vivo mio desiderio di stringere rapporti con Lei che mostrasi così addentro nei nuovi studii, le esporrò candidamente non solo le mie qualunque scoperte, ma ad un tempo anche la via per la quale vi sono arrivato. [386] 

"Il rinvenimento affatto accidentale di una importante lapida romana seguito or sono molti anni in Albona mia terra natale, m'invogliò alla ricerca di cose antiche, prima nell'agro Albonese, poi anche in altre parti della provincia. Fatto attento dalle dotte elucubrazioni archeologiche del D.r Pietro Kandler, viddi che l'Istria tutta fu all'epoca della dominazione romana coperta da una rete dì fortilìzii e vedette poste su per le tante sue alture a guardarne il comune alpino, i porti, le cittadi, le vie, ad avvisare pericoli, a propagare notizie. Ma visitato poi partitamente un rilevante numero di coteste rovine negli agri di Albona, Cherso, Volosca, Pisino, Pola, Dignano, Rovigno e Parenzo, viddi o mi parve di vedere, che non tutte sono cosa romana, che in alcune anzi nulla v'ha di propriamente romano o d'altro popolo che possa dirsi civile, che in altre sotto lo strato romano v'è qualche cosa di ben più antico, di assai più antico di quasi ciclopico, a non dir primitivo; viddi, o mi parve di vedere, in parecchie di esse le ultime orme di un popolo antichissimo, povero di bisogni e di mezzi, rozzo, selvaggio, che non aveva l'uso del metallo, che viveva, pare, all'aperto e si trincierava in piccoli gruppi o tribù sulle cime delle montagne, di preferenza sulle più alte. (19)

"Nata in me questa idea, non visitai più rovina montana senza portarne a casa qualche seguo materiale. Così ho fatto su, quasi senza accorgermi, una buona messe di manichi, di fondi, di labri, di altri frammenti di vasi assai grossolani, e due vascoli intieri, ed altri cocci male impastati, non cotti al fuoco o mal cotti, misti o d'argilla biancastra, e di terra rossa locale, di sabbia, e d'abbruciaticcio, e insieme alcuni pezzi di pietra levigati, arrotondati, quasi partì od avanzi di piccole molle a mano, poi qualche osso anche fesso, e qualche altra pietra ridotta a forme un po' regolari; finalmente mi capitò fra le mani una piccola ascia o scure di pietra nera durissima, lavorata con giustezza di proporzioni. Tutto questo prima del 1859.

"Trasferitomi altrove, raccomandai la raccolta comprendente qualche saggio di breccia ossifera, buona copia di petrificati, alghe, conchiglie, monete romane e venete, mobili antichi, pergamene ed altri cimelii, raccomandai, dico, ad un mio carissimo parente ed amico, il signor Antonio Scampicchio, che accolse tutto e conservò con gelosissima cura in casa sua.

"Nell'autunno del 1876, no potuto rivedere la terra natale e le mie raccolte, ma l'amico non più. (20) Però trovai vivente il suo spinto nei figli di lui, i quali anzi non contenti di conservare, vollero continuare la mia raccolta. L'avvocato Antonio, che particolarmente si diede allo studio delle cose naturali, s'adopera a completare la collezione locale dei petrificati e tien dietro con passione alle più recenti scoperte paleontologiche ed antropologiche.

"In una prima gita fatta assieme a Fianona raccogliemmo un elmo di rame e un amuleto di bronzo, che il chiarissimo dottor Kandler ha giudicato anteriori a Giulio Cesare, non romani, probabilmente liburnici, che è a dire italici antichi. L'amuleto o che altro sia, fatto in un modo da stare appeso, rappresenta un quadrupede a collo lungo, che per le apparenze e la mossa, dovrebbe essere classificato fra i cani, ma che non ha vero riscontro nelle specie viventi.  

"L'autunno seguente (1868), ritornato in Istria, fui ancora più fortunato. Ricuperai dalle mani di un contadino in Vermo, distretto di Pisino, una punta di freccia di selce simile a quella del vicentino. È di perfettissima conservazione, ed ha la forma e le dimensioni precise di quella che il chiarissimo [Paolo] Lioy [1836-1911] dà disegnata nel testo della sua Escursione sotterra e che fu riprodotta in altre pubblicazioni.

"Da cosa vien cosa. Riseppi allora che nello stesso agro di Vermo furono dissotterrati molti anni addietro altri ed altri oggetti di cotto, di rame, di bronzo, i quali finirono non si sa dove. Ultimo avanzo di questi ebbi per gentilezza un cavalluccio di rame, rimarchevole anch'esso per il collo lungo oltre il naturale delle specie viventi.

"La punta di freccia (21) ritrovata ia terreno recente dev'essere venuta giù colle acque dai poggi circostanti, poggi ch'io ho visitato, ma che non potei ricercare [387] ancora in tutte le loro parti così da riescire a risultati sicuri. Intanto il fatto della freccia mi animò a spingere innauzi le mie ricerche.

"Il suolo dell'Istrìa è perforato non solo da grande numero di profonde voragini, ma anche da autri e caverne praticabili ed abitabili. — Pensai che importerebbe visitare e frugare ad una ad una almeno quest'ultime che in esse forse potrebbero nascondersi traccio e avanzi di epoche ancora più remote e veramente selvaggie.

"Fecimo coll'amico Scampicchio delle ricerche, impegnammo altri amici ad estenderle e moltiplicarle, ma ancora non ci arrise il desiderato segnale. Non disperiamo. Gli uomini dell'età della pietra, dei quali si hanno, come vede, indizii non dubbi nell'Istria, non saranno già cascati qui dal cervello di Giove belli ed armati. Insistendo ci si arriverà, ci si deve arrivare.

"L'ultimo autunno (1869), potemmo fare qualche escursione sull'isola di Cherso. Nelle vicinanze di Vrana, donde avevo avuti i primi saggi di breccie ossifere, ne trovammo altri ed altri ricchi sopra tutto di denti. Poi n'ebbimo di più rari tratti dalle parti dei Lussini. In uno di questi v'è un notevole miscuglio di grossi denti d'animale e di denti minori ch'io non oso dire d'uomo. È un esemplare che vuol essere giudicato da chi ha famiglialità colla anatomia comparata. — Finalmente, accompagnato da egregie persone pratiche dei luoghi, sono sceso nelle caverne di Ghermosal, non lungi dal canale di Ossero, già descritte dall'illustre Naturalista Alberto Fortis nel suo Saggio di Osservazione sopra l'isola di Cherso ed Ossero, Venezia, 1771.

"Molti accusarono il Fortis di esagerato, poetico, visionario. Facile il dirlo, ma io colla scorta del suo libro ho colto la natura per così dire in flagranti, nell'atto cioè che forma e consolida la pasta ossifera chiusa fra strati di pietra. La descrizione eh' ci fa di dette caverne è così esatta, ch'io e i miei compagni possiamo dire di aver posto il piede e la ove egli lo pose. Ma i cent'anni corsi dalla sua esplorazione sono un giorno nella vita della natura. Tolta forse in qualche tratto l'ultima superficialissima crosta, ogni cosa nelle caverne è oggi appunto com'era ai tempi del Fortis. La scienza invece ha percorso un immenso stadio, ma oggi, se fosse vivo il Fortis certo sarebbe coi primi.

"A Cherso ci dissero che nelle famiglie dei contadini si tengono come infallibile guarentia contro il fulmine certi pezzi di pietra nera che dalla descrizione dovrebbero essere altrettante armi o stromenti dell'età della pietra. Osservarono altri che lo stesso avviene in altre parti dell'Istria e specialmente sul Carso. Non è facile accertarsene perchè la cieca superstizione impone, dicesi, al possessore di fame mistero. Pur cerca e ricerca saltò fuori, precisamente in Cherso, una accetta di pietra nera poco dissimile da quella ritrovata molti anni addietro sui monti di Albona.

"Per ultimo nello scavo di un canale a Pola sono stati estratti con altre ossa dei grossi denti ai quali pur giova prestare attenzione.

"La punta di freccia, le due ascie, uno dei denti trovati a Pola, avuto dal signor G. Seraschin e alcuni esemplari di breccia ossifera con varietà di denti, tengo al momento presso di me per istudii e confronti: tutto il resto che ho accennato di sopra esiste in Albona.

"Queste cose furono in parte narrate dalla Provìncia che si stampa a Capodistria, e ne fu toccato di volo anche in qualche articolo del Dizionario Corografico dell'Italia che stampa il Vallardi, sotto la direziono del prof. Amati in Milano.

''Prima che ad altri io desideravo di comunicar tutto ciò di persona al chiarissimo prof. Lioy, ma nell'occasiono cui sembra coler alludere il sig. D. M. ebbi la sfortuna di non ritrovarlo a Vicenza e quindi i confronti tra le cose Istriane e le Vicentine ho dovuto instituirli al Museo senza il dotto concorso di lui.

"Non ne ho dato poi comunicazione formale a Corpi scentifici, perché voleva prima portare a compimento una serie ordinata di osservazioni e confronti, indispensabili a dedurre conseguenze veramente concludenti e accettabili dalla scienza.

"Ma giacché ella, esimio signor ingegnere, e il sig. D. M. colla lora gentile pressione mi hanno fatto rompere un riserbo che mi parea doveroso; oggi deposto ogni riguardo mio personale, dirò intiero il mio pensamento.  

"Penso che la punta di freccia avuta a Vermo di Pisino, e le due ascie di Albona e di Cherso appartengano alla terza età della pietra; — penso che i cocci e gli altri oggetti in pietra repeliti e reperibili sulle cime di alcuue montagne dell'Istria; possano [388] corrispondere all'epoca delle abitazioni lacustri o siano posteriori di poco; — penso che le abitazioni lacustri o palafitte non siano mancate in Istria, paese che e per le sue posizioni al mare, e per le conformazioni di alcune interne vallate, vi si doveva prestare benissimo, ma parmi che non siano da ricercarsi per ora alle sponde del Quieto, dell'Arsa o del suo Lago, dove l'enorme quantità di terra calata giù dai monti colle acque dovrebbe averle assai profondamente sepolte, sì piuttosto in altre valli all'interno e lungo la doppia marina; — penso finalmente che le numerose caverne del suolo istriano visitate e frugate con diligenza debbano fruttare importanti rivelazioni, se non alla scienza, certo alla storia del nostro paese.

"Molto di questo non è oggi che ipotesi, ma è ipotesi confortata dai fatti.  

"Oltre le cose accennate più sopra, sta il fatto che anche il sig. Carlo De Franceschi, Segretario della Giunta provinciale, ha trovato sopra non so qual colle del Parentino un cucchiaio di argilla biancastra, a corto manico, rozzamente conformato, e come pare, cotto al sole, — e che il signor Ingegnere Pietro Dottor Madonizza di Capodistria tiene una ruota pure di cotto grossolano rinvenuta in una delle valli vicine. Non pretendo che cotesta ruota sia appunto un indizio di abitazioni lacustri in quella valle, — non corro sì lapido, — pure essa non è arnese romano, né balocco moderno. Ora in questi casi bisogna attaccarsi a ogni filo e prima di affermare o negare, bisogna cercare, indagando argutamente tenacemente le prove. Io oggi non affermo in. modo assoluto, bensì espongo e propongo, contento abbastanza di poter offrire qualche non ispregevole indizio ad una scienza positiva che in pochi anni ha dissepolto un mirabile complesso di fatti, la luce dei quali sperdendo tenebre addensate da secoli giova e gioverà sempre più alla ragionata indipendenza e quindi alla vera grandezza dello spirito umano.

"Le presenti mie confessioni l'avranno di certo persuaso ch'io non sono un paleontologo, nè un paleo-etnologo: posso io sperare di più? ch'esse la spingano a visitare la piccola ma interessante Istria? Visitandola a parte a parte, Ella s'accorgerà di cose che da Trieste non vedensi abbenchè Istria e Trieste sieno uno stesso paese. Desidero che possa farlo. — Ella troverà non solo in Albona, ma in ogni Terra dell'Istria persone premurosissime di accompagnarla nelle sue escursioni, e per agevolartene il non facile compito, e per apprendere da lei il modo più sicuro di fare e di proseguir le ricerche. A Pisino non tralasci di vedere il così detto Castellier dei Bertossi. Le sarà guida il signor Antonio Covaz, che intende egregiamente a studii geologici e segue con grande fiducia i progressi della scienza nuova.

Questo è, onorevole signor Ingegnere, tutto il più ch'io possa oggi dirle delle cose mie e delle cose dell'Istria relativamente alle età della pietra. Ne metta a parte, prego, il sig. D. M. e, se lo vuole, anche i lettori del Cittadino, Forse il vedere eh' io senza capitale di scienza, colla sola buona volontà e un poco di perseveranza, anche in mezzo a lunghe distrazioni ed interruzioni, sono pure riuscito a risultati di qualche valore, forse, dico, incoglierà altri ed altri a proseguire, a ripetere, ad allargare le avviate ricerche e così la mia ipotesi sarà o ampiamente confermata dai fatti, o ridotta entro più giusti confini. Se non ci avrò guadagnato io, che non importa affatto, ci avrà guadagnato la scienza, la storia, il paese che importa moltissimo.

