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September 28, 2012     Post-Gazette
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Page 2 POST-GAZETTE, SEPTEMBER 28, 2012 S tir ] i ( &apos;r' A weekly column highlighting some ak I I V L I, IAL of the more interesting aspects of our ancestry.., our lineage.., our roots. Tarantula is the correct Italian name for the hairy spider which we call "taran- tula." La Tarantella is a dance of southern Italy which derives its name from Taranto, in the old province of Apulia. The origin of the dance goes back to the 15 th century when a disease known as "tarantism" pre- vailed in Italy almost in epidemic proportions. It was curable only by means of the continued exercise gained by dancing the taran- tella and the music was gen- erally played at a continually increasing speed. It was said that the bite of the Lycosa tarantula, the larg- est of the European spiders, caused the disease and also a hysteria similar to the LA TARANTELLA St. Vitus dance epidemic in Germany during earlier years. Later experiments showed that the real cause of the infection could not have been from this spider as its bite is no more poison- ous than the sting of a wasp. The cause of the disease, therefore, was unknown, but the sickness itself was very real. The illness took the form of madness, causing some victims to crave water so violently that they had to be restrained from throwing themselves into the sea. Other victims were affected by different colors, which caused strange and outra- geous body contortions. During the 16 th century when the epidemic was at its height, bands of musi- clans toured the country to play music, which was believed to be the only heal- ing medicine. The victims, known as "tarantists," were made to dance to different airs, depending upon the particular form of the disease. They were forced to dance until they often dropped down with exhaus- tion. The epidemic raged only in the summer months and for some particular rea- son, those who had been at- tacked by the disease were always liable to get it again. Another interesting point is that most of the songs, both words and music, which were used to cure tarantism no longer exist ... so stay away from Taranto in the summertime. NEXT WEEK: Faenus Suffolk County Sheriff's Department Graduates 32 New Officers Thirty-two new officers joined the ranks of correc- tions professionals at the Suffolk County Sheriffs De- partment during the recent Correction Officer Training Academy (COTA) Graduation of Class 12-01, held at the Westin Boston Waterfront Hotel in South Boston. To achieve this distinc- tion, officer candidates are required to complete a rig- orous twelve-week training academy with instruction in a host of practical and class- room subjects that include: suicide prevention, ethics NEW L()CATION .00PIN00. L_LI'S FUNCTION FACILITY BEREAVEMENT BUFFET, 0014. 95 L','r Please accept sincere condolences, from the Spinelli's family and staff. During this difficult time, we would like to offer our facility at a specially reduced price, for you, your family and friends. SERVED UPON ARRIVAL Coffee, Mini Danish Pastries and Tea Breads BUFFET LUNCHEON MENU Tossed Salad, Assorted Roils with Butter Chicken, Ziti and Broccoli Alfredo Eggplant Parmigiana Italian Sausages, Onions and Potatoes Above price does not include a 15% Administration Fee and a 7% Mass State Tax. 280 BENNINGTON STREET, EAST BOSTON, MA Telephone: 617-567-4499 www.spinellis.eom J and professionalism, use of force continuum, firearm safety and handling, inmate education and programming, contraband control, court- room testimony, CORI and inmate rights and responsi- bilities, fire safety, CPR, sexual harassment, cross- gender supervision and re- port writing. Speaking about COTA Class 12-01, Superinten- dent of the House of Correc- tion and Special Sheriff Gerard Horgan assured au- dience members that these new officers were both ready and able to meet their new challenge. "These men and women are joining a Department where the training is second to none," said Superinten- dent Horgan. "They are well equipped, they are well pre- pared and they are going to excel. They will be working with Superintendent Gene Sumpter who has been with the Department for nearly 25 years, Deputy Superinten- dent Cliff Carney who has been with the Department for nearly 25 years and other members of the command staff who are going to treat them with respect and teach them the job well." Several members of the class were honored with (Continued on Page i0) Res Publica by David Trumbull I1 "Michelangelo del Capitol" Your visit to our nation's capital city is not complete without seeing the art in the U.S. Capitol Building -- both for its artistic excellence and its place in the many and varied treasures of Italian-American heritage. I refer, specifically, to the murals painted, over a 25- year period, by Constantino Brumidi (1805-1880). Brumidi was born in Rome, before Italian unifi- cation, of a Greek father and Italian mother. According to the Architect of the Capitol, "Beginning at age 13, he studied for 14 years at the Academy of St. Luke and was trained in the full range of painting mediums, includ- ing true fresco and possibly in sculpture. He achieved a mastery of the human figure and learned how to create the appearance of three- dimensional forms on fiat surfaces, an effect called trompe l'oeil (fool the eye)." According to the Catholic Encyclopedia ( 1913), Brumidi, for three years, worked at the Vatican for Pope Gregory XVI. When the French occupied Rome in 1849, he left, ending up in America where he applied for citizenship, which was granted in 1857. In America, with a swelling immigrant population, many of them fellow Catholics, he found work decorating churches. By 1855 he was also working on the decoration of the U,S. Capitol Building, a project that occupied him until his death. According to the Architect of the Capitol: "His major contributions are the monumental canopy and frieze of the new Capitol Dome. In the canopy over the Rotunda he painted The Apotheosis of Washington in 1865. Brumidi began paint- ing the frieze depicting major events in American history in 1878 but died in 1880 with the work less than half finished. Filippo Costaggini carried out Brumidi's re- maining designs between 1881 and 1889; the entire frieze was only completed in 1953." In 2007 Michael Enzi (Republican, Wyoming) in- troduced a bill to award, post- humously, a Congressional gold medal to Constantino Brumidi. The bill was passed in 2008 and on July I st of that year President George W. Bush, signed it into law. On .July 1 i t h of this year House and Senate lead- ers held the Congressional Gold Medal ceremony. House Speaker John Boehner (Re- publican, Ohio) took the oc- casion to rehearse some of the troubled history of the building of the Capitol, say- ing, "Here you had a Capitol that was, at that point, a perpetual construction site, embroiled in bickering and controversy.rhere were big ideas for the interior, but no artist to get them off the ground. In comes th{s-'n of Italy seizing on a second chance to do what he loves, to live out a dream he is not allowed to continue pursu- ing in his native land." Speaker Boehner con- cluded: "It's a perfect match, a truly American story. And it ends, as the best of them do, with the thanks of a grateful nation." Agency Since 1969 FOR ALL YOUR INSURANCE NEEDS AUTO * HOMEOWNERS . TENANTS COMMERCIAL Experience makes the difference ;:<i : " ,.D'lf ; ?) Now Open Saturdays 10 a.m. - 2 p.m. 209 BROADWAY, REVERE, MA 02151 Tel. 781.284.1100 Fax 781.284.2200 Free Parking Adjacent to Building On Sale Now! THE NORTH END Where It All Began The Way It Was by Fred Langone SALE PRICE $19.95 Plus Shipping & Handling On Site at The Post-Gazette 5 Prince Street, North End, Boston, MA