Bargello, Florence


FIRENSE – Cortile e scala del Bargello
Bargello courtyard & staircase

Official Website

The Bargello, also known as the Palazzo del Bargello, Museo Nazionale del Bargello, or Palazzo del Popolo (Palace of the People), is a former barracks and prison, now an art museum, in Florence, Italy. . . . The word bargello appears to come from the late Latin bargillus (from Gothic bargi and German burg), meaning “castle” or “fortified tower”. During the Italian Middle Ages it was the name given to a military captain in charge of keeping peace and justice (hence “Captain of justice”) during riots and uproars. In Florence he was usually hired from a foreign city to prevent any appearance of favoritism on the part of the Captain. The position could be compared with that of a current Chief of police. The name Bargello was extended to the building which was the office of the captain.
. . .
Construction began in 1255. The palace was built to house first the Capitano del Popolo and later, in 1261, the ‘podestà’, the highest magistrate of the Florence City Council. This Palazzo del Podestà, as it was originally called, is the oldest public building in Florence. This austere crenellated building served as model for the construction of the Palazzo Vecchio. In 1574, the Medici dispensed with the function of the Podestà and housed the bargello, the police chief of Florence, in this building, hence its name. It was employed as a prison; executions took place in the Bargello’s yard until they were abolished by Grand Duke Peter Leopold in 1786, but it remained the headquarters of the Florentine police until 1859. When Leopold II, Holy Roman Emperor Peter Leopold was exiled, the makeshift Governor of Tuscany decided that the Bargello should no longer be a jail, and it then became a national museum.

Wikipedia.

TERMINOLOGY
The word “bargello” appears to derive from the late latin noun bargillus, meaning “castle” or “fortified tower“. Bargello was the title attributed to a military captain, precisely the “Captain of justice”, who from 1554, under Duke Cosimo I, made arrests, conducted interrogations, and carried out death sentences.

THE PALACE
The Bargello was used as a prison until 1786, when the Grand Duke Pietro Leopoldo abolished capital punishment. Consequently, from this time on, the Bargello no longer held executions. The Bargello next served as the headquarters of the Florentine police until 1859. When Pietro Leopoldo II was exiled, the makeshift Governor of Tuscany decided that the Bargello should no longer be a jail, thereby becoming a national museum. Construction of the palace began in 1255 when Lapo Tedesco, an Italian architect of the XIII century, incorporated the old palace, the tower of Boscoli, the property of an ancient Florentine family, as well as certain houses and towers belonging to the Badia Fiorentina. Subsequently, the palace was merged with a new building on Via dell’Acqua, and in 1295, its arcaded courtyard was created. Between 1340 and 1345, the famous Italian architect Neri di Fioravante added another story to the building. The Bargello was designed around an open courtyard with an external staircase leading to the second floor. An open well is located in the center of the courtyard.
Florence Inferno

The National Museum has its setting in one of the oldest buildings in Florence that dates back to 1255. Initially the headquarters of the Capitano del Popolo (Captain of the People) and later of the Podestà, the palace became, in the sixteenth century, the residence of the Bargello that is of the head of the police (from which the palace takes its name) and was used as prison during the whole 18th century. Its walls witnessed important episodes of civic history. It was the meeting place of the Council of the Hundred in which Dante took part. It wituessed sieges, fires, executions, the most famous perhaps being that of Baroncelli, involved in the Pazzi plot against the Medici, which Leonardo also witnessed. During the 14th and 15th century, the palace was subjected to a series of alterations and additions, still preserving its harmonious severity, best seen in the beautiful courtyard, the balcony and the large hall on the first floor.