'Gli errori stessi
Giovan sovente a dar più lume al vero.'

"Grato infino alle cortesi, troppo cortesi, espressioni che ha voluto usare a mio riguardo senza ancora conoscermi di persona e desiderosissimo di fare appunto la personale di lei conoscenza, chiudo oggi collo attestarle la mia ammirazione e coll'augurarle la letizia di qualche importante scoperta qui nel nostro bene amato paese.

"Di Lei, Sig. Dottore e ingegnere,"




"Tomaso Luciani


Venezia, febbrajo, 1870.  

[389] The example of these eminent men has done some little towards abating the exclusive rule of the Almighty Florin, the pure and simple worship of the Golden Calf, at Trieste. Amongst the little band led by them was the late Dr. Carlo Buttazone, whose immature death at the age of 39 is still deplored. Born at Trieste in 1833, he took the degree of LL.D. at Vienna and, returning home in 1869, he began practice in the town of Trieste. But he preferred the historico-archeologic department of study to all professional pursuits, and he devoted himself for life to illustrating the past of Trieste, Istria, and Friuli. His extensive reading, his perspicacity, and a fine critical spirit won for him the applause of experts, and he has left a heap of manuscripts, which will, I hope, see the light in the pages of the Archeografo Triestino. (22)

Another eminent scholar is Dr. (LL.D.) Carlo Gregorutti, of Trieste, also an advocate; he is at present unfortunately incapacitated by illness from pursuing his interesting studies. This snort compendium, you will perceive, hurries over a subject which for adequate treatment would require more time and space than you can afford. Suffice it to show that Trieste has a right to be proud of her sons.

Part II. — Visit to the Castellieri.

And first of the name. The Italian population of the cities and towns apply indifferently to this class of ruins the terms Castellaro and Castelliere (old castle); the latter is a corruption of the corrupt and "dog-Latin" Castellerium. The Veneto-Italian dialect contracts the word to Castillier and Casteller. (23) The mixed Slav-speaking peoples of the hamlets and the country parts use some form of grâd, a fenced town, e.g., starigrad (old town), graddaz, gradina (the ruins of an old town), or gradischia. (24) As a rule, they are eminently ignorant of remains lying within a few paces of their doors, and the unwary inquirer will often be led for a quarter of an hour — that is to say, an hour and a quarter, if not more — through thorns and over natural tumuli of limestone, to see some crumbling Venetian castle, which has always been destroyed by "Attila sævissimus."

[390] Dr. Kandler having determined the Castellieri to be Roman camps, so disposed his "rete" that two points were always in sight for convenience of signalling, and provided many eminences with buildings, which, according to the best local observers, never existed. The experienced eye can always detect at a distance the traces of an earthen ring or ellipse formed by levelling the summit, and the gradual rises of the roads, or rather ramps, which are as a rule comparatively free from tree and thicket. A nearer inspection shows a scatter of pottery, whose rude and sandy paste contrasts sharply with the finished produce of the Roman kilns, and the more homogeneous materials of modern times. It would be easy to collect a ton weight of these fragments: I forward a few for the satisfaction of brother Anthropologists. The tracing is defined by an unmistakable sign, the black earth, which stands out so clearly from the surface of "Red Istria."(25)

The effect of ashes and offal, of débris and ruins, our terricio nero seems, in irregular and detached spots to prevent any growth but coarse grass and dwarf thorny shrubs. In a previous publication ("Unexplored Syria," i. 55), I have dwelt upon the facility which this "black malm," this rotten dark soil, affords in demarking the outlines of ruined cities, which, like Ba'albek and Palmyra, Tyre and Sidon, once occupied ten times the extent of their modern successors. Lastly, the existence of the Castellieri as prehistoric, not Roman, ruins is established by the discovery of stone weapons.

Upon the fringing ridges of the peninsula, the more enduring lime stone walls of the Castellieri generally define the enceinte. But in the interior, where the defences were made of the easily degrading sandstone, the chief guides are the earthen scarp, the pottery, the black earth, and the stone implements. Let us hope that increased activity may presently bring to light crania and bones which shall enable us to determine the race that occupied these interesting remains.

As a rule, the Castellieri crowned the summits of the detached conical hills and mounds, which, though moraine does not exist, appear to have been raised and turned by glacial action. Another favourite site was the Col or Pass; a third was the buttress or loop-shaped projection of the escarpment (the Icelandic muli, the [391] Scotch Mull), which forms the banks and the ravines of the barathra or foibe.(26) Hence the peculiar appearance of many Istrian towns, such as Pedena and Galignana, which have been built upon these prehistoric sites. Viewed from below, they appear to be perched upon the summits of inaccessible rock walls. A crow's nest, with a stick driven through it, is the only object they suggest from afar, and they wear a peculiarly ghostly look, like the phantoms of settlements, when seen through the mists of a dark evening. Nor can they be called villages: they are towns in miniature, castles, and, in fact, not unlike the "Hof" which represented Vienna before 1856.

The cold heights preferred by some villages — for instance, that on the Monte Zucchero (or Sissol?), a southern prolongation of Monte Maggiore, — would show that the people had modes of defence against inclement weather. All, however, are not on high ground; the remains of a Castelliere are shown upon the low levels between the hamlet of Chersano (Carsianum?) and Lake Cepich (Lacus Arsia), Istria's only lake. Nor are they confined to the continent; e.g., two are found, according to Dr. Kandler, upon the greater of the Brioni Islands, and two in Sant'Andrea and San Giovanni on the sea south of Rovigno.

The enceinte was double, except where the approach, inaccessible to the spoiler, rendered one rampart sufficient, and the shapes were very irregular, being determined by the accidents of ground. Usually the front rested upon a cliff or rapid slope, and the typical formation of the whole is shown in plates 8, 9, & 10.

The whole peninsula was at one time scattered over with these villages, and Fate has treated them with her usual caprice. Some have been carried off bodily, especially those lying near the lines of [392] modern roads. Others are in process of disappearance, being found useful for villages, and on the heights for the rude huts of the shepherd and the goatherd.(27) But where situation, which determines the " Eternal Cities of the World," — Damascus, for instance, — was favourable, the Castelliere, as at Pisino, (28) became successively a castle, a hamlet, and a town, with the fairest prospect of being promoted to the honours of cityhood. On the other hand, Muggia Vecchia, in the Back Bay of Trieste, has in turn been a castle and a church-town, and now it is a ruin, whilst its neighbour, the Castellier degli Elleri is utterly broken, and Antignano is still a village. The chapel, as a rule, seems to have been a very natural sequence, and thus we can account for the fondness for high places which seems here to have possessed the ecclesiastical mind.

The following list of fifteen Castellieri in the territory of the Albona, which occupes the south-eastern part of the Peninsula, shows the total to be considerable. It was given to me by Dr. (LL.D.) Antonio Scampicchio, who warns me that the principal sites which hold out hopes of prehistoric remains may be reduced to five or six.

  1. Cosliacco (i.e.j Costa de Lago, viz., Cepich and the Roman Caprinium 1) al Castello, usually known as the Castelliere di Monte Zucchero. The latter must not be confounded with the height of the same name near Pola.
  2. Gradina di Cosliacco, on the way which leads from Villa Vosilli towards Fianona; this does not include the Castelliere between Chersano and the lake.
  3. Sumber (in the Austrian military map, which abounds in name errors, Sumberg) upon the eastern escarpment of the upper Canale or Val d'Arsa (the Latin Arsia), to the left (west) of the road leading from Albona to Pedena. On the other side of the great ravine is the Castelliere of Oritz, a village about an hour's walk south-south-east of Pedena.
  4. Gradina, near Sumber.
  5. Starigrad dai Rusich, lower down on the eastern escarpment of the Val d'Arsa, in the territory of Vettua d'Albona; here was found an axe of fine black stone. [393]
  6. Punta di Santa Croce, near Zamparovizza (map, Tzemparoviza), at San Martino, also in Vettua d'Albona, and east of the Val d'Arsa, the gorge that divided Italy from Liburnia.
  7. Gradaz, near the mouth of the Canale dell"Arsa, over the Valle dei Toni near Point Ubas or Ubaz, the eastern jaw of the Fjord, in the Commune of Cerrovizza d'Albona.
  8. Gradina, in the wood of Punta-Ubas, opposite Castelvecchio, which lies west of the Arsa Fjord. It is also in the Commune of Cerrovizza d'Albona.
  9. Gradina, near S. Gallo d'Albona, about a mile and a half south -east of the latter city.
  10. Cunzi, which, being the best preserved of all the Istrian ruins, shall presently be described in detail
  11. Punta di Portolungo an inlet and port south-south-east of Albona. Here, they say, are found Roman remains in the shape of built tanks and a strong wall. (29)
  12. 13, 14, 15. Four ruins of Castellieri, on the heights between Fianona (the old Roman port and castle of Flanona, which gave a name to the Sinus Flanaticus, near Quarnaro) and Zagorie i.e., behind the Gora or mountain).

This list does not include Albona itself, where several prehistoric implements were found, nor the Gradina of Moschienizze in the Commune of Volosca, north of Albona. The latter can hardly be visited without the guidance of Sig. Tomassich, the civil and obliging innkeeper of Moschienizze, the village which fronts the beautiful Quarnaro gulf.

And now bidding adieu to generalities, I will describe my late excursions in company of an old friend, Charles H. Williams, late of Bahia, to the half-dozen prehistoric buildings on the east and west of the Istrian Peninsula.

My second visit to Albona was so far unfortunate that Dr. Scampicchio was absent, being one of the deputies of the Istrian Diet at Parenzo. His brother, however, kindly sent with us an "indicatore," Marcos Juricich, who had some personal knowledge of the places about the Commune. After a glorious November morning, which whitened the valleys with hoar-frost, and which showed sea and sky blue and clear as in the arid regions about the Red Sea, we descended the zigzag road of Albona, and struck north-north-eastwards to the Cunzi hillock. It is a dwarf lumpy chine, about a mile long, disposed north-north-east to south-south-west, with lower lands on all sides. At this season the oaks, the scrub, and the blackberry bushes which here affect the neighbourhood of walls and rocks, are of a dull bistre hue, contrasting with the verdure of the Dolomitic valleys, the lighter brown of the hill curtain over Fianona, and the French-grey heights [394] of the local Chimborazo, Monte Maggiore, whose crater-like summit, assuming, from certain rhumbs, the figure of "Arthur's Seat," forms the background. The Cunzi hillock is crowned northwards by Krisni-brek (Cross-hill), a tree-grown conelet, which acts mile-post to the ruins. A Roman road defines the inland face; the outline is also traced out by an unfinished macadam.

The hill flank facing Albona is covered with heaps of stone, connected and detached: the latter suggest that the vineyard-huts, especially remarked about Pola, may be the relics of older forms. They are oven-shaped; the walls are of dry calcareous fragments, and flagstones, overlapping and unsupported by posts, compose the roofs — about Hums and Hamah, I last saw similiar dwellings. Two grassy slopes, in places bearing signs of pavement, gently ascend the south-south-western flank, but the whole approach wants surveying. As the thickets are cut down every six or seven years, it will offer an excellent opportunity for a detailed plan.

After crossing sundry dry-stone walls dividing the property of the Barons Lazzarini from the upper part, which belongs to the Depangher family, we came in sight of the ruins, and all my visions of Nurhags and Talayots were rudely dispersed.

The Castelliere di Cunzi, (30) stands upon the brow of a slope rather than a cliff; and its frontage-wall has disappeared. The distance is about three-quarters of a linear geographical mile from the whitewashed and conspicuous steeple of Albona, which bears from it 250° mag. Its builders certainly had an eye for beauty like Carthusians. In front lies the shallow and fertile valley of Ripenda, which is also the name of the Commune or Gemeinde, bounded by a tongue of land, at whose tip appears a stripe of ultramarine sea carrying many a boat. About 1,200 feet below (31) and to the right, or south-east, lies the snug cove of Rabatz (Rabaz), the "marina" of the little old republican capital, whose ivy-clad castle walls may be seen through the thin wood. Beyond the Farasina or western canal of the great Quarnaro (32) gulf, lies tall Cherso (Crexa?), the Capri of the glorious bay of Fiume, and a white patch denotes its capital (142° magnetic). To the south-south-east (175° N.), rises Monte Ossero, a regularly-formed pyramid, at the extremity of Lussin island; and the eastern background, high towering in [395] jagged summits against the cloudless sky, is the grand curtain of the Dalmatian mountains, the jagged Dinarian Alps; whilst the quaint mural crest of Monte Maggiore forms the northern horizon.

