The Antiquity of the Italian Nation: The Cultural Origins of a Political Myth in Modern Italy, 1796-1943 [1 ed.] 0199662312, 9780199662319

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The Antiquity of the Italian Nation: The Cultural Origins of a Political Myth in Modern Italy, 1796-1943 [1 ed.]
 0199662312, 9780199662319

Table of contents :
Cover
Contents
Introduction
1. The historic past of the nation
2. A plural Italy
3. Unity in diversity
4. The other Italy
5. The anthropology of the nation
6. Return to Rome
7. The Italian Fascist Empire, racial policy and Etruscology
Bibliography
Index
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B
C
D
E
F
G
H
I
J
K
L
M
N
O
P
Q
R
S
T
U
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CLASSICAL PRESENCES General Editors Lorna Hardwick

James I. Porter

CLASSICAL PRESENCES Attempts to receive the texts, images, and material culture of ancient Greece and Rome inevitably run the risk of appropriating the past in order to authenticate the present. Exploring the ways in which the classical past has been mapped over the centuries allows us to trace the avowal and disavowal of values and identities, old and new. Classical Presences brings the latest scholarship to bear on the contexts, theory, and practice of such use, and abuse, of the classical past.

The Antiquity of the Italian Nation The Cultural Origins of a Political Myth in Modern Italy, 1796–1943

ANTONINO DE FRANCESCO

1

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Great Clarendon Street, Oxford, OX2 6DP, United Kingdom Oxford University Press is a department of the University of Oxford. It furthers the University’s objective of excellence in research, scholarship, and education by publishing worldwide. Oxford is a registered trade mark of Oxford University press in the UK and in certain other countries # Antonino De Francesco 2013 The moral rights of the author have been asserted First Edition published in 2013 Impression: 1 All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, without the prior permission in writing of Oxford University Press, or as expressly permitted by law, by licence or under terms agreed with the appropriate reprographics rights organization. Enquiries concerning reproduction outside the scope of the above should be sent to the Rights Department, Oxford University Press, at the address above You must not circulate this work in any other form and you must impose this same condition on any acquirer British Library Cataloguing in Publication Data Data available ISBN 978–0–19–966231–9 Printed in Great Britain by CPI Group (UK) Ltd, Croydon, CR0 4YY

Foreword I began writing what eventually became this book five years ago and I finished it as unified Italy was celebrating its 150th anniversary. As the project evolved, it inevitably took on a certain shape, influenced by what the public debate on recent Italian history seemed to propose. I was tired of hearing of modern Italy as a stunted plant, an example of political backwardness, or the result of the pervasiveness of clientelism in national life. Even worse, I was tired of reading how the many iniquities of Italian 20th-century politics—inequality, authoritarianism, Fascism, and racism—were rooted indiscriminately in the 1800s. It seemed to me that in all these assertions too much attention was paid to the present-day Italian political crisis, and that all these statements were marked by an excessive ideological commitment, aiming to prove that all the malevolent social and political issues brought to light in Italy in recent years were indiscriminately the direct outcome of a deep-rooted history. In 2011, these generalizations about the Italian national movement (the so-called Risorgimento) being largely continuous with Fascism were confronted by the celebrations for a unified Italy, which stressed how the Italian nation was the product of a shared culture—and not of incompatible ethnicities—in order to exclude Fascism from a linear evolution of Italian unification politics. However, it seemed to me the wrong answer to the wrong question: the former were wrong in engraving Fascism on the political culture of the Italian national movement, but the latter were wrong in refusing to accept that the experience of Risorgimento had offered Fascism the extraordinary opportunity of defining itself as a modernized form of nationalism. And both these perspectives are wrong, because, from opposite viewpoints, they streamline Italian history in the name of a continuity which never in fact existed. The pages that follow arise from such a disagreement and their aim is to revisit the cultural history of modern Italy and to deny that, through the 19th century, nationalism gradually developed in a linear fashion. From this point of view, the subject of the antiquity of the Italian people who pre-existed the Roman dominion, seemed to me an excellent topic for testing any interpretation of Italian nationalism.

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Foreword

Often evoked in the 19th century in order to counterbalance an Italian backwardness that centuries of despotism and clericalism had engendered, the myth of an inveterate Italian cultural primacy did not insist, curiously, on the ethnic uniformity of the Italic and stressed, on the contrary, the plurality of the peninsula’s ancient peoples. Clearly, this approach—which went well with the federalist and local-autonomy-based strand of the Italian national movement— should be an argument advanced in favour of whoever stresses the democratic roots of Italian nationalism and rejects the assertion that it was doomed to crystallize in the aggressive forms of Fascism. Actually, that is not entirely true. It is certainly the case that only at the end of the 19th century did Italian recreations of ancient Rome drape a veil over earliest Italy, and that subsequently Fascism, claiming the legacy of the Roman Empire, was in substantial continuity with early 20th-century Italian nationalism. However, it is also true that Italic antiquity remained alive throughout those years and that the topic often returned, intersecting deeply with the cultural life of Fascist Italy: in 1938, for example, according to the Regime’s political myth of a Mediterranean primacy since antiquity, the subject of the autochthony of the Italian people proved very useful for asserting Fascism’s racial policy. The manifold different political ways in which the same topic was used to assert the special peculiarities of Italian nationalism made me decide to insist on a subject that, though often evaded, has played a central part in establishing the various forms that the peninsula’s nation-forming process has taken. Consequently, this book examines the constantly reasserted antiquity of the Italian nation and its different uses in history, archaeology, palaeoethnology, and anthropology, from the Napoleonic period—with the antiquarian subject of anti-Romanism, turned against the dominant French culture, and becoming a pillar of the Italian nation-building process—to the collapse of Fascism, when the nationalist topic was expunged definitively from the Italian cultural arena. Examining the fortunes and misfortunes of this subject, this book suggests how deeply the image of pre-Roman Italy—proposing the existence of the same form of civilization—forged the political and cultural sensibility of Italian nationalism. At the same time, it shows how the same subject, being shaped each time to suit a different purpose, was able to delineate, often in a devious way, different political profiles: all of them originated from the remixing of suggestions and influences that frequently arose in other historical contexts and in the name of different ideological perspectives.

Foreword

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My hope in writing this book on the political use of antiquity in modern Italy is to show how there was no single Italian nationalism: there was, rather, a plurality of nationalisms—progressive and conservative, republican and liberal, Catholic and masonic, democratic and authoritarian—which often intersected, thus breathing life into a political model that is peculiar to Italy, but which does not differ from the European nation-forming process. And now, the acknowledgments. In particularly, I am profoundly indebted to Lorna Hardwick and James I. Porter, editors of Classical Presences, for appreciating the intellectual-history profile of my work and accepting it in the series. I would also like to thank the anonymous external readers: I have tried to respond to their suggestions as fully as possible. Many thanks are owed to Oxford University Press, in particular Hilary O’Shea, who has taken on a task which others would probably refuse: to submit a text, originally written in Italian and only partially translated into English, to the editors of Classical Presences. My deep thanks to Stuart Wilson, a Scottish fine letterato living in provincial Italy: without any particular experience in history, he has been an excellent translator of my pages into the English language. I am also deeply indebted to Andrea Pessina, Director of the Soprintendenza ai beni archeologici dell’Abruzzo, for giving me excellent suggestions on the link between archaeology and political commitments during Fascism and for generously granting the use of the Warrior of Capestrano for the jacket image. I am very grateful to my friends Aldo Corcella and Piergiuseppe Michelotto for their kindness in reading the manuscript and providing useful suggestions for its improvement, and I owe an enormous amount to Giuseppe Giarrizzo, il miglior fabbro, for his encouraging interest in the work. I am indebted especially to my friend Grado Merlo, Director of the Dipartimento di studi storici of the University of Milan, who has always generously supported my research. The translation into English was made possible thanks to financial support from the Ministero dell’Università e della ricerca scientifica (Prin 2009M5KRW5). Finally, Alessandra brought me the invaluable support of understanding exactly what I was hoping to accomplish with this book and she always urged me to try to publish it directly in English. The book is for our daughter Cecilia, with love. Bocca di Magra, August 2012

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Contents Introduction

1

1. The historic past of the nation

29

2. A plural Italy

51

3. Unity in diversity

85

4. The other Italy

113

5. The anthropology of the nation

133

6. Return to Rome

159

7. The Italian Fascist Empire, racial policy and Etruscology

181

Bibliography Index

217 251

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Introduction In 2011 the Italian state celebrated its 150th anniversary, an occasion for public ceremonies devoted to marking the long journey that Italy had undertaken as a united country. However, it should not be forgotten that, until a relatively short time ago, nation and state did not arouse any particular interest in Italy. In the years of the democratic Republic, established in 1946 following defeat in the Second World War, the subject was simply ignored for a long period of time: Italy took warning from the patriotic fervour that raged in the early 1900s, when the growth of nationalism—further encouraged by the First World War—assisted the birth of Fascism, opened the way to dictatorship, and plunged the country into the catastrophe of the Second World War in alliance with Hitler’s Germany. These drastic precedents suggested that the history of united Italy should be divided into two distinct parts: on the one hand, the liberal state (1861–1922), followed so dramatically by the experience of Fascism; and on the other, the democratic Republic, based on mass parties representing forces—workers and Catholics—up till then largely excluded from national political life. This division implied that the Republic was a new arrival on the Italian scene and had nothing to do with the preceding experience of unification, which was accused of being barely representative, or totally unrepresentative, of Italian society.1 Of course, the reasons for so much disaffection were very different: the Marxist left criticized the liberal state for its elements of capitalism 1 In a speech on 26 September 1945, Prime Minister Ferruccio Parri stated: ‘I do not believe that the governments we had before Fascism can be called democratic’, and asserted explicitly that the anti-Fascist Resistance was the only democratic movement in the history of Italy that the masses had supported. See Parri 1976: 179.

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Introduction

and class,2 while the Catholic world accused it of a secularism riddled with Masonic values.3 Neither, however, owing to the supranational basis of their respective ideologies, could summon up much enthusiasm for the Risorgimento: that is, Italy’s 19th-century national movement in favour of creating a unified state.4 It is true that in the early years of the Republic there were those who tried to bring the new democratic movement into line with the tradition of the Risorgimento; but while that approach would achieve brilliant results in the field of historical research—the work of Federico Chabod and Rosario Romeo, for example—it cut little ice in the larger field of public opinion, where the parties that drew their inspiration from the Risorgimento were soon reduced to a mere handful.5 The result was a rigid polarization of Italian political life. During the Cold War, this produced a Communist Party which based its ideas and beliefs strictly on the Soviet model and, though a minority force in electoral terms, became the main focus of opposition.6 As a result, it was able to play a significant part in the orientation of cultural life.7 In the field of historical studies, it was a time of growing interest in the 19th century, upon which, with the triumph of Gramscianism, the Marxist left began to turn an increasingly critical eye.8 The line they took was quite clear: the history of the Risorgimento was, taken as a whole, a series of defeats. The most positive part of the 2 See, for example, Davis 1979 for an overview of Gramsci’s interpretation of the Risorgimento as a passive revolution. 3 See Pollard 2008. 4 Among the numerous works in English concerning the Risorgimento, see especially Davis and Ginsborg 1991, Riall 1998 and 2009, Davis 2000, Bouchard 2005, Duggan 2007. 5 See, for example, Romeo 1950 and Chabod 1951. It is not possible here to consider the numerous works in English dealing with Italy after the Second World War. For a few examples, the reader may be referred to Ginsborg 1990, Absalom 1995, Dickie et al. 2002, Pugliese 2004, Clark 2008, Di Scala 2009. However, the best survey of contemporary Italy, although not translated into English, is Lanaro 1992. On the Italian Resistance and its politico-ideological legacy, see Cooke 2011 and (translated into English) Battini 2007. 6 There is no space here to consider the numerous works devoted to the Italian Communist Party in 20th-century democratic Italy. A general example is offered by Sassoon 1981, to which should at least be added, among the most recent, Forgacs 2007, Aga Rossi and Zaslavsky 2011 and Brogi 2011. 7 See, for example, Bolongaro et al. 2009. 8 Antonio Gramsci’s reflections on the Risorgimento have long constituted an obligatory point of reference for any interpretation of modern Italy. For a more recent critical discussion of them, see Bellamy 1993 and Green 2011.

Introduction

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national movement was overwhelmed by a moderatism with profoundly conservative social roots that stamped itself upon the civil life of the new Italy in the name of an inadequate, when not ambiguous, liberalism. Firm evidence of this was the practice of trasformismo, that is, the political policies and methods which marked the numerous Italian premierships from 1876 onwards. Trasformismo, coming quickly to dominate the political life of the united Italy, bore witness to the institutional abyss that existed between an insulated managerial class, concerned only with defending its own egoistic and limited interests, and a society which was widely exploited and which, for a long time, through such means as restriction of the franchise, was deprived of any kind of political representation. Apart from this extremely severe criticism of the national state that emerged from the turmoil of the Risorgimento, it was not difficult to perceive an ideological prejudice in favour of denying every link between the Republic, which was finally—if imperfectly—launched in 1946, and the preceding events involving the united Italy. In other words, only after the Second World War did democracy start to take its first steps, but its rapid decline into a limited, moderate form confirmed that Italian political life was made up of dominant social classes that were never seriously threatened by the many upheavals affecting the country at large. This perspective was profoundly marked by the polarity established between a conservative world (still in the majority due to the conditioning skills of the Church and the dominant social classes) and another which, while certainly in the minority, was, under the guidance of Communism, able to make significant inroads. It had the effect of confirming the divisions within Italian society, often characterized, since the creation of a national state, as two worlds in opposition to each other: one powerfully attached to the ideas of the past which had long dominated the country’s cultural scene, and the other, in contrast, open to the winds of progress that were blowing lustily through Europe. This pattern was not a new one: it had been taking shape in Italy since the time of the French Revolution, when its supporters quickly realized themselves to be a tiny minority compared to the upholders of the Ancien Régime. The tragedy of 1799, when all the Italian democratic republics previously created by French troops were swept away, made an indelible mark on the political experience of Italian patriotism. The ferocious repression that took place in Naples

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Introduction

following the entrance of Cardinal Ruffo’s troops remained a nightmare that always threatened to repeat itself.9 Vincenzo Cuoco, a patriot who had managed to escape execution, was in 1801 already writing pages in his Saggio storico sulla Rivoluzione di Napoli (‘Historical Essay on the Revolution in Naples’) that would burn themselves into the memory of modern Italy’s political culture. He indicated the guidelines that republicans should follow after the return in force to Italy of First Consul Bonaparte, reminding his readers that Italy was a country shared unhappily between two peoples very different from each other: one, in the minority, enthusiastic about the new developments in France, and the other, by far the majority, regarding the events of 1789 with hostility and considering them part of a wholly unnatural transformation. This subject dominated 19th-century Italian political culture because it legitimated the many disappointments which the patriotic movement—first during the Risorgimento and then throughout the years of establishment of the national state—would unfortunately be faced with.10 It would only suffer a crisis with the First World War, when the experience of the conflict was appropriated by Fascism, which boasted of having definitively made the Italian people into a nation.11 However, this result was purely ephemeral, since the polarization of Italian society reappeared immediately after defeat in the Second World War, a tragedy that brought about a profound rethinking of recent Italian history. During the first period of the Italian Republic, the left quickly returned to the idea of Italian immaturity, which it applied to the international context of the Cold War and made it a central argument, invoked to explain both the specific political identity of the opposition and the reasons for its (momentary) defeat. This interpretation would withstand without significant upsets the challenges that arose over the following years with the modernization of Italian society on the one hand and events in Budapest on the other. And it is in fact true to say that, from the end of the 1950s onwards, the previous inflexibility of opposing political positions

9 For the significance of 1799 in the political imagination, especially in relation to Southern Italy, see Robertson 2000 and especially Davis 2006. 10 For this context, see my own ‘Il Saggio storico e la cultura politica italiana tra Otto e Novecento’ in Cuoco 1998, esp. pp. 38–53. 11 I especially have in mind the pioneering work of Gentile 2003 and 2009.

Introduction

5

began to break down. However, it seems clear by now that Italy emerged from the reforms of the 1960s in rather worse shape than when it went in. An era of youthful rebellion and student protest which quickly assumed traits that hearkened back to the past, the 1970s vigorously relaunched the image of Italian inflexibility in line with the characteristics and prejudices of a period long past: the reading of national history remained within the continuity of trasformismo.12 In addition, the crisis of legality that Italy went through in the 1970s transformed the state from a place of delays, backwardness and inadequacy into the very subject matter of the dense and muddy broth that Italian politics was busily stirring once again. From here it was a simple matter to search backwards through time for the appropriate confirmation of national political asphyxia. This, together with the rupture of 1968 and the ensuing period of protest, had the effect of relaunching a violent critique of Italian history as a whole, but along lines pertaining to a political tradition never sympathetic to democracy.13 There thus returned, artificially revived from a long-departed political and ideological context, a condemnation of Italian history based on a distinction between inert majorities and virtuous minorities. In short, the Republic had preserved nothing of the hopes and expectations of those who, during the 1943–5 war of liberation from NaziFascism, had sacrificed everything in the name of a better future. Behind a screen of fictitious institutional transformation, the Italian state remained what it had always been: an expression of profound conservatism, taking the form of an indifferent moderatism that combined small-minded, apolitical egotism with an apathy inclined to reject any form of ideology. The conservative path followed at the end of the war merely testified, as interpreted by the 1970s left, to the irretrievably constrictive nature of national politicization, linking every political event in modern Italy, from unification up to the insupportable trasformismo of the centre-left governments in the 1960s, into one uninterrupted sequence.14 12

For the significance of 1968 in contemporary Italy, see Edwards 2009 and Hilwig

2009. 13

See especially Galasso 2000, esp. pp. 144–7. For an excellent example of this political interpretation see Negri 1997: 43, adumbrating the image of Italy as ‘a country where all the modern revolutions have taken place and none of them has succeeded’. 14

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Introduction

And it is this era that, hardly by chance, produced the Storia d’Italia published by Einaudi, a cultural undertaking of great importance and even greater impact, which was intended to promote another reconstruction of the country’s historical development. The first volume is decisive proof of this, with a showpiece essay by Giulio Bollati on the Italian national character, brilliantly set in relation to the social and cultural backwardness of that 19th century which gave rise to the Risorgimento, and in which the question of Italian unification found an answer.15 The argument itself was straightforward: he aimed to explain why, through the backwardness of the nationalist movement’s cultural models, Italy, rather than bridging the gap between itself and other European countries, actually lost further ground, plunging—certainly not by accident—into its 20th-century adventures with nationalism and then Fascism. However, this idea was anything but new, since—with the same tendency of disparagement towards the cultural (and moral) inconsistency of the Italians—it had been a constant throughout the whole of the nation’s history. It came out in Garibaldino disillusionment with the outcome of the Risorgimento; in radical preoccupation concerning the low standing of liberal Italy; in the relaunch of nation-forming through colonialism; in the rebellious nature of revolutionary syndicalism; in the interventionist warmongering that regenerated an otherwise amorphous nation; and it was duly advanced once more, after the Fascist interlude, in the condemnation of inconsistency in the Italian character after the collapse of 8 September 1943. However, Bollati was not interested in following up any of these particular red herrings. His real guiding inspiration lay in the cultural policy of the Fascist regime’s philosopher Giovanni Gentile, who, long before making that particular political choice, at the very beginning of the 20th century, had already emphasized the importance of the figure of Vincenzo Cuoco.16 He cited him as a direct influence on 15

Bollati 1972. Bollati’s essay has been a constant reference point for those who have recently rediscovered interest in the theme of the Italian national identity. See Aliberti 2000: 236–40 and Patriarca 2001b. Even Patriarca 2010 offers a discerning discussion of Bollati’s ideas. The Italian edition of this book, Italian Vices, published at the same time, has a rather less colourful title: Italianità. La costruzione del carattere nazionale (Roma-Bari, Laterza, 2010). 16 Regarding the role of Giovanni Gentile in hailing Vincenzo Cuoco as a great Italian, see especially Tessitore 2002a and Turi 2002.

Introduction

7

both Giuseppe Mazzini and Vincenzo Gioberti, the two prime movers, in other words, of the Risorgimento—one radical, republican and anticlerical, the other moderate, monarchist and Catholic. At that time, as will also be seen later on, Gentile proposed this juxtaposition to demonstrate that, above and beyond whatever one’s specific standpoint might be, the Risorgimento was a single entity where distinctions between strands could not be made without comprehensively weakening its inheritance. It was a viewpoint that, under the influence of Gentile, Fascism would then adopt and emphasize, from an ultranationalistic perspective, in order to claim an exclusively Italian origin for the Risorgimento.17 Now, strangely, after a long period of time, and from an utterly opposite point of view, we find Bollati to be in complete agreement with this reading of the Risorgimento. Keeping every aspect of that reconstruction in place, but turning the reading on its head, he consequently takes Gentile’s position—though without actually mentioning him—and, instead of finding undeniable proof of the Italian people’s bright and shining destiny, turns up irreproachable evidence of its political backwardness. Bollati’s proposition was as linear as it was fascinating, because it bestowed upon the history of unified Italy a certain homogeneity—even if rather a sad one—from its birth up to and including all the years of the Republic. In fact, in his essay he portrays the extraordinary continuity of a national state forever dominated by the reactionary political culture of elites who kept themselves in power through the instrument of trasformismo. In the years to come, this perspective would actually be reinforced by the crisis of legality that Italy underwent in the 1970s: the backward-looking nature of the protest and the specimens of ideological archaeology deployed by terrorism helped to corroborate the identification of the Italian state with a nexus of interests concentrated in the hands of the few, its authoritarianism exposed by the asphyxia of social consensus. This picture, created by the left and confirmed by the period of protest and rebellion, remained widely hegemonic with the generations marked by the dramatic experiences of the 1970s: so much so, that it even accompanied their reading of the Italian political crisis into the 1990s. This cataclysm, occurring immediately after 17 For this context, see especially Baioni 2006, which specifies clearly that Fascism always asserted its direct links with the Risorgimento. For a useful overview in English, see also Baioni 2011.

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Introduction

the collapse of the Soviet Union, brought the entire Italian political system to its knees,18 destroying, through judicial means, the traditional governing parties and sparing only the post-Communist left and the Fascist right.19 The political and institutional crisis also helped to clear the field for other protests against the unified state, a constant presence within the deeper currents of Italian society, to resurface with a far stronger hold, and, in doing so, to help to undermine the very legitimacy of that same state.20 It was a challenge that also took advantage of the work of protest against the state mentioned above: in fact, the left hailed 1989 as the end of the Cold War and this change in perspective—from the collapse of Communism to the end of military confrontation— made it possible to sustain an implausible equivalence between East and West, and therefore between supposed ‘People’s’ republics on the one hand and an improbably democratic Italian Republic on the other. The collapse of the East’s satellite states, crumbling away as soon as Soviet support was withdrawn, was immediately compared with that of an Italian state which was, in its turn, instantly plunged into crisis by the end of a Cold War that had assured it a largely artificial life. In other words, if those states under Soviet power were puppet states, then the Italian state too was itself another puppet, only surviving the array of challenges it faced in the period after the Second World War because it was held to be an irreplaceable barrier against the post-war Communist advance. In this context, however, the argument concerning the Italian state’s reactionary nature ended up playing into the hands of those who were now protesting, from another point of view, against its national and unitary dimensions. This produced, throughout those generations shaped by the years of rebellion following 1968, the fear that the collapse of the system had only opened up the scene to new party formations whose political pettiness and cultural illiteracy

18 For a useful overview of the Italian party system overwhelmed by the end of the Cold War, see Farneti 1985. 19 See Burnett 1998. 20 The reference is to the presence on the Italian political scene in the late 1980s and 1990s of a new political party—the Lega Nord (the Northern League)—which demands a break with national tradition and the creation of a federalist Italy, representing a return to an earlier localist tradition. For the significance of this political movement, especially in relation to secessionism, see Cento Bull 2001, Gold 2003 and Huysseune 2006.

Introduction

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seemed to reflect the age-old egotistic apathy that was always there at hand to denote the Italian character. In this way, the very last decade of the 20th century saw an unexpected revival of interest in nation and state, with which were mixed the preoccupations of the moment and in which, not by chance, certain historians felt themselves called upon once again to play the pedagogue of a society thought more than ever to need a reformulation of the links required for following a common course.21 The nation’s return to the world of the political speech promoted as a consequence a crop of studies in which historiography often gave way to political conviction. Almost everyone, faced with the secessionist challenge that seemed to be shaking the country to its core, took up a position in favour of the unified state; and this option, which also brought with it a preliminary examination of the cause of the crisis, often ended up transmuting into the return of a patriotism of a very different shade from the one that was only a distant, fading and constantly repressed memory.22 This is not the place to list all the works from the last two decades devoted to reviving an idea of the nation (a task already carried out by others just a few years ago)23; but it is important to remember here how, from out of that mass of theorizing—designed to help orientate a public opinion regarded as deeply perplexed rather than to explain the many reasons for the sudden Italian crisis—a new historiographical direction took shape, which would bring about a dismantling of the opposition, which the Republic had intentionally created, between a liberal and Fascist Italy and a democratic Italy. This perspective argued against the exceptional nature of the Italian Republic compared with preceding periods, bringing with it a more balanced reading of complex national events. However, it laid itself open to the suspicion that it could reflect, and at the same time lend support to, a destructive attitude towards anti-Fascism, thus paving the way for the return of a patriotism marked by a certain ambiguity in political shading. And to some extent the consequences would indeed confirm these preoccupations: in the name of rebuilding national

21 For a detailed review regarding this point, with due highlighting of ‘an attitude tinged with moralism, often deprecatory and always intimately pedagogic’, see Nani 2004b: 79. 22 See on this point the comments by Di Ciommo 2000a. 23 See Patriarca 2001a.

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Introduction

unity, the criticism of the Republic for stifling love of homeland; the protests against anti-Fascism as a founding element of the Italian republican identity; the act of distancing oneself from a constitutional model that seemed obsolete; the reinterpretation of the civil war that raged through the country between 1943 and 1945 in a mainly exculpatory context—all these factors appeared to reflect a desire to liquidate the ideological framework of the Republic itself. As an immediate consequence, the reply was a call to arms to those who opposed the wave of revisionism. They busied themselves in returning to the first period of united Italy in order to highlight further the origins of reactionary features and their subsequent developments in an irreversibly authoritarian context. This point of view, which took shape both through reviving the traditional Gramscian reading and the current post-ideological trends, such as culturalism and ethnicism, found itself substantiated in a ping-pong match between studies clearly designed to complete the actual process of nation-building and others more properly concerned with reflecting upon the idea of the nation in 19th-century Italy. Taken as a whole, these works, very different from one another in terms of methodological approach, mostly agreed on the degeneration (even more so than on the inadequacy) of the nation-forming process.24 From this point of view, their paths crossed with the works of those English-language scholars for whom Italian history25 provided a useful occasion to experiment with research trends that had, for some time, been pursued elsewhere in relation to Orientalism.26 This gave rise to a further ping-pong match between those who attempted to 24

See especially Macry 2006: 405–6, which clearly specifies this point. This might be a good point to recall the famous summing-up comments by Mack Smith (1959). Criticisms from Italian scholars are still regarded, even today, as rather inelegantly oversensitive. However, they only reflected the proposal to protect Italian historical specificity from attempts at explaining it by an irremediable backwardness. See especially Romeo 1981: 199, later revived by Galasso 2002: 104–5. The fact remains that Romeo’s observations, according to which Mack Smith’s work ‘practically denies the Italians as a people any capability of having an organised modern political life’, made little impression on the British view of the Risorgimento, since Mack Smith reasserted his interpretation in the 1997 edition and his ideas are restated, indeed with even greater vigour, in Duggan 2007. 26 In addition to the above cited studies by Patriarca and Duggan, see Schneider 1998; Petrusewicz 1998, Lumley and Morris, 1997; Dickie 1999, Moe, 2002, Palumbo 2003; Andall and Duncan 2005, Wong 2006, Körner 2009. Taken as a whole, it is difficult to avoid the impression that most of the works cited here are in agreement with Wong’s laconically stated idea that: ‘Although the Kingdom of Italy was founded 25

Introduction

11

apply—even in contexts peripheral to Europe—interpretative categories invented (and soon discarded) in another context and those who also made them central to the revival, in new clothes, of the ageold litany of the Italian character’s inadequacy. And it seems hardly coincidental that these differing paths of interpretation were held together, once again, with the Bollati essay, duly acknowledged in all these works as fertile ground for a new way of reading 19th-century Italian political culture.27 However, even those most opposed to a resurgence of interest in nationhood, believing it be doomed by its very nature to an irreversible rightward drift, accepted, even if implicitly, a reading of national history in a framework of continuity. Intent on reaffirming the substantially conservative and authoritarian nature of united Italy, they largely agreed with their opponents on the essential homogeneity of the event. Thus, in recent years, a number of works have enthusiastically sought to locate the roots of many of Italy’s 20thcentury evils in the 19th century, with the result that the period of the Risorgimento has become a sort of Pandora’s box which, once opened, provides a kind of forewarning of all the iniquities of the 20th century in Italy. The tendency to discover, in the distant past, deficiencies of which Republican Italy would never fail to provide examples, has been gaining in strength, to the point of tainting the very origins of the Republic’s own tormented existence with the sombre shades of a powerful conservatism. Consequently, even from this perspective, the standpoint of anti-Fascism has found it difficult to survive. In other words if, on the one hand, the return of interest in the state has brought about an attempt to impose a sense of unity on modern Italian history, to end decades of silence about the meaning of nationhood—a process entailing a certain distancing from the political culture of Republican Italy and the proposal of other coordinates for a different approach to modernity—then, on the other, the challenge has had to be accepted in the name of continuity, only for this perspective to be turned utterly on its head, with the consequent in 1861, it is questionable whether the construction of an Italian national collective has yet been fully accomplished and stabilized’ (the quotation is from 7). 27 See Bollati 1983, insisting on Italian backwardness as a result of the pervasiveness of clientelism and trasformismo in national political life, and Bollati 2011, with an introduction by David Bidussa. From this point of view, see also Patriarca 2001b and 2006. In any case, it should also be noted that an excessive political commitment is visible in Bollati’s works if viewed from a rigorously historicist point of view.

12

Introduction

discovery of the root of all today’s present evils in the distant events of the Risorgimento and unification. In this regard, Alberto Banti’s pages devoted entirely to the culture of the Risorgimento provided a vital reference point, dismantling the concept of the ‘volunteer nation’ which Federico Chabod, in his Paris lectures shortly after the Second World War, had applied to the Italian historical tradition.28 Deploying an explicitly culturalist approach, Banti instead proposes another reading of the Risorgimento in which the nation lost its features of electivity to become—if not predominately—ethnic, basing everything relating to its own identity on the remixing of mythical communitarian ingredients. In this way, the political movement leading to unification is represented as a kind of block—reprising in an opposite spirit Clemenceau’s famous definition of 1789 (‘La Révolution est un bloc’)—in which differences are in some way sacrificed to homogeneities, there is little lingering on disagreements and differentiation, and almost everything is assimilated in the name of a cultural identity aimed at imposing its own standardization on the whole national movement. This point of view, however, deliberately sidelined an ethical and political approach in favour of a renewed cultural history, in tune with the historiographical tendencies following the age of ideologies; and this characteristic brought it significant success. And yet, it should be underlined that the reason for the success of this interpretation is also to be found in an ideological prejudice that all these works, published in an age which would have liked to boldly sideline it, officially exclude but implicitly confirm. It is obvious that liquidating the model of the nation elaborated in his time by Federico Chabod to replace it with another, clearly organicist, brings with it the possibility of enveloping the whole of Italian history in a pall of aggression and reaction, stripping it of every actual reference to a partly democratic tradition, relegating it to a narrow, when not actually aggressive,

28 See Banti 2000. Banti was central in bringing the Risorgimento into current twenty-first-century Italian thinking and his work is certainly a reference point for anyone writing about 19th-century Italy over the last decade. This theme is especially clear in Nations and Nationalism, 2009: 15, pp. 402–45, where Lucy Riall, Axel Körner, David Laven, Maurizio Isabella, Catherine Brice and John Breuilly provide a useful critical assessment of Banti’s recent work. In addition to the above, see also Banti and Bizzocchi 2002.

Introduction

13

nationalism and therefore duly confirming a constant authoritarian trait in the construction of nation and state.29 The consequences of this premise should not be underestimated. In recent years there has been a huge increase in research on these very lines—with a retrograde procedure that spends little time analysing how much, in predatory terms, later writers make of their predecessors’ work—aimed at locating in the 19th century the many iniquities of the Italian 20th century. Inequality, authoritarianism, Fascism, and racism are all said to be rooted in the 1800s, and particularly in that liberal Italy which succeeded in adopting the malevolent rather than the benign aspects of the more advanced European states—in certain ways mimicking them, in other ways diligently emulating them—as a result breathing life into an authoritarian state founded on opposition to, and therefore the exclusion of, whatever it did not seem possible to include: a state destined to undertake colonial expansion through civilizing imperialism in which only an oppressive racism prevailed.30 Consequently, whatever might suddenly be brought to light in Italy in recent years—egoism and social tensions, sectional interests and territorial contrasts—was alleged to be the direct outcome of a deep-rooted history; an outcome for a long time kept in check by 29 This seems to be suggested by the accompanying comments to a recent collection of writings dealing with the Risorgimento in Banti 2010, V–XVII. In the informal guise of an intellectual invited to put forward an opinion, he laments the damaging nature of the patriotic climate in which the rediscovery of the nation seemed to take place and suggests re-examining the matter in the context of a more serious academic approach. He does not leave the question, however, without first pronouncing a profoundly negative judgement on the political culture of the Risorgimento, identified as the corpus from which Fascism would later shape its concept of the patria. This perspective is echoed in Banti 2011, which insists explicitly on the relationship between the Risorgimento and Fascism. 30 This is a confirmation of how an aggressive and exclusive nation-forming process in Italy seems to be garnering increasing success these days: see Nani 2004a and 2004b. On this point, see also Verdicchio 1997: 29–30, Dickie 1999: 29–44, and Moe 2002, esp. ch. 5. The theme is also especially clear in Wong 2006: 109–12 and it was revisited by Nani 2006: 9, who observes of Italian nation forming that ‘setting itself against the African subjects of the colonies and all the pre-modern features which continued to linger in the south, the liberal nation viewed itself as a part of European civilisation’. On the other hand, he also suggests that ‘the reconsideration of the images of the south and its inhabitants took place in the context of the new history of Southern Italy, which, in the Eighties and Nineties, produced a critique and a new interpretation, especially in the social and economic field, of the southern question’ (p. 102). The pages that follow will come back to this linkage, which seems a trifle exaggerated, to suggest a more cautious approach regarding such prompt conclusions in rereading Southern Italian history.

14

Introduction

the morality of the Resistance, but immediately let loose once that model became—even officially—a matter of dispute. The present pages arise from a profound dissatisfaction and disagreement with the growing tendency, outlined above, to streamline Italian history in the name of a continuity which never in fact existed. And their aim, minimalist to be sure, is to distinguish between the 19th and 20th centuries, the national movement and nationalism, the Risorgimento and Fascism, antiquarianism and pedantry, discussion of ancestry and racism, the ideological dimension of the study of the classical world and reactionary cultural classicism, the political originality of the Italian south and the anthropology of the diversity of southern Italy. It might be objected that these were hardly wideranging ambitions, if only the multiplicity of studies that continue to proliferate on the uniformity of modernization in Italy did not bear witness to the great confusion in this area and suggest the further necessity for a few more words on the subject.31 This book is therefore a voyage along the winding paths of Italian nationalism, its perspective being in opposition to the one apparently prevailing at the present moment: on the one hand, it does not accept that the phenomenon grew from a ‘single root’ idea and was based on clearly defined and limited cultural references; on the other, it rejects the hypothesis that Italian nationalism was inevitably doomed to crystallize in the aggressive forms that Fascism would then definitively shape. As with all books on nationalism—an uncountable number by now—it is forced to confront the long-standing debate about the nature of the phenomenon; for this reason, despite an allergy to classifications and collocations, it is necessary to take as a premise that among the positions in the field—modernists, perennialists and ethno-symbolists—these pages belong with the first category, recalling as they do how the construction of the Italian nation took place in the revolutionary and Napoleonic years.32

31 On this point, see Nani 2006: 118–19, according to whom a productive dialogue with international research into the idea of the Italian nation was hindered by ‘certain traditional positions in Italian historiography regarding the national question which continue to cling staunchly on, such as, for example, the idea of the individual and open nature of the Italian national identity, the distinction between the liberal sense of nationality and real out-and-out nationalism, the recurrent affirmation of the absence, or scarce relevance, of racist phenomena in the history of Italian society.’ 32 Ichijo and Uzelac 2005 provide a useful critical assessment of much recent work on nationalism.

Introduction

15

It was between the end of the 18th and the beginning of the 19th centuries that the country’s ruling classes, willing to collaborate with the French invaders, also emulated the Grande Nation in the field of political culture. However, this premise does not exclude agreement with Anthony Smith when he reminds us how the nation is a symbolic and cultural community, which defines and remodels itself through ‘the maintenance and continual reinterpretation of the pattern of values, symbols, memories, myths and traditions that form the distinctive heritage of the nation, and the identification of individuals with the heritage and its pattern’.33 In other words, if it is true that only the revolutionary ideological universe provided the opportunity to initiate a process of Italian nation-forming throughout the country, this does not exclude the fact that this process is based on an arsenal of myths, symbols, and memories amply provided by the Italian cultural tradition in the early modern age. This aspect suggests how complex the nation-forming process at first was: Italy in fact could boast a centuries-old cultural unit which had accompanied the construction of a plethora of states and had not impeded the latter from identifying themselves with this unit on the one hand while on the other laying claim to a specificity, or rather a primacy, which the particular nature of the historical process had bestowed upon them. When, as they came face to face with the French Revolution, the Italian patriots were confronted by the problem of building a national identity that politically united all the country’s inhabitants, they were venturing into a terrain scattered with numerous historical and archaeological exhibits which the scholarship and antiquarianism of times past had made available to them. It was a mixture of symbolic values difficult to combine, which, initially seen as unfavourable to the construction of a common model of nation-forming, would be revealed over time as sometimes compatible and sometimes in conflict. With these origins, the political culture of the national movement in the early years of the 19th century was far from uniform. This explains why the origins of an Italian cultural primacy to which everyone duly laid claim could come to be read from different perspectives: some preferred to resort to antiquity, some loitered in the Middle Ages, some insisted on the Renaissance. They were guided by the cultural legacies of the ancient Italian states towards these

33

Smith 2003: 24–5.

16

Introduction

choices: legacies which the national movement, in individual local contexts, was called on to retrieve and redefine in agreement with a new political sensibility. These multiple processes of construction of a new Italian identity favoured diverse political perspectives: on the one hand they clashed with the propositions of a single-state country, while on the other, they could also promote it, but with various traits of style that made it highly attractive but also hard to create. When unification, by no means a foregone conclusion, unexpectedly took place in 1861, local cultural traditions, still far apart, struggled to find common ground in the shared political identity of Italy. It is no accident that when, in the first decades after unification, the process of nation-forming was relaunched, the initial models turned out not to be wholly compatible. Under the weight of specific socio-economic conditions and unusual political alliances, some models were discarded while others were maintained but subordinated to the guiding principles of a unified state which had been driven towards government centralization by the difficulty of containing disruptive forces. At the end of the century, when republicans and socialists threw down the gauntlet to the unified state, a movement took shape—and this was certainly no coincidence—on the other side of the political lines: one that reclaimed nationalism and protested against the state’s timidity about bringing uniformity to Italian society. It was in this context that the stylistic features defining national identity were once again restated under yet another guise, this time centred firmly on the concept of Romanity. However, the fact that a little while later Fascism would resort to this model in order to adapt it to very different ideological coordinates should not encourage the belief that, in Italy at the beginning of the 20th century, the option of Romanity was widely accepted, least of all hegemonic. The monumental Altar of the Fatherland itself, inaugurated in Rome in 1911 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of united Italy, indicates how other values were still largely present and how the framework of specific territorial contributions to the nation-forming process was anything but exhausted. In the case of Italy, we can therefore describe the nation-forming process as a complex one. It consisted of a plurality of cultural models within which exclusions and inclusions succeeded one another, the same stylistic features being moulded each time to suit a different purpose, shaped to delineate different profiles. All of them—including the last, developed with the authoritarian perspective

Introduction

17

of Fascism—sprang forth from the remixing of suggestions and contributions that frequently arose in other historical contexts and in the name of different—if not actually opposing—political and ideological concepts. In other words, there was no single Italian nationalism, developing gradually in a linear fashion through the 19th century; there was rather a plurality of nationalisms, which, though emerging each in its own way, often intersected, thus breathing life into other models of representation. And all were destined to pursue the—often dramatic— methods by which Italian society encountered political modernity. To illustrate this complexity, I have chosen to pick out only one of the many threads that make up the nation-forming process, following it from its origins to its final demise and correlating it with the parallel political and cultural process unfolding at the same time.34 This thread is the theme of the autochthony of the Italian people: that is, the myth of its perpetual presence in the country that by attesting its antiquity supposedly also substantiates its cultural primacy. It is a subject that has aroused little or no interest in scholars of nationalism, divided as they are between the constant homage rendered by patriots to the Middle Ages of free communes and that, less widespread but equally present, to the ‘Third Rome’ destined, after those of the Caesars and the Popes, to celebrate Italy’s rediscovered unity. However, as in the other major European countries, the theme of the Italian nation’s antiquity first played an important part in the nationforming process, and thereafter proved extremely useful in other cultural contexts, both for providing a reading of the ambiguities and inadequacies of the process and for relaunching it in homage to the new cultural coordinates that had in the meantime come to prevail. The nation’s antiquity therefore was a factor of great importance for Italian cultural identity in the 19th and 20th centuries, and if the subject is almost completely forgotten today this is because it was quickly opposed, if with mixed results, by the work of national pedagogy initiated shortly after unification. Roman history also found new life in the same years, following the example of Mommsen, and would play its part in drawing a lengthy veil over the subject. The autochthony of the nation would, however, remain alive in other disciplines, such as archaeology and anthropology, which went through periods of great ferment in the second half of the 19th 34 In this I agree with some observations by Galasso 2002: 37–9, but it is also worth looking at Laven 2006. See also Lyttelton 2001: 47–74.

18

Introduction

century, and in this way it often returned, either to deny, or sometimes even to legitimate, the chopping and changing of Italian political and intellectual life. But it was actually during the years of Fascism, even though the Romanity of the Italian nation was taken as sacred at that time, that the theme of antiquity would see a substantial relaunch: the proof is found in its contribution to defining the specific type of Italian racism developed by the Fascist regime after the conquest of Ethiopia and the foundation of the Empire. Only the democratic Republic would put an end to the myth of primordial national unity and establish the conditions for the subject, cleansed of all ideological superfluity, to return to the field of academic study alone. Here, thanks to the work of Massimo Pallottino, it could contribute to legitimating the specific study of Italian antiquity as a discipline distinct from Greco-Roman history. This book is therefore structured in a strictly chronological fashion, beginning with the birth, in Napoleonic Italy, of the myth of Italian antiquity in a nation-forming context, then following it through its numerous developments to its final demise shortly after the fall of Fascism. Throughout this journey, the theme’s fortune, or lack thereof, and the often predatory way with which it is continually restated according to the political climate and in homage to different—if not actually opposing—intentions, provides the opportunity to reread Italian modern history. It is an interpretation where blunders and sudden skids usually take precedence over orderly process, offering the chance of a more measured approach to modern Italy. The first chapter is therefore devoted to an explicitly ‘nationforming’ reading of the myth of antiquity developed in 1806 by Vincenzo Cuoco, who, in the third and last volume of his philosophical novel Platone in Italia (‘Plato in Italy’), evoked the existence at the dawn of humanity of a civilizing people known as the Etruscans. Spreading out from the Italian peninsula across the Mediterranean, they took their knowledge to Greece itself. The theme was not a new one: since the 18th century, Etruscology had helped to justify Tuscan primacy in the peninsula and accompanied the House of Lorraine’s programme of reforms. But in 1806 in Milan, capital of a Kingdom of Italy ruled by Napoleon, Cuoco, though acknowledging his debt to the antiquarianism of the early modern age, profoundly remodelled that reading. In his pages, the Etruscans became the progenitors of all the country’s inhabitants: by insisting on their crossing to Greece, he

Introduction

19

could maintain that, in reality, that country’s colonies centuries later in southern Italy shared the same ancestry as the Italic people they encountered there. In this way Cuoco, determined to establish secure antecedents for the new Italian nation as it measured itself against the French cultural model, could propose a substantial ethnical and cultural unity of the peninsula’s inhabitants since ancient times and maintain that only they deserved the credit for the civilizing process throughout the ancient Mediterranean. Cuoco’s thesis concerning the extremely ancient origins of the Italians, where no real difference existed between the peninsula’s many peoples since all of them, in the end, could be traced back to the Etruscans, was a matter of profound interest for Italian nationalism. Giovanni Gentile, in fact—as has been said— would consider this concept the basis of the new Italian identity that came out of the Risorgimento. However, this can be regarded as a mainly predatory operation, which overvalued the actual significance of Platone in Italia in the cultural context of Italy in the early 19th century. The first chapter also emphasizes how in the following decades Cuoco’s novel remained largely known for its obsessive emphasis on the cultural primacy of the Italians rather than its assertion of their ethnic unity. As is underlined in Chapter 2, this theme did not hold up to the almost contemporary publication in 1810 of the work of an erudite Tuscan, Giuseppe Micali. In his Italia avanti il dominio dei romani (‘Italy before Roman Rule’) Micali focused on the antiquity of the Italic peoples to demonstrate how a high degree of civilization had already been achieved before the Romans, which would then to a large extent be sacrificed by the latter’s work of assimilation. In this reconstruction of a pre-Roman past, Micali, despite insisting on an element of autochthony for the country’s peoples, was careful to keep them all distinct from one another and took care not to speak of their substantial uniformity. In his opinion, not only were the Italic peoples different from one another, they were also far from similar to the Greeks, who in fact brought great changes to the anthropological profile of the southern regions of Italy. From a different point of view, he also underlined how another people, the Gauls, overthrew the Etruscans in the northern regions and drove them away, thus distancing the Italic peoples from a common cultural process. Micali’s thesis was therefore different from Cuoco’s: while the latter identified the Etruscans as the whole peninsula’s one ethnicity, the

20

Introduction

former, although recognizing their cultural primacy and agreeing on the ancient inhabitants’ autochthony, was also careful to differentiate the numerous Italic peoples, indicating that only the same cultural model bound them together. Micali, in other words, responded to Cuoco’s view of the ethnical and cultural unity of the Italian people with the suggestion that cultural unity should not lead one to believe that the peninsula’s peoples necessarily shared common origins. In contrast to the ideas put forward in the name of nationalism at the end of the 19th century—which avoided, et pour cause, mentioning Micali’s work—in the context of the antiquity of Italy it is Micali’s study, and not Cuoco’s, that dominates the Risorgimento. And neither is it a coincidence that in 1832, as he was approaching the end of his life, Micali published another work—Storia degli antichi popoli italiani (‘A History of the Ancient Peoples of Italy’)—that the events of the 1848 revolution bring to prominence. The title alone conveys the idea of an ancient Italic civilization made up of a plurality of peoples and in the work itself, highly significantly, Micali plays down the antiRomanism that was such a marked feature of his first work. It was a mixture of suggestions that could only enthuse the people of the time, since, even if for opposing reasons, his theses found favour in both the patriotic camp and the legitimist one: the former could applaud a depiction of the cultural unity of the Italic peoples which did not hurt the various regional sensibilities, while the latter, for the same reasons, saw instead a legitimation of the presence of several Italian states on the peninsula. The work must certainly have had a significant impact, given that, in the years following its publication, the antiquity of Italy once again became a subject of great interest throughout the country, accompanying the national movement on its progress towards the challenging events of the 1848 revolution. Chapter 3 attempts to measure the actual impact of Micali on the political culture of the Risorgimento, analysing the importance of his work on the studies of the Italic past published in several areas throughout the peninsula, especially in Lombardy, which remained the main Italian publishing centre, in Naples, and in Sicily. The reasons for this choice are obvious: these regions of Italy might have been expected to reject Micali’s work, which saw them as being dominated by the presence of the Gauls and the Greeks respectively, and even seemed to exclude them from the Italic civilizing process. In reality, however, his ideas were read and appreciated

Introduction

21

in Lombardy both for relaunching Celticism as well as for sustaining the myth of the Etruscans as the founders of an extremely ancient civilization in northern Italy. In Naples, the work seemed on the other hand to confirm the originality of the historical tradition of peninsular southern Italy, while in Sicily it even helped to legitimate the myth of a long-past Sicilian nation which, before enduring the Greek invasion, had had the time to provide the origin for all the Italic peoples. These multiple nation-forming uses of Micali’s work on the eve of 1848 confirm how his reading of a cultural, rather than ethnic, uniformity of the Italic populations was accepted by the majority in the patriotic movement and how the theme of unity from below, through the free support for a common national project, was the only one that could be pursued in a reality which, though culturally united for centuries, had at the same time been deprived of its liberty by foreigners. The subject naturally dominated the scene throughout 1848 when the idea of a federal Italy ran alongside that of a single republican state proposed by Mazzini, and it persisted even beyond 1861, when the creation of the Kingdom of Italy did not succeed in obliterating the conviction that it was the result of the common will of multiple subjects to gather around a shared focus. Chapter 4 suggests that this model came under fire when it became clear that the encounter between the various parts of Italy was not a particularly harmonious one and that the southern regions seemed to obstruct, rather than smooth, the way towards a rapid process of stabilization in the newly unified state. ‘Brigandage’ (Brigantaggio), that is, the legitimist armed protests which ravaged the southern regions immediately after the overthrow of the Bourbon dynasty and then the ‘Southern question’ (Questione meridionale)—the political debate on the structural backwardness of the Italian south afterwards, seemed to make it quite clear that there existed a part of Italian society that found it difficult to accept a modernizing project. This could only lend support to the voices of those who, as the difficulty became increasingly evident, called for the immediate centralization of government in response to the challenges that seemed to be arriving, not only from both the left and right of the political spectrum, but also from entire regions of Italy whose backwardness threw down the gauntlet to the free government of united Italy. The fourth chapter deals with this theme, showing how the idea of an Italia delle piccole patrie (‘an Italy of small nations’) was not only

22

Introduction

an extremely popular one throughout the ranks of republican opposition to the kingdom of Italy, but also one which found strong support in some regions of the Mezzogiorno. In this way, these areas could lay claim to a role in the unified state from which their difficult socioeconomic conditions seemed to exclude them. One important piece of support in this respect was offered by the political and cultural experience of Giacomo Racioppi. Patriot, politician, and historian, Racioppi, a native of Moliterno in the small southern region of Basilicata, is still known today as a lucid interpreter of legitimist brigandage or as the historian of the region—his own—that gave rise to it. And it is impossible to untangle these two strands in his cultural profile: they are essential elements in defining an intellectual process which, while refusing to deny the inheritance of the ancient Kingdom of the Two Sicilies, proposes a model of Italian nationalism founded on the cooperation of individual local realities. His ideas about unification are very different from the concept of government centralization: he insists on the model of regional peculiarities, each of them, with their own specificity and individuality, called upon to contribute in a significant way to the construction of the new Italian nation. The fact that, at the end of the 19th century, Racioppi, by then retired from the political scene for some time, published a work on the ancient peoples who had inhabited the Basilicata region provides confirmation of how the cultural model dictated by the ancient Italic past still remained an extremely popular political option for the Risorgimento generation. His ability to combine scholarship and patriotism with severe criticism of the brutal methods through which administrative unification was reached provides an interesting opportunity to read the way in which, in a united Italy, the Mezzogiorno constituted a real problem. It also casts light on how this problematic area’s difficulty in forming an integral part of the new Italy would determine the reflections on the roots of a diversity which, at the end of the 19th century, would come home to roost in the considerations concerning the different races—Aryan and Mediterranean—which had populated the peninsula. Chapter 5 deals with the origins of this theme, which is a favourite hobby-horse for those who insist on the racist nature of the unified state built through the difficult integration of the Mezzogiorno. It starts off, however, once again, with the theme of the origins of Italy, which, shortly after 1860, came to dominate studies of the ancient past, with the investigation of its influence on the rapid development

Introduction

23

of palaeoethnology, archaeology, and, above all, of the anthropological disciplines, in scientific research and in the cultural life of the unified state. Not a simple operation in fact, since the lack of attention to this point has for a long time made it difficult to measure the debt that these new disciplines owed to the study of ancient history. And these disciplines—in homage to scientific theories— wished both formally and officially to be very distinct from this study. As a result, this set up a powerful obstacle to the identification of the actual modalities through which (when, how, and why) it opened the way to the ethnically and culturally based nationalism characteristic of Italy at the beginning of the 20th century. In this case too there are specific cultural experiences to provide us with a guide, such as those of the palaeoethnologist Luigi Pigorini and the archaeologist Edoardo Brizio, whose diatribe on the origins of the Italic peoples very much reflects the attempts of national traditions to resist the success of cultural Germanism. Pigorini was wholly in agreement with the teaching of Niebuhr (and of Mommsen) which placed the origins of the Etruscan population on the other side of the Alps. Brizio, on the other hand, was led by his excavations to believe that that same population had in fact arrived there from the south. This controversy thus set up those who had opted for an IndoEuropean origin for the Italian people in opposition to those who wanted to suggest that Italic civilization was a phenomenon peculiar to the peninsula itself. But it has never been emphasized that it was actually the founder of Italian anthropology, the Sicilian Giuseppe Sergi, who put an end to the debate—though not one that went uncontested. He suggested the existence, since ancient times, of two different peoples on the peninsula: one northern and Aryan, the other southern and of Mediterranean origin. It was a distinction that, through Brizio’s ideas—which Sergi would always regard with profound admiration—formed a direct link with the teachings of Micali. However, this particular line has never been followed up, in so much as his theory of Italian ethnic diversity has become a constant reference point for recent studies on southern inferiority and the origins of racism in Italian culture. In a largely superficial way, Sergi’s research into the diversity of the peninsula’s inhabitants has come to be seen as firm evidence of Italian anthropology’s racist tendencies. Many have made improper use of it to establish a connection, in an authoritarian context, between liberal Italy and the Fascist period.

24

Introduction

Chapter 5 takes a critical approach to this question, reconstructing Giuseppe Sergi’s long and scholarly career in order to re-situate him in the specific political and cultural context in which his ideas were expressed. The result is a very different reading of Sergi’s work, in which his insistence on the differences between the races that made up the Italian people did not imply a logic of exclusion, let alone repression. Sergi always affirmed that in the peninsula there existed many different races, yet only one common ancestry. He never doubted the essential plurality of the idea of the Italian homeland, inherited from the traditions of the Risorgimento that inspire all these pages, and always believed that any imbalances between the different parts of the peninsula should be recomposed through a policy of social solidarity. The fact that Sergi has become a standard-bearer for Italian racism in recent years derives from the use to which his theories were soon put. Following the end of the 19th century, the grave crisis in Italian society and the liberal state’s swing towards authoritarianism provided a favourable backdrop for an anthropological reading of the nation in which the concept, circulated by Cuoco in his Saggio storico, regarding the presence of two peoples too different from each other to produce a harmonious form of civil progress, began to gather momentum. The Sicilian sociologist Alfredo Niceforo, returning to and distorting Sergi’s anthropological work, suggested that the real national problem was southern inferiority, the result of a difference in race which had buckled beneath the weight of history. This not only provided an obstacle to progressive politics, but also gave support to the repressive logic that shaped the Italian state. However, Niceforo’s work, which has always been seen as providing firm evidence of an authoritarian and racist tendency in Italian anthropology at the dawn of the 20th century, came not from the right of the political spectrum but from the left. It proposed that the Italian south constituted a problem not for any presumed greatness of the Italian nation, nor for power politics, but for the democratization of the Italian state. The idea of insisting on a racial difference between the northern Italians, of Aryan origin, and the southern, of Mediterranean stock, grew out of the sense of disillusionment that the unified state’s many failures had inspired. But it also reflected the will to return to the lost ideals of the Risorgimento and relaunch a progressive policy against the colonialist and reactionary leanings of Prime Minister Crispi’s political doctrine.

Introduction

25

The theme of racial differences within the nation was furthermore a fundamentally political matter, raised by the radical left and the Socialist Party itself, both to explain the reasons why the modernization of Italy seemed to be grinding to a halt and also to indicate the actual remedies that could be applied to the crisis. In other words, the position of Niceforo and the Italian anthropological school was anything but the reflection, or harbinger, of a racist policy aimed at selecting those with the right to belong to the nation and refusing those held to be in some way inferior. Rather, it sought to underline how, faced with such a difficult situation, the liberal state had in fact blown these problems out of all proportion. It had aggravated the differences between north and south, instead of instituting a policy of renewal which, founded on the recognition of the huge number of differences present in the territory, would have brought about a solution. These matters helped to bolster the radical left’s criticism of the Italian state—so much so that at the end of the 19th century it seemed to be heading for an irreversible crisis. Faced with this challenge, a host of sabre-rattling academics who identified with the Savoy monarchy were quick to reaffirm forcefully the value of the unified state, and equally forcefully reject every reading of Italian identity which did not sustain the idea of complete uniformity. Chapter 6 deals with this subject, considering the renewal of the study of Roman history in the 19th and 20th centuries through the example of the work of Ettore Pais. This great historian of ancient Rome started out by concentrating on the ancient Italic period, beginning his studies as a great admirer of Micali’s work and following the lines of the latter’s anti-Romanism. But during his studies in Germany, Pais adopted the model suggested by Mommsen, which saw in Roman expansionism an authentic work of unification, first political and then cultural, of the whole of Italy. It was a perspective that completely supplanted Micali’s thesis, and Pais was immediately attracted to it. The scientific method and philological rigour of Mommsen’s work fascinated him, as did the way he distanced himself from the cultural tradition centred on the small states that in Italy he saw as dissipating in individual details. Pais therefore embarked on a new line of research in which the study of the ancient past, free from the legacy of antiquarianism, liberated from the intrusiveness of palaeoethnology and anthropology, and differentiated from archaeology,

26

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could represent a fixed reference point for the construction of the nation’s common historical identity. Pais’s decision to insist on the analogy between ancient Rome and modern Italy would be successful, since it seemed to provide a convincing response to the political crisis that, at the end of the 19th century, appeared to be endangering the national state. It is also worth underlining how this was Pais’s main worry from the beginning of the 20th century, so much so that he aligned himself with all the political choices of the nationalist movement, from the relaunch of the nationalization of society, to colonialism, to the interventionism of the First World War, to a convinced acceptance of Fascism. Over the years, Pais was increasingly concerned with relating his own studies to the Italian political scene of the moment. This was true above all in the period following 1922: as Fascism laid claim to the cult of Romanism as the distinctive trait of its political and cultural identity, Pais increasingly moulded his studies to the requirements of the day. His confident correlation of time past with time present went hand in hand with the regime’s aggressive foreign policy, up to the triumphs in Abyssinia and the birth of the Fascist Empire. This choice of Romanity as the clear progenitor of the Italian national identity, which certainly enjoyed extraordinary success during the Fascist years, should not lead us to believe that the tradition of Italian plurality, founded on the specific contributions of peoples of different origins, had been completely eradicated from the cultural context of the peninsula. There are a number of signs that, throughout the 1920s, the myth of a long-lasting Italic antiquity, brought to full realization in the rise of Romanity, continued to garner wide consensus and influenced certain guidelines in the regime’s cultural policy. The seventh and last chapter attempts to illustrate this phenomenon, recalling how the theme of the antiquity of the Italian nation came to be useful under Fascism. First, it was deployed to sustain the specificity of the Roman model—regarded as the marvellous synthesis of the contributions of the different peoples who inhabited the peninsula in ancient times—and then later, following the war in Ethiopia and the foundation of the Italian Empire, it was used to foster the regime’s racial policy. Against the theorists of biological racism who took their lead from Hitler’s Germany, there would soon form a current of opinion, inappropriately co-opting the work of Giuseppe

Introduction

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Sergi, that declared the Italian race to coincide with the Italian nation because the cultural model alone had determined the historical originality of its ancestry. This perspective, which would completely win out over the philo-Germanic camp, drew strength from the Fascist Empire’s development policy in Africa, which rejected the mixing of races in the name of a civilizing doctrine with regard to populations held to be inferior. This theme—through the example of the ancient Romans’ actions in Africa—helped to bring about a significant return of academic interest to the origins of the ancient civilizations. In this particular context, Massimo Pallottino’s research into the Etruscans was one of the first to make a place for itself on an interpretative level. He distanced himself from the many reconstructions of the Etruscans’ origins, insisting instead on their autochthony. It was precisely the example of the ancient Romans in Africa—recognized as propagating a cultural model that the indigenous populations had received and adapted to their specific background—that enabled him to reread Etruscan origins as the result of the same process, namely as the meeting of different peoples through a cultural model that became common property. In this way, the process turned full circle and Micali’s work, officially expunged from the nation’s cultural panorama since the late 19th century, made a powerful comeback. Pallottino, however, was slow to acknowledge his debt to Micali, and, even in the years following the Second World War, would continue to ignore him in the many published editions of his studies of Etruscology. Only many years later, when the theme of nationhood had in its turn been deleted from Republican Italy’s cultural agenda, would Pallottino come to give Micali his due, acknowledging the importance of his research and his ideas and finally consigning to historiography a subject which, in its time, had been freighted with a powerful measure of political relevance. It was the end of one long thread in the political history of united Italy which, up until the collapse of Fascism, had often made unscrupulous use of the theme of the nation’s antiquity—one that had always come in useful to legitimate the specific Italian identity. However, it was also the conclusion of a journey through the process of becoming a nation which had begun in the distant past and had accompanied first the national movement and then the unified state towards its meeting with modernity. From this point of view, the

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theme of antiquity, and the many different ways in which it has been used to identify the originality of Italian nationalism, constitutes a subject that, though often evaded, has played a central part in establishing the many forms that the peninsula’s nation-forming process has taken and prompts, in consequence, a more balanced judgement on contemporary Italy.

