February 25, 2019

Photo of the Week: The Horse Tamer in Naples

One of two equestrian statues outside the entrance to the gardens of the Royal Palace in Naples. The statues are copies of the Horse Tamers from St. Petersburg, Russia, and were a gift to King Ferdinand II of Naples from Czar Nicholas I during a state visit to the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies in 1846
Photo by New York Scugnizzo

February 24, 2019

Happy Birthday Prince Carlo di Borbone!

HRH was born in Saint Raphaël, France on February 24, 1963 
Photo courtesy of Real Casa di Borbone
Happy Birthday Prince Carlo di Borbone – Two Sicilies, Duke of Castro and Grand Master of the Sacred Military Constantinian Order of Saint George! We pray that your special day be filled with the glory and wonder of God’s abiding love, and may you feel His presence throughout the coming year. Peace be upon you. Auguri!

February 18, 2019

Photo of the Week: Diana, Temple of Apollo in Pompeii

Diana, Temple of Apollo in Pompeii 
Photo by New York Scugnizzo

February 16, 2019

Farewell Nibs! Now With Our Ancestors

Requiescat in Pace John Napoli, Sr.
April 16, 1944—February 12, 2019
Eternal rest, grant unto him O Lord
and let perpetual light shine upon him.
May he rest in peace. Amen.
May his soul and the souls of all the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.

February 12, 2019

Photo of the Week: Statue of a River God on the Right Side of the Grand Staircase

Statua di Divinita Fluviale on the right side of the grand staircase in the Museo Archeologico Nazionale di Napoli. Roman, second century A.D.
Photo by New York Scugnizzo

February 11, 2019

Distributing Food to the Homeless on the Feast of San Lorenzo Maiorano

Thank you to this month's volunteers: Bobby,
James, Tony, Ray and Anna (our photographer)
Thursday, February 7th, members of the Constantinian Auxiliary prepared and distributed food to the homeless in Chinatown and Two Bridges, New York on the Feast of San Lorenzo Maiorano. Meeting at the Church of the Transfiguration (29 Mott St.), volunteers prepared 20 care packages replete with winter accessories, toiletries and ready to eat food, including containers of freshly cooked Chicken Marsala generously donated by our dear friends at Caffé Napoli (191 Hestor Street) in Little Italy.

Once again, our friends at Caffé Napoli donated a delicious tray of food
Once again, we want to thank Antonio, Anna and Konstantinos Mavrianos-Cesare for their hard work and dedication. You are an inspiration to us all. Thank you Louis Fontana of Caffé Napoli; Raymond Guarini of Italian Enclaves; James De Silva; and Robert Michael Surella for your continued assistance. Your heartfelt generosity and selflessness is greatly appreciated. And as always, special thanks to Pastor Lo for your support and blessings. It is an honor to serve with such an outstanding group of people. God Bless you all. IHSV
Care packages were stuffed with ready to eat food,
toiletries and winter hats and gloves
The next walk will be on Thursday, March 7th—the Feast of St. Thomas Aquinas—at 7:00 PM. In addition to ready to eat foodstuff and daily necessities, we’re are asking volunteers to donate hats and scarves for the cold weather. Anyone interested in supporting this charitable endeavor can contact Cav. John Napoli at jnapoli@smocsg.org or Anna Mavrianos-Cesare at MsAnnaNY@aol.com.

Originally posted in The Constantinian Chronicle

February 10, 2019

Briganti Field Trip: Maker of Middle-Earth Exhibit at the Morgan Library & Museum

