Academic Relations Between Italian and Spanish Archaeologists and Prehistorians, 1916-1936
Relations between Spain and Italy are always described, by the inhabitants of both countries, as ‘fraternal’. Spanish archaeologists had close intellectual and personal ties with Italian archaeology and its archaeologists, after all, they shared a Latin culture and a Roman past. Prior to the Spanish Civil War, and through the efforts of Spanish archaeologists Bosch Gimpera and Hugo Obermaier, this network, that spanned both Classical and prehistoric archaeologies, was used to support the holding of the IVth International Congress of Classical Archaeology in Barcelona in 1929, and this lead, among other things, to the foundation of the Congrès International des Sciences Préhistoriques et Protohistoriques (CISPP) in Berne in 1932, the forerunner of today’s UISPP. However, common Spanish and Italian archaeological interests also caused the development of Italian-style monumentalist archaeological projects at Romano-Hispanic sites. Eventually under the new Fascist government in Spain, and archaeologists such as García y Bellido, Santa Olalla, Taracena and Almagro, archaeology was used to justify Spanish nationalism, and its ideology of empire, strong central leadership, and political and linguistic unity.
Spanish knowledge of Italian archaeology goes back to the second half of the nineteenth century, through the dissemination of the reports of major excavations. Scientific analysis leaned towards the study parameters of Classical Art History, although this did not affect the development of an academic body of work based on the Iberian Peninsula’s own archaeological record. Its influence was felt in various ways: in the importance of the study of sites connected with the Roman conquest and rule for Spanish nationalism; in the composition of the first documentary syntheses or bodies of work, such as José Ramón Mélida’s Arqueología Española of 1929; and in the award of grants by the recently founded Junta de Ampliación de Estudios (JAE) (Further Studies Board) for research in Italy. This paper reconstructs the development of academic relationships between Spanish and Italian archaeologists from the private correspondence of Pedro Bosch Gimpera, Luis Pericot and Julio Martínez Santa Olalla, as well as from official documents held in the Archivo General de la Administración (General Government Archive) in Alcalá de Henares and in the General Archive of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in Madrid.
The Dream of Italy
Like the sons of the British aristocracy at the end of the eighteenth century, Bosch Gimpera also enjoyed his private Grand Tour. In July 1912, towards the end of his first semester at the University of Berlin, where he was studying Classical Philology on a grant from the JAE, Bosch suggested the possibility of a study trip to France and Italy. Although the JAE refused the request and any economic assistance, he did not give up his plan. At the end of August, he travelled to Copenhagen, Stockholm, London and Paris, where he joined his mother, Dolores Gimpera, who accompanied him on the tour. Together they explored the French capital and then visited Brussels, Cologne, Basle, Milan, Venice, Florence, Rome, Pisa and Genoa, before returning to Barcelona, with stops in Nice and Marseilles.
This was not only a pleasure trip, but also a working one, and Bosch took advantage of it to study museum collections in the cities where they stayed. In the account of the trip for the JAE, he mentioned his visits to the museum at Lake Constance, where he examined the material found during digs in the region’s marshy habitats, to Florence, where he analysed Etruscan materials, and Mycenean and Cretan pottery from the Italian missions in Crete, and a series of Attic vases, and to Rome, where he again looked at Cretan pottery. He decided to speak about this subject in the exams for the Chair of Ancient History at the University of Barcelona in 1915, but none of the members of the tribunal had ever heard of Cretan-Mycenaean culture and rejected his candidacy (Gracia Alonso, 2011: 150-153).
