- Table of contents
- Renaissance in Italy, Volume 4 (of 7), by John Addington Symonds
- Renaissance in Italy, Volume 4 (of 7), by John Addington Symonds
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With an oink oink here. The subsequent inquiry into the Safi incidents was a major whitewash as it concluded that the force used to control the migrants during their protest was justified in the circumstances even if it took note of the fact the force used by several soldiers was exaggerated. When I was grilled by the judge tasked with carrying out the inquiry I recall feeling as though I was in the dock.
The judge appeared to be more concerned with knowing the identity of who tipped me off about the protest rather than what I had witnessed. But then again should we be surprised? For the last 14 years we have been told by governments that the detention system is a must even if it criminalises asylum seekers in the eyes of many.
In the last 10 years we have seen deaths suicides and more riots inside detention. We still see NGOs and journalists who analyse migration issues being threatened for doing their job. Because many of us still cannot differentiate between the terrorists that caused bloodshed in the streets of Paris last week and the asylum seekers fleeing the terror in their country.
Ten years on none of us should turn a blind eye to the horrible actions portrayed in the picture above. Comodini Cachia calls for better coordination of actions by Member States against human smuggling During a debate on the recent human smuggling incidents in the Mediterranean held during a Plenary Session at the European Parliament in Strasbourg MEP for Malta Therese Comodini Cachia said: Human smuggling attacks the dignity of those who fall victim to it and threatens Member States. We have a duty to stand up against this illicit and immoral business. Comodini Cachia said that the EU had so far steered a strategy for the Mediterranean which involved border management.
However this strategy did not reduce the number of smuggling incidents enough; hence proving to be insufficient. Comodini Cachia said that sporadic action is ineffective and called for a better coordination amongst Member States. This will require a mechanism that brings together representatives from the policy law enforcement intelligence and diplomatic areas ensuring a common approach to address the problem.
In his conclusive statement Commissioner for Migration Dimitris Avramopoulos supported these views and said: If decisive and coordinated EU action is not taken the flow [of migrants] will continue. The European Commission is determined to take action. Avrampoulos joined Comodini Cachia in calling for more coordination and solidarity from EU member states.
He also stressed the need for more cooperation with Turkey and African countries and urged Member States to step up their efforts to enforce EU asylum rules and resettle refugees. During this debate MEPs also discussed the new routes used by smugglers the role of the EU border agency Frontex legal channels of migration to the EU and a comprehensive approach to migration.
Spanish police say they have arrested two Cameroonian migrants on suspicion of killing up to 10 other migrants by pushing them from a boat into stormy waters in a fight over a prayer session.
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The two were arrested after several of the 29 survivors of the African migrant boat crossing to Spain from Morocco told how a fight broke out when a Nigerian religious minister began praying that the boat would not sink police said. The Cameroonians blamed the worsening weather on the pastor police said. The pastor and other Nigerians praying were among those allegedly pushed over board. Police say there were some 50 people on the boat but that around 10 other migrants also died when they fell into the sea on December 3. President MarieLouise Coleiro Preca focused on poverty migration and international terrorism when she greeted ambassadors accredited to Malta for the exchange of New Year Greetings today.
She said the economic situation continued to show signs of cautious recovery last year. A solution must be sought urgently to this social scourge that is affecting the wellbeing of one in four Europeans and 1. Turning to terrorism she regretted that during bloodshed continued to spill in Libya Syria and Iraq with conflicts in the latter two giving rise to the emergence of the Islamic State.
One consequence had been the increase in the number of migrants. In her address the President condemned violence "from Gaza to Syria; from Iran to Afghanistan; from Pakistan to Libya; from Ukraine to Nigeria and now in Paris horrific scenes pools of blood human slaughter that terrify and sadden all those who believe in human dignity.
She looked forward tot he Commonwealth heads of government meeting in Malta this year hoping this event will lead to a roadmap that will kick start the shaping up of the Commonwealth of tomorrow hat have an effective voice and be a useful catalyst to influence change. Referring to the terrorism in Paris President Coleiro Preca said this was an attack on freedom and on democracy.
Records revealed by Home Affairs Minister Carmelo Abela show that a whopping asylum seekers managed to escape from the Safi and Lyster Barracks detention centres between and Abela was responding to a series of parliamentary questions by Labour backbencher Anthony Agius Decelis pertaining to detention centres between and the final full year under a Nationalist administration. The tabled papers show that irregular immigrant escapes were recorded in that same time period the largest getaway being on 4 May when 43 immigrants all made a dash for freedom.
Interestingly a significant plummet in immigrant escapees was recorded in the numbers dropping to 12 when compared to the escapees in The escape numbers remained relatively low in and Abela said that no records could be found regarding how many escapees were eventually caught and returned to their detention centres.
However the records definitely indicate that the vast majority of irregular immigrants who attempted to flee their detention centres succeeded in doing so. Indeed only 46 asylumseekers were foiled in their freedom attempts between and with none at all recorded in and In response to another parliamentary question Abela revealed records showing that disciplinary steps were taken against 44 detention service officers between and most commonly for absenteeism leaving the workplace and insubordination.
However no information on disciplinary steps taken against officers involved in violence against asylum seekers was tabled. This the home affairs minister told parliament was because no records were ever kept over cases of alleged violence against irregular migrants by detention services officers. Moreover no records were ever kept of any disciplinary action that may have been taken against such officers in the past.
This means that no recorded information of allegations made against detention service officers investigations that may have been carried out and the outcome of said investigations. The report carried out by retired judge Geoffrey Valenzia painted a grim picture of the conditions in detention centres and shed a particularly bad light on the track record of detention service officers. The inquiry revealed that Kamara had successfully escaped his detention centre only to be recaptured by detention service officers who proceeded to handcuff him dump him inside a steel cage at the back of a detention centre van and brutally beat him to death.
According to forensic expert Mario Scerri Kamara died from a heart attack as a result of blunt trauma. According to the former head of the detention services the soldiers that were deployed at the detention centres were the worst of the worst…soldiers refused by the army. Lieutenant Colonel Brian Gatt shockingly admitted that such soldiers included an officer who had usury problems and another who had been charged with shooting at a yacht during training. I had a sergeant in Hal Far who used to prey on migrant women entering their rooms during the night and taking a woman back to his office with him Gatt told Valenzia.
Even condoms were found in the room. The inquiry found that there was a kind of inappropriate relationship going on between some members of staff and migrant women being detained. It could have been consensual but given the context you question this consent…how real it is… because they are detained and there is a soldierdetainee relationship which renders the relationship inappropriate.
Even this particular sergeant was never suspended but simply transferred to another section. It also revealed that the detention services were severely understaffed especially with regard to female officers stationed with migrant women. At the time there was only one female detention service officer. This meant that male officers would walk straight into female migrants taking a shower for the head count and accompany pregnant migrants to hospital at times and sometimes even stay with them while they were being examined by the doctor.
