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III CITANIA AND GUIMAR?ES
I drove out of Braga in the early morning. Passing over the ancient bridge spanning the little stream, at which lines of women knelt and washed their household linen, we left the city behind us and faced the mountain range beyond which lay my goal. Far above reared the grey crest of Mount Picoto, with a gilt cross dominating its highest point; and as the road wound upwards and ever upward in zigzags, at each turn of the path Braga, white and shining, set in its bed of verdure, receded far below. All around were glorious sun-kissed peaks scattered to the summit with huge granite boulders, as if the youthful Titans had there indulged in the sport of stone-throwing. Then over a hill pass, we dipped into a valley with the Falperra range clear before us, and beautiful St. Marta, with its crown of woods and its gleaming hermitage in the foreground, almost, 55as it seemed, over our heads. Maize fields spread across the valley and on the hill slopes all around us; and on the wayside, and dividing the fields, rows of oaks, chestnuts, planes, and, above all, white poplars, ran, every tree covered to the top by a trailing vine, loaded with purple grapes. The effect produced is most extraordinary, and the practice of thus utilising timber trees is peculiar to this part of the country.

For many miles, as we drove over valley and hill, tall poplars by the thousand, their light green leaves blending with the bronze, served as vine poles; and every white cottage had its shady trellis pergola before its open doorway, the great luscious bunches of fruit hanging temptingly over the heads of the women busy spinning, surrounded by quiet, brown, barefooted children.

The prevalence of granite is noticeable everywhere. The fields are divided from the path by granite walls, gate-posts, trellis standards, and even telegraph poles are slender granite monoliths, and the cottages themselves are granite built, solid and weather-proof. Many people meet us on their way to Braga: men in 56velvet jackets, wide, brown, homespun trousers, often with inserted patterns of other coloured cloth, and broad brimmed hats; the women, gay with bright kerchiefs over head and shoulders, but all barefooted, and many carrying poised upon their heads the slender red water jars, the fashion of which has known no change since the time when the legions of Augustus ruled the Celts and Suevians with iron hand from Bracara Augusta. Ox-carts slowly toil along, the bowed necks of the bullocks bearing above them the elaborately carved canga, here seen at its best. And still the road lies mainly upward through the keen pure air, the mountain slopes below and around us green with pine forests, and above us the eternal grey granite boulders. The land is bathed in a flood of sunlight, with here and there upon the widespread slopes and valleys the dark shadow of a passing cloud. Even up here amidst the masses of granite the fruit-laden vine persists, covering and embracing with its reaching tendrils poplars, oaks, and olives on the sheltered slopes, whilst the proud pines alone, towering on the exposed surfaces, defy the creeper’s insidious caress.

57At length the high pass of the Falperra range is crossed, and before us spreads a vast fertile plain, with villages and homesteads scattered across its bosom. Soon the grey boulders disappear from around us, and the air grows softer, though granite still supplies the place of wood by the roadside. The fields of maize are usually not above an acre in extent, and are bordered everywhere by vine-clad poplars. It is clear to see that the little farms are for the most part cultivated by the owners and by hand labour, for no yard of tillable soil is left to waste. It is market day at Taipas, and flocks of picturesque husbandmen and their womenkind are wending their way into the village from distant hillside hamlets and lonely granite granges. It is a gaily clad and prosperous-looking crowd that chaffer and bargain for their herds of thin porkers, their vegetables, fruit, red clay pottery, and flaring textiles; all spread out to the best advantage beneath the trees of the market-place and by the shady wayside. The women almost invariably carry upon their heads in long spacious baskets the merchandise they buy or sell, be it live-stock, produce, yarn for weaving, or household stuff; 58and as invariably is the burden covered with a snowy cloth, and the woman herself is clean, well-fed, and upstanding.

Taipas, the famous thermal mineral baths of the Romans, did not detain me except to order lunch to be ready when I should return a few hours later to the primitive inn attached to the ancient baths, for I was bound for a place still more ancient than Roman Taipas, the mysterious buried city of Citania, the Portuguese Pompeii.