Lamppost banner on Madison Avenue
Photos by New York Scugnizzo
By Giovanni di Napoli
"It's like lightning from a clear sky!" ~ C.S. Lewis, review of The Fellowship of the Ring
For our first official gathering, members of Il Regno’s nascent Briganti Book and Gaming Club met Saturday afternoon at the Morgan Library & Museum (225 Madison Avenue) in Manhattan to view the newly installed J.R.R. Tolkien exhibit, “Tolkien: Maker of Middle-earth.” Previously on view at the Weston Library in Oxford, England, the show will run from January 25 through May 12, 2019. 
Arriving early, our fellowship entered the Engelhard Gallery on the second floor through a replica hobbit hole doorway and leisurely perused it’s many wondrous objects. Displayed on walls and beneath glass cases, the space featured a nice selection of family photographs, memorabilia, illustrations, maps, manuscripts and designs connected to Tolkien’s Middle-earth (The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, and The Silmarillion). Boasting 117 items in all, the exhibit is touted as “the largest collection of Tolkien material ever assembled in the United States.” Sadly, photography is strictly prohibited in the gallery.
In addition to the installations, a series of related programs are being offered for children and adults throughout the duration of the exhibit. During our visit, we were very happy to hear the cartography class geared for children ages 8-14 was sold out. The next event scheduled will be the “Tolkien and Inspiration: A Multidisciplinary Symposium” on Saturday, March 16th at 2:00PM. The full calendar of events is available online.
Having read (and loved) Tolkien’s books at an early age, they were very influential in my development. Along with the stories of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table, Beowulf, the Brothers Grimm, et al., they were the fountainhead of my passion for fantasy and science fiction (SF) and led me to the works of Robert E. Howard, Edgar Rice Burroughs, and H.P. Lovecraft, not to mention Homer, Virgil, and Snorri Sturluson.
The Hobbit DVD
Admittedly, my first exposure to Tolkien wasn’t from reading, but through the animated television special of The Hobbit (1977), directed by Arthur Rankin and Jules Bass (Rankin/Bass Productions). Though a young boy, I still remember it like it was yesterday. Feeling a little under the weather, my mother tucked me into my parents’ bed because their bedroom had a spare television set. She must have known about the premier before hand because the timing was just right.
Doing a little Internet sleuthing, I learned the cartoon aired on Sunday, November 27, 1977.

Unlike anything I’ve ever seen before, I watched in wonder as Bilbo Baggins, Gandalf the Wizard, and a company of dwarves battled giant spiders, trolls, warg riding goblins, and, of course, the dragon Smaug. Up till then, my experience with SF was limited to comic books and the old black and white movies I watched with my grandfather, like 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, King Kong, and so forth. Much like Andy Serkis’ acclaimed portrayal in the later Peter Jackson trilogy, Gollum was one of the more memorable characters in the film.
A few years later, I would be able to watch the cartoon as often as I pleased when my father brought home an RCA Capacitance Electronic Disc (CED) player. The Hobbit, as well as Ralph Bakshi’s adaptation of The Lord of the Rings (Warner Brothers, 1978), was among the handful of “video discs” I had before the outmoded system was replaced by the short-lived Betamax format. I believe my long-lost copy of The Return of the King (Rankin/Bass Productions, 1980) was on VHS.
The other CED discs I remember owning were Time Bandits (1981), The Bad News Bears (1976) and the highly inappropriate Barbarella (1968) starring Jane Fonda. The latter, unquestionably, was mistakenly conflated with Flash Gordon and Buck Rogers, because there was no way my parents would have knowingly allowed me to watch a naked strumpet floating around in outer space, but I digress.
My autographed cel from Ralph Bakshi's animated The Lord of the Rings movie
Not one to collect pop memorabilia (books and art postcards are my weakness), I do possess two items of note. The first is an autographed cel from Bakshi’s The Lord of the Rings film depicting the heroic hobbit Frodo Baggins holding his uncle Bilbo’s elvish blade Sting to Gollum’s exposed and cadaverous throat. The other is a limited edition Frank Frazetta "Women of the Ages" portfolio signed by the artist. Both items were a gift from an old friend.
Frazetta, like Tolkien, was very inspirational to me. His pen and ink illustrations of The Lord of the Rings in my, sadly falling apart, first edition copy of Frank Frazetta: The Living Legend (Sun Litho Print/Frank Frazer, 1981) are among my favorites. Ironically, Frazetta’s dark and sinister drawings are more how I envision Middle-earth to be than Tolkien’s own illustrations, despite how beautiful they are. 
An immodest Éowyn decapitating a Fell Beast 
from my copy of Frank Frazetta: The Living Legend
Having in the past only seen some of the amazing artifacts on display at the Morgan Library & Museum in books or magazines, it was a great thrill to actually view the originals in person—similar to when I got to see Otto Dix’s Der Krieg prints, which I was so fascinated with as an adolescent, at the “Chaos and Classicism” exhibit at the Guggenheim Museum in 2010. While we can never underestimate the importance of reproductions in print and online galleries, they almost never do justice to the originals; nor can they take the place of experiencing art in the flesh.
Before leaving, I picked up few souvenirs: (L-R) Museum bulletin; Tolkien: Treasures by Catherine McIlwaine; crankshaft music box that plays "Happy Birthday;" and postcards (Hunting the Wild Boar; Running Eros, Holding a Torch; Bellerophon Killing the Chimera; Conversion of St. Hubert; and The Siren)
Be that as it may, I still bought myself a keepsake copy of Catherine McIlwaine's illustrated exhibition catalogue Tolkien: Treasures (Boldleian Library, 2018) and a few postcards for my collection.
If you are a fan, the “Tolkien: Maker of Middle-earth” exhibit is definitely worth the trip. It brought back a lot of great childhood memories and has me itching to read the books again. See it before it leaves for the Bibliothèque nationale de France in Paris later this year.
For more on the Morgan Library & Museum and “Tolkien: Maker of Middle-earth” visit www.themorgan.org.