It is one of the most constructive and thorough reports to date joining so many other reports in unequivocally condemning a policy that seeks to deprive migrants of their very humanity by locking them away out of sight out of scrutiny and out of human rights protection the eight NGOs said in a joint statement. Yet we are not shocked at any of the statements or findings in the Valenzia report. We are not shocked to read of sexual relations between a small number of Detention Services personnel and detained women. We are not shocked because we have been witnessing such incidents for several years.
The MOAS migrant rescue mission is still millions of euros short of being able to set sail again but major benefactors could help get the show on the road by May. Founder Chris Catrambone told Times of Malta that a number of possibilities were being considered.
In the mission was completely funded by Mr Catrambone and his wife Regina. We have shown that operations like this can be done and can be done with a certain level of success. Although wary of commenting further as he did not want to scare potential donors away Mr Catrambone said one possibility being explored would be partnering up with other major humanitarian entities. In fact Mr Catrambone said he had aspirations for the mission to branch out and see more newer boats carrying out wider operations.
We need to give people dignity when they reach our backyard. The Migrant Offshore Aid Station operated for the first time last summer using a 40metre ship equipped with two camcopters and a professional crew including rescuers seafarers paramedics and humanitarians. Our focus is on saving lives and on giving survivors the dignity they deserve. We provide even the most basic forms of aid like blankets and baby formulas to the survivors of these terrible wrecks Christopher Catrambone said.
One boy an elevenyearold was sent to face the journey alone because his parents could only pay a oneperson passage. Among several difficult rescue operations Catrambone said on one occasion there had been people — crew excluded — on board the Phoenix.
She called for a successful holistic approach to migration where any approach must start with saving lives. Inaction risks further tragedies in our seas. EU States cannot shirk their responsibility just because they are not geographically in the Mediterranean she said. Zammit Dimech recently appointed spokesperson on migration reiterated the call for a European solution: Too many people have lost their lives crossing the Mediterranean.
This is a European issue that requires a European solution. As a privatelyrun mission MOAS needs to raise funds to continue its operation. Although it is currently not in operation the team is working hard to raise funds. Our focus is on raising funds and finding the necessary partners to be able to ensure sustainable operation this year. Men had residence documents issued by Italian authorities and availed themselves of their right to free movement A police raid early this morning at 6: 30am led to the arrest of eight irregular migrants who were living out in the open in Hal Far using the huge asbestos pipes that have been for years out in the nearby fields as their shelter.
Police said that the men had official documents issued by the Italian authorities and had travelled to Malta via catamaran from Sicily. Because they were living close to the Hal Far open centre it is understood that the migrants living at the centre may have also provided them with food. Five men were of Ghanian nationality and two others were Togo nationals. Another man was a Spanish national. Their documents were verified by the police. They are currently in police custody. The recent announcement that this year the Maltese government will be launching a national policy on the integration of migrants is very welcome.
The commemoration aims at increasing awareness of the phenomenon of migration as contemporary movements represent the largest movement of individuals if not of peoples in history. Indeed in our time one person in seven is an international million or internal migrant million.
Not all of them escape lifethreatening conditions but many of them do. Having faced ever new and challenging situations during its millennial history the Church knows that migration poses fresh challenges not only on account of its magnitude but also for the various social economic political cultural and religious problems it gives rise to. This role includes the duty to make efforts to ensure that the dignity and the centrality of the human person is protected to actively promote more creative and concrete forms of solidarity acceptance and protection and to encourage effective dialogue between peoples.
With this in mind the Church continues to strive to understand the causes of migration to work towards overcoming its negative effects and to maximise its positive influence on the communities of origin transit and destination. As the surge in the number of recent conflicts has produced new waves of asylum seekers and displaced people there is an increasingly urgent need to intensify the efforts to promote a gradual reduction in the root causes of migration that cause entire peoples to abandon their homelands. States and their people cannot risk becoming indifferent to human tragedy Forced migration due to persecution conflicts terrorism and other tragedies takes the form of fleeing for salvation often involving dangerous or lifethreatening journeys which may nonetheless offer the only option for reaching a country where protection and the possibility of a dignified life can be found.
The Church is therefore appealing to States to respond effectively to the recognition of the need for protection to restore human dignity to those who need it and to treat the causes of forced mobility by cooperating in a spirit of international solidarity. In the social doctrine of the Church the theme of human dignity derives from the recognition that all human beings are created in the image and likeness of God.
Religious ethnic social or cultural variables citizenship or lack of it do not change this fact that gives any individual an inherent and immeasurable worth and dignity to the point that each human life is considered sacred. Emigration when it is a response to the need of survival from extreme poverty and hunger from threats to life from generalised violence and similar conditions cannot be prevented.
States and their people therefore cannot risk becoming used to or indifferent to such human tragedy. The principle of human dignity implies that the vital needs of the person have to be assured. Pope Francis said that migrants and refugees are not pawns on the chessboard of humanity. They are children women and men who leave or who are forced to leave their homes for various reasons who share a legitimate desire for knowing and having but above all for being more. In this context the recent announcement that this year the Maltese government will be launching a national policy on the integration of migrants is very welcome.
Such a policy should prove to be another important step in the solidarity response our small nation has endeavoured to design build and sustain over the past years to provide international protection to those who need it and reach our shores. Another 20 reported dead and thrown at sea during crossing. The migrant was among a group of eight who were transferred to Mater Dei Hospital.
Three of the migrants were in critical condition. A spokesperson for the health ministry has also confirmed that ebola tests carried on three migrants at Mater Dei Hospital came back negative. The third result was confirmed late in the evening. A dinghy carrying 87 subSaharan migrants arrived at Haywharf this morning at around 10am after it was intercepted by the Armed Forces of Malta off the coast of Malta. The migrants who are claiming to be from Burkina Faso Mali the Ivory Coast and Guinea are all male and are believed to have departed from Libya before being intercepted off the east coast of Malta.
According to information relayed by the migrants the dinghy had originally been carrying around people on board but 20 are feared dead. In a tweet Prime Minister Joseph Muscat said that the dead are said to have been thrown at sea during the crossing. Addressing a press briefing this afternoon at Mater Dei Hospital Charles Mallia Azzopardi who heads the Ebola Response Unit explained that even though the risk of Ebola is extremely low all precautionary measures were taken.
Azzopardi explained that 84 migrants have been quarantined at Hal Far detention centre to be treated for Ebola. An additional three migrants have been hospitalised where they were certified to be suffering in critical condition due to severe dehydration. They were also tested for Ebola. Mallia Azzopardi explained that Ebola screening was carried out after one of the migrants declared that he is from Guinea. In addition he explained that authorities could ignore claims by the migrants that 20 others had perished.
