Romanzo di GM Buffa. “Ci sono città maschili e città femminili, e Roma è femminile, è donna” (1)

Alcune informazioni sul romanzo (brainstorming). La documentazione è stata una bella sfida. Come dicevo qui a Marina Caserta, scrittrice e blogger, “la documentazione la trovo fondamentale anch’io. Il mio compito è reso arduo dal fatto che ambiento il mio romanzo almeno in tre epoche diverse:

1) l’epoca dei Flavi, 69-96 d.C.
2) il 510 d.C. in Britannia, un po’ a Roma e ad Augusta Taurinorum (Torino).
3) Oggi, a Roma, nei rioni dove abito. “

Ora, nel primo volume della trilogia (id est, Le tre facce della medaglia) ho sviluppato solo le epoche 2) e 3). Vediamo.

Il 510 d.C. e poco oltre, innanzitutto. Epoca interessantissima, “quando il mondo antico – cito dal romanzo – si disgregò in un evento catastrofico unico, con la peste bubbonica diffusasi ai tempi di Giustiniano e Teodora, con la Piccola Glaciazione della tarda antichità che creò siccità nelle steppe e spinse gli Unni sui Goti e i Goti sui Romani. A ciò s’aggiungerà, a breve, l’arrivo dell’Islam nel Mediterraneo, con questi ed altri elementi di distruzione-innovazione”.

Religione e filosofia intrecciati in quest’epoca d’angoscia (curioso come la filosofia antica, pagana ovv., nasce tra i Greci venata di religione, poi se ne distacca verso un razionalismo ateo o quasi, vedi Epicuro, per poi, in detta epoca e prima, ritingersi potentemente di religione). Neopitagorismo e neoplatonismo intrecciati (vedi dopo). Reincarnazione (alla base del romanzo). I filosofi teologi di allora che mischiano e rilucidano tutto l’armamentario pagano (Pitagora, Platone, Aristotele, gli Stoici ecc.) per resistere al Cristianesimo che sta per trionfare (e nel 510 d.C. ha bell’e che trionfato anche se ci sono sacche di resistenza).

Ho sempre pensato che per ricreare descrivere il mondo antico bisogna inserirci elementi della mentalità di allora, tra cui la religione aveva una grande parte. Per esempio, e a mio modestissimo parere, gli storici spesso spiegano (quindi non spiegano) il perché un certo esercito non abbia attaccato sia pur in un momento o da una posizione favorevole, il nemico, con una mentalità ‘scientifica’ potremmo dire che non ha niente a che vedere con le motivazioni di allora. Giulio Cesare, l’esempio forse più fulgido della razionalità romana (a cui gli ebrei romani, che lui beneficiò, ancora portano corone ai piedi della sua statua di bronzo, a via dei Fori Imperiali), ha fatto a volte delle cose molto ma molto incaute, folli, addirittura. Perché? Era un idiota? Beh, non direi, credeva semplicemente di essere baciato dalla dea Fortuna, e non come diciamo noi ma in senso letterale. Un esempio tra i tanti.

Anima umana, eroi, demoni angeli dei Dio (la gerarchia delle potenze o essenze) ecc. Ovviamente religione significa far intervenire, nella trama, anche l’elemento ‘oltre l’uomo’, (e l’uomo stesso, con la sua anima, partecipa a una scintilla del divino) e il Male, oltre al Bene, il Male efferato, assoluto. Mi sono dovuto sorbire, con fatica ma più spesso con grande grande piacere, i vari Plutarco, Porfirio, Giamblico, Proclo, gli Stoici (Aristotele poco, a parte il d’Aquino che lo riprende) e ciò che resta dei pitagorici, Pitagora, come Socrate, non avendo purtroppo scritto nulla.

