From time to time Italo-Greek clay vases have been found in Ruvo. At first he made him discover only gambling. The vases found in this way could not have been many, and they were not priced by those peasants. In my youth the old men told me that the country men, who in digging the ground found the ancient tombs, worried that instead of finding money, they found clay pots, they broke them with hoes! From here it is that in the suburban funds, where the sepulchers are usually found, there are not a few pieces of broken and shattered ancient vases scattered in the ground. How times have changed now! Today, they are so popular that they believe they must convert any piece of ancient clay into gold!
The educated people of that city warned the villagers that these objects also had a value. So the few pots that were found began to be respected. The old men told me that they had also sold them to foreigners who happened to be in Ruvo. But what merit they could have been is perfectly unknown. And if they have been published, it has failed to indicate the place where they were found. In the vases published by Lord Hamilton there is an excellent brush representing Bellerophon mounted on the Pegasus fighting the Chimera. I have another vase found in Ruvo which represents the same fable. Then when the copper of the Hamilton vase came before my eyes, I could not fail to be struck by the perfect similarity it has with mine.
The two vases vary only in the deities present at the combat, and such variations have been familiar to both ancient and modern Painters when they replicated the same subject. But the three figures of Bellerophon, of Pegasus and of the Chimera are so closely related to each other [a57]that it is necessary to agree that both the vases were painted by the same hand and on the same model. How else could a perfect identity be found in both of the drawings, of the figures, of the features, of the stature, of the contours and of all the smallest circumstances? I must therefore believe that the Hamilton vase was also found at Ruvo, and that it is one of those vessels which have been published without the place where they were found being known or indicated.
The first who began excavating for inspection in Ruvo was a Priest called Don Giuseppe Adessi, whose talents were not vulgar, but strange enough. Among the vases he found there were some good ones, but not of the first order as far as I have understood. It is not known at least what these have been, and whether they have been published. He drew from them a gain that if he had known how to keep it, he could have extended even more his speculation, which at that time had no competitors. His research, however, could not go very far, because he lacked the means. Indeed, until the first decade of this century the name of the city of Ruvo was unknown to archeology, and there was no opinion of the Ruvestini clay vases because even when they were valuable, it was not known.
The first vases by Ruvo that made a lot of noise for their supreme elegance and beauty, and for the importance of the things painted in them, found in the year 1810 a craftsman called Rinaldo di Zio in digging the foundations of a house not far from the ancient city walls in the broad called Porta Nuova or Porta di Noja, which I will talk about later. Informed the Government of the time of this important discovery, de Zio was obliged to exhibit the vases he had found, having received an excessively low fee. These were found of such a sublime value that they were considered to be an ornament of the Royal Palace. But in the events of the year 1815 they were transported to Germany, and now as far as I have understood, together with other valuable vases also found then in Canosa, the King of Bavaria, very fond of objects of ancient fine arts, is in the Museum of SM.
The discovery of the aforesaid vessels of a much higher order than those [a58]that for the time being in Ruvo they had been found in Ruvo, and the scattered noise, not without foundation however, that in the same sepulcher other precious objects of no small value had also been found, set the spirit of Ruvestini in turmoil. . The speculation of excavations then began to take place; but in the year 1822 it reached a rage and was brought to a point where it could not be surpassed. These cost a little overwhelming expectation of the quality of the ground all stony, which cannot be moved and deepened without a lot of labor. The ancient tombs of Ruvo, where the vases are located, are cut and hollowed in the living stone of greater or lesser size according to the quality of the person buried, and the quantity of objects placed there.
Those found in the Ruvestini sepulchres were the following, that is clay vases, idols and other clay works, vases, idols and other bronze objects, some alabaster vases, and more frequent those of colored glass of great beauty, crests, cuirasses, leggings, spears, swords, arrows, horse bites, and in my collection I also have an elegantly crafted ivory column. Objects of silver and gold have also been found, especially feminine ornaments, and in the Royal Museum there is a gold necklace found there and very well preserved, of exquisite work.
These tombs hollowed out in the living stone were covered with a large stone table or with several tables joined together where only one was not enough. Now in order to be able to carry the excavations up to the living stone, where the tombs are hollowed out, it is necessary to last quite a bit of difficulty. Much is the resistance that the ground of its stony nature opposes. In those places then, in which over the course of so many centuries the fillings of earth, stones or superimposed sfabbricine were greater, it was necessary to dig up to twenty, twenty-four and thirty palms of depth. Therefore, to carry out these excavations by chance, and without any certainty of finding sepulchres there, in a certain way frightened the speculators.
