Home: Naples Archaeological Museum. Texts and Translations, by Eugene Dwyer

1. (Circum Anno 1749) In gilded bronze letters over the entrance to the Herculanense Musaeum

 

HERCVLEAE EXVVIAS VRBIS TRAXISSE VESEVI EX

FAVCIBVS VNA VIDEN REGIA VIS POTVIT

 

 

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1. (Anno 1821)  Inscribed base under Canova=s statue of Ferdinand I, now (2001) displayed on Grand Staircase

 

FERDINANDO  I  BORBONIO

 

REGNI  VTRIVSQVE  SICILIAE  REGI  PIO  FELICI  AVGVSTO

RELIGIONIS  ET  PVBLICAE  SECVRITATIS  INVICTO  CONSERVATORI

QVI  HAS  AEDES  IAM  OLIM  SCIENTIARVM  DOMICILIVM  AB  AVGVSTO

PARENTE  CAROLO  REGE  AMOTO  STATIONARIO  MILITE  MVSIS  RESTITVTAS

IN  AMPLIOREM  DIGNIOREMQVE  FORMAM  EVEXIT  ET  IN  EAS  EXQVISITAM

VNDIQVE  TABVLARVM  COPIAM  GENVS  OMNE  SIGNORVM  LIBRORVM

ELEGANTIORVMQVE  OPERVM  CVM  AVITA  FARNESIANAE  FAMILIAE

LITTERARIA  SVPELLECTILE  ET  OMNIGENA ANTIQVITATIS  GAZA

E  POMPEIANIS  HERCVLANENSIBVS  ALIISQVE  EFFOSSIONIBVS

ERVTA  INFERRI  ET  HEIC  ASSERVARI  IVSSIT  PATRIAE  GLORIAE

ET  STVDIOSORVM  COMMODO  ADPRIME  CONSVLENS  VNDE  HVIC

TAM  INSIGNI  MVSEO  BORBONICI  NOMEN  INDIDIT  EIQVE  BORBONICAM

DOCTORVM  HOMINVM  SOCIETATEM  IN  TRES  ACADEMIAS  TRIBVTAM

HERCVLANENSEM  NEMPE  ANTIQVORVM  TEMPORVM  ET  SCIENTIARVM

BONARVMQVE  ARTIVM  ADIVNXIT  SIMVLACRVM  EX  MARMORE

CVM  TITVLO  DEDICATVM  ANNO  MDCCCXXI

 

OPVS  ANTONII  CANOVAE

 

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Translation:

 

To Ferdinand  I  Bourbon,

 

King of the Two Sicilies, pius, happy, August,

unvanquished protector of religion and public safety,

who, after his August father King Charles removed the military base, has raised these halls,

once the home of the sciences, having restored them to the muses in more ample and dignified form and

for the glory of his realm, has ordained to be brought to them and henceforth conserved

an exquisite abundance of paintings from all the schools, all kinds of statues,

books, and works of art together with his inheritance from the Farnese family

of literary works and furniture and the diverse treasure taken from

Pompeii, Herculaneum, and other excavations, and considering above all else

the advantage of scholars, has now and henceforth

given to the museum the name Borbonic of such renown and

has annexed to it the Borbonic Society of learned men, divided into three academies,

the Herculanean, as all know, of ancient times, of the sciences, and of the fine arts,

this portrait of marble with its inscription has been dedicated in the year 1821

 

The work of Antonio Canova

 

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2.  (Anno 1869)  Twelve marble tablets set into the walls of Grand Staircase:

 

 

 

 

 

I

 

D. PIETRO GIRON DVCA DI OSSVNI

QVI TRASPORTATA NEL MDLXXXVI

LA REGIA CAVALLERIZZA

PER DIFETTO DI ACQVE

LA RESTITVIVA PRESSO  IL SEBETO

D. PIETRO FERNANDEZ DI CASTRO

CONTE DI LEMOS

LO ABBANDONATO EDIFIZIO

MVTAVA IN R. VNIVERSITA DEGLI STVDI

E SPLENDIDAMENTE AMPLIATO

LO INAVGVRAVA CON POMPA SOLENNE

IL XIV GIVGNO MDCXV

 

