Naples:life,death &
                Miracle contact: Jeff Matthews

Miscellany page 79
started early September 2020

   in progress

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1.  Sept. 4, 2020. This weekend the Opus Continuum Art Collective finishes its extended exhibit at Lake Fusaro (noted here). Suzanne TolI, who provides me with translations from Latin on many occasions, sends this, which I call (without her permission!)


"I read your post about the Opus Continuum exhibit in the Vanvitelli lodge on Lake Fusaro.  I so enjoyed my visits there and was delighted to see the ruins of Vatia's villa on the Torregaveta  promontory.  Every time I went to Lake Fusaro, I thought with amusement of Seneca, Nero's tutor, and his description of having his slaves running along the lake while carrying him in a litter in order, as he says, to shake up and thin his bile. Despite Seneca's subject matter, though, he still sounds pompous and didactic.  It's one of those personal anecdotes that brings the ancient world alive for me... The name Torregaveta likely comes from Latin Turris Vatiae (to Italian Torre di Vatia / tower of Vatia).
Suzanne includes excerpts from Letter 55 of Seneca's Epistulae This translation is altered from Wikisource's version.
"Moral letters to Lucilius"/ Letter 55 On Vatia's Villa

 Seneca the Younger (Lucius Annaeus Seneca c. 4 B.C.- AD 65) .         
From 49 AD he was Nero's tutor and  when Nero became emperor,    
his advisor. In 65 A.D.  Seneca was ordered to take his own life for
plotting to assassinate Nero.  Ever the Stoic, Seneca did so.              

1. I have just returned from a ride in my litter; and I am as weary as if I had walked the distance, instead of being seated. Even to be carried for any length of time is hard work, all the more so because it is not natural; nature gave us legs for walking and eyes for seeing. Our luxuries have made us weak, and we can no longer do that which we have long declined to do.
2. Nevertheless, I found it necessary to give my body a shaking up, so the bile that had gathered in my throat, if that was my trouble, might be shaken out, or, if my very breath had become for some reason too thick, that the jolting, which I felt was good for me, might make it thinner. So I insisted on being carried longer than usual, along an attractive beach, which bends between Cumae and Servilius Vatia's country-house, shut in by the sea on one side and the lake on the other, like a narrow path. It was packed firm because of a recent storm since, as you know, the waves, when beating upon the beach hard and fast, level it out, but a steady period of fair weather loosens the sand, kept firm by the water, and it loses its moisture.
3. As is my habit, I looked about for something that might be of service to me, and I saw the structure that had once belonged to Vatia.* So this was where that famous praetorian millionaire spent his old age! He was famous for nothing else than his life of leisure and was regarded as lucky only for that reason. For whenever men were ruined by their friendship with Asinius Gallus or  others ruined by their hatred of Sejanus, and later by their intimacy with him, – for it was no more dangerous to offend him than to love him, – people would cry out: "O Vatia, you alone know how to live!"

4. But what he knew was how to hide, not how to live; it makes a great deal of difference whether your life is one of leisure or one of idleness. So I never passed his country-place without saying to myself: "Here lies Vatia!" *

  *The reference is to the villa built by Publius Servilius Vatia Isauricus (c. 130 BC – 44 BC), a Roman politician and general of the First Century BC. He was elected one of the two consuls for 79 BC. He fought against the Isaurian hill tribes in Asia Minor and was called "Isauricus" for his victories over them in battle. His villa, or at least bits of it, are indeed still there, now incorporated into a restaurant.

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2.  Sept. 8, 2020
All Good Things...

Opus Continuum announces that their exhibit, "Waiting for Immaginaria 2020" (original mention here) has come to an end. It all took place at Lake Fusaro (Bacoli), near Naples, on the delightful premises of the Vanvitelli Lodge. The closing day (Sunday) featured on-the-spot drawings and paintings by Ludovico della Rocca, Renato Criscuolo and Giovanni Tuoro. They drew and painted like crazy to give members of the public something to take home.

There was a good gathering in attendance. The exhibit ran for all of August through Sun.    6 Sept. Works by the following artists were on display for more than a month: Sergio Coppola, Renato Criscuolo, Ludovico della Rocca, Fulvio De Marinis, Michele Di Lillo, Marco Iannaccone/Scarlet Lovejoy, Loris Lombardo, Luca Mastrocinque, Ferdinando Russo, Selene Salvi, and Giovanni Tuoro.

