National Geographic : 1923 Jan
THE ISLAND OF SARDINIA AND ITS PEOPLE stroying every ancient monument in the hope of finding hidden treasure-all make the history of Sardinia in the Middle Ages rather a cloudy one. With the exception of Cagliari, whose Castello, with its pre served towers, en trance gates, ramparts, and fort, retains evei in modern times many traces of medieval life, the towns and villages in Sardinia have scarcely a monument worth mentioning. The history of Sar dinia might be summed up in a few words. Invaders in every age came to pillage, to carry away treasure, and to impose heavy taxes on the inhabi tants, who had to fight incessantly lest they be torn to pieces by these birds of prey. Then Sardinia had to endure Spanish rule, which brought misfortune to the whole island. Even at present many preju- EATI dices, hypocrisies, and The unleavened nat false standards for thick and is baked judging life are but lingering traces of those Spanish rulers who carried away all the treasure they could, but left as a sad souvenir of their sway the worst traits of their character. The Sardinian historian, Enrico Costa, has written a sonnet entitled "The History of Sardinia." It gives a better idea of Sardinian history than many textbooks on the subject. Here is a literal translation: Phoenicians and Greeks and Africans made her their prey and built the Nuraghi. Carthaginians tried to make the most of her and the Romans contented themselves to keep her in slavery. Then the Vandals, the Greek emperors, and the Moors worked her complete ruin. Under the Pisans she had monks and NG "PILLONCA" (SEE PAGE 54) ive bread of Sardinia. which is about half an inch d in large disks from 14 to 18 inches in diameter. lords, but Genoa, the usurer, treated her as a vile servant. The Aragon dynasty gave her feuds. Spain kindled petty jealousies and asked for gold. Piedmont appreciated the trick and ruled over her between altar and gibbet. She was French and German, now she is Italian, but if God does not save her, no one knows what she will become. The last verses of Mr. Costa's sonnet sound rather too bitter. The author wrote them several years ago, when the Italian Government almost completely neglected the island and when political offenders were sent to Sardinia as a penal colony.