Afterward, we took the opportunity to explore the beautiful Morgan Library and Museum collection. Highlights included:
Ceramic relief by the Renaissance sculptor Lucia della Robbia (1400-1482) on the rotunda ceiling over the door opposite the library's grand entrance.
Pierpont Morgan's 1906 Library
The Guttenberg Bible
Jeweled cover of the Lindau Gospels, France,
workshop of Charles the Bald, ca. 870-80 
Running Eros, Holding a Torch,
Boscoreale, Campania, second or first century BC
Blast: Review of the Great English Vortex,
No. 2
by Wyndham Lewis (1882-1957)

February 8, 2019

The Search for our Ancestry (LVI)

A Flood of On-Line Records
By Angelo Coniglio
A belief of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (‘LDS’ or ‘Mormon’) is that reunion with family and ancestors in the afterlife is possible if those ancestors are properly identified and included in one’s ‘family tree’. This has led the church to find and record documents from all over the world, including birth, baptism, marriage and death records, as well as other ‘vital statistics.’ These documents were photographed or photocopied and reproduced in miniaturized form on microfiche or microfilm. A microfiche is a small (4 in. by 5 in.) sheet of celluloid that can hold many miniaturized images. A microfilm is similar, with the images on a roll of celluloid film. The microfilms have ‘still’ images of records, not motion pictures. Both 16 millimeter and 35 millimeter film was used. A magnifying viewer is required for both fiches and films, and usually such viewers are dual-purpose. 
Eventually, microfiches were phased out, and microfilm was the main resource for researching the records compiled by the LDS. These were available for rental to anyone (including non-Mormons) for a small charge, and once they were shipped to local Mormon Family History Centers (FHCs) they were viewable there for free, to any patron. The microfilms are organized by city or town of origin, then by civil or ecclesiastic records, then by year and type. The research approach was to determine one’s ancestral town, then order the microfilm for that town for the year(s) of interest and the type of record to be searched (civil birth, marriage or death, church baptism, etc.).
In recent years, the LDS church began uploading images of the records held on microfilm to its on-line site, www.familysearch.org and currently, all but a .few Sicilian and Italian records are available, to one degree or another, on line. This was done because of the ephemeral nature of microfilm: it won’t last forever. Before further discussing online images, the terms involved should be understood:
Digitizing is the process of scanning an image (whether from a sheet of paper or from a microfilm) and reproducing it in electronic format that can be stored on a computer, viewed, transmitted, etc. When you scan a photo that was made ‘the old-fashioned way’ with photographic film and printed on paper, and store that image on your computer or post it on Facebook, etc, you are ‘digitizing’ that photo. The LDS has on microfilm over 3.5 billion images of individual records that had to be digitized.
Once a microfilm film and its records are digitized, the images can be made available on line. These images, obviously, are in Italian, and researching them is no different in principle than scrolling through a microfilm. Image enhancement does make some of the records clearer than those on the original microfilm. To make searches less difficult, the LDS is in the process of ‘indexing’ these on-line images.
Indexing requires a person (in this case one of many volunteers) to view an image of each record and to enter summarized information in a predetermined format that can then be ‘searched’ by users. For example, from a detailed birth record, the indexer might record the birth date and place, the child’s name and the names of its parents. Then a researcher (you) can go to the desired town’s records on the familysearch site and enter, say, the child’s name to see the transcribed information, in English, often with a link to the image of the actual original record.