Therefore, in order to be able more easily to support the considerable expense that was necessary for them, various companies were formed, which dug from head to bottom almost all the suburban lands, in which both graves and burial grounds are usually found. So there was so much [a59]quantity of the workers employed in this operation and of the people who flocked there out of curiosity, that the outlines of the city presented the appearance of a fair. This crowd also attracted fruit, food and wine vendors to dispose of their wares. Often it happened that the traces of the tombs were discovered in the evening. The excavations then continued with lighted torches, so that the unearthed tombs had not been emptied during the night by others, and the aforementioned countryside showed itself in several places illuminated.
This fury there unearthed many works of art which have aroused the admiration of all the Archaeologists of Europe, and have made illustrious the name of a city to them previously almost unknown. If all the vases found in Ruvo with the aforesaid excavations had been united in a single Collection, I do not know whether this could have been matched by any other Collection, both by the number and by the excellent quality and variety of the vases. However, these excavations having been suggested by the spirit of interest and the hope of earning, it was not to be expected from those who made themselves the owners of the aforesaid vessels this feeling, both homeland and literary.
This greatly distressed my spirit. He saw well that these treasures would fall into the hands of speculators, who would make them go abroad, without even knowing that the honor and pride of having produced them belonged to my country, as had happened for the previously unearthed vessels. Purchasing them all, even when this was easy for me, surpassed the strength of a private person who was not prejudiced and not prepared for an extraordinary event which in a short time brought thousands of objects out of the earth, which could gradually have been taken out of it. over the course of very long years. I therefore determined to save as many as I could: in which I was also supported by my brother Giulio who was animated by the same feelings, and premature death kidnapped me.
Nevertheless, it was better for me to overcome very strong obstacles which were the following. In the midst of so much whispering and much more in the excavations that followed in time of night a portion of the vessels that were found was fraudulent either by the workers employed, or by any of the same members left. [a60]to watch over them. If the discovery of so many valuable monuments was very useful to archeology and the highest honor of my homeland, it is no less true, however, that the spirit of interest that had provoked the aforementioned excavations led to much corruption in the morality of the Ruvestino people. It followed from this that the vessels fraudulent in this way did not want to sell themselves to their fellow citizens, so that the frauds committed had not been discovered, but were sent to sell in secret in the neighboring towns. Those who hoarded them sold them to speculators, from whose hands it was better for me to recover several that were not left to leave; but most of them probably went abroad.
For the other vases then those owners of them who felt some love of country preferred us willingly in selling them, because they knew very well that we did not buy them for speculation, but to keep them and dedicate them to the honor of the same. Others, however, were denied this, despite the fact that we paid much better than what was paid by the speculators, and this truth was confessed by the same Ruvestini. The only principle of this repugnance was that there are men, especially in small countries, who do not know what to envy in others that loftiness of thinking of which they are not capable. This has often forced me to buy back several vases that I thought deserving to be kept at a very high price from dealers. I count among them those who represent the challenge between Marsyas and Apollo,
It is also here to add that in the grandiose tombs of illustrious personalities near that all the vases and vases that were found were valuable. But in the graves of mediocre people the greater number of them was of little or no consideration. But often among so many things of no value there was also some object that deserved to be purchased by those who had not proposed to have a lot of Ruvestini vases; but rather to form a complete collection, which requires a greater richness especially in the multiplicity and variety of forms, models, designs, and style of painting. [a61]that in Ruvo’s vases it is also varied according to the diversity of both the schools and the time in which they were painted.
However, it was impossible to make the choice of those pieces that were wanted. You had to either buy the whole lot, or leave it. Often times for some valuable head of man, or animal, or for some vase, or small vase of new shape, and of singular beauty it has been convenient for me to take a whole lot, most of which I had to throw away for a very low price, since if if I had wanted to keep all the vases I bought for this reason, I would have been very embarrassed to have given them a place. This led me to a strong imbalance in spending that more than once put me in a positive tightness, in order not to miss the opportunities that presented themselves to me to enrich the Collection that had proposed me to form better, and more chosen objects that I could have.
In this way, and through the aforementioned obstacles, it was possible for me and my brother Giulio to acquire as many Ruvestini vases, as many as were sufficient to illustrate our homeland, and to make a private collection valuable. I can then say frankly, and without fear of being rebuked, that perhaps no other Collection can match it for the number, and for the diversity, and quality of the glasses called Rhyton.of which it is the same richly supplied, since in no other of the ancient Greek cities of Italy have so many been found, and of as many different kinds, as in Ruvo. If all the glasses found there had not been scattered, and so many of them had not gone abroad, what a spectacular collection they could have formed! The same Nolani excavations that have been the least sterile of these valuable objects, have only a few data, and of limited species, and not as varied as those of Ruvo.