Bosch’s pupils also applied for JAE grants. Alberto del Castillo obtained one for Germany in 1920, and then went on to Italy, where he visited museums at Bologna, Florence and Rome, working with Pigorini at the Ethnographic and Prehistorical Museum, and with Sergi at the School of Anthropology in Rome. He went again to Italy in January 1923, where he worked for four months in the Museum of Bologna to complete his studies on bell-shaped beakers. However, the Spanish scholar who undertook the most research in other countries before the Spanish Civil War was Antonio García y Bellido. Professor of Classical Archaeology at the Central University of Madrid from 1931, replacing Mélida, García y Bellido obtained grants from the JAE and the Royal Academy of History between 1930 and 1935. He worked in Germany in 1930, 1932, 1934 and 1935, but spent most of 1933 in Italy broadening his knowledge of Greco-Roman archaeology and Italian proto-historical cultures. He was in Florence from April to June, analysing collections of Greek pottery, and compiling data that he would use in his studies of the Greek colonization of the Iberian Peninsula. Then, after taking part in an educational Mediterranean cruise in the summer of 1933, which would introduce three generations of Spanish scholars to Italian archaeology (Gracia Alonso and Fullola, 2006), he toured sites in Southern Italy before a long stay in Rome (Blánquez and Pérez, 2004: 19-58).
This educational Mediterranean cruise was organized by the Faculty of Philosophy and Letters of Madrid’s Central University, and supported by the Ministries of State (Foreign Affairs) and of Public Education and Fine Arts, and brought together 190 teachers and students from the universities of Madrid, Barcelona, Salamanca, Seville and Valencia. They took 45 days to visit Malta, Tunis, Egypt, the Holy Land, Crete, Rhodes, Smyrna, Istanbul, Greece, Sicily and part of central Italy. Nearly all of the main representatives of Spanish archaeological research between 1920 and 1950 were on board, with the exception of Bosch Gimpera. Manuel Gómez Moreno, Elías Tormo, Hugo Obermaier, Luís Pericot, José Ferrandis Torres, Enrique Lafuente Ferrari, Cayetano de Mergelina y Luna, Blas Taracena Aguirre and Antonio García y Bellido were among the teachers. And Juan de Mata Carriazo, Martín Almagro Basch, Julio Martínez Santa Olalla, Juan Maluquer de Motes, Carlos Alonso del Real, Encarnación Cabré Herreros, Emilio Camps Cazorla, José María Mañá de Angulo and Felipa Niño Mas, were among the students and recent graduates. The cruise was a unique opportunity for archaeologists and archaeology students to see the main sites and museums of the Classical world. This experience would decisively shape their professional and academic activities after the Spanish Civil War.
After a tour of the eastern Mediterranean and Greece, the ship Ciudad de Cádiz reached Palermo, Sicily, on July 23. The travellers visited the main archaeological sites of the city and then detoured to Syracuse before moving on to Naples on July 25. Here they visited the archaeological museum before going to Pompeii and Herculaneum on July 26, Paestum on July 27 and Rome on July 28. They were introduced to the large-scale excavation techniques used in work at Pompeii, and to the concept of monumental archaeology that was favoured by Mussolini’s government.
Consequently the excavation of large archaeological complexes would also become a standard feature of the archaeological research promoted by Spanish governments in the period immediately before and after the Spanish Civil War. Implementation began on June 11, 1936, with the publication of the Plan for Works, Excavations and Acquisition of Buildings and Land Destined for Monuments of National Artistic Heritage. With a budget of 6,816,927 pesetas, this plan had been put before Parliament by the Minister of Public Education and Fine Arts, Marcelino Domingo, and prioritized the sites of Itálica, Clunia and Medina Azahara. In 1940, after the end of the Spanish Civil War, the General Commissariat of Archaeological Excavations of Franco’s Ministry of Education and Science presented its first plan of archaeological action, which advocated funding for work at the three sites, Itálica, Clunia and Medina Azahara, as well as at the sites of La Alcudia, Azaila, Mérida, Numancia, Sagunto and Ampurias. In spite of the political differences with its predecessors the Franco regime maintained the policy of supporting archaeological research.