The migrants who arrived this morning at around 10am after spending an unspecified amount of days crossing the Mediterranean Sea appeared weak as they disembarked off the AFM vessel. Despite arriving at Haywharf at around 10am safety precuatons meant that the disembarkation had to wait until 30pm. For the first time since the deadly Ebola outbreak across West and Central Africa the migrants were screened by health authorities. AFM personnel wore full Ebola protective suits while a decontamination tent was also set up.
A spokeswoman for the home affairs ministry underlined that these were only precautionary measures and that there was no cause for alarm. Members of the media are also being kept away from the ordinary safety distance as a precaution. Migrants were provided with blankets and water while on board the AFM vessel. An AFM vessel has towed the migrants' dinghy to shore while additional vessels have been deployed in search for any bodies in the area. AFM personnel remained in constant contact with the Italian military and the health authorities on safe distance procedure.
The AFM had been monitoring the situation for the past hours and after ongoing communication with their Italian counterparts it was decided that due to their safety the migrants should be brought to Malta. A migrant has died at Mater Dei Hospital hours after being rescued this morning. The man was in a group of 87 migrants picked up from a drifting dinghy some miles off Mellieha.
Three were found to be in critical condition having swallowed sea water after suffering dehydration. They were rushed to hospital where one of them passed away. Another five migrants were also taken to hospital for urgent medical care. The migrants all men said their group had originally consisted of people but 20 perished during the voyage.
No bodies were found on the boat or at sea. They said they started their trip from Libya and had been at sea for days. After rescue by a patrol boat the migrants were taken to Haywharf the AFM maritime base where they were received by AFM personnel in biohazard suits because of the risk of Ebola. Disembarkation started about three hours after the patrol boat arrived with officials having awaited the arrival from Mater Dei Hospital of a decontamination tent which was set up purely as a precaution.
A Health Ministry spokeswoman insisted that there was no cause for alarm.
Renaissance in Italy, Volume 4 (of 7), by John Addington Symonds
The migrants have now been moved to Safi Detention Centre where they are being held in quarantine monitored by the AFM and public health authorities. Those in hospital were immediately tested for Ebola. The tests were negative. Ebola has a threeweek incubation period and the risk that the migrants carry the disease is low especially considering that the migrants spent time in Libya before heading over to Malta the spokeswoman said.
The rescue was the first in several months and came at a time when the number of migrants in detention had slipped to a low of just At one time there were over Concern on petrol prices increases by 10 points Despite a lull in migrant arrivals before last Thursday concern on immigration has risen by four points since November. Despite decreasing numbers immigration has overtaken traffic which was the top concern in the November survey.
Respondents were asked to mention the two main problems facing the country. The biggest percentage point increase over November was registered by respondents mentioning petrol prices as a major concern. Concern on petrol prices is just two points lower than that on the cost of living. Despite the absence of any boat arrivals in the past months concern on migration has gone up by eight points since March The survey shows that concern on traffic has gone down from the record levels registered in November but remains substantially higher than in March. This suggests that most Maltese do not consider unemployment much of a problem reflecting statistics showing an increase in employment figures.
Concern on the environment mostly on development issues has remained stable at five points slightly higher than in November but three points lower than in March Labour voters are more likely to be concerned about traffic and immigration but are less likely as PN voters to be concerned with petrol prices. Immigration tops the concern list of both PN and PL voters. Concern on traffic is also six points higher among PL voters. One reason for this could be that PL voters are less likely to mention problems which can be blamed on the government of the day.
Problems like roads traffic and to a certain extent migration are not directly attributable to the present government. But the percentage rises to 18 points among PN voters. This suggests that PN voters are more susceptible to PN propaganda on this issue. Respondents with a post secondary level of education those who continued studies after secondary level but did not go to university are the most likely to be concerned by rising petrol prices.
Disgruntlement among this category may be bad news for the government. For it was within this category that a major shift towards the PL occurred before the general election.
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Methodology respondents were contacted by telephone between Wednesday 7 and Tuesday 13 January. The survey was stopped when a quota sample was reached. Respondents were told that MaltaToday was conducting the survey. Its results were weighted to reflect the age and gender balance of the population. Respondents were asked how they voted in the and elections. The minister referred to the recent terrorist attack on the Corinthia Hotel in Tripoli and said that instability in the Mediterranean led to a threat to European security.
The ministers also discussed migration flows particularly in view of the challenges posed by the emerging trend of smugglers using larger vessels to transport migrants. Mr Abela emphasised Malta's role on the issue of irregular migration starting from search and rescue and stressed the need for EU states to work together including in the return of irregular migrants.
He also underlined the need for relocation of beneficiaries of protection. The ministers agreed to intensify the implementation of already agreed measures while also identifying additional measures that would contribute to the fight against terrorism. The training is aimed at facilitating social inclusion and employability and it will focus on teaching residents how to use the internet prepare a CV and look for jobs.
Education projects within the Open Centre had started over four years ago and they included courses in Cultural Orientation English Language First Aid and Food Handling and Hygiene which aimed to provide migrants with the necessary skills to enter the workforce. Dr Ahmed Bugri Managing Director of FSM said: The Marsa Open Centre is a transitory place for asylum seekers and refugees needing temporary assistance until they are able to move in the community and access mainstream services.
Bugri said that the centre which has a bed capacity of residents is focusing on offering residents with the necessary support including educational courses and health and psychological support to be able to integrate with society. The FSM believes that education is an important tool for the personal development empowerment and social inclusion of migrants into Maltese society and in Europe at large he added. Parliamentary Secretary for Competitiveness and Economic Growth Jose Herrera said that integration for good quality of life is "essential".
He added that it is a two way struggle with society and the government being obliged to do their best to integrate migrants into society and migrants needing to try their best to follow courses to enter society. We need to look into the respective niches of our society and address these on a case by case basis in order to address their individual requirements. Our immigrants are but one niche which we are targeting.
Italy's Mare Nostrum operation which ended some weeks ago had served as a deterrent to terrorists wanting to enter Europe by posing as irregular migrants Italy's under secretary responsible for intelligence Marco Minniti told a parliamentary committee yesterday. Mare Nostrum had been blamed by critics in Italy for encouraging the flows of migrants from North Africa and increasing the risk of Islamist terrorist being among them. Ansa however also quotes a report appearing in unidentified Libyan media saying ISIS is focusing on Libya as a means to get to Europe among irregular immigrants.
ISIS is reported to have said If we can take advantage of this channel the situation in these countries will turn into a living hell. The report has yet to be verified as authentic.
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Executive Director Kenneth Roth urged governments to recognize that human rights offer an effective moral guide in turbulent times and that violating rights can spark or aggravate serious security challenges. The shortterm gains of undermining core values of freedom and nondiscrimination are rarely worth the longterm price Roth said. The horrific attacks of January 7 to 9 in Paris on the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo police officers and people in a Kosher supermarket that left 17 people dead heightened concerns about terrorist attacks in Europe as well as new counterterrorism measures that restrict freedom of movement association and expression.