There are therefore in our Collection many glasses with human heads, including Ethiopians. Among these there is a beautiful one of Hercules covered by the skin of the Lyons he killed. There are also some with Satyrs’ heads. Many heads of ox, cows and calves, rams, geldings, and sheep, many goats, dogs of different [a62]species, and of foxes, two of wild boars, and one of pig, three of deer, and two of fallow deer, three of mules, one of horse, one of lyon, one of tiger, and one of monkey, two glasses supported by crocodiles , and two by dragons, three others with griffin heads, one supported by Scylla with his two dogs in relief, another supported by a sphinx. There are also liqueur jars with the following animals, one with a bird, another with a dolphin, one with a cat’s head, another with that of a calf, and another with that of a griffin, two whole lioncini, two whole leporer dogs, two calves even whole lying on the ground, a rabbit, a frog, and a very pretty Silenus. However, in addition to the said heads, and fine and colored pots, there is also a large quantity of rustic heads, both human and animal, calledterra cotte  .
Meanwhile, it is not here to omit that one of the aforementioned glasses purchased by me makes us learn a custom of the ancients, which I have not needed up to now to detect it from any of the ancient Greek and Latin writers that I have read. Anacreon tells us that horses were branded on the thigh
Equi solent inustum
Coxis habere signum  .
We read in Apulejo Nec non et equum illum quoque meum notæ dorsalis cognitione recupereravimus  . The very clear Canon Mazocchi [a63]he said many beautiful things about horses named Koppatias , and Samphoras by the respective mark they had on the thigh in Greek letters  .
Among my vases there is one of a beautiful shape, and of an excellent brush that represents the animated course of four quadrigas that revolve around four columns in full escape. Two of the horses of the aforementioned quadrigae have their mark on the straight thigh. One of them is that of a fish, and this can make us believe a Tarantine horse, since in the greatest number of Tarantine coins there is the Dolphin, and on the reverse a knight in various attitudes to indicate how much the Tarantini were worth in the exercise of horse riding. and in cavalry maneuvers. The other has the mark that forms a globe with a spherical shape with two circular lines and a cross in the middle.
Virgil also speaks of the mark that was affixed to cattle
Aut pecori signum, aut numerum impressit acervis 
Post partum care in vitulos traducitur omnis,
Continuoque notas, et nomina gentis inurunt  .
But it has not yet occurred to me to read that the Ancients imprinted the mark on mules not on the thigh, but on the cheek, as is practiced today in our Kingdom, since I am not aware of the use of other countries. That this custom of ours, however, is very ancient was made me learn by one of the mule heads found in Ruvo that I own, which has its oval mark on the left cheek.
Returning now, after this not useless digression, to the vases of Ruvo it is not possible to describe with the pen the elegance and multiplicity of forms, especially of the vases found there. We must see and consider them in order to judge from them how ferocious the imagination was [a64]of the Ruvestini craftsmen in imagining many different models, and often also bizarre, and whimsical, which do not meet willingly in the vases of other ancient Greek cities. I have gathered a lot of really showy ones. But how many others have had to escape me!
Nor can it be doubted that they have been worked in Ruvo, and this for a double reason. The first is because in the excavations made the workshops were also found with a large quantity of vases, and rustic vases of the same shapes that the painted vases extracted from the tombs have. The second is because the clay of the ancient vases found in Ruvo is the same very fine clay, light, and suitable for any work that is currently found in the quarries of the Ruvestino countryside. It is that same clay that today gives a living to many people, who work on working clay pots of all kinds, and also of beautiful and elegant shapes, especially sought after by all of Puglia, and by the finite Province of Basilicata. This art was therefore inherited there by the Ancients, as Cornelius Tacitus observes it wellSed nostra quoque æetas multa laudis, et artium imitanda posteris tulit  .
The style of painting of the ancient Ruvestini Painters, how noble and grandiose it is, just as simple, smooth, full of naturalness, and without caricature, or as our Painters would say unmanaged. A portion of the vases purchased by me having brought it to Naples for my pleasure, these were observed among other learned characters also by the very clear cav. D. Francesco Maria Avellino who knows the subject so well, and was strongly impressed by the beauty and importance of them. After arriving in Naples, the distinguished Mr. Odoardo Gerhard, after having seen the vases that I have in Naples, was inclined to see also those that in much greater number had remained in Ruvo where I directed it to my brother. He also got from me some transparencies of them that he had requested of me. Hence it was that the Institute of Archaeological Correspondence in Rome also began to speak with praise of the vases of Ruvo.