Using indexed material may make it easier to find information, but I recommend that even if indexed, you should always view the original record if possible. There are at least two reasons for this: 1) only bare-bones information is indexed. The summary of a birth, for example, won’t give the father’s age or occupation, nor the street address where the child was born, nor other facts that may be seen only on the original record; and 2) the indexed record is a secondary record. Someone has read the original and entered information as he/she interpreted it. Dates, names and places may be incorrect, because of the unfamiliarity of the indexer with the original language or handwriting. Often these errors mean that when you search by name, the record can’t be found, only because the indexer has misspelled the name.
Coniglio is the author of the book The Lady of the Wheel, inspired by his Sicilian research. Order the paperback or the Kindle version at www.bit.ly/SicilianStory Coniglio’s web page at http://bit.ly/AFCGen has helpul hints on genealogic research. If you have genealogy questions, or would like him to lecture to your club or group, e-mail him at genealogytips@aol.com.

February 5, 2019

Meridiunalata X: Notes on Coming Home by He Zhizhang

賀知章 (He Zhizhang)
Following the successful reception of his translation of Edgar Allan Poe's The Raven into Neapolitan, and in honor of Chinese New Year, Cav. Charles Sant'Elia takes the opportunity to translate 回鄉偶書, a poem by one of the "immortals" of the Tang Dynasty, He Zhizhang (659-744). The original and English translation of the poem comes courtesy of John Turner's A Golden Treasury of Chinese Poetry, Hong Kong: Renditions Books, The Chinese University of H.K., 1989.

Notes on Coming Home*
By He Zhizhang (659-744, Tang Dynasty)

I come home an old man; I went away young.
My accent has not changed but my hair is now gray.
I meet some village children, I am a stranger to them.
Smiling, they ask me, "Where do you come from?"

Notarelle Ncopp’’O Turnà a Casa
De He Zhizhang (659-744, Dinastia Tang)

I’ mo torno a casa nu viecchio; ca gióvene i’ partette.
L’acciento mio nun ha cagnato ma ‘e capille mieje sò ghianche.
Veco ‘e ppiccerille d’’o pajese, pe chille songo nu forestiero.
Surridenno, m’addimánnano, “’Addò bbenite vuje?”

Translated by Cav. Avv. Charles Sant’Elia

February 4, 2019

Photo of the Week: Statue of a River God on the Left Side of the Grand Staircase

Statua di Divinita Fluviale on the left side of the grand staircase in the Museo Archeologico Nazionale di Napoli. Roman, second century A.D.
Photo by New York Scugnizzo

February 3, 2019

New Books (February 2019)

New and forthcoming titles that may be of interest to our readers. All are available at Amazon.com
Sicily: Heritage of the World edited by Dirk Booms and Peter John Higgs
Publisher: British Museum
Publication Date: July 31, 2019
Paperback: $80.00
Language: English
Pages: 200

The Time Traveler’s Guide to Sicily: History for Visitors by Louis Mendola
Publisher: Trinacria Editions LLC
Publication Date: October 2, 2019
Paperback: $34.00
Language: English
Pages: 370

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