The antiSemitic nature of the supermarket attack a subsequent wave of Islamophobic violence in France and rampedup rhetoric from rightwing parties in a number of EU countries underscored rising intolerance in Europe and its manifestation in violence and discrimination against Muslims Jews and other minorities Human Rights Watch said. A May gun attack at a Jewish museum in Brussels that killed four people was part of a disturbing pattern of antiSemitic violence and hate speech in the EU in Other EU member states criticized Italy for rescuing tens of thousands of boat migrants in the Mediterranean.
Its massive naval operation was replaced by a much more limited operation by the EU external borders agency Frontex at the end of the year. This raises concerns that the death toll in will surpass the estimated people who perished in the Mediterranean in HRW said. While the EU is a key humanitarian donor to the Syrian crisis with the exception of Germany it showed little willingness to resettle significant numbers of refugees from Syria.
Asylum seekers generally faced significant gaps in protection including substandard reception conditions in Italy Greece France and Bulgaria and routine detention of migrants and asylum seekers including children in some cases. There were reports throughout the year of summary returns and excessive use of force by border guards in Bulgaria Greece and Spain. Computer literacy courses are being offered to migrants living at the Marsa Open Centre in a bid to help them enter the local job market.
The courses are being coordinated by the Malta Communications Authority in collaboration with the Foundation for Shelter and Support of Migrants which runs the Marsa centre. Ahmed Bugri who heads the foundation said some students were currently participating in ICT courses which ranged from a basic introduction to IT skills to advanced ecommerce.
Renaissance in Italy, Volume 4 (of 7), by John Addington Symonds
Computer literacy Dr Bugri said was an essential tool for helping migrants enter the Maltese work force and improve their quality of life. This he added would ultimately benefit Maltese society at large. Educational programmes at the Marsa centre started four years ago and include courses in cultural orientation food handling which is aimed at helping migrants enter the tourism sector and English language.
We all have the responsibility to help migrants form part of our society. This needs to be reinforced if the situation is to improve he said. Dr Herrera was making a call for renewed efforts to educate migrants on what it means to be Maltese in an attempt to bridge the gap between Maltese society and the migrant population.
I am sure that if we teach migrants about Maltese culture — what it means to be Maltese who our forefathers were what a festa is how our political system works and so on — we will bridge the gap that is stopping many migrants from integrating he said. Dr Herrera was speaking during a press conference unveiling new computer literacy courses being offered to migrants at the Marsa Open Centre. Home Affairs Minister calls for integrated approach to counter terrorism.
Abela emphasized the need for more information exchange between member states and the better use of existing tools to rapidly trace firearms. He also referred to the recent terrorist attack that occurred at the Corinthia Hotel in Tripoli Libya highlighting the need for an integrated approach to counter terrorism. Instability in the Mediterranean leads to a threat for European security he said. Abela said Malta was open to discuss necessary actions on the Schengen Code but no rushed decision should be taken. Over lunch ministers discussed migration flows particularly in view of the challenges posed by the emerging trend of smugglers using larger vessels such as ships to transport migrants.
The recent terrorist attack on the Corinthia hotel in Libya reminds us of the fragile situation in this neighbouring country. The Maltese ownership of the hotel marks an additional level of proximity Agius said. Above all he pointed out how this would undoubtedly have an adverse effect on Malta. El Senussi also pointed out that Malta is a sincere friend to the Libyan cause and can promote solutions thanks to its credibility Agius said.
The issue of terrorism within and outside of our borders has also been tackled by the Maltese MEPs. PN MEP Robert Metsola suggested that a new passenger name record system would help increase citizen safety since this would lead to a higher degree of harmonisation and sharing of information between Member States. During the January debates of the European Parliament plenary session Dalli said that whilst the EU has at times focused a lot of energy on its Eastern borders such focus came at the detriment of relations with its Southern neighbours.
She said that it was is time to reverse these trends to promote a better wellbeing for the Libyan citizens.
Some people are believed to have been displaced as a result of the ongoing conflict. With particular reference to Libya MEPs commended the UNchaired Geneva conferences as a positive first step that would hopefully lead to the reconciliation between the different factions present in Libya. Whilst political debates are of outmost importance the peacekeeping initiative led by the United Nations is also highly significant with Italy agreeing to spearhead such an initiative under the guidance of the United Nations.
The Maltese EP office said that improved conditions in Libya would also impact Malta Italy and other Mediterranean countries due to the relevance that this crisis has on immigration. A strong government and legal enforcement force is necessary to nip the rising of a new phenomenon that of ghost ships. With ghost ships hundreds of migrants are being forced on boats which are no longer seaworthy and are allowed to drift in the Mediterranean without any crew present to guide these boats towards a safe port. Lebanon reinforces restrictions with new visa rules Today marks the day where new restrictions come into force for Syrian refugees.
The unprecedented move by the Lebanese government means that Syrian refugees will have to fulfil certain criteria in order to be given a visa and enter the country. Before this move Syrians were automatically allowed to stay in Lebanon for up to six monthsThis step is aimed to curb the influx of refugees into the country with the registered refugee population standing at a whopping 1. There are a further unregistered refugees who will be greatly effected by these measures.
It is in fact unclear exactly what these new restrictions will mean for Syrians already in the country and for unregistered refugees. The United Nations High Commissioner for refugees has expressed concern at the lack of clarity of these new rules. Groups supporting and opposing the antiIslam group have held rival rallies across Germany The Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamization of the West" or Pegida have held protests throughout the country since back in October and their rallies have gained both popularity and supporters over time.
The group has been condemned by senior German politicians and it has also garnered counter demonstrators who favour a message of peace and tolerance. The Chancellor of Germany Angela Merkel has condemned the group however the group seems to be gaining in popularity as time goes by.
A poll of just over people carried out by German magazine Stern revealed that a shocking one in eight Germans would join an antiIslam march if Pegida organized one near their homes. The organiser for Pegida Kathrin Oertel has said that the country has once again been plunged into an era of political repression: "Or how would you see it when we are insulted or called racists or Nazis openly by all the political mainstream parties and media for our justified criticism of Germany's asylum seeker policies and the nonexistent immigration policy?
Photo: Reuters Chancellor Angela Merkel said yesterday she had a duty to protect the right to demonstrate in Germany regardless of the issue and offered federal security support after an antiIslam march was cancelled because of a terrorist threat. Police in the eastern city of Dresden banned all outdoor public gatherings yesterday including one by the Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamisation of the West Pegida a group that attracted people to its rally last week.
The weekly Pegida demonstrations began last October as a local protest against the building of new shelters for refugees and have been growing in size. However countermarches have taken place across Germany with far larger numbers and Merkel has condemned the group in unusually strong language as racists with hatred in their hearts.