The IVth International Congress of Classical Archaeology
Bosch was in frequent contact with his Italian colleagues. Count Francesco Pellati invited him to the conference on the history of Cyrenaica held in 1927, although in the end he was unable to attend due to administrative problems with the Ministry of State. However, he did take part in the International Congress of Etruscan Studies held in Florence in 1928, and attended the meeting on the archaeology of the island of Rhodes in the same year. At the former, one of the characteristics of Bosch’s academic personality was clearly demonstrated: his definition of a position on a question and then the defence of it at all costs, riding roughshod over any arguments of the opposition. At this conference Italian researchers, led by Ugo Antonelli, put forward their theses in defence of the Italian ethnicity of the Etruscans in order to ingratiate themselves with Fascist authorities and obtain funds to continue their research. Bosch and other researchers such as Axel Boethius defended the opposite position, that the Etruscans were of Lydian origin. They based their arguments on the evidence in Classical texts, a position characteristic of the German historical school in which they had both been educated. Like Wilhelm Unverzagt they were disdainful of the Fascist paraphernalia and the patriotic interventions of the conference speakers, and along with Boethius, Bosch refused to use the term ‘Etruscan-Italian’ to refer to pre-Roman communities on the Italian peninsula.
Nevertheless, and in spite of all of the politics, the fact is that they were wrong. Archaeological research was beginning to find evidence of continuity in the sequences of occupation between different stages of Villanovian and Lacial cultures and the Etruscan levels, without any rupture or contribution by external populations. This confirmed the indigenist thesis at the expense of the migrationist one, which attempted to assign the origins of Etruscans and Romans to the communities of Asia Minor. After visiting the Pigorini museum, Bosch began corresponding with Antonelli, among others, concerning a series of artefacts from a pit tomb near the Cucumella Tumulus at Vulci, which he wanted to compare with some Spanish material. In addition he began to correspond with Neppi Modona, with whom he was to continue to exchange both his publications and those of his students, Alberto del Castillo and Luis Pericot, for the series, Studi Etruschi, which he wanted for the Prehistory Seminar at the University of Barcelona.
After the Etruscan conference, Bosch undertook a tour of the Aegean, leaving from Brindisi and visiting Patras, Corinth, Athens, Smyrna, Patmos and Cos before reaching Rhodes. Back in Rome, Bosch met with Francesco Pellati and Ettore Pais to confirm Italian support for the negotiations to hold the IVth International Congress of Classical Archaeology in Barcelona in the following year, a meeting he had begun to organise in Brussels five years earlier. The interest of the Italians grew as the months passed, especially Pellati’s, and in January 1929 he congratulated Bosch for having gained the support of the Spanish government for the congress. Pellati was convinced that the Barcelona meeting would be successful due to the presence in the organising committee of Mélida and Obermaier, and of Bosch himself. Pellati also suggested a date for the second fortnight of September which was accepted. Pellati provided information and documents on how the third congress in Rome (some years earlier) had been set up, along with the specific reasons that prevented the follow-up conference in Algiers, due mainly to the outbreak of the First World War. He believed that the proposal for the conference in Spain linked up perfectly with the lecture series begun in Athens, and continued in Cairo before the Rome meeting.
Because of the lack of news, Pellati asked for confirmation at the end of April 1929 that the congress would take place. By the start of July all of the Italian researchers had received the conference documents and had started to send their letters of acceptance to Bosch, along with their lecture titles. Some, like Ugo Rellini, suggested that the organisers request that official delegations be sent, a measure that had already been discussed by the time the Ministry of State sent out information on the conference to other European governments. Pellati and Antonio Taramelli organised the Italian delegation under the aegis of the Minister of Public Education. Initially the delegation was to comprise these two scholars and Paolo Orsi, Pericle Ducati and Pietro Romanelli, although some of these were not all able, or in some cases not particularly keen, to participate. In the end, thanks to Pellati’s efforts in publicising the meeting among Italian researchers, new applications to take part were received from Francesca Franciosi, Rodolfo Micacchi, Umberto Calzoni, Gaetano Mori, Raniero Mengarelli and Ugo Ferraguti. On September 9, Pellati informed Bosch about the list of official delegates from Italy, consisting of himself, Carlo Azu, Umberto Calzoni, Ducati, Giulio Giglioli, Mengarelli, Rellini, Romanelli and Taramelli, (although, eventually, Mengarelli would not be able to attend).