1 The historic past of the nation Following 1789, should a revolutionary have cast a glance backwards over French history, it would have meant reliving a dramatic sequence of periods of slavery. While the end of absolutism certainly marked an epochal moment of transformation, and feudalism had been crushed, this did not in itself bring about the healing of the rift created by centuries of bondage for the French people. Even before Clovis, on the heels of his war of conquest, imported the aristocracy which would be such a plague to the social body of the nation, there had been another long era of subjugation: Roman Gaul. As civilized as it was, in its turn Roman Gaul was the direct consequence of yet another abuse of power—one that had made it possible for Julius Caesar, on the occasion of the triumph decreed for him by the Senate, to drag Vercingetorix in chains through the streets of the Eternal City. The tragic end of this last free man of Gaul marked in fact the demise of independence for the French people, who would from thence forward be consigned to a life of subservience, an immensely long period of subjugation that would, in the end, consume their very sense of self. No coincidence, therefore, that after 1789 the events of Greco-Roman antiquity were put to one side and admiring references to history suffered a sudden decline. The remote past no longer seemed to echo with themes that could be applied to the new political and ideological scenario, neither did it provide models to arouse pride, nor did it furnish foreshadowings of the revolution which had so abruptly given the French back their liberty.1 Even when republicanism made its appearance on the scene, starting from 1791, and most notably after Louis XVI’s unsuccessful

1

Here I follow especially the writings of M. Raskolnikoff 1990: 95–127.

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flight to Varennes, the Greco-Roman model did not return to assume important significance. One of the first to condemn the king’s attempted escape, Jacques-Pierre Brissot, in his famous speech of July 1791 delivered to a crowd still shocked at Louis XVI’s betrayal, resorted to several instances of glorifying the young American Republic; he was careful, however, to avoid any reference to ancient times.2 The reasons for such a choice were obvious: for the patriots, the events of the Roman Republic could hardly be regarded as praiseworthy. It was a model that, dominated by a restricted family circle, had eventually led to Empire, and had thus allowed tyranny to build a solid base for its power. In this regard, it is not by chance that a short time later, at the end of 1791, when the Jacobin Club had to address the matter of revolutionary war, Brissot not only pleaded its case in the name of the American precedent alone but still disdainfully refused every comparison with antiquity. To those—such as Robespierre—who pointed out to him that the example of the ancient republics suggested a measure of prudence, he responded emphatically that the classical world was a period irredeemably of the past which had nothing to teach them: since then, the development of human society—and the great diffusion of means of information bore witness to this—made every correspondence absurd. He went on to say that it was impossible to believe that the past could hold lessons for the present political situation.3 In the debate between Brissot and Robespierre at the Jacobin Club, the former, as is well known, won out over the latter, and his refusal to listen to the teachings of antiquity was an influential rhetorical argument in the Legislative Assembly’s decision to launch a preventative war not only against the small number of armed emigrants gathered in Koblenz but also against the Austrian emperor who offered them his protection.4 As is also well known, the military operations were not a success, and the spectre of General Monk ready to lead his troops against popular representation—a spectre that Robespierre himself had already conjured up—took on the semblance of Lafayette when, leaving the theatre of war, he arrived 2

See Brissot 1791: 5 and Ellery 1915: 216–23. ‘But why should the existence or not of such a comparison be important to us? Does there anywhere exist in ancient history a revolution that can be compared to ours? Has there ever been a people that has, as we have, taken back their freedom after twelve centuries of slavery? We believe that it does not exist’ (Brissot 1792: 15). 4 See in this regard Bell 2007, esp. 111–19. 3

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in July 1792 in Paris to ask the Assembly to close down the patriotic societies by law. Faced with this threat, the patriots, recovering from their surprise, immediately put up stiff defensive resistance and organized a popular insurrection that on 10 August 1792 put an end to the monarchy. The birth of a republic did not, however, halt fears regarding the new order’s chance of holding out for any length of time. In just a short space of time, Dumouriez took the place of Lafayette in the nightmares of Robespierre’s supporters and it was in this dramatic situation that the precedent of the ancient republic came back as a warning to the Jacobin camp. The theme, already developed by Desmoulins and Machenaud as well as Robespierre, with the former both also against preventative war,5 would soon gain momentum in the arena of the violent clash with the Girondists, and it brought about the showdown in Paris from 31 May to 2 June, 1793, when another insurrection, this time against the National Convention, led to the start of the Robespierre dictatorship. This explains why the Year II period, beginning with the assumption of power by the Montagnards, following the expulsion of the Girondists and the physical elimination of many of them, was when the myth of the classical world started to dominate republican rhetoric and references to antiquity, in this regard, were in abundance.6 It was, however, an ephemeral moment: the sudden upsurge of interest in Romanity went into swift decline as soon as the policy of the Terror, which started at the same time as Year II, came to an end with the coup against Robespierre. With Thermidor, yet another period opened up, where the immediate return of press freedom and the pretext of founding a new republican order based on the rejection of Robespierrist authoritarianism, tended to favour the revival of mistrust in ancient history. The way was led by Volney, whose Leçons d’histoire (‘Lectures on History’), published in 1795, confirmed the vigorous return of indifference towards the classical republican tradition. This would have profound consequences on the French cultural panorama, since it was in the years of the Directory

5

See Desmoulins 1791 and Machenaud 1792. On this point, I’m especially thinking of the pioneering Parker 1937. In addition, see also Mossé 1989. Concerning Italy, see especially Donato 1994: 82–119, which insists explicitly on the Roman example, and more recently Caffiero 2005: 19–58, which clearly specifies this point. 6

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(1795–1799) that the criticism of politics in the ancient era would end up reviving interest in the long-past periods of liberty in pre-Roman France, focusing attention, as the success of Celtomania duly bore witness, on Europe’s earliest peoples.7 The question was not a new one; often present during the 18th century, when it performed the task of protesting about state invasiveness,8 the myth of pre-Roman Gaul suddenly returned to the limelight in the aftermath of the Terror, for reasons that were both varied and in opposition to one another. On the one hand it appeared in the Ancien Régime nostalgia of those who opposed administrative uniformity (whether of Rome, Louis XIV, or 1789), but, on the other hand, it helped to shape the expectations of those who glimpsed, in that remote past, a revolutionary means of shattering the lines of continuity that had led from the conquest of Caesar, through the conquest of Clovis, up to the triumph of absolutism. Needless to say, there were many revolutionaries in the latter group, often reduced to silence by Robespierrist authoritarianism, who—like Volney—reappeared after Thermidor and demanded the severing of those roots of classical antiquity which, they believed, had provided the seedbed for the Terror. The works of Jacques Cambry were exemplary in this regard: in 1799, Cambry, a Breton patriot, published a historical description of the French department of Finistère which, while celebrating the specificity of the territory, suggested at the same time that the long-distant past of Druidic liberty held a certain foreshadowing of the political and cultural originality of the new French nation.9 It was a theme also taken up by Michel Mangourit, another Breton politician who, returning to France via Italy from the United States, where he had unsuccessfully tried to stir up revolution in Florida, published a work in which references to the Celtic world were frequent.10 Above all, there was Sylvain Maréchal, 7 See in particular the studies by Pierre-Charles Levesque (Levesque 1799a, Levesque 1799b, Levesque 1799c, Levesque 1802a, Levesque 1802b, Levesque 1802d, Levesque 1804). 8 On this point see Grell 1993: 261–74. 9 ‘One will find in this voyage some notes, venturesome in appearance, on the Bretons, their antiquity, their language, their history, on the Druids and their monuments. We are in a century where the truths entombed by the politics of the rulers of the earth will develop in history, in morality, and in philosophy’ (Cambry 1799: III–IV and 187–8). 10 See Mangourit 1798 and Mangourit 1805. On the figure of Mangourit, see Palmer 1952: 483–96 and, more recently, though restricted to Mangourit’s period as consul of France in the United States, Alderson 2008.

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already a supporter of Babeuf, who published Voyages de Pythagore (‘The Travels of Pythagoras’) in 1799. This was an immense sixvolume work where the author—appropriating the literary canon of Barthélemy’s Anacharsis for his own purposes—suggested that the Greek philosopher had come to wisdom during a period of time spent with Druids in the Paris region.11 All of these writers interpreted, certainly with different levels of emphasis, the expectations of a radical current in the post-Thermidor political culture—one which, following the end of the Terror, harboured hopes of a revival of the period of liberty apparently only interrupted by the direction taken in Year II.12 It was a world that would soon be eliminated by Bonaparte’s Brumaire coup d’état, demonstrating that the triumphs of the revolution would not be combined with those of liberty. However, at least some of the men who had held firm to the values of Celtic antiquity during the Directory period would come to the fore again with the policy of ralliement, a ‘calling together for a common purpose’, which the First Consul put promptly into action. Besides, Bonaparte was, in the framework of his very own specific view of power, a master of gathering and reformulating indications and ideas from extremely different, even opposing, contexts. In this way, he found no difficulty in redeploying cultural themes engendered in the field of political heterodoxy which, wisely guided, would come in useful for his project of creating a hegemonic France. This explains why even Celtomania, manoeuvred beneath another political banner, in turn made its contribution to swelling the great river of homage to the birth of the Napoleonic Empire. Cambry himself in fact, declared his revolutionary indiscretions to be things of the past and bowed his head to the Caesarist ambition of the First Consul’s France. Cambry was duly made a Prefect and in 1804, following the birth of the Napoleonic Empire, together with other intellectuals present on the scene since the Ancien Régime, established the Académie celtique, an assembly of talents that set itself the wholly political objective of redefining the rediscovery

11 On Maréchal’s work, see Dommanget 1950: 349–64, but also see Casini 1998: 224–39. 12 See Guiomar 1992: 63–85.

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of the Gallic past in terms of fully supporting, in a cultural context, French dominion over Europe.13 Thus, the revival in Napoleonic colours of an atavistic independent past brought to an end, in the continuing context of Druidic primacy, the long journey that had led the intellectuals of the Directory era to reject the Greco-Roman tradition—a tradition they blamed for having first legitimated the despotism of the House of Bourbon and for then having fostered, through the many declamations in favour of the ancient republican virtues, the advent of the Terror. It was a result that left much to be desired in terms of the plausibility of the arguments involved (and it could hardly have been otherwise), but it fulfilled the expectations of an intellectual world increasingly intent on celebrating the splendours—past, present, and, especially, future— of France. In this way, in the favourable turning towards Celtomania, there was a maladroit aspect to the pretext to found yet another cultural tradition, the originality of which essentially lay in legitimating the political synthesis Napoleon created between Ancien Régime and Revolution. In brief, drawing on a distant tradition of indigenousness signified closing all France’s debts in relation to a past where others reigned supreme, diminishing the importance of the Roman conquest to a great extent and, in a cultural context, legitimating the Napoleonic Empire’s political hegemony in Europe. These were assumptions which neighbouring Italy—an integral part of that federative system on which Bonaparte based his imperial claim—could hardly regard without a sense of great anxiety. Milan especially, soon capital of an Italian kingdom with Napoleon himself as its sovereign, feared that initiatives of this kind were designed to assert that the states arising out of revolutionary expansionism would have to accept a future of subjugation that was not only political but also cultural. One of those to express profound misgivings was Vincenzo Cuoco, who, after the publication of his Saggio storico, was involved in another, equally ambitious work, Platone in Italia ‘The desire to rediscover and reunite the ranks of glory bequeathed to their descendants by the Celts, the Gauls and the Franks, gives birth to the Académie Celtique. A sentiment both noble and natural to manifest in an epoch when France shows herself to be worthy of her ancestors. It is when Napoleon has led them for ten years from victory to victory that they have become more jealous to prove that the love of glory has always formed the main element in their character.’ See, with the signature of President Lenoir, Discours préliminaire, where the argument is greatly developed: Mémoires 1807: I, 1–26). 13

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(‘Plato in Italy’), a romance along the lines of Barthélemy’s Anacharsis, the first two volumes of which came out in 1804. The reasons for his shift from treatise to narrative reflected the greatly transformed political scene: from 1802, Milan was no longer the capital of the Cisalpine Republic founded by Bonaparte in 1797 and subsequently re-established soon after the disaster of 1799. It had become instead the capital of an Italian Republic with Bonaparte as its president, and its name demonstrated his intention for it to constitute a reference point that over time could draw the entire peninsula into its sphere. In this new political climate, Cuoco had been led to reflect on the meaning of a new Italian nation and the modality through which it could gather together the many peoples that inhabited the peninsula. It was a theme that had come to him rather suddenly. In 1801 at the moment of publishing Saggio storico, although addressing Italy as a whole, he had still not hesitated to make due reference to a specifically Neapolitan nation, repeatedly evoked throughout his treatise in all its distinct particularity. However, the political events that had brought French forces back to the peninsula and shortly thereafter flung open the doors to the Napoleonic Empire had at the same time convinced him that, without placing all his hopes in the existence of a fully achieved Italian nationality, there was no way of avoiding the suffocating embrace of the French. It was a worry that found expression in his drafting of the novel and explains why Cuoco was not only paying careful attention to the cultural currents from beyond the Alps but was also immediately concerned by the birth of the Académie celtique. He was perturbed by the propositions advanced by the institute, which appeared to him to be in conflict with his own. Such worries must have seemed more than justified by the list of figures called upon to contribute to the new Parisian academy, and in the Académie celtique there were in fact elements which never missed an opportunity to assert the superiority of France in Europe. There was even an Italian in their midst, one who could not have regarded Cuoco’s attempts with much interest. This was Carlo Denina, author of Rivoluzioni d’Italia (‘Italian Revolutions’), a text which had enjoyed a great deal of success in the Italy of the Ancien Régime. The work expressed substantial doubts regarding the unity of the peninsula and placed special emphasis on the specificity of the northern regions, which the presence of the Gauls had differentiated in a significant way

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from the other parts of Italy.14 His induction into the Académie celtique,15 which followed on from his position as the Emperor Napoleon’s personal librarian, seemed to suggest that, even among Italians, there was no lack of those prepared to use their writings to support the hegemony that, in cultural terms as well, imperial France seemed intent on exercising. It was a perspective that clashed utterly with Cuoco’s ideas. In Platone in Italia, he set himself the task of delineating the modality through which the new revolutionary ruling class, promoted under the Napoleonic order, was called upon to organize national society on a more solid basis. It might be worthwhile outlining here the main points raised by Cuoco’s novel, to help illustrate the analogies with the ideas advanced by the Académie celtique. Platone in Italia explores the paths of erudition through the stratagem of the publication of an ancient manuscript, translated by one of Cuoco’s ancestors in 1774, which narrates Plato’s journey through southern Italy. Here, accompanied by the young Athenian Cleobolus, he visits the chief cities of the time, comes into contact with the peninsula’s various peoples, admires the level of civilization achieved, and studies its organization. The enthusiasm of the two travellers for Italic civilization is high and it is held to be far superior to that of the Greeks; they also show great interest in the Pythagorean School, founder of the politics and morality around which Italy’s civilization flourishes. They find the country’s institutional system troubling, however, fearing that the lack of sturdy systems of government means that there will be an imminent loss of liberty when they come up against the better organized world of Roman power. The work’s first two volumes, constructed around the discussions that Plato and Cleobolus have with their wise hosts (the Tarantine Architas, the Samnite Pontius, the philosopher Timaeus, and the young Mnesilla), form therefore a journey à rebours into the history of Italy, in search of a past glory around which a prospect (or at least a hope) can be sketched for the future. In this quest back through time to find an ancient Italic wisdom, two different levels of preoccupation inspire reflection: on the one hand, there is the obsessive need to

14 Denina 1769–70: libro I, capo II. On the figure and work of Denina, of recent date, see Marcone 2000, Ricuperati 2001 and Cerruti and Danna 2001. 15 See Mémoires de l’Académie Celtique 1807: 1, p. 3.

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underline the peninsula’s cultural tradition, proposed here through the myth of Pythagoras, as the cradle of European civilization—the teacher, rather than student, of the Greek world; on the other, there is a troubled pondering on the existing hiatus in the Italic city between cultural development and the articulation of political life. The insufficiency of the latter is charged with risking the loss of independence in the face of Roman expansionism, which Cuoco went on to deal with in the third and last volume of the work. It is easy, in this regard, to identify the allusions to Cuoco’s own times. The determined and obstinate homage to Italic wisdom constituted the scholarly foundation for the wholly political pretext of establishing, in a long-ago past, the cultural specificity of the young Italian nation, representing, in line with the observations put forward above, an implicit (though evident) challenge to the dominance of the French model throughout the peninsula.16 There was, in other words, more than enough reason for Cuoco, learning of the programmes devised by the members of the Académie celtique, to take up pen and paper and fire off a missive expressing his complete disapproval; it is not known if the text was ever received in Paris. In it, his criticism of Celtomania is founded on the implausibility of the reconstruction itself, since, weighing against such an immensely exaggerated perspective, there was, in Cuoco’s view, the problem of chronological order: with reference to which, he concluded, ‘It is difficult that there will be a place for your Celts in the serried ranks of the centuries, or for any other people that you would like to imagine as being more ancient than the Etruscans’.17 They were curious words, where the only dissension in relation to the French ideas was to attack the merit but certainly not the method, contesting the conclusions reached by the Parisian academics but accepting and indeed sharing the premises. In other words, despite his disagreement, Cuoco was far closer to his French colleagues than it might, at first, have seemed. He too believed that the cultural centrality continually assigned to the Greco-Roman world was an exhausted one; he too believed it necessary to construct another cultural identity as a point of reference for the new Napoleonic order; and he too agreed with the research into new denotations in support of a system destined to encompass and exceed the political 16 17

For a more detailed reading of the work’s significance, see De Francesco 2006c. Andreoni 2003a: 15.

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experience of both the republic and the monarchy. Cuoco’s agreement with the Napoleonic Empire’s cultural guidelines nonetheless came to an end here, since, claiming such a national specificity in the face of French hegemony as he did, he was also careful to replace the Celts with the Etruscans as the primogenial source of civilization. In this way, although sharing the conviction with the Parisian scholars that the exceptionality of the Napoleonic period demanded an original cultural direction (one to which the Greco-Roman tradition had little to add), he also went as far as to contest their reconstruction of the civilizing process of antiquity, prudently redirecting it from the mists of ancient Gaul to the Mediterranean shores of the Italian peninsula in the times preceding Roman dominance. This stand against the Académie celtique was an obligatory choice. It should be remembered that, although Cuoco was a convinced supporter of the Napoleonic order who had regarded with enthusiasm the Brumaire revolution that would soon bring the French back to Italy, it was in his eyes a political model that did not seem easily applicable to the Italian peninsula. This was the source of the belief, shared throughout his entire political generation, that the peninsula’s cultural identity was the sole, significant foundation that would allow the new Italy to make up for lost time and enable the country, in the not too distant future, to sit with equal dignity at the table of Europe’s most advanced nations.18 This also explains why the third and last part of Platone in Italia, which appeared in 1806, a long time after the first two volumes, is a less harmonious affair than what went before. In the first two volumes, the theme of the peninsula’s cultural primacy is obsessively returned to in the many imaginary dialogues, but in the third, there emerges instead the problem of the ethnic unity of the peninsula’s peoples. In this context, at the same time, the rise of Roman power is prefigured, its well-organized system of government suggesting that it is destined to win out over the politico-institutional fragility displayed—despite its high sophistication—by Italic civilization. It was certainly not a coincidence, therefore, that, in this final volume of Platone in Italia, as a response to an imagined Druidic antiquity, the ancient Etruscans are extolled at the conclusion of the work—a people who had inhabited and brought uniformity to the peninsula

18

In this regard, see De Francesco 2003.

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since ancient times and who, moving around the Mediterranean, colonizing Greece and elsewhere en route, had come to be called Pelasgian. It was not in fact an original idea. At the end of the 18th century, in Lorraine Tuscany, which claimed a more than merely cultural role in the Italy of that period, there had appeared a work by Mario Guarnacci that traced the origins of the Italics back to the Etruscans.19 It was a muddled piece of work, however, which had little success at the time, and the author felt compelled to publically excuse himself for it.20 Despite this lack of success, the example did not fade away. In 1803, another Tuscan academic, Giovanni Fabbroni, who enjoyed an active relationship of close collaboration with the reform policies of Leopold II and would not disdain thereafter from serving Napoleon,21 published a little contribution where the same argument was forcefully reproposed.22 It seems, however, that Cuoco was not aware of Fabbroni’s work, which is never cited in Platone in Italia, and which was, anyway, published in the same years that he was finishing off his novel. There are, on the other hand, many references to Guarnacci, whose reconstruction of the ancient Etruscan empire he much admired. Although leaning heavily on that work, Cuoco had no desire to be a tardy follower of Etruscology. While he referred back to that particular academic tradition, he was also careful to transfer the reference to the cultural primacy of Tyrrhenian antiquity from a mere local context to, indeed, an international one, since this made it possible for him to take a polemical stand against the principal cultural institutions of the Napoleonic Empire. His criticisms were not in fact directed only at the Académie celtique but also at the Institut national, within which the famous orientalist Dupuis, presenting his ideas on the Pelasgians, whose origins he located in ancient Egypt, interpreted the origins of Mediterranean antiquity in terms diametrically opposed to those of Cuoco.23 In other words, through his use of Guarnacci’s 19

Guarnacci 1767–72, but see also the successive editions Guarnacci 1773 and Guarnacci 1785–7. 20 Cristofani 1983: 98–102. Regarding the far from favourable reactions to Guarnacci’s work, see also Maffei 1881: 65–7. 21 Pasta 1989. 22 Fabbroni 1803. 23 Dupuis 1799: 44–116; Dupuis 1801: 37–140, where on p. 138 it is written that ‘the result of our research [ . . . ] that the cult of the Pelasgians of Italy and Greece is

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work, Cuoco delivered a single blow to both the improbable Druidic inception of wisdom and to the claim to remain true no matter what to the Hellenic roots of the civilizing process, and countered these with another (though equally implausible) reconstruction of the origins of civilization. This held that, from the remotest of times, from a period long before even the Trojan War, thanks to the discovery and valorization of an Etruscan empire which had dominated the Mediterranean, the primacy remained the right of that one people who had always inhabited the Italian peninsula. With its origins in the polemic against the Greco-Roman tradition, the backdating of Italian unity to that far distant (if imaginary) Etruscan period made it possible therefore to reject all the cultural models that dominated the French scene. It also allowed Cuoco to lay claim to another conclusion, notably that of providing a solution to the historic problem of Italian nationality: by lauding the concept of a long-established uniformity, it even became possible to maintain that the difference between the Greeks and the Italics was only an ostensible one. Given the premise that the Etruscans had arrived in and civilized Hellas, and the further consideration that there were even those who advanced the idea that the Athenians also spoke their language, it was a simple matter for Cuoco to deduce that the colonies of the Magna Græcia poleis had, even if after a long period of time, simply reunited with that Italic stem from which they were originally descended. He was thus able to smooth out the knotty matter that had the Italians originating from peoples of different lineages. The question was a fundamental one at that time: every hypothesis of nation-building in accordance with ethnic models seemed destined to break apart on the rocks of a cultural tradition that, throughout the modern age, had insisted on the diversity of the Italian peoples in order to legitimate the statal specificities that had taken shape on the peninsula. The Greek origins of the Italian south, the Etruscan derivation of Tuscany, the Celtic roots of the Italian north, had all contributed to glorifying the particular natures of their respective states and still represented, despite Napoleon’s triumph over the whole peninsula, a difficult obstacle to the work of overcoming the traditions of the Ancien Régime. Cuoco believed that this obstacle could be bound to that of Upper Egypt and Ethiopia, countries with very ancient civilisations, and that they had passed on more to the Greeks and the peoples of Hesperia of their religious institutions than they had in fact taken’.

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removed by linking Italy’s cultural originality—which the ancient states of the peninsula had never denied and had in several cases even proudly laid claim to—to the discovery of long-past communal origins. A reconstruction of this kind was certainly a work of fantasy. It did, however, also reveal traces of a grand ambition: the recomposition of an ‘Italian’ antiquity that reached back to the distant times of the Etruscans confirmed, on the one hand, the peninsula’s primacy in relation to Greece—a primacy that southern teaching had, since the 18th century, been vigorously advancing24 by claiming the Homeric poems as an Italic creation—and, on the other hand, made it possible to return to the peninsula’s tradition of antiquarianism with quite another intention (and quite another devastating force). This involved the piece-by-piece dismantling of the many works that, throughout the modern age, had carried out the task of legitimating the political power of local elites and dynasties. While this work of dissection settled accounts in relation to 18th-century erudition, it also made it possible to recover an infinite variety of fragments that Cuoco—and herein lies the originality of his handiwork—had carefully and diligently organized into a unitary design of extraordinary political relevance. In this way, the Etruscology of the Grand Duchy of Tuscany; the glorification of an ancient past that informed the treatises of the Italian centre-south region25 in similar terms; the claim to a Greek tradition (whose cities had only been federated with Rome) that in the Two Sicilies had greatly substantiated the right of the patriciates to confront the Crown; as well as the insistent recourse to the Italic model through which the south held the municipalist discourse and the severe critique of feudalism together26—all these factors no longer reflected diverse and antagonistic political languages but were reduced to different inflections of a common speech. It is in this context that the polemic in Platone in Italia against the claim of the French to dictate the cultural line went hand in hand with the ambitious proposal, not simply to re-present, but rather to profoundly remodel, the Italian cultural tradition of the 18th century. It was a working method of fascinating generality, which made it possible to gather themes, arguments, and elements of style from the most diverse lines of study and from opposing political ends, and 24 25

On this point, see Andreoni 2003b: 103–37. 26 Donati 1988: 296–9. Giarrizzo 1981: 198–216.

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transform them into similar forms of concrete evidence for a largely preconstituted theory. The result was, to the eyes of a reader of today, a reckless and confused leap backwards in time. Everything was claimed and justified in the name of Italic primacy, even though no convincing foundation existed for such a manoeuvre, given that the reconstruction itself was based on the inappellability of Vico’s youthful thesis regarding the primacy of ancient Italic wisdom. It was not something that troubled Cuoco overmuch, however. He was convinced that the rediscovery of an obscure past, one that consisted of marvels and triumphs in contrast to a difficult present, meant the restitution to Italy of a prestige unjustly obfuscated by others. It would certainly be an appealing idea for a public who could take sustenance from his work’s demonstration of the rule that a people in its time ‘great and thereafter [ . . . ] little, is always the most vilified by other peoples: the proof lies in the common people of Europe’s opinion regarding Italy’.27 Cuoco was not very wrong on this point. Platone in Italia quickly lent itself to an interpretation in a patriotic key, where the insistent recourse to cultural primacy and the antiquity of the Italian lineage helped first to offer stimulus to the Risorgimento and then in 1861 to encourage the peninsula’s difficult process of nation-building. Evidence for this is provided by the fact that many voices were raised in patriotic rhetoric to celebrate the primacy (and the unitedness) of the Italian people. It was a subject destined to become a common issue with both the right- and left-wing factions of the Risorgimento and in the writings of figures very different from one another, including Alessandro Manzoni, Giuseppe Mazzini, and Vincenzo Gioberti.28 However, apart from these various interminglings and lines of continuity, which will be looked at later, it is worth pointing out immediately that during the 19th century the success of Platone in Italia was something far from constant and it was in fact Cuoco’s other work, the Saggio storico, which aroused greater interest over a longer period of time. In fact, if up until 1861 the reprinting of the two works went more or less at an equal pace, following the birth of the unified state, first legitimist brigandage, and then the explosion of the ‘southern question’, there continued to be interest in the Saggio storico, while Platone in Italia languished in a period of relative 27 28

Cuoco 2000: II, 37. See the recent summarizing account by Albarani 2008.

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obscurity.29 Only in the following years, through a strange ricochet effect, would the multiple preoccupations regarding the capacity of the liberal state make a revival of interest in Cuoco’s novel possible. It was in this context, with the issue of nationality once again on the table, that Giovanni Gentile carried out a decisive role. As previously mentioned, it was Gentile who, at the beginning of the 20th century, presented Platone in Italia as a concrete testimony of the terms through which the nation-building process of the masses could be taken in hand, even if with alternative results. This revival of interest in Cuoco’s work bore fruit at the beginning of the First World War when, with the conflict already underway, the first volume of Platone in Italia edited by Fausto Nicolini came out. The second and concluding volume was not published until 1924, and contained a note recording that the editorial initiative was aimed at highlighting the work as ‘a new value, and a very true one: that of the most capacious and distinguished document of the mood of those very few Italians who, since the last years of the 18th century, have proposed the independence and the unity of the country as a political ideal’.30 In such a way, in the context of that dramatic political moment, there percolated out from this edition of Platone in Italia—which was destined to dominate the scene throughout the 20th century—an interpretation that was increasingly couched in vigorously nationalist terms: terms that, a short while later, could not fail to attract the Mussolinian regime’s earnest appreciation. It was certainly no coincidence therefore that Platone in Italia enjoyed its real moment of glory during the years of Fascism. Another edition was in fact published in 1932, edited by Giuseppe Saitta, where the work was proposed as an extraordinary endeavour of political pedagogy, and pointed references to the contemporary period were added to the roll-call of Italian greatness foretold by Cuoco.31 It goes without saying that the collapse of the regime also brought about the end of interest in Platone in Italia, immediately branded

29

On this point see, repectively, Cuoco 1998: 621–56 and Cuoco 2006: XXIII–XXVII. Cuoco 1916–24: II, 345. 31 ‘True democracy is Mind, and as such is history. This concept encompasses all of Cuoco’s critical force against false democracy, merely quantitative, atomistic, but also his original intuitions regarding nationality, which comprehends and invigorates everything with its continuous action, because it is an organic and steadfast unit’. See Cuoco 1932: I, XIV. 30

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as a document too contaminated by nationalist rhetoric to arouse interest in the new democratic Italy. The work would in fact, after a long period of silence, not become an object of academic attention again until the 1970s. This came about, as already mentioned, thanks to Giulio Bollati, who, compiling a portrait of the Italian character, saw in Platone in Italia the roots of a nationalism inspired by the principles of social (and cultural) conservatism that would almost inevitably nourish the bitter weed of Fascism.32 Turning Gentile’s reading on its head—a reading which had in fact deployed Cuoco to interpret the Italian 19th century in the context of a specific and incomparable cultural moment—Bollati used Platone in Italia to show up the Risorgimento bourgeoisie’s cultural reticence: fearful of innovation, forever tempted to seek shelter in the reassuring shade of a classicism that was suspicious of everything new and yet—precisely because of this—reacting with inevitable aggression to the idea of using this as a basis for the founding of a specific national identity. The results of this depreciative reading of Platone in Italia—helped on by the new politico-social climate—would not be long in arriving. Bollati’s thesis contributed a great deal to nourishing the legend of a national disinterest for modernity and to amplifying the many criticisms regarding the (immature) character of the Italians. It also provided a progressive slant to the accusations of small-minded egoism at first aimed—by the right as well—at the ruling class of liberal Italy. However, it duly passed unobserved that such a brilliant reconstruction was not the result of a specific study of the Platone in Italia but rather a frank examination into the history of Italy—one that led Bollati to identify the Italian blight of political opportunism (trasformismo) in the very origins of the nation-building movement. This gives rise to the impression that his interpretation of Platone in Italia, brilliant and fascinating though it is, and however intense its emotional heft, is wholly restricted to a sense of preoccupation for the present moment: it pays little or no attention to the actual significance of the work in terms of the political and cultural context that engendered it. Evidence of this is to be found in the actual terms with which Cuoco, in Platone in Italia, refers back to the classical world: for Bollati that quest into the past in search of improbable national

32

Bollati 1972: 973–80.

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primacies fashioned antiquity into a protective shield for the Italians’ cultural backwardness and political conservatism at the beginning of the 19th century. However, as has been seen, a careful examination of the work suggests exactly the opposite. That is, that the text is entirely structured around the values of modernity, where the recourse to ancient times and the predatory use of classical sources constitute a mere escamotage in order to demolish the Greco-Roman political model deemed, certainly, of little use in the context of Italy’s new Napoleonic age. Yet Bollati’s work is by now an interpretative paradigm of Italian history and society, and it is precisely its rigidity, the consequence of a rather suspect linearity, that works greatly to its advantage instead of causing harm. The result is that the visible movement from present to past constitutes a tendency that is widely present in the united Italy’s historiography. This, indeed, is always more inclined to navigate up the great river of the unified state’s history to seek at its very source— in other words, often in the Risorgimento itself, and certainly always in the early years of the new Kingdom of Italy—the roots of so many national inadequacies.33 It is a procedure which should be regarded with a certain amount of astonishment and which in Bollati’s reconstruction already has a largely instrumental aspect to it. It appears to lend itself to the operation of squaring the circle of a liberal Italy—if not of the entire 19th century—that is unfailingly responsible for the origins of the nation’s modest nature in modern times. In fact, to pursue this particular perspective a little further, despite the presence of a variety of incongruities and exaggerations, the contrived aspect of Bollati’s reconstruction has never been a matter of discussion. The result is that nowadays the essentially conservative character of Cuoco’s work is still taken so much for granted that no attempt is even made to try to evaluate the assumption which inspired the author, in other words the wide circulation and authentic success of Platone in Italia in Italy between the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. In fact, if there is no doubt that with this work Cuoco intended to provide the new Italian nation with a historical and cultural foundation, there is still a great deal to be written regarding the actual success

33

See, with regard to everything mentioned so far, De Francesco 2006a.

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of a proposal of this type in 19th-century Italy. Alberto Banti, focusing in a recent study on the memoirs of the early 19th century, made a case for Platone in Italia as a text that would become one of the Risorgimento’s canonical works.34 It is an idea lent credence by the well-known Lettera semiseria di Grisostomo (‘A Not-wholly Serious Letter from Grisostomo’), the manifesto of Italian popular Romanticism written in 1816, in which Giovanni Berchet makes a point of noting Cuoco’s work as one of the fundamental readings to suggest to his son.35 Then, in 1831, in an essay on the development of Italian literature in the first part of the 19th century, Ambrogio Levati, himself responsible for a novel concerning Petrarch’s travels in France, did not hesitate to put Platone in Italia alongside Manzoni’s Promessi Sposi (‘The Betrothed’), the novel which had become the model for conventional literary Italian, suggesting that both were destined to form the foundation of modern Italian narrative.36 Levati commented that Cuoco’s work, when it came to light, was perhaps more important for the allusions that were discovered therein: these have vanished, or rather with the passing of the years have become less recognizable; what remain are the majestic foundations of the structure based on historical truth and the soundest philosophy.37 In other words, in Levati’s view, Platone in Italia, having lost the allusive connotations of its character imposed by the Napoleonic era, had been restituted, in the interest of contemporary readers, to the historical and philosophical basis which so profoundly marked it. This reading, however, seems not to have been greeted by the wide consensus that he expected. From the very first years of publication voices were raised in protest, emphasizing the fragility of Cuoco’s work.38 It was the nature of the novel itself which aroused such perplexity, throwing so much together as it did—history, philosophy, literature, travel, antiquarianism—yet seeming to untangle very little. This was almost immediately pointed out by Melchiorre Cesarotti in an interesting judgement which he took care to send directly to the author himself.39 Moreover, in contrast to Levati’s assertions, with the passing of time the work was overtaken in literary terms by the development of the historical novel. It held on to a moralizing value at most, which

34 37

Banti 2000: 45. Levati 1831: 304.

35

Berchet 1816: 35. Andreoni 2006.

38

36 39

Levati 1831: 301–4. Andreoni 2006: CXXX.

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long influenced the literature of southern Italy,40 but this did not allow it to maintain its position in a historical and archaeological context. In other words, Cuoco’s idea of following Vico’s youthful musings to reassert the ancient origin of a cultural primacy for the peninsula’s inhabitants would last throughout a large swathe of the 19th century and innervate Risorgimento discourse. Similar success, however, would not be achieved by his proposition to gather the prehistory of the entire Italian people under the banner of ethnic unity. On the whole, then, if for some 19th-century scholars Platone in Italia was already a novel destined to lose its way in the face of the new directions that the national narrative was called upon to follow, even worse things seemed to be happening in the context of its reconstruction of Italian antiquity. Here, a similar stand had been taken against Cuoco’s work that wanted, given its lack of the kind of concrete documentary evidence that would legitimate it as a reference source, to see it restricted to a literary sphere alone. All this brings us to the curious work by the cavalier Camillo Ravioli, published in 1865 in a still-papal Rome and dedicated to the peninsula’s ancient forms of civilization. In the introduction the author, aware that the theme had for some time been coursing through the country’s cultural world, immediately pressed home the claim for his own work’s originality, briskly rejecting the idea that his ideas were ‘a summary of Guarnacci, a repetition of Micali, or a plagiarism of Mazzoldi’.41 With these words, however, Ravioli also produced a chronological (and indirectly qualitative) list of the works that had preceded his and dealt with the same area. Its roots were once again located in the work of Mario Guarnacci, which has been mentioned above, but to this work, with its primogenial fame in the studies of Italic antiquity, Ravioli was careful to add those of Giuseppe Micali, the erudite Tuscan who in 1810 had published L’Italia avanti il dominio dei Romani and in 1832 the Storia degli antichi popoli italiani, where—and this has also been previously mentioned—an Etruscan primacy was insisted upon with equal emphasis. The third author in the list was the Brescian Angelo Mazzoldi, who in Milan in 1840 had published another weighty effort regarding Italic primacy in the civilizing process of the ancient world,

40 41

See in regard to this G. Gemelli’s curious work (Gemelli 1882). Ravioli 1865: XI.

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which had enjoyed considerable success and been reprinted a number of times.42 Ravioli’s selective criterion is confirmed by Mazzoldi himself, who distanced himself from Micali in his own work, deeming the latter to have wandered from the truth at several points. Mazzoldi, however, expressed agreement on the plausibility of Guarnacci’s thesis, which he asserted to have become aware of only when his own study was nearing completion.43 Mazzoldi, nonetheless, completely avoided mentioning Cuoco, who always referred to Guarnacci in relation to the reconstruction of the ethnic unity of the ancient Italians. It is also significant that, in return, Ravioli did not even list Platone in Italia among his works of reference, despite knowing it well, and in fact citing it in the same work in another context, notably when bringing it into play to help legitimate the affirmation that the Italians paid little heed to their glorious past.44 All of which suggests that, implicitly at least, Ravioli appropriated Mazzoldi’s approach in reconstructing the genealogy of Italic antiquity and, following the other, excluded Platone in Italia because he did not consider it a true work of scholarship, and certainly not a work of history, regarding it rather as merely pertaining to the sphere of ethics. Platone in Italia met with a similar lack of acknowledgment from the world of archaeology. The observations that Lucien Bonaparte, prince of Canino, developed on the basis of investigations carried out at the end of the 1820s in Etruria, may be taken as exemplary in this case. After a rich period of study, he came to the conclusion that Italy had indeed transmitted its own cultural model to Greece: it was a

42

Mazzoldi 1840. ‘True to my proposition to take only the ancients as my guide and not read the moderns, if not only when the succession of facts was already clear and ordered, in order not to be led astray by some of the many contradictory hypotheses which have proliferated in all research until now, was it not a marvel to me to find, with this present work almost complete, in Guarnacci, perhaps the most unpolished but certainly the most judicious writer amongst those who deal with such material, the principle already in place that the Pelasgians who brought civilisation to Greece were in fact Tyrrhenians who had departed from Italy?’ (Mazzoldi 1840: 8). 44 ‘If someone should enquire of me why until now it has neither been seen nor attempted to do what I hazard with thought and pen, I may immediately respond with these words recently placed on the lips of Plato: ‘The Greeks and the Italians would turn away in similar manner, but rushing to two opposite extremes: the Italians to excessive disdain of themselves and the Greeks to immoderately praise themselves’ (Ravioli 1865: XXXV). 43

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hypothesis achieved through substantial reference to Guarnacci, while no mention at all was made of Platone in Italia.45 Things did not go much better for Cuoco in the field of popular history. At the end of the 1830s the Milanese Cesare Cantù, returning to the subject of Italic antiquity in his ponderous Storia universale (‘Universal History’), found words of praise for both Micali and for Lucien Bonaparte; Platone in Italia and its author were forgotten once again, however.46 It does not seem, in other words, taking all these various angles into account, that Cuoco’s work played an important part in the success of Italic antiquity as a profound influence on nation-creating discourse during the period of the Risorgimento. This leads to two rather weighty consequences that bring about the overturning of the way in which the ideological and cultural models of the 19th-century Italian national movement are regarded. On the one hand, demonstrating Platone in Italia’s marginality in the 19th-century debate on Italic antiquity, it appears evident that Gentile (and Bollati after him) greatly exaggerated Cuoco’s role in the formational process of the national identity, requiring his work to meet demands and expectations of the Risorgimento movement that it could not entirely encompass. This unilateral identification of Platone in Italia with the origins of the nationalist movement led to shaping the birth and formation of the latter around an ethnical and cultural principle that seems, however inaptly, backdated to the beginnings of the 19th century.47 This manoeuvre, aimed at bringing uniformity to the entire political culture of the Risorgimento within this same context, 45 See Bonaparte 1829: 171–85. On archaeology in Rome during the Napoleonic years see Ridley 1992 and, more recently, Nicassio 2005. 46 Cantù 1838: II, 393–411 and Cantù 1839: I, 740–4. 47 This seems to me to be repeated by Di Ciommo 2000b: 417–52, where in deference to a ‘strict polarisation in patriotic discourse, since its origins, between the republican conception linked to values of liberation and emancipation and the ethnocentrism composed of the cult of the mythical superiority of the country’ (p. 424), Cuoco was immediately enrolled, along the lines traced by Bollati (p. 426) and even before by Gentile (p. 432), as the founder of a ‘project of national rebirth’ and connected to the ‘Machiavellian ethos of force in linking the ideas of the modern nation not to liberty, according to the postulates of republicanism, but to state power’ (p. 434). The conclusion to this reading of Cuoco’s work, which not coincidentally may be deduced from one of the many texts dedicated to him in the Fascist era, presses the point that ‘for the ethos of anti-equalitarianism, for the doctrine of oligarchic power, for the conception of the primacy of the state with respect to the individual and for the absence of limits of political power’, Cuoco’s thesis in fact even anticipated a ‘conservative revolution’ (p. 438).

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in the end broke up the plurality of the elements within the nationalist movement, leading them back to ethnic and cultural criteria which would find complete form only in the aftermath of unification. Only then, regained (and rearranged) in deference to requirements and preoccupations which had in the meanwhile gone their different ways, would they be brought back into shape. The alternative to this reconstruction, which still dominates the field today, is provided by the second conclusion suggested by the analysis of Platone in Italia’s lack of influence in Risorgimento terms. That is, that Micali’s work, in its stead, constituted the true reference point in the development of the theme of the Italian people’s origins and that, as a consequence, it is to his work that we must look in order to restitute the whole question to its real terms. It was a point that did not pass unobserved even by Banti, who did not in fact forget to note that the Micalian model was different to that of Cuoco’s.48 However, it was an intuition that remained unexploited, partly because, in the studies of cultural history regarding the Risorgimento that have come to dominate the scene over the last few years, the theme of antiquity has essentially been sacrificed in favour of that return to the Middle Ages for which the Risorgimento generation provided so much evidence. The rather useful conclusion therefore is that the idea identified above seems of certain interest in relation to returning to the theme of the concrete modality through which the nation-creating process took shape. From this perspective, the method suggested by Camillo Ravioli seems a highly promising one: he proposes that the theme of Italic antiquity had percolated through the eighteenth and then the nineteenth centuries, thanks to the mediation of Micali, whose work, even though coming in for criticism, was never forgotten by writers dealing with ancient Italy. This perspective suggests carrying out the research in strict chronological order: in other words, taking Micali’s various ideas in order to concretely measure where, to what extent, and, above all, how his lessons came to be reproposed over the course of time. This constitutes a great opportunity to reinterpret the origins and the themes of nationality and at the same time represents a way to reread a large part of the cultural history of unified Italy that leads us to a more sober and less recriminatory—but not for this reason less exculpatory—judgement regarding the nation’s recent past.

48

Banti 2000: 74, n. 40.

2 A plural Italy Vincenzo Cuoco’s Milan correspondence is very revealing about his high expectations—both in terms of earnings and literary recognition—of the publication of Platone in Italia. However, the results do not seem to have lived up to his hopes: even after the publication of the first two volumes, Cuoco went on with his journalism, something which seemed to offer no concrete prospect of success. At the same time, his attempts to launch himself into a career in government also came to nothing. So, in 1806, the return in force of the French to the south of Italy convinced him to abruptly leave everything behind and return to Naples. Here he hoped to be treated with greater consideration by the new king, Joseph Bonaparte, whose attempts to establish a new order were being met with a great deal of resistance from the traditional ruling class. Cuoco sold the rights to Platone in Italia to the bookseller Giegler, just as the third and final volume was coming out, and paid little attention to the second edition of his Saggio storico—largely reshaped to take into account the new political situation when he was already in Naples—that was being brought out by Sonzogno. Such lack of attention was explained by his search for a good position, and, for once, as Pietro Giordani was later to testify, his calculations were not wrong: in just a short space of time Cuoco embarked on an administrative career that would take him into the Council of State and lead him to organize the works of the commission responsible for the abolition of feudalism. But it was under the rule of Joachim Murat (1808–15) that he truly became one of the key figures in the Neapolitan government. He was one of the main inspirations behind, among other groups, the ‘Italian’ party within the executive, which called for a politics independent from that of France, to the point of forcing the king to change

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alliances in 1813 and then, in 1815, to undertake the unfortunate military enterprise of uniting the entire peninsula under his sceptre. Meanwhile, despite the whirlwind of activity necessitated by his government position, Cuoco still found time to pursue the work as a journalist which had brought him so little recognition in Milan. Even when he was especially busy, he never neglected the kingdom’s official journal, where, through reviews, he often broadcast news concerning the main cultural developments taking place in both France and Italy. It was in this context, in May 1811, that he published a highly complimentary review in the columns of Monitore delle Due Sicilie of Giuseppe Micali’s L’Italia avanti il dominio dei Romani, a work already discussed above, which the Florentine publishing house Piatti had brought out in four volumes just a few months before. Cuoco’s article includes the following passage: Our author begins the story of the Italian people in ancient times and continues almost until the era of Augustus. To some this seems to exceed the limits of the premise, but the author has desired to relate the history of Italy until it became a Roman dominion: which did not occur if not after the Second Punic War; but even after this epoch, their rule was never secure until the end of the Social War, which took place only a few months before Augustus [ . . . ] To political history, our author has added that of art, and in our opinion the anteriority of Italian culture to that of Greece is clearly demonstrated. Until today, we have never had a book concerning ancient Italy imagined on such a vast scale and executed with such impressive learning. Some would have preferred that the author had not neglected certain explorations which formed part of his subject. The question, for example, of the origins of the Italian people still offers a wide field for many useful and ingenious investigations; the physical state of primitive Italy may, and indeed does, shed much light on the genealogy of the Italian peoples [ . . . ] It is above all a pity that the author, in speaking of Italian philosophy, did not follow at least a little in the tracks of Vico: he could have demonstrated that the philosophy of the Italians was essentially different from that of the Greeks, and was their own; and explained more clearly to us what this philosophy was. Concerning the laws of various of our cities of Magna Græcia he has followed the commonest opinions, which are not always the truest, and so forth. But we should remember the famous saying of Montesquieu: a book must be judged for what it is, and not for what it might have been. And the book which Signor Micali has given us is excellent indeed.1 1

Cuoco 2000: I, 363–6.

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Cuoco was not, therefore, sparing with his compliments, but neither did he hesitate to put forward certain profound reservations, emphasizing how Micali’s work, while appearing absolutely necessary, was still unsatisfactory on many points. This attitude seems to be a clear reflection of the writer’s perplexity: having pondered deeply over the same theme, even if from another point of view, just a few years before, he now saw the meaning and vision of his own work confirmed only in part by the work of the other. As a matter of fact, Cuoco should have been extremely excited by Micali’s work, since, from the point of view of historical knowledge, it seemed to confirm his own thesis of an ancient Italic culture primacy. The latter writer also expressed the conviction—to quote again from Cuoco’s review—that Our civilization preceded that of the Greeks, it has the essential characteristics of originality, and we owe this only to the land we live on and the skies we live under, and to the energy of mind and heart with which nature has enriched us.2

Cuoco was not mistaken on this point, since the theory of autochthony is clearly visible in Micali’s writings, even though the author’s first proposition, independently of the ancient origins of the peninsula’s inhabitants, was to demonstrate the presence of a great Etruscan civilization in Italy before the Roman conquest, one separate from Greek colonization.3 In other words, Micali was concerned to restore visibility to a world which the expansion of Roman power throughout the peninsula had rapidly extinguished. His work was appropriately divided into two distinct parts. The first described the ancient Italic peoples in detail and, drawing on a rich horde of documentation, reconstructed their social realities, institutional structures, and cultural models. It was a precise and timely description, where each population was presented as a subject in itself, clearly outlined and with their salient characteristics illuminated. A total picture emerged that was both composite and plural, where reciprocal 2

Cuoco 2000: I, 364. For a description of Micali’s work, the first stop must be Treves 1962a: 293–311, to which should be added the notes in Treves 1962b: 19–35 and some notes in Albarani 2008: 94–9. There is a biographical work by Colombini 1998: 35–47; but also see, for a return to Micali in a context that considers him more carefully in political and civil rather than academic terms, Desideri 2009. Other authors who have touched on Micali’s work will be mentioned in the following pages. 3

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influences were certainly not concealed, but within which lay confirmation of the author’s desire to keep the consideration of each single people distinct. Thus, through his writing, these peoples did in fact demonstrate a specific and individual identity.4 This section served as the introduction to the second part of the work, which deals with the historical events that, over the almost five centuries during which Roman power extended throughout the peninsula, led to the Italic populations’ loss of independence. The originality of this approach to ancient history was down to the absence of Rome from the equation. The events that run from the time of Romulus to the Social War are reconstructed from the point of view of the defeated—those Italic populations, in other words, which vainly attempted to confront the expansionism of aristocratic Rome. In this way, Micali was able to turn the traditional reading— which portrayed the history of the peninsula from the Roman point of view—on its head, providing, for the first time, concrete testimony of how these populations had lived for over five centuries. The Italic peoples would be defeated (and because of this virtually forgotten by history), but political dissolution under the Roman dominion did not mean cultural degradation. Micali’s work thus became a great contribution to the knowledge of ancient Italy, which had been neglected for too long due to the military triumph of Rome and the cultural hegemony of Greece. Indeed, it represents the first truly comprehensive history of the Italic peoples, the reconstruction of which not only deliberately excludes the Romans, but at certain points in fact accuses them of eliminating, through force, the peninsula’s ancient civilization. The Greeks, too, who managed to conquer only a part of southern Italy, come in for some cutting judgements concerning the often violent way in which they established their settlements on the coasts. Taken as a whole, therefore, L’Italia avanti il dominio dei Romani stands as a moving homage to that Italic world which, as Micali describes it, constitutes the foundation upon which the whole history of the peninsula would, over time, be built. These are the features which are echoed in Platone in Italia, where the anti-Roman winds blow equally strong and which shares the rejection of Greek cultural primacy, producing in consequence a

4

Casini 1998: 262–7, but see also the comments, dated as they are, in Coen 1878.

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hymn of praise to the virtue of the ancient Italic world. This suggestion was made, for example, by the Pomba cousins, when they reprinted Cuoco’s work in Turin in 1852. In the introduction, they were careful to record how Platone in Italia was ‘an uncommon work of history, criticism and philosophy, which, studied together with Micali, helped to give the reader, as exactly as was possible, an idea of the ancient Italian historical period’.5 The similarity, however, ends there. Micali’s book—and it’s no coincidence that he makes no reference at all to Cuoco’s work therein—remains solidly based on the traditional terrain of 18thcentury antiquarianism. He shows great indebtedness to the scholarship of Denina, but demonstrates no inclination towards the ethnicpolitical dimension which Cuoco had given to his praise of Italic antiquity. This explains, therefore, why Cuoco, in the review quoted from above, complains that Micali limits his passion for the peninsula’s past to mere learning. He took pains to point out that, since the work lacked a firm philosophical framework, it could not act as a basis that might encourage the construction of a national spirit throughout the whole peninsula. Micali, for his part, could only reply in 1830, through the words used by Pietro Capei, a collaborator on Giovanni Pietro Viesseux’s Antologia, a journal that published the leading Italian literary figures of the 1820s and 1830s. Capei wrote that, although the two works were strictly related, with Micali’s study of antiquity following the Vichian model widely circulated by Cuoco,6 they were very different in terms of actual research, since the Tuscan historian would never have adopted a line of argument that was not firmly supported by documentary proof.7 And in effect the discovery of the Italic world, the direct consequence of the anti-Romanism that so dominated Italian culture in the 5

Cuoco 1852: Gli editori [s.n.p.]. ‘Cuoco [ . . . ] well demonstrated by example how much knowledge could be brought to Roman history if someone dedicated themselves body and soul to gathering together the remnants of information and the monuments regarding the history of Italy’s primitive peoples. So, all recognition and praise to our Micali, who gave himself to the satisfaction of this need with all he had of Greek and Roman philosophy, criticism and learning, publishing in 1810 L’Italia avanti il dominio de’ romani. It is not necessary for me to eulogise this work, famous by now not only in Italy but all over Europe’ (Pietro Capei’s review of Niebuhr’s work in Antologia: Capei 1830: 30. 7 Capei 1830: 31. 6

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18th century, did not imply that the two works were the reflection of a new political and cultural climate (by which I mean the one that came to be created following the French invasion of the peninsula). Even less could it be said that it was in consequence tinted with an antiNapoleonic sheen. On the other hand, as is well known, this was a viewpoint that gained credence in Germany, where the German translation of Platone in Italia had, since 1806, suggested (not wholly without foundation) an anti-French reading of the work.8 This later made it possible for Niebuhr to extend the concept erroneously in his writings to Micali’s work.9 The political events of the 19th century would create the circumstances for a periodic reproposal of this interpretation, and it has even turned up once again in more recent Micalian criticism.10 However, a concrete reference to the political development of the peninsula seems be to lacking: the biography of Micali, compared to that of Cuoco, confirms how the same generation, formed around a set of common cultural values (in which antiRomanism was a distinctive feature), did not for this reason necessarily respond in the same way to the arrival of the French armies in the peninsula.11 Born in Livorno in 1769 (and so only a year older than Cuoco) and involved from an early age in the commercial work of his father’s company,12 Micali developed his cultural interests through the many business trips he undertook. These led him to meet, among others, Parini, Beccaria, Verri, Mai, Mascheroni, Delfico, Canova, and Denina. Only for a brief period of time, however, did he feel it his duty to abandon his beloved studies for the far more turbulent arena of

8

Andreoni 2006: CXXIII. On this point, see Niebuhr 1846: I, 73. Also, the considerations of Momigliano 1992: 648, which in part corrects Mascioli 1942: 379–80. Treves, in contrast, assumed a more nuanced position, suggesting how Micali, ‘a follower of the Enlightenment [ . . . ] a late arrival from the 18th century’ did not in fact harbour sentiments adverse to Napoleon, but ‘would of necessity be found in the anti-Bonaparte party’ due to his ‘fidelity to Enlightenment ideologies’ (Treves 1962b: 296 and 305). On this point, in line with what has already been noted, see also Firpo 2008: 303. 10 Desideri 2009: 243–7. 11 A direct comparison between Cuoco and Micali is made by Treves 1962a: 302 and Treves 1962b: 32–3. 12 For a description of the significance of the Micali emporium in the Livorno of that period, a busy commercial centre in the eastern Mediterranean, see, among others, Gorani 1793: III, 94–6. 9

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political involvement.13 This aspect comes out clearly in his letters to the poet (soon to become fervent revolutionary) Giovanni Fantoni, who demonstrated distinct enthusiasm for all things new and French.14 However, his interest in revolution was only a slight overlap with his interest in ancient Italy. In 1790, in a letter to his friend Melchiorre Delfico, Micali was already sketching out a plan for the work he had in mind: As long as we continue to prop up the matter of our origins with the scraps of information gathered from ancient writers and the spirit of system, I believe that we will never move forwards even one step in the knowledge of the truth and will remain eternally enmeshed in vain suppositions. I have always shared your view that the Romans enviously suppressed everything they took from Italy’s first peoples, far their superior in reason and culture, and even more so have I always mistrusted the authority of Dionysius of Halicarnassus and the other Greek writers, who, with overweening vanity, suffocated and silenced the truth in their historical narratives, attributing everything to their own nation, where, as Juvenal said of Greece, emenda audet in istoria. I note that the memoirs of Fréret, and his system, later corroborated by Bardetti, have their supporters, but I will never be persuaded that an insurrection of Germanic tribes or Celts or, as others would have it, a colony of Lydians, Phoenicians, or Egyptians had, as if by a miracle, populated Italy. It appears to me far more in conformity with nature and reason that, in a country where there has been such marvellous physical and moral development in every period, there existed in the remote past an indigenous people, who by their own natural industry were able to elevate themselves to an astonishing degree of culture and knowledge. This hypothesis – which is very different from that of those who have made an autochthonous people of the Etruscans and the ancient Italics – with the help of philosophy, of monuments and of the little genuine information that remains to us, I go on seeking to validate as best I can and scrap by scrap. But having to analyse in depth all the ancient writers and make a vast number of comparisons, I can only proceed slowly in such a work, and who knows if I will have the time or the will to go on with it.15

13 For a reconstruction of the biographical events of Giuseppe Micali, see Pera 1877: 329–45. 14 In regard to this, see Mangio 1974: 103–4, Mangio 1991: 81–2, and, more recently, Desideri 2009: 243–4. 15 Delfico 1904: IV, 172–3.