Interessante come la filosofia cristiana segua a ruota, da Agostino in poi, i neoplatonici (per poi nel Medioevo fermarsi su Aristotele). Mi sono rifatto anche al molto, dicevo, successivo Tommaso d’Aquino (1225 – 1274 d.C.) e a come lui vede i demoni cattivi (ci sono i daimon buoni, ovv.) nella sua Summa Theologica (che qui trovate in originale, latino abb. facile) e che preferibilmente ho letto nella versione modernizzata, e stupenda, di Walter Farrel O.P. e Martin J. Healy, Il Vangelo della felicità, ed. Paoline.

[Giorgio: “Sei un topo di biblioteca, sempre col naso lì”. Giovanni: “E vabbè, ‘sti cavoli”]

Oggi, 2010 e poi 2018. Parlerò di quest’epoca dopo. Riporto solo qui, e concludo, un brano più o meno a metà del romanzo in cui Lilith, un demone femminile (la prima moglie d’Adamo, ripudiata, Gen. 1:27, vedi mio commento giù, sezione commenti), passeggia per la Roma di oggi (sì, le essenze oltre l’uomo, come gli Dei e Dio, sono atemporali, e la cosa mi è piaciuta molto. Qui c’è un pizzico della visione di Tommaso D’Aquino, un grande).

TESTO DEL ROMANZO (quasi alla fine)

“Sfilano i volti di Roma nella notte, volti di uomini, donne e bambini. Sono volti antichi e moderni, ingenui e cinici, tosti bonari innocui (e funesti?). Quando si pensa a Roma (scriveva Goethe) “vecchia di duemila anni e oltre, riflettendo che è lo stesso suolo, lo stesso colle e spesso perfino le stesse colonne e mura – e nel popolo si vedono tracce dell’antico carattere – ci si sente compenetrati dei grandi decreti del destino”.
Il destino, coi volti mobilissimi delle donne romane che ne portano traccia. Perché le donne a Roma sono importanti, molto importanti. Federico Fellini diceva che ci sono città maschili e città femminili, e Roma è femminile, è donna.
E parlando di donne, donne antiche (quelle che qui interessano), pensiamo non solo alle madri alle nonne o alle ragazze accoppiate o meno ma anche alle prostitute che tanto piacevano al regista riminese, quelle della Passeggiata Archeologica, per esempio, a ridosso delle Terme di Caracalla (via Antoniniana e viale Guido Baccelli, per intenderci).

Immagine di Brenkee, Pixabay

Ψ

Tra queste donne di strada, o lupae, come dicevano i nostri antenati, ce n’è una stanotte che apparentemente stanca cammina lungo il viale su indicato. I ruderi di Caracalla sono illuminati e nella notte senza luna gli umori della città salgono alle stelle. Il volto della donna è il più antico di tutti perché essa è senza tempo e il vestito nero sdrucito e la borsa che ciondola e quasi struscia sul marciapiede non ne migliorano certo l’aspetto. Capelli neri come la pece le cadono sulle spalle in una massa folta intessuta di treccine sottili e il viso, ovale, è dominato da occhi allungati d’un celeste pallido che, se non fosse per il buio che li cela, apparirebbero per quello che sono, terribili.

La prostituta vede una moto con due ragazzi biondicci e si gira dall’altra parte.
– Ahó, ma l’hai vista quella? – dice il primo alla guida –. Sembra da buttar via ma guarda che corpo …
– Magari puzza però – dice il secondo.
– Cerchiamo almeno di vederla in faccia.
I due s’avvicinano, avranno appena vent’anni. Il primo dice:
– A mora, facce vedé er viso. Quanto vuoi? Ce l’hai la macchina?
Lei giratasi un poco, il volto sempre celato, con voce insostenibile li ghiaccia:
– FILATE! SCIO’! – come fossero pulcini (o insetti) –. Stasera non batto, prendo il fresco della notte.
I due allora, falene impazzite, schizzano via a zig zag e per un soffio mancano il tronco d’un pino ad ombrello.


