Nauplion, Merbaka

March 1448

Three grave stones and a statue of Dionysos from Nauplon.
Milan, Biblioteca Ambrosiana, Trotti 373,, f.113r.

March 1448.

[LEFT] Melikrea from Antioch, daughter of Aphrodeisios: Dear one, free from pain, farewell.

Kineas, Pollis, Dexis, farewell.

The ancient walls of the citadel of Nauplion fashioned with extraordinary skill. [RIGHT]


Then, while searching for ancient remnants of Mycenae among old, uninhabited Argive villages that bespeak some hint of the long-ago ruined temple of Juno, finally, not far from it and no more than about seven miles away from the cit of Argos, towards the north and less than forty stadia from Nauplion, on a hill that is rocky at the top and steep, we saw that remains of the Mycenean citadel, and some portions of its ancient walls survive, as well as traces of towers and gates, conspicuous for the wondrously beautiful craftsmanship of the architects and eminently worthy of our scrutiny as well. When, along with the same highly experienced men, we had decided to climb to it, we chose to set down here a drawing of the part of the same wall that looks toward Nauplion. The walls of the very old citadel of Mycenae which are visible even in our own time, built with extraordinary craftsmanship on a rocky hill of large, lead-colored stones.



Walls at Katsingri/Ag. Adrianos
Milan, Biblioteca Ambrosiana, Cod. Trotti 373, f. 113v.

March 1448. At the same citadel of Nauplion, on an ancient stone slab: [RIGHT]
Elissa dedicated [this].

On another partially broken stone, ancient or Cadmean lettering: [RIGHT]
Mikrios, son of Theoxen[os] [...] son of Heschrion, Aphthonetos

On another ancient stone that is partially broken at the top, an inscription in elegant Dorian Script: [BELOW RIGHT]
[...] [his benefactions?] to the people of Troizen, and the gifts which have been given in the past shall be his; he shall be given public maintenance in the town hall and the right of him and his descendants to the front seats in the games shall be proclaimed in front of the temple of the Twelve Gods. Many benefits for Zenodotos and his descendants as the board of magistrates shall ordain, and if anyone asks anything else of the people of Troizen it shall be granted to him and his descendants. This decree shall be inscribed on a stone stele and set up in the temple of Apollo Thearios [...] rendered this service. Timon spoke, Dameas son of Arkoias presided over the Council; Philotas son of Kalodamos was secretary.


Dedicatory relief and partial inscription from Nauplion. Portrait?
Milan, Biblioteca Ambrosiana, Cod. Trotti 373, f. 114r.

On the 23rd of March, the eve of the blessed resurrection of the incarnate Jove, when I had revisted Nauplion, we had a fully enjoyable reunion with my very good friends, Pietro Rangano the scribe and Joannes Bendramon, and on the next day, in company with these same companions, desireing to see if anything of the destroyed city of Mycenae survived until our time, first of all we saw on the plain a great number of remarkable remnants of antiquity and, among the more important, some slabs of shining marble [bearing] images of outstanding beauty that had been removed in the past by Christians from a very old temple of Juno, thought to be from among the masterpieces of Polyclitus, to adorn later churches of our religion. On the principle and more outstanding of these slabs, on a partially broken off stone, we found this ancient inscription in Latin script:[BELOW RIGHT AND CENTER]

The Italians who do business in Argos to Quintus Caecilius Metellus, son of Gaius, Imperator.

Carvings at the Church of the Dormition of the Virgin,
Agia Triada,/Merbaka
Milan, Biblioteca Ambrosiana, Cod. Trotti 373, f. 115r.


Cyriaco Discovers Polykleitos

Surviving inscription to Caecilius Metellus at the Church of the Dormition of the Virgin, Agia Triada/Merbaka.


, .
Surviving Merbaka carvings. That on the left is the source
for the name Agia Triada/Holy Trinity.

Inscription from Troezen, and surviving inscription of
Caecilius Metellus at Merbaka.
Milan, Biblioteca Ambrosiana, Cod. Trotti 373,, f. 114v.


The late-13th century Church of the Dormition of the Virgin, built by William of Moerbeke,
Frankish Archbishop of Corinth,and visited by Cyriaco of Ancona.

Images from: Edward W, Bodnar, SJ, Cyriac of Ancona: Later Travels, and Patricia Fortini Brown, Venice & Antiquity: The Venetian Sense of the Past. Translations from Bodnar. Photographs by Guy Sanders, ASCSA.