This noise led to the consequence that it became more severe [a65]be careful because the vases of the last Ruvestini excavations that fell into the hands of the speculators could not have passed abroad. This object was at least largely achieved. For these provident measures, among the immense treasures of the Royal Museum one can now admire, and admire not a few excellent vases by Ruvo purchased by the same. They have filled in a very satisfactory way the void that was there with selected Apulian vases, of which there were not enough. He also had the Government carry out excavations in Ruvo de ‘for their own account, not without a profit for the new valuable objects which they brought to the said Real Museum. Finally, a Commission was also established there in charge of supervising the excavations, so that the valuable objects of antiquity that are found are not sold to foreigners without the intelligence of the Management of the Royal Museum. It has all turned out to the highest honor of our city, and has fully satisfied my votes.
It is not here to omit another singular monument of the ancient Ruvestina Painting which now also adorns the Royal Museum. The late Canon D. Michele Ficco towards the end of the year 1833 dug the foundations of a house outside the ancient city enclosure on the Strada de ‘Cappuccini. He found a grandiose sepulcher there; but one of the sides of it, made of square tuff stones, was found missing. It had been the same defeat in ancient times by having dug a well at the very site of the sepulcher. This was also found stripped of the vases, and other precious objects which it must have contained, because a distinguished person had been buried there. This was inferred from some conspicuous fragments of broken vessels found in the same tomb, and from the following circumstance.
On the other three sides, which had remained intact, a funeral dance divided into two choirs, one of eighteen young women, and the other of nine, was found painted with the utmost elegance. However, it is clear to himself that the two choirs must have been equal in number, and that the choir of nine young women must have had nine more on the side of the tomb which was found missing. At the head of each of the two choirs there is a young dancer. One of these two young men touches a seven-stringed lyre which regulates the dance. Then the aforementioned young man dances at the same time and plays the lyre.
The women are all dressed in perfect conformity, that is, with a long tunic, and above it a peplum that covers their heads and shoulders. The color of the said garments and of the peplums is varied; but the cut, and the costume is the same. Both the tunics and the peplums are edged with strips of different colors. All the women below the peplum have their heads wrapped both in a handkerchief and in a red bonnet with tufts of ringed hair that come out on the temples. They all have their perfectly matching earrings. The two young men wear a white tunic edged with red stripes, which is very short, and ends well above the knees. Both the two young men and the women make the same move which seems bland, serious, and very serious.
Of this funeral dance Mr. Raul-Rochette , having received a copy of it from Ruvo, published it in Paris with the corresponding plate in the year 1836  . He agrees that this is a one-of-a-kind painting. Note that other tombs of Ruvo have been found, even painted ones, but without figures. That in other places indicated by him they have been found with figures; but not with such a grandiose funeral dance, and we can even say new. It would have been desirable, however, that he had spoken of it with less sobriety as the argument he had on his hands would have exacted it.
Meanwhile, I observe that in speaking of the attitude in which the aforementioned women are seen, he says Qui se tiennent par la main en dansant . However, paying better attention to the position of their arms, and to the way in which they hold each other by the hand, you will see at a glance that the intertwining that in today’s dance schools is called the chain is performed by the aforementioned dancers .
This valuable and singular monument should not have moved from the site where it was found. When the factory was unraveled, the plaster on which the aforementioned dance was painted was necessarily broken. The painting then lost its unity, and suffered many injuries. It is not [a67]little that is left of it as much as it has been able to give rise to the illustrations of the Archaeologists.
I saw the pieces in Ruvo when the aforementioned failure had already occurred, and it was no longer the case to be able to prevent it. The owner of them who was a very good friend of mine offered them to me for the price I thought was right. I pointed out to him that these objects in the hands of any particular would be more detrimental, and I advised him to offer him to the Royal Museum, where the art of preserving paintings of this kind is very well known. So he did, and I must expect the Herculaneum Academy to give a more complete illustration to this most valuable monument, which for the first time put a funeral dance under our eyes.
In Ruvestini paintings of the first order it is not only to be admired the perfection of the drawing, the elegance and the frankness of the style, but also the instruction of the painters. The sought-after, and non-obvious things that are seen painted in Ruvo’s vases required men fully educated in History, Fable, and Mythology. Indeed, it is noteworthy that the most minute circumstances relating to the facts, or to the persons who formed the subject of their works, did not escape their brush. I could buy this with the corresponding observations on many of Ruvo’s vases; but I limit myself to only two that form part of my collection.