Ψ

Leyla Lilith Domna è colma di disprezzo quando i due esseri, che giudica infimi, scompaiono nella notte. Poi volge lo sguardo in direzione dei colli Celio, Monti ed Esquilino [rioni dove nell’oggi si svolge il romanzo, ndr]. Uno sguardo carico d’odio, di rancore. Infine anche lei, come d’incanto, un incanto tetro, scompare nel nulla”.

[continua]


Puntate pubblicate finora:

0. Post di introduzione al romanzo ‘Le tre facce della medaglia’

1. Romanzo. Città maschili e femminili

2. Romanzo. Il demone Lilith in azione. non adatto ai minori

3. Entra in scena il commissario Alvaro Manneschi

4. Continua l’indagine del commissario. Viene introdotta Alba, sua moglie

Ferruccio Busoni. Mozart (and Classical) are no Simpleton Stuff (3)

Ferruccio Busoni (1866 – 1924) at 11 years old in Vienna. Via Wikimedia

We have talked about a concept, classicism, that can embrace for example the works of Horace, Raphael, Racine, Mozart, Goethe, Jane Austen and elements of British and American Georgian culture.

Mozart’s works – according to Ferruccio Busoni (an Italian-German pianist, composer & writer) – faced a curious indifference in 1917. He wrote in that year:

To the Wagnerian generation Don Giovanni’s text and music seem like simpleton stuff. “The baroque splendour – he continued – has made the world insensitive to the pure lines of the ancients.”

Mozart in 1780

Here’s a choice of Busoni’s earlier aphorisms on Mozart published in 1906 in Berlin’s Lokal Anzeiger. A good conclusion in our opinion to our series on ‘what is classical’.

“So denke Ich über Mozart”

So denke ich über Mozart:
Thus I think of Mozart:

Seine nie getrübte Schönheit irritiert.
His never-clouded beauty irritates.

Sein Formensinn ist fast außermenschlich.
His sense of form is nearly supernatural.

Einem Bildhauer-Meisterwerke gleich, ist seine Kunst – von jeder Seite gesehen – ein fertiges Bild.
Similar to a sculptor’s masterpiece, his art – seen from every side – is a finished picture.

Er hat den Instinkt des Tieres, sich seine Aufgabe – bis zur möglichsten Grenze, aber nicht darüber hinaus – seine Kräften entsprechend zu stellen.
He has the instinct of an animal, setting himself his tasks up to the utmost of his limits, but no further.

Er wagt nichts Tollkühnes.
He dares nothing venturous.

Er findet, ohne zu suchen, und sucht nicht, was unauffindbar wäre – vielleicht ihm unauffindbar wäre.
He finds without seeking and does not seek what would be unfindable–perhaps what would be unfindable to him.

Er besitzt außergewöhnlich reiche Mittel, aber er verausgabt sich nie.
He possess extraordinarily rich resources, but never uses them all.

Er kann sehr vieles sagen, aber er sagt nie zu viel.
He can say very much, but he never says too much.

Er ist leidenschaftlich, wahrt aber die ritterlichen Formen.
He is passionate, but preserves the chivalrous forms.

Seine Maße sind erstaunlich richtig, aber sie lassen sich messen und nachrechnen.
His measurements are surprisingly accurate, but they allow to be measured and calculated.

Er verfügt über Licht und Schatten; aber sein Licht schmerzt nicht, und seine Dunkelheit zeigt noch klare Umrisse.
He has light and darkness, but his light does not hurt, and his darkness still shows clear contours.

Er hat in der tragischen Situation noch einen Witz bereit – er vermag in der heitersten eine gelehrte Falte zu ziehen.
In a tragic situation he doesn’t lose his sense of humour – in the most cheerful he can insert an erudite word.

Er ist universell durch seine Behendigkeit.
He is universal through his spryness.

Er kann aus jeden Glase noch schöpfen, weil er eins nie bis zum Grunde ausgetrunken.
He can still drink something from every cup, since he never drank any to the bottom.