Sketches 1 and 2.

The brow of the fronting slope bends gently from northeast and south-west to south-west-and-by-west, and the whole length of the frontage in round numbers is 325 feet. At the edge begin the double walls, which gradually diverge till, at the north-north-western part of the oval furthest removed from the cliff, they leave an interval of 50 feet. Commencing at the north-eastern end, the inner enceinte, after 95 feet, shows a regular entrance, which is best explained by the accompanying sketch (No. 1), taken upon the spot. Some are of opinion that this most important feature is modern, but I failed to detect any traces of restoration, except about the crest, and in the proper right staple; the latter had been piled up with small stones to a height of 13 feet, when six or seven would amply suffice.(33) Thirty feet more led to a gap (No. l),not a gate, and beyond it 145 feet showed us a second gap (No. 2 in the plan) opening to the north-northwest, which may or may not have belonged to the original. The southern arc measured 330 feet, and the total circumference was 565, whilst the diameter of the inner enceinte, from east to west, amounted to 250 feet. (34) The terre pleine showed a thick growth of young oaks and scrub, with natural slabs of limestone; neither here nor elsewhere did we see any loose heaps of smaller stones suggesting that the habitations were anything but the spoils of the neighbouring woods. There was a clear grassy space round the greater part of the inner walls answering to a rampart in modern fortification.

When laying out the village, the crest of the cone or buttress was evidently cut away in one or more places, leaving part of the original earth-slope to form the parapet-base. Upon this foundation were planted large blocks of limestone, sometimes measuring two cubic yards, in tolerably regular order, "muros seccos," invariably without mortar (malta), and never of cut nor worked blocks; the tout ensemble formed a rough architecture of the style commonly called Cyclopean. The inner thickness of the parapet was apparently filled with smaller stones, and the thickness varied from 18 to 31 ft. near the north-north-western gap. The inner scarp was steep and clean of rubbish; the outer or counter scarp, disposed at the natural angle, was covered, for about 30 feet (sketch No. 2), with mossy stones, which have slipped, or been thrown from their position, and the Cunzi, like the other ruins, was closely invested by a thick growth of scrub and thorns. The enceinte between the outer and inner walls was mostly grass-grown, and here I should suggest were kept the cattle and goats belonging to the villagers. In the space [396] between the two, old Marcos showed us a circular digging which a "Prussian" had attempted; he assured us that it yielded scant results.(35) The black earth and broken pottery here as usual dotted the wall, and at the Museo Scampicchio I was shown twenty-three fragments, (36) whose finer paste suggested Roman origin. Two earthern vessels were also found; the double-handled specimen may be of Latin make; the badly-baked single-handled pot is probably of earlier date. (37)

I cannot end this sketch of the Castelliere di Cunzi without an expression of gratitude to the Depangher family, whose enlightened care of the ruin has preserved it from the plundering which has afflicted its neighbours with the "abomination of desolation."

The next Castelliere which we visited was on the right of the highway from Vragna the Raven, (38) across the Col of Monte Maggiore, leading to Fiume. A great gash in the western flank of the mountain bears upon its right lip the little settlement of Stara-Vragna (Vragna Vecchia), the Roman Aurania, and near it a "Mull," a loop-shaped buttress, with a narrow neck, was pointed out to us. (39) The ruins of a castle, probably Venetian, here concealed all traces of the Castelliere — if ever there was one. But higher up, near a farm-house known as "Nezegl" (Nezelj a Priceyk), we saw the arc of an enceinte whose slope nearly readied the right of the road: it offered nothing new.

Our third excursion in the neighbourhood of Albona was to Dubrova, a large country house belonging to a family of wealthy landed proprietors, the Barons Lazzarini. Our guide on that occasion was Sig. Ernesto Nacinovich, who had hospitably invited us to take up our quarters for the night at his father's house in Santa Domenica. A walk of about twenty minutes to the north-north-east, up a rise garnished with the usual scrub and thorns, placed us at the large settlement whose northern part is called Stermatz, and the southern Stari-grad. This Castelliere faces the shallow Prodol valley; it has been almost destroyed, and its only point of interest is the adaptation of the irregular enceinte to the exigencies of the ground. (40)

[397] Before leaving Albona we inspected the Museo Scampicchio, and found some interesting specimens of stone weapons. All were of the polished category popularly called neolithic, and indeed throughout Istria, which is utterly deficient in flint, I have seen nothing of the ruder, if not older, type. With the kind permission of the owner, tracings were made, and the following is a list of the most important articles. None of them presented any novelty of shape, and, as usual, they were mostly composed of stone which is not produced in the country. These tools and weapons seem to have travelled as far as cowries.

  1. The two arrow-heads of silex, one with, and the other without, a tang (see Plate 9); were found in a kitchen midden at Vermo, near Pisino, and Sig. Antonio Covaz lately showed me a third from the same place. Vermo has supplied land and sea shells evidently used for food, and the split bones of mammalia, bound in a calcareous matrix, and forming an ossiferous breccia. (41)
  2. The tracing in plate 9, of course "life size," is that of the magnificent greenstone axe, the largest specimen of its order exhibited at the Anthropologico-Archæological congress of Bologna. It has been for half a century in the Luciani-Scampicchio family, which it has happily and effectually protected from the "thunderbolt."
  3. Albona itself has supplied five specimens, a pestle or rubbing stone of pyramidal shape; a black axe, which might serve as a touchstone; a small and very graceful axe of greenstone; a third of similar material with a sharp edge and the fragment of a fourth axe.
  4. From Pedena, evidently a prehistoric site, which has just built at the expense of 12,000 florins a campanile (belfry), at least large enough to lodge the whole village, were brought a fine axe of greenstone and a polished edgeless cube, concerning whose use I am doubtful.
  5. An axe from Parenzo.
  6. A polished fragment from Fianona.
  7. An axe from Cherso Island. [398]
  8. A polished black stone from Chersano, apparently an axe, but partly of adze shape.

After bidding adieu to our kind hosts we drove over to Pola, which my companion wished to visit, and passed a pleasant day mostly at the I.R. Naval Club, in company with our compatriot Commander J. William Greaves, and his brother officer, Captain Edward Germonnig, both of the I.R. Austrian Navy.(42) Thence we travelled (43) by unpleasantly devious roads up the western coast of the "Eastern Piedmont," greatly enjoying the change of climate. We had endured two days of winter, ending in torrents of rain with thunder and vivid lightning, and one of melancholy grey sky and furious north-easter, which, cooled by the snows of the Monte Maggiore and the "Tschitschen Boden," might have been claimed by the coast of Essex. But on the western shore there is a delicious atmosphere, cold, clear, and calm, reminding me of Upper Sind in the north-east monsoon season. "Blustering Boreas,' which on December 7th, 1873, upset a coach, and overturned a train of five carriages near Fiume, killing three and wounding eight passengers, here ceased his bullying, and the only symptom of his course across the bleak and barren highlands of Styria was a pellucid sky, with the driest and the most bracing air. The aspect of the Adriatic, and the forms of the shelving rocky shores, suggested to both of us reminiscences of Malta at its very best.

At Rovigno, the largest city of Istria, far-famed for a modern (A.D. 1725) and somewhat barbarous Basilica of SS. George and Euphemia, a find had lately been made in a cave which supplies Roman remains; they had been sent to Cav. Luciani, who occupies in these regions the position won for himself by my friend,, Mr. George Petrie, of Kirkwall (Orkneys). Thence a dreadfully devious road, caused by the Canal de Lerne (Cullæus Limenis), which still awaits a carriage ferry, led us to Parenzo, the actual seat of the Istrian Diet. My object in visiting this town was to obtain permission to copy the Rete de' Castellieri left in manuscript by the late Dr. Kandler. I hasten to say that my application was at once successful. The Provincial Captain of Istria, Sig. Francisco Vidulich; the Vice-Captain, Dr. Andrea Amoroso; and the Secretary of the Diet, Sig. Carlo de Franceschi, an archaeologist who is carrying on Dr. Kandler's work, immediately supplied me with a card to Madame Giovannina Kandler-Branchi, the only child of the venerable antiquary. On the [399] day after our return to Trieste, the maps were placed at my disposal. Their great size, a photograph of the Cadestrale map, and complexity of detail, render an exact copy far too cumbrous and detailed for popular use. I, therefore, requested Dr. Angelo Quarantotto, C.E., to insert what is requisite in the printed map of Istria forwarded to you with this paper.

Parenzo, however, deserves to be visited for its own sake. It is distinctly the most Roman city in the Peninsula. The Cloaca Maxima, some five feet high, runs under the principal street, which is regular, and lies parallel with the Marina; the temples of Mars and Diana still exist; and two squares preserve the name of Prætorium, somewhat corrupted, and Marforio or Forum Martis. All around it linger traces of Roman occupation; the reefs of limestone are pitted with Sarcophagi, sundry of which face east-west and with those square shallow basins (Vaschi), which Syria still determines to be ancient oil presses, wine presses, and vats for preparing lixivia. It is not a little startling to be shown the farm of Claudius Pansa, as if that ancient worthy had just departed this mortal life. (44)

At Parenzo I was fortunate enough to find Dr. Antonio Scampicchio and Sig. Antonio Covaz. The former introduced me to his kinsman, the Marchese Gianpaolo de' Polesini. Excursions were hastily planned, and on the afternoon of the same day we set out to visit Moncastello (i.e., Monte Castello), in the Cervera property, (45) belonging to the Marchese. Driving along the shore, we reached the place in a sharp half-hour, and a walk of a few minutes over low ground and up a dwarf rise took us to the Castelliere. The accompanying plan, which I owe to the owner's courtesy, will obviate the unpleasant necessity of description. Here the chief novelty is that the Romans evidently occupied part of the prehistoric site, whilst the nucleus is clearly shown by its warty hill.

Next morning we resolved to walk to Santangelo, which lies some forty-five minutes south-east of Parenzo, on a rise somewhat off the Roman road. It is rendered conspicuous by the ruins of a comparatively modern church, dedicated to the Invocation which gives it a name. This Castelliere has the normal indications — grassy ramps, an earthen crest, black soil, and an abundance of broken pottery; but there are certain novelties of detail. The flat rocky plateau, with precipitous sides, where the church stands, was apparently an acropolis or capitol, which required no artificial defence, and the only sign of enceinte is on the lower slope which ends the smooth terre pleine. To the north was a remnant of an entrance, four slabs placed as steps, which might, however, have been made for the convenience of pilgrims, but the traces of a gateway below [400] the eastern crest suggested a much older origin. A sarcophagus (lidless) was found cut in the rock rim of the acropolis; it fronted east-south-east to west-north-west; the length was 1.80 m.; the greater breadth 0.60 m., and the lesser 0.51 m.

This portion of the Istrian seaboard is a smooth and gentle slope, everywhere studded with natural tumuli of red earth, covering cretaceous limestone, and again showing possible glacial action. The land is said to be gradually subsiding, but I have as yet failed to find proof of this process.(46)

The nearest wart to the north bears the name of Mordelle, and here modern quarrying has obliterated many traces of the old Castelliere; at a distance the knobbed cone looks like a large modern fort. To the south-east also rises the Pizzughi tumulus, whose notched outline and ascending terraces at once reveal its quality to the experienced eye. Dr. Kandler located other "Roman camps" at Monghebbo and at San Servolo, the latter a fourth tumulus; but the Marchese, who is familiar with the spot, absolutely denies that any signs or traces of habitation are to be found there: the same was said of Punta Grossa, the 4th point south-south-west of Parenzo along shore, and of the adjoining southern point where "Castelleria" are also marked.

We returned to Trieste delighted with our tour; I fairly recommend our example to those of my countrymen who are willing to undergo a modicum of discomfort, especially the utter want of fireplaces and fires in winter. The climate, which I have now tried in August and December, is healthy, except in rare parts, and everywhere essentially temperate, as the Persiate poet sings:

"Na garmi' sh garm o na sardi' sh sard."
"The heat is not hot, nor its cold is cold."

 —And, as the Anonymus (Scymnus?) describes it (382),

ov yàp ¥«$xr&ly)s obtf&yay hpvyfxtyos.
"Non nivosus enim neque nimis frigidus."

