It Was Here, Yesterday, That I Came Upon An Unexpected Sight - An Army Of
Workmen Engaged In Burrowing Furiously Into The Bowels Of Mother Earth.
They Told Me That This Tunnel Would Presently Become One Of The Arteries
Of That Vast System, The Apulian Aqueduct.
The discovery accorded with
my Roman mood, for the conception and execution alike of this grandiose
project are worthy of the Romans.
Three provinces where, in years of
drought, wine is cheaper than water, are being irrigated - in the teeth
of great difficulties of engineering and finance. Among other things,
there are 213 kilometres of subterranean tunnellings to be built; eleven
thousand workmen are employed; the cost is estimated at 125 million
francs. The Italian government is erecting to its glory a monument more
durable than brass. This is their heritage from the Romans - this talent
for dealing with rocks and waters; for bridling a destructive
environment and making it subservient to purposes of human
intercourse. It is a part of that practical Roman genius for
"pacification." Wild nature, to the Latin, ever remains an obstacle to
be overcome - an enemy.
Such was Horace's point of view. The fruitful fields and their hardy
brood of tillers appealed to him; [Footnote: See next chapter.]
the ocean and snowy Alps were beyond the range of his affections. His
love of nature was heartfelt, but his nature was not ours; it was nature
as we see it in those Roman landscapes at Pompeii; nature ancillary to
human needs, in her benignant and comfortable moods.
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