Bosch also relied on the Italian researchers’ participation in the ‘Foreign Correspondence Committee’, which had to persuade the international community of the value of the work of the organising committee, the quality of Spanish research and the appropriateness of holding the meeting in Barcelona. The Spanish press noted the calibre of the foreign researchers expected to be present in Barcelona, and reported on the members of the committee, who were, in the case of Italy: ‘Count Francesco Pellati, of the Fine Arts Department, Rome; Prof. Hugo (sic) Antonelli, Director of the Museum of Prehistory, Rome; Prof. Aldo Neppi Modona, University lecturer and secretary of the Standing Committee on Etruria, Florence’. The Foreign Correspondence Committee comprised the following leading figures: Gerhard Rodenwaldt, Wihelm Unverzagt, Hans Zeiss and Lothar Wickert from Germany; Oswald Menghin from Austria; Arthur Stanley Riggs from the United States; Henri Begouën and Raymond Lantier from France; and Thomas Downing Kendrick, Osbert Guy Stanhope Crawford and Adolf Mahr, representing researchers from Great Britain and Ireland.
The interest of the Italian archaeologists and researchers was logical, given the programme. Divided into twelve sections, research into the Classical world and Latin culture predominated, and only four sections diverged from this main subject. These were Prehistoric and Protohistoric Archaeology (I), Eastern Archaeology (II), Pre-Hellenic Archaeology (III) and Organization of Archaeological Research (XII). The eight other sections reflected the main themes: Italian and Etruscan Archaeology (IV), Spanish Archaeology (V), History of Classical Art (VI), Greek and Roman Antiquities (VII), Epigraphy, Papyrology and Numismatics (VIII), Mythology and History of Religions (IX), Ancient Topography (X) and Christian Archaeology (XI).
The Barcelona Congress, held from September 23 to 29, 1929, was an overwhelming success. Bosch, as organiser, had to overcome many obstacles due to the doubts of the more nationalist sectors of the Institut d’Estudis Catalans, who regarded the meeting as yet another example of the Primo de Rivera dictatorship’s attempts to create Spanish-nationalist uniformity. However, Rodenwaldt expressed the opinion of many of those present when he pointed out, during the opening session in the Aula Magna of the University of Barcelona, that the objective of the German delegation was not only to honour the scientific voyages of Alexander von Humboldt, but also to confirm the excellence of archaeological research in Spain, in reference to the international impact of the work of Bosch and Obermaier. Among those attending were Karel Absolon, W.J. Schramil, Ioan Andrievescu, Wlodzimierz Antoniewicz, Gregory Borovka, Félix Durrbach, P. Douât Bullic, Ugo Ferraguti, Director of Excavations at Vulci; Ernst Curtius, Director of the German Archaeological Institute, Rome; Carlo Galassi Paluzzi, Director of the Istituto di Studi Romani; Adolph Goldschmidt, Maertens, Henri Martin, Boris Schukow, Maurice Reygasse and Stanley Riggs. Others, such as the Italians Neppi, Rellini, Agostino Gemelli, Alfonso Bartoli and Serafino Ricci could not attend, but supported the congress. Aristide Calderini even requested that the documents of the conference’s working groups be included in the journal Aevum, published by the Faculty of Letters of the Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Milan.