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II

 

LA R. VNIVERSITA

DEVASTATA

NEI TVMVLTI POPVLARI DEL MDCXLVII

CADENTE

PEL TREMVOTO DEL MDCLXXXVIII

QVI RESTAVA SINO AL MDCCI

QVANDO PER LA CONGIVRA DI MACCHIA

DISCACCIATI GLI STVDIOSI

VI ALBERGARONO I SOLDATI

CARLO III BORBONE

FATTI RIPARARE I DANNI

NE RIAPRIVA LE SCVOLE NEL MDCCXXXV

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III

 


FERDINANDO IV BORBONE

SPVLSI GESVITI DAL REAME NEL MDCCLXVII

ORDINAVA

SI TRASPORTASSE NEL GESV VECCHIO

LA R. VINVERSITA DEGLI STVDI

FOSSERO QVI SPLENDIDAMENTE ALLOGATI

IL MUSEO ERCOLANESE

LA QVADRERIA  LA BIBLIOTECA

IL MEDAGLIERE I VASI ANTICHI

VI AVESSERO STANZA

LE SCVOLE DELLE ARTI DEL DISEGNO

IL LAVORATORIO DELLE PIETRE DVRE

LA STAMPERIA REALE

LE OFFICINE DELLA INCISIONE E DEI RESTAVRI

 

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IV

 

DIRESSERO LA COSTRVZIONE

ED I RESTAVRI DI QVESTO EDIFIZIO

DAL MDCXI AL MDCCCXXXV

GIVL. CESARE FONTANA FERDIN. SANFELICE

FERDINANDO FVGA

POMPEO SCHIANTARELLI FRANC. MARESCA

ANTONIO BONVCCI

GLI VLTIMI DEI QVALI VI TRASFERIRONO

PER REGALE COMANDO

I MONVMENTI PREVENVTI DI ROMA

IL MVSEO DI CAPODIMONTE

OPERE DI ARTE DEL R. PALAGIO DI PORTICI

E QVELLE PRIMA DEPOSITATE

NELLE CASE FRANCAVILLA E CARAMANICO

 

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V

 

FERDINANDO IV BORBONE

FVGGENDO DI NAPOLI

IL XXI DICEMBRE MDCCXCVIII

E NEL GENNAIO MDCCCVI

TRAETA SECO IN PALERMO

I PIV INSIGNI MONVMENTI

IN QVESTO LVOGO RACCOLTI

ALTRI NE INVOLAVA

IN NOME DELLA LIBERTA

IL VINCITORE STRANIERO NEL MDCCIC

MA QVEI TESORI

QVI FACEVANO AVVENTVROSAMENTE RITORNO

NEL MDCCCI E NEL MDCCCXVII

 

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VI

 

GIVSEPPE NAPOLEONE BONAPARTE

ORDINATO ED APERTO IL MVSEO

NE COSTITVIVA IL GOVERNO

VI AGGREGAVA

A SOPRANTENDENZA GENERALE DEGLI SCAVI

DAVA SEDE NELLO STESSO EDIFIZIO

ALLA SOPRANTENDENZA DEI PAPIRI ERCOLANESI

ED ALLA R. ACCADEMIA DI STORIA E DI ANTICHITA

CHE MVTATO NOME

PER NVOVI STATVTI PROMVLGATI NEL MDCCCXVII

VENNE QVINCI APPELLATA

SOCIETA REALE BORBONICA

 

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VII

 

GIOACCHINO MVRAT

PER GLI SCAVI ALACREMENTE CONDOTTI

IN POMPEI ED ALTROVE

FECE MAGGIORI LE DOVIZIE DEL MVSEO

SCOPRI IL GRECO SEPOLCRETO

CHE LO RASENTA

DAL LATO DI SETTENTRIONE

VI AGGIVNSE

I MONVMENTI BORGIANI DI VELLETRI

E LA TESTA EQVINA DI BRONZO

ANTICA INSEGNA

DELLA CITTA DI NAPOLI

 