But at a press conference yesterday she defended the right to protest: Such a precious principle has to be protected. Traditions of Roman education lingered in the Lombard cities, which boasted of secular schools, where grammarians and rhetoricians taught their art according to antique method, long after the culture of the North had passed into the hands of ecclesiastics. While the Italians thus continued the rhetorical and legal studies of the ancients, they did not forget that they were representatives and descendants of the Romans. The Republic and the Empire were for them the two most glorious epochs of their own history; and any attempt which they made to revive either literature or art, was imitative of the past.
They were not in the position to take a new departure. The material was wanting to a race that knew its own antiquity. Even when an Italian undertook a digest of the Tale of Troy or of the Life of Alexander, he converted the metrical romances of the middle ages into prose, obeying an instinct which led him to regard the classical past as part of his own history. We have already seen that this reversion of the popular imagination to Rome may be reckoned among the reasons why the victory of Legnano and the Peace of Constance were comparatively fruitless.
Of hardly less importance, as negative influences, were the failure of feudalism to take firm hold upon Italian soil, and the defect of its ideal, chivalry. From this point of view Dante's phrase of lingua aulica , to express the dialect of culture, is both scientific and significant. It will further appear in the course of this chapter that the earliest dawn of Italian literature can be traced to those minor Courts of Piedmont and the Trevisian Marches, where the people borrowed the forms of feudal society more sympathetically than elsewhere in Italy.
It must moreover be remembered that during the eleventh and twelfth centuries the force of the Italian people was concentrated upon two great political struggles, the contest of the Church with the Empire, and the War of Lombard Independence. In the prosecution of these quarrels, the Italians lost sight of letters, art, theology.
They became a race of statesmen and jurists. Their greatest divines and metaphysicians wandered northward into France and England. Their most favored university, that of Bologna, acquired a world-famed reputation as a school of jurisprudence. Legal studies and political activity occupied the attention of their ablest men. It would be difficult to overrate the magnitude of the work done during these two centuries. In the course of them, the Italians gave final form to the organism of the Papacy, which must be regarded as a product of their constructive genius.
They developed Republican governments of differing types in each of their great cities, and made, for the first time since the foundation of the Empire, the name of People sovereign. They resuscitated Roman law, and reorganized the commerce of the Mediterranean. Thus, through the people's familiarity with Latin; through the survival of Roman grammar schools and the memory of Roman local institutions; through a paramount and all-pervading enthusiasm for the Roman past; through the lack of new legendary and epical material; through the failure of feudalism, and through the political ferment attending on the Wars of Investment and Independence, the Italians were slow to produce a modern language and a literature of modern type.
They came late into the field; and when they took their place at last, their language presented a striking parallel to their political condition. As they failed to acquire a solid nationality, but remained split up into petty States, united by a Pan-Italic sentiment; so they failed to form a common speech. The written Italian of the future was used in its integrity by no one province; each district clinging to its dialect with obstinate pride. Their education during two centuries of strife was not without effect.
The conditions of burghership in their free communes, the stirring of their political energies, the liberty of their popolo , and the keen sense of reality developed by their legal studies, prepared men like Dante and Guido Cavalcanti for solving the problems of art in a resolute, mature and manly spirit, fully conscious of the aim before them, and self-possessed in the assurance of adult faculties. In the first, or, as it may be termed, the Latin period of medieval culture, there was not much to distinguish the Italians from the rest of Europe.
Those Lombard schools, of which mention has already been made, did indeed maintain the traditions of decadent classical education more alive than among the peoples of the North. Better Latin, and particularly more fluent Latin verse, was written during the dark ages in Italy than elsewhere. Their previous vantage-ground had been lost in the political distractions of their country. At the same time, they were the first jurists and the hardiest, if not the most philosophical, freethinkers of Europe.
This is a point which demands at least a passing notice. Their practical studies, and the example of an emperor at war with Christendom, helped to form a sect of epicureans in Italy, for whom nothing sanctioned by ecclesiastical authority was sacred. To these pioneers of modern incredulity Dante assigned not the least striking Cantos of the Inferno. Their appearance in the thirteenth century, during the ascendancy of Latin culture, before the people had acquired a language, is one of the first manifestations of a national bias toward positive modes of thought and feeling, which we recognize alike in Boccaccio and Ariosto, Machiavelli and Guicciardini, Pomponazzi and the speculators of the South Italian School.
It was the quality, in fact, which fitted the Italians for their work in the Renaissance. As metaphysicians, in the stricter sense of that word, they have been surpassed by Northern races. Their religious sense has never been so vivid, nor their opposition to established creeds so earnest. But throughout modern history their great men have manifested a practical and negative good sense, worldly in its moral tone, impervious to pietistic influences, antagonistic to mysticism, contented with concrete reality, which has distinguished them from the more fervent, boyish, sanguine, and imaginative enthusiasts of Northern Europe.
We are tempted to speculate whether, as they were the heirs of ancient civility and grew up among the ruins of Roman greatness so they were born spiritually old and disillusioned. Another point which distinguished the Italians in this Latin period of their literature, was the absence of the legendary or myth-making faculty. It is not merely that they formed no epic, and gave birth to no great Saga; but they accepted the fabulous matter, transmitted to them from other nations, in a prosaic and positive spirit. This does not imply that they exercised a critical faculty, or passed judgment on the products of the medieval fancy.
On the contrary, they took legend for fact, and treated it as the material of history. Hector, Alexander, and Attila were stripped of their romantic environments, and presented in the cold prose of a digest, as persons whose acts could be sententiously narrated. This attitude of the Italians toward the Saga is by no means insignificant.
When their poets came to treat Arthurian or Carolingian fables in the epics of Orlando, they apprehended them in the same positive spirit, adding elements of irony and satire. It is not needful to dwell upon this aspect of the national culture, since it presents no specific features. What is most to our purpose, is to note the affectionate remembrance of Rome and Roman worthies, which endured in each great town.
The people, as distinguished from the feudal nobility, were and ever felt themselves to be the heirs of the old Roman population. Therefore the soldiers on guard against the Huns at Modena in , sang in their barbarous Latin verse of Hector and the Capitol  :. A rhyming chronicler of Pisa compared the battles of the burghers against the Saracens with the Punic wars. The tomb of Virgil at Naples was an object for pilgrimage, and one of the few spots round which a group of local legends clustered.
The memory of Livy added luster to Padua, and Mussato boasted that her walls, like those of Troy, her mother-city, were sacrosanct. Florence clung to the mutilated statue of Mars upon her bridge with almost superstitious reverence, as proof of Roman origin; while Siena adopted for her ensign the she-wolf and the Roman twins. Pagan customs survived, and were jealously maintained in the central and southern provinces; and the name of the Republic sufficed to stir Arnold's revolution in Rome, long before the days of Rienzi. To the mighty German potentate, King Frederick Barbarossa, attended with his Northern chivalry, a handful of Romans dared to say: "Thou wast a stranger; I, the City, gave thee civic rights.