The exhibit was held under the auspices of  the Council Clerk's Office of the town of Bacoli, and we offer to them and to all those who helped us in this adventure our heartfelt appreciation. Those of us who set this up many weeks ago will never forget the experience!  We also thank whatever agency provided the beautiful weather -- one glorious sunset after another!


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3. Sept.9
They Don't Make Them Like This Anymore. Really.

The Talitha. This beautiful classic motor yacht was built in 1929 at the Friedrich Krupp Germaniawerft in Kiel, Germany, for Russel A. Alger of the Packard Car Company. Talitha has passed through a number of owners, names, uses and refits in her 90-year history. One owner, J. Paul Getty Jr., was responsible for the current name of the vessel. She was also named the USS Beaumont for service as a patrol gunboat by the US Navy during World War II. She was rebuilt in her entirety in 1994 at the Devenport shipyard (Plymouth, UK) and remains in use by the Getty family and may be chartered.  There is another, smaller image here that shows more details of the vessel, but this image shows her set in the Gulf of Naples, the way she should be seen. If you have to ask the name of the island, you may still go aboard but will be keelhauled. The best opener on your first date: "Hi, wanna see my boat?"

Stats: overall length, 80.00m (262' 5"); Beam, 10.34m (33' 11"); engines: 2 Caterpillar 3516 TA 1; cruise speed, 13 knots; crew, 18; passengers, 12. Registered with IMO number 1004625 and MMSI 310051000. Call sign ZCAN7. Currently sailing under the flag of Bermuda.
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4. Sept. 30
From the Halls of San Pietro a Maiella to the Shores of Tripoli

Francesco Maria Scala (1819–1903) (image), also known as Francis M. Scala, was a musician and military band director. He was born in Naples, became an American citizen and was the first and one of the most important and influential directors of the United States Marine Band, the premier band of the United States Marine Corps. The band was established by Congress on July 11, 1798, and it is the oldest of the United States military bands and the oldest professional musical organization in the United States. It is nicknamed "The President's Own".

Although Scala's family had no musical traditions, he precociously developed a strong passion for music. He was admitted as a student at the San Pietro a Maiella Conservatory in Naples, where he graduated as a clarinet soloist. In 1841 he embarked as a "third-class musician" on the US frigate USS Brandywine of the Mediterranean Squadron. He joined the US Marine Band in Washington. The band had had previous leaders since 1799, but Scala was the first musician officially bestowed with the title of Band Director, by a decree issued on July 25, 1861. The band's most famous director, later in the century, was John Philip Sousa.

Scala was an extremely prolific musician and composer and shaped the instrumental organization that the band still maintains. Under
his guidance, the band went from 11-12 musicians who played marches to a 35-piece "symphonic band" with a balance between brass
and woodwinds, manifesting Scala's own training and interest in European symphonic music.

If you caught the pun in the title of this entry, "From the Halls of Montezum to the Shores of Tripoli," you recognize that as the text to the Marines' Hymn. The melody is actually a revision by Scala of "The Gendarmes' Duet" from Act II of Jacques Offenbach's opera Geneviève de Brabant, which debuted in Paris in 1859. Scala rewrote it for the Marines Corp in 1867.

Scala had some memorable moments serving, as he did, during the U.S. Civil War. Scala was with Lincoln in Gettysburg on
November 19, 1863, for the inauguration of the National Cemetery and personally heard Lincoln's Gettysburg address. When the
war ended, Lincoln -- in a remarkable gesture of reconciliation -- asked the band to play "Dixie". Scala directed it.  Eleven days later, their music accompanied Lincoln's coffin during his funeral procession. Less dramatically, a young musician John Philip Sousa joined the Marine Band in 1868. He was enlisted by his father who had been a trombonist in the same band. Young John was warming up to become the "March King" of the whole world.

Scala served as Marine Band director for 16 years, stepping down in 1871. He lived the rest of his life in his house in Washington, D.C. When he died on April 18, 1903, the Marine Band played his favorite hymn, Nearer My God to Thee. He is buried at the Congressional Cemetery in Washington D.C.

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