The roads are as a rule excellent, and horses and mules are everywhere procurable for the bye-ways. In the chief towns, whose actual aspect is that of the old Venetian cities, the interiors often preserving the wild romantic cast which distinguishes the pyramid-shaped fastnesses of the higher Apennines, inns of some kind are invariably to be found. In the country quarters there may be difficulties about bed and board, and "niente!" is often the answer to cosa c'è da mangiare? The surly landlady at Chersano informed M. de Perrochel and myself that the house was occupied by herself, her husband, her mother-in-law, her children, and a widow lady who happened to be staying there, but that, as the weather was fine, we could sleep under a tree. On the other hand, the good host and hostess of the Canfanaro inn insisted, despite all my objections, in vacating the marital [401] four-poster. The peasants were everywhere as remarkable for their civility to strangers, as for their temperance and orderly conduct; they show a variety of interesting types, and they preserve their picturesque costumes, which everywhere vary. The townsfolk are not always so courteous; the out-of-the-way places contain not a few "vadios" as the Brazilians call them — mean whites, who mistake impudence for dignity — and throughout the country there is a truly lamentable backwardness. The unfortunate women of Albona, like their prehistoric sisters, must fetch and carry on their backs huge pails of water, because cisterns are wanting, and the city is not supplied with the simplest mechanical means for raising the necessary of life. I would specify Pinguente and Fianona, where the burghers will laugh in the foreigner's face, carefully warning the reader that nothing can be more courteous than the gentry. My lamented predecessor (Charles Lever), wrote upon this point:— "There is probably no prejudice so strong, so rooted, and so indelible in the hearts of the masses, as the dislike of the stranger as stranger, and the desire to make him feel as painfully as possible that, in every point on which he differs from the natives in dress, manner, or demeanour, he is so far deviating from the standard of all that is decent, proper, and becoming. The amount of this feeling in a people is the best measure of their advancement in civilization." I should not have noticed this point had not the conduct of the Istrian bourgeois contrasted so painfully with the civility of their own order throughout Italy, and with the bonhomie of the Slav peasantry.

This backwardness, this sluggishness in progress is not confined to Istria. It extends all along both shores of the Adriatic. Allow me briefly to tell "the tale of the two cities," and to contrast their conditions in the concisest way. (San Salvador da) Bahia, one of the many ports upon the Brazilian sea-shore, was hardly invented, three centuries and a half ago. Besides her railroads and her lines of steamers, she has two street tramways, and she is proposing a third. She has a lift connecting Basseville and Hauteville. She is building immense docks to increase the convenience of her noble bay-harbour, and she has spent large sums in bringing water to her doors, and building fountains, which are mostly works of art. Trieste dates as a city from the days of the Romans, and she is the chief port and the great centre of commerce, the "Emporio Mondiale," in the wealthy and powerful empire of Austria. She has not a yard of street railway. A lift to the Carso has been proposed for years without being begun. It is easy to walk to Opschina in an hour, about the same time that the fastest mail train takes to reach il A tolerable natural roadstead bids fair to be silted up because the lighthouse island (Batteria Leuch-Thurm) has been connected with the main land by a dam instead of arches; and a huge system of stone moles has blocked the bottom of the bay, with a wilful waste of some sixteen millions of florins a sum that must be doubled before the new port can be used. The Opera House is old and unclean, fit only for a pauper country town, and the rich city [402] rests content with the model of a new theatre. The water supply, despite half a dozen projects proposed since 1835, is a disgrace to a civilized community. And why? Because a sterile politic occupies the immense amount of talent and energy which should be devoted to progress; because inveterate party feeling, which shows itself by throwing squibs and petards amongst women and children, stands in the way of all improvement Upon every conceivable proposal there are, and there must be, the well-packed bundles of opposite opinions, and the unfortunate city, like the animal in the apologue, knows not which way to turn. Yet Trieste is a century in advance of Padua or Verona.

It is not difficult, with the aid of old experience and a little imagination, to restore the ancient savage condition of the settlement; and the traveller, especially the African traveller, has the advantage of having lived in prehistoric times. Tacitus says of the Germans, "Urbes habitari satis notum est... vicos locant, non in nostrum morem, annexis et cohærentibus edificiis; suam quisque domum spatio circumdat;" but here we can allow only passages between the houses. Reasons have been given for believing that the village was of wood and of thatch, rather than of stone: "imbrem culmo aut fronde defendunt" (Senec de Prov.) and "casæ more Gallico stramentis tectæ." We must prefer the conical or bee-hive-shaped huts of the lower races to the squares and parallelograms which mark a step in civilization. The walls of the enceinte or enceintes will be six or seven feet high from without, and three or four within, allowing the war-men to use their arrows, javelins, and sling stones; while a clear space, where the youths keep guard with axe and spear and club, separates the huts from the bulwark. The gateway or gateways will be closed by fascines of thorns, especially the Spina Morocco (Paliurus aculeatus), the Umm Ghaylan (Mughilan) of the Arabs, whose crooked armature renders it a true "wait-a-bit," backed by tree-trunks forming stout palisades. Tomasini allows trenches and wooden stockades, but the latter are not necessary. The habitable area inside measures 24,000 (=200 by 120) square feet, and allowing 200 to each hut, the village will contain a total of 120 hearths. Reducing this number to 100, that there may be room for yards and passages, which take the place of streets; and giving a minimum of five to each household, we have for our village a posse of some 150 fighting men, between the ages of 18 and 55. As the territory of Albona contains some twenty Castellieri, the population of Eastern Istria would not number less than 10,000 souls, if such term can be applied to men who had only ghosts — sprites, not spirits. This means that the inhabitants, though an alpine and ferocious race, supported themselves by some form of agriculture; that deer, bears, and wolves were not rare in the mountains, and that hares, foxes, badgers, and martens (Mustela foina) were common on the plains, as they still continue to be. There is no sign of a temple, the old Istrians, according to Lucian, worshipping tree-trunks and rocks — rank Fetishism. Possibly, like the Germans of Tacitus, they adored earth, or, like those of Cæsar, they venerated [403] the sun, the moon, and fire ("Vulcan, Agni devta," &c). They would have a determined creed as they advanced in civilization. At last, according to Justin, (ix.?) the Istrianorum Rex fought the Scythians, and compelled the latter to beg aid from Philip of Macedon. Moreover, Martianus Heraclensis speaks of the "Thraces, Histri dicti," and we know from Herodotus (v.?) that the Thracians, after the Indians, were the greatest of barbarous nations. They penned their live stock between the outer and inner walls, whose entrance or entrances they blocked up with equal care. A total want of water-supply shows that the days of sieges had not dawned, and that the simple act of taking refuge within the enceinte determined the retreat of the attacking party.

I will now invite you to enter with me the prehistoric hut. It is wigwam or sugar-loaf-shaped, the roof-tree being an oak felled by fire and by the slow and painful labour of the stone-axe. The doorway, without door, is between three and three and a half feet high, to ensure alternate warmth and coolness and to defend from flies; it also acts chimney for the smoky fire, which in wet weather is built anywhere upon the floor. The genial blaze serves to clothe the inner thatch with a fine mellow hue, and with long stalactites of soot, depending by way of ornament Another use is to purify the ground, which, without an occasional coat of ashes, would be intolerably unclean. There is no attempt at a partition dividing parents from children; but our savage, who is certainly a polygamist, turns his adult progeny out of doors as soon as possible; his wives may be tolerably well conducted, but the less we say about his daughters the better. Against the walls hang his weapons — his club, his spear, his bow and arrows; with the latter he shoots his fish, and his catamaran of beech-trunks, fastened with strips of hide, serves him for a canoe; his fishing-lines are plaited by the women, possibly of hair, probably of flax or tree-fibre. His stone pestle denotes the knowledge of some grain, which he pounds and mixes with water, like the gofio of the Guanches.(47) His salt-cellar is the sea; his pottery suggests the use of milk and curds, oil, wine, and perhaps mead and hydromel. He has no stores — no smoked nor sun-dried fish: he is improvident as he is omnivorous, at times revelling in venison, turbot, and the glorious palinurus of these seas; at other seasons supporting life by snail-shells, triturated bark, and whatever is edible. Most probably he is a cannibal. All primaeval races were anthropophagi, according to the tradition of their friends, except a prehistoric village in Scotland, whose name I forget, but which has been claimed (by Scotchmen) as an exception to the general rule. (48) Unless famine [404] presses, however, he devours only the dead bodies of his enemies. His cattle and goats — perhaps he has sheep — supply him with bedding, and at times with food; he and his family wear the skins, with the hairy side in — not out, as is the absurd fashion of the highly civilized — and he tattoos, especially on the chest and stomach, a "poor man's plaster," as a defence against intemperate air. His only ornaments are the teeth of his enemies and balls of red clay, worn like necklaces, the earlier form of the bead. (49) His women are not wholly ignorant of spinning, and, if so, they make fishing nets. He spends his time dozing in the sun or sleeping near the fire, except when compelled by hunger to reap his corn, to hunt, or to lift his neighbour's cattle, for which crime, if caught, he will be duly knocked on the head and eaten.

A similar state of things may still be seen amongst the Orobii or mountaineers of East-African Usagara: the latter, however, have abandoned cannibalism, and have learned the use of metal.

Richard F. Burton, Vice-President Anthropological Society.
Trieste, December
9th, 1873.

P.S.—Shortly after this paper was written, Baron Carl von Czoernig (Junior), of the Finance Department of Trieste, favoured me with the proof sheets of an able article which he has contributed to the Transactions of the German Alpine Club, entitled "Rundtour um den Monte Maggiore, Die Kohlengruben von Carpano, geschichtliche und vorgeschichtliche Notizen. Von Carl Freiherrn von Czoernig;" it has been published in the "Zeitschrift des Deutschen Alpenvereins." Redigirt von Dr. Karl Haushofers. Jahrgang, 1873, Band iv., Heft 2, München, 1873. We have thus written simultaneously and independently upon the subject of prehistoric Istria, although Baron von Czoernig visited the sites before my second excursion. Meanwhile, I have to thank my distinguished collaborateur for a copy of his plan of the Castelliere di Cunzi, which I have thus been able to compare with my own that is now offered to the readers of Anthropologia.


Professor LEITNER said it was very gratifying to find that Captain Burton had lost none of the vigour which had made him so deservedly famous. The drawing exhibited seemed to him almost identical with one he had seen of some Bhilsa topes; but he would not on that account throw out anything like a suggestion of similarity between remains in such distant parts of the world. Captain Burton [405] had not made it clear to him whether these remains belonged to the Roman or the prehistoric period. The paper was, however, very valuable as an introduction to others, of which he understood it was only the first chapter. He would say, in reference to the terms Etruscan and Turanian, that they were constantly turning up; but when people wanted to know what they meant, they could not find out, and if a large X, signifying the unknown, were used instead, they would perhaps come nearer the mark. He would confine the term Turanian to the plains of Tartary, and Iranian to Persia; but Stone-henge, Buddhist monuments, and all manner of things, were now called Turanian.

Mr. CARMICHAEL said that if he rightly understood the description given of the Castellieri in Captain Burton's paper, similarities might, he thought, be traced to the hut circles in the valley of the Vibrata, on the eastern slope of the Apennines, described by a writer in a work presented to the members of the International Congress of Anthropology at Bologna in 1871, and also, perhaps, to the prehistoric dwellings in the Island of Pantellaria, in the Mediterranean, which formed the subject of an article in the Journal of the Italian Society for Anthropology and Ethnology. In regard to the suggestion thrown out by Captain Burton that the inhabitants of the Castellieri were cannibals, Mr. Carmichael thought that, as an addition to our knowledge of this obscure point in Anthropology, it might have been interesting if any proof had been found on the spot; but that, as far as the present paper went, no such proof appeared to exist. With respect to the name "Castellieri," Mr. Carmichael thought it might be worth while to mention that in Mediaeval Italian usage, as, e.g., in the contemporary biographies of St. Francis of Assisi, the word "castelli,'' was applied to hamlets or villages, as well as to castles, for it is constantly said that St. Francis went up and down the valleys of Umbria, preaching in the towns and "castelli," or villages, and one of the latest writers on this subject, Mrs. Oliphant, has drawn attention to that usage in her life of St. Francis.

Mr. JEREMIAH, Jun., M.A.I., said that Captain Burton's paper was a very valuable one, inasmuch as the prehistoric remains in Istria and the whole of the eastern coast of the Adriatic have hitherto received but slight attention from scientific Archaeologists. What seems to be an important feature in the communication is the discovery of circular remains of dwellings, which reminded him of the Cyttiau y Gwyddelad, in Anglesey, and other western flanks of Penmaenmawr in North Wales, as well as the bee-hive remains in Cornwall and the circular dwellings in Ireland, which form, some antiquarians think, is indicative of Celtic origin. But one must not forget that the only probability is that the Celtæ may have adapted the circular form of constructing their forts and dwellings from preceding people or peoples, which, if the fact, renders this question one of the most difficult of solution in the whole range of Prehistoric European Archæology. It may even resolve itself into the simple statement that the alleged Celtic circles, that is, the circles extant in places where the Celtæ undoubtedly had [406] sway, are of comparatively recent origin, and were adopted by post-Celtic people from the usage of their predecessors, the sequence of ages becoming thus most difficult to determine. On the other hand, if the circles are really Celtic, and were used in the places where they occur by the Celta, then we shall have to explain how they got into Istria, which, if satisfactorily accomplished, will extend the known area of their former occupation farther than Anthropologists have been wont to allow. The restoration of hut circles by Captain Burton is, after all that may be said against it, perfectly legitimate upon the evidences he has gathered during his researches. But it forms a rather dangerous precedent, when the materials at hand have not been thoroughly worked. It must be regretted that so much collateral and irrelevant matter had been imported into an otherwise extremely important paper. All true lovers of Archaeology must wish God-speed to the gallant author in the pursuit of science, which means the pursuit of truth.