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At first, however, his political interests must have distracted him somewhat from his studies, and we find his father complaining, to the same friend, Fantoni, accusing his son of neglect, not so much of his reading but of the affairs of the family, in order to embrace the revolutionary cause.16 Micali’s enthusiasm for the new France must have remained strong throughout all of 1795, because it was from Milan itself, where he was able to go for a period, that he described the new constitution of the Year III in bitter terms, seeing it as a clamorous backsliding in democratic terms.17 Something must have happened to cool down Micali’s revolutionary fervour, however, since in that same year, 1795, the exchange of letters with Giovanni Fantoni comes to an end, and a year later there is an immediate rush of enthusiasm on the latter’s part for Bonaparte’s invasion of Italy. At this time, Micali was in Paris, where he had arrived in March18 and had taken on a position of responsibility in the Tuscan legation led by Count Neri Corsini.19 Here he had time to study, as witnessed by some articles in Décade philosophique,20 but these should not be taken separately from his ambiguous relationship with the circles that hindered the democratization of political life in France under the Directory. In the middle of 1797, an anonymous pamphlet, printed in Genoa—the author of which was none other than Bartolomeo Boccardi, the ambassador of the Ligurian Republic and at one time a friend of Micali’s21—reported an alleged plot to halt

16 ‘I will omit to remark upon literary knowledge, because this is an excellent thing, but in my opinion the most beautiful literary knowledge is the obligation of one’s own state: especially in those who, like Geppino, must for the good of the family occupy themselves with practical matters, rather than political developments, good, very good, to pass the day for those with salaries or for those who have nothing better to do.’ Letter from Giovanni Carlo Micali to Giovanni Fantoni, dated 19 January 1794 in Archivio di stato di Massa (ASMs), Fantoni, busta 274. 17 Only partially cited in Mangio 1991: 81–2. 18 See, in ASMs, Fantoni, busta 274, the letter from Francesco Micali to Giovanni Fantoni dated 9 March 1796, where he says that ‘Geppino has written only once from Paris, a few lines just to let us know of his arrival.’ 19 Pera 1877: 335. 20 Desideri 2009: 244. 21 For the attribution of the pamphlet to Boccardi, see Vitale 1935: 70–6. For the friendship between Micali and Boccardi, see ASMs, Fantoni, busta 274, the former’s letter to Fantoni of 2 January 1794, where he comments on the nomination of Boccardi in Paris with the following words: ‘I take great pleasure in the election of

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the work of democratization in the peninsula: a plot involving both the Tuscan ambassador, Neri Corsini, and Micali himself. The pamphlet sketched a portrait which is worth repeating here: Corsini [ . . . ] has his emissaries, amongst whom there is a certain Michali, son of the famous Michali of Livorno, a spirited youth, full of knowledge and talent, but without character, unless one calls character that which combines perfidy and the most refined cunning, utterly corrupt and without morals, a most active, resourceful, versatile dissembler, who has presented himself at almost all the houses of Paris, who frequents all the cafes, all the shows, all the parties, all the walks, all the infinite games they play in Paris day and night; who for a long time pretended to be a friend to Liberty with the patriots, who at the end understood his perfidy, but who in substance has always been and is even now intimately linked to the French and Italian counter-revolutionaries. He is that Michali claimed, not without serious reason, to have directly worked against the independence of Lombardy and to be the author of that infamous brochure that boasts the title Que ferons nous de l’Italie? 22

This last accusation in particular, given the perplexity which the pamphlet had immediately provoked in patriotic Italian circles,23 testifies to the distance that had by this time opened up between Micali and the revolutionaries. And if others have excluded the possibility that the suspicions put forward were founded on truth, attributing the anonymous pamphlet to the counter-revolutionary writer Lacretelle,24 it remains certain that the accusations against Micali of being an enemy to the Italian cause continued to live on in the beliefs of patriotic public opinion. Even in mid-1799, in a

the excellent Boccardi, a true triumph of merit and virtue. I shall seek out some Genoese lawyers to announce this happy news and share my joy with them.’ Boccardi continued to remain on good terms with Fantoni, even after the latter’s relationship with Micali came to an end. See in regard to this the letters of Boccardi published by Rossi 1995: 52–88. 22 See the anonymous pamphlet, Congiura scoperta in Parigi contro la libertà di Genova e dell’Italia, Genova, s.n.t. 1797, reproduced in its entirety both in Vitale 1935: 63–9 and Oxilia 1937: 107–12 (the above quotation is to be found on p. 109). 23 A summary of the debate aroused by the publication of the pamphlet is in Rao 1992: 111–14. 24 This refers to Giorgio Vaccarino, who advanced ‘the hypothesis—from the spirit of the contents and the recurring expressions therein—that the pamphlet is one of the anonymous works of Lacretelle.’ See Vaccarino 1955: 22.

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petition drawn up by Italian patriots who had taken refuge in France, the same charges were duly referred to.25 For this reason, whether these insinuations were true or not, the fact that, between 1797 and 1799, Micali was indicated as the author of a text that, more than any other, cautioned against the possibility of an early democratization of the peninsula, can leave no doubt concerning his distance from Italian patriotism. Bonaparte’s arrival in Italy had thus swiftly brought the relationship between Micali and Fantoni to an end; the one, retracting enthusiastically his oftenexpressed certainties concerning a profound immaturity in the Italian character, the other—who had not been backward in sharing his own disheartened reflections on his disillusion with the Italian people— drawing further inauspicious confirmation, from the developments of democratization in the peninsula, of the possibility of liberty there. This aspect suggests that the text of L’Italia avanti il dominio dei Romani26—a work that was in all probability begun in the years immediately following 1799—should be regarded from a rather different perspective than the one it has normally been afforded. In fact, keeping in mind how, from the very beginning, Micali kept his distance from revolutionary circles, it is probable that events under Napoleon strengthened the anti-Romanism in him. But it is also no less plausible to find in the work a pained reflection on the reasons for the collapse of the ancient Italian states—beginning with Tuscany under the House of Lorraine—when faced with the destructive challenge of France. This is a reading suggested by the fact that, in the clear display of a nexus between past and present, Micali places the work of Montesquieu at the very centre of his thinking. He took from the Esprit des lois the model of a federative republic—an example of statehood 25 This refers to the pamphlet Adresse au peuple français et à ses représentants, Grenoble, J. Allier an VII [1799], also available in the Italian version, Indirizzo dei patriotti italiani rifugiati al popolo francese e ai suoi rappresentanti, Genoa, Frugoni and Lobero, Year III of the Ligurian Republic [1799]. The French text is reproduced in its entirety in Peroni 1955: 18–27, where on p. 22 in a note Que ferons-nous de l’Italie? is attributed to ‘Joseph Micali’. On the political debate that this text intended to provoke, see, apart from the notes of Peroni, Rao 1992: 194. 26 ‘The treaty of Amiens meant that the choice of Micali by the Infante Charles Louis King of Etruria as the royal representative to the First Consul Bonaparte was rendered useless. However he would have liked to entrust him with other important positions; but he made his excuses, wishing to be more active and industrious in his investigations of ancient Italy’ (Pera 1877: 336).

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immune from internal dictatorship and the risks of external aggression27—and applied it to the context of the ancient peninsula, demonstrating how the old Italic cities were never able to establish a relationship with each other. This reciprocal isolation had, on the one hand therefore, hindered the development of trade and hence economic growth, and on the other, had fostered the decadence of each individual city-state, making it possible for external threats to mount a challenge that in the end would prove to be victorious.28 Following such a trajectory, Micali’s work, begun in Italy on his return—thanks to Bonaparte’s triumph at Marengo—under the French aegis, constitutes an anguished reflection on the reasons for the collapse of the peninsula’s ancient states and takes on the semblance of a troubled quest through the past in search of the causes that would bring about the recent disaster. Nothing could have been further, in other words, from the ideological context of the Italian patriotic movement, which saw the destruction of the old order and the establishment of a new statehood in line with the French example as the immediate basis for transforming the peninsula into a nation. Micali instead rejected all of this: he maintained that the peninsula’s Italian identity was an essentially cultural element that should not be dragged into the field of politics. At the most, he thought, it could be converted into a federative logic between the ancient states. It was no coincidence that in those years others, including Count Napione, would also become promoters and exponents of the same idea.29 Read in the context of regret for the loss, yet again, of Italian independence, the work therefore seems the result of the simple return to studious pleasures by a man who, initially enthusiastic for the new France, would never have allowed this to deflect him from his

27 On this point, see Ansart 2009: 410–11. Another aspect that suggests Micali’s interest in Montesquieu’s model is his attention to the work of Raynal and the favourable opinion he expressed to Fantoni concerning the poem entitled Il commercio ossia il genio di Raynal, Livorno, la Società tipografica 1795 (see ASMs, Fantoni, his letter dated 19 August 1795). Treves does not go down this path: he sees Micali’s interest in commerce as a vector of civilization in terms of the example of the maritime republics. See with regard to this Treves 1962a: 302. 28 Some comments on this point in Colombini 1992: 17. 29 Malandrino 2000. It’s worth underlining the interest with which Napione regarded the work attributed to Micali. Que ferons-nous de l’Italie? is in fact cited as a supporting text in his reflections on the destiny of Lombardy dated 1797 and reproduced in Bianchi 1877–85: III, 570–611.

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views concerning the political and cultural specificity of the peninsula. This explains his immediate change of opinion when the intentions of the conqueror from the other side of the Alps were made clear, both on the occasion of Bonaparte’s first invasion and at the moment of his return in force to the peninsula after the Brumaire coup d’état. It seems plausible therefore, in this light, to draw the conclusion that L’Italia avanti il dominio dei Romani is the work of a traditional scholar, supporting the independence of the Grand Duchy of Tuscany, but not one willing, in the name of an Italian nationality founded on the French ideological example, to renounce his own specific political and cultural traditions. This reconstruction is not invalidated by the fact that many years later—in 1810, in fact, with Tuscany by now an integral part of the Napoleonic Empire—Micali, his work already in print, immediately decided to present it to the competition held by the reformed Accademia della Crusca.30 This prestigious academy, founded in Florence in 1582 for the purpose of purifying the Italian language, had been suppressed in the late 18th century, but was re-established by Napoleon himself in 1808. With its objective of showcasing a highly deserving Italian work, the initiative should have been an extremely welcome one, intended as it was to demonstrate how, notwithstanding the end of Tuscan independence and its annexation by France, the Italian tradition, with Florence as its central stronghold, was more than capable of defending itself against the cultural influence of its northern neighbours. It was for this precise reason that Micali took part in the competition: a gesture designed to pay homage to a cultural institution that encompassed and expressed the truly Italian aspect of the specific Tuscan cultural identity. There had been a lot of water under the bridge since Micali had displayed signs of discontent with French supremacy, and with the offer of his own work he could hardly have been suspected of being a political dissident. When the Accademia had second thoughts over the initial result—where the work was ex-aequo winner together with Giovanni Battista Nicolini and Giovanni Rosini31—and decided to entrust the choice of an overall winner to another jury, Micali, according to the spiteful and certainly biased stories circulated by 30 31

See on this point Cantù 1868: I, 169–70. Concerning the competition and the arguments it raised, see Fatini 1948.

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Nicolini, went to great lengths to curry favour in official quarters in order to obtain the recognition he craved.32 It seems a simple matter, then, to conclude that the only thing that linked Micali and Cuoco33 together was a mere 18th century-style anti-Romanism. This gives rise to the impression that the involvement of both figures with the revival of Italic antiquity is too frail a connection to establish that they shared a common goal. At the most, it may indicate that the same cultural background could lead to the pursuance of paths that might be described as running parallel to one another. What makes the difference—and suggests the distance that should be maintained between Cuoco and Micali—are in fact the political and cultural premises of the two works, not only far from similar but to a large extent actually in conflict. The work of the former is a fascinating leap into the unknown. Although completely lacking in any plausible reference to historical data, it makes a strong claim for 18th-century antiquarianism as the terrain that could provide the materials, once unearthed, to allow the construction of a new and original Italian identity. In short, the 18thcentury Italian cultural tradition appeared to Cuoco of little value: it was the expression of a world on which the sun had set, one incapable of standing up to the modernity of 1789. It did, however, offer ideas and subjects that, if revisited in a new and ambitious context in line with the dictates of new cultural models, could still come in very useful as a virtually inexhaustible documentary source. Micali’s work, in contrast, remains wholly within 18th-century traditions, not only maintaining precise points of contact with the Etruscology that had dominated the field of Lorraine Tuscany but forcefully asserting a 32 Niccolini writes in a letter to Mario Pieri in December 1810: ‘Micali is now doing his utmost to annul the decision and have everything. He resorts to any vile manouevre and artifice: praise, offers of money, letters to French dignitaries, empty promises, and perhaps indeed they will in the end let him have his way.’ In another letter, to Andrea Mustoxidi, of January 1811, Niccolini goes on to insist: ‘You know that Micali has plotted to have the entire prize, and has won many of the new judges over to his side: he convinced Baillou with the promise of 30 napoleons, the curlyhaired pygmy with reverence, Sarchiani with victuals, many more with other vile means, all of them effective. You will see this History of Micali’s declared classical and sublime, where there is neither logic nor language nor good sense. Amongst the many follies that flood forth from this imbecile’s pen, you will find in Volume III, where he talks of the Italic school, that Pythagoras invented and perfected arithmetic through the application of mathematics. Read the Micalian book and you will see every page pullulates with folly’ (Vannucci 1866: I, 398 and 400). 33 Treves 1962b: 24.

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continuity with that cultural model of the peninsula which Cuoco, through the artificial reconstruction of the Italic period described in Platone in Italia, had intended to reshape and at the same time definitively lay to rest. Both works drew widely on what the 18th-century studies in antiquity made available, but are poles apart in the use they made of that huge amount of data. While Cuoco held that such studies, in the context of an Italy under Bonaparte, were at most a field whose data still had to be carefully disinterred, read, and interpreted, Micali, notwithstanding printing his work in a Napoleonic Tuscany that was by then an integral part of the French Empire, instead asserted a direct cultural continuity with the past century. It is a difference that says much concerning the different ideological universes of the two authors.34 Confirmation of this is to be found in the profoundly different significance that they gave to the Italic autochthonism that was the starting point for both of them. Cuoco, as has been said, considered the question of the indigenousness of the antique Italic peoples a fundamental one: a reading that kept within internal boundaries made it possible to identify the peoples of the peninsula as the custodians of ancient knowledge and, resorting unabashedly to the implausible, to state that the Etruscans, inhabitants of the peninsula from primeval times, had managed, long before the Trojan War, to colonize Greece itself. As a result, in Cuoco’s more than imaginative reconstruction, the arrival of the Hellenic colonies on the southern coasts of Italy was for them a simple return to their homeland. This gave him licence to conclude that the ethnic and cultural uniformity of the Italians substantiated a long-standing nationality which made it possible for them to claim a significant position in the European domain. Micali, in contrast, had no truck with this kind of theorizing. He was not interested in the wholly political problem that Cuoco had set himself of constructing a nationality in harmony with the ideological models arising from the revolution and its overflow into Italy. In deference to the traditions of the 18th century, he was concerned with another (rather more limited) preoccupation: that of redefining the meaning of the peninsula’s antiquity. While rejecting the GrecoRoman tradition, however, he was not interested in tracing back the

34

For a comparison of the two, see above all Treves 1962a: 305–6.

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origins of the Etruscan civilization to the Lydian ascendancy or even in offering his support to the concept of a Celtic origin for the Italic world. He did, however, wish to establish the recognition of a plurality of peoples present at the same time on the peninsula, whose autochthony would both have given them much in common while simultaneously making it difficult for them to organize in a hierarchical manner. From this point of view, the claim for indigenousness— of the Etruscans, as for all of the other ancient Italic peoples—meant that they could all be proposed on the same level (therefore bringing together in comprehensive terms what the individual antiquarian traditions had until then proposed) without diminishing their multiple diversities, their specific traditions, their many ways of defining the reality—not coincidentally a plural reality—of ancient Italy. However, what the treatise of the work seemed in itself to exclude, was reasserted in its actual articulation: and a hierarchy of value soon made its return, in the description of the great families that had populated the peninsula. The Etruscans, needless to say, played a dominant role, with Micali defining them purposefully as ‘our nation’.35 Their somatic traits came in useful to indicate typical Italian physiognomic characteristics and their cultural primacy is mentioned at more than one point.36 It was a preference, however, that did not rule out his fair treatment of the other peoples, whom he praises with eloquent sincerity. The Italic peoples are given an interpretation that is at once precise and selective: on the one hand, he insists on the absolutely foreign nature of the Greeks, who he describes as mere aggressors, while on the other, he states how absolutely distinct and little evolved were that other people, the Gauls, whose invasion was a ‘mortal portent of those plagues which have come from beyond the mountains’37 and whose conquest of the northern regions, ‘that best and most abundant part of Italy [ . . . ] sundered it forever from all the rest [ . . . ] by this strange twist of fate changing laws, customs and names.’38 Finally—and this is the point worth underlining—Micali had no hesitation in stating that, in contrast with the Celtomania which was so triumphant in France, and with the Cuocian interpretation which, through Etruscan forbears, made the Italics and the Greeks into a single people, the Italy to which he looked, and of which he was 35 37

Micali 1821: I, 120. Micali 1821: III, 45.

36 38

Micali 1821: I, 103–40. Micali 1821: III, 53.

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determined to reconstruct the story, was in reality that of the times of Republican Rome. While its northern border ran from the river Magra to the Rubicon, in a large area of the south the Greek presence had changed—and changed profoundly—the nature of those indigenous ancient peoples who had had to live alongside the newcomers for such a long time. So, in one way, Micali came to the conclusion that the northern regions, with the Etruscan presence crushed under the destructive impact of the Gauls, had actually given up its Italic identity, attributing the facts of their historic events to those of Rome alone. In another, he offered an interpretation of the peninsula’s southern peoples, with their strong Greek influence, that was destined to conform to the stereotypes that so many 18th-century travellers circulated in such a convincing fashion.39 Overall, the ancient Italy he had in mind was best exemplified by the centre-south region, with the exclusion, however, due to the strong influence of the Greek presence, of such offshoots as Sicily, Apulia, and Calabria. He gave an appreciative description of the many peoples that inhabited the other regions, and this did a great deal to enhance the picture of a composite and plural peninsula: a picture which was, in consequence, extremely different from the one presented by Cuoco. While the latter paid no heed to the differences between the territory’s inhabitants in order to underline—notwithstanding the lack of any concrete proof—the ethnic uniformity of the Italians, Micali firmly held on to the idea of their diversity. He focused on the very concept of autochthonism (and therefore in contrast to the Gallic and Greek invaders) as the true element that bound them together. This difference of opinion regarding the origins of the Italian people was the sign of how revolutionary events and the traumatic experience of the Napoleonic period in the peninsula would only 39 ‘All southern Italy displays to the careful observer many singular accommodations between ancient tradition and popular modern custom. The women paid to lament for the dead are easily distinguishable in the aged Calabrians declaiming their suffering, destined to follow the deceased to the tomb with mournful plaints and chants. These funerals are governed as other times by these peoples with rigorous gloomy ceremonial: otherwise, many apparent traces of dainty superstitions and old customs are found everywhere in the manners, hairstyles and fashion of the other sex. A certain most lively transport for the pleasure of the senses, a great passion for dancing and singing, can be said to be generally predominant in the two Calabrias’ (Micali 1821: I, 256–7). It is significant that to confirm these affirmations Micali quotes from the travel books of Swinburne and the German Riedesel. See Sweet 2012, esp. 193–6.

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partially disturb the 18th century’s common cultural matrix. It gave Cuoco the idea to emphasize an indistinct (because revolutionary) nationality, but did nothing to shift Micali in his convictions: he held steady to the weight of tradition. The discovery, from different viewpoints, of Italic antiquity sounds therefore like the umpteenth sensational testimony to the Napoleonic period’s significance in the construction of a national culture. However, at the same time, it also suggests how superficial it would be to believe that in those years the intellectual universe of the peninsula was largely on the side of the new order imported from France. The example of Giuseppe Micali and his work is instead proof that the old world remained a strong presence, even though it did not necessarily hold firm to the principles of the Ancien Régime, and to a certain extent coexisted (when not actually co-operating) with the new power. It is this very persistence that indirectly raises the problem both of the nature of its contribution to the construction of the 19th century and of the actual terms of its eventual legacy to the generation of the Risorgimento. The case of L’Italia avanti il dominio dei Romani duly provides a summary of all this and in this regard raises more than one problem, since the work was extraordinarily popular. It went through three different editions in the 1820s alone—appearing in Florence, Milan, and Genoa respectively—and this was followed by an 1842 reprinting in the patriotic editions of Capolago, in Switzerland. The Pomba cousins printed another edition in 1852 in Turin, a city which was then the meeting place for exiles from all over Italy. Its great success was borne out by its inevitable presence in the libraries of the Risorgimento generation, and proof of the work’s long-lasting interest is found in the publication, again in Turin, of an edition even as late as 1887, when the era of unification was already under way.40 Then, silence. And it is surely no coincidence that it is a silence shared with other scientific and cultural trends in Italian studies of ancient history.41

40 Regarding the different editions of the work, apart from the 1810 and 1821 editions already cited, see Micali 1826, Micali 1829–30, Micali 1842, Micali 1852, and Micali 1887. Notwithstanding the many reprintings and the extensive debate that, as will be seen, the work stimulated within the patriotic front, it does not, however, feature in the list of greatly read books compiled by Banti 2000: 45. 41 Momigliano 1966b: II, 803–5.

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Nonetheless, the publishing success of Micali’s work should have a somewhat quieting effect on the considerations of those who have succeeded in emphasizing how the subject of antiquity was a minority one in Risorgimento Italy compared to references to the Middle Ages, with the free communes looming over every other politico-historical reference when a (national) discourse on liberty was required.42 This is, needless to say, a highly credible reading from a historiographic point of view. It is one that always moved, nevertheless, along lines wholly within the national movement, to the great advantage of the element that arose triumphant from the struggle in the name of patriotism: those cultural circles, in other words, marked by strong social conservatism and prudent liberalism, which interpreted the medieval communes as (among other things) the birthplace of a patrician citizenship destined to influence the events of the many Italys of the modern age and obviously called to a new pre-eminent role in the future national state.43 With reference to the writings of Muratori and Sismondi, the emphasis given to the Middle Ages as the most influential historical period in relation to the Risorgimento’s driving force was a path that led to the profound moderatism of the mid-19th century.44 It did much to sideline the contribution that circles of other political and ideological extraction would make to the birth of cultural models in the patriotic generation. In other words, it seems here that the interest in the fortunes of Micali in early 19th-century Italy was all cut to the cloth of future Giobertism and, more generally, of that many-hued world, both patriotic and conservative, which would assemble or, to be more exact, would subsequently be gathered, under its name. The triumphs 42

Momigliano 1987: 77. The notes by Brunello Vigezzi on the birth of Lombardy regional history are exemplary in this regard; see Archivio storico lombardo 1975: 1, pp. 262–96, now in Vigezzi 2010: 268–71. 44 This is the basic theory of many essays that Piero Treves dedicated to the Italian 19th century; see the interesting account in Pertici 1994: 720–32. It is important to emphasize here how, as an alternative to this reading, all compressed into the 19th century, Amedeo Quondam has recently intervened to restore importance to the cultural weight of the 16th century in the construction of Italian identity, but how this perspective, important though it is, ends up continuing the rejection of antiquity. So we read in his introduction to Ascenzi and Melosi 2008: VII: ‘in our identityforming discourse [ . . . ] that which has instead constituted the primary modality for national European identity is wholly impracticable; and that is research into remote preclassical and pre-Christian antiquity and their collocation in a distant, mythical elsewhere.’ 43

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of so-called neo-Guelphism meant that, as a result, little attention was given to how the entire Italian intellectual world, in all its great variety, had been engaged, often critically, with Micali’s work, or to how the latter, given the huge interest regarding his work, had found the occasion, as well as the necessity, to revise it over the years. What seems still to be lacking therefore is a more structured enquiry into how Italic antiquity could intersect with the political and cultural sensibility of a peninsula criss-crossed by tensions generated by young nationalist movements, yet at the same time remain constantly loyal to the political beliefs of the Restoration. It is necessary therefore to verify if (and eventually how) Micali’s research made a real mark on the interests of the intellectual world of the time; where consensus and dissension tended to gather; and if this difference of opinion was uniformly distributed between those who had already made a patriotic commitment and those who, while claiming themselves to be Italian, were not prepared to sacrifice everything on the altar of the nationalist cause. Micali’s studies appeared to be a theme with the potential to arouse a wide range of interest, both among those who pleaded for a solution to the national problem and those who believed that this particular issue should not even be on the agenda. In any case, it seems that L’Italia avanti il dominio dei Romani was a work which, due to the very plurality of its approach, was destined to focus a great deal of attention on the question of Italian identity (though this, in the peninsula in the early 19th century, could be quite another thing from a specifically national sense of the term).45 All this took place because the memory of the Italic past, lacking a specific classification of merit between peoples and supported by a rich fund of information, did not seem to be coloured by a specific interpretative key. In other words, it appeared to offer a generic totality, approachable from either left or right, in which anyone could find solid evidence supporting arguments that were not only different but often opposed to one another. The huge variety of documents presented and commented upon that tore away the veil of ignorance from a long-past period which had, however, certainly not been forgotten by the peninsula’s cultural tradition; the detailed description of an era where the Italic peoples 45 See the brilliant pages in Bruni 2010, where research concludes, not surprisingly, with Cuoco’s work, suggesting the richness and flexibility of Italian identity in the previous centuries and the legacy this left for the Risorgimento generation.

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were constantly eulogized; the pretext of restoring a past of shared grandeur to the peninsula’s inhabitants without having to touch one’s forelock to the assimilating work of Rome: all these offered plenty of scope for everyone—from the nationalist movement to partisans of Restoration, from moderates to radicals, from conservatives to democrats—to take all the comfort they might desire from Micali’s pages. All of this remains largely unexplored because reconstructions of the intellectual history of the 19th century have been compelled to follow a somewhat similar path. This involves placing Micali’s heritage in a vice-like grip, squeezed between the undoubted importance given to his work by the federative Giobertian projects in the name of Italian primacy and the violent criticism from philological and scientific circles which the disciplinary construction of ancient history would soon have in store for it. The result was, for a long time, to favour the valorization of only one component of the many who interpreted Micali, and notably—as already mentioned above—the regionalist circles. While their convergence under the banner of Gioberti is not in fact so predictable,46 their rigid collocation in the context of an academic tradition with an antiquarian perspective allowed them (correctly) to be promptly written off as an inadequate proposition in the face of the cultural Germanism that, on Niebuhr– Mommsen lines, was destined to dominate the field of Italian studies in the era of unification.47 This reading—where Micali is the certain progenitor of so much neo-Guelphism48—has, however, more consequences than premises on its side, and seems to reflect a backward process in the interpretation See again Treves’s considerations, for whom the work’s reprintings ‘attest to the patriotic popularity of a work greeted as a poem re-evoking a lost free homeland and even more dear for not being reduced to the suffocating model of Roman-style Mazzinian unity’ (Treves 1962a: 300): considerations that are irreproachable in the first part, but dictated by the propensity to over-exalt the neo-Guelph identity in the second, where anti-Romanism takes on moderate and anti-republican shadings. 47 Mazzarino 1973: 4–7. 48 Treves himself suggests this reading. He believes Micali may even have subscribed, thanks to his second work, to the neo-Guelph trend (Treves 1962a: 301); but see Sebastiano Timpanaro’s exemplary considerations (Timpanaro 1980: 375–9), where, among other things, on p. 375, he rightly states how ‘the Italian patriotic and anti-Roman trend [ . . . ] beneath an apparent uniformity conceal often very different ideological and political contents’. To this note can be added that of Giuseppe Giarrizzo, who in turn tends to undervalue the extensive interpretation of neo-Guelphism given by Treves and a large part of the Italian intellectual 19th century. See his concise comments in Giarrizzo 2004: 173. 46

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of Micalian misfortune—one that frankly seems designed to legitimate the specific meaning adopted by the political and cultural event of Italian unification. An interpretation of this kind, however, appears aimed at privileging the critical line of philological circles in regard to the acknowledgement that L’Italia avanti il dominio dei Romani was a work destined to fly beyond the environs of mere academia, to end up colliding with the political and ideological sensibility of the time. It is certainly worth remembering therefore how the floodgates of criticism regarding utter scientific inadequacy opened up at once, with Francesco Inghirami starting things off. Inghirami, a student of the archaeologist Luigi Lanzi and therefore a supporter of the Herodotusian thesis of the Etruscans’ arrival from Lydia,49 openly contested Micalian autochthonism, arguing that this viewpoint undervalued to too great a degree the role that the Greeks had played in the ancient peninsula’s cultural growth.50 Equally relevant— though both far weightier and far more damaging—were the later

49 Inghirami 1811: XIII, 6: ‘While the Author warns us of entering a road that has not yet been opened I declare the opposite, that I go down a street that has already been opened by Lanzi followed by the most modern and learned of our century.’ Inghirami would return to the point, going back to the pamphlet and integrating it with other observations in Inghirami 1821: I, 265–83. On this point, see also Desideri 2009: 227–31. 50 The Greeks, according to Inghirami, ‘become Italic for their long presence in Italy before the Roman dominion have equal right with the Etruscans to illustrate the history of the ancient Italian peoples with their monuments’ (Inghirami 1811: 10). A Milanese literary journal would later base some bitter comments on Inghirami’s criticism and ‘recalling the rancid defence of Guarnacci’ emphasize how ‘Sig. Micali, greedy to arbitrarily attribute many inventions to the Italians, fills the silence of the ancient writers with hypotheses, discredits or combats their testimony, and plotting against every law of criticism or argument, frankly denies them his faith when they write of the arrival of the Greek colonies in Italy and the light of civilisation they brought with them [ . . . ] decide, o reader, if Sig. Micali is more deserving of the prize awarded to him in Florence or rather the teacher’s lash’ (Il Poligrafo 1811: 1, XXXIX, 613–16). There followed, inside the supplement to the same journal, a sort of criticism of the importance previously given to Micali, where it wrote of how ‘four pages of antiquity’ had been palmed off ‘under the false name of literature. Frankly we have never understood that antiquarianism forms part of literature; but; even should you wish to graft it thereto, it will be its tomb’ (Antipoligrafo 1811: 1, n. 10, 154–5). Some years later, Ambrogio Levati would be prompted by these comments to say: ‘Micali gave us a work which is not sincere even in its title, since [ . . . ] after just a few pages, we are already in a time where the Romans exist. The ancient monuments added to the work are all already rather well-known [ . . . ] In their explanation [ . . . ] the Author has invented an Etruscan mythology all his own and national to attribute to them the monuments he cannot otherwise explain’ (Levati 1831: 238).

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comments by Niebuhr. He had developed the theory of the reconstructability of the Roman world through the critical reading of sources and he believed that Micali’s great work was founded on the presumption of an Italic indigenousness that the results of research, by then on a linguistic level as well, had instead helped to undermine. The distant origins of the Etruscans, said the Danish historian, were incontrovertible: having entered Italy from the north, through the Rhaetian Alps, their settlement in Tuscany was simply the fruit of military conquest. It was also unacceptable, continued Niebuhr, to exclude the Romans from the Italic world. This made it impossible for Micali to understand how the much mistreated descendants of Romulus, overbearing conquerors in Micali’s view, instead provided solid proof of the intermingling between the peninsula’s antique nations.51 These two propositions emphasized by Niebuhr were destined to bear down heavily on the development of Micalian criticism. The first undermined the foundations of the idea of autochthonism, homologizing as it did Etruscans with foreign peoples; the second impacted upon the assumption of the Italic model’s persistence beyond the Roman conquest, finding in this only a nexus, on the ground of lineage, between the antique age and the modern world. On this point, from 1822 on, Sismondi was in agreement. He had been a constant critic of the spirit of Micali, which he felt hindered him from understanding entire chunks of the peninsula’s complex history.52 However, alongside such criticism—a foretaste of the work’s scientific misfortunes in the second half of the 19th century—other texts appeared which revealed how, from a different perspective, many found the work fascinating, and suggested the way in which Micalian 51

Capei 1830: n. 112, 47–53. Sismondi noted with regard to Micali’s work: ‘We are led to either doubt or incredulity regarding most of the translations which others have acccepted without any criticism; but in their place remains a vacuum that will always be impossible to fill: in the second part, where he tells of the resistance offered by the Italians to the Romans, he is limited to the monuments of the victors to trace the virtues and conquests of the defeated; but concedes perhaps too much to his diffidence and opposes too much of his own partiality to the partiality he himself suspects in the Romans’ (Revue encyclopédique 1822: 13, pp. 411–13). But see also the notes that Sismondi sent to the Countess d’Albany after reading the first edition of Micali’s work in 1810: ‘This partiality is felt in every page and they continually negate his assertions on the basis of his own memories or also very often on the basis of the reasoning from which these derive’ (Treves 1962a: 294–5). 52

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themes would occupy the attention of the intellectual world for a large swathe of the 18th century. And, taken as a whole, it is these comments, beginning in fact with Cuoco’s original review, that tried to mould L’Italia avanti il dominio dei Romani to the political interests of the moment, as well as to specific cultural expectations. The old Jacobin Francesco Saverio Salfi, for instance, reviewing the French translation of the work, suggested how it might even contribute to keeping the peninsula’s revolutionary aspirations alive, given that the primacy of Italic antiquity was founded on the federative model of the Etruscan cities where the democratic form of government would certainly have already come into being. And, referring his comments to contemporary times in the Cuocian manner, Salfi could even conclude with an exhortation to the Italians of the period: Admiring how much their ancestors did and invented, they should do more to resemble them and blush at this spirit of servility which, renouncing the search for resources within, waits for everything to arrive from others. I certainly do not mean that they should disown their good example and the fruits of their experience, but I think at the same time that they should appreciate and make use of their own faculties to complete and build on what their ancestors began. Micali’s work seems designed to reawaken these noble sentiments and in our eyes this is a great thing in an Italian writer.53

But alongside positions of this kind, where cultural choices flowed swiftly into the field of political opinion, there were many who, from another perspective altogether, appreciated in Micali’s work the simple summation of the various and specific kinds of antiquity. Individually, each of these could be used to develop a discourse concerning the country’s history which the Bourbon Restoration itself would regard with respect, if not with a vested interest. If it is true that in 1815, at the very moment of his return from Sicily to Naples, Ferdinand IV had appealed to his subjects with a timely reminder of the names of the ancient Italic populations that had inhabited the regions of the Two Sicilies,54 other authors, certainly not at all likely to nourish outstanding sympathy for the Bourbon king, would 53

Revue encyclopédique 1825: 27, p. 377. See the note by Fausto Nicolini in his edition of Cuoco 1916–24: II, 341. How important this aspect was in terms of setting off a specific process of nation-building in the newly created Two Sicilies is suggested by Rosselli 1824, where on p. 14, discussing the Greek identity of the capital, he states how the inhabitants ‘of Greek 54

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instead make explicit reference to Micali from a different perspective to recall, with equal relish, the Italian south’s glorious past. Again in 1820, during the brief constitutional period, Luca Cagnazzi, relying on 18th-century tradition (and on his reading of Micali), was able to argue how politics alone had placed the peoples of the south in difficulty, when their manifold abilities would otherwise have ensured a glittering future for them.55 In 1826, Micali’s old friend Melchiorre Delfico also found L’Italia avanti il dominio dei Romani (and indeed Platone in Italia) useful to back up his arguments: on the one hand, rejecting the peopling of Italy (and its civilization) by the Greeks,56 and on the other, insisting on a point that Micali himself had seemed to include, stating that a single Italic lineage, even though under a variety of names, was present in the ancient peninsula.57 Shifting perspective to another part of the peninsula, in Milan in 1819, Luigi Bossi, another old Jacobin, published Della istoria d’Italia antica e moderna (‘A History of Ancient and Modern Italy’), fully acknowledging his debt to Micali.58 The debt, however, lay not so much in terms of the theory of indigenousness—which Bossi accepted but correctly attributed to Fabbroni rather than

origin (as is irrefutably known to all) following Greek laws and customs, it was almost a sociable act for them to bend themselves to Roman statutes’. 55 ‘I must speak of the natural and good-tempered character of the inhabitants. Every discourse is rendered useless, however, knowing them to be of the same robust health, clear understanding, peaceable good-naturedness, wise character, where nothing is lacking in their personal capacity to raise public industry to the highest degree and establish the most perfect social order to produce national wellbeing as a result. If this has not occurred until now, it must be attributed to a purely political cause’ (Cagnazzi 1820: 123–4). 56 ‘Greek boastfulness is more bold, and the lovers of Greek glories consecrate their pains to augment their virtues. They look at Italy as a savage land, where the Greeks were the first to stir the seed of sociability and learning’ (Delfico 1824: 10–11). 57 Delfico 1824: 48–9. 58 ‘He believes he would be lacking in his duty if he did not recognise to have also frequently profited from the learned research of Sig. Micali, author of Italia avanti il dominio dei romani [ . . . ] even though sometimes the author of Storia d’Italia has been forced to disagree with him, it is to be hoped that this will never be attributed to envy’ (Bossi 1819–23: I, XVI). On the political and cultural personality of Luigi Bossi, and in particular on the literary work mentioned here, see Siboni 2010: 367–71. There was harsh criticism from Levati: ‘But if someone was tempted to inquire of us [ . . . ] if the Author had done well to employ ten large volumes to relate the history from the remotest times until the transfer of the Empire to Constantinople [ . . . ] we must respond, no’ (Levati 1831: 237).

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Micali59—as in the reference to Italic civilization. He recognized its greatness and, following Micali, blamed both the Greeks and the Romans for its collapse into oblivion.60 In the years immediately after, Bossi’s work would become a fixed point of reference in the Austrian Lombardo-Venetian Kingdom, as only a little later in 1824 another man of the Napoleonic era, Giovanni Tamassia, published a work on the ancient peoples of Italy, citing both Bossi and Micali. This work echoed the praise bestowed upon the peoples of the pre-Roman era and the division of the country into three parts: Gaul, Italy, as it was called, and Magna Græcia (and Sicily)—defined in this way following invasions from the sea and the Alps.61 Another scholar, a civil servant employed by the Austrian government, Antonio Quadri, was working along similar lines in nearby Venice, his work on the peninsula’s ancient history taking Bossi’s history but also Micali’s preceding work as its points of reference.62 In the Grand Duchy of Tuscany, too, there were plaudits and appreciation for the work of their prestigious fellow citizen: the collocation of the Etruscans as the primus inter pares among the Italic peoples simply helped to confirm (but also to define in wider terms) the region’s pre-eminence in a peninsular context.63 And it would be useful to develop similar considerations in other territories, beginning with the Papal State. Its component parts, with their claims to Umbrian and Etruscan ascendency, were not slow to make their voices heard, clearly intending to establish an original identity (often claiming extremely ancient individuality and, therefore, substantial privilege for themselves) with respect to Rome.64 59 See Bossi 1819–23: I, 137–9. Concerning the reference to Fabbroni’s Degli antichi abitatori d’Italia (Fabbroni 1803), it is worth mentioning how the theme is little known and is not even touched upon in the above-mentioned biography of Fabbroni by Renato Pasta (Pasta 1989). 60 ‘With good reason does Micali say that those remote centuries lack perhaps the pen of a Thucydides, a Livy, a Tacitus, to save the deeds of these first peoples from oblivion and to make them live in the memory of posterity. The ancient history of Italy, he goes on to say, disfigured by the Greeks, vilified by the Romans [ . . . ] offers only mutilated and scattered fragments’ (Bossi 1819–23: I, 141). 61 Tamassia 1824: 176–9. The author would confirm this theory shortly after in Tamassia 1827: 62–4, where he praises Micali and Bossi. See also, still regarding fulsome praise for the work of Bossi (and indirectly of Micali), Margaroli 1828: I, 65. 62 Quadri 1826: I, 28–31. 63 See the comments by Timpanaro 1965: 242–9, to which should be added Porciani 1979: 130–44. 64 A good illustration of how exaltation of antiquity intersects with examples of municipalism (and self-government) is the case of Bologna, studied in the liberal era in Körner 2009: 128–60.

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This way of looking at Micali’s work, applying material that his scholarship had brought to light referring to individual territorial regions, in an Italian context, constituted therefore a widespread phenomenon. This did not escape the notice of the historian himself. He continued to mine the same seam, publishing another weighty work in 1832 (when L’Italia avanti il dominio dei Romani was at the peak of its success), once again in Florence, entitled Storia degli antichi popoli italiani (‘A History of the Ancient Italian Peoples’): he used it to further develop the same themes. For Massimo Pallottino, who not many years ago did much to bring sense and reason to Micalian historiography, this latter volume served only to update the previous work, with the result that from a scientific point of view nothing significant was added to L’Italia avanti il dominio dei Romani.65 The observation is well founded, since, even in 1844, publishing the final piece of work to integrate with his second history, Micali openly declared that all his life as an academic had revolved around the single proposition of restoring the study of ancient Italy to scholarly attention.66 However, as far as this present work is concerned, the picture presented is a different one, both because Storia degli antichi popoli italiani significantly rekindled interest in Italian antiquity and because above all it would be this text by Micali that was most cited in Italy at the time of the national revolution. It was also quite fortunate in publishing terms, being quickly reprinted in Milan in 1836 and then again in Florence, first in 1844 and later in 1849.67 It is a publishing history that indicates how in Italy at the moment of its, in many ways decisive, appointment with the national revolution of 1848, Italic antiquity was certainly not a marginal theme to the 65

Pallottino 1976a: II, 772, n. 2. ‘Not for this do I bring into the light a book only of antiquity; nor is my aim in publishing it to expatiate upon bronze figures, marble, and painted vases; but rather to make all these monuments of ancient times serve to illuminate the most extensive and least doubtful knowledge concerning the religions, customs and most universal habits of our ancestors; inasmuch that the antiquity depicted, reproducing the most truthful facts and customs in the most efficacious language, helps us also to understand better than any books all the life of a nation. Such was also the objective in my preceding works, to which the present is a continuation and indispensable appendix’ (Micali 1844: II). 67 In order, the editions of Storia degli antichi popoli italiani were as follows: Florence: Tipografia all’Insegna di Dante, 1832; Milan: Fanfani, 1836; Florence: Galileiana, 1844; Florence: Tipografia del Vulcano, 1849. 66

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cultural debate of the times and that both of Micali’s works offered a significant contribution, the second more than the first carrying out an especially prominent role in this regard. All this suggests examining rather more closely the reasons that convinced the Livornese historian to make other demanding additions to the work that he had finished long before in 1810. In appearance, these were soon clarified in the introduction, where Micali stated that he wanted to respond in this way to the criticisms of the Danish historian Niebuhr and the German Etruscologist Müller, both of whom supported the Rhaetian origins of the Etruscans. For the occasion, he reminded them—for the use and consumption of an Italian public, however—how ‘in the science of its national history, Italy has no lessons to receive from the outside’, and a consideration of this kind also came in useful for a eulogy of Vico, which reads like a tardy but significant recognition of the importance previously given to him, along the lines of Cuoco’s.68 He also stated his intention to go back to his initial observations and, if necessary, revise them in the light of new discoveries made by archaeological research; not, however, from a linguistic perspective, an aspect which Micali rather tended to hold at a distance. During these revisions, he altered judgements and convictions present in the first work, significantly playing down the anti-Romanism and hostility towards the Greeks which pervaded its pages. He did, however, confirm the centrality of the Italic peoples in bringing civilization to the peninsula, even though in this regard he gave a great deal of credit to the thesis that the civilizing process had reached the Italic populations from the distant East.69 This last aspect was reinforced in his final work, Monumenti inediti a illustrazione della Storia degli antichi popoli italiani (‘Unpublished Monuments Illustrating the History of the Ancient Italian Peoples’), printed in 1844. Here, Micali was clear in his intent to use the descriptions of archaeological remains to demonstrate the debt owed, especially by the

68 ‘Italy thinks profoundly for itself, because this, so very efficaciously, is what it does best; and because, before anyone else, it knew, had known already for a long time, how to establish the basis of its own critical history, illuminate it and illustrate it, thanks principally to our Vico. Italy can and will, concerning any point, benefit from the learning of others, but, as much for its philosophy as for its national spirit, and for its genius, it has no necessity but of itself ’ (Micali 1832: I, IX–X). 69 Coen 1878: 26–9.

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Etruscans, to Egyptian civilization, and how knowledge reached the entire peninsula from the East. He would never, however, have the evidence that would confirm this particular transmigration. Nevertheless, the autochthonous populations present were able to take full advantage of this extraordinary opportunity, re-elaborating the suggestions they received in original terms to the point of creating a civilization antecedent (and superior) to the Greco-Roman era that was to follow.70 Independently, however, of these various considerations, the importance that Micali gave to the plurality of peoples present on the peninsula remained central to his second work—as the title itself clearly shows. It was still the true and recognized subject of his work, in the same terms previously outlined in L’Italia avanti il dominio dei Romani. Thus, the Etruscans were still regarded as being a step above the other Italic peoples, in some way coming to be identified with the Italians tout court.71 The Greeks, despite the benevolent comments expressed in the introduction, remained a population of warriors, their invasion courageously, and with some success, contested by the Italic peoples.72 Total silence was maintained concerning the Gauls, on the other hand, still reputed to be a violent and barbarous people, capable only of destroying what the Italic peoples had built. Finally—and this seems central to the whole enterprise—there was the author’s intent to contribute to the greater glory of Italy, recognizing in all its peoples a cultural primacy that alone had made it possible for Rome to completely recast it in the name of judicial and administrative uniformity. ‘If, however, profound ancient knowledge was first communicated to the West from the region where the sun rises, the nationality of the Italic peoples was indigenous, as it was the work of our wisdom to weave a system of well-organised civil instruction, the best suitable to the genius of a people tutored by the fluent imagination of their skies and tending by nature to the individual increase of their faculties. The great strength of the Etruscan institution was in the firmness of political order and in the tenacity of the law; but if they maintained the form with rigour, then as time drew on new needs, new desires and new customs were triumphant’ (Micali 1844: IV–V). 71 ‘The physical type or fashioning of the heads which most characterises the Italian race, and which neither the force of political revolution nor the act of civilisation has ever caused to vanish amongst us, is seen in them most evidently in many male and female portraits [ . . . ] these are the true and unaltered features of our forefathers. And that they were given to be a most ancient and illustrious people, we know from thousands of testimonies’ (Micali 1832: 103). 72 Micali 1832: 366. 70

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This aspect, which revived with greater clarity considerations that Micali had already put forward in L’Italia avanti il dominio dei Romani, reflected the success that his first work had achieved. Since its publication, many people (not necessarily all patriots) had come to recognize themselves in its image of a plural Italy, one founded on the unconfined contribution of such great diversity to a common cultural dimension. With the publication of Storia degli antichi popoli italiani Micali significantly returned to the question of love of homeland, even modulating it in scholarly terms in opposition to the cultural models provided by France. This was well received in a restless Italy, still, in the middle of the 19th century, impatiently seeking its own autonomous political collocation within the context of the European nations. In Micali’s work, in other words, the Romantic generation found a basis for confronting, often in conflictual terms, the specific meaning of Italian identity. Its cultural assertion (approved by almost everyone in need of claiming themselves distinct from foreign models) found reasons for its confirmation in antiquity. At the same time, the insistence on the plurality of the peninsula’s peoples seemed both to confirm the existence of ancient Italian states and also to lend strong support to the federal solution to the national problem which, unsurprisingly on the eve of 1848, dominated the Risorgimento political scene. In this context, the years that preceded the turning point of the national revolution saw Micali’s work become an object to be both read and discussed. It encouraged a revival of interest in antiquity, the usual testimony being the works of Cesare Balbo and Vincenzo Gioberti. As a viewpoint, it is not a mistaken one: both authors used recourse to ancient times as a powerful instrument to intervene in the political debate of the period. This aspect comes out most clearly in the works of Vincenzo Gioberti, who, publishing Del primato morale e civile degli italiani (‘On the Moral and Civil Primacy of the Italians’) in 1843, made careful reference to times past and drew confirmation from the presence of a Pelasgian lineage in the peninsula to establish both primogenial Etruscan antiquity and Italian descendancy from Greek culture.73 In short, Guarnacci’s Etruscology reached through Micali (as well as through Cuoco) as far as Gioberti, 73 ‘Inasmuch as the Celts, Germans and Slavs had till then but one civilisation, for which they abandoned primeval savagery in the Phalegic times; and they were obliged for this benefit to the Pelasgian people, and especially to the Italian branch. Which in

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who brilliantly developed that patrimony of notions into support for an Italic primacy that was by then truly political in its dimensions. In the Primato morale e civile degli italiani, however, it was also much more than this: to justify his own federative projects, all founded on the logic of an encounter between a variety of different subjects, Gioberti did not hesitate to bring the Italian territory into play, employing distinctions in anthropological terms which echoed the divisions used in his time by Micali. Thus the population of Piedmont is [ . . . ] of mixed lineage [ . . . ] resembles the Allobroges and the Valesians [ . . . ] and is close to the Lombards in terms of Pelasgian intelligence, though this is less precocious in them than in other parts of Italy because accompanied by a slower nature and the involvement of heterogeneous seeds.74

On the other hand, further south, [ . . . ] in the good nature and talent of the inhabitants there shines Hellenic genius, but less serious and moderate, more lively and mobile, tending to the superlative, fiery with southern ardour.75

The point of balance between these two extremes was to be found between Florence and Rome, in the heart of Etruria, where, again according to Gioberti, The Italic genius, born probably more to the southern wind amongst the peoples from which it takes the name and which still flourish today, was taken as a child and then slowly educated, nourished and brought to maturity.76

It thus appears evident that, without ever quoting him directly, Gioberti carried over the picture of antiquity developed by Micali: so much so that he brought the political model with it. In fact, Gioberti’s federative proposal—even though in the name of Christianity and grandeur exceeded the Greeks themselves: both because the maturity of the Hellenes came after that of the Etruscans and because the first flowerings of Hellenic genius bloomed in that region where the name Italy was born, symbolised by the Japhetic lineage, and were educated by Italian spirits; and because, in the end, from Roman Italy, the Greek seeds were taken and scattered throughout the world’ (Gioberti [1843] 1925: I, 147). 74 Gioberti [1843] 1925: III, 161–2. 75 Gioberti [1843] 1925: III, 182. 76 Gioberti [1843] 1925: III, 165.

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entrusted to the benevolent guidance of the Pope—was, only lightly veiled, the borrowing of an example to which Micali had constantly referred in his work.77 Compared with this perspective, the interpretative path of Cesare Balbo, who in the same years as Gioberti had also ventured some notes on Italic antiquity, seems a distant and, at the same time, opposing one. The Turin academic’s intention was in some ways extremely ambitious: through comparing the main works on the subject, he wanted to put an end to the debate, allowing the question of the origins of the Italian peoples to dissipate in recognition of a plurality of peoples (and in its enrichment), each different from one another, who arrived in the peninsula at different times.78 Determined to distance himself from Guarnacci’s municipalism, where everything was reduced to the Etruscan element, as well as from Bardetti’s insistence on the importance of the Celts, Balbo asserted that Italy [ . . . ] could not be the cradle of one single people, nor of only a few, kin by blood: if we therefore have a boast to make for ourselves, it must be the opposite of that which was vulgarly assigned to us; that, boast or no boast in other words, we must indeed be one of the nations formed of a host of lineages, our blood must indeed be one of the most mixed, our civilisation and culture one of the most eclectic, that has ever been.79

As far as this goes, the influence of Micali is clear. Balbo had read only Storia degli antichi popoli italiani, and it was from this work’s very pages, where anti-Romanism had been to a large extent toned down, that he borrowed the concept of the existence of a plurality of peoples in the ancient peninsula. He did not follow up this initial idea, however, useful as it was to assert his distance from the local scholars, all of whom limited themselves to a purely regional scope. Balbo soon shifted his ground to reinstate the Gauls on the one hand and the Greeks on the other, saying, in his own words, that Micali had sacrificed too much in the name of an overly restrictive interpretation

77 On this point, see some notes in Moe 2002: 122, which point out the anthropological differentiation introduced by Micali without, however, relating it to previous models already in circulation. A similar annotation is valid for Patriarca 2010: 20–1. 78 See Pavan 1977. 79 Balbo 1855: 441.

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of Italic indigenousness.80 Thus, in his interpretation, while the antiquity of the peninsula retained its plurality, the birth of the Italian people was the product of a fusion of a variety of lineages from which the Celts and Greeks could not be excluded: all the peninsula’s historically attested peoples had, though in different ways, contributed to the composition of the Italian nation.81 The difference in the positions of Balbo and Gioberti, both the result of an original re-elaboration of preceding works, were profound and reflective political options, very dissimilar from one another. Gioberti, promoter of a federative petition designed to break the impasse of a multiple-state Italy, was opposed to the constant support offered by Balbo to the House of Savoy and his complete loyalty to an Italian Piedmont, whose guarantee lay precisely in the representative nature of its monarchy. Balbo fully believed in King Charles Albert of Savoy’s shift towards Italian patriotism, seeing this as more than enough to resolve the national question. Gioberti’s point of view, however, namely a federation under the auspices of a Roman (and sovereign) papacy, signifying the choice of a plan of equality between the ancient Italian states, was one that Balbo could hardly share. For this reason, the theme of the Italian people’s ethnic uniformity remained a crucial point. In Balbo’s view, with his trust placed completely in the monarchy, the peninsula’s inhabitants were not at all distinct from one another on the basis of their original bloodlines: they were a complex melting pot, the result of repeated interminglings with different peoples that had taken place since ancient times.82 Gioberti, on the other hand, believed that all the peoples who inhabited the peninsula shared common ethnic roots

80 ‘Guarnacci makes everything Etruscan; Bardetti almost everything Celtic-Germanic. But these, opposite in appearance, are identical in total; making one original people, they encompass almost all the peoples in one. Micali continues with that which admits many originating peoples; but does not enter greatly into the classification of these, and then disdains completely all those with origins outside Italy. This may be called by some scientific prudence. But in science as in everything, prudence lies in giving up before the impossible, but only after having tried everything possible in the proof of it’ (Balbo 1855: 225). 81 This gave rise to Balbo’s interest in L’Histoire des Gaulois by Amedée Thierry: ‘And perhaps moving away from many Italians in order to move closer to a Frenchman, I thus rebel against certain types of patriotism. But I do not place patriotism in this baseness, this junk, these genealogies; and even less in rejecting the truth that comes from the mouths of foreigners’ (Balbo 1855: 249). 82 See Balbo 1846: 1–16.

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and this uniformity called for an end to political and administrative divisions in the name of a federation that would restore a common destiny to the people. Opposing ideas though these may be, they still confirm the significance of Micali’s work in the 1840s. On closer inspection, the writings of both men, even before setting out a particular line of argument, were concerned with taking stock of a theme which had engaged and stirred the intellectual world throughout the peninsula for a long period—a theme in which Micali’s original argument was central to the agenda.83 So, in Italy, on the eve of 1848, the theme of antiquity was anything but a subject for dusty antiquarian discussion: it was an instrument of revolutionary opposition, which, through the heated debate it aroused, played a significant part in the definition of national identity. In hindsight, then, an important passage in the cultural debate concerning Italian specificity was removed from the reconstructions of the past and lost. In the end, a Risorgimento perspective on antiquity—rather more multifaceted than, and to a large extent even divergent from, the stereotype long in circulation— was restricted to the experience of Rome alone. 83 This viewpoint is exactly the opposite of that suggested by Treves, for whom Micali’s works ‘served to insert and maintain Micali in the various choruses of disquisition, dissection and argument concerning the politico-patriotic pseudo-problem of Italic origins’ (Treves 1962a: 300), where any centrality of the Micalian theme appears lost in the wider picture of Risorgimento political culture.

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3 Unity in diversity The years leading up to the national revolution of 1848 was the period when Micali’s writings enjoyed their greatest popularity. His second work, Storia degli antichi popoli italiani, was especially useful, from one end of the peninsula to the other, among the various circles and groups, patriotic or otherwise, as a means of reasserting not only the expectation of the nation’s palingenesis but also—dictated by unrenounceable hometown pride—a widespread faith in the peace of the Congress of Vienna. This plurality of approach to Micali’s work shows through in a particularly convincing way whenever its influence is analysed on a territorial basis. Everything would suggest that this influence would be most warmly felt in central Italy, mainly due to the welcome given to his barely concealed prejudice in favour of the Etruscans.1 Parallel to this, it would be legitimate to expect less interest in the northern and southern regions: those regions, in other words, which his works placed on a different level because—as has been mentioned—Celts and Greeks had respectively made their influence felt in these two areas, profoundly transforming the cultural and anthropological traits of the Italic presence there in significant ways. But a close study of references to Micali in the works on antiquity printed in Lombardy, Naples, and Sicily gives a completely different picture: consensus, if on the basis of often contradictory suppositions, is equally widespread. In Milan, at that time the printing capital of the

1 See Uccelli 1853. In relation to this, the review by Ariodante Fabretti should be mentioned, where the Micalian derivation of Uccelli’s work is clearly indicated. See in this regard Archivio storico italiano 1855: n.s. 1, 163–81; for an interpretation of 19thcentury antiquarianism on the other hand, see the comments in Fraschetti 1982 and, though with a large part devoted above all to Sicily, the comments of Salmeri 1993.

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peninsula, Micali’s work had not only been highly successful,2 but his Storia degli antichi popoli italiani was so popular as to inspire the translation of Barthold Niebuhr’s Römische Geschichte, where, in the introduction, the anonymous translator is quick to remind the reader of the various relevant academic positions taken with regard to the theme of Italic antiquity. This nameless scholar, careful to place the 18th and 19th centuries together in the style of Vico and his reading of history as a source of knowledge, in fact gives a detailed excursus concerning the cultural events which had brought Niebuhr to his present positions, and during the discussion capably marshals all the required facts and shows a full understanding of the situation. His introductory pages mention Cuoco’s Platone in Italia3 and many emphasize the role of Micali, even going as far as to deny the rather evident disagreements between the latter and Niebuhr. He concludes, still following Vico, that [. . .] another Italian genius, whom I shall not name, and of whom I deem it too little to call by the very highest title [. . .] will soon bring forth another opinion that will perhaps provide the truth regarding the ancient and primitive Italian peoples.4

This none-too-subtle reference was to Gian Domenico Romagnosi, the most influential scholar in early 19th-century Italy. Immediately after reading Micali’s second work in 1832, that same year he published an extremely critical review, in which, through a mixture of learned and apparently implausible references, he suggested his discovery of Mauritanian origins in the peninsula’s civilizing process.5 For testimony to this, even after 1848, see Rossi 1852 who on p. 256 writes: ‘It is necessary to treat with preference those peoples that brought the Italic character; because of those others who lived in Italy yet formed a national system with peoples outside of this land and had with them a spirit of legislation or customs all their own, such as, for example, the Gauls and the Greeks, and of those others, of whom the political life is not known, it is not necessary to speak, except to indicate their presence in Italy.’ 3 ‘Also Vincenzo Cuoco, imitator of Anacarsi in his Platone in Italia, shows himself to be a faithful follower of Vico’s opinions concerning Roman history. He demonstrates by example how much would have been brought to Roman history had someone devoted themselves with all their force to gather together the remnants of the information and monuments of Italy’s first peoples. An example that was not lost, as often happens to such examples, because taken up by Micali.’ See also Niebuhr 1832: II, 388. 4 Niebuhr 1832: 398. 5 Romagnosi 1836. 2

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Romagnosi’s theory concerning the African origins of the peninsula’s inhabitants would never become a particularly popular one, but neither would it be immediately forgotten. In fact, in the Milan of that period, the Marquis of Malaspina, very much a man of his times, found occasion to refer back to and discuss the idea.6 Giovanni Campiglio, at the same time as Malaspina, also dedicated some pages to it in his hefty history of Italy from its origins to the Napoleonic period.7 The author paid due tribute to Romagnosi, whose intellectual path was evidently one that could not allow him to be ignored, but remained of the opinion that he should have kept to the point illustrated by Micali, adding markedly that ‘conjecture should never be mistaken for fact’.8 Shortly after this, Romagnosi’s theory was definitively put to one side, classified as the last legacy of a generation openly contested by a newer one impatient to finally make its presence felt on the cultural scene. The work of Angelo Mazzoldi, which we have already referred to above, bears witness to this intolerance towards the older generation of academics (and above all their reluctance to step aside). Reminding readers of the positions taken by those who had preceded him in this regard, he declared himself quite stupefied by Romagnosi’s theory, not knowing whether to put its origin down to facetiousness or senility.9 6 Malaspina di Sannazzaro 1834. See Luigi Bossi’s review of this short work in Biblioteca italiana 1840: LXXVI, p. 350: ‘Romagnosi [. . .] believed that with his extensive learning and fine judgement he had found the truth, or certainly the most probable of solutions, better than those claims made by previous authors.’ 7 Campiglio 1835: I, 56–66. 8 ‘On the other hand, having traced the ancient history of Italy in the nonhypothetical style of Micali, it was well to make known how Romagnosi, taking inspiration from a hundred clues, forces himself to see more things in them; explains it in various ways; and extends his gaze to the very origins of Italian culture. But let us remember never to confuse conjecture with facts; only these have their certainty’ (Campiglio 1835: I, 65). 9 ‘The opinion that the civilisation of Italy derives from the African nations placed along the Atlas chain of mountains has in itself such a stamp of inverisimilitude and strangeness, and is so contrary to every ancient tradition, that we would have spent only a very few words on the matter, were it not one of the greatest statesmen of our era, Gian Domenico Romagnosi, to hold this to be true and to proclaim it loftily in one of his latest works. Since I knew the argument of this illustrious ancient from before, a suspicion stirred in me that he wished, with this strange doctrine of his, to mock those who research into the origins of peoples; if not, reading the work, I should become convinced that indeed he speaks of it as true; and what is worse, a little later, a new memoir of the Marchese Malaspina di Sannazzaro arrives to assure me that his false

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Mazzoldi also made use of the occasion to declare an end, in the face of such odd and abstruse theorizing, to the vexata quaestio concerning Italic origins. However, his hypothesis was, if anything, even more imaginative: he not only insisted on the autochthonism of the Italic peoples but identified them with the mythical Pelasgian world, suggesting that following dramatic cataclysms—which in Greek tradition became the submerged Atlantis—this people had spread out from the peninsula (and Sicily, meanwhile had become an island) all over the Mediterranean, exporting wherever they arrived—whether Greece, Egypt, or Phoenicia—civilized values never attained elsewhere.10 This perspective, where the patriotic aspect is so radically developed that it becomes not only the basis for the whole argument, but also, in an openly surreptitious way, of all the evidence relating to it, was founded on two indisputable arguments. On the one hand, Mazzoldi stubbornly rejected any possible external contribution to the birth of the Italic peoples; on the other, he actually indirectly proposed the opposing theory, in other words that it was in fact the Italic people themselves, one single population stretching from the Alps to Sicily, and called Pelasgian by the Greeks, who were responsible for spreading civilization through the Mediterranean. Taken as a whole, nothing particularly new was on offer here: as we have seen, the first theory had been present for a significant period in the peninsula’s cultural panorama, and continued to passionately enthuse the first Italian patriotic generation in times very close to Mazzoldi’s own. The second hypothesis meanwhile, that the Italic people had actually exported, rather than imported, their civilization, was an idea that had been in circulation for some time, one which came in useful for reasserting the substantial homogeneity of the Italian people since demonstration had not only taken root but had also found applause amongst the Italians’ (Mazzoldi 1846: 60–1). 10 ‘And if we want to strip the tradition taken up by [Plato] of what his genius brought to it, to embellish it and lead it to the understanding which he had in mind, we cannot see it if not in these memories: that in ancient times a rich and powerful people came by sea to Egypt and to Greece sailing from West towards East; that in this passage of the Westerners was contained the most ancient memory of the Greek and Egyptian traditions; that the people that made use of it pertained to a great, rich and powerful kingdom named for the Atlanteans; that the Tirrenia was part of this Kingdom; that their country after the passage suffered terrible shaking and disruptions, by which the principle city of the kingdom was absorbed into the sea and covered by the waters’ (Mazzoldi 1846: 175–6).