During the opening ceremony on September 23, Taramelli, from the Presidential table, told participants how the congress had allowed him to fulfil his dream of getting to know Spain. He gave the Italian Government’s official greeting and ‘predicted that the congress’s tasks are the prelude to that society of intelligence and the future. He said it was necessary to achieve serenity by means of these festivals of thought that are festivals of the heart and recalled the fraternity of Spain and Italy’. After speeches Bosch proposed the appointment of the congress’ definitive presiding committee. Taramelli and Pellati were chosen, along with Mélida, Rodenwaldt, Durrbach, Thomas, Pearson, Manuel Gómez Moreno, José Ferrándis Torres, Francisco Álvarez-Osorio, Obermaier and Blas Taracena. Working groups were held in the lecture halls of the University of Barcelona. On September 25, Pellati presided over the work of the section on Ancient Topography and Numismatics, and detailed current work to compile an archaeological map of Italy. This speech, supported by Taramelli, was very well received by those present. On the September 26, Pericle Ducati presided over the meeting of the Classical Archaeology section, during which Romanelli read a paper on the representation of life in the country on Roman mosaics from North Africa, and Giulio Giglioli talked about the various stages of the Republican period documented in the excavations undertaken in the centre of Rome. Probably because his brother was the Italian consul in Barcelona, Romanelli was invited to speak in the Aula Magna of the university on Monday September 30, where he gave a rather long-winded lecture on the state of archaeological research in Italy.
The most decisive conference activities that emphasised Bosch’s prestige were visits to the exhibition Art in Spain, held at the National Palace under his direction, to the Prehistory and Archaeology sections of the Museum of Decorative Arts and Archaeology of Barcelona, which Bosch himself had designed between 1923 and 1925, and to the excavations at Ampurias (in Catalan Empúries, a Greek and Roman town site on the coast). These all had a significant impact on participants, especially the tour of Ampurias. Although Bosch had been Director of the Archaeological Research Service of the IEC since 1915, he had hardly intervened at all in the excavations. Emilio Gandía had directed the fieldwork, while the scientific side had been supervised by Josep Puig i Cadafalch, who refused to take part in the congress’ sessions for political reasons. This meant that Bosch had to explain the site, and ironically, later he would take charge of it, from 1935 until the Civil War. Durrbach and Taramelli thanked the organization and Bosch for all of their attentiveness during the visit to Ampurias. The Italians succeeded in moving Gandía by composing and reciting a poem praising his work at the excavations.
Back in the Aula Magna of the university, Taramelli again represented the Italians at the September 29 closure of the congress, at which the speakers not only congratulated each other on the success of the sessions, but also, on Durrbach’s proposal, agreed to hold the Vth Congress in Algiers during the following year to commemorate the centenary of Morocco’s French conquest. However, undoubtedly the most important conclusion, in terms of international relations, was the appointment of Mélida and Bosch as coordinators of a future international committee to organise new meetings. The death of Mélida shortly afterwards left Bosch in sole charge of this mandate, which he would successfully implement. Between September 30 and October 2 a group of participants travelled to Majorca to visit its historic sites. On the way back, on October 3, Joaquín María de Navascués guided the group on a general tour of Tarragona. From there, the group divided into two, with those interested in Classical archaeology visiting Valencia, Madrid, Mérida, Itálica, Seville and Carmona, and the prehistorians, with Bosch and Serra Ráfols as their guides, touring Calaceite, Azaila, Zaragoza, Soria, Numancia, Burgos, Santander and the Altamira caves. At the end of the congress Ducati and Pellati were quick to congratulate Bosch on its success. Ducati expressed his hope that it would be the starting-point for future scientific relations between the two countries in the fields of History and Archaeology, while Pellati, after remembering the importance of the sites they had visited at Tarragona, Sagunto and Ampurias (Empúries), also called for the continuation of contact.