A few miles’ drive upon an excellent road and through a prosperous smiling country of maize, vines, and olives, brought me to the tiny hamlet of S?o Estev?o de Briteiros, just a humble little grey church, a large farmhouse, an inn, a few cottages and a school. The road had led almost at right angles to that by which we had reached Taipas, and the Falperra range, which we had crossed earlier in the day, again loomed nearer; the nearest spur, a bold hill of nine hundred or a thousand feet high at some distance from the range, projecting far out into the plain, and rising precipitously from the little village of Briteiros, which was the present limit of my drive. Long before we reached it the abrupt hill with its tiny white hermitage chapel of S?o Rom?o on the highest point had stood out conspicuously, and seen from below looked impossible of ascent. From Briteiros, however, the climb was seen to be not so formidable; for a rough path started from behind the humble schoolhouse, through little farmsteads, gradually winding and zigzagging up the precipitous slope through the trees and brushwood that clothed the lower portion of the hill. The population of Briteiros were mostly at Taipas for the market, and a demand for the services of um rapaz, a boy, to guide the stranger to the lost city of long ago met with the reply that no man nor boy was readily available.

ON THE WAY TO MARKET, TAIPAS.

59After some short delay an aged woman produced a substitute in the form of an elfin little maiden of ten or eleven, with great black eyes, half-bashful, half-bold, and jet black hair floating unrestrained over her shoulders. With her bare feet and scanty floating raiment she skipped like a dryad from stone to stone over the rugged pathway, looking back now and again as if in wondering contempt at the lumbering stranger slipping and floundering after her upon the thick carpet of pine needles that clothed the spaces between the boulders forming the track. 60Track it was and no more, scarped on the hillside, and evidently had been made by hands; for the stones still showed some signs of regularity and the larger masses had been removed to the side, whilst those which stood upon the causeway itself proved by their flat and polished surfaces that ages of human feet had passed over them up and down the hill. As the weird little damsel sprang with the free action of a wild thing from stone to stone, her black hair floating in the pine-scented breeze, it was easy for me to imagine how the people who long, long ago, before history records, had dwelt upon this hill and made this causeway had looked and moved. Racial inundations had passed over the land since then, leaving traces perhaps in this or the other type of the countryside, but the girl’s far-off ancestors, dwelling always upon the same spot, had struck deeper and more lasting root than their stone walls and causeways, and as the little guide flittered up the rough climb before me, the ages seemed to fall away and the dim past to grow in clearness.

Half up the hill the trees cease, and the stony causeway rises precipitously through a region of purple heather, broom and yellow gorse, thickly 61strewn with giant granite boulders. Presently the ruins of a wall of rough stones cemented together stretch across right and left; and running parallel, and just inside of it, a dry water channel well made of hewn stones. The ground-plans and walls a yard or two high, of houses are on all sides of us; and climbing a little higher and turning the shoulder of the hill we see spread before us, covering the whole of the south upper slopes of the declivity, a vast stretch of uncovered ruins—a once-populous town of the unrecorded past.

Before describing in detail these, by far the most complete and interesting Celtiberian remains in the Peninsula, a few words may be said with regard to the discovery and exploration of them, as well as to the theories as to their origin. For reasons which need not be re-stated here the Celtic element was less intimately mixed with the Iberian in the north-western part of the Peninsula than elsewhere, and the tribes in this part of the country were those which withstood longest the imposition of the Roman bureaucratic system after the assassination of the patriot Viriatus, and the fall of Numancia in the second century B.C. Not till the time of the great Julius did the 62legionaries, stationed then permanently at Braga, sweep all this province clean of revolt, and bring the tribesmen to their knees after dire slaughter and destruction. The Celtiberian tribes in this remote corner had lived their simple pastoral lives from time unrecorded in small family clans, each independent, with its own law and its own gods; but for purposes of mutual defence in later times confederations of many clans were formed, mòr thuatha, as in Ireland. Each of these confederations possessed a fortified centre or stronghold as a place of assembly and refuge, usually upon an eminence, wherein the scattered clans might meet for defence or in council to treat of common interests. The Roman historian, Valerius Maximus speaks especially of some such fortress upon a mountain in Lusitania, and praises its inhabitants for their stubborn bravery. He calls it by the name of Citania, and antiquaries have given to the extensive ruins now before us that name during the last few years, on the assumption that this may be the place referred to by the Roman chronicler.

