The Prague Cemetery Chapter 8

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The Ercole
the name of a ship, as will be revealed. English translation: Hercules

Page 141

General Cialdini
Opposed Garibaldi's attempt to seize Papal Rome.[1]

bon gré mal gré
French, "like it or not".

Page 144

Nievo... a great novel
"Ippolito Nievo (1831 - 1861) was an Italian writer, journalist and patriot. His Confessioni d'un italiano is widely considered the most important novel about the Italian Risorgimento." Wikipedia

Battle of Volturno
"Where Garibaldi fought off the Bourbon army's last offensive." A victory on the mainland, helped by Nino Bixio.[2]

"The Handshake of Teano"
Teano was the site of the famous meeting of October 26, 1860, between Italian nationalist fighter Giuseppe Garibaldi and Victor Emanuel II, the King of Sardinia. Having wrested the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies from the Neapolitan Bourbons, Garibaldi shook Victor Emanuel's hand and hailed him as King of Italy. Thus, Garibaldi sacrificed republican hopes for the sake of Italian unity under a monarchy. The event is a popular subject for Italian patriotic statues and paintings.[3]

Page 145

modern day Cincinnatus
Cincinnatus served "Rome as dictator, an office which he immediately resigned after completing his task of defeating the rivaling tribes of the Aequians, Sabines and Volscians. His abandoning of his work to serve Rome, and especially his immediate resignation of his absolute authority with the end of the crisis, has often been cited as an example of outstanding leadership, service to the greater good, civic virtue, and modesty. As a result, he has inspired a number of organizations and other entities, a number of which are named for him." Wikipedia

I'd have drowned myself...
Nievo: "Good Lord, if I knew it would end like this, instead of leaving Genoa for this prison I'd have drowned myself and been better off."
Foreshadowing and a dose of irony.

Page 146

Bronte massacres
Bronte is a town and province in Sicily. "In 1860, during Garibaldi's Expedition of the thousand, there was a riot. The peasants had hoped for – and did not get from Garibaldi – an immediate relief from the grievous conditions to which they were forced by the landowners. They revolted in several localities, and at Bronte, on August 4, 1860, Garibaldi's friend Nino Bixio bloodily repressed one of these revolts with two battalions of Redshirts." Wikipedia

Page 148?

coal torpedo
"The coal torpedo was a hollow iron casting filled with explosives and covered in coal dust, deployed by the Confederate Secret Service during the American Civil War, and intended for doing harm to Union steam transportation. When shoveled into the firebox amongst the coal, the resulting explosion would at the very least damage the boiler and render the engines inoperable. At worst, a catastrophic boiler explosion would kill crewmen, plus passengers, start a fire, perhaps, even sink the vessel.[4]

Page 151

Witch of Benevento
Benevento is ~ 50 miles northeast of Naples. The witch is a folklore tradition.

Page 156

Il prato in fondo al mare (1974) by Stanislao Nievo

death of Nievo
Niveo was only 29 at the time and no wreckage of the 230-ton steamer Ercole was ever found.

The mysterious death of Ippolito Nievo is the subject of the Italian novel, Il prato in fondo al mare, by Stanislao Nievo (1928 – 2006, a descendant of Ippolito), published 1974. It is quite possible that Eco is aware of this novel. Stanislao Nievo was involved in the Gruppo 63 literary movement in Italy, of which Eco took part. See Gaetano Rando, Journey, Quest, and (Self-)Discovery in the Narrative of Stanislao Nievo", in Literature and Quest, at 29-34. Google Books

Page 158

the man in the iron mask
The Man in the Iron Mask is a name given to a prisoner arrested as Eustache Dauger in 1669 or 1670, and held in a number of jails, including the Bastille and the Fortress of Pignerol. He was held in the custody of the same jailer for a period of 34 years. Wiki:[5]

Return to The Prague Cemetery

Chapter 1
pp. 1-4
Chapter 2
pp. 5-28
Chapter 3
pp. 29-46
Chapter 4
pp. 47-82
Chapter 5
pp. 83-96
Chapter 6
pp. 97-113
Chapter 7
pp. 114-139
Chapter 8
pp. 140-158
Chapter 9
pp. 159-167
Chapter 10
pp. 168-169
Chapter 11
pp. 170-190
Chapter 12
pp. 191-210
Chapter 13
pp. 211
Chapter 14
pp. 212-228
Chapter 15
pp. 229-232
Chapter 16
pp. 233-235
Chapter 17
pp. 236-259
Chapter 18
pp. 260-271
Chapter 19
pp. 272-277
Chapter 20
pp. 278-283
Chapter 21
pp. 284-301
Chapter 22
pp. 302-330
Chapter 23
pp. 331-377
Chapter 24
pp. 378-397
Chapter 25
pp. 398-407
Chapter 26
pp. 408-426
Chapter 27
pp. 427-437