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ancient times: a homogeneity against which the succession of invasions could have accomplished nothing. They were themes that seemed too similar to the rhetoric of the moment, to the claims of nationalism and burgeoning patriotism, and which came across as the overheated consequence of the way in which the rediscovery of Italic antiquity was able to restore dignity to a people that had dithered for too long on the margins of European modernity. And this impression is confirmed by the fact that, shortly after, a clear echo of his theories was to be found in Vincenzo Gioberti’s Del primato morale e civile degli italiani, where, as mentioned before, the myth of the culture-spreading Italo-Pelasgian travellers is used to legitimate the eternal claim to Italian centrality in the development of human civilization. This outlook that Gioberti and Mazzoldi shared concerning the Italians’ ethnic unity was far from being a majority opinion at the time, either in Italy or even in the far more limited compass of Lombardy. Aurelio Bianchi-Giovini, a freelance journalist fresh from long-term experience in Switzerland, returning to Milanese cultural life in 1840, had some very hard words to say about Mazzoldi’s work. In his opinion, ‘confusing the probable with the unlikely’ and remaining silent concerning the ‘filiation of languages which is such a powerful indication of a people’s origins’, Mazzoldi had, with reasonless complacency, concocted a hotchpotch of nonsense bereft of all scientific validity.11 According to Bianchi-Giovini, in Mazzoldi’s many pages there was not one mention of either Niebuhr or Muller, who had, if in different terms, brought clarity to the origins of the Etruscans,12 and his work offered a contemptuous shrug towards the ideas13 of Humboldt, Grimm, and Bopp that had given linguistics such a solid foundation. Mazzoldi remained silent concerning Adelung’s theories about the Pelasgian language14 and, with a host of new ideas available to him, restricted himself to reviving Guarnacci’s obsolete paraphernalia, the expression (again according to Bianchi-Giovini) of a cultural world whose time had passed, especially compared to a Europe that had 11 ‘But Signor Mazzoldi, rather than allow his research to follow the determination of the facts, has begun with the fixation of his system, then in demonstration extracts from authors the passages that seem best to suit it’ (Bianchi-Giovini 1841: 8–9). 12 Bianchi-Giovini 1841: 61–2. 13 Bianchi-Giovini 1841: 20. 14 Bianchi-Giovini 1841: 56.

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meanwhile become increasingly more sophisticated. The conclusion of this severe analysis also foreshadowed a criticism which, over time, with patriotic euphoria a thing of the past, would often come up again in the debate regarding the significance of a cultural model that established itself alongside the movement in favour of nationalism. I do not know what this craving is in so many Italians, this desire of theirs that every discovery, every aspect of civilisation, even those that hardly pertain to us, be yet in some way derived from us: and in this pretension it appears they place the principle of national pride. Yet Italy has already such potent and numerous claims to glory that it does not have to beg for those that are fanciful or unlikely. Italy alone offers the rich spectacle of the special energy of a people who, through arms, laws, religion and studies, has twice dominated the world and which in the midst of many vicissitudes has still not fallen. Every nation has its moment of greatness, Italy has already had hers, and may yet have one again, but for now it is the turn of other nations. What remains to us is to run with them along the path of civilisation, which moves at a swift pace and every twenty years brings forth a new revolution of ideas. We therefore, rather than imitate a family fallen into ruin that puffs itself up with pride at imaginary myths and buries its head in the past, should seek out information concerning the progress that science and art make elsewhere, and, if we cannot raise ourselves to the level of other nations, yet we may at least fight not to remain too far behind.15

Mazzoldi replied immediately to these harsh words, refuting the arguments raised by the other point by point—though not very convincingly. He did not hesitate to shift the dispute onto a generational (and political) plane, proudly recording how his work was highly criticized mainly for representing a youthful intellectual movement by now making its present felt on the Italian cultural scene.16 Bianchi-Giovini’s quick response was to publish yet another pamphlet,

15

Bianchi-Giovini 1841: 72. ‘It is my opinion that Sig. Giovini, who it seems is a scornful and combative man and already the author, I am told, of historical journals and works of some fame, will do the right and good thing, if, taking in hand the works of the young, he would rather find delight than annoyance at their first attempts, and so use his great experience for them to give them support and direct them in the best possible way, where he sees them led astray. In this way, he may live certain of their gratitude and universal esteem and with the pride to be a teacher to those who may one day serve their country well’ (Mazzoldi 1842b: 93). 16

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confirming his accusations and countering his adversary’s assumed youth on a scientific level, pointing out how he showed total ignorance of linguistic developments while appealing to an obsolete cultural tradition.17 These last words reveal how the dispute—even though taking place wholly within the new generation, given that both Mazzoldi and Bianchi-Giovini were the same age—ran along cultural models in opposition to one another. Mazzoldi stuck firmly to patriotic tradition and, in deference to the ancient details of Etruscology—mediated of course through Micali’s work—tried to redefine the meaning (and the prospect) of Italic origins in terms more appropriate to the political times. Bianchi-Giovini, on the other hand, felt that Italian modernity should, in the first place, only declare itself on cultural aspects if young Italian academics followed German models as closely as possible. This explains why, despite Bianchi-Giovini’s more wide-ranging cultural interests and frame of reference, it was Mazzoldi’s theory that prevailed. And this was not only because his work spread through reviews and reprinting to every part of the peninsula:18 it was due above all to the many works that started to appear in Lombardy that took their inspiration from this particular controversy. The dispute over origins did not, however, remain limited to the imaginative realms of Pelasgia and in fact, developing along the lines of Micali’s teaching, took a different direction from the one Mazzoldi himself indicated. There is, however, little doubt that the latter contributed decisively to reviving the question of autochthonism and that the ‘In other words, in my opinion the Italic origins of Signor Mazzoldi are nothing more than a reproduction of the Italic origins of Monsignor Guarnacci, but a reproduction amplified with fables of Oceanides and Uranides and the romance of Atlantis [. . .] Apart from this difference, there are two others: the first is that Guarnacci is always modest [. . .] and that Mazzoldi on the other hand is too daring in his opinions, too dogmatic in tone, scolds one, batters another, these are foolhardy, those are presumptuous, who is accused of insolence and who of arrogance [. . .] The other difference is that Guarnacci read widely [. . .] whereas Signor Mazzoldi, despite his boasts of having read all that can be read and studied all that can be studied, can be seen to be rather deficient in the abundant, beautiful new research made into the East [. . .] one sees that he has made no preparatory study of the Etruscan monuments of art, inscriptions, or language; nor even any study of the ancient peoples of Italy’ (Bianchi-Giovini 1842: 83–4). 18 See the second Milan edition (Mazzoldi 1846) and the Tuscan reprinting (Mazzoldi 1849); concerning the reviews, see note 41 below for Nicola Corcia’s comments from Naples. 17

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theme, thanks even to the way that exaggerations accumulated around it, remained alive in the cultural context of the times. Taking the part of those who rejected the Roman conquest and at the same time allowed more than a merely subversive dimension to the Gauls, Cesare Cantù, drawing on the strong interest in Celtomania in France, published a translation of selected passages from the work of Amedée Thierry, notably the chapters recounting the presence ab origine of the Celts in Lombard territory.19 He returned directly to the point in the same year, 1844, in the introductory pages to Milano e il suo territorio, re-evaluating the presence of the Gauls in Lombardy to the point of stating that, even following the Celtic invasion, the preceding Etruscan civilization remained dominant.20 It was a wholesale refutation of Micali’s theories, especially his belief that the northern regions of the peninsula became Italy only due to the presence of the Romans. It was a refutation of a rather curious kind, however, since it still involved the concept of autochthonism, this time giving precedence to the Celts, and placing the cradle of Italianity, from its very origins, in Lombardy. It was an idea that others, with autochthonism always uppermost in their minds, would soon turn their hands to combating. In 1844, Carlo Cattaneo, praising a federal solution to Italian national unification, embraced the reconstruction of Italic origins present in Micali’s work, agreeing on the existence of an Etruscan population in Lombardy, founded on a municipal and federative model, which the barbarous and destructive Gallic invasion had demolished and which the successive Roman conquest had no intention of allowing These are his words accompanying the text: ‘From the mixture of the Gallic race with the Roman came forth the Italians of today, and the other populations in Europe that form the opposition to the two races, Teutonic and Slav. Of the Roman lineage, many and glorious historians preserve the memories: those of Gaul may be found only in Latin or Greek or resorting to high philology. This work has been done by Amedée Thierry and we think the essay which we present should be of great pleasure to the Italians, because it deals with matter most especially ours, inasmuch as the main subject of the following discourse is the foundation of the most ancient cities of this northern Italy; and because generally the Lombard historians begin their tales with the expedition of Bellovesus and say nothing beyond that; and because it should be of interest to find the Gallic origins of the names of many of our towns.’ In Indicatore lombardo, ossia raccolta periodica di scelti articoli 1837: 9, p. 183; the translation of the excerpt is on pp. 183–208. 20 ‘Servitude did not remove the fertility from the soil; peace made it possible to re-establish and complete the work of the Etruscans, dam rivers, drain swamps, clear land; such that wheat, millet, iron was abundant’ (Cantù 1844: I, 3). 19

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to revive.21 Along the same lines, and in the same year, another democratic writer, Gabriele Rosa, argued that the populations of Lombardy antecedent to the Roman invasion were Etruscan and autochthonous. He did not, however, agree on the subversive role of the Gauls, underlining that the Romans, at the moment of their conquest, had found a region that was generally thriving.22 In these various evaluations of the Gauls—praised by Cantù and Rosa but dismissed as an uncivilized people by Cattaneo23—there was nonetheless a common feature, and that was the striking rejection of the Roman experience, which Cantù describes as an authentic invasion and Cattaneo views as a centralizing superimposition on the presence, destructive as it was, of the Celtic peoples. This was not all: on the eve of 1848, this argument was rather different from the one that had dominated the scene for the entire 1700s and which Micali had revived in support of Italic antiquity. In Milan, it leant weight to the definition of a specific and possible role for the city in the new national cultural context and as a consequence made the terms of the national identity of the participants in the dispute very clear indeed. There is in fact no doubt that Cantù’s position, proudly extended to defend the Celtic specificity of the city, was shared by many amongst the Milanese aristocracy, weary of Habsburg centralism, yet at the

‘The history of Europe would be very different and many centuries would not have been spent sterile and blind for the peoples of the north if the Etruscans had propagated their nursery of city-generating cities along the Rhine and Danube. The Etruscan principle was different from that of the Romans: federative and multiple, it could tame the barbarians without extinguishing their independence; and it did not tend to make a single city a gigantic one, losing its own nature in such increase, and make it the material centre of a dominion without nationality’ (Cattaneo 1844: XXX). 22 ‘Finally we want to make the scholars of our ancient history consider the state in which the Romans found the present Lombardy: we can argue that the peoples coming from Gaul did not destroy all that which they found of civilisation in the part of Italy that they occupied, that they did not scatter or crush all the first Etruscan and Umbrian occupiers, that they allowed the populations of the various ancient cities to remain, together with their commerce and their art, behaving towards them little differently than the Lombards with their subjects in Italy’ (Rosa 1844: 46). 23 ‘A grave and long-lasting calamity halted the course of our civilisation and deferred the development of humane intelligence amongst us for four centuries. Before the customs of the Etruscan cities had finished refining the surrounding aborigines, there began to penetrate amongst us another priestly principle that from the mystery of its homes in Armorica and the British Isles stretched a vast dominion over a family of nations, various in language and origin, but all similar in their uncultured customs and gathered by the ancients under the name of Celts’ (Cattaneo 1844: XXX–XXXI). 21

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same time suspicious regarding any political fraternization with the rest of the peninsula. Cattaneo, however, insisted on the conquestal (and at the same time destructive) nature of the Celtic period, criticizing the government centralism later imposed by the Romans, making the ancient Etruscans the example of a municipal and federative dimension which was the basis for Lombardy’s civil progress and reasserting how this was the only way possible to find a sense of the region’s Italianity. These two cultural options, their political heft clearly marked, were well captured by the eighteen-year-old Antonio Casati, third son of Count Gabrio, the future leader of the Milanese revolution in 1848. In 1846, in a brilliant overview of studies into Italic antiquity, Casati turned an enlightening eye on the political-cultural aspect that the argument, particularly in recent times, had taken on.24 He had little time for Mazzoldi, dismissing him as a propagator of fantasies,25 but at the same time was careful to distance himself from Cattaneo, stating, with a precise note of dissension, how he had resurrected the ‘hypothesis of autochthonism’.26 Casati, convinced that historical studies were soon destined to unravel ‘the mystery of the Italy of ancient times’, preferred to confirm that the most likely route to this solution was the one indicated by Niebuhr.27 He thus not only rejected the most recent pronouncements by Micali, who, in his second work ‘unfortunately mingles together the institutions and customs of various peoples in the wish to have only one single population as the inhabitants of Italy in ancient times’,28 but, in his refusal of autochthonism, effectively brought together Jacopo Durandi, whose Saggio sulla storia degli antichi popoli d’Italia (from 1769) suggested Celtic origins for the ancient peoples of central and

24

Casati 1846 and Casati 1847a, here in the continuation cited from Casati 1847b. ‘Mazzoldi’s system is nothing more than an exaggeration of Guarnacci’s [. . .] I do not think I have to deal at any greater length with speaking of the opinions of Mazzoldi, which those who have studied our antiquity would never agree with. Besides, the criticisms of Bianchi-Giovini and Corcia are more than enough to satisfy those who would know the worth of the work’ (Casati 1847b: 55). 26 Casati 1847b: 57. 27 Casati 1847b: 37–8 and 57–8. 28 Casati 1847b: 44. Casati’s recognition of Micali’s first work, on the other hand, is fulsome because ‘not knowing perhaps how to draw a well-connected synthesis from his copious information, he was careful not to put forward his own opinions on the origins of Italy’ (Casati 1847b: 37). 25

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northern Italy, with Niebuhr’s theory concerning the Pelasgian (and hence Greek-derived) nature of the entire south of Italy. The young Casati’s words, on the eve of 1848, brought a new clarity therefore to the Italic question, strictly linked to the theme of nationality as it was. From the perspective of the common features of civilization, he made very precise distinctions regarding the many peoples who would find it possible to recognize themselves in that cultural form. The Micalian model was turned upside down. The Tuscan historian, following the path of autochthonism, had equated Italy with the central-south part of the peninsula. Casati rejected this concept, relying on the Celtist tradition recently revived by Cantù. Drawing on Niebuhr’s well-known criticisms of the theory of the indigenous, to a greater extent even than Balbo, he located Italic antiquity in the central-north area alone. This differentiation between the south and the rest of the peninsula was not one made only by Casati. In the same years, still in the Lombardy region, but from an opposing political viewpoint, Cattaneo had used the south’s lack of city-state civilization to distinguish it from the rest of Italy, presenting the relationship between the two parts of the peninsula in terms of a profound divergence of civil progress.29 In addition to this, the image of an ‘other and different’ south,30 artfully nourished by detailed travelogues since the 18th century, was brought back into circulation by the popularity that the work of Cuoco, and later Colletta, enjoyed with the Risorgimento generation. It was then confirmed, though obviously employing an utterly opposing scheme of values, by the Two Sicilies themselves, where the intellectual path of the early 19th century had initiated a nationalizing process within which antiquity played an important role. A rich tradition of local history, dating from the Spanish period, was revived (and rewritten) where great emphasis was duly given to these lands’ remote and invariably prestigious origins.31 In this regard, it is nonetheless worth remembering how two very distinct trends were present in the southern part of the peninsula—trends directly comparable to the different preoccupations that were at that time engaging the country’s historians. On the one hand, with 29

On Cattaneo’s reading of the south, see De Francesco 2006b. On this point, an obligatory reference must be made to Galasso [1982] 2009: 151–97. 31 This process is thoroughly summarized in Galasso 1989: 11–29. 30

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reference to the capital Naples and the other great seafaring commercial centres such as Bari and Amalfi, the Greek origins of these cities were always insisted upon.32 On the other, in the hinterland’s urban contexts, with their different economic situations, the model of ancient Italic origins duly combined with widespread anti-Romanism prevailed instead.33 It is also not irrelevant to add how, functioning as a difficult synthesis between these two diverging perspectives, the theme that Cuoco, at least officially, had borrowed from Guarnacci was also present in some reconstructions of local history. This was, of course, the Italic origins of the Greeks themselves, which made it possible to encompass all the southern peoples within one unitary, ethnic dimension. However, if one leaves this local context to one side and turns to the works in the early 19th century called upon to build a historical tradition for the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies, which in fact dated only from 1816, the prevailing interpretation seems to be the one outlined by academics from the capital. They, more than most, were highly committed to supporting the historical case for a statehood of recent (and contested) date.34 In this regard, an extremely important role was played by Cataldo Jannelli, a learned Neapolitan who, from 1817 onwards, attempted to revive interest in Vico with a dissertation35 that also aroused a great deal of curiosity beyond the borders of the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies. Praise was forthcoming in 1827, in fact, from the young Michelet, and this would be followed in 1832 by that of Romagnosi. For the latter, Michelet’s assertion—that is, that Jannelli followed in the great philosophical tradition of Vico—was actually limiting, given that Jannelli was careful to differentiate between what was still worthy of interest in the early 18th-century philosopher’s work and what instead appeared irredeemably dated.36 Close 32

On this point, see Cirillo 2006: 73–81. In this regard, an exemplary case is illustrated by Campennì 2006. 34 The studies of G. Salmeri are useful on this point, especially Salmeri 1996a, Salmeri 1991, and Salmeri 1996b. 35 Jannelli 1817. 36 On this difference of opinion, see Jannelli 1832, where the citation of Michelet’s praise of Jannelli is on pp. LXXXVIII–LXXXIX and that of Romagnosi is on pp. VI–VII. It is worth emphasizing how in his reconstruction of the fortunes of Vicoism, Michelet used the occasion to deliver a harsh judgement on the work of Cuoco: ‘Cuoco (died 1822). Travels of Plato in Italy. A work of immense superficiality which exaggerates all the defects of Travels of Anacharsis. The historical hypotheses of Vico often have in Cuoco an even more paradoxical air, because the principles from 33

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attention has been shown to the influence of Vicoism on 19th-century Italian philosophy.37 Less interest, however, has been given to the academic figure of Jannelli, who at the beginning of the 1840s was still publishing numerous works where, interweaving philosophical and archaeological threads, he aroused interest in the theme of Italic antiquity, with particular focus on the Etruscans. In this regard, his theories were to a large extent different not only from Micali’s, but, if possible, from Etruscology in general. In the first place, he stated that the Etruscans were certainly not autochthonous at all: rather, they were the product of three successive waves of immigration, only one of which was of Lydian origin. The two preceding waves, clearly of Pelasgian ancestry, arrived from the Balkans. In addition, making a close examination of the Etruscan form of government, Jannelli was able to contradict every mitigating reconstruction in his description of an oligarchic regime, founded on tyranny and slavery, that dominated all the cities. The conclusion was fairly predictable: the Etruscans had not represented a civil model for the other peoples of the peninsula, whom they had in fact educated in piratry and oppression, and their exit from the scene in the face of Roman expansion should be seen as an authentic benefit of the progress of civilization.38 If one considers the fact that all Neapolitan municipal history treated the agreement on the basis of which Naples became part of the Roman sphere of influence as if it were an alliance, rather than a conquest, it becomes easy to understand Jannelli’s ultimate aim: to destroy Etruscology once and for all, dismantling the claims which this tradition had always put forward—that the Etruscans were the forerunners of the Greeks and the teachers of the Romans. In contrast, by restoring the political merit of unifying the peninsula to the natural allies of Naples, the Romans—something which Etruscophile

which they derive are no longer visible’ (quoting from the translation, p. LXXXVII, while for the original edition, see Michelet 1827: LXVII–LXVIII). 37 At an introductory level, see the initial pages of Martirano 2001: 7–43. 38 ‘Etruscomanes inter maximas et deterrimas calamitates numerant occupationem a Romanis facta Etrusci imperii; nos contra contendimus tum beneficium humano generi factum, tum maius ipsis Etruscis. Nam secus si durasse severitate sua regimen aristocraticum in Etruria non modo nullum civilitatis incrementum habere potuisset Etruria, quin ne paucissimae quidem inscriptiones ad nos pervenissent.’ See Jannelli 1840a: 25. But see also, again in a context of severe criticism of Etruscology, with many references to Micali’s 1832 work, Jannelli 1840b.

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nostalgia had always denied—Jannelli could marry the civil primacy of Rome to the cultural primacy of the southern peoples of Greek origin and suggest that it was this encounter that gave form to the civilizing model of Italic antiquity. A student of Jannelli’s, Nicola Corcia, at the same period, also rejected the theories concerning indigenousness and, not surprisingly following his teacher’s lead, focused his studies on the Pelasgians, whose arrival in the peninsula he held to be the most ancient migration of peoples attested to by records.39 Dismissing the theories of Dionysius of Halicarnassus as incontrovertibly confuted, he could therefore treat the Pelasgian migration as an essentially southern event. In this way, in contrast to the concept of indigenousness so dear to Micali, it was possible to indirectly limit the primacy of Italic antiquity to a sphere that involved the Two Sicilies alone. Putting forward the Pelasgians as ‘the first civilisation our most ancient peoples would recognise’, he was careful to individuate a definite trace of their presence, starting from the capital and moving out into the provinces, throughout the whole south, and therefore claim an assured primacy of Italianity for that area alone. This was reason enough for Mazzoldi to criticize him in his own impressive work where Corcia’s research, though formally praised, was accused of dismantling that Italic unity which was the cornerstone of the former’s case.40 And the two positions were, in fact, extremely difficult to reconcile. The only point of contact they shared was the rejection of any contribution from the Celtic world to the civilization of the peninsula. Otherwise, while Mazzoldi imagined an Italo-Pelasgian expansion throughout the whole Mediterranean, Corcia, allowing Asiatic origins to the population, emphasized how peoples came to inhabit the central-south area of the peninsula from the regions of the lower Adriatic alone. It was a point of view that therefore suggested the impossibility of composing a unified picture of the peninsula’s many peoples and was the basis for the dispute carried out in print between the two scholars, starting with the review of Mazzoldi’s work that Corcia published in the columns

39 In this regard, see Corcia’s review of the above-quoted works by Jannelli in Il Progresso delle scienze, lettere ed arti 1841: 10, vol. 28, pp. 280–90. 40 Mazzoldi 1840: 198–9.

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of the Neapolitan Progresso41 and to which the other immediately responded in the pages of the Annali universali di statistica.42 The argument went beyond the question related above: on the one hand, Mazzoldi’s starting point was the indisputable cultural unity of the peninsula, which led him to insist on the fact that it was this common ethnic identity that was responsible for creating so much originality over the centuries. On the other, Corcia too held firm to the concept of the uniformity of Italian civilization, but had no intention of sacrificing anything in terms of the specific ways that forms of knowledge had developed in the southern regions. Mazzoldi was prepared to sacrifice everything of the local individuality which history had shaped—a history for too long marked by decadence and servitude—and Corcia’s response was instead to praise the distinctiveness of the process of formation of the Italian identity in a markedly southern context. Not surprisingly, shortly later, in 1843, at the moment of publishing the first volume of an imposing work on the history of the southern region from ancient times until the 18th century, the latter returned to the question, reasserting his personal conviction regarding the specificity of the southern peoples, so decisively influenced first by the Pelasgian presence and thereafter by Greek colonization. In the introductory pages, aimed at Mazzoldi, he therefore dismissed the easy patriotism of the moment, saying that only by arriving at the truth in historical reconstruction43 was it possible to show the necessary respect for Italy. He reminded his readers that the Pelasgians had arrived in the south from the nearby Balkans and urged them not to be enticed by the illusion that they had in fact

41 ‘The probability is all in favour of the system which would have the Pelasgian Dardani come from western Thrace [. . .] To have them come by chance from Elis is contrary to the notions reasonably acknowledged concerning the science of peoples in terms of navigation. To assign them Italy, with the Tyrrhenian as a departure point, is an even greater absurdity.’ See Corcia’s review of Mazzoldi’s work in Il Progresso delle scienze, lettere ed arti 1841: 10, vol. 28, pp. 242–73; vol. 29, pp. 96–126 and 269–91; vol. 30, pp. 208–30 (the citation is on p. 213); and Il Progresso delle scienze, lettere ed arti 1845: 14, vol. 35, pp. 234–45. 42 Mazzoldi 1841 and Mazzoldi 1842a. 43 ‘I know well that more or less one always returns in general to saying that Italy preceded Greece in terms of civilisation; but I fear that this sort of affirmation turns history into sophistry. Honour and respect to Italy, yet I abhor to attribute to her glories not her own, for she has so many, that I do not think one must honour her to the detriment of what is true’ (Corcia 1843–52: I, xxiii).

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moved in the opposite direction.44 This utter rejection of Mazzoldi’s work, the very basis of which was put into question, was nonetheless clearly a political option. Corcia’s own work, in fact, largely reflected that difficult path of nation-building immediately initiated by the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies—a path which the failed constitutional reforms of 1820, together with the secessionist claims from a large part of the Sicilian elite, would make very bumpy indeed. In the peninsular part of the Kingdom, however, it would never be completely interrupted.45 Published between 1843 and 1852, the four volumes of Corcia’s work, not surprisingly uncompleted, indicated the search for a historical precedent in the new southern kingdom. A Greek past, linking it to those who had also civilized Rome, appeared to exemplify a long-standing tradition of unity within the Two Sicilies and to confirm the southern kingdom’s claim to an individual path on the journey towards nationhood. As a proposal, it was a fairly clear one, which did not go unnoticed from one part of Italy to another, where it was greeted with more than one sign of approval. In Lombardy, although these were choices that saddened Mazzoldi, as noted above, they also found a great deal of consensus, especially among conservatives. For them, the south, defined in such a way, offered the benefit of yet another Italy, with which it was certainly possible to maintain relationships on a cultural level, without necessarily having to consider projects of a politicoinstitutional nature. Dissension regarding the model proposed by Corcia, however, came, very forcefully, from his own back-yard, so to speak. In Sicily, the interpretation of the south’s historical experience in a context of unity all but tore to pieces the island’s sense of its own specificity—one formed in 1282 with the events of the Vespers and violently brought to an end with the forced annexation by Naples in 1816. For this reason, such an interpretation was inevitably destined to arouse violent protest. It was a net refusal, upheld by clearly political aims, which brought together different forces on the common ground of the defence of Sicilian prerogatives. These forces ranged from groups of traditionalists to others inclined towards

44 ‘Beware, oh reader, those writers who would have you believe that the Pelasgians came out of ancient Italy, because they would openly contradict history, which has them first of all come to Italy’ (Corcia 1843–82: I, xxvi). 45 Some useful reflections on this point, from the cultural policy point of view and specifically concerning museum organization, are provided by Milanese 2001.

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radicalism, from exponents of an out-of-date cultural world still in the thrall of the late 18th century to new generations influenced by the experience of Romanticism.46 During the 1840s, the controversy around the separation from Naples allowed these differences to be overcome, and, inspired by Sicilian patriotism, an alliance was formed between right and left in the transition from one generation of academics to the next. It was the time of Michele Amari, who, publishing the Storia della Guerra del Vespro (‘A History of the War of the Sicilian Vespers’) in 1842, gave the Sicilian region an extraordinary voice, transforming that age-old episode of island history into a manifestation of popular free will, one worth looking back at in order to legitimate in original terms the desired breakaway from Naples and the reconquest of independence.47 It is also worth recording how Amari produced this work only after he had decided to give up a history of modern Sicily designed to summarize the reasons why the island should secede from the southern kingdom constituted by Ferdinand of Bourbon in 1816 at the moment of his return to Naples.48 This rejection of interest in modern times in favour of the Middle Ages was Amari’s distinctive—and extraordinary—contribution to the rediscovery of that shadowy period. However, this return to the medieval era at the time of the Risorgimento also certainly signified in the Sicilian case a reaction to the persistent study of ancient times that the island’s antiquarians had continued to keep alive. It was a theme that had in fact flourished throughout the whole of the modern age: the question of origins, inevitably interpreted in a context of laying claim to political primacy, or at least specificity, for the single territorial reality, had been an almost obsessive point of reference for the authors of Sicily’s numerous local histories. This perspective, wholly directed towards making municipalism the defining feature of the island’s individuality, also contained the reasons for keeping the Romantic generation at arm’s length—a generation that seemed to regard that genre of study as by then so wrapped up in itself as to be of little use to a renewed discourse

46

On this point, see the fascinating passages in Giarrizzo 1989: 749–62. Concerning the work of Michele Amari, and also for the extensive bibliography, it is worth looking at Peri 1976: 65–107. 48 On this point, see my introductory pages to the recent publication of an unpublished work by Amari 2010: 5–12. 47

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concerning Sicilian nationhood. The debate referred directly to the island’s cultural panorama of those years, where there was no lack of authors (and editors) ready to resort to the example of Sicily’s ancient history in order to relate it to specific political circumstances in a political and ideological context which the new generation regarded as one that had run out of steam. In 1821, for example, some speeches by the late 18th-century historian Rosario Gregorio were reprinted anonymously. Here, Sicily’s antiquity was proposed in terms of a multiple presence of peoples, which helped to explain why, under Rome, the island’s cities preserved different statutes—with distinctions made between free, allied, and colony. The consequent suggestion was that ‘this single nation of the many and diverse who lived here was never able to make one thing of itself ’.49 This kind of particularism also dominated the writings of Niccolò Palmieri, an aristocratic nationalist, whose short history of Sicily, published in 1834, once again brought the region’s Greek past into play to suggest the impossibility of re-establishing the politico-institutional specificity of the island in the context of Naples’s plans for centralization.50 Another work along the same lines, incomplete and published posthumously in 1840, was by Domenico Scinà. He used the history of Sicilian literature in the Greek era as the occasion to reassert how, despite the fact that the inhabitants of the island were by no means primitive, only with the arrival of the Doric colonies did a civilizing process begin that would allow the island not to be crushed by the Roman conquest.51 These are all works which can certainly be read as barely concealed disputes with Naples, immediately downgraded in comparison to ancient Rome. While the relationship between the areas in antiquity had taken the form of a substantial alliance, the recent existing unity was only the consequence of a brutal annexation. Taken as a whole, the works restate the expectations and aspirations of a feudal Sicily which had never accepted the loss, in a union with Naples, of that yield of power which institutional specificity had always guaranteed. It is no surprise then that when an old democrat like Vincenzo Natale, who had been on the left in the short Sicilian constitutional period (1812–15) and had then supported the revolution of 1820 from a position in favour of unification (and who had therefore fought

49

Gregorio 1821: 66.

50

Palmieri 1834.

51

Scinà 1840: 9–13.

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politically against those who, in cultural terms, identified with the positions of the authors mentioned above), returned, obtorto collo, to a life of study, he did not hesitate to plunge into a fierce polemic against Palmieri, reviewing the struggles of Sicilian history in very bitter terms.52 What was important to Natale was to emphasize how the ancient history of Sicily was first of all a tale of many peoples, their different ways of life creating hostility towards each other. Roman domination, involving a privileged relationship with the Siceliotes (the Greeks inhabiting the eastern part of the island), had destroyed the traditions of the Sicel and Sicani populations, who had lived there for a far longer period of time. Palmieri, in his opinion, had organized all this into a context which made it possible to praise the island’s Greek past for instrumental purposes, while remaining silent concerning the true way through which ancient Sicily had achieved civil organization. The results were as predictable as they were without foundation: they reduced the history of the island to a mere sequence of aristocratic governments which, sometimes independently, sometimes through skilful bargaining with the conquerors of the moment, had always managed to preserve the territorial specificity upon which their respective privileges depended. Natale, in contrast, reminded his readers that the democratic experience had not only crossed the sea with the colonies to reach the coast of Sicily but that it was a practice already familiar to the Sicel and Sicani populations. The former, especially, had always firmly supported the principle of an ‘elected government based on the vote of the people’.53 In these terms, Natale’s 1835 contribution to the controversy appears to be an authentic challenge to the island’s traditional political world, since it viewed Sicilian specificity not as based on the role of the aristocracy so much as on a democratic perspective dating back even further in time. In this way, he therefore went on to develop a specifically personal political position that led him, from his role as a Sicilian delegate to the 1821 parliament in Naples and throughout the 1830s, to bring an independent flavour to a democratism which, however, he continued firmly to support.54 And all this would shortly 52

See the review in Lo Stesicoro 1835: 1, pp. 36–117. Lo Stesicoro 1835: 1, pp. 104–7. 54 Concerning the figure of Vincenzo Natale, apart from the rather dated Majorana 1917 and Majorana 1918, see also Fiorentini 2008: 146–65. 53

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be confirmed when, also in 1843 and alongside the publication of the first volume by Corcia, he made skilful use of ancient history to show how the old world of Sicilian feudalism’s contention to employ the Greek experience to reassert their primacy on the island was completely without foundation. Protesting that it was no coincidence that many Sicilian historians—apart from Palmieri, he also mentioned Ferrara and Alessi55—assigned the history of their homeland only to the Greeks, he suggested instead that it was necessary to stress the exceptionality of the period that predated the arrival of the colonies. With an initial rhetorical flourish, he described how much Sicilian historiography had carefully concealed: I do not know why, for example, today’s writers, availing themselves of fairy tales in speaking of our ancient history, must all begin with the story of the Greeks? Was not the island inhabited for many centuries before the arrival of the Greeks? And could they do nothing without the Greeks, did they not have their own government, did they not have their own ways of living, nor their own religions, nor gods that were not Greek gods, nor social laws, nor institutions that could be called such? Did they live perhaps in the woods and the caves or did they have their own cities? And what were these cities? And where they had these cities or where they socially congregated, did they practice agriculture? And in one case or the other what arts did they know and make use of? Perhaps islanders of this kind, in the middle of many small islets so close at hand, and between two continents nearby in which they might have connections, indulged in commerce? And, finally, how long did they last after the arrival of the Greek colonies, if the Greeks always had weapons in their hands against those they called barbarians and if it was not possible to exterminate all of them?56

It was an area where Natale’s work coincided with that of Micali, to whom he was able to make a precise reference, underlining how, for a long time, the ‘history of old Italy’ was similarly distorted ‘when it was limited merely to facts about the Romans’.57 However, his work did not adopt an openly hostile tone towards the Greeks and Romans, though he accused them—again following the Micalian model—of 55

Ferrara 1830–8, Alessi 1834–43. Natale 1843: 3. Concerning this work, also see Majorana 1914. 57 Natale 1843: 16. But see also on p. 11, the firm stand taken against every claim that has the population of ancient Latium arriving from Greece as well: Dionysius of Halicarnassus ‘tortures his mind and renounces all sane judgement when he is forced to distort it to give Greece as the origin of the barbarous people of Latium.’ 56

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overshadowing Italic antiquity.58 In fact, his praise for the Greeks was extraordinary and deeply felt: they alone, he wrote, following the example of Scinà’s words, had made the island’s incredible cultural development possible.59 Neither, always following his own convictions, at one time resolutely in favour of unification, was Roman domination entirely condemned. Although it is true that on the one hand he stated that the conquerors ‘reducing it to the state of a province, brought to a halt in one sole dominion every Greek virtue’,60 on the other he was also forced to admit that ‘without the Romans [. . .] ancient Italy remained weak and divided against itself, as the Roman empire then became broken up and ruined by the barbarians’.61 As a whole then, the work of Vincenzo Natale remains, like those of his adversaries in Sicily, caught up in the polemical panorama that the long-past constitutional period had given rise to. At the same time, however, distancing himself from every wholly Grecophile reconstruction, his position was also clearly distinct from the argument outlined by Nicola Corcia in Naples.62 If the latter’s unifying perspective intended to establish similarities between the continental south of Italy and Sicily in the context of the Doric presence, making use of what the island’s antiquity had made available in order to do so, Natale’s work was intended to look in a different direction. The result was that it ended up growing, from the original polemical context,

‘[. . .] almost that those more ancient inhabitants were less than ghosts and perhaps nearer to nothing in comparison. We can understand this fact with regard to the Greek authors, as we shall clarify later; but there is no reason why we should excuse the forgetfulness of modern authors’ (Natale 1843: 4). 59 ‘The Greeks [. . .] caused a revolution that is no longer visible, which completely altered the look of the island and introduced new customs, new principles, new political orders, new languages, formed new men. Revolution and change, which to those barbarians meant the loss of their independence and sometimes of their cities and their personal freedom. But joyful and blessed loss, if they were exchanged and enriched with more human qualities, justice, virtue, and every other of life’s bounties. Certainly there was no reason to feel sadness if from Greece came civilisation, knowledge and courage, raising the island together with its Greek inhabitants to that degree of glory and opulence which has never been seen again’ (Natale 1843: 28). 60 Natale 1843: 14. 61 Natale 1843: 334–5. 62 No coincidence that in Naples, Panfilo Serafini, reviewing the first volume, criticized Natale for not ‘drawing far more on the many writers of our times who have discussed the peoples who came to settle within the citadel of Italy’. See Il Progresso delle scienze, lettere ed arti 1835: 37, pp. 261–77. 58

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limited only to the island itself, into open contestation of Neapolitan domination. To sum up what has so far been said, then, there is no doubt that the cultural world of the 19th century made wide use, both in the north and south, of Micali’s work. His theories seemed fully compatible with the single territorial contexts which the different political traditions were careful to mark out as distinct and whose individuality they were determined to enhance. However, the use of, or recourse to, such theories (more or less perceived, more or less convincing) does not necessarily imply complete consensus. Micali’s work constituted a sort of obligatory point of reference, because in substance its pages gave to all those who ventured to read them exactly what they were looking for: in other words, a time gone by which—whether in terms of grandeur or of dignity—the present times seemed determined to denigrate. The examples discussed up to this point suggest in fact how, in his works, while interest was certainly aroused in the common origins of the peninsula’s people, even more emotion was stirred by the detailed account of the destructive capacity of Roman centralization. This explains why his writings continued to meet with such wide interest throughout the early 19th century and also why there would be a further wave of appreciation during the events of 1848, when they appealed both to long-standing patriots and to those who opted for the choice of nationhood as a sign of protest against the over-invasive centralization of the Italian Restoration. A conclusion of this sort foreshadows, with reference to the Lombardy region, the political standpoints of those who had previously been involved in the dispute regarding Italic antiquity. On the one hand, for the republicans Cattaneo and Rosa, among the inciters of the insurrection in 1848 against the Austrians, the lessons of antiquity provided hope for a new political and institutional order, where the nationalist cause was rooted in a process of liberation of local realities. This was the reason that led them to immediately refuse the tempting offer of war in the name of Italy made by Charles Albert of Savoy when he crossed the river Ticino and invaded Lombardy with his troops. All the others, on the other hand, were immediately favourable to a union with Piedmont, including Antonio Casati who, before his early death, found time to publish a study where he proposed the idea of a relationship between the historic events in Milan and the

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House of Savoy.63 Angelo Mazzoldi was of the same idea: he would in fact follow the political trajectory of Vincenzo Gioberti, soon becoming a supporter of the cause of Savoy and retreating into the life of a dissident following the return in strength of the Austrians. This love of homeland, soon to be placed in a context of unification under the banner of Victor Emmanuel II of Savoy—king of Piedmont after the abdication of his father Charles Albert—would receive its reward during the great events of 1859, when Mazzoldi was elected to the Turin parliament and at the same time, on the very eve of Garibaldi’s arrival in Sicily, was appointed by the Minister of Education to the first chair in Italian history.64 Meanwhile, his great adversary, Bianchi-Giovini, although he had won something of a reputation as an Austriaphile for his interest in the world of Germanic culture, still greeted the 1848 events in Milan with enthusiasm, making every effort to block the shift towards republicanism and lending his support to the union with Piedmont.65 His relationship with the Savoy dynasty was not always a good one and this explains why, over the following years, his political options had a rather flexible look to them. He was also rumoured to be in the pay of Napoleon III and to look favourably upon Murattism, the claim of the French 63

Casati 1853. On this point, see the text of the lessons given at Turin University in Mazzoldi 1862: 12–27, where the author, reasserting the validity of his preceding Origini italiche, duly introduced references to the political situation of the time. 65 Bianchi-Giovini 1848; the passage on p. 185 is a good example of the analogy with the times: ‘It was a tragedy that Filippo Maria Visconti [. . .] did not think to adopt his own son-in-law and accustom the Milanese to recognise him as his successor. It was also a tragedy that the Milanese did not recognise the impossibility of sustaining a republic and that over time they did not come to agreement with the Sforza under useful conditions. In both cases this condottiero, confident of public opinion, which had raised him to the throne, would have enlarged rather than diminished it and with his support have extended and consolidated the power of his state, and aspired to that kingdom of Italy which due to an early death was not achieved by Gian Galeazzo Visconti.’ Equally significant is the passage on p. 193 where, against Mazzinianism, Bianchi-Giovini once again insisted on the anthropological diversity of the Italian peoples: ‘It would be foolish to pretend that the peoples, who only today have just begun to rise, and who drag behind them heavy burdens of foul and ancient customs, have in four days been able to renew themselves [. . .] and that the Lombard farmer, who can barely read or write, or that the Naples scoundrel, who cannot either read or write, have to acquire overnight all that is necessary to understand what the legislators want to say in the highly metaphysical Italia del popolo.’ Concerning the personality of Bianchi-Giovini, very little is available today in terms of biography except the largely insufficient work by Bottiglioni Barrella 1951, where on pp. 40–7 there is a reconstruction of his participation in the events of 1848. 64

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emperor’s cousin Lucien Murat to return to the throne of Naples.66 This might appear to be a strange choice on his part—one, unsurprisingly, never completely investigated—if it did not reveal how Bianchi-Giovini believed that the political unity of the entire peninsula was an essentially implausible objective. He therefore looked with interest at the hypothesis of two Italies, juxtaposed by similar types of government along French lines. Then, however, came the watershed of 1859. Bianchi-Giovini chose to support Cavour, whom the Franco-Piedmontese war against Austria had placed in a strong position. He therefore decided to travel down to Naples after 1860, both to cure himself of the illness that would shortly end his life and with the proposal to invigorate a newspaper, La patria, which was designed to dampen down enthusiasm for Garibaldi in southern Italy. This, clearly government-inspired, choice confirms the fact that his allegiance to the unified state owed rather more to the fear of republican tumult in the south than to a conviction of a real communal rapprochement between the two parts of the peninsula.67 It was a worry, however, that was to turn out to be largely unfounded. The southern elites, who had, in many cases, bowed unwillingly to political unity, would promptly ally themselves with the flag of Savoy, anxious to put a stop to the republican or even legitimist movements which the early days of the new Italian state did not seem wholly to extinguish. However, if politics led the southern ruling classes to take the great step of unification, none of this implied giving up the many instruments through which, resorting to the long-gone splendours of olden times, they had previously exerted themselves to legitimate a national specificity for the southern peoples—obviously under the control of those same ruling classes. And in fact, if several power groups of the vanished Kingdom of the Two Sicilies realized that the milestone of 1860 signalled a point of no return that would sweep away a cultural world and an ideological universe that was by then obsolete, others (probably the majority) still attempted to keep a very firm grip indeed on the tradition inherited from the time of the Restoration. Proof of this is readily available in the studious activity of Nicola Corcia, who, undaunted, continued his learned studies within

66 Bottiglioni Barrella 1951: 95–7, and in more detail in Bartoccini 1959: 99–104 and 117–21. 67 Bottiglioni Barrella 1951: 126.

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Neapolitan academic institutions, and all through the 1870s remained true to his ideas concerning the Greek origins of the population ‘who settled in the central and lower parts of Italy’.68 It was a position largely shared in Neapolitan circles, where general agreement on the point had long been the case: it was a claim for an ethnic specificity that invariably translated into a claim for cultural primacy.69 Sicilian cultural tradition ran along the same lines, though from the different perspective of those who had instead always promoted Italian unity and therefore expected much from the courage of the course chosen. It cannot be said, however, that the choice was a unanimous one, much less that it went uncontested. The island’s cultural world on the eve of 1860 was still split between those who had by that point opted for the Italian choice—as was the case with Amari, during his second period of exile in Paris—and those, in the wake of his mentor Domenico Scinà, who continued to insist on a Sicilian primacy in the context of a shared process of Italian civilization. There is evidence of this in the collection of popular songs conscientiously published, on the eve of the collapse of the Two Sicilies, by another scholar in Scinà’s circle, Lionardo Vigo, who had himself had a great deal of influence on Amari. In the introduction, the author reaffirmed all his own regionalism: only the ignorance of other Italians, in his opinion, could lead them to assume that Sicilians and Neapolitans were one and the same. Even more, this premise prompted Vigo to make a spectacular leap back in time: following on from Micali’s ideas, duly referred to in support of his argument, he was led to identify the ancient Sicels as the very first Italic population, from which all the others had thereafter originated.70 From this point, swiftly returning to historical time, he put 68 Corcia 1875a: 44. But see also his other writings entitled ‘Di Arione e Falanto e della più antica origine di Taranto’, criticism reserved for historic linguistics and anthropology ‘in the thirst to know at all costs our proto-parents, their primitive life, the language they spoke and the regions they originally occupied’ (Corcia 1875b: 60). 69 ‘It is astonishing that so many extremely clear writers [. . .] have lost sight of the Graecism of our southern Neapolitan provinces, while it is only necessary to glance at the work of Tafuri to see the long catalogue that he lists of Greek writers who flowered to the honour of Italy, of which our southern Neapolitan provinces form such a great part, from remotest times until the 16th century’ (Semmola 1872: 201). But also see Cardona 1880 where on p. 5 he insists on the individuality of the city due to its Greek origins. 70 ‘Notwithstanding the darkness of history, the perplexity of the learned, we find the truth, one people to have populated Italy from the Alps to the sea and the adjacent

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forward his contention that the Sicilian language was in fact the root of all the spoken language on the peninsula and, consequently, the source of that very Tuscan used by Dante himself. Neither the events of 1860 nor the unified state thereafter could do very much in the face of such a position. Over the following years, reminding people of the great sacrifice which the island had been forced to make, Vigo proudly insisted on a specific Sicilian superiority in the Italian context. He even made use of the Sicilian founding myths to claim that the asserted origins indicated a superiority with respect to the continent which unification did not appear to fully recognize.71 Compared to this kind of attitude, the choice made by Isidoro La Lumia, a scholar of the Middle Ages who regarded Amari as a master, comes across as far more welcoming with respect to the new prospects opened up by the events of 1860. However, back in 1849, from the Parisian exile he was forced into by the Bourbons’ return in strength to Sicily, he did not hesitate to insist on the right of the island to independence; the concept of an Italian political identity seemed to have no particular hold on him.72 The change of heart in his case, as in the case of so many others, came with the exploits of Garibaldi, which convinced him of the cause of Italian unity. Using the work of Vincenzo Natale, who died in 1855, as a basis, he swiftly reinterpreted the ancient history of the island as a sort of presage of recent events. To contest Naples, he also revived interest in the indigenous populations, while making clear during the course of his argument that these peoples were never wholly Hellenized.73 He wrote that the autochthonous peoples at first supported Pyrrhus against the Carthaginians, convinced that he was the bringer of liberty, only to turn against him when ‘he began to govern in Asiatic style as an absolute monarch and not as the lord of a league of islands. This is my belief, first almost a matter of inspiration, then confirmed by the study of analogies, of supportive historians and philologists, I was convinced by the research of Micali and Niebuhr who, in the shadow of the immense Muratori, brought the light of reason to the darkness of antiquity’ (Vigo 1857: 7). 71 On this point, see Grassi Bertazzi 1897, where on pp. 397–403 there are some remarks on Vigo’s interest in archaeology and antiquity. Useful regarding Vigo’s firm stand against the solution of unification is Pasquini 2003, where on pp. 61–70 there is a brief biography of Vigo. 72 Pantaleoni and La Lumia 1849. 73 La Lumia 1874a: 11.

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peoples’,74 successively taking the side of Rome—against the Greeks and then once more against the Carthaginians—because they were of the same lineage: a reading that sounds a little too convenient for the specific circumstances of the moment, referring on the one hand to the union with Piedmont while on the other reminding his readers how such an agreement was a free and negotiable one. It could, in other words, always be liable to suitable reconsiderations, should Sicily deem them necessary.75 La Lumia’s support for Italian unification seems a rather fragile one, then, but compared to other of the island’s intellectuals—many of whom still intended to concede nothing to the cultural modernity which Italian unification demanded—it appeared, if possible, like a real demonstration of belief in the new political panorama. It was a position that ended up summarizing the opinion of a large part of the island, which as a whole remained firmly behind the decision for unity. They would never give up their own sense of individuality, however, which was used as a basis to legitimate procedures and structures, and therefore also conditions, thanks to which the choice for unity had taken shape. It was a context where recourse to Micali’s work assumed a certain significance, as it became a required point of reference for those who, faced with the sudden solution to the Italian problem, had not entirely (or indeed at all) appreciated the actual terms of that result. Micali’s writings came in useful to those who, on the right as well as on the left, protested against the way the House of Savoy had simply annexed the whole peninsula. They demanded that a firm stand be taken against the new unified state—some in the name of the ancient Italian states, some in the name of another, democratic and republican, Italy. However, as the examples of Corcia and La Lumia indicate so well, Micali’s work also appealed to those who accepted Savoy rule: it could be enlisted to keep alive the conviction that unity need not imply uniformity, but was simply a matter of acknowledging the participation of the many, all of them different from one another, in a new collective identity. With the beginning of the unified state, what had seemed to be the squaring of the circle that could hold everything together, what had seemed, in primis to Gioberti, a convincing proposal to bring a host of very different historical experiences together in a cultural aggregation under the name of 74 75

La Lumia 1874a: 18–23. Also useful in this regard, another study by La Lumia, 1874b.

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Italy—all at once, this foundered, appearing indeed to legitimate precisely the opposite perspective. For Micali’s work, it was the beginning of a tortuous journey through the years of liberal Italy. His name had been so repeatedly invoked by both the republican left and legitimist camps as to arouse the deep suspicions of the supporters of the liberal state, convincing them to reassert, on cultural grounds, that his dusty work of scholarship contained nothing relevant either to the modern or the national condition. The silence that would soon greet his work from part of the cultural world—a world that was shouldering the responsibility of working together in the huge enterprise of bringing the unified state to nationhood—reflected a particular anxiety: and that is, that behind the taste for scholarship and antiquarianism lay a yearning nostalgia for a past time that was not only no longer compatible with, but in fact took the form of a dramatic challenge to, a unity that was still in many respects a rather fragile achievement.

4 The other Italy Mazzini, it seems, never showed much interest in Micali’s work. From a few of his comments, it could be said that he looked at the Etruscan model with a certain amount of curiosity. However, he never concealed the fact that he considered Roman Italy a wonderful example of the fusion of peoples, rather than the simple result of military conquest. His position concerning the nation’s antiquity seemed opposed to the concept of autochthonism, since a decisive insistence on the common origins of the Italic peoples would have ended up working against those prospects of spiritual rebirth in which he placed such great importance. The new Italians, in his opinion, to truly merit this title, could be nothing other than a wonderful mixture of different peoples, bound together by an original and mutual patriotic sentiment.1 These considerations, undoubtedly central to Mazzini’s political and cultural perspective, were not, however, strong enough to gather the entire democratic world around him, partly due to the fact that, after the national revolution of 1848, the failure of the democratic Roman Republic in 1849 resulted in his position being openly contested. The example of Cattaneo, however, suggests that Micali’s writings aroused interest in the republican camp, providing, as they did, a great deal of support for the idea of a federative hypothesis for the peninsula. Significantly, it was in 1851 that Cattaneo made a specific reference to Micali’s work to indicate the abyss that, in cultural terms as well, separated him from Mazzini at that point. In a letter to the 1 Concerning Mazzini’s relationship with the antiquarian tradition, see Treves 1992: I, 108–10. On Mazzini’s political thought, see Haddock 1999, Bayly and Biagini 2008. On the Risorgimento democratic galaxy, see also Patriarca 1996, Isabella 2009, and Sabetti 2010.

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republican publisher Daelli, he expressed himself in the following terms: Micali regards the Roman conquest as the ruin of Italy; certainly, it buried many languages and religions, much legislation and literature. Who can applaud the soldier who slaughters Archimedes or sets Veio ablaze? But if you happen to read a Mazzinian writer, he will happily consign Etruria, the Samnites with all their virtues and the Pythagoreans of Magna Grecia to hell, in the name of Roman unity, even though this should leave them at the mercy of Theodoric, king of the Ostrogoths.2

While Cattaneo obviously exaggerated both the terms and tone of the matter, he was undoubtedly correct in recording Mazzini’s great disinterest in Italic antiquity, a subject that had never excited his enthusiasm in terms of patriotic appeal: on the one hand he felt it to be of little significance and on the other that it paved the way in a dangerous manner for the return in strength of detested municipalism. And from this particular perspective, Mazzini’s worries were shown to be not wholly without foundation. Again in 1851, while Cattaneo criticized his lack of interest in the Italic past, it was in fact the democratic camp that seemed to host the reappearance of a regional pride towards which Mazzini never failed to demonstrate all his irrepressible aversion. An example is offered in Tuscany by the choice made by the Cruscan academic Atto Vannucci who, during the events of 1848, was a fervent supporter not only of revolution in the Grand Duchy but also, after Leopold of Lorraine’s flight, of immediate unification with the Roman Republic of 1849. Exemplifying how the years immediately following the collapse of that revolutionary venture were extremely difficult for Mazzini—who was damaged variously by the maintenance of the constitutional system in Piedmont, the triumphs of Louis Bonaparte in France, and the failed attempts at insurrection that he organized in Lombardy—Vannucci brought out a history of Italy that would find wide acceptance, enough to raise more than one echo even in the years of a unified Italy.3 The work’s homage to Micali was quite explicit, with a strong anti-Roman message to the fore—criticized as an instrument of oppression with regard to the Italic peoples. Concerning the matter of these peoples’ 2

Cattaneo 1954: II, 66–7.

3

Vannucci 1851.

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origins, however, Vannucci could not allow himself to agree with the other’s concept of autochthonism,4 suggesting—in line with regional antiquarian tradition—Lydian origins for the Etruscans. In conclusion, drawing to a large extent on Balbo’s writings at this point, he stated that ‘in vain was it possible to find unity between the primitive tribes of Italy; [ . . . ] and useless to attempt to trace back our origins to one single lineage.’5 This choice in favour of a plurality of presences on the peninsula, which would take greater root at a later date, only apparently coincided with Mazzini’s ideas, since Vannucci’s repeated glorification of the Etruscan world says a great deal about his insistence on a clear Tuscan primacy. It was a regionalist approach, however, which did not prevent him from reasoning as a patriot; in fact, it suggested that a solution to the national problem might be found through the particular contribution that different peoples, diverging histories, and an array of cultural experiences could offer to the construction of an original Italian identity. While it is true that in the following years Vannucci, along with many others, ended up backing the solution of unification under the House of Savoy, this never extinguished his conviction that the new Italy should always regard the contribution of its individual parts as an important fact. Even as late as 1873, with the reprinting of another edition of the work he had produced long before, given new relevance by the events that had seen the entrance of Italian troops into Rome in 1870, Vannucci could in fact note how the patriotic triumph over the Papal autocracy had, in the end, brought justice to an age-old story of tyranny and conquest, one which could now be regarded as having been erased from the political unification of the peninsula. His words leave little room for doubt on the matter: Rome conquered Italy through violence and held it subject through force of arms. Today, in contrast, Italy brings liberty to Rome, unites it with the nation and makes it the capital of a free people [ . . . ] Now begins a new, marvellous period in Roman and Italian history in which Italy nobly avenges the servitude imposed upon our forefathers by the proud Quirites; and for Rome, released from the scabrous government of the priests and made free by Italian laws, the way is open towards a new and glorious destiny. If ancient Romans forced the Italian peoples

4

Vannucci 1851: 10.

5

Vannucci 1851: 33–4.