Dr. CARTER BLAKE thought the present was one of the most important papers which Captain Burton had contributed, and that it was purely anthropological. The Castellieri appeared to him to be most like the structures which Mr. G. Tate had discovered in the Cheviot hills, especially those at the foot of Hedgehope and at Yevering Bell. They were unlike the hill forts of Sussex, inasmuch as the latter contained chipped stone implements, but the Istrian remains entirely polished stone. He believed that the remains from Pantellaria, to which Mr. Carmichael had alluded, were more ancient still. The Anglesey remains were probably merely Celtic, at least if the Towyn-y-Capel skulls were to be taken as a test of the characteristic skull formation. He hoped that Captain Burton would continue his explorations.

Mr. LEWIS said it would be sufficient for the mere Archaeologist to know that the remains so admirably brought to their notice by Captain Burton were ancient and curious, but the Anthropologist would ask whether there were any such peculiarities about them as would identify them with those of any other part of the world. So far as he could see, there were no such peculiarities; resemblances, even to some of the British entrenchments, there might be, but none such as might not have arisen from accident. Captain Burton had accused the inhabitants of the Castellieri of polygamy, without, so far as he could see, any evidence to support him; and he thought that no European people had ever been addicted to it, abstinence from it being almost, if not quite, a racial characteristic among them.

The President said the paper was especially interesting from the fact that we have really no previous information on the subject. Neither Spon, in his Italiänische Dalmatische Reise-Beschreibung, nor Biasoletto, Viaggio nell'Istria, which records the travels of the king of Saxony, nor the charming work of Cassas, Voyage Pittoresque de l'Istria, give any account of the Castellieri. Captain Burton had made some queries on the local names, and had asked his (the President's) opinion upon them. The word foiba might corrupt from the Illyrian word [407] vârtba, which is translated "speluncus;" or, as suggested, it might be from Latin fovea, or its root, the Greek [Greek text]; or it may come from the same root as the Gothic ahwa, i.e. aqua, prefixed by a digamma, or from fluvius, like fiume from flumen. A Celtic origin of the name Pola is improbable. The usual derivation is from Pietas Julia, which is not more far-fetched than Fréjus and Friuli, from Forum Julii; but Captain Burton thinks the passage in Pliny, "Pola, now Pietas Julia," proves that the appellation Pola is more ancient. Pula is the Illyrian form of the name, and in that language pol is half; polje, polja is a field; and pùklina is rendered "foramen." Again, in old Italic in scriptions Pola is used as prænomen for Paula, like the masculine Polus for Paulus. The wife of Lucan was named Argentana Polla; and in Cicero we read of Servius Pola. There is a Pola river in Russia, and six places in Spain in which the word Pola forms part; as Pola de Allande. There is lake Paola, near Velletri; Paolo in Calabria; Porto de Palo, near Siracusa; and a Porto Morto San Paolo, a little north of Polain Istria. Others say the Colchians, sent in pursuit of the Argonauts, not being able to fulfil their mission, took refuge in Istria, and founded Pola, whose name in their language signifies "exiles." This seems to have originated in a verse of Callimachus (mentioned by Strabo) who calls the place harvpov (pvyotlwv. I do not find such a word as pala, with such a meaning, in any of the dialects of the Colchian district; but this proves nothing, because, with such imperfect vocabularies as we possess, we could not expect to find it. Bochart inclines to the derivation, and refers to Hebrew pala, separare, auferre, amovere. Such derivation assumes that the Colchian language had a like root word, and the Hebrew has moreover several words for "exile," none of which are from pala. With regard to the name "Istria," it is said that Colchians having sailed up the Ister, i.e., the Danube, passed from that river to the Adriatic, and that they named Istria from the Ister; but, as Spon observes, if the Colchian proceeded from the Ister to the Adriatic, they must have carried their vessels on their shoulders, inasmuch as there is no water communication between that river and the Adriatic. Something to this effect is mentioned by Pliny; only the latter makes them to pass to the Adriatic by way of the Save. Indeed Spon's ludicrous suggestion seems to have been founded on the serious statement in Pliny. That the Colchians may have reached Istria from the mouth of the Ister, the Euxine, and the Dardanelles, is quite another thing. It may be here noted that Styria derives its name from the river Steyer (etymologically the same word as Ister), a small river which gives name to Steyer and Steyerdorf, and falls into the Danube just below Linz. Other derivations of the name Istria might be from the Istri or Histri, an ancient Illyrian people with whom the Romans had several wars. Again, Istria being almost surrounded by water, the appellation might be derived from the Celtic dwr, water; which, with a prefixed sibilant, becomes, in European river names, Stour, Stor, Stur, Styr, Ister, Stura, Astura, Oyster, &c, &c. Further, it frequently happens that large districts take their name from a town; as Yorkshire from York, [408] Derbyshire from Derby, &c. &c; so that the name Istria may be also traced to the Asturon phugadōn of Callimachus, aarvpov being a diminutive of atrrv "a city," a name applied to Athens "par excellence." According to Paulus (ex Festo) and others, Histriones were so called because they first came from Histria; but Valerius Maximus and Plutarch are of a different opinion, and they derive the word historio from the Etruscan hister, ludio.


The following is an interesting letter sent by a well-known name in Istria to the Provincia paper. It deserves reproduction in extenso and the reply has been added at full length:—


In Istria si trovano in punti eminenti ed in numero considerevole delle rovine che portano in italiano la denominazione di "Castellieri" ed in slavo quelle di Grad, Gradina, "Gracischie," Gradichie (abbiamo appositamente prescelto l'ortografia italiana perchè questi nomi possano essere pronunciati dal lettore italiano, avvertiamo che "schie" deve essere pronunciato non con pronuncia toscana ma colla veneta p. e. in "schieto") derivanti tutte dalla radice Grad che significa Castro, Castello, luogo murato. Le rovine sono o di muraglia a cemento, o semplicemente di macerie.

Il popolo crede che fossero costruzioni greche, tradizione infondata come lo dimostrò il dottissimo Dr. Kandler, poichè il debole governo dell'Impero orientale non lasciò, quasi vestigia di se meno ancora tale che avessero un impronta nazionale greca.

I nostri eruditi propendevano a ritenere i Castellieri come opera romana; l'Istria possiede tanti monumenti della grandezza romana, tanti testimoni visibili dell'importanza che il governo romano attribuiva al possesso di questa provincia, che in difetto d'ogni indizio storico sull'origine de' Castellieri l'idea che fossero un sistema di castri romani veniva quasi da se; si osservò che da un castelliere si vede l'altro, e ciò, fece supporre che questi castri potessero corrispondere mediante un telegrafo ottico.

Questa ipotesi no appagava per altro tutti i pensatori i quali opponevano che i Romani non usavano disperdere le loro forze, lasciavano libero movimento ai popoli conquistati, pronti per altro a severamente punirli in caso di ribellione. Le fortificazioni devono stare in proporzione col presidio e viceversa; se si considerava il numero e l'ampiezza de castellieri si dovrebbe giudicare che migliaja di militi fossero sacrificati a presidiare quei fortalizi in luoghi deserti [409] ed inospitali, mancando quasi in tutto l'interno dell'Istria traccie di Città oggidì esistenti ai tempi romani. Ciò non corrisponderebbe alla saggia politica e strategia di quel popolo conquistatore. Qualcuno era disposto di ritenere i castellieri opere de popoli aborigini per diffondere la loro indipendenza contro i Romani. Quest'opinione merita d'esser presa in considerazione constando qual' accanita diffesa gli Istriani opponessero alle armi romane. Ma siccome ne' Castellieri fin ora non furono trovate iscrizioni, armi o altri documenti che attestassero la loro origine romana, celtica, tracica, liburnica, flanatica o giapidica etc., restava sempre il dubbio, e si era pronti di accogliere un altra ipotesi che presentasse qualche probabilità.

Recentemente la scienza Geologica ed Antropologica ha in base di ripetate scoperte constatato, che in epoca remotissima e preistorica vivesse in Europa contemporaneo all'Orso delle spelonche, all' Elefante primigeni o al Rinoceronte ed alla Iena una razza d'uomini diversa dalla nostra. In Svizzera e nell'alta Italia furono trovate delle palafitte nel fondo di laghi con residui di uomini e di animali, dallo studio de quali e degli ordigni ivi scoperti, di cui si servivano quegli uomini, risultò, che in tempi ove le belve feroci contrastavano loro seriamente l'esistenza trovarono salvezza costruendo intieri vilaggi sopra palafitte ne laghi. Ulteriori scoperte, principalmente di armi ed istrumenti di pietra, osso o bronzo, contribuirono a formare un razionato sistema del progresso e sviluppo dell'uomo preistorico e la divisione in epoche, così si parla dell'età della pietra cui corrisponde quella de trogloditi, a questa succedette l'età del bronzo di cui gia si trovano vestigia presso le palafitte.

Un segno evidente che tutte le anteriori ipotesi risguardanti i castellieri istriani non erano soddisfacenti si è quello che molti ora suppongono doversi riportare l'origine de castellieri ad una delle accessinate età preistoriche. Qualcuno sarà stato il primo ad esternare un tale pensiero, molti lo possono aver avuto contemporaneamente ed in generale si ragiona così: se nel Belgio e nella Francia ed in altri paesi dell'Europa si trovarono scheletri d'uomini viventi in epoca molto remota, se nella Svizzera ed alta Italia si scopersero vestigio di palafitte e di intieri vilaggi di uomini che vivevano sopra laghi, vi potevano essere contemporaneamente degli uomini anche in Istria i quali, non esistendovi laghi, trovassero opportuno di costruirsi abitazioni fortificate sulle cime de monti. Persone versato in geologia ed antropologia scopersero ne castellieri istriani rottami di pignate di un cotto di forma molto primitiva ed asservarono sulla superficie dei rispettivi recinti un terriccio nero che sembrarebbe essersi formato da ceneri ed escrementi, indizii di abitato.

Così, stavano le cose non ha guari, quando ad un tratto l'interessante questione entrò in una nuova fase: un celebre viaggiatore di paesi lontani e selvaggi che si fece un gran nome pubblicando la descrizione de suoi viaggi, visitando nell' autunno scorso l'Istria trovò i nostri castellieri degni della sua attenzione e ne examinò parecchi; egli si propose di ritornarvi e di continuare i suoi studi sui [410] castellieri; come sentiamo il nostro erudito Signor Tomaso Luciani intende accompagnare l'illustre viaggiatore nell' accennata escursione scientifica, e tali celebrità ci sono pegno che la questione verrà studiata a fondamento tanto dal lato preistorico che dallo storico.

Informati noi d'un tanto, volemmo ispezionare uno de castellieri visitati dal sulodato viaggiatore, e vi ci recammo col fermo proposito di lasciare a casa ogni preoccupazioni.

Racconteremo in breve l'impressione che ci fece: In cima d'un monte con superficie or di strati calcari or di terreno composto di detrito marnoso ed arenario si trova un vasto piazzale circondata da alta e larga macerie di pietre calcari di cui alcune sorpassano il volume di 2 piedi cubi. Dal lato ove l'accesso è ripido e difficile vi è una sola cinta, da tutti gli altri lati la cinta è doppia, sicchè il recinto interno rappresenta un elissi e l'esterna una mezzaluna.

Non avevamo tempo di esaminare il terriccio, ne di cercare rottami di cotto, casualmente non ci si presento nessuno così pure non potemmo scorgere traccia di cemento fra le pietre; noi non potevamo fare altra congettura, che quel luogo sia stato destinato dalla popolazione del vicino contado per raccogliervi il loro bestiame ed averi mobili onde potersi diffondere da un aggressione nemica.

Quanto all'epoca in cui fu costruita la macerie non ci potevamo fare un idea nemmeno approssimativa; antica è certamente come lo indica il colore delle pietre ed il musco che le ricopre, conosciamo per altro macerie che non hanno un secolo d'esistenza le quali presentano un aspetto poco diverso.

Considerato che i più celebri geologi sono concordi nell'attribuire alle palafitte per lo meno l'età di 10,000 anni, noi dobbiamo ingenuamente confessare che quelle macerie non ci fecero l'impressione d'un età tanto veneranda, e potiamo addurre anche qualche ragione in sostegno della nostra opinione: il geologo Stäche che più d'ogni altro studio la nostra stratificazione ha dimostrato essere la marna coll' arenaria la più giovane formazione dell'Istria, esserne sparita moltissima per degradazione, ed essere in molti siti comparsa alla superficie la pietra calcare un tempo coperta da strati arenario-marnosi. Questa teoria ha persuaso tutti quelli che osservarono il nostro suolo.