Thou camest from transalpine regions; I have conferred on thee the principality. Enough, however, has been said to show that through the gloom of medieval history, before humanism had begun to dawn, and while the other nations were creating legends and popular epics, Italy maintained a dim but tenacious sense of her Roman past. While the Italians were fighting the Wars of Investiture and Independence, two literatures had arisen in the country which we now call France.
The master-product of the latter was the Song of Roland, which, together with the after-birth of Arthurian romance, flooded Europe with narratives, embodying in a more or less epical form the ideals, enthusiasms, and social creed of Chivalry. The influence of feudal culture, communicated through these two distinct but closely connected channels, was soon felt in Italy. The second phase of Italian development has been called Lombard, because it was chiefly in the north of the peninsula that the motive force derived from France was active. Yet if we regard the matter of this new literature, rather than its geographical distribution, we shall more correctly designate it by the title Franco-Italian.
In the first or Latin period, the Italians used an ancient language. They now adopted not only the forms but also the speech of the people from whom they received their literary impulse. It is probable that the Lombard dialects were still too rough to be accommodated to the new French style. The cultivated classes were familiar with Latin, and had felt no need of raising the vernacular above the bare necessities of intercourse. But the superior social development of the French courts and castles must be reckoned the main reason why their language was acclimatized in Italy together with their literature.
Just as the Germans before the age of Herder adopted polite culture, together with the French tongue, ready-made from France, so now the Lombard nobles, bordering by the Riviera upon Provence, borrowed poetry, together with its diction, from the valley of the Rhone. Passing along the Genoese coast, crossing the Cottian Alps, and following the valley of the Po, the languages of France and Provence diffused themselves throughout the North of Italy.
With the langue d'oc came the various forms of troubadour lyric. Without displacing the local dialects, these imported languages were used and spoken purely by the nobles; while a hybrid, known as franco-italian , sprang up for the common people who listened to the tales of Roland and Rinaldo on the market-place. The district in which the whole mass of this foreign literature seems to have flourished most at first, was the Trevisan March, stretching from the Adige, along the Po, beyond the Brenta and past Venice, to the base of the Friulian Alps.
Exactly to define the period of Trevisan culture would be difficult. It is probable that it began to flourish about the end of the twelfth, and declined in the middle of the thirteenth century. Dante alludes to it in a famous passage of the Purgatory  :. There are many traces of advanced French civilization in this district, among which may be mentioned the exhibition of Miracle Plays upon the French type at Civitale in the years and , and the Castello d'Amore at Treviso described by Rolandini in the year Francis first composed poetry in French. So late as the middle of the fourteenth century this habit had not died out.
Dante in the Convito thought it necessary to stigmatize "those men of perverse mind in Italy who commend the vulgar tongue of foreigners and depreciate their own. We have seen that the language and the matter of this imported literature were twofold; and we can distinguish two distinct currents, after its reception into Italy. The person of one of them, Sordello, is familiar to every reader of the Purgatory. The second tide of influence passed from Northern France together with the epics of chivalry.
We can trace for instance a marked difference between the effect produced by the Chansons de Geste and that of the Arthurian tales. The latter seem to have been appropriated by the nobles, while the former found acceptance with the people. Nor was this unnatural. At the opening of the twelfth century the Carolingian Cycle had begun to lose its vogue among the polished aristocracy of France. That uncompromising history of warfare hardly suited a society which had developed the courtesy and the romance of chivalry.
It represented the manners of an antecedent age of feudalism. Therefore the tales of the Round Table arose to satisfy the needs of knights and ladies, whose thoughts were turned to love, the chase, the tournament, and errantry. The Arthurian myth idealized their newer and more refined type of feudal civility. It was upon the material of this romantic Epic that the nobles of North Italy fastened with the greatest eagerness. No one has forgotten how the tragedy of Lancelot and Guinevere proved, in a later day, the ruin of Francesca and her lover. The Chansons de Geste formed the stock in trade of those Cantatores Francigenarum , who crowded the streets and squares of Lombard cities.
The Carolingian Cycle, on the contrary, introduced personages with a good right to be considered historical, and dwelt upon familiar names and traditional ideas. We are not, therefore, surprised to find that this Epic took a strong hold on the popular imagination, and so penetrated the Italian race as to assume a new form on Italian soil, while the Arthurian romance survived as a pastime of the upper classes, and underwent no important metamorphosis at their hands. In the course of this volume, I shall have to show how, when Italian literature emerged again from the people after nearly a century of neglect, it was the transformed tale of Charlemagne and Roland which supplied the Italian nation with its master-works of epic poetry—the Morgante and the two Orlandos.
The Lombard, or rather the Franco-Italian period is marked by the adoption of a foreign language and foreign fashions. Literature at this stage was exotic and artificial; but the legacy transmitted to the future was of vast importance. On the other hand, the populace who listened to the Song of Roland on the market-place, prepared the necessary conditions for a specific and eminently characteristic product of Italian genius. Without a national epic, the Italians were forced to borrow from the French.
But what they borrowed, they transmuted—not merely adding new material, like the tale of Gano's treason and the fiction of Orlando's birth at Sutri, but importing their own spirit, positive, ironical and incredulous, into the substance of the legend. In the course of Italianizing the tale of Roland, the native dialects made their first effort to assume a literary form. We possess sufficient MS. The process was not one of pure translation. The dialects were not fit for such performance. It may rather be described as the attempt of the dialects to acquire capacity for studied expression.
With French poems before them, the popular rhapsodes introduced dialectical phrases, substituted words, and, where this was possible, modified the style in favor of the dialect they wished to use. French still pre dominated. But the hybrid was of such a nature that a transition from this mixed jargon to the dialect, presented in a literary shape, was imminent. There is sufficient ground for presuming that the Italian dialects triumphed simultaneously in all parts of the peninsula about the middle of the thirteenth century.
The peculiar problems offered by the conditions of poetry at Frederick II. It is difficult to understand the third or Sicilian period of literature without hypothesizing an antecedent stage of vulgar poetry produced in local dialects. But, owing to the scarcity of documents, no positive facts regarding the date and mode of their emergence can be adduced. We have on this point to deal with matters of delicate conjecture and minute inference; and though it might seem logical to introduce at once a discussion on the growth of the Italian language, and its relation to the dialects which were undoubtedly spoken before they were committed to writing, special reasons induce me to defer this topic for the present.
While the North of Italy was deriving the literature both of its cultivated classes and of the people from France, a new and still more important phase of evolu tion was preparing in the South. Both Dante and Petrarch recognize the Sicilian poets as the first to cultivate the vulgar tongue with any measure of success, and to raise it to the dignity of a literary language.
In this opinion they not only uttered the tradition of their age, but were also without doubt historically correct. Whatever view may be adopted concerning the formation of the lingua illustre , or polished Italian, from the dialectical elements already employed in local kinds of poetry, there is no disputing the importance of the Sicilian epoch. We cannot fix precise dates for its duration. Yet, roughly speaking, it may be said to have begun in , when troubadours of some distinction gathered round the person of the Norman king, William II. It culminated during the reign of the Emperor Frederick II.