Vague stories had always pervaded the countryside of buried ruins, with the accompanying legends of witches, warlocks, and enchanted 63Moors existing upon the hill of S?o Rom?o; and in the eighteenth century the curate of S?o Estev?o de Briteiros at the foot of the hill had brought down from the hill-top and placed in his church porch a great mysterious slab of stone covered with mystic devices and of strange fashioning. But not until our own times did a man come with public spirit enough to devote his life and small fortune to the exploration of this city of the past, for in Portugal public encouragement of any such objects is rare indeed. This man was Dr. Sarmento, who for many years until his death recently, made a labour of love in uncovering systematically the vestiges of the prehistoric city.

All over the plain, for many miles around, the ruins of Celto-Roman villages have been found, and in many cases partially explored by Dr. Sarmento and others; the objects discovered, like those found in Citania, having been deposited in the museum at Guimar?es belonging to the explorer, but in consequence of his death henceforward to be a public institution subsidised by the State. As I shall point out when I describe my visit to the museum, the objects unearthed at Sabroso, St. Iria, and other neighbouring places 64are immensely more numerous than those from Citania itself; great masses of coins, personal ornaments, arms, inscriptions, and utensils in the museum proving that these places existed far into Roman times, and perhaps much later. The chaotic condition of the Sarmento collection at present, and the apparent absence of any skilled and enthusiastic guardianship, have probably been a reason why certain investigators have attributed to Citania many objects discovered elsewhere, and have founded upon them theories which must necessarily be misleading. Dr. Hübner, who did not see the place personally, aroused the wrath of Dr. Sarmento in this way, and other arch?ologists have spoken somewhat loosely as to the nature of the finds in the Citania excavations. The great interest of the hill stronghold, indeed, consists in the fact that we have here practically an unspoilt Celtic or Celtiberian town, in which Roman civilisation had but little part. It will be seen by the objects actually unearthed that the place was inhabited after the Roman influence and language had dominated the district, as late, indeed, as the time of Hadrian; but of purely Roman remains, so plentiful elsewhere in the district 65there are in Citania hardly any; the construction and plan of the houses having much in common with the Irish and Scotch Celtic cashels, and the absence of all indications of Christianity being complete.

Following a well-paved causeway of some seven or eight feet wide, the flat stones of which have been worn smooth by countless generations of forgotten footsteps, we can perceive perfectly the ground plan of the houses on each side. In most cases Dr. Sarmento has excavated down to the stone-laid flooring of the houses inside, and to the base of the masonry outside; and it is possible to wander through the main lanes or streets of the town, crossing each other at right angles here and there, and interspersed by little circular paved open spaces, and to reconstruct in the mind’s eye the primitive life of this city of long ago. Here, for instance, just inside the wall by which we entered is a little square house, some twelve feet wide, containing two rough millstones, of which many have been found. The walls are of huge, rough stones, evidently taken as they came and fitted together with small stones where necessary to fill in interstices, the whole cemented together 66by some hard rubbly compost. Running past this building and through the town (in one or two cases, indeed, through the houses themselves) is one of the several stone water channels protected by low walls on each side, and supplied in ancient times by the springs that still gush out plentifully on the hillside.

Some of the houses are much larger, and must have contained two or more apartments. But what strikes the eye of the observer most is the relatively large number of purely circular edifices, and this it is that has mainly attracted the speculations of arch?ologists. Mr. Oswald Crawford, who went over the place whilst the excavations were in their earlier stages many years ago, was mistaken in his estimate that the round buildings were eight or nine times more numerous than the square, and he founded upon this and other data the opinion that the whole place was a great granary, where the food of the tribes might be stored in safety. So far from the round houses being eight times as numerous as the square, found at least four square houses to every one round; but that which struck me as most curious, and so far as I could learn, it had not specially attracted the attention of previous visitors, was 67that in a large number of cases the round houses were enclosed in a square or angular walled space, not very much larger than the circle, but leaving a passage of some two feet wide, in most cases on the right-hand side, between the two walls, leading to a space at the back between the circular wall and the wall of the square enclosure, the left-hand side of the circular wall being mostly built to touch the square wall on that side. Dr. Sarmento was of opinion that the space thus formed was for the purpose of sheltering cattle and domestic animals, and says that he had found some rough stone excavations like troughs in them, with, in one or two cases, a ring in the wall as if to tether beasts. The width of the entrance passage and the extent of the enclosed space in the rear of the circle would be too small to admit any large animal; but probably goats would be housed in them easily. In one or two cases I noted that the stone post forming a jamb to the entrance to the passage between the round house and the square enclosure was grooved on the inner surface. This in Dr. Sarmento’s opinion proved that the entrance to the passage was closed by a lifting hatch of wood, which to some extent confirms the idea that the back space was intended 68to shelter animals such as goats, as a lifting door set in a groove would be much less likely to be forced by them than a swing door turning, as the house door did, on wooden pegs.