The building’s use as National Museum began in the mid-19th century. Today it is the setting for works of sculpture, mainly from the grand ducal colleotions, and for many examples of “minor” Gothic decorative arts.
Museums in Florence

The entrance of the museum gives access to the inner courtyard, where criminals were executed until 1786. The walls are decorated with coats of arms representing high ranking officials and city districts. . . . The staircase on the inner court leads to an arcaded gallery known as the Verone, where you’ll encounter a number of marble sculptures by GiamBologna, a Flemish artist who worked in Florence for most of his life.
A View on Cities

Guidhall (Palazzo dell’Arte della Lana), Florence


FIRENZE – Palazzo dell’Arte della Lana
c.1910

The Arte della Lana was the wool guild of Florence during the Late Middle Ages and in the Renaissance. It was one of the seven Arati Maggiori (“greater trades”) of Florence, separate from the Arti Minori (the “lesser trades”) and the Arti Mediane (the “middle trades”). The Arte della Lana dealt in woollen cloth and cooperated with the other corporations of bankers and merchants in administering the commune, both under the podestà and the Republic of Florence.

At the height of the industry the Arte della Lana directly employed 30.000 workers and indirectly about a third of Florence’s population, and produced 100,000 lengths of cloth annually. The Arte della Lana saw all the processes from the raw baled wool through the final cloth, woven at numerous looms scattered in domiciles throughout the city. Like other guilds, the Arte served only to coordinate the activities of its own members, who did not generally own the means of production or directly manage the processes. Its syndics ensured that quality standards were met and contracts were honored. The predecessor and until the mid-14th century the rival of the Arte della Lana was the powerful Arte di Calimala, a corporation of importers of raw cloth, who dyed and finished it.

The guildhall, the Palazzo dell’Arte della Lana, was completed in 1308, with an attached fortifiable tower-house. From its interior, where some 14th-century frescoes remain, a gallery designed by Bernardo Buontalenti links the palazzo with the church of Orsanmichele. The palazzo is now the seat of the Società Dantesca.
Wikipedia.

Wikimedia Commons: interior photos

Dungerth’s Monument, St Cleer, Cornwall, England


St Cleer, Near Liskeard, Dungerth’s Monument The King of Cornwall who died A.D. 875.
Publisher: Francis Frith & Co

Street View

There is another longstone in the parish of St Cleer, about two miles north of Liskeard, which bears an inscription to Doniert (Dungerth), a traditional king of Cornwall, who was drowned in 872. In fact these “menhirs,” supposed to be sepulchral monuments, are to be found scattered all over the county.
The Folk-Lore Journal Volume 5 1887 (Cornish Folklore)

These two fragments, one of which is known as King Doniert’s Stone, are the only surviving examples of 9th-century stone crosses in Cornwall. The inscription on King Doniert’s Stone, bearing the name of a Cornish king, is the only such cross to feature a character known also from documentary sources.

The early missionaries are thought to have set up wooden crosses to proclaim the victory of Christ in the places where they preached: in time these sites became sanctified, and stone crosses were erected in place of the older wooden ones. King Doniert’s Stone may be the base of one such cross and the taller broken shaft alongside it is probably another.

King Doniert’s Stone stands about 4 feet 6 inches (1.37 metres) high, and is decorated on three of its faces with interlaced ornament of a style common throughout Britain. The upper end of the stone has a deep mortice in the top to take an upper shaft or cross head. The east face bears a weathered inscription which reads Doniert rogavit pro anima (‘Doniert has asked [for this to be made] for his soul[’s sake’]). The clue to Doniert’s identity lies in a passage in the early Welsh chronicle known as the Annales Cambriae, which names a king of Dumnonia called Dumgarth (or Dwingarth). He is recorded as having drowned in the sea in about AD 875.

The southern cross-shaft fragment is taller, about 7 ft (2.1m) high, and one face has a panel of interlaced decoration. Excavations have revealed an underground rock-cut passage that starts to the south-east of the crosses and terminates in a cross-shaped chamber beneath the two stones. The relationship between the underground chamber and the crosses has yet to be explained.
English Heritage

Both stones, as we see them nowadays, are only small fragments of original stone crosses, and there can be no doubt that when first set up, these were impressive monuments. Assuming that the Doniert Stone does indeed commemorate a Cornish King, one can only speculate on its purpose, standing as it does beside a track only 12 miles from Hingston Down where in 838 the Anglo-Saxon King Edgar had defeated a combined force of Danes and Cornish, thus decisively bringing Cornwall under English control. Similarly designed cross-shafts can be seen at nearby St Neot Church and St Just in Penwith in Cornwall, as well as at Copplestone near Crediton and Exeter (in the Royal Albert Memorial Museum) in Devon. In South Wales, ‘composite’ and interlace-decorated crosses like these are found at Nevern and Carew, although whether there is any relationship between the two groups is uncertain.