Il piazzale del castelliere in discorso presenta pietra calcare sporgente, la macerie è fatta di questa pietra e si doveva trovare nel vicinato; il piazzale non era dunque coperto di strati arenario-marnosi quando fu costruito il castelliere, per la qual cosa seguendo la teoria Stäche, non potiamo ammettere un età enorme, e ciò tanto meno, che il detrito arenario-marnoso si trova sul medesimo monte a poco distanza del castelliere. Osìa con altre parole: un castelliere costruito 10,000 anni fà in quel punto dovrebbe dietro le teorie geologiche dell'Istria essere composto di pietra arenario-marnosa. Dobbiamo ancora osservare di non aver trovato traccia alcuna di abitati ne di pozzi o stagni d'acqua, locchè indicherebbe che il recinto in discorso non poteva serviva che in momentanei bisogni di guerra. E ciò è quel poco che potiamo congetturare sul castelliere da noi visitato senza poter fare deduzioni riguardo ad altri che possono essere bene diversi.

[411] Essendo nostro scopo di eccitare persone meglio di noi informate a pubblicare le loro vedute riguardo ai castellieri onde prepararci alle notizie che attendiamo dalle insigni persone che si proposero di studiarli ex professo, ci permettiamo di accennare alle varie epoche preistoriche e storiche che dovranno essere poste a confronto coi medesimi ed ai caratteri particolari di ciascun epoca.

I. Epoca preistorica; intendiamo quella sincronica coll'epoca delle palafitte. I trogloditi si rifuggiarano in tempo di aggressione nemica nelle loro caverne, almeno ci pare verosimile; per stabilirla occorrerebbe valutare le condizioni geologiche attuali e le presumibili in quei tempi, si dovrebbero trovare teschi ed ossa umane simili a quelli della palafitte o almeno sufficiente numero di attrezzi ed armi simili a quelle scoperte presso le sudette palafitte.

I rottami di cotto sono un oggetto molto delicato in Istria ove p. e. a Castel Rachele ne vengono fabbricati anche oggidì di forma veramente preistorica; il confronto con cotti delle palafitte ci pare indispensabile. Un altro punto delicato è il terriccio; terre di color nero vi sono anche altrove; l'analisi chimica ed il confronto de risultati ottenuti dovrebbero dare molto schiarimento.

II. Epoca degli aborigini siano stati Celti, Traci, Flanati, Liburni o Giapidi, di caratteri distintivi di quest'epoca dovrebbero essere scheletri avvicinantisi alle forme attuali, armi ed istrumenti più perfetti di quelli che indicano l'epoca delle palafitti.

Guerra più feroce della conquista romana non contengono gli annali dell' Istria, e gli Istriani devono aver fatte grandi opere di diffesa per diffondere la loro indipendenza dai conquistatori romani.

III. Epoca romana alle quale va congiunta anche quella dell' Impero orientale. Siamo certi che il verdetto de Signori che examineranno i castellieri non ci lasciera nessun dubbio, se siano di origine romana o meno.

IV. Epoca della lma immigrazione de Slavi. Non bisognerebbe scartare nemmeno questa, si tratta di 12 secoli. Tanto gli indigeni quanto gli immigrati potevano aver motivi di fare barricate per la propria diffesa e del loro bestiame. Ci dispiace di non conoscere tanto lingua slava per poter giudicare se le denominazioni che essi danno ai castellieri indichino castri, etc. o soltanto rovine de medesimi; nel 2do caso sembrerebbe che li abbiano già trovati in rovina e si dovrebbe ricorrere ad un epoca anteriore.

V. L'epoca delle conquiste de Franchi non sembra aver causato grande spostamento di popolazione in Istria.

VI. Epoca delle scorrerie de' Turchi. In Carniola le invasioni turche diedero origine a molti castellieri che ivi si chiamano "Tabor," parola d'origine asiatica che in Slavo ed Ungherese significa accampamento ed in Turco presso poco lo stesso.

Ecco in succinto quanto il Barone Valvasor nella sua Cronica della Carniola pubblicata nell'anno 1689 (Vedi L. II., p. 115-281; L. IV., p. 539, 540; e L. XV, p. 373) scrive sopra tale argomento. "Vi sono delle rovine in Carniola che non sono di castelli baronali ma di Tabor ossia accampamenti fortificati costruiti all'epoca dello [412] scorrerie turche. Nel 1471 incominciarono queste barbare invasioni e si principiò fare i Tabor ne quali il popolo del contado raccoglieva e diffendeva le cose mobili di valore. Quando poi in seguito al cordone di fortezze e presidi militari al confine della Turchia fu posta termine alle invasioni Turche, quei Tabor che non racchiudevano una Chiesa furono totalmente negletti e passarono allo stato di rovine."

Descrive poi i seguenti Tabor che essendo caverne naturali sono vere meraviglie, Pod Jamo-Tabor e Sciler-Tabor nella Pinca superiore, finalmente il Tabor di Cernical nella giurisdizione di S. Servolo. Ecco qui un esempio come si puo prendere facilemente un abbaglio sull'antichità di certe rovine.

L'Istria confina colla Carniola, indubitatamente si passò di concerto per diffendersi contro i Turchi, l'analogia e molto seducente, pure siamo convinti che i nostri castellieri non siano di quell'epoca per la ragione che il nome Tabor sarebbe stato adottato anche qui almeno dai Slavi, e perchè essendo per tutta l'Istria una quantità di luoghi murati che racchiudono Chiese e Case erano queste, piccole borgate e ville murate sufficienti per servire di rifugio agli abitanti del rispettivo contado col loro bestiame ed oggetti mobili di valore, senza aver bisogno di Tabor o accampamenti come nella Carniola. Supponiamo che in quell'epoca molte mura saranno state ristaurate; altre erette da nuovo, ma sempre attorno gli abitati preesistenti.

Oltre quest'epoca la Storia si puo dire completa, la guerra degli Uscocchi travagliò l'Istria ma ogni avvenimento, ogni piccolo fatto d'armi e minutamente descritto, di Castellieri non si facenno.

Concludiamo colla seguente considerazione: Vi sono paesi ove fu guereggiato molto più che in Istria e vi sono molto meno vestigio di accampamenti per la ragione che fosse, argini e ridotti di terra, vengono coll'andare dei tempo appianati dalle alluvioni e dall'agricoltore.

In Istria a queste costruzioni si prestava la pietra ovunque reperibile ne vi era mai bisogno di cavare le pietre dalle rovine de castellieri. Ogni aggressione nemica poteva render necessaria la costruzione di qualche nuovo accampamento, necessità di trasportare il materiale non vi era mai, così potevasi sorgere in diverse epoche nuovi castellieri. Qui bene distinguit, bene docet, l'interessante questione de molti castellieri potrà trovare forse più facile soluzione colla divisione de medesimi e col riportare l'origine di alcuni ad una, di altri ad altra epoca.

(Signed) S.

The following is my reply to the sensible strictures of S.:—

To the Editor of La Provincia Capodistria.

Sir, — I have read with great pleasure the able and instructive communication concerning the Castellieri of Istria addressed to your journal The Antiquarian race is proverbially credulous, and the adversary who compels us to take stock of our facts, to show the [413] basis upon which our belief rests, and to annihilate any objections which may be brought against our conclusions, does the best service to the cause. Without further preamble, I propose at once to marshal the reasons which induce me to determine that the Castellieri of Istria are pre-historic or, if you prefer it, "proto-historic."

I. The moral certainty that this beautiful peninsula would be inhabited by archaic races. Washed by seas that abound in the finest fish; covered with woods and forests, which would harbour hosts of wild animals; situated in the heart of the temperate region, and owning every variety of climate, from the delicious and quasi-tropical temperature of the western coast to the almost boreal atmosphere of the mountain range bounding it to the east; with valleys of the richest soil fit for the growth of cereals, and with uplands where cattle, goats, and sheep can graze throughout the year — this "Eastern Piedmont" must have been a paradise for pre-historic man. Who can believe that cold Switzerland would swarm with pile-villages; barren Scotland and comfortless Ireland with "cranogues," whilst Istria remained a desert? But M. de S. has distinctly no right to assume an antiquity of 10,000 years, nor are we required to dispose of his geological objection. Even those who believe in the settlement of the Colchians or Argonauts, a legend of which my distinguished friend Cav. Tomaso Luciani (Istria, No. 67, 68, Oct. 30, 1847) observes, " Io non ho com' altri il coraggio nè di credere ciecamente nè di assolutamente negare," the furthermost date would be 3,254 years (b.c. 1380+An. Dom. 1874). But, further, the Romans did not penetrate into Illyria before B.c. 329, and thus "pre-historic" would here mean, not 10,000, but 2,103 years. The popular belief which attributes the ruins to the Greeks, who would have been, not of the Lower Empire, but Thraco-Kelts, is not to be dismissed with contempt: it distinctly separates the Grad from the Turkish "Tabor" (j#)L>), a word signifying, a crowd, a battalion, a column. As regards the Colchian settlement, for which we have the authority of Strabo and other geographers, we must bear in mind the direct assertion of Herodotus that these people sprang from the Egyptians, an Æthiopic or Negro race who practised circumcision. The universal consensus of history declares the people of Illyria to have been Kelts. Many reasons justify the student, methinks, in assuming that the pre-historic races of Istria were Kelts, and in assigning to certain ruins of Istria an age exceeding twenty-one centuries. Par parenthèse, I must here congratulate myself upon the fact of Novum Ilium being now restored to its place in the annals of the past, despite the nebulous myth-theory with which modern study has oppressed it, before the use of that ultima ratio, the spade, had amassed exact knowledge entitling us to venture upon abolishing ancient Troy.

II. The position and form of the Castellieri. That admirable student, the late Dr. Kandler, decided that many of them were Roman, and doubtless he was not wrong. As Cav. Luciani remarks, Istria is a palimpsest, upon which many a successive hand has left its, traces.

[414] The Castellieri near the great military roads would naturally be converted by the civilized colonists into guard-houses: of these many in Syria are still standing. But it is strange that Dr. Kandler, who by studying the works of Vegetius, (50) was enabled to lay down with a firm hand the outlines of Aquileja did not perceive the radical difference between a Roman camp and a pre-historic settlement The former were always parallelograms, squares or oblongs, built to accommodate a given number of soldiers; laid out according to rule, and caring less for strength of position than for free access to wood and water. The latter are almost invariably circular or oval, the form still affected by the savage African. They crowned the cones of hills or the heads of buttresses, and they were disposed, not regularly, but according to the exigencies of ground. In no case they were built with mortar, as M. de S. thinks, an invariable characteristic of Roman fortifications. They are too far numerous for garrisons: the territory of Albona, for instance, contains nearly twenty. They were not intended for temporary strongholds in time of danger, where each could resort, carrying water, fuel, and provisions: the black soil shows that they were permanently inhabited. None of them are provided with wells or cisterns, and do we not see the women of many an inland Istrian town condemned, like their prehistoric sisters, to toil up and down the steep road with heavy water-pots upon their heads?

The surface of the Cunzi enceinte is a brown humus, the decay of vegetation covering the "terricio nero." I quite agree with our adversary that this "black soil" of the Castellieri should be submitted to analysis. But I may venture to say, in opposition to M. de S., that it exists nowhere in the Peninsula except where man has dwelt, and that it will be found to consist of ashes and other organic matter. Again, even in the Scoto-Scandinavian islands of modern Great Britain we have pottery as rude as the cotti which profusely strew the terre pleines of the Castellieri: the practised eye, however, has no difficulty in distinguishing the old from the new. Our critic complains of not finding "cotti" at Cunzi; he might have picked up hundreds in the rubble of the walls.

III. But what completely upsets the objections of M. de S. is the presence in our Castellieri of prehistoric weapons, stone axes and arrow-heads. Assuredly these belong to the aborigines, not to the Romans. Whatever doubt there may be about the pottery, none can attach to the implements. The argument that human skulls and bones are absent is simply negative: the reply to it is that they have not been sought, and consequently they have not been found. How many excavations have been made in the Castellieri of Istria, or in the caverns which may be expected to yield such spoils? Absolutely none! Even till the last few years the peasantry have ignored the value of many "finds," and they are not singular in [415] the world. As time rolls on we shall doubtless dig up a greater number of stone instruments, and we shall come upon human remains.