Ferruccio Busoni (April 1, 1866 – July 27, 1924). Click for credits

Sein Palast ist unermeßlich groß, aber er tritt niemals aus seinen Mauern. Durch dessen Fenster sieht er die Natur; der Fensterrahmen ist auch ihr Rahmen.
His palace is huge, but he never leaves its walls. Through its windows he sees nature; the windows frame is also nature’s frame.

Heiterkeit ist sein hervorstechender Zug: er überblümt selbst das Unangenehmste durch ein Lächeln.
Gaiety is his most distinct trait: even the most unpleasant he adorns with a smile.

Sein Lächeln ist nicht das eines Diplomaten oder Schauspielers, sondern das eines reinen Gemüts – und doch weltmännisch.
His smile is not that of a diplomat, or of an actor, but that of a pure heart – and yet worldly.

Wolfang Amadeus Mozart (aged 14) in Verona, Italy. Painting by Saverio dalla Rosa (1745–1821)

Sein Gemüt ist nicht rein aus Unkenntnis.
His soul is not pure out of ignorance.

Er ist nicht simpel geblieben und nicht raffiniert geworden.
He has not remained simple and has not become raffiné.

Er ist ein Freund der Ordnung: Wunder und Teufeleien wahren ihre 16 und 32 Takten.
He is a friend of order: miracles and devilries keep their 16 and 32 bars.

Er ist religiös, soweit Religion identisch ist mit Harmonie.
He is religious as long as religion is identical to harmony.

Das Architektonische ist seiner Kunst nächstverwandt.
Architecture is the art closest to his.

Ferruccio Busoni liked Italy but preferred Germany. He died in Berlin in 1924 and there he was interred in the Städtischen Friedhof III, Berlin-Schöneberg. Marlene Dietrich and, weirdly, Helmut Newton rest with him.

ψ

Previous posts on ‘classic’ and ‘classical’:

Tapas, Cartizze and Ragù. What on Earth do we Mean by ‘Classic’? (1)

Ragù, Chianti (and Grappa.) Is ‘Classic’ Just a Trick by Goddess Fortune? (2)

See also:

How Can Japanese Little Girls Play European Classical Music Perfectly?

And the second half of:

Music, Politics and History

Ragù, Chianti (and Grappa.) Is ‘Classic’ Just a Trick by Goddess Fortune? (2)

Spaghettoni alla chitarra e ragù. Wikimedia. Click for credits

After aperitivo at the bar the conversation continues to unwind at our home while we consume a simple dinner made of spaghettoni al ragù, cheese with a side dish of boiled vegetables, all washed down with Chianti and some Grappa as digestivo.

Classicus and King Servius Tullius

Servius Tullius
Servius Tullius, 6th Roman King. Image via Wikipedia

Extropian: “In my Calonghi Latin dictionary classis means both ‘fleet’ and ‘social class’; classicus is both a ‘sailor’ and ‘a member of the first Servian class of citizens’, out of the five tax classes set up by the Roman King Servius Tullius.

So why do we say today that Herman Melville is a classic and that Dan Brown (or our Giorgio Faletti) will probably never be?”

Giorgio: “It implies some timeless worth, it is known. Less known perhaps the origin of the notion. In the 2nd century CE Aulus Gellius, a Roman grammarian, [see image below] in his Noctes Atticae (Attic nights) – I just found out – was the first to mean by classicus ‘a writer of the first Servian class’ (classicus scriptor). He was the first to connect via a metaphor 1) literary and 2) social excellence. Classicus to him was a first-class & exemplary writer.

English: Frontispiece to the 1706 edition of A...
English: Frontispiece to the 1706 edition of Auli Gellii Noctium Atticarum (Aulus Gellius Attic Nights) libri xx. prout supersunt, quos ad libros Mss. novo et multo labore exegerunt, perpetuis notis et emendationibus illustrarunt Joannes Fridericus et Jacobus Gronovii. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Extropian: “Well, it somewhat reflected the elitism of antiquity.”

Flavia: “Yes, but I’d say excellence is excellence. Horace and Virgil were of humble background (Horace – read a reply to Sledpress on him – was even the son of a freed slave,) but were revered as excellent (and timeless) as soon as their works came out.”