In one of them is depicted the battle that took place under the walls of Troja between the valiant Achilles and Penthesilea Queen of the Amazons who came to the aid of the Trojans, of which Virgil also spoke in book I of the Aeneid vers. 494 and following. Quintus Smyrnaeus , also known as Quinto Calabro who proposed to make up for those things that he saw omitted in Homer’s Iliad, after having outlined the supreme beauty, and the noble bearing of the aforementioned Queen, as well as his bravado, goes on to describe the armament of the illustrious Warrior then who went to battle against the Greeks who were besieging Troja. Part of the aforementioned armament says that it was formed by two javelins placed under the shield: Mox ex aula prodire festinans duo sumpsit pila sub scuto.
Looking at the aforementioned vase, one sees in it masterfully revealed the beauty and the majesty of Penthesilea, as well as the quality of the [a68]her armament in the precise manner in which it is described by Quintus Smyrnaeus. Nor were the two javelins forgotten, the shafts of which on her left flank can be seen coming out from under the lunate Amazon shield which she holds, which certainly constitutes one of those trifles which promote the supreme wisdom and instruction of the Painter.
Quinto Calabro then goes on to talk about the fatal blow of Achilles’ terrible rod that killed the valiant Warrior, and he says so.
Illi enim accedenti graviter succensus Pelei filius:
And immediately una cum ipsa transverberavit equi corpus,
Veluti si quis verubus ad ignem flammantem
Viscera transfigit, cœnam festine apparans.
Sic etiam Penthesileam una cum insigni fair
Penitus transadegit ementa hasta
Pelides: quæ mox cum pulvere, et morte commiscetur  .
In the vase I am talking about we see Penthesilea on horseback still fighting with Achilles who is on foot. But the point of Achilles’ shaft is seen directed so that the blow that was going to vibrate could at the same time have pierced the neck of the horse just above the point where it joins the shoulder, and then go to meet the body of the illustrious Warrior who mounted it in the precise way described by the aforementioned Poet.
These minutiae, while on the one hand they justify the accuracy of the brush, prove on the other that the one who painted the vase was not less educated than Quintus Calabrian was in the noble bearing of the Queen of the Amazons, her dress and armament, and the quality of the fatal blow from Achilles’ shaft which pierced both the horse and the beautiful Warrior at the same time.
The other vase represents the Goddess Venus sitting on the edge of an elegant bed from which she is raised to dress and adorn herself. The crowned Goddess is seen. On her head there is a sweetheart that flutters about her, and has in her hands her famous area  . The three Graces are busy at [a69]of her hairstyle. One of them on her left has a garland of flowers in her hands to fit her. The other on the starboard side has a mirror in her right hand, and a drawer in her left. The third of her bent to the ground in the most graceful attitude that can be conceived of her waits to put her on a very elegant flat shoe at the straight foot. Under the bed there is a dove. On the left side of it we see a young warrior nobly dressed in a Phrygian cap and very elegant shoes, who under his left arm has two spears resting on the ground and inclined on the left side of his chest and shoulder. We see the same confused and astonished person who lowers his face, and tries to cover it with the hem of his robe which he raises with his straight hand.
It is not difficult to see that the painting on this vase is taken from Homer’s beautiful Hymn written for the Goddess Venus. It is said in it that she fell in love with Anchises Prince Trojan, she went to Mount Ida where he lived, pretending to be the daughter of Otreo who aspired to his wedding. Having inspired him with warm love, she lay with him at night in her bed, and she became pregnant with Aeneas. Then she got out of bed in the morning and she manifested herself to Anchises. He was left confused and astonished, and lowering his face for fear, and his surprise tried to cover it with the hem of his robe. The Goddess strongly admonished him to keep her secret by threatening him with the wrath of Jupiter if she revealed it.
In our vase, therefore, we see the aforementioned Hymn of Homer copied to the letter. It presents the same all the ornaments of Venus described [a70]from the great Poet, that is, the crown on his head, his jewels, his splendid garments, his famous area, as well as the supreme elegance of Anchises’s bed, where she lay with him. However, two minute details are noteworthy, which give greater prominence to the skill as well as to the education of the Painter. The first is that of seeing Anchises painted in the state of confusion and amazement in which he fell when he learned that he had lain with a Goddess. One sees the same in the vase that lowers his face, and tries to cover it with the hem of his garment; which corresponds perfectly to what we read in Homer
Ut autem vidit collum, et oculos pulchros Veneris,
Timuitque, et oculos declinando vertit alibi.