There are very few instances of party walls being utilised for two adjoining houses, though the buildings are often only a few inches apart. Even in the case of the round houses enclosed in square spaces and touching the square wall, the circular structure is quite complete at the point of contact. In one instance I measured a large walled parallelogram fronting on the principal causeway, seventeen yards in length, enclosing within it one square house of nine yards wide, and two circular houses, one on each side, the structures in each case being complete, but the circular walls in this instance merged for a few inches only at the point of contact with the square outer wall at the side. Whether these square or outer enclosures were tiled or were merely enclosed yards it is difficult to say, but that the houses themselves were so covered is evident from the immense number of well-made red shards scattered everywhere, and particularly inside the houses, the tiles being turned up at each end, so that a concave tile to cover over the joint between 69them would make a roof covered with them quite watertight. A door jamb and lintel in one house showed a well-carved rope moulding, but in most cases they were plain, the lintels and doorsteps containing, however, at the side a square-cut hollow, in which a block of wood was apparently inserted to receive the wooden peg or pivot which formed a sort of hinge for the door, an arrangement still adopted for the doors of barns, &c., in the neighbourhood; though Dr. Sarmento was of opinion that no wood was employed in the construction of the houses themselves, the polished rounded stones fixed to the walls in some of the houses, which Dr. Hübner considered to be bases of pillars, being in the opinion of the Portuguese arch?ologist seats for the inhabitants.

The round houses are usually about fourteen feet in diameter, and the walls remaining rarely rise above four or five feet from the surface. The doorstep is usually raised a foot or so above the level of the ground. One round house has been tentatively rebuilt by Dr. Sarmento on the level space on the top of the hill, an unattractive beehive-looking structure without windows, but later investigation convinced 70him that he had built it too high; and that it should not be of so great an elevation as the measure of its diameter. The principal thoroughfares running transversely on the slope of the hill are carefully walled upon the scarped inner side, and in some cases the stone water channel runs alongside of it.

On reaching the bare space at the very summit of the hill, upon which the little modern Christian chapel stands, a good idea may be formed of the whole plan of the place. The town, covering perhaps five or six acres, all lies over the crest and down the south and south-west slopes. The wall by which we entered from the south is apparently the inner wall of three, and practically encloses the top of the hill and the centre of the town on the slope. The second wall, which shows signs of a moat, is of greater extent, following the irregular contour of the hill, whilst the third or outer defence extends far down almost to the plain on the west and south-west side; traces of buildings, although but little explored, being very abundant between the two inner walls on the south and south-west, and clearly defined paths leading down from the main city to the outer defences and the 71suburbs. In consequence of the formation of the ground, attack was to be looked for mainly from the most accessible point, namely, the north-east; for here the three lines of defences are almost close together, and each of the walls is here brought to a rough angle. From the apex of the outer wall on this side there are indications of another defence running straight out at right angles along the saddle which connects the hill with an outlying spur easy of approach, and at the end of this long projection there appears to have been two parallel horizontal outworks running across the end of the saddle, this being the vulnerable point of the fortress.

It is easy to imagine how almost impregnable such a place could be made. The hill at any other point than this could only be scaled, if at all, with the greatest difficulty, and the huge boulders on its side would enable even weak defenders under their cover to hurl down stones or spears upon an advancing foe. The south side of the hill is the least accessible of all for any considerable body, and there the defences are the most distant and the weakest.