Giorgio: “Horace himself refers to his Odes as timeless. But people didn’t call them classici. The new meaning didn’t immediately spread. In the 5th and 6th centuries CE authors such as Martianus Capella, Fulgentius and Boethius began to reconsider earlier pagan authors as models of style and thought, although again no use was made of the term classicus in the sense Gellius did.”

Extropian: “I see.”

Villa Rotonda, Veneto, Italy, by Andrea Palladio (1508 – 1580). Click for attribution

Classicus to Renaissance People

Giorgio: “And throughout the Middle Ages too we have the concept but not the word for it. Until we get to the Renaissance men, in 1400s-1500s CE.

In their Latin classicus refers again to something seen as timeless and as a standard of excellence: to the people of the Renaissance [see a Palladian villa above] the Greek and Roman past was THE classicus exemplary model in all fields.”

Mario: “In fact we still say ‘Classical Antiquity’. Of course the Renaissance is neoclassical ante litteram since it found inspiration in Antiquity and looked down upon the Middle Ages.

By the way, wasn’t the second half of the 18th century labelled as neoclassical?”

Rome and the Grand Tour

Goethe in the Roman countryside as painted in 1787 by his friend Tischbein. Click to enlarge

Flavia: “It was. Giorgio and I recently visited the exhibition Rome and Antiquity. Reality and vision in the 18th century.

At the end of the War of the Austrian Succession (1748) a long period of peace ensued in Europe. Winckelmann arrived in Rome in 1755. He there conceived his master-work History of Ancient Art (1764) which influenced the entire neoclassical attitude from that year onwards and basically blew the minds (to mention the Germans only) of people like Hölderlin, Goethe, Lessing, Herder, Heine, Nietzsche etc. The marriage and the tyranny of Greece over Germany started with him.”

Giorgio: Those were the days of the Grand Tour. People flocked to Italy and especially to Rome to study classical culture. Rome with all her statues etc. also became a huge workshop of copies purchased worldwide. Bartolomeo Cavaceppi was the best sculptor to make casts, copies and fakes.

Caffè Greco – 86, via Condotti -, possibly the oldest caffè in Rome, frequented by Goethe, Byron, Stendhal, Liszt, Keats, Mendelssohn etc. Click to enter the Caffè Greco web site

Cavaceppi’s studio was in via del Babbuino, close to Caffè Greco (opened in 1760, see above,) to via del Corso (where Goethe lived at num 18 between 1786 & 1788,) to Piazza di Spagna: all popular places among the expatriates of the time. Cavaceppi’s shop was a must-see. Goethe was there and Canova himself was greatly impressed by Cavaceppi’s atelier. Goethe bought a cast of the Juno Ludovisi [see the last big picture below] but I forgot from whom though.

Anton Raphael Mengs, Jacques-Louis David, the Scottish architect Robert Adam, Canova, Piranesi with his efforts to build a map of Ancient Rome: surely a great period for our city.”

[The exhibition catalog is now on the living room table. Grappa is unfortunately served. Art and Bacchus are a perfect match since Homer, what did you think …]

Giorgio: “Last (but least) Italians played the guitar quite a lot during the 18th c. before the Spanish took over. I am studying Mauro Giuliani and Ferdinando Carulli who composed delightful classical pieces for this instrument, mixing sober taste (Giuliani) or brilliant grace (Carulli) with rationality.”

Jeu des dames, by Louis-Léopold Boilly (1761–1845). Click to enlarge. Elegance, sobriety, classical décor and Hellenic attire (and face features) of the women

Extropian (reading the catalog): “New archaeological discoveries fuelled the Roman and Greek frenzy. A great number of statues and mosaics were unearthed and reproduced. Décor and clothes were created in the neoclassical style in Europe and in the New World. Also Nero’s Domus Aurea wall paintings – at that time thought to belong to Titus’ thermae – were reproduced on mansions, on decorative furniture etc.

