Thursday, July 09, 2015


Extravagant Fancies on Old Pagan Tombs

Joseph Addison (1672-1719), Remarks on Several Parts of Italy, in The Works of the Right Honourable Joseph Addison, Vol. I (London: George Bell and Sons, 1885), pp. 356-538 (at 473):
A man is sometimes surprised to find so many extravagant fancies as are cut on the old Pagan tombs. Masks, hunting matches, and bacchanals are very common; sometimes one meets with a lewd figure of a Priapus, and in the villa Pamphilia is seen a satyr coupling with a goat.
Id. (at 488):
I saw in the church-yard of Bolsena an antique funeral monument (of that kind which they called a sarcophagus) very entire, and what is particular, engraven on all sides with a curious representation of a bacchanal. Had the inhabitants observed a couple of lewd figures at one end of it, they would not have thought it a proper ornament for the place where it now stands.

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