In the midst of the ruined town I found a bright intelligent peasant lad, busy arranging 72fragments of pottery upon a stone for the later inspection of some one in authority; and from him I heard much quaint and simple local folklore. His own interest was greatest in what he called the cemetery, four or five small grave-like troughs, about three or four feet long and a foot deep, neatly made and lined with dressed stone slabs. The so-called graves lie close to the causeway and amongst the houses, in an irregular group, and can hardly have been sepulchral, considering their size and position; Dr. Sarmento inclining to the belief that they were troughs for feeding cattle. The cemetery, if there be any, would probably lie far down the slope outside the second, perhaps outside the outer, wall, but here no excavation of any importance has been executed. At some little distance down have been found three perfectly plain dolmens of the usual shape, which are usually sepulchral; and doubtless extensive exploration around them would reveal human remains. My peasant friend was also much concerned in a mysterious “mine,” as it is called, from which he assured me, in awe-stricken tones, that enchanted Moors came at night and carried evil over the plain. It is supposed that this cave, which is of no great 73extent, some two yards in diameter at the mouth, and a few yards deep, was adjoining or under the place where the great slab which the country-people call Pedra Formosa, the handsome-stone, to which I shall revert presently, was found.

I have mentioned that Mr. Crawford was of opinion that the round houses were granaries, but seeing that the Celts of Ireland and Scotland frequently built and lived in round houses within their cashels, and bearing in mind the existence of the spaces for animals, which I have described as attached to those of Citania, I am strongly of opinion that, comfortless as they appear, these were the veritable dwellings of many of the neolithic folk who for centuries held their foes at bay upon this headland jutting out upon the rich plain of Guimar?es. Still another solution of the round-house problem is, as I understand his words, suggested by my friend Professor Altamira in his Historia de Espana y de la Civilization espan?la. The earlier generations of this people, he says, buried their dead under dolmens which when covered were circular; and later generations retained the tradition of circular sepulchres. “They were built round,” he says, “with a sort of domed roof, the middle of which 74was supported by a pillar of wood or stone. Some of such tombs had passages (or galleries) to enter by—which was frequently the case also with the dolmens—and some had lateral chambers.... Of this class are those discovered at Citania, on the hill of San Roman in Portugal.” Apart from the fact that no human remains have been found in these round houses at Citania, there is no sepulchral suggestion about them. They are, it is true, if Dr. Sarmento be right, windowless and rough, but the comparison must not be made with the dwellings of to-day, but with the haunts of cave men, who had been the progenitors of the early settlers of Citania; and judged by that standard, these stout, weather-proof, stone houses, with doors and an enclosed separate space behind for cattle, were almost luxurious. In any case, a close examination of them left in my mind no doubt at all that they had been the dwellings of human creatures in the earlier stages of civilisation.

It required no great effort of the imagination to people the narrow paved paths on the hillside and the little round central spaces with the dwellers in these rough abodes: wild-looking, shaggy men, with long hair, and clad in skin or 75rough woollen garments, going about their daily toil as hunters, husbandmen, potters, or smiths, to paint to oneself the alarm of an approaching foe, the savage warfare to repel attack, and finally the victorious host of Roman legionaries of Augustus levelling the poor homes, slaughtering, ravishing, destroying, until the poor remnant of the vanquished knelt in the dust and bowed their necks evermore to the yoke of discipline and civilisation.

The place continued to be the abode of men long afterwards, for Latin became the speech of some people who lived there, and coins as late as Tiberius and one of Hadrian (117 A.D.) have been unearthed at Citania; but with the Roman officers supreme at Braga, and the whole plain prospering and smiling under the arts of peace and Roman luxury, poor Citania on its bold hill-top lost its reason for existence, and must have dwindled, until long before the time of the Goths and Suevians all men forgot it, and the ages covered it with the mantle of earth, undisturbed till now.

But whilst I am thus speculating, my little girl guide is getting restless, and the westerly tending sun tells me that I have long outstayed the appointed time when I was to return to Taipas. 76So, reluctantly, and with my brain full of idle fancies which made me dream of creatures such as those I have pictured lurking behind the thick-strewn boulders, and challenging my intrusion upon their stronghold, I slowly paced the paved lanes again through the lines of stark ruined walls, and so out upon the precipitous hillside down to Briteiros, where the carriage awaited me in the grateful shade.