Bosch’s prestige in Italy as a central figure in Iberian archaeology was confirmed over and above the limits of his research. As early as 1929, he was invited to take part in the meeting, held by the Human Palaeontology Section of the Società Italiana per il Progresso delle Scienze , and to contribute articles and news on archaeological activity in Spain to the Bolletino de la Associazione Internazionale degli Studi Mediterranei (AIM). Guido Calza, who met Bosch during the Algiers congress, invited him on behalf of the President of the AIM, Count Constantini, to give a lecture in Rome at the start of 1931, as part of a cycle of talks on Mediterranean archaeology. Bosch accepted the invitation, proposing various lecture subjects such as: ‘Cultural relationships and problems of chronology in the Mediterranean in the Neolithic period’ and ‘Problems of post-Mycenaean Mediterranean ethnology’,[70 ]although due to internal problems within the AIM he was never able to deliver the lectures in person. In April 1931 Romanelli even asked him to contribute to the news section of the Bollettino del Museo dell’Impero Romano with the most relevant information on Spanish research into Roman monuments and sites, a subject that Bosch had never worked on. In 1929 Bosch published two articles in Italian journals: ‘Problemi della colonizzazione greca in Spagna’ in Historia and ‘Le relazioni mediterranee postmicenee ed il problema etrusco’ in Studi Etruschi, which reaffirmed his prestige. He was to maintain this prestige, even during the Spanish Civil War, among Italian researchers who were not ideologically committed to Fascism, to the chagrin of Martínez Santa Olalla, who sought to spread the political arguments of the Franco side among the professional elites of European archaeology.
From Algiers to Berne
At the beginning of 1929, Bosch and Obermaier attended the opening of the archaeological museums of Berlin (Gracia Alonso, 2011: 237-239). Here they discussed, with Lantier, Unverzagt and Gerhard Bersu, the organisation of a specific congress on prehistory, as distinct from the congresses on anthropology and archaeology. This discussion continued in September in Barcelona, when Bosch, Lantier, Obermaier and Rodenwaldt examined the idea in greater detail. They composed a draft call for papers for the prehistory congress, although the definitive decision to hold it was postponed until they met again in Algiers at the Vth International Congress of Classical Archaeology. In Algiers Bosch and Obermaier – members of the official Spanish delegation along with Mergelina and Taracena – and Unverzagt and Weygand (in Lantier’s absence) decided not to delay the proposal any further. Thus, when the centenary of the German Archaeological Institute was celebrated in Berlin in October 1930, an organising committee consisting of Bosch, Lantier, Bersu, Unverzagt and Obermaier, known as the ‘Committee of Five’, was set up. The group met again in France at the museum of Saint Germain-en-Laye on February 24 and 25, 1931, along with Roland Vaufrey, and with John Myres, on behalf of the Anthropology Institute of London. Bosch, appointed secretary, was responsible for convening a meeting to set up the prehistory congress in Berne on May 28 and 29, 1931, at which Bosch, Lantier, Bersu, Henri Breuil, T.S. Arne and Myres drew up the rules for the Congrès International des Sciences Préhistoriques et Protohistoriques (CISPP), forerunner of today’s UISPP. During the work that followed the Berne meeting, Bosch insisted (to his friends, in particular to Rellini) that Italian representatives should be appointed to the Standing Committee. With the agreement of the main researchers, the name of Paolo Orsi, Superintendent of Antiquities of Sicily, was put forward as a consensus figure. The appointment of the secretary proved to be more difficult.
The publication in 1932 of Bosch’s Etnología de la Península Ibérica had considerable repercussions in Italy. In an analysis that went beyond professional courtesy, Ettore Pais wrote:
‘I admire the breadth of your conclusions. I saw with the greatest pleasure the appropriateness of the comparisons you draw with other countries. You have dealt with the problem not from the perspective of a specialist, but of someone who is deeply aware of all historical, archaeological and ethnographic problems and is able to tackle them in general terms ... I will review your book in the journal Historia’.
However, Bosch barely quoted Italian researchers, only Taramelli with his work on Sardinia, and Ettore Pais on various facets of the history of Rome and pre-Roman communities, while he also reissued old research by L. Garofalo on the Iberians in southern Gaul. This disregard is surprising, given his broad knowledge of Italian bibliography, as he gave preference to French and German authors and his own works on Italian themes.