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to make the world bend its knee to the Campidoglio, now Italians and Romans have the means to achieve a more worthy aim, to employ their freedom to become more civil, more humane and more powerful in order to defend their common homeland and to cultivate true dignity in Rome and in Italy.6

Shortly after the taking of Rome, Vannucci was still firm in his belief in a process of ‘construction from below’ of the national identity: this seemed to be a sure antidote to the moves, evidently starting to become noticeable, that threatened to erase specific local identities. During the same period, the Calabrian Vincenzo Padula was working along similar lines, though these led him to very different conclusions. In 1871, at the end of many years of civil and political commitment in support of his region, he published a curious work on Italic antiquity where, although vocal in his support of Micali,7 his conclusion was to propose a homogeneous ethnic Italian identity with its roots in a single Hebraic ancestry.8 At the end of a weighty tome, where studies of linguistics and philology intertwined with those of philosophy,9 he believed in fact that he was able to confute the many theories relating to Indo-Europeanism while at the same time managing to avoid resorting to the solution of Etruscology. His suggestion

6

Vannucci 1873: Ai lettori p.n.n. ‘The first to enter this field was the Leighorn-born Giuseppe Micali in 1810 [ . . . ] The Roman history left to us by the ancients is a vast solitude inhabited solely by our conquerors: reading it, we understand that under this people there was another, suffering people, but we do not see their faces; the arenas of that solitude moved with the people who raised them, but we ignored their pain, could barely guess at their hopes. Roman history is the history of executioners, not yet of the victims: turning to these, investigating their origins, beliefs, customs and institutions before the audacious ones lurking in Rome broke the political unity of Italy was Micali’s beautiful, new and generous purpose, though it was one, to be frank, that he did not fully achieve. But with all the ambitious histories that almost every year both home and abroad are presented to us on the resung theme of Rome, has it ever been done better?’ (Padula 1871: 351–2). 8 ‘I have not therefore in this work imagined a new people; but I have confessed that which was in the knowledge of everyone, and which no-one dared openly to say. I have given the true name to those who until now were called Pelasgian; and that the Pelasgians were Jews is proved with the names of our ancestors, which are Jewish’ (Padula 1871: 488). 9 ‘Contemporaneous with Schlegel and Bopp, Hegel tore away the assumption of reducing pantheism to science and calling India to Europe. This sad fame awaited Germany. For national pride, were the Aryan languages not known as IndoGermanic? [ . . . ] Hegel is for his century what Voltaire was for his; but, devil for devil, I go with the devil from France’ (Padula 1871: 435). 7

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was a Mediterranean origin for the whole of Europe, with a movement of peoples from south to north which brought him into open conflict with the main ideas then current on that continent. Apart from the imaginative theory regarding a single Hebraic ancestry for the ancient Italic peoples, Padula’s researches confirmed a longexisting interpretation of Italian history which adopted an antiRoman line yet at the same time excluded an Etruscan context. It would, however, in those same years, give rise to a number of other interventions10 and would soon find consensus, above all in the field of radical democracy which emerged so soundly beaten by the conclusion of the national movement in Italy.11 In fact, due mainly to Vannucci, the theme of the Roman conquest of the peninsula, as Micali conveyed it to 19th-century learning, made it all too easy to draw parallels with recent events and suggested the alluring possibility of travelling back through the centuries in search of dramatic foreshadowings of present times. How exposed the political and ideological preoccupation was that supported the insistent recourse to the events of Italic antiquity is confirmed by the fact that these democratic statements often corrected and revised previous writings which were clearly conservative in tone, turning their meaning upside down to transform what was originally a lament for lost privileges into a demonstration of the people’s unquenchable thirst for liberty. In 1861, for example, in a memoir that remained unpublished for many years, the Sardinian delegate Giorgio Asproni, whose ideas were fairly close to those of Cattaneo, drew on some observations from the conservative historical tradition of the early 19th century regarding the war of freedom fought on the island in ancient times, briskly interpreting them in a context hostile to government

10 See, for example, in the years immediately following, Schiaparelli 1879: 55, where the author, arguing along the lines of Vannucci against Niebuhr’s thesis, declares that until the Etruscan, Celtic, and Hellenic invasions, the entire peninsula ‘was certainly ruled over by the Italic tribes, peoples of the same ethnographical origin and all speaking a dialect of the same language’; but also Cecconi 1887: 35, where he asserts, against Niebuhr and Mommsen, the reconstruction of Italic antiquity provided by Italian cultural tradition. 11 See on this point the work of Petruccelli della Gattina, where the theory of the indigenous, following Micali (Petruccelli della Gattina 1874: 10–11), constitutes a sure point of reference in order to anchor the history of the Italian nation.

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centralization.12 Great emphasis was therefore given to the pages that the profoundly conservative academic Giuseppe Manno, far back in the 1820s, had dedicated to the resistance of the island’s ancient peoples in the face of Roman invasion13 (Manno, following on indirectly from Micali, ascribes Etruscan origins to the former). Asproni’s explicit recourse to the anti-Romanism that the other had previously made so much of became, however, a shrewd expedient to move in an opposite direction, equating that long-ago period of island resistance to Roman domination with the hope of another, equally indomitable, opposition to the Savoy monarchy. It was a leitmotiv which more than a few other democratic party writers would increasingly pick up on over the following years, hurrying readily to identify the House of Savoy with the Romans to indicate how Italian unification had unfortunately taken that longpast conquest of the peninsula as its model. A useful reference, in this regard, is to the figure of Carlo Dotto de’ Dauli, a Sicilian patriot who had supported Garibaldi and, remaining a republican for the rest of his days, was committed to open protest against the monarchical solution to the Italian problem. In an early work, written around 1871, dedicated jointly to Garibaldi, Mazzini, and the memory of Giorgio Imbriani, he expressed the hope that the French Republic would return Nice (but not Savoy) to Italy, and initiated a historical and ethnological study of the Nice region, where the presence in antiquity of the far-from-Celtic Ligurian population provided concrete proof of that area’s Italianity.14 No less curiously, just as Asproni had drawn on Manno, Dotto de’ Dauli derived this perspective from an 1820s work by Luigi Duranti, which was, however, a fervent paean

12 Asproni 1981: 5–22. As is known, Asproni would shortly thereafter force the issue of resorting to the past in the context of political demands, inducing Cattaneo to give scientific plausibility (and an anti-Piedmont perspective) to the so-called Carte d’Arborea, a forgery which in Sardinia after 1860 would lend strength to the islanders’ request to constitute an integral yet autonomous part of the new Italian state. See Mattone 2004, as well as, with reference to the forgery of the Carte d’Arborea alone, Mattone 1997. More concerning the Carte d’Arborea in the wider context of the instrumental use of forgery can be found in Preto 2008: 254–64. On Asproni’s political identity, see Brigaglia 2008. 13 Manno 1825–7: I, 6–8, which talks about a conquest of the island and argues against the reconstruction on the part of the Greeks; on p. 25 there is a citation by Micali in reference to the arrival of the Etruscans on the island. Concerning Manno’s work, see the comments by Mastino 2009. 14 Dotto de’ Dauli 1873: 208–9.

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in favour of the House of Savoy against the annexation of Nice by France during the revolutionary period.15 Moreover, in the same work, in an appendix longer than the main text itself, Dotto de’ Dauli went on to list all the various territories still in foreign hands (most notably Istria, eastern Friuli, Trentino, Canton Ticino, Corsica, and Malta), in relation to which the historico-ethnological method once more came in useful to prove their unequivocal status as parts of Italy.16 It was a subject that Dotto de’ Dauli would return to and develop just a few years later in 1880, on the occasion of the publication of another of his works which was, not by chance, entirely dedicated to ancient Italy; here his position with reference to the longstanding dispute over the origins of the peninsula’s populations became completely clear. On the one hand, going against Micali and the whole Tuscan school, he gave his support to the reading of the Etruscan origins put forward by Müller in his time, and on the other— remaining true to his Sicilian origins—he emphasized how the real cradle of civilization was nonetheless Magna Græcia.17 None of this, however, helped to diminish the importance of the real protagonists of his reconstruction, which remained the Italic peoples as a whole— in other words those ‘many peoples refined by lineage and language’ which had proudly resisted the advance of Rome. He lamented the latter’s work of conquest, even though acknowledging how this had brought about the conditions for creating a future national unity.18 It was a muddled and confused affair, however, which attempted to yoke together the many voices regarding the matter that were also present in the republican camp. On the one hand, Dotto de’ Dauli was in agreement with the interpretation of ancient history outlined by Mazzini—and therefore on the homogenizing role of Rome—and, on the other, he firmly believed in the political originality of the Italic peoples, on the role played by the south in the peninsula’s cultural

15 Duranti 1823–4, in particular vol. I, where on p. 355 the author describes how the people of Nice have an Italian pronunciation that is not at all Provençal, and the appendix to vol. III, where the events of 1792 to 1815 are described, with a strong protest, at the time of the revolutionary invasion, against the French occupation. 16 On this point, Dotto de’ Dauli relied to a large extent on a preceding work by Amat 1866, where the choice of the Italian frontier at the Isonzo river is ascribed to the tyrant Napoleon. 17 Dotto de’ Dauli 1880: I, 279 and II, 283. 18 Dotto de’ Dauli 1880: III, 550–61.

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development, and on the prospect of federative order that could alone provide an obstacle to other more recent conquests of the peninsula. This bringing together of Cattaneo and Mazzini—by Dotto de’ Dauli, as by the whole of the republican movement following Italian unification—did not, however, erase the dramatic preoccupation that a rather spineless generation, easily robbed of the victories in the south by Cavour’s machinations, could be followed by another, even worse, generation (if that were possible), which would be able to do nothing to oppose the Kingdom of Italy’s drift in a clerical and authoritarian direction.19 They were arguments that focused on the mood of dismayed disillusionment that characterized many patriots: those who, long convinced that the Risorgimento period would have a different outcome, all of a sudden found themselves in an undreamt-of situation where the much extolled virtue of the Italian people was replaced by a worrying image of a fragile and immature society, one that was certainly not capable of measuring up to that republican morality which it had for so long seen itself as naturally embracing. However, despite the observations made by many regarding the gulf between the democratic world and the general population of the peninsula, there is no doubt that the arguments of the left regarding monarchical Italy, all founded on the inversion of roles, and hence on the federative logic of diverse realities destined to find synthesis at the centre, were to cause more than a little worry to the sustainers of the monarchical solution to the problem of national unification. They saw this insistence on the study (and valorization) of local reality as disguising a clear refusal of the recently established unitary state. Even in 1884 an academic such as Nicola Marselli, dealing with the 19 ‘It is necessary that our young grow up strong, audacious and bold, that a people of weaklings and slaves gives way to a generation that is vigorous, a people that is serious and active. Today, wretchedly, the children of Italy forget the masculine virtues of their fathers, their strong sense of purpose, their magnanimous acts, ignore the glory that lies in the soil of their homeland. Many lose their manhood in the soul of a lying and hypocritical religion, many are seduced by feminine wiles, many are light in thought, indifferent to the national shame [ . . . ] if, hoping that it may not be so, such present abjection should last a long period, if to this generation of weaklings there should follow another equally indifferent and cowardly, if Italy should evermore remain slave to monarchs and priests, oh then I pray for the ridges of the Apennines to awake with all their spent volcanoes and bury, as once at Pompeii and Herculaneum, all the countryside, villages and cities of Italy’ (Dotto de’ Dauli 1873: 485 and 487).

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Italian south’s dramatic situation in the context of the backwardness which its inhabitants seemed to repeatedly demonstrate, did not hesitate to lament how ‘a faint murmur spreads abroad, one which goes around claiming that the region is the truth, that unity is rhetoric. Villainous voices! [ . . . ] for us, the region is a memory, but unity is a religion.’20 However, despite the anathema of those who supported unification and the progress of centralization, this trend, which aimed at the valorization of the many small Italian territories—whose specific contribution to the great cause of unity was not one to be forgotten but which instead deserved to be clearly emphasized—would continue to make itself felt for some time throughout the Italian 19th century. It was a point of view in which expectations and preoccupations of both right and left could obviously commingle: marked as they were by the fear that the centralizing process would destroy Italy’s multiple identities and by the centuries-long undertaking whose recognition would alone be able to give stability to the newly unified state.21 It was into this scenario, then, that the developments of the studies of antiquity arrived, with a warm appreciation for the importance of the German scientific method that would do much to open a gap between the study of the Italic world’s origins and the political arena which had nourished it for so long. It was a cultural perspective that would see the works of Micali and Vannucci returned to the bookshelves, together with those who, in their wake, arguing against Niebuhr (and soon Mommsen as well), had preferred to follow a method of interpreting antiquity that, while less scientific, was highly sensitive to the nation’s political problems. As inevitably happens, however, the opposite was also true: in other words, alongside Micali’s misfortunes (and, not surprisingly, a parallel resurgence of interest in Platone in Italia) there arose a new political context where the difficulty of indiscriminately giving form to the nation with all its subjects scattered throughout the peninsula soon became clear. Meanwhile, after the defeat of Napoleon III at Sedan, the French model’s exit from the scene and the rise of German power suggested the rejection of one cultural tendency in favour of another whose 20 Marselli 1884: 197. Concerning Marselli’s personality, see some remarks by Nani 2000: 63–73. 21 For some exemplary pages on this matter, see Chabod 1951: 179–323.

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apparently aseptic scientific method seemed to distance historical knowledge from the contingent moment.22 So, at the end of the 19th century, the national culture, with its adoption of the German model, truly turned in a new direction with respect to the Risorgimento models of the past: a direction that went hand in hand with the crisis of an Italy made up of small territories which, it was believed for a certain period of time, could, without too much distress, be forged into a single nation. Another way of considering Italic antiquity came into being, and was inevitably, given the nation-building requirements of the moment, forced to look back to Rome and its work of recasting many peoples into one. It was a perspective which would not, however, completely erase the other: the myth of pre-Roman Italy that Micali had brought to life for the Risorgimento generation would continue to be a cultural force throughout the Italian 19th century. This is readily shown by the Storia dei popoli della Lucania e della Basilicata (‘A History of the Ancient Peoples of Lucania and Basilicata’), the work that Giacomo Racioppi, a southern academic who made a fleeting appearance in the world of politics, brought out in 1889—that is when the Italian study of antiquities, under the influence of Mommsen, had already taken another path. So it is no surprise that many years later, in 1928, on an occasion commemorating Racioppi held in the Neapolitan Accademia Pontaniana of which he was a member, Emanuele Ciaceri, a historian of the Magna Græcia,23 indicated the unbalanced nature of the work. Ciaceri pointed out that if Racioppi was able to give a precise and detailed picture of Basilicata, the region in the modern age, he was not so successful with Lucania, that same territory in ancient times. He goes on to say: Where the latter is concerned, one cannot but notice certain gaps and inaccuracies in the work, which cannot be fully explained by the state at that time of studies relating to the ancient history of the south of Italy. Indeed, at the very moment he was writing, other historians were either beginning or already involved in a very happy period of their activity.24

22 23 24

A brilliant perspective on this point is put forward by Giarrizzo 2004. On this figure, see in particular Ciaceri 1924–1932: 3 vols. Ciaceri 1928, reprinted in Borraro 1975: XVIII.

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This judgement eloquently demonstrates the triumphs of the German method, which prompted the speaker to dismiss Racioppi’s profuse research into ancient Lucania as extremely limited in outlook. Although this was a line of interpretation destined to remain in place for a long period of time, during the course of the 20th century the book became a fundamental reference point for the historical identity of the small southern region. This took place in a context where recent times tended to be regarded as more central than those long past, and where the local dimension took on a more prominent aspect than perspectives with a wider horizon.25 It should not be too surprising, then, that the attention bestowed upon Racioppi, very fitful as it was, was couched in precisely these terms. For the first decades of the 20th century, in a period where the theme of small, individual territories was overwhelmed by the splendours of nationalism, where Italic antiquity had once again given way to the unifying myth of Rome, and where the national identity was far removed from all direct contact with the regionalist movement, all the pages of that hefty volume dedicated to ancient Lucania must have appeared irredeemably dated and hence of little interest. And yet this reading clashed stridently with the intention of the author who, in the overall execution of the work, placed the ancient region on the same level as that of the modern era. Racioppi’s hope was that Lucania’s earliest historic phases represented a key reference point to interpret the complex development of the region’s whole history and as a consequence to legitimate the identity of the people of Basilicata themselves in a national context. For a long time, then, it was overlooked that Racioppi, sticking closely to the political and cultural context of the Risorgimento era, deemed it necessary to insist on the remotest antiquity of the region in order to understand and illustrate its individual particular historical process and, above all, to properly valorize the specificity of its contribution to the construction of the new national identity. The evidence lies in the position that he intended to follow in this regard: holding close to the models of Italic antiquity that wound their way through the 19th century, Racioppi underlined the importance of the Italic populations that preceded the arrival of the Greeks, and largely played down the role of the Pelasgians, defined simply as those peoples who had arrived in the region

25

On this point, see Morano 1994.

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from ‘barbarous northern Greece, from Epirus or from Illyria’. He also argued against the claim of the Greek populations to ascribe everything to themselves, and in general adopted the Micalian vision of an Italy that was to a great extent already civilized before the arrival of the colonies from the Aegean. In fact, it is to the ‘jingoism’ of the latter (as well as to the successive power of Rome) that he attributes the oblivion to which it was long consigned.26 This interpretation, wholly founded on ideas suggested by Micali and reproposed by Vannucci, took on an original aspect, however, thanks to Racioppi’s strong civil and political profile. His militancy in favour of the southern provinces led him to compose his work with clearly polemical intent in relation to the Neapolitan antiquarian tradition. While he is, from the very first page, careful to recall the work of Nicola Corcia, he is also quick to underline how the Neapolitan academic’s studies, determined as they were to valorize the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies’ Pelasgian origins, provided a topography of the ancient Neapolitan region alone. As a result, the multiple realties of the provinces were overly neglected and the south’s civilizing process ended up being portrayed in absolutely unilateral terms.27 This particular polemical enterprise should not come as too much of a surprise. It goes without saying that Racioppi’s work, taking shape almost thirty years after unification and therefore returning to review material dating back to distant periods and referring to other expectations, had a different significance from the works which, however, he did not hesitate to both criticize and make explicit reference to. In the past, these were designed to emphasize a full southern specificity in the field of Italian identity and to sustain the nation-building efforts of the Bourbon monarchy. Now—after such a long passage of time—these same sources, these same elements of style, these same arguments, became useful in a wholly different area, attempting to oppose a line of thought determined to indicate how, in that national state that had arisen as a result of the collapse of the Two Sicilies, the south as a whole, and Basilicata in particular, constituted a grave problem. By the year 1889, Racioppi’s delving into the region’s ‘past historic’ only appeared to be in line with the many works from previous times dedicated to Italic antiquity. It was, in fact, a profound departure from such works, proposing itself as a repeated act of faith

26

Racioppi 1889: I, 10–31.

27

Racioppi 1889: I, 5.

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in a united Italy composed of many small nations—a vision which was by then openly repudiated from almost every side, and with regard to which the very birth of the ‘Southern question’ seemed to testify to an irreversible decline. This dramatic acknowledgement, which runs through all Racioppi’s work, makes the author’s horizons clearer: while being a gifted scholar, with a bibliography stretching to dozens of titles, he was at the same time a participant in the events of the Risorgimento and he never, with greater reason after the year 1860, intended to surrender the patriotic dimension to that of the academic.28 In other words, it was his militancy that brought him, at a late age, to the study of Italic antiquity; and a fundamental role in this rather in-reverse process (from political commitment to the shores of academia) was played by the increasingly anguished perception that the south was showing itself incapable of sustaining the necessary force to ensure the harmonic realization of a unified state.29 However, this dramatic preoccupation, which the development of a unified Italy would only help to aggravate, never succeeded in endangering Racioppi’s belief in the new Italian state. Even at the end of the 19th century, he was still of the opinion that the southern regions— and Basilicata in particular—would only be able to find valorization in the context of the new unified state (one that had always previously been denied to them by the solely Neapolitan dimension of their participation in statehood). Evidence of this lies, throughout a variety of titles and with differing levels of emphasis, in all the historical works which he published in the early years of Italian unification These include three books: first, in 1863, a brief history of the expedition of Carlo Pisacane, the Neapolitan patriot who in 1857 organized an expedition to provoke a rising in the Two Sicilies, but was murdered by an angry mob in Cilento; then, in 1867, a substantial treatise regarding the events of 1860 in Basilicata, where, running on into the years immediately following, he devotes some highly interesting pages to the explosion of ‘Brigandage’; and finally, in 1871, a biography of the 18th-century Neapolitan reformer Antonio Genovesi.30

28 29 30

On this point, some useful remarks by Scirocco 1975. Cingari 1976. Racioppi 1863, Racioppi 1867, Racioppi 1871.

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These three works share a common thread in their perception of the inadequacy of the southern regions’ ruling class in the face of the political challenge thrown down to them, particularly in 1848, by the national movement. So, in the few pages dedicated to Pisacane’s sacrifice, he intended above all to denounce those among the survivors who, in 1862, on the occasion of the skirmish on Aspromonte—where Garibaldi, in his attempt to secure Rome was wounded and his volunteers disbanded by the Italian army—had waved the populist banner for the insurrection. Briefly, he warned against any republican temptations, underlining the southern poor’s lack of interest in this regard. Even more dramatically, in his second work, he focused on the origins of ‘Brigandage’, presenting it as an authentic civil war, for which the new local ruling class especially—setting their sights on the elimination of their traditional adversaries, accused indiscriminately of Bourbonism, by means that included the use of special laws—bore the heaviest responsibility. Finally, in the biography of Genovesi, there was the attempt to propose a new political culture to united Italy’s southern elites, calling on them to adopt a different style of territorial governance modelled on the great civil tradition of the Neapolitan 18th century. It might be worthwhile to add that in these denunciations of the southern ruling class’s inadequacy, it was the very subject of ‘Brigandage’—which in Basilicata reached its highest point of violence— that played a decisive role. Racioppi wrote that the southern elites— already unprepared for the events of 1860 when, with the lone exception of tiny Basilicata, they did not know how to grab the patriotic initiative—proceeded to give the worst example of themselves at a local level, where the struggle for power was simply a playing out, on a far more intense scale, of traditional conflicts. Again according to Racioppi, it was a situation where the doors to violence were thrown open, and immediately defined by some in political terms as ‘Brigandage’. His description, in this regard, of the brutality of the poorer classes is a dramatic one, as, together with the disbanded remnants of the Bourbon army, they rushed at once to join the rebel ranks. His reading of the phenomenon, however, shows great originality, tracing it back wholly to the inadequacy of the local elites which originated, following unification,

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[ . . . ] from those individuals that, faithful for reasons of office to the fallen government, were not only left out of the new order of things but too brusquely opposed by the winning party. The latter, mixing together political parties in the municipalities with the old municipal parties, and using political terms to mask age-old struggles and ancient rancour, perpetual causes of unrest in municipal life, rendered the empire of the conquerors more insolent and uncivil and the subjection of the defeated more serious and excessive.31

The nightmare of ‘Brigandage’, an allegory for a southern world dominated by the social backwardness and unpreparedness of its ruling classes, had left its mark on Racioppi’s reading of the 19thcentury southern politics, so much so that he would return to it many years later, in 1889, in Storia dei popoli della Lucania e della Basilicata. Here, indeed, the role of historian takes precedence over that of the still attentive observer of contemporaneous political events; however, for this very reason, it becomes possible here to grasp his overall perspective—by then definitive—on the events in which, in the distant past of 1848, he had been both witness and participant. In the few pages that end his most famous work Racioppi in fact introduces an important and original distinction between 1789 on the one hand and 1860 on the other, regarding the first date as a ‘truly democratic period in the political history of peoples’, when ‘a new era began; and the people make their appearance in the political orders, democracy in the social orders, and the nation in the state orders.’32 But 1860 and the sudden birth of the unified state had taken the civil and political events of the south to another level altogether, opening it up to far wider horizons. In other words, to quote Racioppi again: 1860, ‘while following on from the preceding period, was not a continuation thereof ’.33 As an interpretative key, this is substantially opposed to the one that liberal Italy’s southern power groups, who even proclaimed themselves forerunners of the national cause, immediately proposed. It takes an implicit, yet net, stand against the reading offered by De Sanctis and successively taken up by Croce in the context of the extraordinary leap forward that the south, through the effort of the better part of its citizenship, had succeeded in making with 31 32 33

Racioppi [1867] 1909: 261–2. Racioppi [1867] 1909: II, 256. Racioppi [1867] 1909: II, 304.

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unification. In other words, while the liberal epoch’s southern political tradition made no clear distinction between 1848 and 1860, and had in fact made the failure of the national revolution and the consequent divorce from the House of Bourbon the turning point for an Italian dimension of the Two Sicilies, Racioppi turned the matter on its head: in his opinion, there was no connection at all between the period that preceded the fall of the last Bourbon and that which ushered in the formation of a unified Italian state. The reasons for his going against the mainstream in this way are all in the final pages of his last work. Here, the author, focusing on the period following 1789, presents 1799, the Napoleonic decade, and the revolution of 1820–1 as being firmly linked together in the context of political modernization, while at the same time underlining how 1848 constitutes a brusque interruption of this process.34 In the latter circumstances, in fact, again according to Racioppi, the failure of the constitutional experiment was not only due, as liberal tradition preferred to recall, to the grimly repressive work of Ferdinand II of Bourbon in 1849. In his opinion, no little responsibility lay with the constitutional groups themselves who, unable to grasp the political moment and led hopelessly astray by adventurism and abstractionism, ended up consigning every prospect of Risorgimento success in the south to disaster.35 So, more than forty years after the events that marked his introduction into the world of politics, Racioppi, taking stock of the failed constitutional revolution, aimed a severe j’accuse at the revolutionary ruling class of 1848, charging it with a dramatic lack of readiness: Never was a political party more inept at politically managing the state than the Neapolitan moderate party of 1848! And this shows – need I say? – how the country, and how the ruling classes of the country, were wholly unprepared for conditions of liberty.36

34

Racioppi [1867] 1909: II, 292. ‘I will not recount the history of this short period of liberty, sworn, violated and betrayed by the king: but neither shall I echo those biased histories that lay the guilt wholly and uniquely at the king’s feet: unilateral, subjective histories can teach us nothing; neither truth, nor wisdom. Great blame may be assigned to the king, who was disloyal, and failing in the king’s oath, to the word of a gentleman: but no less guilty were those of the liberal party, and, greater than all guilt, the insanity’ (Racioppi [1867] 1909: II, 294). 36 Racioppi [1867] 1909: II, 294. 35

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In this light, it becomes clear why 1860 was a different matter with respect to the preceding period, but it is equally evident how, in that year, the whole of the south found itself in serious difficulty. And it is also important to emphasize how, once more from Racioppi’s point of view, the extraordinary phenomenon of Italian unity was, by and large, wasted due to the ruling class’s inability to react swiftly and cogently to the astounding opportunity that had suddenly been handed to the country. The birth of the unified state, in other words, owed little or nothing to the initiative of the peninsular south, and its ruling class’s lack of political preparedness would have dramatic repercussions in the following years, when those who took power in the name of Italian unity found themselves trying to handle a situation that was far too complex for them with regard to the modest political resources available. This vision of the south arriving tardily to the Italian cause and substantially incapable of making a place for itself in the new state structure was an idea that Racioppi had matured since the first years of unification. The explosion of ‘Brigandage’ and the birth of the ‘Southern question’ had made a determining contribution to the construction of another Italy, one regarded as backward and barely redeemable in the context of modernity. Indeed, between the conclusion of the Risorgimento and 1889, the overall picture of a united Italy had changed radically and the south had become a national problem which seemed to have a severely damaging effect on every possible stabilization, in positive terms, of the new order. The terrible political earthquake of ‘Brigandage’ had helped to alienate national public opinion from the long-harboured image of a patriotic south and had firmly placed the ‘Southern question’ at the top of the list of problems that the young unified state had to deal with. It was a situation that could swing in favour of a southern-tending policy on the part of liberal Italy; however, it could also give rise to some form of resistance from those areas that enjoyed greater advantages as a result of a unity that had rushed together the homogenization of places that were in fact extraordinarily different from one other. This latter aspect was a theme which greatly preoccupied Giacomo Racioppi, whose interest in the history (and the antiquity) of his homeland ran parallel with the growing protest against the plausible likelihood of the southern regions becoming a concrete part of the new national state.

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It should not be surprising in this regard that he at once chose to express his ideas concerning the study of his country’s history through the columns of an academic journal, the Archivio storico per le province napoletane, which, since its foundation in 1876, had concerned itself with the study of the peninsular south’s past, with the specific intention of reinforcing the moral unity of the Italians. According to Scipione Volpicella, introducing the first volume of the journal, the premise for such a commitment was due to the existence, in the peninsula and the southern regions themselves, of a plurality of peoples ‘deriving from different sources and subject to various and dissimilar forms of government’ which ‘proceeding like a multitude of rivers towards a single sea’ came together to comprise the Italian nation.37 Racioppi’s agreement on this point was total and in the very first year he provided a contribution on the historical origins of Basilicata’s geographical names, clearly with polemical intent in regard to an academic tradition which, from Mazzocchi to Corcia, had always excluded the study of the specific territorial articulation of the Kingdom of Naples. Reminding his readers how archaeology and philology in Naples tended to focus almost exclusively on ancient times, he suggested it was also useful to regard the Byzantine and Lombard periods as playing an important part in the historical and geographical identity of his region. The example of Basilicata proved useful in terms of restoring a specific historical depth to a territorial reality too often neglected due to the southern kingdom’s Neapolitan dimension.38 Some years later, this point of view would be put forward again in a study of the origins of the name of Italy itself, where, behind the learned research, the wholly political significance is clearly visible. In Racioppi’s opinion, again linguistically based, it was possible to identify the area originally known as Italia as that region, including Calabria and Lucania, which had taken this name directly from the aboriginal population known as the Enotrians. Only later on did Rome, coming into contact with both indigenous and Greek elements in the south and crediting them with a common political aim—that of liberty—begin indiscriminately describing all the peoples that inhabited the region as Italics. In fact, Racioppi went on to say:

37 38

See Archivio storico per le provincie napoletane 1876: 1, p. III–V. Racioppi 1885: 439.

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This complex web of relationships between peoples that differed in terms of name, origin and language but who were linked together by a common love of homeland into a single alliance with a single purpose, came to be the occasion for a name that, theretofore restricted to some points on the peninsula, was further extended to include others. [ . . . ] When [ . . . ] [Rome] came to do battle with various and diverse peoples that were grouped together under the standard of an Italiote city, or fighting for a region which the Greeks of the place called Italia, Rome therefore gave the name ‘Italic’ to all the peoples of the alliance, when it was not necessary, for any special or overriding reason, to particularly distinguish them one from the other. This group of peoples on which they brought warfare and tyranny were not only Samnites, or Lucanians, or Daunians, or Messapii, or Tarentines, or Crotonians, or Locrians, or Heracleans or Caulonians; nor were they only Greeks; they were all these and more, a great and living unity that asserted itself through the stubborn struggle for a strip of land, sometimes small, sometimes large, which was called Italia.39

For this reason, with suitable emphasis on the double register—both learned and political—that Racioppi maintains throughout, it appears clear how the Storia dei popoli della Lucania e della Basilicata is presented as the result of a journey along the paths of the southern past, drawing strength from an obstinate desire to portray the true plurality of the region’s historical experiences—a region that, at a national level, already appeared as a shadowy south unified only by a common backwardness. In contrast to this, the work described, in terms certainly neither parochial nor vainglorious, a past that— particularly with reference to the smallest southern province, the forsaken Basilicata—was original and articulated, and made a punctilious claim for it as that specific territory’s tangible patrimony. Racioppi wanted, therefore, by defining and delineating the region’s history, to allow it its true value, without, however, compromising that severe scrutiny of events—even those of the past—which, as we have seen, characterized his works of the Risorgimento era. The work’s outline appears clear then: a final yet convincing homage to that plural Italy which so many early 19th-century studies of ancient history and classical antiquity had, certainly from other perspectives, done so much to bring to the fore. During the watershed of another political and cultural period, Racioppi deftly referred back to his 39

Racioppi 1885: 530–1.

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predecessors’ findings with the declared aim of underlining how Basilicata too, despite the fragility of its socio-economic base, despite its serious cultural setbacks, still remained an integral part of Italy, a small yet securely fastened fragment in the mosaic that made up the unified state. His work stands therefore as a heartfelt memoir of how much the south had counted in terms of the construction of that Italian identity which only the Risorgimento had brought together within a national context. Words that, though certainly tardy to some extent, yet bore witness to how the model of an ‘Italy of small nations’ had traversed the first period of the unified state and still, at the end of the 19th century, had much to offer concerning the theme of the peninsula’s cultural identity.

5 The anthropology of the nation The work of Giacomo Racioppi suggests how, after 1860, ‘Brigandage’ in the southern regions became a dramatic national problem. When, around 1865, the unified state came to realize that there was a revolt in progress throughout a large part of the ancient Neapolitan provinces, the hope that all the various parts of the peninsula could come together harmoniously was gradually dying, and the rift between the south and the united state appeared in all its clarity. In just a few short years, the confident expectation that the southern regions, freed from the backward-looking Bourbon government, would deploy the full arsenal of their possibilities and grow rapidly alongside the other parts of Italy, began to fade. Now, instead, what had once seemed a mysterious and troubling world that was still ‘a volcano of patriotism’ on which many counted in order to realize Italian unity,1 revealed itself suddenly in a different and rather sinister light. Resistance to the political watershed of 1860 seemed evident, together with the consistent points of support that the legitimist groups could find in individual social realities. The very character of the southern people, famous for a sparkling good-naturedness that would naturally seem to encourage a love of homeland, instead appeared to favour a love of

1 It was also attested to in 1870 by Alberto Mario, who, remembering his participation in the Mille, still found it possible to describe the southern population along lines borrowed directly from antiquity. See, for example, the following description of the Calabrians: ‘I contemplated with admiration in those allies one of the most beautiful types of the human race [. . .] It seemed that the most ancient lineage of Magna Grecia remained in them in all their primitive integrity. Certainly two completely different families inhabited the shores of the Messina straits. If in the Calabrians one sees the Greek graft to the Italian trunk, in the Sicilians one sees the African strain. To myself, the two peoples, like the two countries, gave the impression of two different worlds’ (Mario [1870] 2004: 35–6).

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revolution that could be advantageous to the republicans. The truth was, anyway, that the south, on which the Risorgimento movement had seriously counted to inspire war on absolutism, seemed to be rejecting the offer of liberty that the Italian state was handing to it.2 This abrupt about-turn contributed a great deal to rendering the southern population even less comprehensible from a political point of view, and the disappointment and dismay in the face of such insuppressible diversity soon spilled over into the anthropological sector. The south, hurrying to recover the many old materials of which the 18th century was such a great producer, went back to being a frontier territory, a backward and quarrelsome reality, an archaic world that was so insensitive to the civilizing instruments of politics that not even a free system of government seemed able to restore it to the nation.3 The ‘southern question’ would take shape only in the years immediately thereafter, as is well known, but there is no doubt that the memory of that dramatic period of violence had a profound effect on it. At the centre of the painful reflections of both academics and politicians was in fact the glaring socio-economic backwardness of the south. This fragility, however, also appeared in the specific characteristics of its political life, where the old legitimist fringe and what remained of the ‘Neapolitan nation’, abandoning the idea of armed revolt, swiftly gathered under the standard of left-wing opposition to government, where they seemed capable of returning to the helm of the southern regions. It was precisely the conjunction of these two elements—the revelation of how extremely grave the poverty situation was, combined with the unpredictable persistence of an equally surprising political backwardness—which contributed to making the problem raised by the south such a dramatic one.4 For this reason it was emphasized with great clarity how the report of southern backwardness also reflected a preoccupation with what appeared to be a political disaster that was by then utterly inevitable, with special reference to an assumption of power by the 2

On this point, see the remarks by Macry 2003. Over recent years there has been a growing amount of research in this area aimed at interpreting the entrance of the south into the unified state in terms of a dramatic backwardness that grew out of irreconcilable differences. On this point, see Moe 2002: 69–70, Nani 2006: 116–25. For a different point of view, see De Francesco 2012: 85–91. 4 On this point, see De Francesco 2012: 92–113. 3

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left, which—in a south stricken with poverty, illiteracy, and corruption—could count on a sure bastion of electoral support.5 These anxious predictions were confirmed by the 1876 elections, where the southern regions were a determining factor in the handover of government from the right alignment to the left one. For a generation which had believed in the political programmes of the right, they appeared to indicate troubling omens for the development of the life of the nation, even sweeping away the propositions of a political culture called upon to contribute to the swift amalgamation of the various parts of Italy in the context of a common historical identity. From this particular point of view, it was certainly not groundless worry: faced with the difficulties soon to arise, research into the origins of the nation would also come up against obstacles and the necessity of a troubling contortion. The initial conviction that the cultural direction of many preceding small territories could contribute to the founding of a shared Italian identity went quickly up in flames due to the many contradictions which, in this regard, the historical and political events of united Italy repeatedly gave rise to. Faced with difficulties that seemed to multiply over time rather than find solutions, the reactions of the scientific community were various, when not openly in conflict. For all those who attempted to persist in respecting the different ethnicities that time had scattered throughout the territory, even taking a dramatic imbalance into account as a premise for a more exact interpretation of the nation, there were others who nimbly clambered over every obstacle in order to chase down the roots of a common lineage in the past. On the one hand, there were those who, under the powerful influence of preunification tradition, insisted on diversity as the many fragments of a mosaic that could yet be given shape, forming an image that would of necessity lay bare diversity and contradiction, even difference and inequality, in the body of the nation. On the other hand, however, were those who, in obedience to the modernizing perspective of the united state, rejected what political and social events made plain and insisted on the search for a common history going back to the most distant times, in order to stifle the sinister omens that the slow and difficult birth of the Kingdom of Italy seemed to portend.

5

Giarrizzo 1992: XIV–XVI.

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In the period after 1860, optimism and anxiety, stubborn determination and disenchanted examination of reality, all blended together in the studies of the nation’s antiquity. Territorial emphasis, however—aimed at shedding light on the specificity of the many parts of the peninsula which, after centuries of separate history, had suddenly flowed together into one common political channel—seemed largely to prevail. There is evidence of this in the way studies were initially organized, with a regional basis maintained for a long time. Even in 1883, with the founding of the Istituto storico italiano, there was no sense of a centralizing agency, and it was established that the duty of this new organism was only that of gathering and integrating the activity of the Deputazioni di storia patria, which had been present in many regions of Italy since 1860. The new institution was not therefore called upon to bring discipline to or, even less, limit academic activity—as indeed was written in the statutes—since its main task was only to ‘vigorously promote those preparatory works which, being of general interest, exceed the limits, the interests and the means of the Deputazioni’. The institute was therefore to sponsor the publication of sources and documents which, by their size and potentially national perspective, were not strictly of pertinence only to territorial associations. It was the acceptance of the fact that the organization of historical studies had maintained a regional, when not provincial, form of expression, and its initiatives, while they could be rationalized and coordinated, could certainly not be brought together in the context of regulated research areas.6 It goes without saying, however, that it was precisely in that particular field, often referring back to learned predecessors from times long before unification, that the study of the peninsula’s past underwent an authentic transformation: studies in a territorial context no longer remained self-contained but were opened up to interpretation in terms that demonstrated the specific and direct contribution of individual local realities to the construction of the new Italian identity. It was a patriotic discourse with its political features confused, in which the cultural model of important local citizens came once again to the fore—citizens who had, not coincidentally, throughout the whole modern age, always made use of 6 The birth and development of the Italian historical societies are described in Sestan 1981. Also worthy of mention is Clemens 2001. One particular case is mentioned in Körner 2009: 91–5.

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antiquity to legitimate their common destiny with municipal power. However, this raking up of the past in the search for lost, but not forgotten primacies, was also able to satisfy those on the left of the Risorgimento, who had staked a great deal on the pre-eminence of the French political model and the original role of the young Italian nation in a European context. For this reason, the discourse on Italic primacy continued its undaunted path over often conflicting political terrain, coming in useful, when required, to reassert the conservative aspect of the new ruling class, but also to exalt the originality, in terms of a renewed cultural profile, of the latest nation to take its place in the assembly of European peoples. It is worth recalling how Platone in Italia, interpreted as a work of social pedagogy, generated imitators in the south during the period of unification, and the insistence of these on the regulatory role of the political and cultural elites was of great comfort in the wake of the dramatic overturning of social equilibrium that a united Italy, ‘Brigandage’, and the handover of power from the right to the left had gradually brought about. And how, on the other side of the political arena, Italic antiquity in its Vichian guise rarely failed to provoke admiration, suggesting as it did the abandonment of foreign models in order to restore to united Italy its very own ancient cultural primacy.7 Meanwhile, in the years of the unified state, the study of Italic antiquity drew strength from quite another field than that of history, as is shown by the genesis of the discipline of anthropology in the person of Giustiniano Nicolucci.8 His was not a new figure on the southern cultural scene, having been prominent during the events of 1848, when he had even been accused of an (unlikely) support for Mazzinianism. However, after the failure of the national revolution, he had not chosen exile and had, in fact, continued to place his faith in the Bourbon dynasty—so much so that, on the eve of 1860, he was at the peak of his academic career. His studies were based on an idea that was very traditional in the cultural context of the Restoration south: that his own population was the direct descendant of a group of different peoples which only the same cultural model (and the 7

See in this regard Brancato 1969 and Martirano 2001. Regarding the figure of Nicolucci, see Baldi 1988 and Fedele 1988. But the whole volume, which collects the proceedings of a conference dedicated to Nicolucci, is worth a look. 8

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disciplining power of central government) had forged into the creation of one single people. Evidence of this conviction is provided by the confidence with which, even in 1859, Nicolucci addressed himself directly to King Ferdinand II, requesting him to continue in his work as a benefactor of the sciences and in particular to support anthropological research into the ancient past of the Two Sicilies. Surviving the fall of the dynasty with immense grace, Nicolucci, also a deputy of the Kingdom of Italy for a short time, was quick to exploit those great academic prospects offered by the newly unified state. Always keeping faith with his concern to highlight the multiplicity of ethnic presences, he extended his own anthropological studies from the southern area alone to cover the whole peninsula, producing a classification of presences in ancient Italy which represented a clear turning point with respect to previous theories.9 In 1865, in fact, he devoted his researches to shedding light on the subject of the ancient Ligurians—whom he equated with the Iberians and therefore regarded as speakers of the Basque language—and their circulation throughout the peninsula as a whole. At the end of his linguistic studies, Nicolucci suggested that these peoples had inhabited all Italy even as far back as the Stone Age, before being forced by armed incursions through the Alps from Indo-European populations to restrict themselves to Tuscany and the upper eastern part of Italy. Elsewhere these new populations, which he identified as in part Umbrians and in part Latins, not only forced the inhabitants into subjection but then spread southwards, where they came into conflict with another Indo-European presence, the Hellenic-Pelasgians, who were in turn made to limit their movements to Italy’s southern coastlines. Then it was the turn of the Etruscans who, following the ideas of Herodotus, Nicolucci had arriving from Asia Minor. These latest newcomers wrested Tuscany from the Ligurians and pushed them further into northern Italy, never managing, however, to breach the frontier of the River Magra, where the Ligurians continued to hold out valiantly against parallel pressure from the Celts. Meanwhile, in the rest of the peninsula, the Etruscans founded a large empire, spreading from the plains of Padania to Campania. Here they battled 9 See the notes by Landucci 1988: 73, where it is underlined how between 1860 and 1870 for Nicolucci the study of Italic antiquity ‘responded to the need to discover the roots of regional and national identity and the originality of various cultural syntheses’.

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with the Italic inhabitants and the Greek peoples who had in the meantime arrived from the east, ‘ere that from the humble dwellings of the Seven Hills there arose the city that became the most illustrious and the most glorious amongst all those ever shone upon by the sun’.10 Nicolucci’s reconstruction, it is easy to see, made use of both Niebuhr and Mommsen, but did not neglect the lessons of their adversaries Micali and Vannucci. He was thus able to identify a plurality of lineages, all very different from one another, and all equally present from ancient times on the peninsula. Apart from the Aryans, soon to become the majority, Nicolucci also recorded the existence of Mediterranean elements such as the Etruscans, as well as other peoples such as the Greeks and Ligurians, as seen above. He ascribed the latter to the Finno-Ugric family because of the brachiocephalic shape of the cranium and his studies of bone remains suggested they were clearly in the majority in the Ligurian and Piedmont areas.11 That the Italian nation was, therefore, composed of far more than just one race, was a theme that Nicolucci would continue to revisit in the years to come. In 1889, in a memoir on ancient and modern Italian anthropology, returning again to the question of the Ligurians, he reasserted how as a people they were very different from the remaining Italic populations, and how they were always keen to maintain that difference, so much so that ‘that prodigious variety which has always made the north a thing distinct from the centre and south of Italy has never been extinguished’.12 Moving further south, he was happy to call upon Micali’s support to confirm the southern specificity engendered by the encounter between the Italic populations and the colonies arrived from Greece,13 while, addressing his own time, he was able to come to the passionate conclusion that ‘the 10

Nicolucci 1863: 225–9. Nicolucci 1863: 232–4. 12 ‘[. . .] a sobriety, a seriousness, a firmness, a more than Italian vitality can however be found in the subalpine peoples, qualities which have doubtless contributed to distinguish them from their brothers of the East and the South and which have been useful in moulding their strong and tenacious temperament, that love of stability and order which makes them the people best suited to govern, as Botta says, and which, become dominant in Italy, could promote the reunion of the divided maternal limbs and smooth the way forwards to the constitution of our national unity’ (Nicolucci 1888: memoria n. 9). 13 Nicolucci 1888: 46–50. 11

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populations of today preserve the same stamp that marked them before the barbarians flooded across our beautiful land’.14 These remarks would constitute a definite point of reference in the Italy of the first decades of the unified age and also had a strong influence on other disciplines. They are clearly discernible in the argument put forward by Edoardo Brizio, an archaeologist active in Bologna, against the German cultural world’s claim to ascribe a substantial ethnic unity through Indo-Europeanism to ancient Italy as well.15 Brizio, in fact, through detailed studies of the Ligurians, Umbrians, Gauls, and Etruscans, and making substantial use of Nicolucci’s ideas in terms of the overall interpretation, considered the inhabitants of northern Italy’s terremare—villages of roughly rectangular shape dating back to the Middle Bronze Age—to be, not Umbrian, or in other words Italic Indo-European, but Ligurian. He was also careful to put the Herodotean theory of the Etruscan people’s arrival from Lydia into scientific terms for the first time, claiming that only at a later date, for reasons of conquest, would the Etruscans encroach on the Padania area, having, therefore, moved northwards up the peninsula rather than coming southwards from beyond the Alps.16 These two aspects, the importance of the Ligurian and Etruscan elements in the overall articulation of Italic antiquity, sustain all Brizio’s scientific activity, playing a major part in his constant rejection of any theory positing an Indo-European ethnic unity on the peninsula. It was no coincidence that his criticism was soon directed towards the German scientific world. During a violent argument with German academic Wolfgang Helbig, who, in his work on the Italics at the Po estuary, remained of the firm opinion that the Etruscans arrived from the north (therefore supporting the case for their Indo-European origin), Brizio did not hesitate to point out that ‘this fault is not Prof. Helbig’s alone: it is shared with many other German historians, who pick out from tradition just enough to give credence to their ideas while carefully ignoring anything that may contradict them’.17 14

Nicolucci 1888: 94. Comments on the figure of Brizio are found in Sassatelli 1984. Also see Körner 2009: 142–8 and 154–9. But it is always useful to refer to Ghirardini 1910, where the archeological and cultural trajectory of the academic is laid out in detail. 16 Ghirardini 1910: 15, but also see the study by Brizio 1885. 17 See Brizio 1880. This is a very critical review of Helbig 1879. 15

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It was a declaration of clear intolerance towards cultural Germanism, one which found a great deal of consensus in the Bologna of that period, where Brizio taught and ran the local archaeological museum. His influence was apparent on the great Italian poet Giosué Carducci, who, in the preface to his collection of poems Levia gravia, speaks of a ‘Pelasgian Italy’, and in recalling the antiquity of Bologna mentions Umbrians, Etruscans, and Gauls.18 But even more importantly, for what concerns us here, was the importance of Brizio’s ideas on the Sicilian anthropologist Giuseppe Sergi, who, before moving to Rome, was a teacher at the University of Bologna between 1880 and 1884. Born in Messina in 1841, Sergi had strong patriotic roots (he is said to have fought in 1860 with Garibaldi at the battle of Milazzo) and had begun his academic career in the early years of the unified state with a work on ancient Italic philosophy, put forward as the precursor to that of the Greeks and as the natural reference point for the renewal of scientific knowledge in a national context.19 Sergi’s first works therefore were all influenced by a Risorgimento cultural tradition which would never be set aside and indeed represented a constant thread linking all his many areas of academic interest. He was also able to take advantage of the rich stimuli offered to him by the challenge of Darwinism. This encounter gave rise to an interest in psychology, studied on a physiological basis, which engendered new lines of research that would increasingly bring him to the notice of the scientific community, with an academic career that took him first to Milan as Professor of Theoretical Philosophy and then, in 1880, to being appointed Professor of Anthropology at the University of Bologna.20 And it was during the four years spent in Bologna that he laid the foundations of his lifelong anthropological interests, beginning to pursue the study of Italic antiquity which he would keep returning to, even, not coincidentally, towards the end of his long life in the mid-1930s.21 A determining factor in this regard was his encounter with Edoardo Brizio—whom he would later ask to join him as one of the founders of the Roman Society of Anthropology— and whose studies of the ancient settlements on the peninsula (despite the ringing disagreements with Helbig) gave Sergi the chance to 18 19 20 21

See in this regard Braccesi 1984. See also Körner 2009: 133–6. Sergi 1868. On this aspect of Sergi’s work, see Mucciarelli 1987. On this point, see Camporesi 1991 and Vasta 2007.

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place anthropology alongside archaeology and linguistics as one of the fundamental disciplines for the exploration of the mysteries of Italic antiquity.22 In one of his very first works, dedicated to the study of the inhabitants of the ancient valley of the Po, he suggested that the presence of peoples there was a very irregular affair, the result of one population superimposing itself upon another, with first the Ligurians occupying the territory, then the Umbrians, then, one after the other, the Etruscans, Gauls, and Romans.23 At that time he did not doubt the Indo-European origins of the majority of these peoples, only displaying a certain hesitancy over the possibility of including the Ligurians, since the study of various skulls had already led him to advance his first doubts concerning Nicolucci’s theory, then commonly accepted, that they, due to the brachiocephalic shape of the cranium, could not be included among the Indo-European peoples. On the contrary, presenting a greater selection of remains with respect to those that Nicolucci had already examined, he was able to suggest that that ancient people was in reality dolichocephalic—the same, in other words, as those Aryans who were soon to supplant them. For the moment, Sergi was not prepared to go beyond this, and remained in agreement with what archaeologists accepted as established, confirming that the Umbrians were Indo-European (as Brizio himself asserted) while, with reference to the Etruscans, following the ideas of Nicolucci, who, despite his mix of Micali and Vannucci, substantially agreed with Herodotean theory. Nonetheless, as early as 1883, summing up his ideas concerning the coexistence of Ligurians and Celts in the Po valley, he was inspired by the differences that he had collated between the two peoples to move towards confuting the rapid dominance of the Indo-European populations on the peninsula. These differences in fact suggested to him the existence of a Ligurian-Iberian population, probably of Libyan origin, which had inhabited a large part of Mediterranean Europe before being pushed back by the Aryan invasion into more restricted territories.24

22 See his praise for the archaeologist in Sergi 1882, notably on p. 26: ‘Following tradition, it was the ancient Ligurians who were hunted and fought by the Umbrians; and therefore the hypothesis of Prof. Brizio has a basis and these skulls that we have examined represent the Ligurian strain in the Bolognese.’ 23 Sergi 1884. 24 Sergi 1883.

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It was an idea—one which echoes that of Romagnosi mentioned above—to which Sergi would return later, during the 1890s, when, continuing with his craniometric studies, he not only confirmed the dolichocephalic shape for the ancient population of the Mediterranean area but, indeed, went even further. Through the analysis of certain remains in the southern region, he hypothesized that the area had been inhabited by yet another group of peoples even further back in the past, who were thereafter suddenly absorbed by the newly arrived Sicels—the Ligurians, in other words, forced to retreat under pressure from the Aryan populations.25 However, the real turning point was to take place a little later, with Sergi’s expansion of his interest in craniometry to territorial areas outside Europe: analysing certain African and American remains,26 he raised the issue of reforming the study of cranial shapes, insisting—in the context of the anthropological problem of race classification—on the necessity of examining these materials through the valorization of their morphological structure. His chance to make a concrete experiment upon what until then had only been a wish came with the offer to directly examine a total of 400 skulls originating from Melanesia. The study of these skulls made it possible to develop a method destined to demolish the foundations of the myth of an IndoEuropean identity of the ancient continent. Here, Sergi describes in his own words the actual methods he employed in order to propose skull classifications different from those generally accepted at the time: I laid out the whole series of 400 skulls on the table exactly as they were found, confusedly in terms of shape, but in regular rows; then, circling and recircling around them I observed them for a period of time until, simply by sight, without measuring, I picked up those that seemed similar to one another and, putting them together, formed separate groups. With further constant and continuous observations of the first and second groups, I eliminated those skulls that presented a misleading appearance to the eye, and in this way I also managed to build up subgroupings amongst those elements which displayed divergences from the principal group. The accustomed eye is quick to realise the typical shapes that differ one from the other due to the fairly evident special characteristics they display. With the most characteristic typical shapes 25 26

Sergi 1891a: 168–70, Sergi 1892a, and above all Sergi 1892b. Sergi 1891b.

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observed and separated, it is then simple to approach other skulls which also have the predominant features, though less obviously, either because they are less developed or concealed by other accessory features. But this is merely the preliminary work; faith in this alone leads easily to error and deception. There must follow proof and verification with compasses in hand, since many features must be verified through measurement; and here is where the value of craniometry comes in. There is a category of measurement common to all types of skull but there must be another particular to each type that serves to prove the features that make it distinct, when these occur and when they are measurable. The work of examination with the aid of compasses brings out the features more clearly and displays them with certainty, while also helping to eliminate deceptive forms or those that are mixed, which cannot be part of a typical series. Throughout all this, it is necessary to take individual variations into account, which have an extremely wellknown and important biological value.27

Sergi believed that this process would definitively replace Anders Retzius’s traditional craniometric method (which employed the divisions of dolichocephalic, mesocephalic, and brachiocephalic), suggesting that, with respect to simple measurement, it was necessary to move on instead to the study of typical skull forms that, in his opinion, displayed persistent characteristics. He therefore proceeded to apply an appropriate nomenclature to them that defined the different varieties of skull and at the same time, based on their inheritance from time immemorial, he also began to reconsider the classifying of human groups. Briefly, it was a taxonomic method, where the nomenclature made it possible to analyse populations, understood as a structured composite of multiple ethnic elements.28 It was a path that Sergi would soon be following, carefully applying his own updated method in contrast to the theories about the Aryan origins of European civilization that had until then dominated the scene. It was a choice that Sergi made after he had, in his own opinion, demonstrated that the Etruscans and Pelasgians belonged to one large Mediterranean family, which also included the Ligurians, Iberians, and Libyans.29 As a consequence, this conclusion led him to take a stand against all the principal current theories on the population and civilizing of Europe. On the one hand, he wholly rejected 27 28 29

Sergi 1891–2. Sergi 1893a, which can be read in Italian in Sergi 1892c. Sergi 1893c.

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Germanism, together with the theories—held in particular by Pösche and Penka—that the dolichocephalic purity of the Germans excluded the possibility of their having Asiatic origins and at the same time suggested it was they who were responsible for the civilizing conquest of almost the entire continent. On the other hand, neither could he agree with an idea favouring, above all in France, the renewed splendours of Celtomania: the hypothesis of some French academics that the origins of civilization were not to be ascribed to the blonde, dolichocephalic Germans but to the dark-haired, brachiocephalic Celts. To Sergi, this seemed only to turn an interpretative concept— one wrong in its very assumptions—on its head. He was unconvinced by Isaac Taylor’s work,30 highly praised in its time, seeing the Briton’s ideas on the origins of the Aryans as rather too close to the Celtic thesis, and believing, therefore, that it even managed to surpass the Germanist theorists in terms of ‘imaginative play’. And he was equally unable to share the views of the French archaeologist Salomon Reinach,31 who, following great archaeological discoveries in the Mediterranean basin, advanced the hypothesis of a civilization that developed specifically in that area, while, however, placing its origins in the heart of Europe. Similar criticism was directed at English Egyptologist Flinders Petrie, who, along the same lines, praised the civilization of the pharaohs but at the same time made it subordinate to influence hailing from the European (Asian) continent.32 Strangely, the only one not to come under violent attack was an Italian academic, Father De Cara, who instead put forward the idea of the existence of an extremely ancient Mediterranean civilization that arose from the diffusion of Hamitic populations, originating in Asia Minor, around the European coasts.33 While pointing out the inconsistencies of a reconstruction of this kind, Sergi felt that this study, the only one to indicate a Mediterranean civilization that had its origins in the same area, truly dealt a ‘heavy blow’ to Indo-Germanism.34 30

31 32 Taylor 1889: 241. Reinach 1892. Flinders Petrie 1894. See De Cara 1894a. For a summary of his theory see also De Cara 1894b. 34 Sergi 1895: 35. ‘In all this De Cara shows wonderful intellectual ability, unusual courage in the interpretation of Hittite monuments, and, above all, a method which, I believe, will be of great use in the future in the interpretation of the Hittite language [. . .] although it is probable that he has often abused etymological resemblance, it seems to me that he has opened the right road and that he has revealed the method of deciphering the mysteries of Mediterranean ethnography. Indo-Germanism, however, receives a heavy blow, in my opinion, in so far as it is the theory hitherto adopted to 33

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It appears evident here how Sergi, with reference to an academic who did not hesitate to criticize Niebuhr, Müller, and Mommsen in order to reassert Herodotean theory’s centrality35 regarding the truth of the origins of the Etruscans, was attempting to do precisely what French and German academics of the same period were also interested in doing: in other words, reconstructing the origins of European civilization along lines that brought out the particular importance of their own specific national component.36 By insisting on the crucial Mediterranean aspect of the continent’s civilizing process, he was concerned to bring out as clearly as possible the determining role that the peninsula itself had, since earliest times, played in this regard. The result was to overturn traditional ideas in an astonishing way. It brought Italy centre stage by transforming it into the gathering place and starting point for a populating, civilizing process, the origins of which lay to the south rather than the northeast, beginning as it did in Africa rather than on the steppes of Tartary or in the Germanic mists.37 The problem of Italic antiquity was therefore part of a far wider picture. It was an integral—but at the same time, through Rome, decisive—part of a civilizing process that had its starting point in the Horn of Africa. From here, it led on the one hand into the Middle East and on the other into Egypt, its jumping-off point towards Europe, where, on the peninsula as in Spain and Greece, it took the form of the migration of two related peoples: the Ligurians and the Pelasgians. This meant that the populations of Italic antiquity were not in fact Indo-European at all, but Mediterranean, hailing from the south rather than the north, and above all involved in valiant resistance to the Aryan invasion. This resistance limited the latter’s presence to the northern regions alone and, thanks to the foundation of Rome and to the hegemonic role it would soon establish throughout the Mediterranean world, allowed the southern peoples to retain a position of dominance. These ideas, first put forward in various essays,38 would be dealt with in more detail in 1898 in a small volume where—after clarifying interpret the most ancient civilization of the Mediterranean basin’ (for the quotation, see Sergi 1901: 26). 35 See De Cara 1901. 36 On this point, see comments by Orsucci 1998. 37 38 Tarantini 2002: 21–3. See Sergi 1897.