Dante called Frederick, Cherico grande. The author of the Cento Novelle described him as veramente specchio del mondo in parlare et in costumi , and spoke of his capital as the resort of la gente ch'avea bontade It is impossible in these pages to inquire into the views of this great ruler for the resuscitation of culture in Italy, which, had he not been thwarted in his policy by the Church, might have anticipated the Renaissance by two centuries. Yet the opinion may be hazarded that the cultivation of Italian as a literary language was due in no small measure to the forethought and deliberate intention of an Emperor, who preferred his southern to his northern provinces.
This seems to indicate both purpose and prevision on his part. Wishing to found an Italian dynasty, and to acclimatize the civilization of Provence in his southern capitals, he was careful to promote purely Italian studies. There can at any rate be no doubt that during his reign and under his influence very considerable progress was made towards fixing the diction and the forms of poetry. He found dialects, not merely spoken, but already adapted to poetical expression, in more than one district of Italy.
From these districts the most eminent artists flocked to his Court. It was there that a common type of speech was formed, which, when the burghers of Central Italy began to emulate the versifiers of Palermo, furnished them with an established style. How the lingua aulica came into being admits of much debate. The difficulty of understanding the problem is in part removed when we remember the variety of representatives from noble towns of Italy who met in Frederick's circle, the tendencies of a dialect to refine itself when it assumes a literary form, and the continuous influences of Court-life in common.
Italians gathered round the person of the sovereign at Palermo from their native cities, must in ordinary courtesy have abandoned the crudities of their respective idioms. That this generic or Court Italian was at root Sicilian, we have substantial reasons to believe; but that it exactly resembled the Sicilian of to-day, which does not greatly differ from extant documents of thirteenth and fourteenth century Sicilian dialect, seems too crude a supposition.
Few poems of the Sicilian period, as will appear in the sequel, have descended to us in their primitive form. Not only was a common language instituted in the Court of Frederick; but the metrical forms of subsequent Italian poetry were either fixed or suggested by the practice of these early versifiers.
Few subjects are involved in darker obscurity than the history of meters—the creation of rhythmical structures whereby one national literature distinguishes itself from another. The Italian hendecasyllabic, the French Alexandrian, the English heroic iambic, are obvious examples. This selection of a characteristic meter, and the essays through which the race arrives at its perfection, seem to imply some instinct, planted within the deeps of national personality, whereof the laws have not been formulated.
When we speak of the genius of a language, we do but personify this instinct, which appears to exercise itself at an early period of national development, leaving for subsequent centuries the task of refining and completing what had been projected at the outset. Therefore, nothing very distinct can be asserted about the origin of the hendecasyllable iambic line, which marks Italian poetry. The rhyming system of the octave stanza may possibly be traced in Ciullo d'Alcamo's tenzone between the lover and his mistress; though it still needed a century of elaboration at the hands of popular rispetti -writers, to present it in completed form to Boccaccio's muse.
At the same time the highwrought structure of the Canzone , destined to play so triumphant a part during the whole period of the trecento , receives its essential outlines from the rhymers of this age, especially from Jacopo da Lentino and Guido delle Colonne. Though the forms and language of Sicilian poetry decided the destinies of Italian, the substance of this literature was far from being national. After running a brilliant course in Provence, the poetry of chivalrous love was now declining to its decadence.
It had ceased to be the spontaneous expression of a dominant ideal, and had degenerated into a pastime for dilettanti. Its style had become conventional; its phrases fixed. The visionary science upon which it was based, had to be studied in codes of doctrine and repeated with pedantic precision. Frederick and his courtiers received it at the point of its extinction. They adhered as closely as possible to traditional forms, imitated time-honored models, and confined their efforts to the reproduction of the old art in a new vehicle of language.
Therefore, vernacular Italian poetry in this first stage of its existence presents the curious spectacle of literature decrepit in the cradle, hampered with the euphuism of an exhausted manner before it could move freely, and taught to frame conceits and cold antitheses before it learned to lisp. Yet a careful student of these Canzoni, Serventesi, and Tenzoni, will discover much that is both natural and graceful, much that is elevated in thought, much again that belongs to the crude sensuousness of Southern temperament.
What might have been the destiny of Italian literature, if the Suabian House had maintained its hold on the Two Sicilies, and this process of fusion had been completed at Naples or Palermo, cannot even be surmised. We can only trace faint indications of a progress toward greater freedom and more spontaneous inspiration, as the "courtly makers" yielded to the singers of the people.
The battle of Benevento extinguished at one blow both the hopes of the Suabian dynasty and the development of Sicilian poetry. When Manfred's body had been borne naked on a donkey from the battle-field to his nameless grave, amid the cries of Chi compra Manfredi? Arthur was dead, and would never come again. Chivalry and feudalism had held their brief and feeble sway in Italy, and that was over. Neither in Lombardy among the castles, nor in Sicily within the Court, throbbed the real life of the Italian nation.
That life was in the Communes. It beat in the heart of the people—especially of that people who had made nobility a crime beside the Arno, and had outlawed the Scioperati from their City of the Flower. What the Suabian princes gave to Italy was the beginning of a common language. It remained for Tuscany to stamp that language with her image and superscription, to fix it in its integrity for all future ages, and to render it the vehicle of stateliest science and consummate art.
The question of the origin of the Italian language pertains rather to philology than to the history of culture. Dante's De Eloquio , though based on unscientific principles of analysis, opened a discussion which exercised the acutest intellects of the sixteenth century. During the whole Roman period, it is certain that literary Latin differed in important respects from the vulgar, rustic or domestic, language. Thus while a Roman gentleman would have said habeo pulchrum equum , his groom probably expressed the same thought in words like these: ego habeo unum bellum caballum.
The vulgar or rustic Latin continued, side by side with its literary counterpart, throughout the middle ages, forming in the first centuries of imperial decline the common speech of the Romance peoples, and gradually assuming those specific forms which determined the French, Spanish, and Italian types. There is little doubt that, could we possess ourselves of sufficient documents, we should be able to trace the stages in this process.
Both literary and vulgar Latin suffered transformation—the former declining in purity, variety, and vigor; the latter diverging dialectically into the constituents of the three grand families of modern Latin. But the metamorphosis was not of the same nature in both cases. While the literary language had been fixed, arrested, and delivered over to death, the vulgar tongue retained a vivid and assimilative life, capable of biological transmutation.
French, Spanish, and Italian are modes of its existence continued under laws of organic variety and change. It would be unscientific to suppose that rustic Latin, even in the most flourishing period of the Roman Empire, was identical in all provinces. From the first it must have held within itself the principles of differentiation.
And when we consider the varying conditions of soil, climate, ethnological admixture and political development in the several regions of the Roman world, together with the divers influences of contiguous or invasive races, we shall form some notion of the process by which the three languages in question branched off from the common stock of rustic Latin. The same laws of differentiation hold good with regard to the dialects in each of these new languages.