Iterum autem retro veste coopertus pulchram faciem,
Et illam precatus, alata verba dixit etc.
The second is that Homer in describing the supreme elegance of Anchises’s bed, notes the following circumstance, namely that it was itself covered in this way
Vestibus mollibus stratum: et insuper
Ursorum pelles jacebant, gravivocumque leonum,
Quos ipse occiderat in montibus aliis.
In the aforementioned vase, he has also masterfully painted these skins of wild animals that can be seen outlined in the edges of the bed under the rich paneling that covers it. These small details show that the Painter who painted the vase knew Homer’s hymn word by word, and therefore it was studied with the utmost care that his painting had been a perfect copy of it.
I wanted to talk about this vase also because having allowed years back to a highly regarded foreign archaeologist to take the polish, I portrayed a double disappointment from my condescension.
The first and most sensitive was that of having seen it published as une des productions de la ceramique grecque les plus elegantes qui soient encore sorties des fouilles de Nola  ! Which has me a lot [a71]and rightly exacerbated, since my homeland has been deprived of the merit of having produced it, without my being able to understand why, having communicated it to the Publisher as a vase by Ruvo, and not as a vase by Nola.
The second was that the copy of it does not correspond at all to the singular elegance and beauty of the original, which has remained half-diminished  , as all those who have made the comparison between the one and the other.
In the meantime, since I was not very happy with the explanation given by Mr. Raul-Rochette to the aforementioned vase, I believe I have said enough to rectify it by taking the aforementioned Hymn of Homer as a guide. Nevertheless, I also come to expose the reasons why I believe that the above explanation cannot be suitable for the painting of the vase in question from which all archaeological observations must start.
It is clear that the aforementioned Archaeologist, transported by his vast erudition, engaged in abstruse reasoning, leaving the easy and smooth way that Homer’s Hymn presented him, which certainly could not have been unknown to him. It has been said by him that the Toilet of Helen is painted in the vase described above , and that that Phrygian Prince who is in the attitude mentioned above is Paris .
He based his notice mainly on that place of Pausanias where the paintings of the famous Greek painter Polygnotus that were in an ancient temple above Cassotide are reported. However, I confess the weakness of my talents. I have not come to understand what relationship the place of Pausanias to which Mr. Raul-Rochette has returned to the painting of our vase may have. And so that everyone can judge for himself whether this is my misdirection, or a correct concept that presents the same thing, I note the precise words of Pausanias  .
But apart from this, how can we attribute to Elena that dove that we see under the bed, which we know is the nozzle of Venus? How to attribute to Elena the famous area of Venus that she has in her hands a cupid that flutters on the head of the beautiful woman who sits on her bed? These are things that are mainly noticed in our vase, and they say what is certainly not there in the place of Pausanias just transcribed.
Better attention should also have received the three young girls busy dressing and adorning her. The number of them indicates the three Graces not only according to the Poets, but also according to Pausanias himself  . But the three Graces were never assigned to Elena, but rather to Venus. This was said by the same Greek writer Gratiæ vero Veneri præ ceteris Diis attributæ sunt  . Pliny also makes us know that the talented Greek Nicearcus Painter painted Venus always inter Gratias, et Cupidines  . It is therefore known that the Graces were always companions of Venus, and that the temples dedicated to Love, and to Venus were ordinarily also to the Graces  .
On the other hand, how to adapt to Paris that demeanor observed in the Phrygian Prince painted in our vase? Why was Paris supposed to be confused, shy, and in the attitude of covering his face with the hem of his surcoat in front of Helen who was the cause of all Trojan’s ailments? That demeanor is good for Anchises compared to Venus, as Homer has masterfully described it, but not for Paris compared to Helen.
What need then Elena had to do her toilet on that same [a73]bed in which he had slept at night? Would she perhaps have lacked another room more suitable for this purpose in Priamo’s large Regia? This position is good for Venus for a double reflection. The first because he was in the country house of a celibate hunter, such as Anchises, where there could be no suitable toilets to adorn the Princesses, and the Painter adapted himself masterfully to this circumstance.
The second because the very elegant bed of Anchises from which Venus raised was particularly described in the Hymn of Homer, and therefore the aforementioned Painter was seen obliged to let him enter even in the small picture that he undertakes to paint, since our vase is nothing but a mizzen-sized urn. With great ingenuity, therefore, he combined the two, and made Venus sit on that same bed that he had proposed to let enter the stalk and very narrow field assigned to his brush.
