Old Calabria By Norman Douglas














































































 -  Pollino, we are told, is derived from Apollo, and authors
of olden days sometimes write of it as Monte Apollino - Page 210
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Pollino, We Are Told, Is Derived From Apollo, And Authors Of Olden Days Sometimes Write Of It As "Monte Apollino." But Barrius Suggests An Alternative Etymology, Equally Absurd, And Connected With The Medicinal Herbs Which Are Found There.

Pollino, he says, a polleo dictus, quod nobilibus herbis medelae commodis polleat.

Pro-venit enim ibi, ut ab herbariis accepi, tragium dictamnum Cretense, chamaeleon bigenum, draucus, meum, nardus, celtica, anonides, anemone, peucedamum, turbit, reubarbarum, pyrethrum, juniperus ubertim, stellarla, imperatoria, cardus masticem fundens, dracagas, cythisus - whence likewise the magnificent cheeses; gold and the Phrygian stone, he adds, are also found here.

Unhappily Barrius - we all have a fling at this "Strabo and Pliny of Calabria"! So jealous was he of his work that he procured a prohibition from the Pope against all who might reprint it, and furthermore invoked the curses of heaven and earth upon whoever should have the audacity to translate it into Italian. Yet his shade ought to be appeased with the monumental edition of 1737, and, as regards his infallibility, one must not forget that among his contemporaries the more discerning had already censured his philopatria, his immoderate love of Calabria. And that is the right way to judge of men who were not so much ignorant as unduly zealous for the fair name of their natal land. To sneer at them is to misjudge their period. It was the very spirit of the Renaissance to press rhetorical learning into the service of patriotism. They made some happy guesses and not a few mistakes; and when they lied deliberately, it was done in what they held a just cause - as scholars and gentlemen.

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