[Hope you can reach this great 3d reconstruction of Roman Emperor Nero’s Domus Aurea (see another movie below too:) you’ll think you are in a 18th century rich palace!]

The spirit of the Ancients and of the Enlightenment (Age of reason) splendidly matched. Classical triumphed and influenced the French and American Revolutions.”

Roman Emperor Nero’s Domus Aurea fresco. 1rst century CE

Classicism as a Concept. Mere Chance?

Extropian: “Classic, more generic for valuable, is related to classical … Wait a minute. Such fundamental concept going back to this Aulus Gellius, an almost unknown, second-rate Roman writer? Something is wrong here.”

Giorgio: “Weird in fact. I now read in Google what Ernst Robert Curtius observed (in his European Literature and the Latin Middle Ages):

What would modern aesthetics have done for a single general concept that could embrace Raphael, Racine, Mozart, and Goethe, if Gellius never lived?

Extropian: “Or if Servius Tullius didn’t divide Rome into 5 classes! I wonder whether we know the exact connection Gellius-Renaissance, but certainly goddess Fortune plays her tricks when making ideas successful or not, as Curtius also suggests.”

A cast of Juno Ludovisi (ie Antonia minor, Mark Antony’s daughter), similar to the one bought by Goethe. Antonia became a model of junoesque, imposing beauty

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Grappa is making all blurred at this point.

That is, we have traced some origins but couldn’t define that general concept that can embrace Horace, Mozart, Mauro Giuliani, Haydn, Raphael, Schubert, Pindar, Canova, Racine, Goethe, Jane Austen and many elements of British and American Georgian culture.

A glass of Grappa
Grappa. Click for attribution

Next time Ferruccio Dante Michelangelo Busoni‘s aphorisms (big name, I know) on Mozart might help us hopefully.

Busoni’s aphorisms are in German since Busoni was Italian & somewhat German too [following Philippe’s advice we try to expand language variety in this blog.]

See you then.

A vase made for the foreign market. Italians found it too rich.

Us and the Hyperboreans. 1

In Roman Limes. Between Two Worlds I had a discussion with the Commentator about how South and North Europeans see one another. Since I was planning a few posts on this topic, such a discussion can work as a starting point. Texts are abridged and edited a bit.

The Commentator

[This post] further reinforces my suspicion … of this attraction between Italy and Germany. It seems Roman civilization had a great influence on this.

Which brings me into another question. England (UK) was invaded by both Romans and Germanics (Angles, Jutes, Saxons). Yet, I do not feel there is anything that connects Britain to Italy in any way. In fact, I usually get the distinct feeling the UK has a somewhat condescending (if not superficial) view of Italy. You read it in their history books and in some cases how they interpret Italian soccer.

[…] I realize there are some Germans that hold similar views (I read somewhere that the Italian community has never been accepted in Germany) but as a general discussion, where does Britain break off from Germany when it comes to Italy?

Man of Roma

First of all, when dealing with foreigners, one has to accept bias and some sort of racism, this not being avoidable, for a number of reasons. Every person should be proud of his/her heritage, without becoming a nationalist though. […]

Thus said, I think there is a general attraction-repulsion among the folks from North and South Europe. This includes the UK and Germany and other northern European people vs South Europe and vice versa.

It is in fact a two-way thing [we’ll focus on repulsion now]: not only many North Europeans dislike us, but it is also many of us disliking them. We (Italians, Spanish, Portuguese etc.) admire some of these people’s qualities, but we generally disapprove of their lack of taste and style and often see them as a bunch of depressed (and rude) drunkards. Of course this is not my view but there is some truth in this (like there is some truth in the flaws North foreigners see in us).

Goethe, a great lover of Italy, – Kennst du das Land … Do you know the land where the lemons bloom? – writes at the end of the XVIII century that he forgives ‘the Northern people who criticize Italy because these people (the Italians) are really so different from us’. It is interesting how he explains this ‘difference’ and his Italian Journey is a great book also from this point of view (see above Goethe as painted by Karl Joseph Stieler).