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VIII

 

FERDINANDO I  FRANCESCO I  FERDINANDO II

BORBONI

CHE AMPLIARONO IL MVSEO CON LE RACCOLTE

NOIA  VIVENZIO  DANIELE  FICCO  CERVONE

FALCONET  LAMBERTI  RISPOLI  PICCHIANTI

DI GENNARO  GENVA  FORCELLA  GARGIVLO

E CON I DONI

DEL POLI  DELLO ARDITI  DEL SANGIORGIO

LO DICHIARARONO LORO PROPRIETA ALLODIALE

INDIPENDENTE DAI BENI DELLA CORONA

INTITOLANDOLO

REALE MVSEO BORBONICO

 

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IX

 

GIVSEPPE GARIBALDI

DITTATORE

PROCLAMANDO PROPRIETA NAZIONALE

IL MVSEO E GLI SCAVI

QVESTI DOTAVA DI PIV LARGO ASSEGNAMENTO

PERCHE PROCEDESSE NON INTERROTTA E SPEDITA

LA SCOPERTA DI POMPEI

ORDINAVA

SI RIAPRISSERO LE RIBADITE PORTE

DELLE SALE RISERVATE

SALVANDO DA INEVITABILE ROVINA

MONVMENTI PREZIOSI DI PITTVRA E DI PLASTICA

 

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X

 

VITTORIO EMANVELE II

DECRETAVA

IL RIORDINAMENTO DEL MVSEO NAZIONALE

NE MODIFICAVA IL GOVERNO

STATVIVA CHE VI SI CVSTODISSERO

LA RACCOLTA CVMANA DEL CONTE DI SIRACVSA

DONATA DAL PRINCIPE DI CARIGNANO

IL MVSEO SANTANGELO

ACQVISTATO PER PVBBLICO VSO

DAL MVNICIPIO DI NAPOLI

GLI ARAZZI LEGATI DAL MARCHESE DEL VASTO

LA COLLEZIONE PALATINA DELLE STAMPE

IL MEDAGLIERE DELLA R. ZECCA

LA SVPPELLETTILE STORICA

DELLE OFFICINE MONETARIE

 


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XI

 

A RENDERE PIV SPLENDIDA

LA COLLOCAZIONE DEGLI ANTICHI MONVMENTI

FVRONO IN TEMPI DIVERSI

ALLOCATE ALTROVE

LA SOCIETA REALE  LE OFFICINE

LE SCVOLE DELLE ARTI DEL DISEGNO

QVI SI MANTENNE SOLTANTO

PER LA SVA ORIGINARIA IMPORTANZA

E PER LA INSIGNE COLLEZIONE

DI CODICI E MANOSCRITTE

LA BIBLIOTECA NAZIONALE

CHE VI HA SEDE CON SEPARATO GOVERNO

 

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XII

 

QVESTE LEGGENDE POSTE NEL MDCCCLXIX

A RICORDARE

LE ORIGINI E LE MVTAZIONI AVVENVTE

NELLO STORICO EDIFIZIO CHE LE CONTIENE

ATTESTANO

I NVOVI ORDINAMENTI ED I RESTAVRI

INIZIATI NEL MDCCCLXI

LA GRANDIOSA AGGREGAZIONE

FATTA AL MVSEO NAZIONALE

DOPO ABOLITI I SODALIZI MONASTICI

DEL CENOBIO DI S. TERESA DEGLI SCALZI

E DELLA MONVMENTALE CERTOSA DI S. MARTINO

 

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Translation:

 

I. Don Pietro Giron, Duke of Ossuna, transferred the royal stables here in 1586.  Due to the lack of adequate water, he moved them back to the Sebeto River.  Don Pietro Fernandez di Castro, Count of Lemos, transformed the abandoned building into the Royal University >degli Studi= and inaugurated it, in its splendid new form, with solemn ceremony on 14 June 1615.