It is improbable that absolutely the same vulgar Latin was at any epoch spoken in two remote districts of the same province—on the Tuscan sea-coast, for example, and on the banks of Padus. Again, the same conditions climatic, ethnological, political, and so forth which helped to determine the generic distinctions of French, Spanish, and Italian, determined also the specific distinctions of one Italian dialect from another.
Those of the north-west, for instance, inclined to Gallic, and those of the north-east to Illyrian idiom. Those of Lombardy in general exhibit a mixture of German words. Those of Sicily and the south approximate more to a Spanish type, and share the effects of Greek and Arab occupation. The dialects of the center, especially the Tuscan, show marked superiority both in grammatical form and phonetic purity over the more disintegrated and corrupted idioms of north and south.
It might be suggested that Tuscan, being less modified by foreign contact, continued the natural life of the old rustic Latin according to laws of unimpeded self-development. But, however we may attempt to explain this problem, the fact remains that, while the Italian dialects present affinities which show them to be of one linguistic family, it is Tuscan that completes and inter prets them collectively.
It is a dialect, but a dialect that realized the bent and striving of the language. We find it difficult to feel, far more to state, what qualities in a dialect and in the people of the district who use it, render one idiom more adapted to literary usage, more characteristic of the language it helps to constitute, more plastic and expressive of national peculiarities, than those around it.
But the fact is certain that this superiority in Tuscan was early recognized;  and that too without any political advantages in favor of its triumph. Boniface VIII. It was something spiritually quintessential, something complementary to the sister dialects, which caused the success of Tuscan. Thus, while literary Latin, though dying and almost dead, was taught in the grammar schools and used by learned men, the rustic Latin in the thirteenth century had disappeared. But this disappearance was not death.
It was transformation. The group of dialects which represented the new phase in its existence, shared such common qualities as proved them to have had original affinity; and fitted them for being recognized as a single family. The position, therefore, of the Italians at the close of the thirteenth century with regard to language, was this.
They possessed the classic Latin authors in a bad state of preservation, and studied a few of them with some minuteness, basing their own learned style upon the imitation of Virgil and Ovid, Cicero, Boethius, and the rhetoricians of the lower empire. But at home, in their families, upon the market-place, and in the prosecution of business, they talked the local dialects, each of which was more or less remotely representative of the ancient vulgar Latin.
However these dialects might differ, they formed in combination a new language, distinct from the parent stock of Rustic Latin, and equally distinct from French and Spanish. If this was true of the refined type of Tuscan used by a great master, it was no less true of dialectical compositions selected for the express purpose of exhibiting their rudeness. Dante clearly expected contemporary readers not only to interpret, but to appreciate the shades of greater and lesser nicety in the examples he culled from Roman, Apulian, Florentine and other vernacular literatures. This expectation proves that he felt himself to be dealing with a group of dialects which, taken collectively, formed a common idiom.
The desideratum, to use Dante's words, was "that illustrious, cardinal, courtly, curial mother-tongue, proper to each Italian State, special to none, whereby the local idioms of every city are to be measured, weighed, and compared. The peculiar conditions of Italy, as he described them, were destined to subsist throughout the next two centuries and a half, when men of learning, taking Tuscan as their standard, sought by practice and example to form a national language.
The self-consciousness of the Italians front to front with this problem, as revealed to us in the pages of the De Eloquio , and the decision with which the great authors of the fourteenth century fixed a certain type of diction, accurately spoken nowhere, though nearer to the Tuscan than to any other idiom, may be reckoned among the most interesting phenomena in the history of literature. Tuscan predominated; but that the masterpieces of the trecento were not composed in any one of the unadulterated Tuscan dialects is clear, not merely from the contemporary testimony of Dante himself, but also from the obstinate discussions raised upon this subject by Bembo at a later period.
A guiding and controlling principle of taste determined the instinctive method of selection whereby Tuscan was adapted to the common needs of Italy. Written for and by the people, the relics of this prose and poetry are valuable, not merely for the light they throw on the formation of language, but also for their indications of national tendencies. To this class again belongs Bonvesin's Cinquanta Cortesie da Tavola , a book of etiquette adapted to the needs of the small bourgeoisie upon their entrance into social life.
It is impossible to fix even an approximate date for the emergence of Italian prose. Law documents, deeds of settlement, contracts, and public acts, which can be referred with certainty to the first half of the thirteenth century, display a pressure of the vulgar speech upon the formal Latin of official verbiage. The effort to obtain precision in designating some particular locality or some important person, forces the scribe back upon his common speech; and these evidences of difficulty in wielding the Latin which had now become a dying language, prove that, long before it was written, Italian was spoken.
Then follow Lucchese documents and letters of Sienese citizens, which, though they have no literary value, show that people who could write had begun to express their thoughts in spoken idiom. Among these a prominent place must be assigned to the version of Marco Polo's travels, which Rusticiano of Pisa first published in French, having possibly received them in Venetian from the traveler's own lips.
The Tesoro of Brunetto Latini and Egidio's De Regimine Principum were Italianized in this way; while numerous digests of Frankish romances, including the collection known as Conti di antichi Cavalieri , appeared to meet the same popular demand. Religious history and ethics furnished another library in the vernacular.
After a like manner, books of rhetoric and grammar in vogue among the medieval students were popularized in abstracts for Italian readers. Of scientific compilations, the Composizione del Mondo by Ristoro of Arezzo, embracing astronomical and geographical information, takes rank with the ethical and rhetorical works already mentioned. The note of all these compositions is that they are professedly epitomes of learning, already possessed in more authentic sources by scholars.
As such, they prove that there existed a class of readers eager for instruction, to whom books written in Latin or in French were not accessible. In a word, they indicate the advent of the modern tongue, with all its exigencies and with all its capabilities. To deal with the Chronicles of this period is no easy matter; for those which are professedly the oldest—Matteo Spinelli's Ricordano Malespini's, and Lu Ribellamentu di Sicilia —have been proved in some sense fabrications.
On the other hand, it is clear from the Cento Novelle that the more dramatic episodes of history and myth were being submitted to the same epitomizing treatment. Finally we have to mention Guittone of Arezzo's epistles as the first serious attempt to treat the vulgar tongue rhetorically, for a distinct literary purpose. From the dry records of incipient prose it is refreshing to turn to another species of popular poetry; for poetry in the period of origins is always more adult than prose. Numerous fragments of political songs have been disinterred from chronicles, which can be referred to the thirteenth century.
Thus an anonymous Genoese rhymster celebrated the victories of Laiazzo and Curzola , while Giovanni Villani preserved six lines upon the siege of Messina More important, because of greater extent, are the laments and amorous or comic poems, which can be attributed to the same century. Passing to satirical poems, I may mention two pieces extracted from a Bolognese MS.