In the seventeenth century local miners prospecting near the crosses broke into an underground chamber beneath the stones. Despite various theories suggesting that the chambers might represent a chapel or vault associated with the stones it seems far more likely that they relate to mining activities in the area.

The field adjacent to the one in which these two crosses originally stood is identified as “Two Cross Downs” on the 1840 Tithe Map, probably in reference to these two crosses. The name also gives a clue to their original setting. Though now within a small enclosure surrounded by farmland, the stones would once have stood on open downland
Cornwall’s Archaelogical Heritage

Wikipedia (King Doniert’s Stone)
Wikipedia (Donyarth)

Tombs of Mamluks, Cairo, Egypt


On back:
Tombs of Mamelloucs
Pubilshed by Castro Brothers, Cairo.
c. 1920

As best I can tell, this seems to be South-west of Cairo Citadel (here), whereas the “City of the Dead” is to the north-east (here). Maybe one day someone who knows something will happen along and sort it out.

The City of the Dead, or Cairo Necropolis, is an Islamic necropolis and cemetery below the Mokattam Hills in southeastern Cairo, Egypt. The people of Cairo, the Cairenes, and most Egyptians, call it el’arafa (trans. ‘the cemetery’). It is a 4 miles (6.4 km) long (north-south) dense grid of tomb and mausoleum structures, where some people live and work amongst the dead.

The Mamluk Sultanate rulers … founded a new graveyard named Sahara, because of its desert environment, outside the city at its north-eastern border. It was also a place for military parades, such as tournaments and investiture ceremonies, as well as for processions, at which sultan and nobles took part during the religious celebrations. Some built their palaces on the main road of the cemetery in order to assist the spectacles.
Wikipedia

Exploring Cairo’s City of the Dead

Who Were the Mamluks?
The Mamluks ruled Egypt and Syria from 1250 until 1517, when their dynasty was extinguished by the Ottomans. But Mamluks had first appeared in the Abbasid caliphate in the ninth century and even after their overthrow by the Ottomans they continued to form an important part of Egyptian Islamic society and existed as an influential group until the 19th century. They destroyed the Crusader kingdoms of Outremer, and saved Syria, Egypt and the holy places of Islam from the Mongols. They made Cairo the dominant city of the Islamic world in the later Middle Ages, and under these apparently unlettered soldier-statesmens’ rule, craftsmanship, architecture and scholarship flourished. Yet the dynasty remains virtually unknown to many in the West.

The word Mamluk means ‘owned’ and the Mamluks were not native to Egypt but were always slave soldiers, mainly Qipchak Turks from Central Asia. In principle (though not always in practice) a Mamluk could not pass his property or title to his son, indeed sons were in theory denied the opportunity to serve in Mamluk regiments, so the group had to be constantly replenished from outside sources. The Bahri Mamluks were mainly natives of southern Russia and the Burgi comprised chiefly of Circassians from the Caucasus. As steppe people, they had more in common with the Mongols than with the peoples of Syria and Egypt among whom they lived. And they kept their garrisons distinct, not mixing with the populace in the territories.

The Mamluks, who had been taken from their families in their youth and had no ties of kin in their new homelands, were personally dependent on their master. This gave the Mamluk state, divorced as it was from its parent society, a solidity that allowed it to survive the tensions of tribalism and personal ambition, through establishment of interdependency between the lower orders and sergeants and the higher lords. And at the centre Mamluk politics were bloody and brutal. Mamluks were not supposed to be able to inherit wealth or power beyond their own generation but attempts to create lineage did occur and every succession was announced by internecine struggles. Purges of higher lords and rivals were common and sultans commonly used impalement and crucifixion to punish those suspected of acts of lèse majesté or intrigue.  
[More.]
History Today

Baalbek, Lebanon


BAALBEK (Syrie). Le Temple de Venus – La façade
Temple of Venus – the facade

On back:
Require PALMYRA HOTEL, the only first class hotel facing the ruins of Baalbek

Published: M. Harris, Baalbek.