And now, leaving generalisms, let us meet M. de S. upon an especial champ de bataille, the Castelliere of Cunzi, or "Kunzi." For reasons which your readers must remember, he decides that it is not a fort, but a fold. For reasons which I proceed to state, I opine it to be, not a fold, but a fort. Shepherds would certainly not take the trouble to erect anything so laborious. The several lines of ramp or road leading up to it are grassy breadths, which still show them to have been the work of art. The summit of the hill has been planed away with immense labour, and stones of unusual size have been placed to do the work of a rampart. The double enceinte is unintelligible in a sheep-fold; perfectly reasonab le in a village, where the cattle would require quarters distinct from the villagers. There is not a trace of houses, because the latter were probably built of wood and thatch, easily confounded with the ashes which strew the ground. The stones may have been in situ two, or even three, thousand years. The want of water I have shown to be no objection: such buildings were made before the time of protracted sieges. These remarks, I may observe, are merely a sketch of the subject, which might be extended to a greater length than your limits, or the patience of your readers, would endure. Permit me, in conclusion, to offer my thanks to M. de S., and to assure him that, whilst looking forward to his future communications, I pledge myself to meet him whenever he thinks proper again to take the field.

Your most obedient servant,
Richard F. Burton.

Trieste, February 25, 1874.

Anthropologia, Vol. 1 Plate 5, 6 - Traccia dell'antico castelliere chiamato di Moncastelli, sito nel circondario di Cervera. Proprietà del marchese Gianapaolo de Polesini di Parenzo.

Anthropologia, Vol 1, Plate 8
Sketch of the Castelliere (ruined castle) di Cunzi

Anthropologia, Vol. 1, Plate 9, 10


  1. P. 10, "L'Istria sotto l'aspetto fisico, etnografico, administrativo, storico e biografico. Studio di Amato Amati e di Tomaso Luciani. Milano. Dottor Francesco Vallardi, Tipografo-Editoro. 1867." 1. P. 10, "
  2. "Pola," the great naval arsenal of Austria, is popularly derived from "Pietas Julia," — a mistake. Strabo uses the word πòλα and Pliny (Nat. Hist. iii. 23) speaks of the "colony of Pola, now Pietas Julia." Though Strabo derives it from Colchian ("exulum oppidum"), it appears to be an indigenous word, with the signification of a sweet-water spring in the sea, a very common feature along the Mediterranean shores. My kind friends, tho learned Cavaliere Tommasini, of Trieste, and Baron Carl von Czoernig (junior), both assure me that the word is "Polla," and derived from the Latin pullulare or pollutio, and the former adds, "La langue Romaine de la décadence et l'italienne conservent presque sans exception les voyelles doubles de la langue classique." To which my reply is, that this rule is not without exceptions, e.g., we say "Bora," when Procopius, writes (ii. 15). Secondly, I have heard the word pronounced, even by educated men, Pola, and not Polla. The Romans, who carried off many of the Istrians into captivity, left a remnant of the subjugated people, and possibly adopted some of their words. If, as generally assumed, the language was Polasgo-Thracian, we may find analogies in the Keltic dialect of the Albanians, the direct descendants of the old race, whose tongue has supplied derivations to so many of the proper names of the ancient Greeks. So in Irish, "Poll" is a hole or pit, which in composition becomes Pola. My friend Dr. Barnard Davis supplies me with Cornish Pol, Welsh Pwll, Armoric Poull, Gaelic Poll, and Manx Poyl — all equivalent to our pool, pond or mud.
  3. P. 10, "L'Istria," &c.
  4. It [Monte Re] derived its regal name from Alboin, King of the Longobardi, who, in A.D. 568, planted his spear upon the summit, and hence prospected Istria, which he overran without permanent occupation, preferring to found the duchy of Friuli.
  5. This water has been recognised by antiquaries (Pietro Coppo, A.D. 1540, and Bishop Tomasini, 1595) as the stream to which Strabo alludes (Book i. 3, § 15). "They supposed that there was another river in addition to the former Ister, bearing the same name, which emptied itself into the Adriatic, and from which the country of Istria, through which it flowed, gained its title. It is by this river, they believe, Jason returned on his voyage from Colchis." Pliny (Nat. Hist. iii. 22) at once supports and corrects this account: "For it is the fact that no river which runs from the Danube discharges itself into the Adriatic. They have been misled, I think, by the circumstance that the ship Argo came down some river into the Adriatic sea not far from Tergeste (Trieste?), but what river that was is now unknown. The most careful writers say that the ship was carried across the Alps on men's shoulders, having passed along the Ister, then along the Savus (Save), and so from Nauportos (i.e., vavs and iropOfths or passage = Ober-Laybach in Krain), which place lying between Æmona (Laybach, the capital) and the Alps, from that circumstance derives its name." Strabo (iv. 6, 11) calls Nauportos, possibly by corruption, "Pamportus." Let me here observe that I find nothing ridiculous in the legend of "Argo navis" being carried upon men's shoulders from the Danube to the Val Qnieto. Moderns are apt to think of sloops and frigates, when the classical ship was probably a long boat, which, without her gear, would weigh at most two tons. Thus her crew of fifty oarsmen would have no difficulty in a portage.
  6. We read in "L'Istria" (p. 13), "In tutto il resto della Provincia, prevalse dal Seco.o xiv. e xv. in poi il dialetto Veneto, ma non così che con multa diligenza non si possano ancora scoprire traccio del dialetto originario Istriano, in frasi, in formolo popolari, in proverbi, e nello stesso accento, lungo tutta la costa da Muggia a Fianona, anzi nella stessa Trieste, e nell'intorno fin sulle alture di Raspo, non fosse altro in qualche nome di località, di condizioni speciali del suolo, in alcune interjezioni appassionate, nel linguaggio che si adopera coi bimbi, e in certune di quelle voci, per lo più monosillabe, che servono a contenere e dirigere gli animali nella corte, al pascolo e sul lavoro." A collection of these forms would be truly valuable, and many Istrians are well capable of making it. I hope that they will soon gird themselves to the task.
  7. The origin of this word is disputed. A. v. Morlot (" Ueber die Geologischen Verhältnisse von Istrien, &c, aus den Naturwissenschaftlichen Abhandlung," ii. Band. ii. Theil. s. 257) proposes to derive Karst and Carso from the Slavonic Hrast, the oak; still the type of its vegetation. Thus it would signify Oakland, the old name of Germany. But those who remember that the country lies in "Keltica beyond the Alps" (Transalpine Gaul; Strabo, iv. 6, 1) naturally reject this comparatively modern origin, and prefer the Keltic Caer, a stone, which best describes the surface. Linhart(i. 63, "Versuch eine Geschichte von Krain") suggests that Kant is contracted from the (iii. 1. 1.) of Ptolemy. Dr. J. Kohen (vol. i. "L'Archeografo Triestino") prefers the Caravancas, (iii. 1,1) of the Pelusian, the eastern part of the Ocra, above Trieste. But the dispute is verbal, the two being evidently names of one place.
  8. "For the Alps were originally called Albia and Alpionia (Alpeina?), and at present the high mountains in the country of the Iapodes, next to Ocra ("Okpa) and the Alps, is named Albius, showing that the Alps extend so far" (Strabo, iv. 6, 1). The same author (iv. 6, 10) makes the Iapodes "a nation now mixed with the Illyrians and Kelts." This Illyrian tribe, also called Iapyges (Pomponius Festus Epist. Orb. Terr. Syn.) has been copiously written about by modern geographers.
  9. Strabo mentions the Ocra in five places. Can the word have connection with the Syrian Ocra (Mons Casius), which in Arabic would mean the "bald mountain"? (See "Unexplored Syria," ii. 73.) Pliny (iii. 23) also names Ocra, a ruined city of the Carni.
  10. Geographi Græci minores (pp. lxxiv. and 196-237). "Anonymi (Scymnii Chii, ut fertur) orbis descriptio." See the passage beginning (i 369) with

    He describes, after Theopompus, the site as a synisthmus with Pontus; the coast garnished with the Apsyrtides, the Electrides, the Liburnicae, and other islands likest the Cyclades; the barbarous peoples round the head (Strabo notes their tattooing, vii. 5, 4) who numbered 150 myriads; the fertility of the lands, the prolificity of the herds which brought forth twice a year; the dampness of the atmosphere, with its sudden changes, especially in summer, its thunderstorms, and its (the   and bora). Finally, he separates the Paphlagonian Eneti or Heneti (of Venetia) from the Istriana proper, in this line —

    Hence the learned Dr. Kandler ("Discórso sull'Istria, etc.," Trieste, 1867) contends that the Istri, finding a resemblance between the Alps and Haemus (Balkan), the Adriatic and the Euxine, the Quarnero Gulf with the true Istrian Delta, simply brought the name with them in memory of their old home. Thus Pontic Istropolis became Polis, Pola; and the Val Quieto (Nengon or Ningun) may have been called Ister. This, at any rate, is better than t'he Hebraeism of the late Abbé Pie'ri Tomasin (Arch. Trieste, New Ser., Jan. 2, 1871), who makes Istria rrvwn {congregation) o*o (of waters), and even Hebraism improves upon Cato, who derives Istria from a Captain sent by Janus, identified by clerkly traditionists with Noah.

  11. L'Istria, schizzo storico-etnografico di Tomaso Luciani" (Firenze, 1866). The traditions of the Pelasgi are evidently taken from Strabo (v. 2, 4), who makes them " an ancient race spread throughout the whole of Greece, but especially in the country of the Æolians.
  12. Dr. de' Combi's father, Francesco, who died in 1872, was also a literary man. His translation of the Georgics in ottava rima has lately been published at Capodistria (1 vol. 8vo). The son is now professor in the Scuola superiore di Commercio di Venezia. His admirable catalogue is to a great extent raisonné with notices and dates of editions: the author modestly signs himself "Il compilatore," and the book was published at the expense " di una società patria."
  13. Murray is especially bad. He borrows almost textually from Turnbull's "Austria," London, Murray, 1840.
  14. I shall borrow from "Pietro Kandler," a biography written by Sig. Tomaso Luciani: it first appeared in the Archivio Veneto, vol. iii. part i. Venice. Tip. del Commercio, 1872; and was subsequently reproduced in a brochure of 23 pages, large octavo.
  15. Of this many instances may be adduced. Dr. Kandler was often accused of classic mania, of arbitrarily supplanting Slav by Roman names — for instance, in identifying Nabresina, near Trieste (i.e. na-brek, on the hill or bank), with the Latin Auresina. Years afterwards his friend Tomaso Luciani, when turning over in the R. Archivio Generale Veneto a parchment codex of the Cancelleria Inferiore, entitled Atti ed instrumenti appartenenti a Beni della Cà di Dio dal 1205 al 1527, found on an Act of 1292, in which Zerani and Mateo Maroli da Trieste refunda una casa in la contrada de Cavana e tre vigne a la cava di Dio with the Latin text et tres vineas sitas in pertinentijs Tergesti in contrata Aurisini. And yet I have heard educated men quote this very specimen of Dr. Kandler's hallucination.
  16. Das Land Görz und Gradisca; mit Einschluss von Aquileja Geographisch-Statisch-Historisch dargestellte von Carl Freiherrn von Czoernig, etc., etc., etc. Wilhelm Braumuller, Wien, 1873. The Keltic hypothesis, they say (for I have not read the two volumes), was advanced in the " Ethnographia des Oesterreichischen Kaiserstaates," Wien, Staatsdrückerei, 1856. Here also was published the useful ethnographical map of the Austrian empire by the same author: it is now being reprinted.
  17. It is the capital of Istrian Liburnia, and is mentioned by Pliny (iii. 25, § 2); by Ptolemy (iii. 17, Aluona); and by the Anonymus of Ravenna (v. 14). The name is popularly derived from the Keltic al high, and bon, a settlement, colony, foundation, e.g., Lis-bon; the name is justified by its position, circ 1,000 feet above sea-level. The Luciani family is mentioned in early days. A Luciani was the mother of the celebrated Mattia Flacco Illirico, alias Matteo Francovich, born at Albona, a.D. 1520. "Un des plus savants théologiens de la confession d'Augsbourg" (Bayle. Dict., sub. v. "Illyricus"), he professed Greek at Tübingen, and wrote a variety of "Compositioni heretiche, perverse e maladette" in favour of Protestantism.
  18. Extract from the Congrès International d' Anthropologie et d'Archæologie préhistoriques. Compte rendu de la cinquième session à Bologne, 1871; avec planches et figures intercalées dans le texte. Bologne: Imprimerie Tava et Garagnani, au progrès, 1873 (un vol. di pag. 543).

    In the Rapport sur V Exposition Italienne d'Anthropologie et d'Archeologie préhistoriques, pp. 485-518, we read (pp. 490, 491): — "Pour compléter la classe dea restes préhistoriques de l'Italie du nord, se présentaient les belles haches en pierre polie trouvées dans l'Istria et possédés par M. Thomas Luciani de Venise [rather of Albona, domiciled for some years at Venice]. Leur forme est celle que d'ordinaire on rencontre dans de pareils objets de la même époque, qu' on  tire en grande quantité de toute la Péninsule. Le Jury pourtant ne peut s'abstenir de faire observer que dans la petite collection de M. Luciani on voyait une hache en pierre polie, tirée d'Altona (error for Albona) laquelle, quoique gàtée du côté du tranchant, dépassait grandement par son volume toutes les haches plus volumineuses des autres collections, et entrait en concurrence pour la beauté avec la hache du mont Gualandeo de la province de Pérouse de laquelle on parlera plus loin." (A tracing of this fine weapon accompanies these pages.)