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how all Italy was initially inhabited by Mediterranean populations commonly known as Italic—Sergi suggested the extent to which ethnic uniformity was broken up by the invasion of the Umbrians, reputed to be Aryans, pushing down from the north as far as Latium.39 Nonetheless, it was a triumph that would be of brief duration, one that would not give long-term victory to the IndoGermanic element. The Umbrian hold on power was challenged by the arrival of the Etruscans from Asia Minor, representing a second wave of Mediterranean peoples, similar to the Italics from an ethnic point of view, but very different in terms of culture. In this particular version, while the newcomers forced their way up the peninsula and destroyed the Umbrian presence, the Italic peoples, their freedom won back, constructed the city of Rome as a bulwark against the Etruscan invasion.40 Nevertheless, shortly after this, another Celtic invasion brought Etruscan domination to an end in the Po valley and once again broke up the peninsula’s ethnic uniformity, which the arrival of the Etruscans and the disappearance of the Umbrians had only momentarily re-established. From that moment on, in the northern regions, the Aryans eliminated every other presence. The result was that Italy was populated by two lineages, different in physical, ethnological, and linguistic terms, and also psychologically dissimilar: [. . .] while in the Aryan stock the individual merged easily with the totality, with no sense of sacrifice, considering himself as a part, an element of the social unit, with no aspiration to rise up and exert dominance thereon, in the Mediterranean stock, in contrast, every individual desired to emerge from the social mass, even when it was necessary to remain as a molecule of undivided unity. Taken to extremes, this difference led, on the one hand, to the sentiment of anarchy, understood also in its usual meaning, and, on the other, to that of order, as a normal and common phenomenon.41

39

Sergi 1898: 177–98. The linguist Francesco Lorenzo Pullé’s position was a different one, and in 1898 he described an anthropological profile of ancient Italy where the Etruscans were considered a people external to the Italics, who were not able, even in the epoch of their greatest splendour, to completely absorb them. In fact, the defeated, their language preserved, found it easy to blend it into the Latin of the Romans who liberated them from the foreign yoke. See on this point Pullé 1898: 39–48. 41 Sergi 1898: 191. 40

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Sergi believed that only Rome, in its role as a civilizing power, could remake two such distant realities. In fact, its political reality was able to reconcile individualism and social force: the result was a strong propensity for dominance aimed at bringing uniformity to peoples that were very different from one another, even, wherever necessary, by means of suppressing liberty.42 Nonetheless, that violent achievement had the effect of stamping the whole with an Italic impress, giving Italians the Latin character that would differentiate them from others in the years to come.43 In consequence, the difference in lineage did not invalidate the cultural uniformity that had held the identity of the peninsula together for thousands of years, since only anthropological analysis made it possible to uncover that which centuries and centuries of historical intermingling had otherwise kept hidden. Taken as a whole, there was nothing particularly new in Sergi’s vision. He did little more than employ terminology that claimed to be scientific to describe something that had been made clear in Micali’s time: he proposed the Aryans to be a different and distant breed from the Mediterranean stock that had given birth to Rome, just as Micali had excluded the idea that the Gauls were a component of the Italic lineage. Nevertheless, at the end of the 19th century, the idea took on shades of meaning that were very different with respect to those of almost a hundred years before. Then, praise for the ancient peoples of the peninsula seemed to reflect a sense of regret for a period of civilization lost to the dominance of Rome, the forerunner of other invasions and conquests that, from a civil and political point of view, had reduced the Italians to a people of little importance. Now, the rediscovery of an enduring Mediterranean civilization made it possible to recover all the heft of 1800s Italian politics, which, in the context of positivism and thanks to the renewal of historical 42

Sergi 1898: 224–7. ‘Everyone knows that after the birth of the city, clashes with the Etruscans were continuous and did not come to an end until after several centuries of Etruscan dominion were destroyed and Rome took over their territories. The Italic peoples, already under the domination of the Aryans, then coming into contact with the Etruscans, had acquired a superior civilisation, and made use of every influence to increase their knowledge and become free and strong. With the foundation of Rome, the true Italic period began and the true Italic civilisation, conforming to all other Mediterranean civilisations, great and expansive, and the Aryan civilisation disappeared, leaving only a memory in the language and a few religious rites’ (Sergi 1898: 151). 43

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anthropology, could become one argument in the cultural challenge that the new Italy was once again called upon to launch against Europe. Sergi maintained his firm belief in this point of view—and in the profound commitment that the entire Italian intellectual world should have displayed towards it—to the point of advancing it once again with renewed vigour on the occasion of the First World War which, as an old patriot, he observed with all the enthusiasm of the democratic interventionist. Nonetheless, before the circumstances of the world conflict made it possible for him to reaffirm his hopes for a new Italian science, Sergi had to face a dramatic challenge in the cultural arena. Coming as it did from his own political wing, and following in the wake of his own theories, it soon revealed itself to be rather difficult not only to avoid but also to actually deal with. At the turn of the century, particularly between 1897 and 1901, just when Sergi’s ideas regarding Mediterranean civilization were enjoying international renown, the resounding success of Alfredo Niceforo’s works dragged the results of his studies into a reflection upon Italy’s dramatic social and political crisis in the last years of the 19th century. This paved the way—in a fairly predatory manner—for the use of his ideas in explaining the dramatic chasm which increasingly seemed to divide the two parts of Italy.44 44 Regarding the role of Sergi and Niceforo in the construction of the antinomy of racial order between north and south, see De Francesco 2008: 69–87, in which I discuss the various positions. For the role that the whole politico-cultural querelle concerning the ‘cursed race’ ended up assuming in Italy at the end of the century, refer to Petraccone 2000: 153–207. For an extension on an international basis of the Italian anthropological discourse, see D’Agostino 2002. On the figure of Niceforo, duly classified as the founder of anti-south racism, see Salvadori 1960: 186–205. Englishspeaking historians are rather insistent; see as an example Wong 2006: 63–70, but also Dickie 2008: 126, where he describes how the 1908 earthquake was immediately seen as a southern phenomenon: ‘the city and towns struck, on both sides of the Strait, were conceived of as the metonymy of the far greater area hit by the disaster which was in the main the South.’ More recently, see Nani 2006: 140–7. In any case, I find rather artificial the arguments recently introduced by Di Ciommo 2005, where, on pp. 114–16, he attributes to Giandomenico Romagnosi the genesis of this ‘interpretation of Italian history in dualistic and ethnic terms’. Describing how the latter published a work (Romagnosi 1832), reprinted many times in the 1930s, which emphasized how the Lombard presence had rendered the north irreversibly distinct from the rest of the peninsula, Di Ciommo draws from this the consequence that the south, in Romagnosi’s opinion, was ‘deeply conditioned by the hostile oriental barbarism of the Saracens’ and above all by ‘the treacherous, corrupt and ignorant Greek regime’. It is worth pointing out, however, that the cited phrases (which I have placed in italics) do not refer to a passage by Romagnosi, but are a collage of expressions taken from various points and, read individually, do not lead at all to the idea of a sliding, as Di

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In his very first work, La delinquenza in Sardegna (‘Criminality in Sardinia’),45 Alfredo Niceforo, a young Sicilian academic, carrying out an enquiry into crime in Sardinia, made wide-ranging and explicit use of what was available from Italian science at that time. Placing Enrico Ferri’s studies of criminal sociology at the centre of his own concerns—and with Ferri in fact contributing a preface to the volume—Niceforo drew on the teachings of the Lombroso school for the concept of atavism, which he would also resort to in successive works in his ideas regarding the backwardness of the southern population. Here, however, he applied it to the parallel classification of races developed by Sergi. The conjunction of these two lines of research, heretofore running only in parallel, represented an element of great originality. The connection of atavism with race made it possible to identify the true reason for the Italian south’s inferiority in the moral degradation of an Italian lineage of African origin, crystallized according to the primogenial features found above all in the south. Niceforo reached this conclusion, however, through a careful selection of the evidence provided by Italian science: on the one hand, he paid particular attention to several notes on Calabria made by Lombroso in 1862, when, taking part as medical officer in the repression of ‘Brigandage’, he placed the responsibility for the human degradation he found there squarely on the Bourbons alone

Ciommo would have it, ‘from the representation of an ethnic diversity to one of inferiority in the centre-south populations’ (Romagnosi 1832: 115). In fact, Romagnosi’s work focuses on northern Italy and seems to reveal a scarce (one might rather say non-existent) knowledge of the south, foreshadowing, in this case, a similar ignorance demonstrated shortly after by Cattaneo as well (see on this point some remarks in De Francesco 2006b). Here it seems that the return to Romagnosi as founder of a dualism based on ethnicity was influenced by Vivanti’s description of the Lombard invasion as a ‘fracturing of civilisation’ (see Vivanti 1972: 878–93) and even more by the comments of Silvio Lanaro, who, dealing with Italy in terms of development and backwardness, refers again to the Lombard precedent: ‘And so how can one not realise that this Italy of “development” [. . .] coincides almost completely with the Lombard Italy of Agilulfo and Liutprando? And that in turn “backward” Italy [. . .] always turns out to be the Arab and Greco-Byzantine Italy, where the structure of the late-imperial landed estate was never seriously established, where the wealth and authority of the Roman potentes never faded, where the assimilating fury of the Germanic peoples less familiar to the Latin world was never unleashed?’ (Lanaro 1988: 73). Lanaro, however, does not locate the roots of his comments in Romagnosi. 45 Niceforo 1897.

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and certainly not on race.46 On the other hand, he made wholly instrumental use of Sergi’s work. While it is true that the latter had developed the theory of a Mediterranean lineage which had derived nothing from the Aryans who had taken over the northern regions and which had carved out alone a cultural path that had led to the founding of Roman civilization, it remained equally evident that Niceforo turned this concept on its head: the racial specificity of the southern regions was in fact transformed, through the encounter with Lombrosian atavism, into a dramatic hereditary taint. What Sergi interpreted positively (as solid proof of Italian specificity) was, in Niceforo’s research, asserted to be the very seedbed from which moral degradation drew all its true force. Apart from the scientific data, a matter of great interest and wide debate in itself, Niceforo’s study of crime in Sardinia seemed therefore (and was immediately regarded as) an enterprise with serious consequences in cultural terms. It was read in fact as an open attack on the political culture of that Risorgimento and republican left which had based its very opposition to the House of Savoy on the moral unity and historic mission of the Italian people. All this was shortly confirmed by Niceforo’s second work, L’Italia barbara contemporanea (‘Contemporary Barbarian Italy’),47 where a mortal blow was dealt to the myth of a people who, despite the many hardships suffered, were always able to keep heart and ambition united in offering themselves as a renovating element in European social life. Here, Niceforo highlighted how little the people of the south had contributed to Risorgimento events themselves, tending rather to invade the political scene as an armed force in favour of reactionary beliefs. He went on to note how [. . .] that population who, at the beginning of the century, following after the martyrs for liberty, cried ‘Long live the scaffold!’ was the same population who, later, when Garibaldi had taken Naples, flooded into the mountain ravines and forests to wreak terror with brigandage, attacking entire villages and massacring our troops because they neither wanted nor understood a government that was new and free and far more civil than its predecessor.48

46 Lombroso 1863: 424. On this point also see the recent comments by Passione 2000: 150–1. 47 Niceforo 1898. 48 Niceforo 1898: 267–8.

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Niceforo’s words, then, spelled the end for that byword of the Risorgimento left which, from Mazzini to Pisacane and Garibaldi, had always pictured the southern people—ever since their glorious armed resistance in 1799 to the French troops led by Championnet—as a volcano of patriotism. And that wasn’t all: the return of the Two Sicilies’ lower classes to playing the role of the Bourbons’ guard dog gave rise to yet another effect, notably that of dismissing the whole of southern society in the name of backwardness, since [. . .] that same people who were hostile to every idea of progress, frozen in a form of social life that was still primitive, had no idea how to do anything new and advanced from the 1860s on, while all the other sister provinces, including Sicily, worked energetically and prodigiously together. It continued to keep progress at arm’s length, characterised as it was by a damaging hostility towards every renovatory idea.49

This was the collapse—this time on the political right as well—of another leitmotiv of the Risorgimento culture, which had always assigned to the south a determining role in the specific spiritual configuration of the Italian people. The insistent resort to the Pythagorean myth and the primacy of the Italic peoples was implicitly dismissed by Niceforo as a useful argument through which to legitimate the political and social predominance of the backward southern ruling classes in a national context. In other words, with Italia barbara contemporanea, Niceforo, picking up on Sergi’s discourse on racial specificity while simultaneously turning it upside down, launched a resounding attack on the whole cultural tradition of Risorgimento. This seemed to him to be nothing more than a collection of themes which could be used to legitimate all opposition to a real democratization of political life. In short, then, the recognized racial homogeneity of the south’s Italic peoples was no longer a sign of moral purity but rather the atavistic root of the violent and disobedient behaviour which seemed to be typical of the southerners. The result of this theorizing pointed directly towards a conclusion that was, in the end, rather a concise one: the nation in south Italy was none other than a lower class determined to exert itself in constant support of the Bourbons. Cuoco’s ‘two peoples’ theory, brilliantly developed during his criticism of the 1799 revolution, ended up finding application on a larger scale, expanding into an instrument 49

Niceforo 1898: 269.

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that displayed the existence of two Italies, each violently opposed to the other.50 There was, however, still something more, which had dramatic repercussions on the fragile political equilibrium of a unified state shaken by the popular uprising of 1898 in Milan. Niceforo clearly stated that the population of the south was a barbarous one which, bereft of critical capacity, was bent on following its local dignitaries in a disorganized and unruly manner. And these same dignitaries, certainly not by chance, constituted the backbone of that national ruling class which first the left-wing premierships and thereafter Crispi’s nationalist policy placed at the helm of the nation. Not only, in other words, did a ‘barbarous’ Italy exist but, thanks to an electoral system that favoured political cynicism and social rank, it actually had a grip on the country’s reins. Niceforo’s writings seemed, then, to posthumously validate the political arguments developed in its time by the previous right-wing government. In his opinion, the political cynicism which the left-wing majority had immediately brought with it, had handed over power to a southern political class—the direct expression, as the direct masters, of an inferior race—which was only capable of articulating an inferior level of politics. And this in turn gave rise to government centralization, fiscal rapacity, and militarism; in other words, the aggressive colonial and reactionary attitudes of Crispi’s policy and the inevitable Italian crisis of the final years of the 19th century. It was an overall interpretation of the new Italian identity which the Italian intellectual world could hardly avoid confronting. The enquiry into southern Italian backwardness launched by Antonio Renda, took the opportunity to assess the uproar caused by the publication of Italia barbara contemporanea.51 With reference to what has been said so far, it is worth mentioning, however, that Sergi himself intervened directly in the matter, with a series of arguments in which, while on the one hand he recognized the soundness of Niceforo’s ideas, on the other he tried to give a different political significance to his scientific research. In the few notes that he sent to Antonio Renda, he in fact acknowledged the south’s racial diversity and had no difficulty in admitting how this assumption 50 On this point, see the essays collected in Belardelli, Cafagna, Galli della Loggia, and Sabbatucci 1999, and Galli della Loggia and Di Nucci 2003. 51 Renda 1900. The whole question is reconstructed by Teti 1993.

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provided a natural basis for the tendency to social fragmentation which dominated the populations of Mediterranean origin. Nonetheless, although Sergi’s response was an explicit admission of how strong, if ‘harshly put’, Niceforo’s case was, he also took care to point out that historical conditions had played a decisive role in this regard. In his discussion of the ‘Southern question’, he forcefully reaffirmed his belief that the social history of these regions was the element that, more than any other, helped to explain their dramatic involution. On the one hand, the many different forms of governance had unravelled the fabric of southern society, reducing it to a mass of rowdy individuality, resistant to any sense of order and rule and substantially unwilling to bend to any attempt from above to impose a normalizing structure. On the other hand, it was a matter of race, which certainly gave rise to the tendency towards individuality which so strongly characterized the Mediterranean peoples and similarly influenced the attitude of opposition to all regulatory logic that was so typical of southern society. Faced with such a situation, whose seriousness could neither be ignored or made light of, Sergi was able to put forward certain concrete solutions: convinced that the southern peoples possessed that faculty of assimilation which would allow them to adjust rapidly to the requirements of the civilizing process, he emphasized how their regions’ opportunity for growth lay wholly in the hands of the central government, who needed to concentrate their efforts on encouraging a new awareness and a new active commitment in areas which instead appeared dominated by obsolete cultural models and equally traditional networks of power. The serious doubts that Sergi entertained on this point reveal his leftward-tending opposition to the liberal state: the whole experience of the unified state seemed to him dominated by government conduct that was substantially backwards and archaic. Nonetheless, whatever the Italian executive’s political perspective might have been, as a first step he suggested the assimilation of the two ethnicities that made up the Italian people. He therefore favoured emigration to the southern regions, which would introduce a different work ethic and a different sense of civic spirit, producing a contamination of races that alone, in perspective, would make it possible to bridge the gap and reconcile the contrasts between the two parts of the peninsula.52

52

Renda 1900: 137–44.

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In parallel to this, Sergi put forward this overall interpretation of the Italian social situation in another more expansive and detailed article, significantly entitled La decadenza delle nazioni latine (‘The Decadence of the Latin Nations’). Here, the same themes were taken up in a comparative context with other Mediterranean countries and developed in accordance with the same reading of a crisis in Italian (but also French and Spanish) society due to a weakening of the race owing to the perverse effects of a specific kind of government policy.53 One issue which came under attack was government centralization, which, imported along French lines into the peninsula, had made significant inroads throughout the 19th century, finally triumphing with a unified state that should instead have chosen a completely different direction. Sergi’s criticism of the liberal state was nevertheless unsparing, with clearly republican-influenced accusations of a politically cynical parliamentarianism light years away from profound collectivist sentiments and shunned even by the best part of an Italian society which should instead have found it representative. Crispi and his policies in Africa were branded as no better than amateurish adventurism, capable of leading Italy to disaster yet at the same time incapable of showing awareness in terms of facing up to the tragedy of defeat. The policy of colonialism was the clumsy muscle-flexing of a shapeless, underdeveloped society, one which had far more need of other courses of action rather than the race for Africa. The political parties themselves, both in government and opposition—excluding the Socialist Party—had an elderly look about them, with hopelessly out-of-date programmes that looked back to a long-past historical period. Summing up this picture of backwardness was, in Sergi’s opinion, the so-called Latinism that led Italian society to disdain all interest in science in favour of a substantially clerical educational system based on the classical world—a system that was hostile to any kind of renovation and founded on a logic of preparation for bureaucratic employment. This concealed in its depths a considerable estrangement from the developments of the more progressive societies which had by then established themselves in northern Europe. All these factors put together had grave repercussions on the psychology of the Latin peoples, whose lineage, in itself tending to

53

Sergi 1900.

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individualism and a rejection of the individual’s concrete social collocation, was further weakened by politics of this kind. And this was made clearly evident in Italy’s south, where, again according to Sergi, the race had substantially avoided contamination. Here, therefore, the perverse and harmful effects of this reactionary and backward-looking politics created a dreadful miscellany and led to a desolate portrait of social disintegration. In the regions in which the lineage has remained almost pure and free from outside influences, as has happened in Italy’s South and islands, [. . .] initiative, vigour of activity, persistence in work and the search for an objective, do not exist, if not exceptionally. Ordinarily, there is abandonment, inertia, distrust and often a lack of awareness of their own strengths; there is no sense of striving together to achieve important social aims. Instead, individuality gives rise to the savage tendency that leads to crimes of the blood and criminal associations, whether with the mafia or camorra or other similar criminal collectives, which express individualism with a nascent proselytism without law and against the law and with harm to legal society.54

Sergi’s arguments were extremely influential as the 20th century dawned and in the years to come would offer stimulus to the cultural model upheld by a wide swathe of the intellectual opposition to early 20th-century Italy. The position of Guglielmo Ferrero, Cesare Lombroso’s son-in-law, was a significant one in this regard. In the early years of the century, after having made his interest in northern Europe very clear,55 he drew on Sergi’s criticism of the toga-choked bombast that dominated the Italian cultural scene to put forward his own history of Rome. Here he outlined propositions to dismantle the methods used by the classical disciplines to approach the study of the subject, while at the same time rejecting the overall significance ascribed to it so far by the most prestigious historians of antiquity.56 Following these lines, the arguments raised by Niceforo regarding the southern lineage’s racial inferiority provided support in early 20th-century Italy for a certain part of the intellectual world’s criticism of the liberal state. And it is in this context that the myth of the nation’s antiquity, sifted through the anthropological disciplines, had been dramatically overturned, transformed from an instrument

54 56

55 Sergi 1900: 243. See Ferrero 1897. Ferrero 1902–7. On the significance of the work, see Ferrero Raditsa 1994.

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providing affirmation of identity to an argument aimed at laying bare, in scientific terms, the dramatic contradictions of a country that had achieved unification and adopted a liberal system of government and yet was still incapable of making progress in collective terms. The theme of the antiquity of the nation—precisely the one that should have been the mortar that held the new united state together— seemed to have evolved into an argument demonstrating an Italian plurality that, due to the extent of its diversity and inequality, was impossible to homogenize in order to allow the nation as a whole to climb out of the crisis into which it had precipitated. It was a prospect which accompanied the rise of socialism (whose ranks included several supporters of the anthropological diversity of the Italians) and would shortly have a marked influence on the cultural model destined to openly contest the liberal system. It was, at the same time, a question of a cultural battle that would profoundly disturb those who believed that there was no room for negotiation where the founding values of the national state were concerned. In Italy, on the cusp of a new century, wobbling between gestures towards democracy and jolts of repression, the theme of the nation’s antiquity seemed to have become a subject of some bitterness between those who looked back to the past to demonstrate the ingloriousness of the present and those who, in complete contrast, placed their faith in the Risorgimento achievement, reinvigorated, however, with a robust dose of patriotism.

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6 Return to Rome The developments within the anthropological disciplines during the era of liberal Italy were not designed to enthuse those who, even before the arrival of Niceforo’s subversive theory, had seen the insistence on diversity of lineage as a worrying disturbance to the already difficult process of shaping a nation. The argument actually dated from the very origins of the unified state when Bertrando Spaventa had harshly criticized the litany of praise for ancient Italic wisdom and for this reason—as Eugenio Garin has written—proposed to ‘work for the Italian revolution, understanding the reasons for an ancient defeat, and focusing on the reasons for political action in the present’.1 His choice to distance himself from the recent past and to provide united Italy with a new philosophy obviously remained a national one, since Renaissance thought, even though revisited through Hegelian eyes, was still the natural point of reference in this reconstruction process.2 Linguistics soon took a similar line, which, linked to the origin of the language and civilization, constituted a direct challenge to those—the majority—who had always firmly maintained Italic indigenousness and rejected the hypothesis, already put forward by Niebuhr and Müller, regarding the Italic population’s origins beyond the Alps. In fact, through the criterion of Indo-Europeanism, the new discipline, with its strong German influence, established other affinities between the Mediterranean populations. It dealt a mortal blow to the claim, long nourished by the antiquarianism of the early 19th century, to the peninsula’s specificity. In addition to this, there was the triumph of cultural Germanism in the field of ancient history. The figure of

1

Garin 2007: 26–7.

2

Quarta 2005: 132–5.

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Mommsen was the indisputable reference point for a generation of Italian academics, who—beyond the Alps, indeed—had acquired the technical instrumentation of the new research method and through this had developed a wide-ranging interest in the ancient historically attested languages. In other words, in the first decades of a unified Italy, partly due to the great support that the united state never begrudged, Italy underwent a broad and, in certain ways, overwhelming, cultural renewal. This testified to a growth in the field of studies and scientific interests which only the new political picture in 1861 had made possible to such a rapid and explosive extent. It was precisely this nexus between renewed national unity and the quest for a new cultural identity which ended up stumbling over the matter of the Italian people’s distant origins, which had until then constituted a cornerstone of the academic tradition strictly of preunification parentage. The result of this attack on the old world, and on those who would condone rather than condemn it, led to a variety of different consequences—consequences that were also in opposition to one another in terms of the political idealism which supported it. Everyone, however, seemed to agree it was necessary to jettison an academic tradition that was seen as the relic of a time gone by, one no longer of any use in the context of a new Italy. In any case, the references to German science and the use of different methodologies, the developments of both positivism and idealism, all remained within a context where the influence of national specificity continued to be strong. And this solid anchorage to the new Italian civil situation led to a forcing, sometimes also in political terms, of the comparison with the preceding cultural period. Towering over the field of linguistics, or glottology to be precise, according to the terminology that he himself helped to create, was the example of the intellectual work of Graziadio Isaia Ascoli. Ascoli was born in 1829 to an Italian-speaking Jewish family, subjects of the Habsburgs in the Austrian territory.3 After having believed, even in 1848, in the constitutional and plural transformation of the Austrian monarchy, Ascoli, who had been educated in a mid-European environment and looked to authors such as Humboldt and Bopp, passed into the Italian camp after the 1848 revolution in the Habsburg Empire.4 This new political orientation also marked the beginning

3

On the figure of Ascoli, see Timpanaro 2005: 225–58.

4

Ascoli 1959.

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of his academic career and led him to give up the idea of becoming a specialist. He was determined, in a peninsula where linguistic studies were still antiquated, to pursue a task of cultural organization, which found complete form, in the first years of Italian unification, with the creation of an academic journal, the Archivio glottologico italiano,5 in 1873. The decision to start a journal dedicated to the Romance languages, after the preceding years had seen him make a name for himself for his many studies in the field of prehistoric linguistics (including both Indo-European and Semitic), provided further proof of his desire to link his activity as an academic to a decisive commitment in favour of the cultural policy of the new Italian state. This nexus is clearly apparent in the specific direction that his linguistic studies would take, soon leading him away from the German model. This, while certainly always more technicist in approach, was at the same time becoming increasingly troubling due to the authoritarian streak that that Prussian triumph of 1870 over France seemed to herald in the new Reich’s academic organization.6 Thus, Ascoli soon moved on to deal with the linguistic questions that were directly linked to the political debate regarding the construction of an Italian identity. This gave rise to his study of the historical genesis of the language, where he moves in the opposite direction from Manzoni’s proposal, rejecting the latter’s Florentine option due to its extremely mannered style and the artificiality it involved but, above all, because it was a deliberate imposition from above. Commenting that Italy was not a country based upon the French model and that Florence could never equal Paris as a centralized driving force for socio-cultural development, Ascoli therefore suggested another way for the peninsula’s linguistic unification. The young united state was called upon to promote a civil and cultural growth, which, motu proprio and from below, favoured a common language destined to accompany and encompass that prospect of renewal.7 This clearly seemed to demonstrate how Ascoli, rejecting every centralist solution, was acting upon a more expansive political and cultural sentiment, one that made him—as an Italian hailing from terre irredente (the ‘unredeemed lands’)8—more sensitive to 5

6 On this point, see Terracini 1967. Timpanaro 2005: 233–4. Timpanaro 2005: 236. 8 Terre irredente was the name given by Italians to areas—such as Trento, Trieste, Istria, Fiume, and Dalmatia—with large Italian-speaking populations but which 7

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how important the concept of ‘Italy of the small nations’ still was. It also revealed his preoccupation in the face of every excessively centralizing tendency of the newly unified state’s civil life. The position that he continued to hold towards local languages in his journal’s columns bears witness to this specific sensitivity, and in the end he came round to accepting—after initially arguing against it, and not without much critical scrutiny—the ‘basic foundation’ theory revived and put forward in his time by Cattaneo.9 This was the decision to indicate that there was evidence, in the dialects of the peninsula, not only of Latin vernacular but also of the ancient Italian speech which, though absorbed by that of the Romans, had left its mark in both phonetic and lexical terms. It was certainly a further stand taken against the developments of German linguistics, further proof of which is shown by Ascoli’s timely interest in prehistory and in the close connection between the disciplines of glottology and ethnography. It was, however, also clearly a political choice, suggesting as it did how the academic from the terre irredente, who never failed to demonstrate his devotion to the monarchy, still shared with the republican Cattaneo the conviction of a multiple Italian identity— one that was the result of a great diversity brought together on the field of history. It was an identity which could not be traced back to those ancient times that instead confirmed, in the eyes of Ascoli, a specific difference between the populations present on the peninsula. In other words, as in the case of the language question, here was the equally forceful return of the stand taken against all those cultural models which attempted to lay claim to (and demonstrate) the peninsula’s ethnic uniformity in the long-past era of antiquity. Ascoli’s criticism of all cultural nationalism is clear and, on the basis of what has been said up to this point, seems to exclude the suggestion by Sebastiano Timpanaro that Ascoli brought scientific dignity to ‘Italic patriotism’—a patriotism which found its most significant interpreters, following in the footsteps of Vico, in Cuoco and even Micali.10 On the contrary, Ascoli’s perplexity when faced with what belonged to the Habsburg Empire and which the Irredentists sought to incorporate within the Italian Kingdom. 9 Regarding this, Timpanaro’s pages remain exemplary reading, see Timpanaro 1965: 284–357. 10 ‘That current of Italic patriotism that runs from the Vico of De Antiquissima Italorum sapientia to the 18th century Etruscologists and to Micali, and which remained midway between scholarship and novel (Cuoco’s Platone in Italia for

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seemed a worrying diversion from the Italian cultural model seemed to suggest that the wholly political direction forced upon antiquity during the 19th century appeared to him to be only a confusing hotchpotch. It did not, therefore, seem to him to be of much use in establishing, in scientifically demonstrable terms, the past–present nexus around which, as he himself agreed, the national identity should base its finished form. For this reason, his work constitutes a happy synthesis of what Risorgimento culture had transmitted to the united Italy and of how the first years of the unified state were decisive in the work of opening up Italian society to the wider European context. However, this was not what other Italian intellectuals of the time envisioned as a new national culture. They believed that everything which pre-unification 19th-century tradition had handed down to Italy should be set aside, with an organization of the peninsula’s intellectual life in terms which involved a swift and clear rejection of every structure derived from the past. The work of Luigi Pigorini, the academic who founded the palaeoethnological discipline (and guided it throughout the whole era of liberal Italy), was an excellent example of those perspectives which drew a rigid equivalence between government centralization and the scientific directions that studies were taking. He, more than any other, accepted and at the same time sustained the unified state’s effort in the search for national uniformity, basing his own reconstruction of Italian origins along coordinates quite different from those of Nicolucci. In this, he represented the appearance on the scene of a new generation of academics who were prepared to gamble everything on a resolute decision in favour of Savoy Italy.11 After having been given the task in 1875 to found and direct the National example) without reaching the level of modern historiography—except for some essays by Cattaneo, which occupy a place by themselves—now found its outlet and its elevation to full scientific dignity in the studies of Ascoli’ (Timpanaro 2005: 239–40). 11 There are many works where the figure of Pigorini is remembered. See Renato Peroni’s comments in the introductory note to Angle 1992: 14–33. Regarding the nationalistic traits of his research perspective, also useful is Guidi 1996: 110–12. On the developments of palaeoethnological research, which Pigorini certainly stimulated, see Lehöerff 2001. On the figure of Pigorini, including the nationalist tendency mentioned here, it is nonetheless always worth having a look at Antonielli 1925. Regarding the new trend nourished by the Italian intellectual world, Corazzini 1874: 340–52 is also useful, reconstructing the positions of the moment, where the decision to ascribe an Aryan ascendancy to the Italian people is already clearly articulated.

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Museum of Prehistory and Ethnography, and after having established the professorship of palaeoethnology at the University of Rome, Pigorini developed a general theory regarding the nation’s origins. This upheld the idea of a sort of ethnic uniformity of the peninsula dating back to the remotest past, with the indigenous population of Neolithic descent suffering subsequent superimposition, in various waves, by populations from central Europe who would introduce pile dwellings into Italy. From their settlements in Lombardy and Veneto these Indo-European peoples thereafter migrated to Emilia and at the end of the Bronze Age moved further south, founding the Etruscan cities—as well as Rome in Latium—and then pushing on even further to the southern coasts.12 It was a rather over-linear reconstruction of Italic protohistory, leading so smoothly as it did towards Rome and suggesting how one single lineage, from its very origins, moving north to south down the peninsula, had ended up creating its anthropological specificity. This went against everything that had previously been written about the various multiple peoples present in Italy, and pandered in a fairly obvious manner to the expectations of the moment, as it became possible once again to lay claim to the ethnic unity of the Italian people. Their origins were given as dating back broadly to the Bronze Age and were located on the other side of the Alps, in an Indo-European interpretative context that offered little room for manoeuvre where the presence of other lineages was concerned.13 It was a truly clear-cut standpoint, one which led Pigorini to eliminate every sense of an autochthonous Italic past with the suggestion that Rome was the conclusive result of a populating process that began in the north and only thereafter shifted to the centre-south regions. In this context, it should be pointed out how Pigorini’s palaeoethnology led to two important results: it established not only that no ethnic difference existed between the Italians themselves, but also that there was no difference even between the latter and the most advanced peoples of Europe—those peoples who had, in the meantime, adopted the Germany of Wilhelm II as their standard-bearer. It was inevitable that such a position would be met with hostility from those who little 12 ‘[ . . . ] the terramaricoli left the Po Valley in great numbers, spread out south of the Appenines and arrived as far as the shores of the Ionian [and] the second millennium came to an end’ (Pigorini 1904: 19). 13 Pigorini 1910.

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appreciated Pigorini’s ostentatious Germanism, and many insisted that the study of pre-Roman Italy continue to revolve around the core beliefs of indigenous and multiple peoples. The most significant response came in fact from Edoardo Brizio, who was soon at loggerheads with Pigorini himself—and with all German science—because ‘so daringly and so utterly did he sunder accepted ethnic unity in two’.14 However, there would soon be support for the palaeoethnologist’s theory with the intervention of the discipline of ancient history, which had in the meantime undergone profound renovatory changes due to the work of Ettore Pais. Pais belonged to the generation after that of Ascoli, Brizio, and Pigorini, and his intellectual trajectory was rather a particular one, first favouring the German model, under the influence of Risorgimento culture, but then returning, in yet another period of his intellectual life and in the context of an increasingly extreme nationalism, to the traditions of his native land.15 Born in Turin in 1856 to a family with Sardinian origins, Pais, part of the first generation to develop its ideas under the aegis of the unified state, studied in the mid-1870s in Florence, where he encountered Atto Vannucci, whom he would always regard as his mentor.16 The latter transmitted to him his own specific approach to the history of ancient Italy, a clear trace of which appears in the title of Pais’s first work, La Sardegna prima del dominio romano (‘Sardinia before Roman Dominion’),17 published in 1881, dutifully echoing as it does the title of Micali’s influential study. It was certainly not by chance that a strong gust of anti-Romanism blew through the work, where the Nuragic civilization is hailed as a moment of unique flowering for the island’s culture and where the subsequent Roman conquest and the invaders’ repeated acts of violence are soundly deplored.18 Pais nevertheless moved a short time later to Germany, where he stayed from 1881 to 1883, and, refining there a scientific method inspired by his direct contact with Mommsen, he quickly came to share the great German historian’s opinion regarding Italy’s excessive

14

Ghirardini 1910: 15. Ettore Pais’s personal and intellectual path is marked out by Treves 1962a: 151–64, with a tone of strong disparagement; see also therefore Ridley 1975–6 and Mastino and Ruggeri 1994, but above all Polverini 2002. 16 Cagnetta 2002: 88–90. 17 18 Pais 1881. Mastino 2002. 15

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debt to the French cultural model.19 Returning to his homeland nourished by his studies in Germany, Pais plunged headfirst into questions that Italian learning had left hanging, employing an original scientific method to handle them. The anti-Romanism that Atto Vannucci had encouraged in him, however, continued to make its presence felt and frequently resurfaced. Appointed to the Chair of Ancient History in Palermo, he moved to Sicily, staying there just a short time, from 1886 to 1888, before transferring to Pisa. Here, he continued to demonstrate a lively interest in the island’s history,20 the result being a work which—as in the case of his previous endeavour dedicated to Sardinia—again displayed a deep interest in the degree of civilization achieved there before the Roman invasion.21 He seemed to be particularly impassioned by the study and valorization of a process of osmosis between the island’s different populations—the Sicels, Siceliotes, and Carthaginians—which he perceived as a strong deterrent in the face of the Roman presence. He was able to use this perspective to put forward a highly original reconstruction of the history of ancient Sicily where, for a long period and until Hannibal’s definitive collapse, the many examples of firm resistance to Roman domination are recorded and described. Pais continued to lay the greater part of responsibility on the Romans, including the violence of the Servile War and the plundering of a rapacious administration. In short, it was the antiquity of the island, and not the Roman era, that so interested him, to the extent that, hardly coincidentally, in homage to the Micalian influence of his teaching, the work is dedicated ‘to the dear, good paternal image of Atto Vannucci’.22 In other words, throughout the 1880s, despite his experience with Mommsen and possession of a technical armoury which made it 19 Marcone 2002. But see also Mastino 2007. On p. 387 are Mommsen’s comments of October 1877, certainly shared by Pais, on the Italian school: ‘I saw many empty skulls, not those of the dead, but of the living—the prehistorians—who are the illiterates of science’, and also: ‘You Italians have been Frenchified. The Italian tongue, which is the richest of all, takes many phrases and words from France [ . . . ] and it does not have need of them!’ Regarding Mommsen’s contribution to reviving a special idea of nationhood in Italy too, it is, however, worth remembering in particular the brilliant words of Mouritsen 2009: 46: ‘Deeply inspired by the national movement in Germany, Mommsen conceived a grand narrative of Italian unification, which embodied the contemporary idea of national unity as a metahistorical telos and universal measure of progress.’ 20 21 22 Salmeri 2009: 314–18. Pais 1888. Salmeri 2009: 315.

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possible for him to excel in the scientific sector of ancient history, Pais’s interest did not seem to move away from the hypothesis of verifying the actual contribution that ancient Italy’s historical and political experience had made to the uniformity of the peninsula imposed (rather more than just proposed) by the Romans. It was not until 1889, during his teaching years in Pisa, that there was a sudden change in direction, as his interest shifted from the individual territorial reality to the unifying experience of Rome, with the conquest of Italy—previously never given much consideration, partly due to his mentor Vannucci’s intense opposition to it—becoming a matter for profound reflection. It was in this area, drawing on Mommsen’s teaching but interpreting it in line with contemporary currents within Italian society, that Pais planned a great work of synthesis regarding ancient Italy. While all the territorial components were duly included and valorized, it was Rome that came in for glorification, extolled for the extraordinary unifying function that it had performed. The first volume of this ambitious project, dedicated, along the lines of previously published studies, to Sicily and to Magna Græcia, came out in 1894.23 It offers, in terms of what most interests us here, a useful chance to compare his ideas at that time with his position regarding ancient Sicily of just a few years before. His new work, in contrast to the previous study where his main interest was directed at the island’s models of civil organization in the pre-Roman era, shifted its attention towards a wider picture. The island’s events in antiquity—above all at the moment of the Roman conquest—now seemed to raise, as he himself states in his introduction to the volume, a question that he had previously not considered, most notably the historical problem of ‘whether an Aryan or Semitic element should prevail in those European regions surrounding the Mediterranean.’24 In other words, in Pais’s view the island was the setting for the resounding clash between the Indo-European Latins and the Semitic Carthaginians and the victory of the former, through the conquest of Sicily, meant that the history of a great part of the Mediterranean was thereafter shaped within the context of a European dimension branded by the experience of the Aryan peoples. The work displays an evident desire to see Sicily as a borderland between the Europe of

23

Pais 1894.

24

Pais 1894: VII.

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that time and the other (different and inferior) Mediterranean world, an idea that in the same period had already been put forward by the English historian Edward Freeman—the subject, in fact, of Pais’s explicit and pointed praise.25 But the work also contained much more, though always framed in the context of a perspective that tended, thanks to those very distant divergences, to fuse the reality of the peninsula to that of Germany and Europe. Most notably, Pais used the occasion to lament the fact that, in Italy, the scientific method was still very much lacking in the study of ancient history. He reminded his readers how tradition was ‘very often, for the historian, a trickster rather than a teacher’26 and developing this particular premise proceeded to demolish many of the convictions which had their origins in the false testimonies and implausible traditions of scholarship. Thus, taking the venerable figure of Vannucci himself to task, Pais criticized ‘the legendary character of the two traditions of Herodotus and Hellanicus relating to the Pelasgians and Etruscans of Italy’, given that their historical value ‘owed little or nothing to either fact or chronology’.27 Following such restrictive interpretative criteria, through which he was led to uncover the various layers of falsification that had accumulated over time, he was able to conclude, on the basis of Mommsen’s teaching, that little of what had gone before in the study of ancient history could be considered at all useful. Even the most recent research trends followed by other disciplines were not excluded from this severe criticism of the tradition of Italian studies, with Pais condemning their contributions to the reconstruction of the past as hopelessly inadequate, when not in fact utterly misleading. The conclusions that today’s academics reach with the aid of the comparative examination of geographic names or phonetic laws are rather scanty ones and far from certain. Historical anthropology, for its part, has not responded to the hopes that more than a few critics placed in it. Anthropological studies increasingly demonstrate with every day that passes how analogous social and climactic conditions produce similar social standards and customs; as for craniometric anthropology, we must first wait for the time when those who carry out such research, 25 Freeman 1891. Regarding the figure of Freeman, see Momigliano 1981, Gabba 1981, and Cracco 1981. 26 27 Pais 1894: 12. Pais 1894: 473.

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even with their great abundance of scholarship, are able to arrive to a point when they may seriously establish if the ancient material that they study truly pertains to the people to which they attribute it. Neither should we exclude the danger that archaeology, when in relation to ages long past it is not satisfied with examining the historical development of artistic forms but intends to provide ethnographic teaching and the reconstruction of a rather problematical history, may only, in the best possible hypothesis, succeed in tracking down a few pages relevant to the most ancient history of commerce on the peninsula.28

Pais also made a precise reference to the development of the anthropological discipline which, together with glottology, archaeology, and palaeoethnology, came in very useful in the first decades of united Italy for the study of Italic antiquity in terms of a direct response ‘to the need to discover the roots of a regional and national identity’.29 Discussing the very impossibility of arriving at an explanation of the origins of civilization, he took craniometric studies to task: I would be very careful to exhibit and examine here the various theories regarding the origins of the Western European peoples. It is most ticklish material and unfortunately it is almost impossible to achieve results of any great certainty with the study of quoted passages; and even less certain through craniometric anthropological and proto-archaeological material which, though certainly methods of study worthy of consideration, many of today’s academics and sometimes estimable critics have endowed with excessive value. Abandoning themselves to personal inspiration, and above all bereft of a benchmark and sure term of comparison, they have drawn those conclusions most pleasing to them. I shall restrict myself to observing that according to the ancient literary traditions which, after all, constitute the least uncertain material and before which monumental and anthropological documents must bow their heads, the Ligurians [ . . . ]30

Apart from the questions regarding method, extremely important though they were, what worried Pais most of all was the line of thought that resisted the rush to discover a uniform origin for the nation and instead insisted heavily on the specificity of local territory

28

Pais 1894: 474. Landucci 1988: 73. On this theme, an argument of great importance for the present discourse, see particularly Settis 1993, but also Brice 2001 and Esposito and Leo 2006. 30 Pais 1894: 499. 29

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and the plurality of presences (a view he saw as a kind of backsliding). Such a perspective was, in his eyes, an obstacle to the construction of the comprehensive cultural models which the new Italy so desperately needed in order to legitimate itself in national terms. This particular preoccupation explains the direction of the works that immediately followed when, dealing with the issue of Rome, Pais suggested that it was not only an element of synthesis in relation to the preceding, complex history of the peninsula, but, at the same time, the sole and natural reference point for the new Italy. This blend of irredentism and dreams of grandeur made it possible for Pais to present his own studies as a determining contribution in support of the new Italy’s historical mission. And yet even from the introduction of his new endeavour—the succinct title Storia di Roma31 summed up his new approach to the political problem of antiquity—the patriotic academic’s sense of commitment seemed wounded by the awareness of Italian society’s worrying delay in facing up to the great responsibility with which the present time appeared to charge it. At the very moment of publishing his substantial piece of work, in fact, Pais was forced to observe that Historical narrative is the sincere mirror of the truth and must not be obfuscated by patriotic preoccupations, but the sentiment that breathes life and soul into such study is the love for one’s country. In the many years that for reasons of study and research I have wandered the various regions of the peninsula, I have interrogated and enquired of all that I saw what were the causes of such grandeur in the past and such misery in the present and I have sought to discover why a country once so celebrated [ . . . ] has become so squalid in those very parts which nature has rendered it so joyous; why where once before there flourished rich and cultured cities today malaria reigns and the bitter weed of brigandage has still not completely disappeared.32

Without therefore being mentioned directly, the south raised its head again in Pais’s pages as a source of serious problems. It also helped to explain the reasons for the sudden shift in position at the end of the 19th century that led to his abandonment of anti-Romanism and indeed to his rediscovery of the Eternal City’s integrative function. As has already been mentioned, the debate regarding the existence of two Italies in Italy, or rather one Italy whose backwardness comprised an 31

Pais 1898.

32

Pais 1898: XIV.

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obstacle to the already extremely significant progress of the other, was a subject that flowed out of the socio-anthropological dimension to assail the basic features of Italian politics and very nearly undermine the development of a national political life inspired by the power principle. This specific preoccupation, that the new Italy was substantially incapable of recomposing a dualism of this kind, encouraged Pais’s historiographic proposal to overcome all types of regionalism and, in the historical events of ancient Italy, to play down any sense of opposition between Rome and the other peoples of the peninsula. Basically, the proposal was to favour a homogeneous reading of the peninsula’s antiquity, which could thus hold the past grandeur of Rome as a suitable example for the still incomplete Italian nation. It is in this context that one should read the work’s leaps to the problem of irredentism on the one hand and of emigration on the other, both finding their solution in the return to the example of ancient times.33 These are clear signals of how, at the very start of the 20th century, at a time when Niceforo’s writings were laying bare Italy’s dramatic backwardness, Pais’s reconstruction of ancient history—one that showed itself homogeneous and united in the context of Roman Italy—seemed to indicate a way of surmounting the many obstacles that other disciplines had thrown up on the road to moulding the peninsula into a single nation. Pais’s polemical target was the glottology of Ascoli,34 and, even more so, the anthropological school that, in Lombroso’s footsteps, seemed determined to emphasize the backward nature of the country.35 However, he was not about to repress his great perplexity in the face of archaeology either, to which he imputed, as we have seen, an unacceptable shift in the direction of ethnography. Pais’s decision, therefore, in Italy at the end of the 19th century, to locate an aggregational value for the present times 33 Pais 1898: XVII, where it is observed that Rome always ‘made that natural frontier which the Nation, after so much time has passed, is not able to wholly reconquer’, and Pais 1898: XIX, where emigration stands as evidence of the ‘physical vitality of the nation’. 34 See these comments on linguistics: ‘The study of language, although it is a very important criterion and of indisputable value, has in itself no absolute value; in other words, it cannot be used as an absolute criterion when it is not possible to determine the time for which it is valid; which, dealing with the matter of the origins of the Italian peoples, is a difficult problem’ (Pais 1894: 511). 35 On the anthropological school’s responsibility for the image of Italian backwardness, see Morrison 2004 and Stewart-Steinberg 2007: 229–88. See also several comments by Puccini 1985.

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in the experience of ancient Rome was also a choice of cultural politics. He was determined to valorize the discipline of history in relation to those other disciplines that seemed blemished either by antiquarian tradition or (even worse) by the rise of socialism and which had therefore renounced the primary responsibility of giving their support to the national identity of the unified state. The political culture of an ‘Italy of small nations’ seemed to him in other words to have been dissipated in a local particularism that was quickly used as the basis for regretting (and criticizing) the many expectations that had not been fulfilled—expectations which, in their very disappointment, too many adversaries of the unified state, on the right as well as the left, appeared to profit from. His response was, with specific reference to ancient history, to put an end to the period of impossible reconstructions, placing his faith in a rigorous scientific method and picking apart anything, even though it should derive from the culture of the Risorgimento, that formed an obstacle to a Rome-inspired, unified reading of ancient Italy. Notwithstanding his veneration for the figure of Atto Vannucci, the man who had introduced him to the work of Micali, in Pais’s opinion there was nothing more to save of the many fantasy-ridden interpretations of the origins of the Italic peoples. Those absurd genealogies were not only given the lie by concrete historical research, but— thanks to the support for local particularism—had also continued to favour the fragmentation of the Italian people’s cultural identity in the era of unification. For this reason, neither prehistory nor protohistory—in the palaeoethnological context identified by Luigi Pigorini—seemed to him particularly useful. Archaeological studies, moreover, appeared to be equally insufficient, tending as they did to line up against every one of the peninsula’s assimilatory projects. The principal conclusions of anthropology, meanwhile, were even potentially damaging, since they insisted on the diversity, rather than the ethnographic homogeneity, of the Italian homeland, based as they were on the specific contribution of excavations carried out all over the peninsula. With this premise, Pais’s position was therefore resolutely orientated towards establishing a historical knowledge ready and able to defend itself (and to greatly distinguish itself) from the repeated displays of over-intrusiveness from the other disciplines, all of them influenced by preoccupation with the politics of the time. It was, however, a choice that, in its commendable defence of the scientific

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method with respect to the more imaginative way of approaching history, contained in turn a clear political direction. Transforming the very modality of the study of antiquity meant the definitive archival of a long era of antiquarian studies—one which also seemed to have resisted the birth of the unified state and with its extreme sense of localism had greatly obstructed the development of a common historical identity for the nation. It was an operation that Pais conducted in parallel to the crisis of the Crispi political era and it was no coincidence that his determination to choose a solitary path for the study of ancient history with respect to the other disciplines was intended as an earnest response to the serious crumbling of civil order—evidenced by the growth of worker insubordination, the birth of the Socialist Party, the disaster of African colonialism at Adwa, and the social and political crisis at the end of the 19th century.36 These events brought Pais, as the 20th century dawned, increasingly close to the world of nationalism, and there was repeated evidence of this during Italy’s Giolittian era.37 One example is found in the essays collected in English38 at the end of his brief stay in the United States at the University of Madison, where the study of ancient Italy was seen to be kept at a distance from other disciplines that seemed to obstruct (rather than help) the historian in his principal task, that of illuminating the events of the past through the use of philological methodology and rigour. Giuseppe Sergi in particular— though his name is never mentioned—was in the firing line, given that the scientific results based on his craniological examinations appeared far from incontrovertible. Even though we follow with the greatest sympathy and interest the results of craniological and somatological research, and recognize that certain of the hypotheses evolved are deserving of the most attentive consideration, we must nevertheless admit that the results are not yet mature, and that the work is not always conducted with unity of purpose. We must, therefore, observe caution in our consideration of 36 For a useful overview in the English language on these moments of the Italian political life, see especially Barclay 1973, Cunsolo 1990, Miller 1990, Tilly 1992, Haywood 1999, De Grand 2001, Lyttelton 2002, Ipsen 2006, Finaldi 2009, and Bosworth 2011. 37 Cagnetta 2002: 90–3, but also see the same writer’s comparison with D’Annunzio in Cagnetta 1980. 38 Pais 1908a.

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the series of more or less ingenious and probable theories which have succeeded one another during the past few decades, and which, after attracting their share of attention from scientists, have easily made way for new, and often opposing, hypotheses, much in the way that one fashion is succeeded by another in other branches of human activity, such as in the use of garments and domestic utensils, and in social usage and ceremonies.39

Shortly after, in an essay dedicated to a stern debate with the linguist Luigi Ceci,40 Pais reaffirmed these ideas, displaying not only a withering disdain towards every theory regarding the origins of the populations of ancient Italy but also underlining how these testimonies from the past, while certainly useful and fascinating, were so only because, to the eyes of a historian, they laid bare the political and economic (and often literary) reasons that had helped foster its origins and development. They were, according to Pais, obviously imaginative reconstructions, in which it was better not to place too much faith, reflecting as they did preoccupations regarding the times which gave them their respective shape. To back this approach, he provided an example from contemporaneity, observing how, in the question of Alsace and Lorraine, themes such as pan-Germanism and pan-Slavism, raised on the basis of presumed objective criteria, could not even begin to conceal their clear political motivation.41 Not long after, the opportunity to hone his conviction regarding how to interpret the events of ancient Italy came in 1911 with the 50th anniversary of unification, when Pais wrote a piece dedicated to the developments in the study of ancient history during the years of the united state.42 On this occasion, with a few brief notes, he summarized the discipline’s progress, observing how things began with Micali and Vannucci, and how both were soon overthrown, in tandem with the attainment of national unity, by the triumph of ‘German scholarship, armed with the most subtle critical instruments’.43 It was precisely this encounter with the Germanic world that gave Pais his conviction that the study of Italy’s ancient history had been transformed into something other, and better, with regard to its state in the 39

40 Pais 1908a: 21. Pais 1910. ‘Similar behaviour can be observed today in all those who, with patriotic and political ends, pretend to forget how much Germanic blood there is in Alsace and Lorraine or propagandise for pan-Germanism and pan-Slavism which are not always and in all cases based on a perfect homogeneity of lineage’ (Pais 1910: 28–9). 42 43 Pais 1911b. Pais 1911b: 703. 41

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early 19th century and how, especially at the juncture of the centuries, its direction had taken on a particular force where philological rigour and critical method reduced every improbable suggestion in favour of imaginary reconstructions to tatters. It was a perspective that left no space for those other disciplines which continued to claim the right to interpret the nation’s antiquity. Indeed, Pais made use of the occasion to lash out against Lombroso’s son-in-law, Guglielmo Ferrero, judging the latter’s weighty reconstruction of the Roman period44 as a brilliant piece of writing for those who read works of history in search of pleasure rather than truth.45 This piece established the terms for a clash that was soon to intensify when it was rumoured that Ferrero himself was to be offered a Chair in Roman History in the capital. The affair was given a further twist with the forecast (which proved to be unfounded) that he was in line for the professorship at that time held by the German scholar Karl Beloch.46 In this climate, still in 1911, Pais held a conference at Milan in response to the inaugural speech given by Ferrero in Rome on the occasion of the capital’s anniversary.47 Rejecting every socioanthropological reconstruction on which his adversary’s fortune appeared to be founded, Pais took care to cancel every possible reference to the forced Romanization of the peninsula, underlining instead how its many populations competed with one another to claim the citizenship that was the ‘shared mother of all the Italian peoples’.48 He was fulsome in his praise for the unifying work of Rome, which had used its own civilizing power to bring together populations that were very different from one other and shape the peninsula’s sense of spiritual unity: something which, over the

44

Ferrero 1902–7. ‘Neither on the other hand do I know if it is possible to ascribe the volumes of Guglielmo Ferrero to our pedestrian and inelegant scientific and critical historical research; he is an author of certain brilliance, rich in ingenuity and imagination, who has naturally gathered round him all those who look in historical works, not for the demanding search for truth, but rather for the luxuries of art and delight’ (Pais 1911b: 707). 46 The event is described in Momigliano 1966a: 258–61. The terms of the violent argument can be understood rereading Pais 1912b and Ferrero 1912, and in Pais 1912c. Regarding Pais’s criticism of Ferrero in full, see Pais 1912a. In defence of Ferrero meanwhile, see an article by Barbagallo 1911. Regarding the relationship between the latter and Ferrero, according to a political and cultural perspective opposed to Pais, see Casali 1980: 13–14, but also De Francesco 2006d: 79–81. 47 48 Pais 1911a. Pais 1911a: 341. 45

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following centuries, despite many invasions and foreign domination, would never be overcome. Pais also made use of the occasion to illustrate his own nationalist credo, testified to not only by his faith regarding the country’s colonial ventures and his hopes that emigration would export the Italian genius to new continents, but above all by his conviction that the political structure of Italy should shake itself loose from the Anglo-French model and return to the example of ancient Rome. The country, he believed, should adopt a new order—an authoritarian one, inevitably: it was a vision to which, in the years to come, including his support for intervention in the First World War, Pais would always remain true.49 Shortly after, following the colonial war that made Libya part of Italy’s African dominions, when his 1898 work on the history of Rome was republished,50 Pais placed extra stress on the theme of nationalism, with a dedication to King Victor Emmanuel III in the year ‘before domination is extended in the Mediterranean’.51 He also managed to dust off the vexed question regarding the plausibility of archaeological, ethnographical, and linguistic criteria in terms of establishing the peninsula’s ancient history. In this regard, he paid no attention to the theories of indigenousness, preferring to adopt a line somewhere between Sergi and Helbig, or—going further back in time—between Micali and Niebuhr. He admitted that not all the peninsula’s populations were of Indo-European origin, but at the same time suggested that the Ligurians and Umbrians, the former from the west and the latter from the east, were the first populations to settle in Italy. He then added the Etruscans, a mystery, in his opinion, impossible to solve. Despite this, however, and in deference to Vannucci, he insisted that their roots lay in Lydia. Taken as a whole, nonetheless, the pages that Pais dedicated to the problem did not go very deep. They were, to a certain extent, merely an

49 ‘Rome, mistress of civil order, may again assist us with her advice, when the new Italy, having reacquired entire awareness of her own character, places under examination the political and administrative institutions that, through the mediation of nearby France, she has come to borrow from Anglo-Saxon society. Certainly, the British institutions represent a glorious and invaluable advance compared to absolute monarchy. But the time will come in which the inopportunity shall be recognised of an order which does not always completely respond to the national temper’ (Pais 1911a: 351–2). 50 Pais 1913. 51 See the criticisms of Benedetto Croce on this point (Croce 1921: II, 93).

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introduction to the suggestion that problems of this kind barely encroached upon the true responsibility of the historian. It was the actual articulation of civil life, or rather the development of forms of political life, which constituted the sole arena in which it was required to prove oneself in order to illuminate the past.52 Then came war, which Pais welcomed with the nationalistic enthusiasm that many shared, as is shown by the introduction, written in 1917, to yet another work.53 Here, he predicts a different destiny, both political and academic, for the new generation, since Roman history had finally made its return not only as an object of interest to foreigners but above all to the Italians themselves.54 It was a manifesto that received a sudden boost from the (disappointing) outcome of the victorious conflict, one duly testified to by Pais’s sense of frustrated nationalism in the wake of Versailles. The vittoria mutilata as it was called (a ‘mutilated victory’ in that the Treaty of Versailles did not at all fulfil the expectations of the Italian nationalists) served only to further harden his own convictions, founded on the rejection of any concession to the concept of territorial specificity or particularity. He countered such ideas with an insistent appeal to the close-knit sense of nationality generated by the unifying image of Rome. In the preface to a volume produced in 1920, significantly entitled Imperialismo romano e politica italiana (‘Roman Imperialism and Italian Politics’),55 Pais reviewed the Italian situation, placing great emphasis on the theme of thwarted patriotism. The ‘mutilated victory’ and the vigorous return of pacifism, like the Slavic propaganda against Italy, were dangers which needed to be promptly confronted through a policy of popular mobilization, which, triumphing over proletarian internationalism, would make a different type of internal politics possible. ‘That period of our politics in which the art of government consisted of ensuring the support of various parliamentary groups’56 would be consigned definitively to

52

53 Pais 1913: I, 316–57. Pais 1918. ‘The new generation more than that now in decline will feel the disgrace of our having abandoned to foreigners the task of cultivating the study of our national history’s most glorious period. Drawing inspiration from the great soul of Rome, it will feel even more the living pride of descending from that noble lineage, which in Italy made one people of many peoples, which gave life to many nations, which, even though later at times mixing with Germanic races, still feels today, and still calls itself, Latin’ (Pais 1918: XI–XII). 55 56 Pais 1920. See Pais 1920: XLI. 54

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the past. It was also necessary to cultivate a more incisive presence on the international scene, where a firm stand taken against France brought with it, after the failed experiment of emigration, a further revival of the concept of colonialism.57 It was an ominous sign of the promptness with which Pais, Senator to the Kingdom of Italy from 1922, would throw in his lot with Fascism, which itself never failed to make explicit reference to ancient Rome in order to highlight the self-evident connections. However, before giving his brilliance over wholly in allegiance to the regime— his work became increasingly contaminated by its deleterious politics, reaching peak intensity in the last years of his life during the war in Ethiopia and the birth of Fascist Empire58—he produced other works that continued to show balance, though all marked by his political leanings, and which would come to irrevocably define his overall perspective on Italic antiquity. Essays on ancient Italy first published in 1908 were reprinted in 1922,59 and in 1923 a work on Sardinia and Corsica60 highly significantly shifted the focus from pre-Roman times to those of conquest, and extolled, with continuous cross-referencing from past to present, the civilizing task of reuniting the two islands’ many and varied peoples. With this return to the land where his academic activities had taken their first steps, Pais once again paid meaningful homage to his native roots, commenting on the validity of the insistent request for administrative decentralization made in the period immediately after the war. He was, however, quick to add that a deep sense of Italianity was fundamental to both the peoples of Sardinia and of Corsica.61 Another hefty endeavour made its appearance in 1925,62 where Pais, dealing again with ancient Italy, took the Greek presence in the south as his starting point in order to reconstruct the political process 57

Pais 1920: XXXV. ‘In the moment of our rebirth while the Nation is turned towards the reconquest of the supreme pinnacles already achieved in the Roman era, it would be shameful to propose a withdrawal from the movement of historical education of the people and of youth, to entrench ourselves in the isolated pride of professional technicism without political horizons’ (Pais 1939: XIII–XIV). On the Fascist Empire, see in the English language Sbacchi 1985, Doumanis 1997, and, more recently, Pes 2010. 59 60 Pais 1922. Pais 1923. 61 Pais 1923: II, 659–63, where Pais again accepts decentralization as legitimate, while stressing nevertheless the warm love of homeland cherished by Sardinia’s inhabitants. 62 Pais 1925. 58

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that would lead to the unification of the peninsula’s peoples under the banner of Rome. The work rather vehemently maintained his strict no-trespassing attitude towards other disciplines, but here Pais also decided to conclusively abandon anthropology’s contributions to ancient history, without lingering excessively over the implausibility of the information that the other discipline claimed to make available. On the subject of the great invasions that took place in the remote past, he observed that It is the task of the anthropologist, and not that of the historian, to investigate whether Europe was initially populated by peoples hailing from Asian lands or if instead the first occupants were Mediterranean tribes arriving from the shores of Africa. It falls to us, whose studies involve only those times that can be classified as historical, to relate that when the most ancient navigation mentioned in literary tradition took place, the coasts of Italy and the other regions of Western Europe were already inhabited.63

He took here, in other words, a definitive stand against every other discipline that was potentially a rival in the reconstruction of antiquity. It was a performance that concluded a decades-long habit of, if not outright hostility, then certainly mistrust, with regard to anthropology, something that Pais was criticized for during an otherwise extremely fulsome review by Zuppone Strano that appeared in the Corriere d’Italia. The Sicilian poet was careful to describe the author’s working method in the following way: His technique is always that of Mommsen, whom he has translated and to whom he remains, even inverting his systems, a devoted disciple. From Fazello he takes the manner in which the Sicilian humanist regarded his homeland in the 1500s. He follows Niebuhr a little of the way, attempting a prehistoric introduction to the uncertainty of proto-history and to the history of Italy. Here and there in his more pithy summaries he gives Grote an airing. He moves as far as he can from Mommsen, inverting him, that is, beginning the history of Rome from the history of Italy and not the other way round. But he preserves Mommsen’s attitude and judicial sense, so that the German historian’s Roman history is conspicuous. He follows Holm in the cult of sources, which extends but does not exceed documentary and

63

Pais 1925: 139.