The market people were homeward bound from Taipas now; the women with their purchases or unsold wares swaying rhythmically upon their heads as they walked, and the men leading live stock or bent beneath burdens, but never too heavily laden to prevent them from courteously saluting the passing stranger. The inn, nearly empty of bathing visitors now that the summer was past, was feverishly anxious to do its best; and, though Citania had detained me for hours longer than I had reckoned, Taipas contrived to offer me a tolerable lunch, the first meal I had eaten in that long day of delight. Upon a wall of the open courtyard before the inn is an ancient fountain with a pompous poetical inscription, setting forth that John I. of Portugal, Para que a morte mais tropheos n?o conte, “that death should no 77more trophies boast,” had raised this miraculous fountain of healing water. But John I. was a mere modern in these ancient thermes; for here the great Hadrian was cured of his malady, and founded the sumptuous baths, of which extensive remains have in recent times been discovered, but not explored to any extent. In a field nearly opposite the inn is an enormous block of granite, upon which a long Roman inscription tells that this work was erected by the orders of the Imperial C?sar Trajan, son of Nerva, conqueror of the Germans, and much more to similar effect; whilst upon another face of the block an interminable list of modern Portuguese names of gentlemen interested in the rehabilitation of the baths in recent times shows the universal hankering after immortality in company with the great felt by the little men of the world.

The bathing establishment itself is primitive enough, consisting of about twenty baths large and small, in separate wooden compartments, built round three sides of a square, the temperature of the water being about 85° Fahr., very abundant, clear, and bright, and with a strong sulphureous taste and smell. The waters are said to be extraordinarily efficacious in cutaneous affections, 78maladies of the mucous membranes, laryngitis, bronchitis, and rheumatism, and as many as 1500 patients visit them from May to September every year, the flow of water being a quarter of a million litres a day.

All the way from Taipas to Guimar?es the road lay through maize fields bordered thickly by vine-covered poplars; a prosperous land of well-fed, laborious people. Near the ancient city, the birthplace of the Portuguese monarchy, the ground rises, and the pine forests spread for miles on the uplands all around, the fresh sweet scent of the woods adding one more sensuous joy to a closing day of incomparable loveliness. As the carriage clattered over the cobble stones, through the narrow streets of the town, and so into the beautiful alameda and the public garden, in which the principal hotel stands, there rose as if from the end of the alameda the giant granite peak of the Penha, all glorified and transfigured by the setting sun. The mountain, almost sheer as seen from this side, seemed to tower right overhead: green woods clothed its sides up the greater part of its height, and then, like a wall, sprang a precipice of bare scarred rock, now orange and purple against a violet sky. On the summit of 79the apparently inaccessible saw edge of the peak stood out the white walls of a building, which may have been a hermitage, but I am told is now a guest-house, where in the most torrid summer the citizens of Guimar?es find cool breezes and refreshment. As I gazed, entranced at the changing colours of the sunset on the peak—orange deepening to crimson and to bronze, purple fading by soft degrees to slaty-blue, and the rose-pink of the growing after-glow softening the rugged outlines with tender light—there came the clanging of an acolyte’s bell, and across the alameda there wound a devout little procession bearing the Host, with flaring tapers, swinging censers, priests, and choristers. It was the one note needed to complete the picture. Guimar?es in the gathering twilight took me back in one happy moment to the ages long ago, when simple faith unbroken reigned, and all was beautiful and all was true.

Guimar?es has a proper pride in itself, and boldly asserts its claim to be not only one of the most ancient, but the most glorious and prosperous city in Portugal.
“A nobre Guimar?es tem por braz?o
Ser Corte primeira Portugueza,”

80sings the poet, but the pride of Guimar?es extends far beyond this boast. Seated in the centre of the province of Minho, in the very garden of Portugal, with abundant streams and fertile valleys for miles round, protected by the mountains on each side that enclose the plain from inclement winds, the town is in an ideal situation. Forming, as it did in old times, one of the fiefs of the left-handed royal house of Braganza, that made the dukes richer than the king, one of the legitimate Infantes is said to have exclaimed jealously, as he looked down upon the rich domain, Quem te deu n?o te via; se te vira n?o te dera, “he who gave thee never saw thee; if he had seen thee he would not give thee,” and one of the greatest of Portuguese writers, Manoel de Faria, speaking of Guimar?es said: “If the Elysian fields ever existed on earth it must have been here, and if they did not exist they should have been created in order to place them here.” But another subject of pride, and an article of faith with all good citizens of the town, is that Guimar?es possesses the most beautiful women in Europe. Personally I must confess that they did not strike me as being more comely than their sisters of the rest of North Portugal, especially 81of Braga and Coimbra, but from ancient times the women of Araduca, the modern Guimar?es, were held to be pre-eminent, and it is too late now to gainsay it, confirmed as it is by writers Portuguese and French innumerable.