Street View

The temple of Venus was built in the third century. It has a highly original design: built on a horseshoe-shaped platform, it consists of a circular shrine with a square entrance that is almost as big. The outer façade of the shrine is graced by five niches, which means that there is not a single square wall. In the niches are representations of doves and shells, which has been taken as evidence that the shrine was dedicated to Venus.
The square entrance probably was not one of those classical triangle-shaped pediments supported by columns. In fact, the straight horizontal line was broken by an elegant arch. This is certainly not without parallel, but the baroque ensemble suggests that the architect wanted to show off that he was the best and the brightest. He succeeded.

Livius.org

UNESCO Word Heritage listing
Rome in the Footsteps of an XVIIIth Century Traveller
The Baalbek Ruins in Lebanon (photos and write up from a tour of site)


Model of Baalbek (Photo by Franck Devedjian. from Wikipedia Commons

Plan of Temple Complex


BAALBEK (Syrie).BAALBEK (Syrie). La Grande Mosque arabe du VIIe siecle construite avec les colonnes de granit des Temples romains
The Grand Mosque of the 7th century built with the granite columns of Roman temples
On back:
Require PALMYRA HOTEL, the only first class hotel facing the ruins of Baalbek

Published: M. Harris, Baalbek.

Google Maps.

The Great Umayyad Mosque
Built in the first century after the Hegira, during the Umayyad reign, on the remains of a Byzantine church, it is the largest mosque of all Baalbek. It is 60 meters long and 50 meters wide. It contains in the middle 30 columns carried from roman temples neighboring the castle. Some of them are decorated with Corinthian capitals either of granite or of massive stones. The walls of the mosques rise for 8 meters. Its architecture is similar to the Umayyad mosque in Damascus. It includes a courtyard surrounded by porticoes and a square minaret that stands in the courtyard like a war tower. The mosque’s walls hold many inscriptions that are decrees belonging to the Mamluk age. It was left ruined for a long time during the Ottoman and the modern ages. Lately, it has been restored and rehabilitated to perform regular prayers in there.
Destination Lebanon

Interior photo

Umayayd Route, Baalbek: photos at bottom of page two (pdf)

Monumental Cemetery, Pisa


PISA – Camposanto – Esterno lato meridionale (G. Pisano)

On back:
G. Barsanti e figli – Grandi gallerie di sculture – Pisa

Google Maps.
Image from Google Street View

The history of the Monumental Cemetery began in the 12th century, when Archbishop Ubaldo Lanfranchi (1108-78) brought back shiploads of holy dirt from Golgotha (where Christ was crucified) during the Crusades.

In 1278, Giovanni di Simone (architect of the Leaning Tower) designed a marble cloister to enclose the holy ground, which became the primary cemetery for Pisa’s upper class until 1779. In the 14th and 15th centuries, the walls of the Camposanto were decorated with frescoes by Taddeo Gaddi, Spinello Aretino, Benozzo Gozzoli, Andrea Bonaiuti, Antonio Veneziano, and Piero di Puccio.
Sacred Destinations.

Wikipedia.

Frigidarium, Baths of Caracalla, Rome


Stato attuale e restauro della grande sala “Frigidarium.
(Current state and restoration of the great “Frigidarium”)

On the back:
Les Thermes de Caracalla. A L’etat actuel et en restauration. De L’oeuvre recemment publiée. Par Le Chev. J. Ripostelli
La Grande Salle Avec Le Bassin Pour Les Bains. | D’eau Froide Frigidarium

(The Baths of Caracalla. At the current state and in restoration. From the newly published work* by the Chev. J. Ripostelli
The Great Room With The Basin For The Baths | Cold Water Frigidarium)
c.1910

Read moreFrigidarium, Baths of Caracalla, Rome