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written tradition. He makes less use of Freeman, who comes to a halt in the 5th century bc.64

Nonetheless, for Zuppone Strano, moved as he was by a strong spirit of defence with respect to Sicilian identity, Pais was in the wrong when, ‘to spite De Cara and Sergi’,65 he displayed his resistance to the study of the questions inherent in the peninsula’s remotest past. He refused to take any influence from the East into account and, above all, rejected the contributions that the fields of ethnography, anthropology, archaeology, and art had made in this regard. The result, in the reviewer’s opinion, was a summary that sacrificed too many of the academic riches that Italy had produced: Pais is in agreement with his great challenger Father Cesare Antonio De Cara only in his haughty way of considering, or rather refusing to consider, the contributions that anthropology, paletnology, and also, which is to say much, archaeology, illuminates pre- and proto-history [ . . . ] So Ligurians, Umbrians, Sabellians, Sicels, Sicani, Etruscans, Enotrians, Peucetii, Messapii, Lucani, Bruzi, Liburni, Iapygians, Veneti, Illyrians, Chaonians, Itali, Opici, Ausones etcetera are mixed together here with few features and little evidence, also because still befogged and belittled in our memory by the harsh criticism that Pais advanced in his previous works – works devised and written when the anger of opposing schools raged more fiercely.66

Thus, even in 1925, when Pais’s fame was at its peak and Roman history firmly directed along lines set in place by his criteria of study and research, resistance to his overall reconstruction of ancient Italy was still present and continued to centre around the Italian people’s plurality of identity. It seemed, therefore, that the nationalist frenzy following the First World War and at the advent of Fascism had not yet been able to uproot a cultural patrimony established during the years of unification—established, moreover, by positions critical of the liberal state. For this very reason therefore, it appeared a simple matter to resituate itself in the new post-war openness; indeed, even seemed convinced that it could formulate the terms of political culture in an institutional scenario that had meanwhile greatly altered.

64 66

Zuppone Strano 1925. Zuppone Strano 1925.

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Zuppone Strano 1925.

7 The Italian Fascist Empire, racial policy and Etruscology Criticism of the fact that, in his reconstruction of Italic antiquity, Pais much undervalued the contribution of the individual peoples that inhabited the peninsula suggests that Romanity’s triumphs in the 1920s never succeeded in laying to rest the theme of an ethnically divided and anthropologically diverse peninsula. Pais himself gave indirect support to this in his emphasis on the unifying role of Roman institutions faced with populations that, very different from one another, would have remained so were they not involved in a comprehensive civilizing project. Moreover, in order to support his reasons for a constant reference to Rome in the centuries following its fall, Pais invariably emphasized how the numerous invasions that the peninsula was subjected to continued to bring contributions from different peoples, all of which would, from the barbarians to Frederic II of Swabia, thanks to the sustaining example of the ancient empire, be absorbed into the Italian cultural model. Substance enough, in other words, for the theories relating to the peninsula’s diversity since the most ancient times—the secure legacy and dense remoulding of pre-unity antiquarianism—to return to stimulate the debate regarding arguments over the identity of the Italian people. Obviously undergoing in their turn a certain amount of remodelling, they would compete together throughout the years of Fascism, bringing new modalities to the table to affirm the founding value of nationality. Even with regard to this specific point, Pais’s positions were not in fact an alternative to those that sustained, on the basis of anthropological discourse, a plurality of origins for the peninsula’s various lineages. It was simply a matter of putting to one side the image of Rome’s violent conquest, transforming it

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from a transient period of abusive power into a civilizing process, so that the fact that such a host of peoples was shaped into one single population further helped to corroborate the extraordinary cultural heft of the Roman era. This explains why, under Fascism, Italic antiquity as a subject was never forced into clandestinity: indeed, the theme, interpreted as a prop rather than a hindrance to the obsessive homage paid to the unifying potency of Rome, flourished and was a frequent point of reference. Confirmation of this not always peaceful coexistence comes from the long academic life of Giuseppe Sergi himself, who died in his nineties in 1937, after remaining constantly active in his field of studies. For the first decades of the 20th century, he never ceased to insist on the theme of Italic antiquity as an interpretative instrument, not only of the past, but also of the concrete modality through which the Italian nation had derived its original form. He remained faithful to his summarizing study on this matter, evocatively entitled Italia,1 which was published in 1919 in the euphoric climate of Vittorio Veneto, the decisive battle that brought about Italian victory and the armistice of 4 November 1918. In 1934, towards the end of his life, he returned once again to the same theme and duly confirmed the ideas and conclusions that he saw as being absolutely settled. In the meantime, nonetheless, Italy had undergone profound change and the ancient Sicilian patriot, keenly in favour of the democratic war of 1915, had lived through almost all the political and ideological experience of Fascism. Although he remained at a distance from the movement, he was certainly, in his turn, lapped by the wave of nationalism that success on the international chessboard of the 1930s and, above all, the foundation of Fascist Empire, had swollen to such a great height. Having said that, it is worthwhile pointing out that Sergi’s position throughout the First World War (and also in its immediate aftermath) always drew its influence from aspects relating to the experience of democratic groups and the radicals, which had led him to regard socialism with a certain sympathy, though he never actively joined the movement, as well as prompting in him a firm cultural, but also political, anti-German line. There is evidence of this ideological universe in the collection of essays that he published in 1906.2 Here, once again, the acknowledgment of the inadequacy 1

Sergi 1919. Sergi 1906. Sergi’s political and cultural position was already clear in Sergi 1893b: 279–87, where the author declares his ideals of liberty and brotherhood, with a 2

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of the Mediterranean tribes due to centuries-long misrule is accompanied by the conviction that a profound work of reform could nonetheless have restored these peoples to their original cultural primacy. These pages gather together many articles that help to corroborate the fact that his political leanings all tended towards the democratic. From the rejection of prime minister Crispi, described as Albanian rather than Italian,3 to the revival of the ideals of Latin brotherhood; from the hopes for a quick return to the friendship between France and Italy 4 to interest in a broad parliamentary understanding between republicans and socialists; from participation in many meetings dedicated to the idea of civil progress5 up to supporting free-thinking positions during the First World War,6 Sergi, for whom the principle of nationality was always the guiding star in his political life, never ceased to represent a significant voice in left-wing opposition to liberal Italy. His decision to invest his hopes in the war as the nation’s road to full regeneration was demonstrated by his position on the subject of eugenics during the conflict7 and the enthusiasm with which he greeted victory. In 1919, in Italia, the substantial review of his decades of research mentioned above, he was thus able to reassert how the country’s national science owed nothing to that of foreigners; launch an attack which he considered definitive on the subject of Germanic knowledge; reaffirm the nation’s specific cultural identity; and conclude with a renewed act of faith in the Italians’ civilizing mission which Risorgimento traditions had never ceased to sustain. During the war, while working on the final draft of the text, he made clear how, in his long-term endeavour, the scientific and patriotic themes were invariably difficult to disentangle. Indeed, they were so entirely

curious mix of Risorgimento themes and references to democratic revolutions, including 1776 and Thomas Jefferson. 3 ‘Crispi was of Albanian nationality, he still bore the savage legacy of that country, that tendency towards brigandage and he was most capable in its plots and their mysteries. He was impulsive, his actions determined by impressions of the instant, as in childhood. [ . . . ] He was without culture, except that of the civil and penal codes; coarse and authoritarian, like a brigand chief, his politics were of the same kind [ . . . ]’ (Sergi 1906: 121–2). 4 Sergi 1906: 463–7. 5 Sergi 1906: 483–9. 6 Sergi 1915. 7 See, for example, Sergi 1917. On eugenics in Italy and the role of Sergi, many studies have appeared in recent years; see for instance Mantovani 2004: 55–62, Ciceri 2009: 60–91, and Cassata 2006: 27–35.

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bound together as to allow him to define the new situations opened up by the imminent military triumph in the following terms: Italy and Rome will be great once again, but no longer imperial; Italy desires to be mistress of her own destiny, an independent nation, and reunite all the Italians who groan beneath foreign domination into one single, great family within the confines that nature has established between the Alps and the sea: the wars of independence that have been fought until today have always had this end in sight. Apart from this final aim, in the present world war Italy has also shared another together with the civilised nations, now her allies, and that is the defence of a thousand-year civilisation which she created and exported to the world, and with this the re-establishment and the reintegration of right and justice, not only in individuals, but also in nations. Finally, alongside these various and crowning objectives, there must follow one more, which was also the desire of a Roman emperor, universal peace; which must nevermore be disturbed by the tyranny of those nations, barbarians still, imbued with the spirit of war and conquest.8

In this way, the historical anthropology of the nation, Giuseppe Sergi’s long-pursued objective, seemed finally to be achieved: the ethnic diversity of the peninsula had meant nothing in the face of civilization-bearing Latinity and had ensured a uniformity of cultural order for the nation through the centuries. This was the foundation on which the new Italy, rising out of the Risorgimento and following the triumph of the Great War, could build its own democratic and plural identity. It was also, apparently at least, a complete triumph in the field of anthropology. Niceforo, who in scientific terms had brilliantly set out his theories along lines that Sergi had not always shared, had in the meantime been forced to take a quick step backwards. Not only had he too agreed with the reasons for the war, but during the conflict he had published an anti-German tract where the theme of Italian homogeneity returned to completely dominate the issue, cancelling those differences between the two parts of the country which had so preoccupied nationalists such as Pais.9

8

Sergi 1919: 448. ‘Is it really true, first of all, that to know how to observe is such a new thing, sprung up with the modern Germans? Galileo, Bacon, Leonardo, are all fairly antique! It is very true, on the other hand, that, destroying individual initiative and putting in 9

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The war seemed in other words to have ensured a broad stimulus to that sense of shaping the masses into a nation, the lack of which had originally inspired the anthropological school in the first place. The experience of the front seemed to have succeeded in concluding something that liberal Italy had only timidly set in motion: at Vittorio Veneto, the destinies of two peoples and two Italies were finally fused together. Nonetheless, Sergi’s hopes regarding a fast democratic path for the new Italy were swiftly dashed in the immediate post-war crisis. Shortly after, that world, which still seemed triumphant in 1919, underwent a dramatic wrench toward authoritarianism, and the banner of nationality soon passed into other hands. The new scenario of the immediate post-war period, where, thanks to the victorious experience of war, the Italian people seemed restored to ancient greatness, constituted a legacy that was all too fascinating for Fascism. It had no intention of letting the opportunity slip from its grasp, the chance to rescue the apparatus of democracy from the liberal period. Ready to claim all the merit for having led the masses within the state, it was able to immediately present itself as the unique, legitimate interpreter and heir of the Risorgimento era.10 It was a political and ideological scenario that would be immensely successful in the work of bringing together the various ideas on the theme of nationality that had divided the intellectual world in the years immediately preceding the Great War: the different movements in favour of intervention that had previously come together to precipitate liberal Italy’s fall into the conflict could all jointly recognize themselves in the greatness of the Italian people, whether of long date or more recent coinage. This aspect of Fascism, careful to impose its own image on every preceding national moment and quickly making Italy’s historical and cultural progress the gravitational centre of all knowledge, not only humanistic, brought about the effect of reviving the motivation of specific disciplines, such as archaeology, the hands of anyone, even the most mediocre, a technique and a method, the Germans bestow the gift of methodical observation on all men, even the most mediocre; since they are excellent fact gatherers and hard workers they tend towards the inferior in the scale of spirit. But it would be easy to show that a population of technicians is one thing, and a population of science another’ (Niceforo 1917: 83). Niceforo, immediately after the war, supported the reasons of those who demanded prompt application of the Treaty of London. See on that point Niceforo 1919. 10 On this point, see in particular the research of Baioni 2006 and, more recently, Baioni 2009: 65–86.

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palaeoethnology, and anthropology: it turned them into trailblazers in the task of assimilating other sciences into a homogeneous cultural project. Proof of this perspective is shown by the developments in anthropology between the two wars, which first took on the task, with Francesco Pullé, of codifying the nation’s main paths of growth,11 and then in the 1930s set itself to work in support of the regime’s racial policy. Even palaeoethnology had a significant role in this matter: at the end of the 1920s, Giuseppe Patroni and Ugo Rellini, both explicitly relying on Sergi’s theory, dared to assert that the origins of the Mediterranean race and culture should be placed in the late Palaeolithic.12 Obviously, their conclusions encountered the political desiderata of the Fascist regime, because, confirming the antiquity of the Italian people, both reasserted Mussolini’s ambitions in the Mediterranean Sea. Even if it would be somewhat misleading to reduce all to a mere unsubtle form of flattery towards the Fascist regime, there is no doubt that both the authors knew how much their researches could produce effective political tools. In other words, it is undeniable that the search for a specifically ‘national’ prehistorical tradition was part of an aggressive project, aiming at reaffirming the role of culture as an instrument of political identity. Briefly, the insistence on the antiquity and the autochthony of the Italian people was the (un)linear development of a preceding anti-German cultural proposal, that Fascism, exploiting the nationalist fire spread by the colonial war against the Ottoman Empire in 1911 and then by the First World War, would rapidly convert into an aggressive political attitude in the Mediterranean basin. Because of this, the archaeological activities were rapidly meant to promote (and confirm) the political aims of the new Italy. An excellent example, in this regard, are the researches conducted by Luigi Maria Ugolini in Albania and Malta, drawing an explicit continuity between the prehistoric Mediterranean world and the origins of Rome. In Albania, the results of his excavations at Butrint, the ancient Buthrotum, were used to confirm the myth of Aenea, sojourning here before arriving in Latium. In Malta, where Ugolini conducted several archaeological excavations between 1924 and 1935, according to the cultural politics of the Fascist regime, he 11

Pullé 1927. Patroni 1927: 64–7 and Rellini 1929, esp. p. 59. On the fortunes of the mediterranean teorie during Fascism, see the brilliant considerations in Tarantini 2002, esp. pp. 18–27. 12

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showed the millennial relationship of the island with Italy.13 Largely financed by the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ugolini published in 1934 a volume containing the first conclusions of his investigations.14 In those pages, he wanted to show how Malta—rather than the Greek islands—had been the source of the civilization. The Neolithic origins of the island’s monuments allowed Ugolini to interpret from a Mediterranean point of view the cultural models of the antiquity. Hence, his theory, expressed as ex medio lux, that refused any influence from the East to insist on Malta as the birthplace of the autochthonous origins of the civilization. It is worth noting here how Ugolini deeply (and explicitly) relied on Sergi’s thesis—‘our excellent scholar’—in order to confirm that the Mediterranean basin was originally inhabited by a Euro-African race. Briefly, as it has been recently outlined,15 Ugolini thought to have discovered the archaeological basis for Sergi’s anthropological thesis and it goes without saying that even his assertions as well were motivated by a clear political intent. On the one hand, he wanted to challenge the traditional interpretations of the Aryans as founders of the civilization; on the other, according to the nationalist cultural models of Fascism, he wanted to reassert the italianity of Malta against another theory, relating the origins of the island to the Semitic Phoenicians, which sounded very close to British imperial ideology.16 In this particular context, it is worth underlining why Giuseppe Sergi’s voice continued to be heard: his theory regarding the Mediterranean origins of the Italics and their role in the diffusion of knowledge came in rather useful to Fascism to reinforce the idea of the renewed primacy of the Italians in the Mediterranean basin. Sergi did not cease to press home this point: not only—though less frequently—in articles rejecting an Indo-Germanic perspective in favour of the importance of the Mediterranean population in the construction of European civilization,17 but more often in the claim to further revive the notion of the primogenial ethnic uniformity of the peninsula’s peoples since remotest times. Once again, in 1934, in a curious little volume which embodied the author’s own desire to

13

14 Pessina and Vella 2005, esp. p. 19. Ugolini 1934. 16 Ugolini 2012: XXV. Ugolini 2012: XXI and Champion 2001. 17 The reference is to Sergi 1926. But also see his interesting introduction to the Italian translation of Portal 1926: IX–XIII. 15

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sum up decades of research and articles,18 he could therefore return to the studies of his youth, in part to confirm them, but also to stiffen their resolve. The Neolithic populations which first occupied Italy were now the Ligurians and the Sicels, and from these two tribes sprang all the ancient Italic peoples whose origins had been occupying academics for such a long time. This would ensure a complete ethnic unity for the peninsula, which would produce one single language. And this would constitute the wide base of support that made it possible for Rome to create over time the peninsula’s process of political unification.19 Needless to say, a discourse of this type was perfectly in harmony with Fascism’s overriding cultural idea, and the next and last of Sergi’s work, a study published in 1936,20 was also certainly appreciated. Here, intending to demonstrate that the Britons themselves were of Mediterranean origin and had probably arrived from the Iberian peninsula, he therefore asserted that the civilization neither owed anything to the Aryan element so glorified in other European political contexts, nor could the origins of ancient Britain be traced in the framework of a Phoenician ancestry. Sergi’s last work, consequently, served two purposes: on the one hand, it exalted the millennial Mediterranean cultural tradition and attempted to prove how Italian primacy had already been forged in prehistoric antiquity; on the other hand, it hoped to strengthen the recent political connections that existed between Fascist Italy and the British Empire. Sergi’s work aimed to be, in other words, a mark of friendship: however, it was published when the aggressive Italian colonialism was fuelling a crisis in the political relationship between the two countries. Because of this, in publishing his volume, Sergi, certainly with the idea of forestalling possible criticism (which would in fact make its presence felt not long after), thought it opportune to specify how his researches were begun before the Italian–British confrontation over the question of Ethiopia and that he could never have imagined the opposition of

18

Sergi 1934. ‘It is abundantly shown [ . . . ] how the names of habitats are found repeated from the extreme southern part of Italy to the Alpine valleys and beyond, to the east and west; this implies a fundamental ethnic unity with a single language, naturally divided into dialectal forms’ (Sergi 1934: 158). 20 Sergi 1936. 19

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the United Kingdom to the young Italy’s return to the international scene.21 They were his last words on the subject before his death some months later, in October 1936, when the anthropological community was at once drawn together in a display of emotion around one of the founding figures of their discipline. Of the commemorative events organized, certainly the most interesting one was held, in a solemn and reserved manner, on the very premises of the Roman Society of Anthropology that Sergi himself had established long before and in which he had always been such a stimulating presence. The memorial took place in May 1937, one year exactly from the foundation of Fascist Empire, and those recalling Sergi did not hesitate to refer to an event that many present considered epochal. One voice of certainty in this chorus was that of Alfredo Niceforo, now light years from his previous socialist and radical position and, if such a thing were possible, even further removed from the era of his denunciation of the south as the abode of an inferior race. Talking of his colleague, he managed to underline how in Sergi’s anthropological writings on the dark continent long before and in his theory regarding the African origins of the Mediterranean race, there lay an important point of reference for that renewed and rather deeper commitment which called Italian civilization to the distant Horn of Africa.22 Niceforo’s observations proposed Sergi’s work as the foundation of Italian anthropology and reasserted the validity of the theory even many decades after its formulation: in this context, it gave the impression of being an attempt to ascribe a prophetic role to Sergi’s studies regarding Mediterranean civilization, as if indeed they somehow

21 ‘It was an illusion of ours that no nation would have attempted to impede the reawakened greatness of Italy, which advances towards its glorious destiny, one worthy of a heroic people, which takes up the path interrupted by the fall of the Roman Empire and by the historical events that followed for many centuries; but Italy has conquered more formidable obstacles and, there is no doubt, will continue to conquer those others that arise.’ From the introduction, dated 18 December 1935, in Sergi 1936. 22 ‘The facts today demonstrate that it is necessary to speak of the question of race. The case, which was believed to have vanished and indeed been killed off by a more or less facile criticism, returns to make its presence felt on the scene of international life. Now, was not Giuseppe Sergi himself our great historian of race, as much of those races who now compete in Europe and elsewhere, as of those who populated our lands in prehistoric times?’ (Rivista di antropologia 1935–7: 31, pp. XXXVII–XXXVIII).

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predicted Italy’s military return to that specific geopolitical context. This was, needless to say, a rather over-free appropriation of the other’s researches for the necessity of the present moment, cut to the cloth of Fascism’s cultural line and its aim of glorifying Italy’s power politics in a colonial context. However, Niceforo’s words seem a fairly mild form of exaggeration compared with certain far more unscrupulous appropriations of Sergi’s work made by other participants at the ceremony. It is worth remembering Lino Businco, for example, at that time Assistant in General Pathology at the University of Rome, who in his brief commemorative speech mentioned that Sergi, in his studies of Sardinia, while exposing the complex problems of the island’s society, had also included its ancient inhabitants in that ‘pure Mediterranean race which on the shores of our sea had realised the first shining forms of civilisation’.23 Just those few sentences, in other words, from both Niceforo and Businco, are enough to clearly display how the Abyssinian triumph, followed by the creation of the Fascist Empire, had confirmed the full regeneration of the Italian people. Above all, it had irreversibly revived its civilizing activity in a Mediterranean context: Fascism’s harking back to the glories of Augustan Rome, with the bimillenium of the emperor’s birth24 celebrated with a great profusion of initiatives, encapsulated the regime’s proposal to construct a new international order. The cultural identity of the peninsula’s renewed people, guided by a shared sense of unity dominated by a single image of uniformity, was the lynchpin of a new imperial policy. Along the same lines, following the African victories, various other elements (including a rather competitive alliance with Nazi Germany) would originate and ramify the revival of the colonial policy and the return of irredentism with the request for new lands—apart from Nice, Savoy, and Malta, Tunisia and Djibouti were added for the occasion—to be absorbed into the motherland and the Fascist Empire. Although distinct in themselves, the lines all had their roots in (and at the same time were interrelated with) the Italian lineage’s insistent claim to specificity. This claim, now being called to such high tasks and lofty destinies, had to preserve a racial purity that ran

23 24

Rivista di antropologia 1935–7: 31, pp. XLV–XLVI. Cagnetta 1979: 133–41.

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the severe risk of being contaminated by racial mixing in the colonies and the Jewish financial element at home.25 It goes without saying that in this context the age-old question of Italic antiquity returned to occupy a strong central position, coming in useful to confirm, with reputedly scientific data into the bargain, the general lines marked out by Fascist policy.26 The academic community, already subordinated for some time to the regime’s own humanistic cultural requirements, was therefore called upon to legitimate, in a blatantly surreptitious way, decisions taken in the political arena. This was precisely the sort of scenario where the death of Giuseppe Sergi came in handy, with the immediate triggering of a debate regarding his cultural legacy that, on the one hand, saw him as the representative of an intellectual world belonging irrevocably to the past, and on the other, in an exactly opposite sense, as a figure whose work had in fact forecast the very direction being taken at that particular time.27 It should not be a matter of great surprise therefore that the racial manifesto, which made its appearance in 1938 and which with all probability was devised by Mussolini himself, included among its ten signatories the name of Lino Businco, who then went on to work with Guido Landra (at that time still Assistant to the Roman Chair of Anthropology) in the office created by Il Duce for the development of racial policy.28 Businco would soon be joined by many others in his shift towards racism: from the group that cherished Sergi’s memory—and notably from among the seven academics who participated with a specific speech at the master of Italian anthropology’s commemorative ceremony—the signatures added to the manifesto of race included the orientalist Giuseppe Tucci, the 25 Here as well it is difficult to do justice to a bibliography that has been enriched in recent years by a considerable number of studies. Worth highlighting are Gentile 1993: 180–95 and Ben Ghiat 2001: 245–6; Bonavita 2009 is also very interesting. 26 Ponzanesi 2005, where it is emphasized on p. 172 how Sergi’s theory forced the regime to build a national identity ‘through its opposition to black people, marked as Other’. 27 On the relationship between anthropology and the regime, see Matard-Bonucci 2008: 67–78. The most significant pronouncements, however, on the contribution of Italian anthropology to the Fascist regime’s racist tendency are those of Pogliano 2005: 369–412; the entire work is notable for its excellent reconstruction of the scenario of complete continuity of Italian anthropology in the period immediately following the Second World War and that of the Fascist epoch. 28 For a description of the figure of Businco, see Cuomo 2008: 111–15 and 134–7. Businco’s activity within the structures charged with handling the Fascist regime’s racial policy can be read in Gillette 2002a.

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historian of religion Raffaele Pettazzoni, the ethnographist Raffaele Corso, and the son of Sergi himself, Sergio, who inherited from his father both his passion for study and even the same university chair.29 However, if one considers the document to which they so swiftly put their names, some clamorous contradictions seem at once to emerge. The clear presence of a stand being taken against Giuseppe Sergi’s theories appears above all in points 4 and 8: the former establishes that ‘the present Italian population is of Aryan origin and its civilisation Aryan [ . . . ] [and] [ . . . ] very little remains of the civilisation of pre-Aryan peoples’; the latter underlines that it is ‘necessary to make a complete distinction between Mediterranean Europeans on the one hand (Occidental) and Orientals and Africans on the other’ and emphasizes the danger of ‘theories that support the African origins of certain European peoples and also bring together the Semitic and Hamitic populations in one common Mediterranean race, establishing absolutely inadmissible ideological relationships and sympathies’.30 These two points, which contest the very argument of Sergi’s theory, could hardly have been acceptable to the custodians of his scientific legacy, and yet this move by the regime did not stop his son Sergio—who in previous years had placed great emphasis on his father’s research—from adding his name to the document. It appears evident therefore that only the certainty that the line was handed down directly from the top convinced them to sign the manifesto and that obedience to the political direction outlined by Il Duce inevitably had to prevail over any reservations of a scientific kind. All this seems clear when the exact terms of the speech given by Mussolini on 25 October 1938 are taken into account. Just a few months after the appearance of the manifesto, Il Duce in person clarified the political motivations with reference to the racial question on the one hand, and indicated the cultural order’s guidelines on the other. It is worth noting how Mussolini, moved by the necessity of establishing, in an Ethiopia that was already in open rebellion, lines of conduct that sanctioned the civilizing superiority of the Italians

29 See their speeches in Rivista di antropologia 1935–7: 31, pp. XXI–XLVII. On the figure of Sergio Sergi, some comments in Israel 2010: 146–52. 30 The Manifesto was published in La difesa della razza, 1938: n. 1, 5. On the manifesto of Italian racism, also of great interest in recent years, see the latest additions: Menozzi and Mariuzzo 2010, Dell’Era 2011, as well as Israel 2010: 178–202.

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with respect to the indigenous population, resolutely stressed the segregation of one from the other and then from this premise went quickly on to tackle the question of race more generally. Regarding this, he showed himself to be knowledgeable concerning the terms of the debate which had animated the Italian cultural world for decades, on the one hand rejecting the two-lineage theory of Sergi (and Niceforo), and on the other reasserting that the peninsula’s inhabitants had arrived from the Alps. Furthermore, observing that the barbarian invasions had brought with them nothing of relevance, he refused to go as far back as the Ligurians and protohistory to establish that the Italians were pure Aryans, though obviously belonging to a Mediterranean branch.31 Il Duce’s comments were not, however, so much a complete disavowal of Sergi’s ideas as the draft of a new cultural base supporting a predetermined political line. This helps to explain why almost all of the scientific community was still ready to go along with such a demand, even when it involved the direct rejection of their own work. This consensus, however, did not mean that, brought in to green-light the manifesto by their nationalistic beliefs and the desire to stay in step with the regime’s political manoeuvring, those with doubts regarding the details contained in the manifesto itself kept quiet concerning their opinions. It is well known, in fact, how the various figures involved in Italian racism soon came to quarrel: the biological party, who drew their ideas from the journal Difesa della razza, published by Telesio Interlandi, and the spiritual world of Giulio Cogni and Julius Evola, centred around the journal Vita italiana, openly criticized the members of the explicitly nationalist group involved with other journals, most notably Razza e civiltà.32 And it is no accident that Sergi’s work constituted an important element in this violent disagreement, which was destined to drag on 31

De Felice 1981: 103–4. The events of Italian racism throughout all of 1943 have been thoroughly mapped out, above all in recent years, and, in addition to the works cited above, the following are also worth a mention: Burgio and Casali 1996, Maiocchi 1999, Losurdo 1999, Burgio 2000, and Gillette 2002b, which on pp. 23–32 accepts the progressive character of Sergi’s political ideas, while still claiming him as a forerunner of Italian racism in the 20th century. Along the same lines De Donno 2006 and Matard-Bonucci 2008: 74–5. See also Tarantini 2002: 32–8 for an excellent portrait of Ugo Rellini’s racism. On the Italian Jews under Fascism, see especially De Felice 2001; see also Zimmerman 2005, O’Reilly 2006, Sarfatti 2006, Matard-Bonucci 2008, and Bettin 2010. 32

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with various ups and downs until the fall of the regime. It divided those that clamoured for cultural change and therefore took a stand against the Sicilian anthropologist’s legacy, from those who, holding steady to the weight of national tradition, firmly believed in reinterpreting his scientific work to legitimate the Italian specificity of the regime’s racist policy.33 Neither was it by chance that the opening attack was launched by Giulio Cogni, a rather intellectually unsuccessful philosophy teacher wholly won over by the German racist model, who in 1937, even before the manifesto was produced, claimed to be the only begetter of the policy which he went on to outline. Cogni declared Sergi’s scientific work to be played out, underlining that ‘what limits [his] observations [ . . . ] is the purely positivistic and strictly anthropological spirit, with a few glottological hints that liven things up’.34 However, duly confirming how that tradition, so profoundly rooted in Italian political culture, would offer stern resistance, Cogni also thought it opportune to admit that ‘Sergi’s theory seems to satisfy our self-esteem better than others; [ . . . ] it has the indisputable merit of having placed a bulwark against the invading pan-Germanic theories, which would see every civil element descending from the north.’35 He mentioned, however, that its ‘second part is also founded on the arbitrary’, given that, dealing with the origins of the Italic lineages, he developed the theory regarding the Mediterranean origins of the dolichocephalic and the Aryan origins of the brachycephalic.36 In contrast, said Cogni, [ . . . ] by race we mean spiritual and civil values, even though rooted in the blood and corporeal primordial symbol: positivist observations, especially of a purely anthropological nature, may serve only as a background and basis to these [ . . . ] Two skulls equally dolichocephalic and equally conformed may appertain (an irony which perhaps lays bare a single primitive origin beneath all) to both a Nordic German and, what horror!, to a Jew.37

In other words, despite attempting an interpretation of race free from every positivist feature and substantially aligned with German teaching, Cogni was forced to follow certain lines already marked out by Sergi and to attempt in some way to encompass the latter’s theories 33 35

34 Maiocchi 1999: 174–86. Cogni 1937: 137. 36 37 Cogni 1937: 201. Cogni 1937: 201. Cogni 1937: 201.

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within his own. Returning to the interpretation of skulls made it possible for him to argue that Sergi had ignored the fact that both the Mediterranean and Aryan peoples were in reality dolichocephalic and that Italy became the cradle of civilization precisely because it had brought these two groups (Nordic and Nordic-Mediterranean) together in one land, thus ‘fusing both into marvellous and harmonious reconciliation, our peninsula generated from their synthesis a race that was one of the most beautiful, most sublime, most resplendent with the mark of the divine that exists in the world’.38 Cogni’s ideas were aimed at halting the rapid process of turning Sergi’s theories to racist ends, which had been put in motion by his closest collaborators. An article by Claudio Calosso had already appeared in 1939 in Difesa della razza making strong distinctions between the inhabitants of the Mediterranean and the northern peoples, as well as taking care to reassert an Italian specificity that rendered the resort to Indo-Europeanism useless.39 Shortly after, Sergi’s son-in-law, Giuseppe Genna, also intervened in support of his father-in-law’s racist outlook. Selecting passages from Sergi’s work, while having to admit that the somatic differences of the various lineages that had come together to form the Italic race signified nothing, he went on to assert that his father-in-law’s work ‘was the best and most convincing theoretical justification of the present racist movement in general’.40 Raffaello Battaglia also joined the fray and, in another memoir regarding Sergi, argued against those that believed it was possible ‘to solve the Italian racial problem, in the context of the sound racist principles proclaimed by the regime, creating, with scarce political sense and against all the most evident reality, [ . . . ] a fantastical Italian race, tall, blonde, dolichocephalic and of pronounced Nordic character’.41 Referring to the recently deceased academic’s work on the Mediterranean peoples, he insisted that since the late 19th century Giuseppe Sergi had maintained the necessity of ‘an ideal man’ called upon to provide an imperial solution 38

Cogni 1937: 48. See also on this point Cogni and Landra 1939: 27–8. ‘Against this mania of indo-European brotherhood, we claim the hypothesis of a strict Mediterranean unity from the racial point of view, different from the HamitoSemitic and akin in terms of language and biological character to the peoples of Northern Europe, who did not “come down into” but populated—ab antiquo—the Mediterranean basin [ . . . ]’ (Calosso 1939: 12). 40 Genna 1940: 43. 41 Battaglia 1939: XLI. 39

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to the grave problems afflicting Italy.42 It is worth underlining here how this liberal annexation of Sergi’s theory in anticipation (and support) of Fascist racism was an operation that was not only brilliantly successful—as will shortly be seen—during the war, but also even in our own days at the beginning of the 21st century, where the figure of the anthropologist is often evoked in the same terms.43 In addition, in 1940, following on from the statements of Mussolini, who observed that in the matter of racism, ‘those who believe that we have obeyed imitations or, even worse, suggestions, are simply fools’, Giacomo Acerbo published, at the urging of Il Duce himself, a work that summed up the details of this powerfully nationalist-influenced racism. He was also clear in his intent to alert everyone to what had been made available by the Italian cultural debate of the preceding decades. Acerbo, a politician of great importance throughout the years of Fascism (he had taken part in the March on Rome in 1922 and at the time of the regime’s collapse was still Minister of Finance), was careful to observe how the racial question originated with the expansion in Africa. In this context, sustaining the logic of the distinction between the Italians and the Hamitic and Semitic groups that made up the ethnic background of the newly annexed territories, he moved swiftly to define the identity of the peninsula’s original population.44 This was a restatement, in more than one aspect, of Sergi’s theories, as he himself acknowledged in another weighty endeavour produced at the end of his life.45 From the premise that the Italian race had been settled in Italy since primordial times and that its Mediterranean origins were indisputable, he then went on to attack every theory

42 ‘Sardinia did not then have this ideal man, and neither did Italy. Today, however, yes—Italy has finally found the man Sergi imagined would solve the destiny of the nation’ (Battaglia 1939: XLII). These positions were then confirmed in the memoirs regarding Sergi on the centenary of his birth: see an article by Biasutti, which emphasizes that thanks were due to the illustrious, recently deceased anthropologist for ‘the strenuous and vigilant defence of the Italic races’ (Archivio per l’antropologia e la etnografia 1942: 71, p. 176). 43 It is difficult to make an exact count of the many voices raised in support of the strict nexus between Sergian theory and the declared racial policy initiated by the Fascist regime. See, for example, Gillette 2002b: 24–32, Wong 2006: 51–7, and Padovan 2007: 33–5. 44 On the figure of Acerbo, see Matard-Bonucci 2008: 170–3, and Cassata 2008: 65–70. 45 Acerbo 1968: 294–9.

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that broached the idea of the contamination of that population over time. Since ancient times, in fact, the appearance of the Etruscans, the Greek immigration, and the Celtic invasion, had all gone for nothing. The first were only a Mediterranean offshoot which, arriving in the peninsula, was simply reuniting with its own stock. A similar case was made for the Greeks, whose invasion of the southern coasts was carried out wholly within the Mediterranean ethnological environment. The invasion of the Gauls, however, who were of another stock—Indo-European and brachycephalic—would make its presence felt for some time even after the Roman conquest. However, as time passed, they were gradually absorbed entirely into the Latin civilization and in this way contributed towards forming that ‘vigorous race which brought about the integral unification of the earth and led the Italian people to the summit of universal dominion’.46 In this way, Acerbo’s racist ideas brought together the myth of Romanity, developed in particular through the work of Ettore Pais, with that of Italic antiquity, and this could now, through Sergi, be put forward in the context of an unchanging uniformity. Along the same lines, he felt himself able to specify that the use of the adjective Aryan that the racist press of the time applied to the Italians was simply a conventional term, intended to render directly manifest the profound difference that existed between the latter, the only authentic civilizing people, and the African populations—populations that, all indistinctly inferior, were, however, in need of a cultural model to which they could refer.47 It was a definitive stand taken against all suggestions of a Germanic stamp, against any attempt to transplant very different cultural templates into a national context. It was also—in another but parallel case—a way to distinguish Fascist Italy from Hitlerian Germany: Italy, with its vocation to be a great Mediterranean power, and the Reich, irreversibly directed towards the east.48 Those who intended to distinguish the Italian tradition from the German model provided support for this competitive alliance and it is worth emphasizing how not even Italy’s entry into the war alongside Germany, and not even 46

Acerbo 1940: 57–62. ‘The term Aryan in Fascist literature concerning race has a conventional significance and a provisory use, both justifiable for the double necessity of first establishing the policy of race to explain and serve the prestige that the Motherland must assume in relation to the populations of the new Empire’ (Acerbo 1940: 56). 48 On this point, see several comments in Rodogno 2003: 69–72. 47

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the military difficulties that they soon came up against, were able to weaken this perspective to any great extent. This explains why those favouring other currents of Italian racism, not appreciating the credibility that Mussolini immediately bestowed on those who suggested a path of prejudice and abuse based on Italian cultural history, attacked Sergi’s work, contesting a reading of Italic antiquity which seemed to create a distance, or even actual opposition, between Italy and Germany.49 This in turn explains the counteroffensive that was launched in March 1941. It was Giovanni Marro, Director of the Museum of Anthropology and holder of the chair in the same subject in Turin, who took the bit between his teeth, providing a rereading of all Sergi’s work to indicate the predatory and therefore unacceptable nature of the way in which certain persons—including Sergi’s son-in-law Genna and son Sergio—selected some of the illustrious anthropologist’s phrases in order to transform him into the founder of Italian racism. Not without good reason, Marro pointed out where the truth lay: Giuseppe Sergi, sharing many of the same ideas as Lombroso, had always criticized ancient Rome, which in his eyes seemed more often a destructive power with regard to another more ancient and articulate civilization; he had criticized the Italians for their fragility; he had been careful not to offer support to Crispi’s colonial ventures; and had indeed put the case for the African origins of the Mediterranean populations. There was nothing, in other words, that could justify treating him as the precursor of Italian colonialism and racism, and the fact that the desire existed to glorify him in this guise helped to suggest how a grave danger awaited the Fascist revolution in this new biological trend—the aggressive return of old cabals of knowledge, ready to ride roughshod over everything in order not to give up the ground that had already to a large extent been gained.50

49 On this point, and more generally on the cultural policy of the circles close to Hitlerian racism, see Gillette 2002b: 50–99. 50 ‘But unfortunately there have been some who, for obvious reasons, have wanted to include in the ranks of the predecessors or forerunners of Italian racism those who have in truth carried out opposing work, sometimes discrediting and demeaning their countrymen who, in their homeland and abroad, pursued their activities as Italians’ (Marro 1941b). Regarding Sergi’s role in the study of Africa, which here Marro correctly observes to be wholly different from that which was instead proposed by his racist interpreters, see Sorgoni 2003. It is worth pointing out that Marro’s comments, in the pages of Difesa della razza, designates the journal in terms that

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Through the figure of Giuseppe Sergi, who was obviously no longer able to defend himself, Marro’s aim was to attack Acerbo, the typical representative of an intellectual world steeped in the classical cultural tradition, light years away from scientific disciplines. His targets also included medical men like Nicola Pende, whose racism fell within the other’s formulation of the problem because it laid claim to the true national character in the pretext of contributing to the improvement of the stock.51 Needless to say, the accused were not slow to respond blow for blow, in particular Genna, who obstinately continued to reassert Sergi’s racist merits.52 Marro, however, did not consider the battle lost and returned once again to the subject in August 1941, confirming his accusations and observing that the precedent of antiquity, to which he rendered formal homage, could offer little help in the new scientific scenario and in the specific political circumstances of the moment. The new racial laws—an insistence on somatic purity, something never prosecuted in the Roman universality— had introduced a discriminating element in order to seize on the revolutionary weight of the measures taken by the regime.53 It is worth pointing out that the debate was stirred up by the very casualness with which Il Duce, after having apparently authorized a turnaround in the academic world and asking a new generation (that of Businco, Landra, and Franzì) to tackle the racial problem, had then found it rather more profitable to back not only nationalist science (Nicola Pende and Sabato Visco above all), but also those

rigidly distance it from the previous tradition of Italian anthropology. Following a perspective of continuity instead, see Marro’s criticisms in Cassata 2008: 96. 51 See as an example of Pende 1930. On his positions with regard to cultural policy, however, see Israel 2010: 132–9. Concerning Pende’s role in the political and cultural panorama between Fascism and the Republic, see Dell’Era 2010: 327–50. 52 ‘I repeat that his [Sergi] pages [ . . . ] can be read even today with the greatest interest and, as they were written in times free of suspicion, constitute the best and most convincing theoretical justification of the present racist movement’ (Genna 1941: 207). 53 Marro 1941a: 144. On this point, also see Cassata 2008: 228–9, where Sergi’s theories are correctly read as alternatives to Aryanism and the role of Lidio Cipriani in their partial adaptation to the new political and cultural context is stressed. See Cipriani 1936, where in chapter V there are many references to the racist theories of Sergio Sergi and where—to cancel the counter-trend significance with respect to the regime in Sergi’s ideas, which placed the origins of the Mediterranean peoples in the Horn of Africa—it is emphasized that the Ethiopians had over time undergone a rapid intellectual impoverishment due to their intermixing with the black populations. See on this point Cassata 2008: 229–33, and in more detail Cavalocchi 2000.

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nationalist-leaning interpreters of the cultural world who were prompt enough to make themselves available to requirements.54 It was no accident that the latter easily supplanted their adversaries in the role of spokesmen for the regime. Soon, however, they were to aim at obliterating the opposition—accused of following foreign examples—with the proposal of making a sweeping revision of the manifesto on race itself, stripping it of its many scientific inaccuracies together with those many, unacceptable moments of overwilling credence in relation to the Germanic model.55 In other words, in the Italy of 1942, although the war was going badly, nobody yet seemed to see it as a definitive threat—so much so, that the focus was still on containing Germanic predominance—and the insistence on the purely nationalist dimension of racial policy was the fullest possible acknowledgement of credit towards the cultural tradition of the 19th century. This encompassed both the dimension of ancient history, increasingly praised to the skies for its treatment of the simultaneously hegemonic and unifying role of Rome, and that of the Risorgimento, which enjoyed a real Indian summer through the efforts of the regime to impose a patriotic dimension on the conflict in progress.56 In this scenario, it is easy to understand Mussolini’s decision to sideline certain hotheads—including Cogni, Evola, and Landra—and put his trust in the more reassuring environment of academia, which in turn was more than happy—vigorous with its own cultural precedents—to offer a significant contribution to the regime’s racial policy. Mussolini’s decision to bring the question to a definitive formulation was significant, in that racism lost any technico-scientific connotation and was subsumed into a cultural dimension where the humanities had pride of place. The Higher Council for Demography and Race, whose criticisms in relation to the manifesto, begun in 1941, were finally completed in April 1942, was made up of the old signatories Visco and Savorgnan (well-known names in the academic community, who represented an element of continuity with the 1938 version), together with Raffaello Corso (Professor of Ethnography), Biagio Pace (Professor of Topography of Ancient Italy), Antonino Pagliaro (Professor of Glottology), Giunio Salvi (Professor of Anatomy), Sergio Sergi (Professor of Anthropology and the son, of course, 54 56

55 Gillette 2002b: 104–29. Israel 2010: 196–202. On this point, see De Francesco 2006d: 268–82.

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of Giuseppe), Umberto Pierantoni (responsible for Racial Genetics and Biology), plus one single representative from the National Fascist Party.57 The Council’s composition assigned the formulation of a racial policy to the humanistic disciplines and at the same time handed it over entirely to the academic world. From this perspective, the Council lived up to expectations, since in the project to revise the manifesto, through severe criticism and the demonstration of its many incongruities, there was the proposal to restore the question to a scientific field, where, nonetheless, classical studies would carry out a recapitulatory function. Thus, to take only the two points of the manifesto, 4 and 8, which very much went against the ideas of cultural tradition and national science, the Council wasted no time in acting. For point 4, it underlined how the presumed Aryan origin of the Italians was a concept without foundation and that it made nonsense of all ‘anthropological, ethnological and archaeological discoveries’. Point 8 came out little better from the experts’ evaluation, since in the proposition to deny all African origins of the European populations the drafters of the 1938 manifesto had forgotten that ‘there was a Mediterranean unity, which was realised politically under the aegis of Rome’.58 Continuing along these lines, and paying close attention to the points raised with regard to other details, it appears clear that the directors of the regime’s racial policy were focused on reasserting the Italian lineage’s civilizing role throughout the Mediterranean. The duty of this lineage, in relation to the indigenous African populations—populations that were obviously inferior from every point of view—had to be seen as equal to that previously carried out by ancient Rome. It was a perspective which many of the racists who admired Nazi Germany thought seemed to dangerously underestimate the Jewish menace: they believed that it limited anti-Semitism to the mere function of hygienic policing in regard to the Italian lineage which, called to its august destiny as the hegemonic people of the Mediterranean, could certainly not tolerate deformity and difference within itself.59 And from this point of view, the advocates of biological and esoteric racism were not wholly mistaken: those who gave out the 57

58 Gillette 2002b: 130–53. Israel 2010: 198–201. See on this point Goglia 1988 and, more recently, De Napoli 2009: 51–102 and De Napoli 2012. 59

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regime’s line of racial policy were eager to see that everything was arranged so that the Italian people, in their own spiritual and historic purity, could make uniformity their launch pad towards the imperial destiny to which Mussolini called them. For this reason, in that same year, 1942, there was more than one furious attack by other racist elements on a practice of anti-Semitism that seemed merely functional, and therefore subordinate to the civilizing duty of the Italian people towards the African populations. The opening salvo against the Acerbo group was fired by Guido Landra himself, who, in the space of just a few years, had gone from being one of the regime’s promising intellectuals to a less prestigious role as hack for a lowcirculation racist journal. In May 1942, following the request to revise the manifesto to which he had ascribed, Landra published a brief essay in an edition of Difesa della razza wholly given over to the argument against the adversaries. He commented on the risks that Italian racism was running, seriously undermined as it was both by the work of an Italian academia hostile to generational renewal and still clinging to the values and notions of a dated anthropology, and by the obstacles imposed by bureaucracy, itself keen to put a stop to the revolutionary wave of the new Fascist generation. Significantly, Landra emphasized how the opposition’s accusations apparently focused on the presumed implausibility of the Italians’ Aryan identity, but in reality, underlining the lack of racial unity, attacked their proposal of racial hygiene based on discrimination against the Jewish element.60 It was, however, a completely unfounded reading of the overall situation, since anti-Semitism was an integral part of the national racism which Landra so roundly censured. However, it was also true that the anti-Germanism inherent in the position of those who laid claim to an Italian specificity for Fascist racism constituted a motive for irrevocable separation from the positions of those who admired Hitlerian National Socialism. For this reason, Landra’s accusations did not remain isolated ones and the Difesa della razza made space 60 ‘Italian anthropology, certainly highly merit-worthy for its many important contributions in the field of theory, was against racism. It is sufficient to observe that the most illustrious Italian anthropologists made no secret of their support for the opportunity of interbreeding, of their disdain for German racial policy, and finally of their severe condemnation of sterilisation and all prematrimonial prophylactic measures; the bureaucratic sector was completely unready to tackle the problem of race [ . . . ]’ (Landra 1942a: 5).

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for other articles on the same theme, including a new piece by Marro. The latter returned to the subject of demolishing the myth of Giuseppe Sergi as an ante litteram Fascist, criticizing his anthropology as irredeemably dated and therefore of no service to the matter of defining a precise cultural line for Italian racism.61 Following this chorus of voices directed at demanding the regime’s prompt return to the choices made in the 1938 manifesto, Landra once again picked up his pen to explicitly accuse the Italian scientific world of having subscribed to racism solely with the idea of damaging a rigorously biological statement of the question.62 However, in the summer of 1942, it seemed that the matter was finally settled when, in response to the accusations summarized above, Vincenzo Mazzei, a young professor of law, published his work Razza e nazione (‘Race and Nation’), where the positions of those who aligned themselves with Acerbo found their fullest expression. The book, written in parallel with a work on the national socialism of Pisacane that asserted the cultural importance of the Risorgimento on the regime’s political direction, maintained, without pretext of any kind, that the Italians were a Mediterranean population. Having nothing in common with the Aryan peoples, they were rather the brilliant product of a fusion between a plurality of peoples, brought together under the banner of Rome and founding their identity on a lineage based on centuries of historical experience, and this in the end had always continued to coalesce around the original

61 ‘Fascism today expects from anthropology standards and investigations to safeguard and improve our racial patrimony and to provide healthy guidelines for students and teachers of the future. The old physical anthropology—essentially for us based around the name of Giuseppe Sergi—does not, and cannot, satisfy such postulates: it persists exclusively in not being able to rise to a precise patriotic duty and at the same time in displaying evidence of its paralysed spirit, unable to move in new direction’ (Marro 1942: 4). Also see several comments on this point in Gillette 2002b: 138. 62 ‘The aim of this pamphlet is to document—against superficial opposition—that the Fascist manifesto on race, the main inspiration behind this journal in its popularising work, started out with a premise that was anything but anti-scientific: in fact, it was in conformity with the data and trends of the most recent Italian science. On the other hand, however, it must be absolutely clear that this pamphlet does not want to concede to Italian science en masse an attestation of racist merit, given that, more or less, all the scientists mentioned in the following pages have been influenced by old preconceptions or have been the timid advocates for new anthropological and biological theories [ . . . ] In substance, Italian racist science—the true, solid, mature and coherent science—is still in fieri’ (Landra 1942a: 6–9).

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nucleus of the many peoples who had made their homes on the peninsula.63 Taken as a whole, there was nothing particularly new in his arguments: they simply revived and revitalized what Acerbo had already articulated a few years before. However, in mid-1942, Mazzei’s words sounded like the appeal for a complete and definitive shelving of all Nordic infatuation on the regime’s part, while also reasserting that imperial Italy’s racial policy should be established, above all, on the preservation of the stock from the great threat of contamination posed by the encounter with the African peoples. In this particular scenario, which restituted the origin of a racial policy to the birth of the Fascist Empire, anti-Semitism did not seem a determining factor. In fact, in the anti-Germanic polemic that energized his writing, Mazzei even went as far as to deny the biological inferiority of the Semitic world, justifying the repressive measures adopted with regard to it as simply a necessary retaliation against a stock which rejected integration and which alone had always dared to repel the unifying overtures of the Italian peoples.64 This was more than enough to incur the wrath of the other components of Italian racism who, not without reason, saw the work as marking out the direction that the regime, with the powerful backing of the academic world, intended to give to the issue at that point.65 However, the arguments aroused in the party so entranced by national socialism do not concern us here: in order to understand what happened next, it is the genesis of that work that is of major importance. Razza e nazione, printed in 1942, made substantial reuse of two essays that the author had already published in 1940 in 63 Mazzei 1942. This work should be held in strict correlation with Mazzei 1943. On the figure of Mazzei, see De Felice 2001: 448–9 and, more recently, Cassata 2008: 75–6. Regarding Mazzei’s political and cultural commitment, which would successively see him move into the democratic camp and figure among the constituents of 1946, it is worth looking at Lacroix 2001–2. 64 ‘But this reaction in Italy desires to be contained within the limits of a purely social-political defence and not reach the level, as it has elsewhere, of constituting a new mystique of blood [ . . . ] Race should be seen as a fact that explains a certain force in making itself the spiritual phenomenon of the nation, which alone constitutes the supreme and comprehensive principle of our political conception’ (Mazzei 1942: 69). 65 See the review, entitled ‘Antirazzismo accademico’, which appeared in the daily newspaper Tevere on the 11 September 1942, edited by Telesio Interlandi, as well as the words of Evola 1942: 470–4. See also, at a level of greater attention to the work, Alfassio Grimaldi di Bellino 1943. On Mazzei’s closeness to Acerbo, see Gillette 2002b: 151–3.

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Rassegna sociale dell’Africa italiana,66 a journal close to social and corporative Fascism. Since its founding in 1938, it had represented a sort of laboratory where it was possible to reflect, given the civilizing mission of an Italy ‘central to the Mediterranean historical movement’, on the actual modality of exercising a policy in defence of race that would ensure an ‘ever-increasing revolutionary expansion in Africa’ in the context of the ‘totalitarian essence of our revolution’.67 With due deference to the idea of building a ‘corporative’ journal, the editors also gladly welcomed cultural contributions in the broadest sense, which greatly contributed to illuminating the social reality of Italian Africa and, in addition, promoted the civilizing process by resorting to the study of its previous historians. Needless to say, the choice of printing, from the first issue, a column on the past of the Dark Continent was only apparently a homage to the studies of classical history so committed to the valorization of the political and cultural significance of the Italian return to Africa. Deeper down, it is instead possible to glimpse the conviction that the defence of race, although a scientific matter, could not be separated from the cultural and historical trajectory of the Italian people and there, in the context of revolutionary Fascist policy, it should in turn be subsumed. This helps to explain the many articles in the journal written by the young classical history scholar Massimo Pallottino, who, already involved for some years in archaeological research regarding the Etruscan world, was asked to take care of the column dealing with African history.68 He started off, in his very first article, by explaining his presence: For mercantilist conquest, characterised by the intensive exploitation of the subject territories, by impoverishment, by the destruction or forced assimilation of the indigenous populations, the study of their past and of their culture has only a retrospective and purely scientific value. For colonisation in the Roman sense, however, as a tendency to harmonise the dominated tribes under the supremacy of the conquering people, a real and proper solution of continuity in the cultural and historical development of the country is not created; and the examination of questions inherent to the ancient or recent life of the indigenous peoples 66 Mazzei 1940a: 627–39 and 1940b. It is worth pointing out that, following the first article on p. 640, a note (acronym R. Carb.) indicates that the previously cited work by Acerbo (Acerbo 1940) is the natural reference point for Mazzei’s work. 67 Rassegna sociale dell’Africa italiana 1938: 1, pp. 3–4. 68 On the figure of Pallottino, see Delpino 2007, although there is, however, no mention of Pallottino’s collaboration with the journal under discussion here.

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becomes an integrating element in the studies of the possibility of growth and valorisation of colonial domination.69

Such words indicate Pallottino’s place among those who distinguished English and French colonization, swamped in an unacceptable melting pot of races and cultures, from the Italian model, where the rigid distinction between occupier and occupied, drawing on the example of ancient Rome, had instead promoted an authentic civilizing operation. His writing leaves no doubt in this regard: It is the very insurmountable difficulty of spiritual and racial assimilation of the North African populations on the part of the European colonising peoples, as seen today from the arduous experience of France, which allows us to deduce the profound historical deviation suffered by these countries after the period of Roman domination. Berbers of the desert and Arabs of the east have progressively annihilated the long work of Roman creation, which had already brought about, if not the complete ethnic assimilation of the country, at least its full spiritual and cultural inclusion in the sphere of Romanity. Today a similar work awaits the European nations: and it has already been started with fruitful results by Fascist Italy, in the sense of the full valorisation of the subject country and the harmonisation of the tribes. It is another wholly different policy, one of equalisation and assimilation, followed by France, with results that the events of the Mediterranean colonies already render unfortunately evident [ . . . ] it is difficult to see in such methods the continuity or revival of the Latinisation process begun in Africa by Rome.70

In this way his observations, far from restricting themselves to the ancient world alone, intended to make the point that only Fascist Italy could claim—in the work of colonization as well—a direct nexus with the example offered by antiquity. It was a perspective that took for granted the policy of preservation of the race from every possibility of interbreeding, forcefully insisting, in line with the weight of national tradition (now blown out of all proportion by the rhetoric of the regime), on the extraordinary civilizing potential of the Italian cultural model transplanted to African territory. In the years immediately following, helped by the armed conflict with the British,71

69

70 Pallottino 1938: 73. Pallottino 1938: 77. See the anti-English polemic already initiated in 1939: Pallottino 1939b and Pallottino 1941. 71

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Pallottino insisted on the analogy with the past to confirm the correctness of the regime’s decision with regard to colonial policy. The triumph over Carthage had in fact halted the Semitizing process of southern Europe and simultaneously paved the way, thanks to the civilizing work of Rome and in spite of the low number of settlers who transferred from the peninsula, for the flowering of original cultural expression in Africa.72 This led to a rather extensively original reading of the ancient history of the Mediterranean which, freeing it from classical sources alone, ended up using the suggestions of archaeology to emphasize the actual circulation of the Roman cultural model in distant lands and among highly diverse populations.73 This view of the study of territory free from the preliminary conditioning of ancient testimony was, however, no more than the application to Africa of a theory regarding the modality of formation of characteristic civilizations that Pallottino was developing at the same time in reference to ancient Italy, with particular regard to the Etruscan world. It is difficult to say if the notes made for Rassegna sociale dell’Africa italiana were the mechanical extension in another territorial context of the lines of research which he was working on at the same time for Etruria. It is also possible that the political and cultural situation following the establishment of Fascist Empire, encouraging him to reflect on the forms of transmissibility of superior cultural models, had furnished him with the idea of considering the Etruscan civilization’s modality of formation in different terms with respect to other academics of the period. The fact is—and this is the crucial thing—that in Pallottino’s work the articles on Italian racist colonialism accompanied his most original contributions regarding the Etruscan question, all of which are centred around the principle of a territorial specificity brought into 72 ‘Rome did not destroy a people by superimposing itself upon them (as at other times and with rather more facility occurred in the history of colonisation), but, bringing its own traits of organisation and culture and only partly also its blood, dragged them out from the shadow of pre- and proto-history towards a shining destiny’ (Pallottino 1943: 112). The subject had already been broached in the years immediately preceding: see on that point Pallottino 1940b: 149–51 and Pallottino 1942c. 73 ‘The magnificent development of the Libyan possession and the foundation of Empire impose upon us the study of the history of that region. As a point of departure, I believe that a complete revision must be made of classical sources, illustrating them in relation to data which can properly be called Africanist.’ (Pallottino 1940b). But see also on the same theme Pallottino 1939c and Pallottino 1942d.