But if Elena sits on that bed instead of Venus, the Painter’s ingenuity would fall into thin air, and his idea would be too trivial, as if Elena in Priam’s grandiose Direction had had no other place to adorn herself, and make the his dressing table , than his own bed!
Mr. Raul-Rochette will therefore excuse me if for these reasonable reasons I could not agree in the explanation he gave to the precious Ruvestino vase, and not Nolano , as he liked to say. Then it would be long to describe the exactness and the minuteness of the other Ruvestini vases. Worth the judgment given by the very clear Mr. Millingen. Malgré le silence des Historiens à l’égard de cette Ville, ses monuments qui y ont été decouverts portent des temoignages incontestables de son opulence, et du gout éclairé de ses habitans pour les beaux artes .
Les vases peints, dont la fabrique devait être à Rubi, rivalisent par leur grandeur, la variety des formes, le nombre de figures, et le grand intérêt des mythes représentés avec les plus beaux de ceux jusqu’à présent connus. Des objets anciens en or, bronzes, et verres d’une grande beautè trouvés en meme tems prouvent que all les artes y furent cultivés avec un egal succes  .
Now the perfection and beauty of Ruvestini paintings and other objects of fine art constitutes another not slight argument of the Arcadian origin of our city. Dionysius of Halicarnassus continuing to speak of the first Arcadians who came to settle in Italy with Oenotro, and Peucezio says Dicuntur etiam Graecarum literarum usum prædictæ Genti reviews ostensum primo in Italiam transvexisse, instrumenta quoque musica, lyram, trigona, ac lydos: cum ad id temporis non nisi pastoralibus fistulis uses fuissent, nec ullo præter has invento musico: leges etiam tulisse, et vitam antea ferinam majori ex parte mitem, ac mansuetam reddidisse: sed et artes, et studia, fine alia emolumenta contulisse in publicum, et propterea gratiosi fuisse apud suos hospites .
It is therefore that the vases of Ruvo far outnumber the vases of the city of Canosa with which it was bordered, no less in beauty and elegance, but also in education. I have also seen there some vases that are grandiose for their size, such as those of Ruvo; but in general they are deprived of that richness and variety of fables which overflows in Ruvestini vases, and of that refinement of brush, and elegance even of the ornaments with which the latter exert great pomp. Canosa is also an ancient Greek city; but it was founded by Diomedes, and not by the Arcadians, who, as more educated and more educated in the sciences, and in the fine arts, made them flourish even better in the cities they founded.
Add to this that among the clay objects found in Ruvo the heads of the God Bread were frequent. In my collection I have two very beautiful ones. It is known that the God Bread was highly revered by the Arcadians. Dionysius of Halicarnassus himself in the place mentioned above goes on to say: Arcadibus deorum antiquissimus, et honoratissimus est Pan . Virgil also says the same.
Pan Deus Arcadiæ venit, quem vidimus ipsi
Sanguineis ebuli baccis, minioque rubentem  .
Pan Deus Arcadiæ captam te Luna fefellit
In nemora alta vocans, nec tu aspernata vocantem  .
We also read from Pausanias: Panos lapideum signum, cui Synois cognomentum a Synoe Nympha, quæ una cum ceteris Nymphis, et seorsim ab illis Pana creditur aluisse  . These were the Arcadian Nymphs, from which the God Bread said he was educated. Hence Natale Comite in Mythology says about this God: Hunc memoriæ prodidit Pausanias in Arcadicis a Nymphis susceptum, et educatum, et a Synoe Nympha præcipue existimarunt antiqui. Pana Montium esse Præsidem, omniaque armenta, et greges, quæ in montibus vagarentur, in hujus esse protection, quippe cum his ab Arcadibus fuisset in Menalo monte educatus . From which it is concluded that the idols of the God Bread found in Ruvo more and more confirm the Arcadian origin of our city, which retained the cult of that false deity that the Arcadians had.
I put in the same line seeing oneself in the ancient Ruvestine coins or the arms of Hercules, or Hercules himself with Lyon Nemeus as can be seen from the two tables of the aforementioned coins in the foregoing premises. I would add that the facts of Hercules are frequently painted in Ruvestini clay vases. I have more than one and among these a vase with the apotheosis of that elegantly painted Hero, besides the glass of which I have spoken before with the head of Hercules of singular beauty. Diodorus Siculus tells us that that Hero had the Arcadians in perpetuam belli societatem , and that he was also assisted by them in the expedition against the sons of Eurytus called Toxeo , Molione and Pizio who had denied him Jole taken by force after killing them . . Therefore the Arcadians also had a cult for Hercules, and seeing this considered as much in the coins as in the Ruvestini clay pots, it confirms more and more the Arcadian origin of our city.
