- Project Runeberg -  Armenia and the Near East /
13

(1928) [MARC] Author: Fridtjof Nansen - Tema: Russia
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ARMENIA AND THE NEAR EAST


I

TO CONSTANTINOPLE



Southward bound. Behind us, the wild ramparts of the
Alps, marking the northernmost frontier of the world the
ancients knew; in front, the basin of the Po, sunny and
summerlike and serene as the smile of a woman. Endless
fields of maize, wheat, and rice; rows of vines and
mulberry-trees; harvesters in bright-red shirts; and Verona like a
mediæval poem, with her time-honoured amphitheatre.
Then out to Venice and back again—Venice, like a sleeping
seabird with damaged wings, rocking on the Lido, and dreaming
of strange bygone happenings in the lands of the East.
And so from Trieste in the afternoon, southward over the
Adriatic on board the Italian steamer Semiramis.

On the following afternoon (Friday, June 5th) we called
at Brindisi, the old Roman harbour of Brindisium at the end
of the Via Appia, the way to the East, the artery of the great
world-empire. Here, in the year 19 b.c., Rome’s greatest
poet ended his days, at the age of fifty, on his way back from

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