In any case, the city is as beautiful as it is historically interesting. Here on the site of the ruined ancient town of Celts and Romans, a Leonese princess, in the tenth century, founded the great Benedictine house, around which the medi?val town gradually grew. But its principal glory began when Count Henrique of Burgundy and his royal Leonese bride, Teresa, came to govern Portugal as Count, for his father-in-law, Alfonso VI., the friend and foe of the Cid. Here at Guimar?es in the splendid castle, even now sturdy in its dismantlement, the first Count of Portugal held his court, and here his great son, Affonso Henriques, the national hero and first king, was born in 1109 and passed his youth.

It is impossible to imagine a ruin more stately than that of the grand medi?val castle which, upon a gentle eminence on the outskirts, dominates the town. Granite built upon a granite base, the walls sharp and clear to-day, look as if cut but nine years ago instead of nine centuries. 82Here is the dignity of age without its feebleness. A vast battlemented outer wall, with corner bastions and pointed crenellations, surrounds the majestic keep, the monolithic battlements of which, huge single stones, stand uninjured still by time or the more destructive hand of man. The cyclopean masses are reddened now by lichen and stained by weather, but nine centuries have failed to crumble them, and they stand a splendid monument of the first of the two outstanding epochs in Portuguese history, when the nation was stirred with vast ambitions and endowed with heroic energy to fulfil them. Affonso Henriques of Guimar?es was the protagonist of the first epoch, that of national independence; Prince Henry the Navigator, the protagonist of the second, that of national expansion.

Guimar?es is delightful, and an artist might spend a month in its quaint streets and alleys without exhausting the “bits” that call for delineation. One charming old-world corner is the square in which stands the church that alone remains of the vast monastery founded by the Leonese Princess Munia—the Collegiada the townspeople call it, although I believe it bears officially another name. The early florid 83Gothic tower is a beautiful one, and more beautiful still the detached rood canopy at its west end, with its quaint mixture of early Gothic with Greek and Byzantine ornament. Opposite this is the low-arched sixteenth-century arcade beneath the town-hall, and the houses that surround the irregular little pra?a are in picturesque keeping with the rest. There is in a street called Largo dos Trig?es, one of the finest stretches of crenellated wall that ever I saw. It must be three hundred yards long, and at least five-and-twenty feet high, independent of its pointed battlements, and is in the most perfect preservation though many centuries old. It is said to enclose the grounds of a disestablished monastery, for Guimar?es was in old times monastic or nothing.

But curious and interesting as Guimar?es is, I was not drawn thither mainly to see the town, but to examine in the Sarmento museum the objects discovered in the excavation of Citania. The collection is at present in a state of chaos, which may possibly be remedied when the reconstruction of the house is completed by the authorities. The number of objects is immense, though by far the greater part of them came 84from other places in the neighbourhood than Citania, and are mainly attributable to the Roman period, though many of them are very early and ante-Christian. The few purely Roman objects, however, found at Citania are neither peculiar to the place nor of special interest. What is far more attractive to the student are the relics that exist of the real and original Celtiberian makers of the hill town.

First of all is the famous Pedra Formosa, to which reference has been made. It stands at present in the open at the back of the Sarmento house, but protected from the weather by a low roof which unfortunately prevents a photograph being secured of it. It is a thick slab of granite, seven feet long by nine feet wide, and notwithstanding the contention of Dr. Hübner, who has not seen it, I am convinced that, whatever may have been its purpose, its position was intended to be horizontal, and that it is not a sepulchral stone to be set on edge. At present it is mounted on four low posts or pillars, like a table, and the elaborate carving upon it can be consequently seen plainly. At the top of its shorter diameter in the centre is a hollow, ending in a point, the outer circumference of 85the hollow being about the size of a human head. From this, extending downwards about six feet to a semicircular gap cut into the stone, at the foot is a raised cord-like pattern cut out of the thickness of the stone, beneath which is bored a tunnel, or channel, leading from the point of the hollow cone at the top down to a hole through the stone at the bottom, a few inches from the semicircular gap. From the base of the hollow at the top, leading obliquely to the sides, are two other raised cord-like ridges similar to that from top to bottom; the main design being roughly that of a human being with the hollow for the head, the straight cord from top to bottom for the body and legs, and the oblique cords for the arms. The whole of the spaces between the cords are filled with a most intricate series of designs, beautifully incised in the stone, concentric whorls, curves, and scrolls being in each case the main motive.