It is known that peoples, both ancient and modern, in their transmigrations have always carried with them the cult they had in theirs [a76]Native country. Hence Dionysius of Halicarnassus said that in order to know the Greek origin of a city, Primum et præcipuum locum tribuo ceremoniis, quæ cuique Populo in colendis Diis et Geniis sunt Patriæ. Has enim diutissime servat tum Græca, tum barbara Natio, nec quidquam eis censent immutandum iræ divinæ metu . He confirms this with the example of many ancient peoples who remained very tenacious in the observance of their respective cult  .
Finally, I observe that the greatest number of glasses called Rhyton found in Ruvo in large numbers are the heads of oxen, cows, calves, various sheep animals, and goats. These were the animals familiar to the Arcadians, who were shepherds. Men love to have under their eyes those objects for which they feel inclined, much more if these constitute their comfort, and their comfort, as the aforementioned animals in the Ruvestino countryside could well constitute it, also very suitable for pastoralism. Therefore the glasses with the figures of these animals that made the tables of the ancient inhabitants of our city happier, also contest their Arcadian customs.
I close my speech on Ruvo’s clay vases with the following observation. The Prince of Canino Luciano Buonaparte published while he was still alive a portion of the vases he found in very large numbers at Canino and Corneto, in addition to those which have been published by the Institute of archaeological correspondence in Rome. In one of them there are the following letters HE, which both from him and from other scholars have believed the initial letters of the name of the Painter who painted the vase.
The same letters are found in one of my vases by Ruvo, which for the accuracy of the drawing seems to have been outlined by Raphael’s brush. It depicts the fable of the blind Phineus freed from the Harpies by the Argonauts. We see the ship Argo ligated to the sea shore. Among the landed Argonauts there are the two winged warriors Calai and Zete , sons of Borea, who, spreading their flight up high with their weapons at hand, chase the Harpies. They flee these frightened ones by carrying them in their hands [a77]the things kidnapped at the table that is seen laid out before the blind Phineus who sits there.
This vase has no Greek legend. Rather, a small vase of the same shape as the main vase overturned on the ground can be seen painted on the field. On the belly of it we can read the same letters HE that are in the vase of the Prince Buonaparte of which I spoke earlier.
If the notice holds that these are the initial letters of the Painter’s name, it seems that it is not improbable that both vases could have been painted by the same hand. In general the vases of Canino and Corneto are certainly not better than those of Ruvo, and in various things they are surpassed by them  . In particular, then, the painting of the vase of Fineo is very difficult to be equalized. A Painter of a clear and reputed name, which must surely have been the author of the vase of Phineus, was able to paint both in one and in the other place, as the illustrious painters of the times closest to us have often done.
The vases from Ruvo could also have been sent elsewhere, just as vases from Nola and other places have also been found in Ruvo, and how porcelain or alabaster vases are sent from one country to another today. I have good reason to believe that the author of the Fineo vase was a Ruvestino Painter because the clay of it is Ruvestina, and because I have seen other vases found in Ruvo of the same style. I count among these a beautiful ointment which escaped from me, and purchased by the French Mr. Durante, in which Bacchus was painted with the utmost elegance mounted on an elephant with a large following of men and women.
Another much larger unguentarium of the same style forms part of my family’s collection. The challenge between Tamiri , or Tamiride , and the Muses in the presence of Apollo is depicted with singular mastery . There are also Greek legends, and it is noteworthy that this vase has largely preserved the ancient gilding with which it was decorated.
I do not omit that both in the vase of Phineus, as in the ointment of Tamiri, and in the other ointment of Bacchus purchased by Mr. Durante, it is to be noticed a refinement of the art with which the painter is clever to overcome the inseparable disadvantages of painting on the clay. Whoever paints on the table, on the canvas, on the stone, or on the metals has the help of the shadows, the chiaroscuro, the half tints, and all the other means of art to give to the people and things that enter the picture. that position that is suitable for each of them, to separate one from the other, and to ensure that the painting produces the effect of presenting them to the eye of the beholder in the front, back, side, etc. as the purpose demands it.
These means are lacking in those who paint on clay. Therefore this illusion is sought in vain in ancient clay vessels. In spite of this, the author of the vases of Phineus, Tamiri, and Bacchus endeavored to compensate for this disadvantage as much as he could by giving the characters and things entered into the picture a position so well calculated and measured, and so well understood that if the aforementioned effect has not achieved it in all, it has certainly achieved it in large part.