 

II. The Royal University, damaged in the uprisings of 1647, and having been further damaged in the earthquake of 1688, remained here until 1701, when the scholars were driven out through the >conspiracy of the Macchia= and soldiers were lodged there.  Charles III Bourbon repaired the damage to the building and reopened the schools in 1735.

 

III. Ferdinand IV Bourbon expelled the Jesuits from the kingdom in 1767 and ordered the University >degli Studi= to be moved to the former Jesuit property (Il Gesu Vecchio).  He installed here in splendor the Herculaneum Museum, the Painting Collection, the Library the Numismatic Collection, and the Collection of Ancient Vases.  He also gave rooms to the Schools of the Fine Arts, the Mosaic Workshop, the Royal Printing Works, and the Offices of Engraving and of Restoration.

 

IV. Giulio Cesare Fontana, Ferdinando Sanfelice, Ferdinando Fuga, Pompeo Schiantarelli, Francesco Maresca, and Antonio Bonucci directed the construction and the restoration of this building from 1611 to 1835.  The last of these transferred by royal command the monuments brought from Rome, from the Museum of Capodimonte, the works of art from the Royal Palace at Portici and those first deposited in the palaces of Francavilla and Caramanico.

 

V. Ferdinando IV Bourbon, fleeing Naples on 21 December 1798 and again in January 1806 carried with him to Palermo the most famous monuments collected in this place.  Others of them were carried off in the name of Liberty by the foreign conqueror in 1799, but these treasures were fortunately brought back here in 1801 and 1817.

 

VI. Joseph Napoleon Bonaparte ordained and opened the Museum.  He established its administration.  He associated with it the General Suprintendency of Excavations, gave a place in the same building to the Suprintendency of the Herculaneum Papyri and to the Royal Academy of History and Antiquarian Studies which, having changed its name through the new statutes promulgated in 1817 was subsequently known as the Royal Borbonic Society.

 

VII. Joachim Murat, by means of the excavations rapidly carried out in Pompeii and elsewhere, increased the wealth of the Museum, discovered the Greek necropolis which is contiguous with the building on the north side.  He added to the Museum the Borgian monuments from Velletri and the bronze horse=s head, the ancient emblem of the city of Naples.

 

VIII. Ferdinando I, Francesco I, and Ferdinando II Bourbon, who augmented the Museum with the collections of Noia, Vivenzio, Daniele, Ficco, Cervone, Falconet, Lamberti, Rispoli, Piccanti, Di Gennaro, Genua, Forcella and Gargiulo, and with the gifts of Poli, Arditi, and Sangiorgio, declared the museum and its collections to be their personal property independent of the crown, giving to it the name ARoyal Borbonic Museum.@

 

IX. Giuseppe Garibaldi, Dictator, declaring national property the Museum and the Excavations,  to the latter, he increased the funds allocated to them so that they might proceed uninterrupted and expedited the discovery of Pompeii.  He ordered the permanently fastened doors of the Areserved rooms@ be reopened, rescuing from inevitable ruin precious monuments of painting and of sculpture.

 

X. Vittorio Emanuele II ordered the rearrangement of the National Museum, revised the administration, legislated that the museum have custody of the Cumaean collection of the Count of Syracuse, donated by the Prince of Carignano, the Santangelo museum acquired for the benefit of the public by the city of Naples, the tapestries given by the Marchese del Vasto, the Palatine [Farnese] collection of prints, the medallic collection of the royal mint, and the historic furnishings of the monetary workshops.

 

XI. In order to render more splendid the installation of the ancient monuments, at different times were located elsewhere the Royal Society, the Workshops, the schools of Fine Arts.  Here, for its fundamental importance and for the fame of its collections of books and manuscripts remains the National Library, which has here its home together with its own separate administration.

 

XII.  These texts were posted in 1869 to record the origins and the ensuing changes in the historic building which holds them.  The new arrangement and the restorations begun in 1861 bear witness to the magnificent improvement done to the National Museum after the abolition of the monasteries, of the cenobium of S. Teresa degli Scalzi and of the monumental Certosa di S. Martino.

 

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