Whatever may have been the purpose of the stone—religious, sacrificial, or tribal—the work must have occupied many men for a long period, and the skill, both of design and execution, prove that the artificers must have 86reached a relatively high stage of artistic development. The art is obviously ante-Christian, and the form of the stone suggests that it may have been sacrificial, with the hollow cone to receive the blood from a severed jugular and the tunnel beneath the central cord to convey it to where the priest stood in the gap to catch it as it ran through the hole at the bottom of the stone. The incised design shows no indication of Greek or Roman influence, but the concentric curves are identical with some of the earliest ornamental decoration of the stonework in the museum brought from other Celto-Roman places in the neighbourhood, and also with the decoration upon Celtic pottery found elsewhere in Portugal and at Carmona in Spain.
87

A stone of great interest found also at Citania may perhaps add more to our knowledge than the mysterious Pedra Formosa. It bears an inscription in the Celtiberian character, of which comparatively few specimens have hitherto been discovered, and no key has been found to decipher them. One of those known and reproduced by Dr. Hübner was found at Pe?alba de Castro in Spain, and appears to be nearly identical in character with that from Citania; whilst another, also in Hübner, brought from Barcelona, presents several important differences. The Citania inscription is here reproduced, and I am indebted to Professor Rhys, the famous Celtic authority, for an interesting suggestion, namely, that the whole inscription, although written in the unknown Celtiberian character, may be intended to be read in Latin; in which case the first line and a half might represent Syatenunius. This point, however, I must leave as being too abstruse for a book of this kind. We are on firmer ground in the case of the very numerous specimens of red pottery found at Citania and stamped with a mark entirely unknown elsewhere. The marks of Roman potters on jars and pitchers were always printed 88in small letters outside the mouth, whereas the marked pieces in question from Citania bear in letters an inch long inside the mouth “Camal” or “Arg,” and sometimes both words, and scores of red tiles have also been found similarly marked ARG
CAMAL. Upon a lintel-stone from Citania in the museum I read the words CORONERI CALI DOMUS, and another, apparently from the same house, is mentioned by Dr. Sarmento, but which I did not see, bearing the inscription CRON CAMALI DOMUS, most of the pottery bearing Camal’s name having been found near this house. Whether Camal was a Celto-Roman potter, or, as seems much more likely, a great personage or chief of Citania, is a point yet to be decided; but from the fact that the name on the clay vessels is not situated where the potter’s mark is usually inscribed, would tend to the belief that he was the owner rather than the manufacturer. Arg, or Airg, as it may be read, may have represented a Celtiberian title or dignity, and Camal, or Camalus, is undoubtedly a Celtic name. It is unlikely, moreover, that if Camal had simply been a potter his son Coronerus would have considered it necessary to record upon his stone door-lintel the fact of his 89descent, which he probably would have done if his father Camalus was a person of consequence. Another peculiar fact in connection with the incised ornamentation upon stones at Citania is the repetition of the Swastick or wheeled cross and the wheeled whorl, which are of pre-Christian and oriental origin, this design being also quite frequent in the objects found in other places in the neighbourhood, and amongst Celtic remains in other parts of the Peninsula.

The death of Dr. Sarmento has, of course, put an end to his self-sacrificing life-task, leaving by far the greater part of the exploration of the outer zones of Citania unattempted. It is almost too much to hope that any other similarly public-spirited Portuguese will provide the funds needed for the purpose, for there is little enthusiasm for such subjects in the country; but if funds could be obtained to excavate extensively the lower slopes of the hill on the south side where numerous hillocks suggest that sepulchral remains may lie beneath, it is probable that discoveries of great importance in Celtiberian civilisation would be made, and perhaps the riddle of the Celtiberian alphabet solved.
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