In comparison, Hugo Obermaier’s El hombre fósil, whose revised second edition of 1925 replaced the 1916 edition, included many references to prehistoric research in Italy. In the chapters on the Palaeolithic, Obermaier used works by A. Mochi, G.A. Colini, G. Bellucci, R. Battaglia and Ugo Rellini, and in the Palaeoanthropology section he quoted studies by G. Sergi and E. Grazzini. Obermaier showed that he knew the subject in depth, although he also gave more space to French and German scientific studies. While Bosch and Obermaier knew of the research through publications, García y Bellido, on the other hand, had lived in Italy for almost a year in 1933. So it is no surprise that in Los hallazgos griegos en España, published in 1936, García y Bellido, demonstrated his profound knowledge of the materials in Italian museums and of Italian and German bibliography, with frequent quotes from Buonamici, Guido Libertini, Spinazzola, Milani, Marconi, Ducati, E. Brizzio, Orsi, Gabrici and Rellini, and a much wider range of sources than in Bosch and Obermaier’s books.
Another Spanish researcher, Julio Martínez Santa Olalla also maintained strong links with Italy. When he was a lecturer in Spanish at the University of Bonn (1927-1931), he befriended the linguist Vittorio Bertoldi, whom he invited to contribute to the Anuario de Prehistoria Madrileña and with whom he maintained a scientific correspondence for years. He also corresponded with Alfredo Bruchi, his contact in the Standing Committee for Etruria, with Antonio Minto, with whom he discussed the work of García y Bellido on the Etruscans, and with Count David Constantini, who was in charge of the Associazione Internazionale degli Studi Mediterranei (AIM). Martínez Santa Olalla criticized some of the studies about Spanish archaeology published in this association’s bulletin, in particular attacking articles by Wishaw and Encarnación Cabré, whilst praising one by Serra Vilaró on the necropolis of Tarragona. He explained, to both Serra and Guido Calza, that the only archaeologists of any worth in Spain were Bosch Gimpera, Pericot and Del Castillo in Barcelona, and Obermaier and Pérez de Barradas in Madrid.
From London to the Civil War
It was decided in 1932 at the Berne Congress that the first meeting of the CISPP should be held in London. Myres and Bosch worked together on the lists of the members of the Committee of Honour, the Standing Council and the National Secretariats and Bosch and Obermaier attended the meeting as Spain’s official representatives. Although Bosch eventually took a lesser role within the CISPP, his earlier work was recognized with his appointment to the commission to organise a conference for the Study of the Prehistory of the Western Mediterranean, to take place in autumn of 1935, in Barcelona.
But the convening of this Barcelona meeting was badly affected by political developments. After the uprising of the Catalan government, the Generalitat, against the Government of the Republic on October 6, 1934, Bosch was imprisoned, and accused of supporting military rebellion. Although he was released in December (Gracia Alonso, 2011: 275-285), his reputation was severely damaged, especially among researchers from those countries with Totalitarian regimes, and from others like Great Britain, who thought that Catalonia’s secessionist drift was dangerous. Thus, when the conference opened on September 10, 1935, it was not only without most of the Spanish delegates, such as Obermaier, Taracena and Emeterio Cuadrado, who had declined the invitation, but also without all of the British: Myres, Kendrick, Leeds, Murray, Gordon Childe, Crawford, MacAlister, Fox and Mahr; and the Germans: Unverzagt, Bersu, Rodenwaldt and Frobenius; and some of the French: such as Reygasse and Dussaud; and all of the Italians: Pellati, Neppi Modona, Orsi, Minto, Rellini, Ducati and Taramelli.
The failed conference was Bosch’s last contact with Italian researchers before the Spanish Civil War. His ongoing exile in Great Britain, then in Colombia and Mexico and the duration of World War II, meant that relationships were not resumed until he returned to Europe, as Director of the Humanities Section of UNESCO, in 1948. Bosch returned to Italy again at the end of that year, visiting Pompeii and Naples for the first time, studying the excavations in the Roman Forum made during Mussolini’s regime and the materials of the La Lagozza culture in Como. He held work meetings with Pía Laviosa Zambotti in Milan and was invited by Paolo Graziosi, to give a talk on the chronology of prehistoric cave art in the Levant at the headquarters of the Italian Institute of Art History in Florence. From this time onwards, his contacts with Italy, supported by his position with UNESCO, once again became frequent. He worked with Sergi in organising the Union of Anthropological and Ethnological Sciences in 1949, discussed with Nino Lamboglia various facets of Avienus’ journey and travelled repeatedly to Italy to attend conferences and give talks.