    In page 604 we find: — "Un autre bijou de l'Exposition se remarquait dans la petite collection de M. Guardabassi C'était une hache en pierre polie, trouvée sur le mont Gualandeo près de Pérouse, qui dépassait par son volume toutes les autres qui figuraient à l'Exposition, à l'exception de celle trouvée à Altona (Albona), et que nous avons déjà mentionnée."

    The report, dated Bologne, Octobre, 1871, is signed, "Les Jurés — G. Guiscardi, G. Nicolucci, G. Ponzi, C. Regnoli. L. Pigorini, Rapporteur."

  19. This generalization is doubtful, as will presently be shown.
  20. The present head of the family is Dr. (LL.D.) Antonio Scampicchio, of whom I have much to say.
  21. A tracing accompanies these pages.
  22. The Archeografo Triestino, (edito per cura della Società del Gabinetto di Minerva. Nuova serie, volume terzo. Fascicolo iii. e iv., Novembre, 1871, e Gennaio, 1873. Trieste, Tipografia di Lod. Hermanstorfer, 1872,) gives a short necrological notice of Dr. Buttazone.
  23. In asking for prehistoric weapons, the stranger must describe them to the Istrian Slavs as "Kamenica strevla" (a little stone of lightning or arrow-head); to the Italian as Fulmine, like the Pedra de Corisco of the Brazil; and even then they will not understand him. Some of the axes have been used as touchstones, and many of the arrow-heads have disappeared after serving for flints wherewith to light pipes.
  24. There is an important village of that name (Castellier) a few miles to the north-west of Parenzo, and a Monte Castellier, to mention no other instances, is found north-east of Umago. Near the latter, I am told, lie the extensive ruins of the old Roman city "Siparia."
  25. The terra-rossa of Istria is believed not to contain a trace of organic and biological matter, and little or no lime: it cannot, therefore, proceed from the oxides that stain the nummulite and hippurite calcaires. An interesting study of this formation will be found in the "Excursioni Geologiche fatte nell'anno 1872. Da T. Dr. Taramelli Prof. Titolare di Storia Naturale." This geologist attributes the "red soil" to volcanic dejections, and he explains, by the disengagement of explosive gases from below, the formation of the "Fiobe" and the crateriform sinks of the limestone region, variously called entonnoirs, wetter-locher, busi, (i.e., buchi pertusi, imbutiformi); Doline by the Slavs, and Inglotidors in Friuli. I have noticed these swallow-holes, locally termed "Jurah" in the Anti-Libamis ("Unexplored Syria," ii. 100, and elsewhere), and I cannot but think that the sinking of water through their crevices is often a sufficient agency. But I reserve this subject for future discussion.
  26. Some travellers have rashly denied the existence of "subterranean rivers." These sceptics seem to ignore the fact that they are common to every limestone region. They are noticed by Lt. Garnier in South-east Tibet ("Ocean Highways," March, 1874). Amongst the "Wonders of the (Triestine) Carso," ranks the Recca or San Canzian stream, which, dashing, at a perpendicular rock, disappears in toto, shows itself at three distinct air-holes, and after an underground flow of 25 direct geographical miles, reappears to form the classic Timavus. It is described by Strabo, Pliny, and all the older topographers. The word foiba, peculiar to this part of the country, is supposed by MM. Kandler, Taramello, and Tomasini to be derived from the Latin fovea, and the Greek   , a den or nest; the usual Italian equivalent infossa, caverna, or voragine. I doubt the derivation: "fovea" does not explain the feature which Claverius calls cavea montium, and Tomasini (p. 179), "bucche ed aperture della terra." The Slav term is jama, applied at Trieste to the grotto of San Servolo. If fovea were the origin of the word, we should expect to meet with "foiba" amongst the Apennines. Possibly, like "Pola," it may be a remnant of the old Kelto-Thracian tongue spoken by the early races of Istria. Dr. B. Davis supplies me with a Cornish "fow," the Welsh "fau," and the Irish and Gaelic "fua-thais," a den, cave, or lurking-place of wild beasts. These are evidently Keltic congeners of folid and fovea. In this "foiba" we detect, strangely disguised, "the river Fluva," which Murray (" Hand-book of Southern Germany," Sect. xiii. p. 70.), causes to flow under the town of Pisino. Turnbull ("Austria," i. 13) mentions the grotto or cavern, but seems not to have asked for the name. The modern Greek term is not folià, but katavothron, and the features about the Copric lake and Cephalonian Argostoli exactly correspond with those of Istria.
  27. A wise provincial law, "De capris non tenendis,"found in the Triestine Statutes of a.d. 1350-1420, and renewed in 1844, forbids goats to be fed throughout Istria, except "alla corda;" that is to say, they may not wander about in flocks to the utter destruction of shrub and young tree. The peasantry complain of the far-sighted legislation, because the cheese is at 50 soldi the pfund. The only places where I found exceptions were on the submaritime tracts between Pola and Parenzo, and even there all sensible natives spoke of it as "una barbarie." The example of Istria and Iceland, which exterminated goats for injuring the house-roofs, should be followed by Syria and Palestine: the disforesting of the Holy Land is mainly the work of the Capra domestica.
  28. All are agreed that there was a Castelliere at Pisinvecchio, on the hill west of Pisino, and my friend Sig. Antonio Covaz contends that Pisino itself occupies the site of a prehistoric village. The latter place, with its grand "Foiba," and its noble castle of the Counts of Montecuccoli, reminds travellers of the Ravine and the Kasabah of Algerian Constantino. It is a most picturesque place, well worth a visit.
  29. Sig. Antonio Covaz believes the old Istrian city of Nesactium, so celebrated in the Roman wars (b.c. 177), to lie south-east of Albona. He places it, not as usual on the Arsa, but at some distance to the south, on the Valle Badò, south-east of Monticohio, at a site called Gradina, which is described as the "King of the Castellieri." The peasants still call the place Va (in) Satzye. I shall visit this part of the country as soon as possible.
  30. Baron Carl von Czoernig (junior) protests against my writing Cunzi as a Slav word for Kunzi (a corner?); the former would be pronounced Zunzi, and he declares the German has no right to turn "Bordeaux," e. g., into "Bordoo." I have preferred Cunzi because it is the Italian form, at the same time confessing that Kunzi would be more correct. The guide, a Slav of Istrian family, pronounced the word Ghunzi, with the Arabic Ghayn (gh). In Dr. Kandler's map it appears, if it appears at all, as S. Antonio.
  31. The aneroid (compensated) showed 28.27, and the therm. F. 55°. But the Borina, or little Bora, was blowing, and the barometer at sea level might average 30.50. On a subsequent visit it stood as 38.76. "Ripenda" appears to be the name of the whole sea-face as far as Fianona.
  32. The classical Sinus Flanaticus. Dante (Inf. ix. 213) writes, "Sì come a Puola, vicino al Quarnaro," which is not for the purpose of rhyming with "varo." My friend Luciani assures me that the form is common in old documents, though now obsolete.
  33. By the kindness of Dr. Scampicchio, I hope presently to supply a photograph of this feature, so important in determining sundry details of restoration.
  34. The external wall of the ellipse is said to be 440 paces (=1,100 feet) in circumference; but I did not measure it.
  35. I was wrongly told that this digging had been made by the great classical scholar and historian, M. Mommsen.
  36. Some of these are remarkably heavy and thick, reminding me of the specimens which I brought home in 1871 from various parts of Syria and Palestine.
  37. I have secured a photograph of this interesting specimen.
  38. The Slav word is Vran, a linguistic analogy with the Scandinavian Hrafn, the Teutonic robe, and the English raven. Here the radical consonants are r b (or its congeners v and f}, and, curious to say, we find them in the Hebrew orab and the Arabic ghurab (a raven), which notably gave rise to corvus, corbeau, crow.
  39. The inn-keeper at Vragna calls it "Sito Vorljake va Bukovike pod (under), Stagie (or Stago) in sito Stara Vragna sotto Monte Maggiore." If the traveller does not ask precisely, and with the words used by the natives, he will fail to find his place.
  40. Sig. Nacinovich also showed me a Dolina (i.e., dol, thal, dale, and vale), a crater-shaped hole in the limestone field to the north of Santa Domenica, popularly known as Venezia. It contains two caves, one with a single, the other with a double entrance, respectively opening to the south and north. I reserve, however, an account of this formation for another paper upon the cave dwellings of Istria. Cav. Luciani writes to me as follows: —

    "Ma giacchè è deciso d'intraprendere uno studio serio, io la prego di non limitarlo ai Castellieri, bensi di estenderlo anche alle caverne. Molte le diranno che sono inaccessibili, impraticabili, che furono visitate da altri, che in esse non hanno vi indizii di abitazioni o di resti umani. Non si acquieti a tali asserzioni. Il paese non è instrutto abbastanza in questo ramo di scienza nuova, e per conseguenza i più sono increduli, fanno difficoltà e creano impossibilità che non esistono in fatto. Veda con proprii occhi e tocchi colle proprie sue mani. In Istria coma dissi nella lettera al Dr. Buzzi, bisogna distinguere le voragini (volgarmente foibe) dalle caverne (grotte). Le prime per loro natura, precipitose e perpendicolari, inabitabili veramente, lasciamole pure al geologo; ma le seconde che si aprono sui fianchi delle costiere e s'inviscerano orizzontalmente, o quasi, nelle montagne, tocca a noi esplorarle attentissimamente, perchè sotto la crosta stalagmitica contengono, o certo possono contenere, l'incognita dei primi abitazioni selvaggi."

  41. I reserve the subject of ossiferous breccias in Istria and the Dalmatian Islands for a future paper.
  42. There are four undated revolvers, pistols, and carbines, in the I.R. naval arsenal, concerning which Captain Germonnig, the Director, has kindly promised me to make enquiries.
  43. The reader is again warned «gainst his "Murray" ("Handbook Southern Germany"), who tells him (page 460) that Peroi, seven miles from Pola, is a small village inhabited by a Greek colony, still retaining the language and picturesque costume of their country. On a blazing August morning M. de Perrochel and I walked some five miles to see these "Greeks." We found a few households of Albanians and Montenegrins, who colonized the place in 1657, and who are "Greeks" only in religion. The "wretched inn" of Dignano, mentioned by Turnbull, also has greatly improved under the frequent visits of naval officers from Pola: the Albergo Ferrara is now one of the best in Istria.
  44. The exact position is the modern Cervera (Latin, Cervaria). Dr. Kandler places "Figlinæ amplissimæ patrimonii Cæssaris " on the shore north of the Castelliere, and great quantities of broken pottery, useful when compared with the prehistoric remnants, are still found. Indeed, the whole of Western Istria abounds in "Figlinæ."
  45. Istria still preserves the word stanzia, which, in the Spanish form estancia, means the breeding estates of the Argentine and Uruguay Republics.
  46. At Rovigno there is a tradition that the island upon which stood the ancient city Arupinum, has sunk bodily. Sig. Luciani (p. 40, "L'Istria, Schizzo-Storico-Etnografico") places the event about A.D. 740.
  47. [The "crowdy" of the Scotch, and the "tiste" of Central America.— C. C. B.]
  48. [Capt. Burton here refers to Mr. Samuel Laing's extraordinary work, "Prehistoric, Remains of Caithness." Of course the local feeling amongst the Keiss men was very strong against Prof. Owen's supposition that some of their ancestors were cannibals."—C. C. B.]
  49. Sig. Carlo De Franceschi showed me some specimens, whose enlarged central holes proved them to be primitive heads; those with smaller apertures may have been spindles, like the articles still used by sundry savage races.
  50. "Castra autem, præsertim hoste vicino, tufo semper facienda sunt loco, ubi e lignorum et pabuli et aquae suppetat copia" (lib i. cap. xviii.).
  • Antrophologia, 1874, p. 370-415 and Anthropologia, 1875, p. 375-415.

Other data:

  • BURTON, Richard Francis. Notes on the Castellieri or Prehistoric Ruins of the Istrian Peninsula, [Trieste: n.d. but 1874]. 8° (220 x 142mm). Drop-head title, 4 lithographed plates, 2 double-page. Original wrappers. Provenance: upper


    BURTON, Richard Francis. Notes on the Castellieri or Prehistoric Ruins of the Istrian Peninsula, [Trieste: n.d. but 1874]. 8° (220 x 142mm). Drop-head title, 4 lithographed plates, 2 double-page. Original wrappers. Provenance: upper cover inscribed by the author 'Captain Richard Burton Notes on the Castellieri of the Istrian Peninsula'. A very rare offprint - originally published in issue number 3 of Anthropologia. Casada 50.,-richard-francis.-i-notes-on-the-castell-1-c-qejs1o8497

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