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being on the basis of the arrival of influences from a great distance. It is enough to recall that in 1938, in a review of a work by Pericle Ducati recently issued in France,74 while expressing his appreciation for the academic’s ideas, he also criticized his standard recourse to Herodotean theory, and indicated a profoundly different reading of the Etruscan problem. Pallottino, hinting meanwhile that he already had in mind a plausible solution for what was still represented as the Etruscan mystery, believed that research needed to be shifted in another direction, starting with the revelatory discoveries of archaeology. Most notably, he suggested that the proto-Etruscan population was already inflected with a Villanovan culture, and that, despite their differences in terms of race and language, the two cultures had blended together around a cultural model that arose from an encounter with externally derived influences. It thus followed, in Pallottino’s opinion, that the problem of the Etruscans’ origins had to be utterly resituated. Rather than search overseas, or even beyond the Alps, the origins of this particular people had if anything to be located within an Etruscan nation understood as the bearer of a specific cultural model, the origin of its various elements.75 This was an opinion which Pallottino would return to in 1939 in an article for the Pisan congress of the Italian Society for Scientific Progress, where, not coincidentally, an entire section was devoted to the origins of the Italic lineages and in which he expanded his observations to cover the entire peninsula. With constant reference to the transmission and recasting of cultural models, he underlined the interconnecting nexuses between Latins, Italics, and Etruscans in the broadest area of central Italy.76 It is also worth recalling that it was precisely between 1939 and 1942 that Pallottino produced his two most important publications and that throughout the following decades these would make a determining contribution to establishing the coordinates of the discipline of Etruscology. It was, in other words, direct research in the field that led him to go more deeply into the idea that the peninsula’s different populations had, sometimes through external impulses, come to a common cultural horizon, and that this would eventually evolve into a new collective identity. It was a point of view which 74

Ducati 1938. See, for Pallottino’s review of Ducati’s work, Rivista di filologia e d’istruzione classica 1938: 16, pp. 404–9. 76 Pallottino 1940a. 75

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allowed Pallottino, taking a firm stand against the most recent reconstructions of Etruscan civilization, to propose that the migrations and conquests—whatever their interpretation, whatever their collocation—remained both insufficient and misleading in relation to the problem of the actual modality through which such a diversity of peoples—collections of tribes that did not necessarily share the same lineage—had been brought together within the same perspective of civilization. This was a theme that Pallottino had already established in his work on the Etruscans in 1939 where, returning to the question of their origins and indicating how it was impossible to differentiate the race on the basis of anthropological or linguistic data or cultural models alone, suggested shifting attention to the historical factors that had made the formation of the national Etruscan unity possible. This led to his proposal to search for their origins in the crucible of prehistoric Italy, where there should nonetheless have been a major incidence of Mediterranean lineages. This aspect helped to distinguish the Etruscans from the Latins, where, according to Pallottino, the Indo-European element was already probably predominant.77 Pallottino then revived these ideas in 1942 in the first edition of his treatise on the Etruscans where—constantly under the protective wing of the regime’s imperial policy as he was78—he was able to assert that his work, in comparison with all previous endeavours, reflected an interpretative commitment that would turn the field’s traditionally held positions on their heads. With respect to the Etruscans’ origins, in fact, he suggested that rather than linger overmuch on what was asserted by the ancient writers it was more useful to look beyond and focus on the actual construction process of the civilization, which in his view appeared founded on that nation’s specific Italian identity.79 This point, previously largely passed over in silence, 77

Pallottino 1939a: 53–62. ‘This reaffirmed and demonstrated reality coincides with an extremely ancient vision of Italy that is dearer to our hearts as modern Italians, loving as we do to draw faith and will from the glories of the past for present and future conquests’ (Pallottino 1942a: XVI). 79 ‘Characteristics of the Etruscan civilisation only hinted at before, convictions already firm but until now proposed by the author himself only with a certain caution in preceding works, will here be collocated in full light, displayed, defended, with a richness of argument and vigour of commitment. Amongst these, first of all, and above all, the theory of the Italianity of the nation and the Etruscan civilisation, the formation and definition of which as a historical reality is located in Italy, between the Tiber and the Arno. There were also, however, a host of ethnic contributions and 78

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made it possible to clear the field of ethnographic legend and, at the same time, to declare that Pigorini’s theory regarding an Italic civilization hailing from the north was no longer applicable. It was necessary to insist instead on the slow and complicated process of the formation of a civilization, which precisely because of its complexity, could not simply be the transplanting of another into a new territorial context. It was, rather, the result—certainly far from predictable—of how different peoples came into contact with each other, eventually to be recast in an ethnos with a clear awareness of its own destiny. It is worth saying that a reading of this kind remains in line with the political and cultural scenario of the moment, since its rejection of any external contribution from beyond the Alps and revival of the concept of the Etruscan civilization’s comprehensive Italian identity, reflected and accompanied, in the midst of war, the effort to remain culturally competitive, even though allied militarily, with Germany. However, it is important to emphasize here how the direction that Pallottino was now moving in was the resumption of an academic tradition, abundantly dealt with in the pages above, which led from Brizio to Giuseppe Sergi—a tradition which, as Pallottino underlined, had shown how the Bronze Age civilization pertained to the peninsula itself and owed nothing to importations from distant lands.80 In this way, with explicit reference to the aforementioned, Pallottino could legitimate the idea of putting the problem of the ancient peoples’ origins to one side to concentrate instead on the actual modality through which they entered the historical process. The conclusion of this new perspective was clear: The inadequacy of the theories on Etruscan origins is due to the fact that the problem has been considered as one of provenance, whereas there merely existed one of ethnic formation. There have been discussions on whether they came from the east, the north, or on whether they were actually autochthonous, whereas the Etruscans formed a complex of eastern, European and Italian elements which must be isolated, weighed, and compared one with the other. It is naturally far from easy to attempt a reconstruction of the facts and tendencies that determined the birth of historical Etruria: but we are meanwhile able to state cultural influences, from both far and near, to this civilisation, especially in the most ancient phase of its development’ (Pallottino 1942a: XV–XVI). 80 Pallottino 1942a: 24–5.

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without fear of going wrong that the formative process of the nation can only have taken place on the territory of Etruria proper.81

It was a conclusion that, at least in part, also wanted to be a response to the problem which had engrossed those studying ancient history for such a long period of time: in other words, how to read and interpret the actual modality of forms of cultural transmission between different collectivities. It was an issue that the experience of the Fascist Empire was vigorously bringing to the fore. However, from that basis, it was now possible to go back to the peninsula’s ancient history and at last liberate it from the many—too many—theories that had permeated and precluded an interpretation of the birth of its first civilization. The example of the Etruscan cultural world seemed to say that everything had to begin again where previous tarrying had for too long been denied: that is, restoring the birth and development of the Etruscan people to a solely local context. Pallottino was thus able to conclude, contrary to all recourse—by that point unacceptable—to times long past in search of contributions from faraway places or otherwise, in favour of a cultural process innate to the peninsula alone, and consequently place that world on the same level as that of Latin and Greek in the construction of the very idea of Romanity. It was an idea duly picked up by Paolo Enrico Arias in a university lecture paper where—dealing with the theme of the Etruscans’ origins—he emphasized the originality of Pallottino’s theory.82 It seemed to him to put an end to the long-standing argument and indicate that the anwer to the mystery lay in the study of a civilization specific to itself—one which, while certainly strengthened by outside influences, flourished in the territorial context of Etruria alone.83 It would be an easy matter to conclude that, in an Italy still mired deep in the midst of the Second World War, in a game of give and take with the reflections on the formative processes of civilization brought about by the country’s involvement in Africa, the rediscovery of the Etruscan world opened the way for a return to the work of Micali. His insistence on the idea of a civilization that, arriving from the east, only achieved full and original determination within the peninsula itself and through the specific merit of collectivities in situ, seemed to sound a clear note of significance that could be 81 82

Pallottino 1942a: 77, quoting from Pallottino 1955, pp. 68–9. 83 Arias 1943. Arias 1943: 71–2.

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overlooked only with difficulty. In reality, however, things did not happen in this way and, at first at least, Micali was not brought back into this reconsideration process regarding the Etruscan cultural identity. In 1942, in a detailed excursus concerning the modern-age authors who had entered the arena to take on the Etruscan mystery, Pallottino had in fact mentioned his name, but only in the guise of a mere scholar and without suggesting that his work held any specific interest.84 It was a stance Pallottino would continue to take even after the end of the war, when, in 1947, by now a professor at the University of Rome, he published a work wholly devoted to the origins of the Etruscans,85 where he reasserted his own theory that historic Etruria was a new and original formation that developed in the area itself. In a wide-ranging review of all the positions in the field, from antiquity until more recent times, he showed no interest in Micali, who, in the wake of Ducati’s preceding observations, he incorrectly believed wavered between the Herodotean theory and that of Dionysius of Halicarnassus.86 In short, Pallottino’s substantial lack of interest in Micali—certainly during the years of the Fascist Empire and the Second World War, and again in the tormented political and cultural period that immediately followed on from the conflict—signified that the rediscovery of the Etruscans’ ethnic and cultural identity owed nothing to the autochthonous theories of antiquarianism. Rather, it was born out of the decisive impulse exerted by the debate on the work of civilization in Africa, to which Italy seemed called by its own revived destiny of Mediterranean hegemony.87 It is no coincidence, in fact, that at first the theory of the Etruscan people’s autochthony returned to circulate among those who addressed the problem of recent national disaster in far more anguished terms—a disaster to which the academics, through extolling the cult of Romanity, had also made their own significant contribution. Such is the case of the archaeologist Amedeo Maiuri,

84

85 Pallottino 1942a. Pallottino 1947. Pallottino 1947: 20. For the reference to Ducati’s observations, it is worth underlining that the latter suggested, however, that ‘Micali does not agree with Herodotus, and he follows instead the other historian from Dionysius’ (Ducati 1938: 41). 87 It is interesting to note that the English translator of the third edition of Pallottino’s Etruscologia, published in London in 1955, misinterpreted the sentence ‘la tesi della italianità della nazione e della civiltà etrusca’ (the theory of the Italianity of the nation and the Etruscan civilization) as ‘the thesis of the autochthony of the Etruscans’ (Pallottino 1955: 14). 86

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who in 1946 was already pointing out that it was necessary to put the example of Romanity and its imperial dimension to one side and to shift the emphasis in the study of ancient history to the more sober (and rather less compromising) field of Italic history alone. The motivations for this choice, which intended to break with the pomp of the study of ancient history during the Fascist era, were thus adopted [ . . . ] without romantic ideas of an Italic primacy, and without any false and rhetorical polemical spirit of anti-Romanism. We feel that not only the requirements of our studies, but the refocusing on ourselves and our necessary asceticism towards life and work, will bring us to the problem of our origins with a more reserved ardour. While we are led back from the difficulties of those trials undergone and those still to undergo, not to Imperial Rome, a phenomenon more universal than Italian and instruction more for others than for ourselves, but to the Latium and Republican Rome, to a Rome which must newly reconquer, more in terms of spirit rather than of institutions, the unity of the homeland.88

It was a point of view which Pallottino would also end up coming round to in the following years, the period of his earnest conviction with regard to that Italic history which, along the lines of Micali, Ulrich Wilamowitz had broached without success at the 1925 Florence conference.89 At that time however, Italy—and one has only to think of the works of Pais, as referred to frequently previously—was moving determinedly in exactly the opposite direction. Now however, in the rush of years after the catastrophic outcome of the Second World War, that distant suggestion to reinterpret the peninsula’s past independently of Roman history glimmered with new fascination. It not only made it possible, following the lesson of Santo Mazzarino, to insist on a cultural koine of the various peoples who inhabited the peninsula, but also to reread the actual modality of an evolutive process in ancient Italy that was the product of multiple realties. In this sphere, thanks to the mediation of Wilamowitz, the Italian academic community, as if all of a sudden, rediscovered the work of Giuseppe Micali. And the main merit for this lay with Massimo Pallottino himself, who, through a slew of articles from the 1970s onwards, dedicated himself to rescuing Micali’s work from the Romantic climate in which it had long been confined and from the negative judgements that historiography had always reserved for it, restoring to 88

Maiuri 1954: 48.

89

Wilamowitz Moellendorf 1926.

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it its value as a great historiographic treatise to be placed on the same level as Mitford and Niebuhr. The sequence of Pallottino’s authentic discovery of Micali can be followed in his works devoted to the overall question of Italic history,90 but also, perhaps especially, in the notes dedicated to him in the many editions of his highly successful work Etruscologia.91 In the first several editions, most notably those from 1942 until the sixth in 1980, Micali is hardly dealt with at all, apart from a brief mention together with Inghirami.92 The seventh edition, however, in 1984, indicates a new attitude, suggesting how Micali’s work ‘wrongly undervalued, stand[s] out for acuteness of observation, capacity of synthesis and openness to new orientations in historical science’.93 In this way, in the eighth decade of the 20th century, Micali’s works finally abandoned the field of scholarship and passionate political pretension to enter the arena—obviously a less slippery one in terms of implausible demands—of historiography. It was the conclusion of a long story that, making its mark upon the culture of Risorgimento Italy and throughout the early part of the 1900s, had, as the immediate result of the collapse of Fascism, been consigned to oblivion during the first period of Republican Italy. It was a tradition that would, however, re-emerge, thanks to the attention of Pallottino, a man born to the tradition of ‘nationalist’ studies—one in which he would achieve success, and which would provide, as we have seen, the influence for his first and most significant works. Nonetheless, the rediscovery of Micali took place at a time when historiography of a nationalist tenor was irredeemably in decline. Only in a political scenario—the new democratic republic—very different from that of his origins would Pallottino be able to make a complete break from the ideas of his youth and take a stand, albeit a tacit one, against its political and cultural implications, by consigning a work—Micali’s,

90 See particularly Pallottino 1976a and Pallottino 1978; then summarized, with reference to the figure of Micali, in Pallottino 1991: 7. 91 Pallottino 1942a. On the success of the work, see several comments in Camporeale 1999. 92 Of both he writes that ‘a certain survival of the spirit of ideas and procedures of the academics of the 1700s is observed instead amongst certain scholars of the first half of the 19th century [ . . . ] whose works display inevitable reflections on the archaeological discoveries then underway, as well as the progress of general scientific knowledge and method’ (Pallottino 1942a: 4–5). 93 Pallottino 1984a: 12.

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which, largely against the will of its author, had never enjoyed such a neutral profile—to the reassuring sphere of mere scientific interest. It was to a great extent a well-deserved manoeuvre which, placing Micali alongside figures like Mitford and Niebuhr, proposed to restitute a role of importance to Italy, from the beginning of the 19th century, in the genesis of the discipline of ancient history. It was also, however, an initiative which reflected the deliberate proposal to cancel how, and to what extent, Micali’s work had been applied and exploited throughout a century and a half of turbulent political and cultural history.

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Index The names of scholars are included when their views are mentioned in the main text or cited in the footnotes. Absalom, Roger Neil Lewis 2n Académie celtique, Paris 33–9 Accademia della Crusca, Florence 62, 114 Accademia Pontaniana, Naples 122 Acerbo, Giacomo racism of 196–7, 199 and followers of 202–5 opposed to pro-German fascist racism 197, 202 Romanity and italic antiquity in 197 Adelung, Friedrich von 89 Adriatic, sea 98 Adwa, battle of (1896) 173 Aegean, sea 124 Africa ancient Rome in 27, 205–7, 212 asserted inferiority with respect to Europe 192, 201 civilization of Italy deriving from 87 cranial shapes in 143 Italian colonialism in 27, 155, 176, 196–7, 202, 204–5, 211 origins of civilization in 146, 179, 187, 189, 198–9 Sicilians descending from 133n Aga Rossi, Elena 2n Agilulfo, king of the Lombards 150n Albania 186 Albarani, Giuliano 42n, 53n Alderson, Robert J. 32n Alessi, Giuseppe 104 Alfassio Grimaldi di Bellino, Ugoberto 204n Aliberti, Giovanni 6n Alighieri, Dante 110 Allobroges 80 see also Celts Alps 35, 62, 72, 75, 85, 160, 208, 210 Aryans coming from 138 Celts invading Italy from 75 Etruscans coming from 23, 72

Etruscans moving towards 140 Italic peoples coming from 159, 164, 193 natural border of Italy 85, 109n, 184 Alsace 174 Amalfi 96 Amari, Michele 110 political opinions of 109 Storia della guerra del Vespro 101 Amiens, peace of (1802) 60n Andall, Jacqueline 10n Andreoni, Annalisa 37n, 41n, 46n, 56n Angle, Micaela 163n Ansart, Guillaume 61n anthropology 14, 17, 23, 80, 81, 107n, 109n, 179–80 Fascism and 191n, 194, 201, 203 Giuseppe Sergi and 141–2, 184, 189–90 Giustiniano Nicolucci and 137–9 interpreting Italian backwardness 150–4, 157, 170–1, 175 in Italy 23, 24, 25, 149, 159, 168–9, 171–2, 189, 196, 202 suggesting race classification 143, 186–7, 209 antiquarianism 14, 15, 18, 25, 85n founding Italian exceptionalism 159, 181 Giuseppe Micali and 55, 112 as part of literature 71n Vincenzo Cuoco and 41, 46 anti-Romanism cultural value in modern Italy 56, 213 in Atto Vannucci 114–5 in Carlo Cattaneo 120 in Ettore Pais 165–6, 170 in Giovanni Asproni 118 in Giovanni Fabbroni 75 in Giuseppe Micali 53–4, 60, 63, 70n, 72, 77, 81

252

Index

anti-Romanism (cont.) in southern Italian cultural tradition 96 in Vincenzo Cuoco 37, 54–5, 63 in Vincenzo Padula 117 Antonielli, Ugo 163n Apennines 120n Apulia Greek presence in 66 Arabs annihilating Roman Africa 206 archaeology 47–8, 49n, 71, 77, 97, 130, 145, 185–6, 214n Ettore Pais and 169, 171–2, 176, 180 excavations in Emilia 140–1 excavations in Malta 186–7 excavations in Tuscany 48 Fascism and 201–205 Giuseppe Sergi and, 141–2 Massimo Pallottino and 205–8 Architas 36 Archivio storico per le province napoletane 130 Arias, Paolo Enrico 211 Arno river 209n Aryans invading Italy 139, 148n classified similar to Ligurians 142 in Taylor’s work 145 Umbrians classified as 147 distant from Mediterraneans 148 invading only Northern Italy 151 founders of civilization 187 Italians classified as 193 see also Race Ascoli, Graziadio Isaia 165, 171 Archivio glottologico italiano 161 on Italian antiquity 163 on Italian identity 160–2 Asia Minor civilization originating from 145 Etruscans arriving from 138, 147 see also Herodotus, Lydia Aspromonte, skirmish on (1862) 126 Asproni, Giorgio 117, 118 Augustus, Roman emperor 52 Ausones 180 Austria 106, 107, 108 Baioni, Massimo 7n, 185n Balbo Cesare 79, 95, 115 and Italic antiquity 81–2 Atto Vannucci and 115

political programme of 82 Baldi, Alberto 137n Balkans see Pelasgians Banti, Alberto Mario 13n, 67n and Giuseppe Micali 50 and Risorgimento 12 and Vincenzo Cuoco 46 Barbagallo, Corrado 175 Barclay, Glen St. John 173n Bardetti, Stanislao Celtomania of 57, 81, 82n Bari Greek origins of 96 Barthélemy, Jean-Jacques Voyages du jeune Anacharsis en Grèce 33, 35 Basilicata, southern Italian region civilized before Greek arrival 124–7 historical origins of its geographical names 130 historical patrimony of 131–2 remotest antiquity of 122–4 see also Lucania Battaglia, Raffaello 195, 196n Battini, Michele 2n Bayly, Christopher Alan 113n Beccaria, Cesare 56 Belardelli, Giovanni 153n Bell, David 30n Bellamy, Richard Paul 2n Bellovesus, king of Gauls 92n Beloch, Karl 175 Ben Ghiat, Ruth 191n Berchet, Giovanni Lettera semiseria di Grisostomo 46 Bettin, Cristina M. 193n Biagini, Eugenio 113n Bianchi, Nicomede 61n Bianchi-Giovini, Aurelio asserting Italians’ ethnic plurality 90–1, 94n quarrelling with Mazzoldi 89–91 patriotism of 107–8 Bidussa, David 11n Bizzocchi, Roberto 12n Boccardi, Bartolomeo 58, 59n Bollati, Giulio asserting Italian political backwardness 11 interpreting national character 44–5, 49 reading Risorgimento 6–7 Bologna 75n, 140, 141

Index Bolongaro, Eugenio 2n Bonaparte, Joseph, king of Naples then of Spain 51 Bonaparte, Louis Napoleon, then Napoleon III emperor of the French 107, 114, 121 Bonaparte, Lucien, prince of Canino affirming Italic cultural primacy 48, 49 Bonaparte, Napoleon, then Napoleon I, emperor of the French and king of Italy Brumaire coup d’état 33 conquest of Italy 35, 58, 60, 62, 64 Italian opponents of 56 see also Napoleonic Empire Bonavita, Riccardo 191n Bopp, Franz 89, 116n, 160 Borraro, Pietro 122n Bossi, Luigi 87n Della istoria d’Italia antica e moderna 74 follower of Italians’ autochtonism 74–5 Bosworth, Richard 173n Botta, Carlo 139n Bottiglioni Barrella, Marcella 107n, 108n Bouchard, Norma 2n Bourbon, dynasty of France despotism of 34 Bourbon, dynasty of Naples and Sicily, then of the Two Sicilies nation-building efforts of 73, 124, 137 opponent of Italian patriotism 128 overwhelming 1848 revolution 110 reputed responsible for degradation of southern Italians 133, 150, 152 see also Ferdinand II of Bourbon; Ferdinand IV of Bourbon Bourbonism in unified Italy 126 Braccesi, Lorenzo 141n Brancato, Francesco 137n Bretons 32 Breuilly, John 12 Brice, Catherine 12n, 169n Brigaglia, Manlio 118n Brigandage, legitimist armed movement in southern Italy 42, 170

253

as an example of backwardness 127, 151, 183n as an Italian civil war 125–6 as a political problem 129, 133, 137 Brissot, Jacques-Pierre 30 Britons classified of Mediterranean race 188 Brizio, Edoardo rejecting Indo-European racial uniformity of Italy 140 asserting Indo-Europeanism of Umbrians 142 informing Sergi’s theories 141, 210 opponent of cultural Germanism 141–2, 165 Brogi, Alessandro 2n Bruni, Francesco 69n Bruzi 180 Budapest, insurrection of 1956 4 Burgio, Alberto 193n Burnett, Stanton H. 8n Businco, Lino 190, 191, 199 Buthrotum, city in Epirus 186 Caesar, Julius 17, 29, 32 Cafagna Luciano 153n Caffiero, Marina 31n Cagnazzi, Luca 74 Cagnetta, Mariella 165n, 173n, 190n Calabria, southern italian region Cesare Lombroso and 150 forming with Lucania the ancient Italia 130 Greek presence in 66 Calabrians Greek roots of 66n, 133n Calosso, Claudio 195 Cambry, Jacques 32, 33 Campania, Southern Italian region Etruscans in 138 Campennì, Francesco 96n Campiglio, Giovanni 87 Camporeale, Giovannangelo 214n Camporesi, Cristiano 141n Canova, Antonio 56 Cantù, Cesare 62n Milano e il suo territorio 92 praising Celticism 92–3, 95 Storia universale 49 translating A. Thierry 92 Capei, Pietro 55, 72n Cardona, Michele 109n

254

Index

Carducci, Giosuè Levia gravia 141 Carthage proposed as a Semitic power 207 Carthaginians classified of Semitic lineage 111, 167 opposed by Pyrrhus and Sicels 110 osmosis with Sicels and Siceliotes 166 Casali, Antonio 175n, 193n Casati, Antonio follower of the House of Savoy 106–7 praising Celticism 94–5 Casati, count Gabrio 94 Casini, Paolo 33n, 54n Cassata, Francesco 183n, 196n, 199n Cattaneo, Carlo 118n, 150n anti-Romanism of 120 federal republicanism of 106, 117, 162 follower of Italians’ autochtony 92, 113 opponent of Celticism 94–5 praising Etruscan civilization of Lombardy 92–3 Caulonians 131 Cavalocchi, Francesca 199n Cavour, Camillo Benso count of 108, 120 Cecconi, Giovanni 117n Ceci, Luigi 174 Celtomania in France 32–4, 37, 65, 145 in Italy 35–6, 57, 81, 92–3, 95 Celts antiquity of 32–3, 34n, 37–8 autochtonous in Northern Italy 35, 40, 65, 82n, 92–4 civilizing Italy 81 contributing to the birth of the Italian nation 81–2, 85, 92–3 dark-haired and brachiocephalic 145 invading Italy 57, 140–2, 92, 117n, 138, 142, 147, 197 uncivilized and destructive people 65–6, 78, 79n, 92–93, 94, 98, 118, 148 see also Druids Cento Bull, Anna 8n Cerruti, Marco 36n Cesarotti, Melchiorre 46 Chabod, Federico 2, 121n and nationalism 12

Championnet, Jean-AntoineEtienne 152 Chaonians 180 Charles Albert of Savoy, king of Sardinia Italian patriotism of 82, 106–7 Charles Louis of Bourbon, king of Etruria 60 Ciaceri, Emanuele 122 Cingari, Gaetano 125n Cipriani, Lidio 199n Cirillo, Giuseppe 96n Clark, Martin 2n Clemens, Gabriele B. 2n, 136n Cleobolus 36 Clovis, king of the Franks 29, 32 Coen, Achille 54n, 77n Cogni, Giulio follower of the German racism 193–195, 200 Cold War and Italy 4 Colletta, Pietro 95 Colombini, Arrigo 53n, 61n Colonialism (Italian) Crispi’s policy and 153–5, 173 Fascism and 190 Pais’s approval of 176–8 Pallottino’s approval of 206–7 Sergi reputed precursor of 198 Consiglio superiore per la demografia e la razza refusing Aryan origins of Italians 201 revising Italian racial manifesto 200–1 Cooke, Philip 2n Corazzini, Francesco 163n Corcia, Nicola asserting anthropological originality of southern Italy 98–100, 108–9, 111 Pelasgian colonization of Southern Italy 98 quarrels with Mazzoldi 91n, 94n, 124, 130 Sicilian historians, quarrel with 104–5 Corsica Italianity of 119, 178 Corsini, Neri 58, 59 Corso, Raffaele 192, 200 Cracco, Giorgio 168n Cranium theories 139, 142–4, 168–9, 173

Index Crispi, Francesco colonial policy of 24, 153, 155, 173, 198 reputed Albanian, 183 Cristofani, Mauro 39n Croce, Benedetto 127, 176n Crotonians 131 Cunsolo, Ronald S. 173n Cuoco, Vincenzo asserting autochtony of the Italian people 40, 64 follower of Napoleonic order 38 interpreting 1799 revolution 4–5 nationalism of 35–7, 43 Platone in Italia 18–19, 34, 35, 36, 38, 42, 43, 44–9, 51, 54, 56, 64, 74, 86 praising Etruscan civilization 18, 37, 38, 39 praising Italian antiquity 37–41, 63, 67 refusing Celticism 37, 40 refusing classical antiquity 37, 38, 40, 44, 45 reviewing Micali’s work 52–3 Saggio storico sulla rivoluzione di Napoli 4, 20, 34, 42, 51 theory of ‘two peoples’ 4, 152 Cuomo, Franco 191n D’Agostino, Peter 149n D’Annunzio, Gabriele 173n Daelli, Gino, Italian publisher 114 Dalmatia 161n Danna, Bianca 36n Danube, river 93n Daunians 131 Darwinism 141 Davis, John Anthony 2n, 4n Décade Philosophique 58 De Cara, Cesare Antonio 180 asserting Hamitic origins of civilization 145, 146n De Donno, Fabrizio 193n De Felice, Renzo 193n, 204n De Francesco, Antonino 16n, 38n, 45n, 95n, 134n, 149n, 150n, 175n, 200n De Grand, Alexander 173n De Napoli, Olindo 201n De Sanctis, Francesco 127n Delfico, Melchiorre 56, 57

255

asserting autochtony of the Italian peoples, 57 Dell’Era, Tommaso 192n, 199n Delpino, Filippo 205n Denina, Carlo 55, 56 celticism of 36 Rivoluzioni d’Italia 35 Deputazioni di storia patria 136 Desideri, Paolo 53n, 56n, 57n, 58n, 71n Desmoulins, Camille 31 Di Ciommo, Enrica 9n, 49n, 149n Dickie, John 2n, 10n, 13n, 149n Difesa della razza 192n, 193, 195, 198n, 202 Di Nucci, Loreto 153n Di Scala, Spencer 2n Dionysius of Halicarnassus 57, 98, 104n, 212 Djibouti 190 Dommanget, Maurice 33n Donato, Maria Pia 31n Dotto de’ Dauli, Carlo republicanism of 118–20 researches on Ligurians 119 opponent of Micali Doumanis, Nicholas 178n Druids 32n, 33 Ducati, Pericle 208, 212 Duggan, Chrisopher 2n, 10n Dumouriez, Charles-François 31n Dupuis, Charles-François 39 Durandi, Jacopo Saggio sulla storia degli antichi popoli d’Italia 94 Duranti, Luigi 118, 119n Edwards, Phil 5n Egypt ancient civilization of 40n, 78, 88, 146 ancient peoples arriving in Italy from 57 Etruscans in 88 Pelasgians originating from 39 Ellery, Eloise 30n Enotrians 130, 180 Epirus 124 Esposito, Arianna 169n Ethiopia ancient civilization of 40 anti-Italian rebellion in 192 see also Italo-Ethiopian war (1935) Etruria 97n, 114

256

Index

Etruria (cont.) excavations in 48 as heart of Italic genius 80 Pallottino’s theory on historical 207, 210–2 Etruria, Kingdom of (1801–1807) 60 Etruscans as archetypical Italian 65, 78, 210 asserted antiquity of 37–8, 41, 97 autochtony of 72, 77, 119, 209 civilizing Greece 40, 64, 80 cultural primacy of 47–8, 53, 75, 78–9, 81–2, 85, 207, 211–12 debt to Egyptian civilization 77, 78 dominating the Mediterranean 40 federative model of 73 in Lombardy 92–3, 140 Lydian ascendancy of 65, 71, 115, 138, 140, 142, 144, 146, 147, 148n, 168, 176, 197, 208 Mazzini and 113 originating Italic peoples 39, 71, 118, 140 overwhelmed by Gauls in Northern Italy 66, 141, 147 political order of 78, 97, 117, 138 Rhaetian origins of 72, 77, 119, 140 Etruscology and anti-Romanism 53–5, 75, 114–15 and Fascism 207–9 and municipalism 81–2, 92–3 and political identity of Grand Duchy of Tuscany 41, 63, 47–8 and regionalism in unified Italy 115–16 and Risorgimento 37–9, 47–8 anti-French reading of 56 opponents of 97 eugenics 183 Europe Africa and 207 Aryan origins of 144, 188 different populations in 92 earliest peoples of 32 Etruscans and 93n, 210 Greek world and 37 Hamitic origins of 145 Italy and 38, 42, 55n, 64, 68n, 79, 89, 137, 149, 151, 155, 163 Mediterranean origins of 117, 142, 146, 187, 192

Napoleonic dominion over 34–5 Sicily as borderland of 167–8 Evola, Julius 193, 200, 204n Fabbroni, Giovanni 39, 74 asserting autochtony of the Italic peoples 39, 74 Degli antichi abitatori d’Italia 75n Fanfani, Ranieri, Italian publisher 76n Fantoni, Giovanni epistolary exchange with Micali 57–60, 61n Farneti, Paolo 8n Fascism (Italy) and nationalism 181 and Risorgimento 185 anti-Semitism of 192, 201–2 colonial policy of 190 competitive alliance with Nazi-Germany 190, 200, 202, 210 praising autochtony of the Italian people 186, 197 racial policy of 186, 191–6 uses of Italic antiquity 182, 191 Fatini, Giuseppe 62n Fedele, Francesco 137n Ferdinand II of Bourbon, king of the Two Sicilies 128, 138 see also Bourbon dynasty Ferdinand IV of Bourbon, king of Naples, III of Sicily, then I of the Two Sicilies 73, 101 see also Bourbon dynasty Ferrara, Francesco 104 Ferrero Raditsa, Leo 156n Ferrero, Guglielmo follower of Sergi’s theories 156 quarrels with Pais 175 Ferri, Enrico 150 Filippo Maria Visconti, duke of Milan 107n Finaldi, Giuseppe 173n Fiorentini, Paoladele 103n Fiume, Dalmatian city 161 Flinders Petrie, William Matthew 145 Florence 67, 71n, 76, 165, 213 stronghold of the Italian cultural tradition 62, 80, 161 Florida 32 Forgacs, David 2n

Index France French colonialism 206 French cultural model in Italy 79, 92, 116n, 145, 166n, 176 French defeat in 1870 161 French revolution and Italy 58–61 Italian rivalry with 178, 183 pre-Roman past 32 supremacy in Italy 33–6, 51–2, 62, 67 Franks 34n Fraschetti, Augusto 85n Frederic II of Swabia, emperor of the Holy Roman Empire 181 Freeman, Edward Augustus 168, 180 French revolution celticism and 32–3 classical antiquity and 29–33 Fréret, Nicolas 57 Friuli 119 Gabba, Emilio 168n Galasso, Giuseppe 5n, 10n, 17n, 95n Galilei, Galileo 184n Galli della Loggia, Ernesto 153n Garibaldi, Giuseppe 107, 108, 110, 118, 126, 141, 151, 152 Garin, Eugenio 159 Gauls see Celts Gemelli,Giovanni 47n Genna, Giuseppe 195, 198, 199 Genoa 58, 60n, 67 Genovesi, Antonio 125, 126 Gentile, Giovanni 4n, 6, 7, 19, 43, 44, 49, 191n Germanism its influence on Italy 159–60, 165, 197 Germans 79n, 145, 184n, 185n Ghirardini, Gherardo 140n, 165n Gian Galeazzo Visconti, duke of Milan 107n Giarrizzo, Giuseppe 7, 41n, 70n, 101n, 122n, 135n Giegler, Pietro, Italian publisher 51 Gillette, Aaron 191n, 193n, 196n, 198n, 200n, 201n, 203n, 204n Ginsborg, Paul 2n Gioberti, Vincenzo asserts Italian primacy 70, 79 Del primato morale e civile degli italiani 79–80, 89

257

his federal political programme 82, 107, 111 sustains Micali’s theories 80–1 Giordani, Pietro 51 Glottology see Linguistics Goglia, Luigi 201n Gold, Thomas W. 8n Gorani, Giuseppe 56n Gramsci, Antonio 2n Grassi Bertazzi, Giambattista 110n Greco-Roman tradition and French revolution 29–30, 34, 37–8 and Italian nationalism 40, 45, 64, 78 Greece (ancient) colonized by Etruscans or Pelasgians 39, 64, 88, 96, 97 colonized by Mediterranean people 146 colonizing Southern Italy 99, 104–5, 124, 139 cultural hegemony of 48n, 54, 57 Italy’s cultural primacy on 36, 41, 48, 52, 53–4, 88 Greeks (ancient) as aggressors of Italy 65, 78, 104 battling with the Italic peoples 111, 118n, 123–4 becoming an Italic people 71n collapsing Italic people into oblivion 75 colonizing and civilizing southern Italy 40, 41, 54, 71, 74, 80–2, 98, 130–1, 139, 179, 197 identifying southern Italians 66, 73, 82, 85, 86n, 95, 96, 99, 100, 109, 133n originating from Etruscans 40, 65, 79, 80n and Sicily 102–3, 105 Green, Marcus 2n Gregorio, Rosario 102 Grell, Chantal 32n Grimm, Jakob 89 Grisostomo 46 Guarnacci, Mario asserting Etruscan origins of the Italic people 39 followers of his theories 47–49, 91, 94n, 96 municipalism of 81, 82n Guidi, Alessandro 163n

258

Index

Guiomar, Jean-Yves 33n Haddock, Bruce 113n Haywood, Geoffrey 173n Hegel, Georg Wilhelm Frederich 116n, 159 Helbig, Wolfgang asserts Rhaetian origins of the Etruscans 140, 141, 176 Hellanicus 168 Heracleans 131 Herculaneum 120 Herodotus 138, 168 see also Asia Minor, Lydia Higher Council for Demography and Race see Consiglio superiore per la demografia e la razza Hilwig, Stuart J. 5n Hitler, Adolph 1, 26 Homeric poems alleged italic creation 41 Humboldt, Alexander von 89, 160 Huysseune, Michel 8n Iapygians 180 Iberians alleged as a mediterranean people 144 supposed basque speakers 138 Ichijo, Atsuko 14n Illyria 124 Illyrians 180 Imbriani, Giorgio 118 Indo-Europeans invasion of Italy 138, 164, 197 Italic peoples alleged different from 116, 143, 145–6, 176, 187, 195 Italic peoples supposed 140, 142, 147, 159, 167, 209 Inghirami, Francesco 71, 214 Institut national, Paris 39 Interlandi, Telesio 193, 204n Ipsen, Carl 173n Irredentism 161, 170–1, 190 Isabella, Maurizio 12n, 113n Israel, Giorgio 192n, 199n, 200n, 201n Istituto storico italiano, Rome 136 Istria 161 Italia, ancient region including Calabria and Lucania 130

Italian nationalism interpretation of 15–17 Italic peoples (ancient) cultural primacy of 36, 37, 42, 47, 53, 55, 75, 80, 83, 88, 124, 137 originating from Etruscans 39–40 Greeks descending from the Italic steem 40 political model of 41, 61, 69–70, 72 ethnic uniformity of 48, 53, 74, 82, 147 autochtony of 50, 64–5, 72, 74, 78, 88, 91–2, 117n overwhelmed by Romans 54 primacy of the Etruscans amidst 64–5, 78 Celtic origins of 65, 94–5 fusion of a variety of lineages 82, 113, 115, 130–1, 139 African origins of 86–7 anthropological diversity of 107, 157, 180–1 Sicel origins of 109 Hamitic origins of 116 originating from Enotrians 130 Italo-Ethiopian war (1935) 18, 26, 178, 188 Italo-Turkish war (1911) 186 Italy, Kingdom of (1805–1814) 34, 52 Italy, Kingdom of (1861–1946) 1876 national elections 135 centralizing process of 121 creating Deputazioni di storia patria 136 promoting cultural and scientific advancement 135–6 promoting researches on Italic antiquity 137 Italy, Northern (ancient) Aryan invasion of 147, 151 Celtic invasion of 65 Celtic roots of 35, 40, 94–5, 139 Etruscan civilization in 93, 95 Etruscan conquest of 72, 138, 140 Roman conquest of 92, 146 Italy, Republic of 1968 rebellion 5 divided society of 4–8 historiography 2–4 interpreting Risorgimento 2–4, 12–13 and nationalism 1–2, 8–11 political culture 6 political system 2, 8

Index supposed trasformismo 3, 5, 7, 11, 44 Italy, Southern backwardness of 150–4 brigandage in 126–7, 133 Italian identity of 99 national disillusionment with respect to 134–6 patriotism of 133–4 political elites of 108, 127–8 political literature of 47 southern question 13, 21, 42, 134 supposed racial inferiority of 156–7 Italy, Southern (ancient) cultural primacy of 98–9 ethnic unity of 96 Greek colonies in 64 Greek invasion of 54, 98–9, 138, 199 Greek roots of 66, 109n, 139 Indo-European invasion of 164 Italic genius born in 80 Italic roots of 124–5 plurality of peoples in 130 Sicels’ invasion of 188 Jannelli, Cataldo asserting Greek roots of southern Italy 96 distrust for Etruscology 97–8 Jefferson, Thomas 183n Jews 116n, 193n Kingdom of the Two Sicilies (1816–1860) asserted Greek past 100, 124 Körner, Axel 10n, 12n, 75n, 136n, 140n, 141n La Lumia, Isidoro asserting Italic identity of ancient Sicily 110–11 Labindo see Fantoni, Giovanni Lacretelle, Charles de 59 Lacroix, Elise 204n Lafayette, Marie-Joseph Paul du Motier, marquis de 30, 31 Lanaro, Silvio 2n, 150n Landra, Guido asserting Aryan racial identity of Italians 191–2 participating Fascist racial policy 199, 200, 202, 203 rejecting Acerbo theories 192

259

Landucci, Giovanni 138n, 169n Lanzi, Luigi asserting Etruscans’ arrival from Lydia 71 Latins supposed Indo-European people 138, 167, 208, 209 Latium 104, 147, 164, 186, 213 Laven, David 12n, 17n Leighorn 56, 59, 61n, 91n, 116n Lenoir, Alexandre 34n Leo, Giovanna 169n Leonardo da Vinci 184n Leopold II of Lorraine, grand duke of Tuscany 114 Levati, Ambrogio 46, 71n, 74n Levesque, Pierre-Charles 32n Liburni 180 Ligurians 188, 193 equated with Iberians 118, 138 Finno-Ugric roots of 139 supposed Indo-European people 142–3, 176 African roots of 142 supposed Mediterranean people 144, 146, 180 originating ancien Italic peoples 188, 193 Linguistics and Italic antiquity 89, 109, 116, 142, 159–62, 169, 171 Liutprando, king of the Lombards 150n Locrians 131 Lombardy, region of Northern Italy ancient Italic peoples in 85, 89, 91, 95, 100, 106 Celts and Etruscans in 92–4 and French revolution 59, 61n Indo-European peoples in 164 local history in 68n and Risorgimento 106, 114 Lombardo-Venetian Kingdom 75 Lombroso, Cesare concept of atavism 150, 151n and backwardness of Italians 171 and Giuseppe Sergi 198 Losurdo, Domenico 193n Louis XIV of Bourbon, king of France 32 Louis XVI of Bourbon, king of France 29, 30 Lucania, region of ancient Italy 122, 123

260 Lucania, region of ancient Italy (cont.) forming with Calabria the ancient Italia 130 see also Basilicata Lucanians 131 Lumley, Robert 10n Lydia 71, 140, 176 see also Asia Minor, Herodotus Lydians 57 Lyttelton, Adrian 17n, 173n Machenaud, François 31 Mack Smith, Denis 10n Macry, Paolo 10n, 134n Maffei, Raffaello 39n Magna Græcia 40, 52, 75, 119, 122, 167 Magra, river 66, 138 Mai, Angelo 56 Maiocchi, Roberto 193n, 194n Maiuri, Amedeo 212, 213n Majorana, Giuseppe 103n, 104n Malandrino, Corrado 61n Malaspina, Luigi, marquis of Sannazzaro 87 Malta excavations in 186 Italianity of 119, 187, 190 source of the civilization 187 Mangio, Carlo 57n, 58n Mangourit, Michel 32 Manno, Giuseppe 118 Mantovani, Claudia 183n Manzoni, Alessandro 42, 161 Promessi sposi 46 Marcone, Arnaldo 36n, 166n Maréchal, Sylvain Voyages de Pythagore 33 Marengo, battle of (1800) 61 Margaroli, Giovanni Battista 75n Mario, Alberto 133n Marro, Giovanni confuting Sergi’s theories 198–9 supporting Fascist racism 203 Marselli, Nicola 120, 121n Martirano, Maurizio 97n, 137n Mascheroni, Lorenzo 56 Mascioli, Frederick 56n Mastino, Attilio 118n, 165n, 166n Matard-Bonucci, Marie-Anne 191n, 193n, 196n

Index Mattone, Antonello 118n Mazzarino, Santo 70n, 213 Mazzei, Vincenzo asserts Mediterranean roots of Italians 204–5 Razza e nazione 203–4 Mazzini, Giuseppe asserting Italian primacy 42 disinterested in pre-Roman antiquity 113–15 distrust of regionalism 114–15 praising revolutionary identity of southern Italians 152 praising unified Italy 70n, 107 primacy of Rome 119–20 Mazzoldi, Angelo asserting primacy of Italic antiquity 47–8 confuting Romagnosi’s theories 87 quarrels with Bianchi-Giovini 89–90, 91 quarrels with Nicola Corcia’s 98–100 patriotism of 107 Vincenzo Gioberti follower of 89 Mediterranean basin 18, 38–40, 56n, 88, 98, 142–6, 155, 267, 168, 176, 186, 187, 195, 201, 206 civilization 145, 148, 149, 189 peoples 147, 154, 159, 195, 198–9 race 186, 189, 190, 192 Melanesia 143 Messapii 131, 180 Messina 141 Micali, Francesco 58n Micali, Giovanni Carlo 58n Micali, Giuseppe anti-French reading of his work 56 anti-Romanism of 63 asserting autochthony and cultural primacy of the Italic peoples 53–4, 57, 64, 65, 67 asserting Etruscan cultural primacy 47–8, 53, 63, 65, 78 differences with respect to Platone in Italia 53–55, 63–7 differentiating Italic peoples from Greeks 65, 66, 78 followers of 49–50, 68–71, 73–6, 79–83, 85–7, 91–2, 104, 106, 109, 111–12, 113, 114, 116, 118, 124,

Index 139, 148, 165, 172, 174, 176, 211–15 friendship with Giovanni Fantoni 58, 60 Italia avanti il dominio dei Romani 52, 53–4, 60, 67, 68, 69, 71, 73, 74, 76, 78, 79 Monumenti inediti 77 opponents of his work 56, 71–2, 92–5, 97–100 plan of his work 57 political opinions of 58–62 reader of Montesquieu 60 refusing Celticism 65, 66, 78 refusing linguistics 77 Storia degli antichi popoli italiani 76, 79, 81, 85, 86 Tuscan regionalism in 62 Michelet, Jules 96, 97 Middle East 146 Milan 47, 58, 67, 74, 76, 91n, 141, 175 1848 revolution in 94, 106–7 1898 popular uprising of 153 capital of the napoleonic kingdom of Italy 34–5, 51–52, 74, 76 Celtic origins of 94 printing capital of Italy 85, 87, 91–93 Milazzo, battle of (1860) 141 Miller, James Edward 173 Mitford, William 214, 215 Mnesilla 36 Moe, Nelson 10n, 13n, 81n, 134n Molise, Southern Italian region 49n Moliterno 22 Momigliano, Arnaldo 56n, 67n, 68n, 168n, 175n Mommsen, Theodor Italian followers of 70, 122, 139, 160, 165–8, 179 Italian opponents of 117, 121–2, 146 Monk, George 30 Montesquieu, Charles-Louis de Secondat, marquis de 52, 61n Esprit des lois 60 Morano, Michelangelo 123n Morrison, Wayne 171n Mossé, Claude 31n Mucciarelli, Giuseppe 141n Müller, Karl Otfried asserting Rhaetian origins of the Etruscans 77 Italian followers of 119, 146 Italian opponents of 89, 159

261

Murat, Joachim, king of Naples (1808–1815) 51 Murat, Lucien 108 Muratori, Antonio 68, 110n Museo nazionale preistorico etnografico, Rome 163 Mussolini, Benito praising antiquity of the Italians 186 racial policy of 191–2, 196, 198, 200, 202 Mustoxidi, Andrea 63n Nani, Michele 9n, 13n, 14n, 121n, 134n, 149n Napione, Gian Francesco Galeani, count of 61 Naples 51, 73, 85, 91, 107n, 108, 151 Greek origins of 96–7, 105 Naples, Kingdom of 130 political tensions with Sicily 100–103, 110 Napoleon I, emperor of the French see Bonaparte Napoleon Napoleon III, emperor of the French see Bonaparte Louis Napoleon Napoleonic Empire and anti-Romanism 56, 60, 119 and celtomania 34, 36–8 dominating Italy 40, 45, 66 and Italian nationalism 67, 75, 128 and Tuscany 62–4 Natale, Vincenzo 102–105, 110 political opinions of 102–3 quarrelling with Nicola Corcia 104–5 refusing Greek past of Sicily 103–4, 110 Nationalism see Italian nationalism Negri, Antonio 5n neo-Guelphism 69–70 Nicassio, Susan Vandivar 49n Niccolini, Giovanni Battista 62, 63n Nice Italianity of 118, 119 Niceforo, Alfredo affirming African origins of the Mediterranean race 189 asserting backwardness and racial diversity of Southern Italians 150, 152–4, 156, 159, 171 asserting the existence of two Italies 153, 156 and his dismissing of 185, 189

262

Index

Niceforo, Alfredo (cont.) La delinquenza in Sardegna 150 L’Italia barbara contemporanea 151, 153 opponent of cultural Germanism 184, 185n Nicolini, Fausto 43, 73 Nicolucci, Giustiniano anthropological researches on southern Italians 137–8 follower of Herodotus 142 Luigi Pigorini and 163 plurality of lineages in the Italic peoples 139 Niebuhr, Barthold affirming Rhaetian origins of the Etruscans 72 asserting anti-Napoleonic nature of Micali’s work 56 influence on Italian culture 70 Italian followers of 94–5, 110n, 139, 159, 176, 179, 214–15 Italian opponents of 77, 89, 117n, 121, 146 reviewed by Pietro Capei 55n Romische Geschichte 86 O’Reilly, Charles T. 193n Opici 180 Orsucci, Andrea 146n Ostrogoths 114 Oxilia, Ugo 59n Pace, Biagio 200 Padovan Dario 196n Padula, Vincenzo anti-Romanism of 117 asserting Hebraic ancestry of Italians 116 Pagliaro, Antonino 200 Pais, Ettore and ancient Sicily 166 antiparlamentarism of 177 anti-romanism of 165–6 and his abandonment 170–1 asserting Italianity of Corsica 178 Atto Vannucci and 165–6 colonialism of 176 differentiating Mediterranean and Aryan people 167 disinterested to the origins of Italic peoples 176–7

fascism of 178 Giuseppe Micali and 176 Imperialismo romano e politica italiana 177 La Sardegna prima del dominio romano 165 nationalism of 177–8 opponent of Ascoli, Lombroso and Niceforo 171 opponent of craniometric anthropology 168–9, 173 opponent of Herodotusian thesis on the Etruscans 168 opponent of regionalism 172 planning a synthesis on ancient Italy 167 praising Rome in unifying Italy 170, 175 primacy of history in 168–79 quarrelling with Giuseppe Sergi 173–4 quarrelling with Guglielmo Ferrero 175 Storia di Roma 170 Pallottino, Massimo confuting Pigorini’s thesis 210 contributor of Rassegna sociale dell’Africa italiana 205–10 interpreting Micali’s work 76, 211–14 interpreting the Etruscan world 205, 207–8 refusing antiquarianism 212 solving the Etruscan question 207–9 sustaining Brizio’s thesis 210 sustaining Fascist colonial policy 206–7 Palmer, Robert Roswell 32n Palmieri, Niccolò confuted by Vincenzo Natale 103–4 stressing Sicilian Greek past 102–3 Palumbo, Patrizia 10n Pantaleoni, Diomede 110n Parini, Giuseppe 56 Paris 31, 33, 37, 58, 59, 109, 161 Parker, Harold Talbot 31n Parri, Ferruccio 1n Pasquini, Luciana 110n Passione, Roberta 151n Pasta, Renato 39n, 75n Patriarca, Silvana 6n, 9n, 10n, 11n, 81n, 113n Patroni, Giuseppe 196

Index Pavan, Massimiliano 81n Pelasgians alleged Egyptian origins of 39 Asiatic origins of 98 Balkan origins of 99, 123–4 civilizing Greece departing from Italy 48n, 88–9, 91 Etruscans supposed 39, 168 Lombards close to 80 populating Italy 79n, 100, 141 populating Southern Italy 95, 98, 99, 138 supposed an Indo-European people 138 supposed Jews 116n supposed a Mediterranean people 144, 146 Pende, Nicola 199 Penka, Karl 145 Pera, Francesco 57n, 58n, 60n Peroni, Renato 60n, 163n Pes, Alessandro 178n Pessina, Andrea 178n Peter Leopold of Lorraine, grand duke of Tuscany 39 Petraccone, Claudia 149n Petrarca, Francesco 46 Petruccelli della Gattina, Ferdinando 117n Petrusewicz, Marta 10n Pettazzoni, Raffaele 192 Peucetii 180 Phoenicia civilized by Thyrrenians 88 Phoenicians alleged Semitic people 187 populating Italy 57 Philosophy ancient Italian school 36, 46, 52, 77n, 96–7, 141, 159 Piatti, Italian publisher 82 Piedmont ancient Ligurians in 139 anthropology of its population 80 constitutional system of 114 Italianity of 82 opponents of its centralizing system 118 and Risorgimento 106–8 and Sicily 111 Pierantoni, Umberto 201 Pieri, Mario 63n

263

Pigorini, Luigi asserting Indo-european identity of Italians 164, 210 founder of palaeoethnology 163, 172 ostentatious Germanism of 165 Pisacane, Carlo 1857 expedition of 125–126 political ideas of 152, 203 Plato 36, 48n, 88n Po, valley 140, 142, 147, 164n Pogliano, Claudio 191n Pollard John 2n Polverini, Leandro 165n Pomba, Italian publishers 55, 67 Pompeii 120 Pontius 36 Ponzanesi, Sandra 191n Porciani, Ilaria 75n Portal, Emanuel 187n Pösche, Hermann 145 Prehistory ethnic unity of Italy 47, 186 and Ettore Pais 172, 179 and Italian primacy 188, 189n and linguistics 161–2 and Mediterranean race 209 and Theodor Mommsen 166 Preto, Paolo 118n Puccini, Sandra 171n Pugliese, Stanislao G. 2n Pullé, Francesco Lorenzo 147n, 186 Pythagoras 33 his philosophical school 36–7, 63n, 114, 152 Quadri, Antonio 75 Quarta, Antonio 159n Quondam, Amedeo 68n Racioppi, Giacomo anti-republicanism of 126 disapproving southern Italian élites 127–9, 133 southern Italy antiquity 124–5 Storia dei popoli della Lucania e della Basilicata 122, 123, 127, 131 Rao, Anna Maria 59n, 60n Raskolnikoff, Mouza 29n Rassegna sociale dell’Africa italiana 205, 207 Ravioli, Camillo ethnic unity of Italy 50

264

Index

Ravioli, Camillo (cont.) genealogy of Italic antiquity 47–8 Razza e civiltà 193 Reinach, Salomon French origins of civilization 145 Rellini, Ugo 186, 193n Renda, Antonio 153, 154 Retzius, Anders craniometric method 144 Rhine 93n Riall, Lucy 2n, 12n Ricuperati, Giuseppe 36n Ridley, Ronald T. 49n, 165n Risorgimento and ancient regime 67 disillusionment with respect to 120, 128, 151 and Fascism 184–5, 200, 203 and federalism 79 and Italian cultural primacy 47, 141, 183 and Italian political culture 44–5, 46, 49, 50, 69, 137, 163, 165, 172, 214 and Italic antiquity 42, 50, 68, 83, 122–3 and Middle Ages 68, 101 refusing greco-Roman world 40, 45 and republicanism 113 and southern Italy 95, 129, 132, 134, 152 and World War II 200 Robertson, John 4n Robespierre, Maximilien 30, 31 Rodogno, Davide 197n Romagnosi, Gian Domenico affirming African origins of Italian civilization 86–7, 143 confuted by Angelo Mazzoldi 87 follower of Vico 96 supposed reading Italian history in dualistic terms 149n, 150n Roman empire 105, 189, 213 bi-millennium of 190 Roman society of anthropology see Società romana di antropologia Rome 47, 49n, 80, 115, 116, 126, 141, 147, 159, 175, 196 Rome (ancient) alleged as a civilizing power 32, 36, 38, 53, 75, 78, 98, 105, 115–16, 119, 123, 146–8, 167, 171, 175, 177, 182, 188, 200, 203, 207

alleged as a Mediterranean power 186 analogy with the House of Savoy 111 civilized by Greece 97, 100 expansionism in Africa 200–1, 206 Fascism and 178–81, 184 federation with Greek cities of southern Italy 41, 102, 111, 119 founded by Indo-European peoples 164 overwhelming Italic identity 57, 66, 75, 94, 104, 123–4, 131, 167 reputed an expansionist, often destructive, power 54, 66, 92–3, 115–16, 130, 146, 166, 176, 198 reputed part of the Italic world 72 and Risorgimento 83, 119, 122, 172 Romeo, Rosario 2, 10n Rosa, Gabriele asserting Etruscan Lombardy 93 republicanism of 106 Rosini, Giovanni 62 Rossi, Francesco 86n Rossi, Lauro 59n Ruffo, Fabrizio 4 Sabbatucci, Giovanni 153n Sabellians 180 Sabetti, Filippo 113n Saitta, Giuseppe 43 Salfi, Francesco Saverio 73 Salmeri, Giovanni 85n, 96n, 166n Salvadori, Massimo 149n Salvi, Giunio 200 Samnites 114, 131 Saracens 149n Sardinia criminality in 150–1 Mediterranean race in 190, 195–6 Nuragic civilization of 165–6 Roman conquest of 178 supposed Etruscan colonization 118n Sarfatti, Michele 193n Sassatelli, Giuseppe 140n Sassoon Donald 2n Savoy italianity of 118, 190 Savoy, dynasty of Sardinia, then of Piedmont Italian supporters of 106–8, 115, 163 Italian opponents of 111, 118, 119, 151, 154–5, 183

Index Sbacchi, Alberto 178n Schiaparelli, Luigi 117n Schlegel, Friedrich 116n Schneider, Jane 10n Scinà, Domenico 102, 109 Scirocco Alfonso 125n Sedan, battle of (1870) 121 Semmola, Tommaso 109n Serafini, Panfilo 105n Sergi, Giuseppe affirming contamination of races in Italy 154 anthropology of the ancient valley of Po 142 asserting African origins of civilization 146 asserting Britons as a Mediterranean race 188 asserting Latin character of Italians 148 confuting Indo-european identity of Italy 143, 145 craniometric method of 143, 144 differentiating Aryans and Mediterraneans in Italy 147, 156 and eugenics 183 follower of Micali 148 Italia 183 opponent of Celticism 145 opponent of Crispi’s policy 183, 198 opponent of Germanism 145, 182 opponent of Indo-Europeanism 142 opponent of Liberal Italy 154–5, 183 praising Italian primacy 141, 182, 187 praising a new Italian science 149 praising Rome as a civilizing power 148, 184, 188 race classification 143 supposed forerunner of Italian racism 193, 195, 198–9 sustaining Herodothusian thesis 147 and World War I 182 Sergi, Sergio racism of 192, 198–200 Sestan Ernesto 136n Settis Salvatore 169n Sicani 103, 180 Siceliotes invading Sicily 103 osmosis with Sicels and Carthaginians 166

265

Sicels first Italic population 109, 188 osmosis with Siceliotes and Carthaginians 166 supposed Ligurians 143 Sicilians 133n Sicily 73, 85, 88, 100, 105, 166 and nationhood 100–1 and Piedmont 110 secession from Naples in 1848 101 and unified Italy 110–11, 152 Sicily (ancient) alliance with the Romans 103 ancient democracy 103 and antiquarianism 101 cataclysm dividing it from the peninsula 88 and Ettore Pais 166–7 Greek roots of 66, 75, 102, 104, 105 Greeks, arrival in 107 multiple presence of peoples 102–3 Sismondi, Jean Charles Léonard Simonde de 68 opponent of Micali’s theories 72 Slavs 79n Smith, Anthony 10n, 15 Società italiana per il progresso scientifico 208 Società romana di antropologia 141, 189 Society for scientific progress see Società italiana per il progresso scientifico Sonzogno, Italian publisher 51 Southern question see Italy, southern Soviet Union 8 Spain 146 Spaventa, Bertrando refusing ancient Italic wisdom 159 Stewart-Steinberg, Suzanne 171n Switzerland 67, 89 Tamassia, Giovanni follower of Micali’s theories 75 Tarantini, Massimo 146n, 186n, 193n Tarentines 131 Tartary 146 Taylor, Isaac origins of Aryans 145n Terracini, Benvenuto 161n Tessitore, Fulvio 6n Teti, Vito 153n Thierry, Amedée 92 Histoire des Gaules 82n

266

Index

Thrace 99n Tiber, river 209n Ticino 119 Ticino, river 106 Tilly, Louise 173n Timaeus 36 Timpanaro, Sebastiano 70n, 75n, 160n, 161n, 162, 163n Trentino 119 Trento 161 Treves, Piero 53n, 56n ,61n, 63n, 64n, 68n, 70n, 72n, 83n, 113n, 165n Trieste 161 Tucci, Giuseppe 191 Tunisia 190 Turi Gabriele 6n Turin 55, 67, 81, 107, 165, 198 Tuscany Etruscan derivation of 40 Etruscan settlements in 72 integral part of the Napoleonic Empire 62, 64 Ligurian settlements in 138 Tuscany (grand Duchy of ) 39, 60, 62 and 1848 revolution 114 and etruscology 41, 63, 75 Tyrrhenian sea 99n Tyrrhenians see Etruscans Uccelli, Paolo 85n Ugolini, Luigi Maria asserting Malta source of the civilization 187 excavations in Albania and Malta 186 follower of Sergi’s theories on civilization 187 opponent of Indo-europeanism 187 Umbrians supposed Indo-european people 138, 142, 147 supposed Ligurians 140–1 United Kingdom 189 United States 32, 173

Vaccarino, Giorgio 59n Vannucci, Atto anti-Romanism in 117, 166 Ettore Pais and 165–8 follower of Micali’s theories 114–15 followers of 124, 139, 142, 165–8, 172, 174, 176 glorification of Etruscans 115 opponent of Germanism 121 opponent of Niebuhr 117 republicanism of 114 unitarian regionalism of 116 Varennes, flight of (1791) 30 Veneti 180 Venice 75 Vercingetorix, king of the Gauls 29 Verdicchio, Pasquale 13n Verri, Pietro 56 Versailles, treaty of (1919) 177 Vico, Giambattista 52, 77, 86, 98, 162 Victor Emmanuel II of Savoy, king of Piedmont then of Italy 107 Victor Emmanuel III of Savoy, king of Italy 176 Vigezzi, Brunello 68n Vigo, Lionardo regionalism of 109–110 Visco, Sabato 199, 200 Vita italiana 193 Vitale, Vito 58n, 59n Vittorio Veneto, battle of (1918) 182, 185 Volpicella, Scipione 130 Wilamowitz Moellendorf Ulrich von 213 Wilhelm II, emperor of the Germans 164 Wong, Aliza 10n, 13n, 149n, 196n Zuppone Strano, Giuseppe and Ettore Pais 179–180