How can in fact exist an easy mutual understanding between the people of the Mediterranean and the Hyperboreans, namely the northern folks living in a realm of clouds, rain, cold and darkness? Such diverse climate (together with a different history) is a potent factor for creating marked differences in behaviour, mood, disposition of soul etc., all of which makes intercourse difficult (Hyperboreans is how the Greco-Romans called the people living ‘beyond Boreas’, eg the North wind, and it is sometimes used to indicate folks from cold climates in general).

I read somewhere that the Italian community has never been accepted in Germany.
I’d say the Germans have now worse problems with non-EU immigrants. In any case they had this invasion of such different people, the Italians from the Mezzogiorno, it is understandable. And there is always a difference of attitude (towards the Italians) between the so to say romanized Germans and the non romanized ones. In many parts of Northern and central (Protestant) Germany [where the Romans never arrived: see my post Roman Limes. Between Two Worlds] Italians are often disliked, it is true. The Protestant Germans, the Dutch etc. for example, didn’t want the so called Club Med (Italy, Spain, Portugal, Greece) to become part of the Euro zone. They basically said: “These places are just nice for a vacation, that’s all …”.

Where does Britain break off from Germany when it comes to Italy.
Well, Germans are our neighbours, while Britain is far. But I would say Britain breaks off from the entire Continent. They are islanders, they do not feel European in my opinion [a few Brits said this also here], and many people from the Continent (Italians included) return this feeling and find it hard to love them, I don’t see how it could be otherwise, since the British feel superior to continentals, not to mention Southern continentals.

But I wouldn’t say “there is nothing that connects Britain to Italy in any way.” First of all their literature is often like a hymn to Italy (take Shakespeare, Byron or E. M. Forster with his A Room with a View). Additionally many seem today very attached to their Roman past. There is like a Roman frenzy now in Great Britain. Tomorrow [last July 22] the British Museum opens up an exhibition on the Roman emperor Hadrian, the one who built the Hadrian’s Wall. Very complex and modern personality, Hadrian (see the exhibition trailer). Hundreds of UK web sites celebrate Ancient Rome. Roman.Britan.org is one of them. Also popular culture and movies (King Arthur, The Last Legion etc.) reveal like a (subterranean?) feeling that they are (well, they were) somewhat the heirs of the Romans.

Finally Italy is admired by them in many other ways, and I am convinced – also because many Brits told me – that they are a bit envious: our culture and history are richer, our food and clothing better, our towns immensely more beautiful, people here possess more charm, joy of life etc.. Ooopss, I forgot the climate lol.

Thus Byron sang in a period – the beginning of the XIX century – when Italy was at the top of her decline while Great Britain was at the apex of her world power:

The commonwealth of kings, the men of Rome!
And even since, and now, fair Italy!
Thou art the garden of the world, the home
Of all Art yields, and Nature can decree;
Even in thy desert, what is like to thee?
Thy very weeds are beautiful,
thy waste
More rich than other climes’ fertility;
Thy wreck a glory, and thy ruin graced
With an immaculate charm that cannot be defaced.

[I love Byron, certainly not because he likes Italy, no, not for that]

As regards soccer, well, we won the World Cup, not them. Someone told me Italians are now upset because Perfidious Albion is hiring a lot of young promising Italian players. We pay a lot to raise them, then they arrive and buy them. No, I wouldn’t say they don’t like our soccer, it’s just they realise it is so different from theirs. Soccer, like any other sport, is revealing. We really ARE different people.

So what, is that a problem? Differences create richness & complementarity. They make the world a better place to live in.

Ψ

If you want to know more:

Us and the Hyperboreans. 2
Us and the Hyperboreans. 3

But also:

Isn’t the British Trojan Horse a Short-sighted Animal? (around which an extensive discussion developed about the UK vs Italy and Europe)
Ups and Downs
From the two Sides of the Roman Limes
Roman Limes. Between Two Worlds