Unlike the personal relations between Spain and Italy, institutional relations failed almost totally between 1932 and 1936 (Gracia Alonso, 2010). On May 11, 1932 Carlo Galassi Paluzzi called the directors of the Institutes and Academies with headquarters in Rome together, to inform them of his intention to organize a lecture cycle on Roman archaeology in 1933-1934 and to ask them for their help. Spain’s Ministry of State was hesitant about the proposal and the sub-secretary Justo Gómez Ocerín asked the Chargé d’Affaires at the Embassy for a report on the economic assistance that the Istituto di Studi Romani would give the lecturers, and what response to the initiative there was in other countries.
As a result, on July 7, 1932 Miguel Blay, Director of the Spanish Academy of Fine Arts in Rome, sent a report indicating that France, Belgium, Holland, Great Britain, Hungary, Rumania, Czechoslovakia, Egypt and the United States would attend in 1933, while Germany and Austria had confirmed for 1934 and perhaps 1933 as well. With this information about high levels of international participation, it would have been only natural for Spain to join in. But the proposal was ignored, and no Spanish archaeologists attended the courses. France was represented by Jérôme Carcopino and Germany by Ludwig Curtius. Spain only started to take part in 1935, although it was not represented by archaeologists, but by philologists such as José Rius y Serra and Carles Riba, at a lecture cycle on Horace. In 1936 Claudio Sánchez Albornoz lectured on systems of communication in the Roman world. Official Spanish Republican representation was interrupted by the start of the Civil War, and from 1937 onwards Spanish representation was assumed by Francoist refugees in Rome, such as Fernando Valls Taberner (who spoke that year at the lecture cycle on the figure of Augustus) and in 1938 by Juan Serra Vilaró.
The Early Post-war Period
Politics and propaganda were bound up with ancient history and archaeology during the Spanish Civil War. On August 20, 1937, the Italian Embassy to the government in Burgos requested the participation of Spanish representatives in the Mostra Augustea della Romanità, to be held in Rome between September 23, 1937, and September 23, 1938, but received no reply. On June 28, 1938, Pietro Kirsch, Director of the Pontificio Istituto di Archeologia Classica, and Giulio Belvederi sent an invitation to participate in the IVth International Congress of Christian Archaeology, to which Antoni Griera y Gaja was sent as a delegate, and Serra Vilaró, Tormo, Eduardo Junyent and Enrique Heras attended as well.
Inevitably, imperial ideas dominated political contacts during the first post- Civil War months. The Minister of the Interior, Ramón Serrano Súñer, defined the historic links of the two countries in a speech in the Palazzo Venezia on June 7, 1939, by invoking their historical and military links. The Romanization of Spain was one of the Fascist regime’s pet ideologies, and references to the common cultural heritage of the two countries were included in even the simplest of events held in Spanish cities with a Roman past.
However, cultural links did not keep up with politics. It was not until the following year, on February 27, 1940, that the new office of the Italian Institute of Culture opened in Madrid, in a ceremony presided over by Luigi Federzoni, President of the Royal Academy of Italy, the ambassador Gambara, and ministers Juan Luis Beigbeder, José Ibáñez Martín, Juan Yagüe, Agustín Muñoz Grandes, José Larraz and Luis Alarcón de la Lastra. Federzoni increased his support for the development of a new Spanish empire by publicizing Spain’s colonial work in Africa in the journal África Italiana, published by the Istituto Fascista dell’Africa Italiana. In its pages, Serrano Súñer also defended his historical view of the role of Spain in north-west Africa, indicating that expansion in this area was the result of applying Roman vicinitas. The Italian Institute of Culture opened the 1940-1941 academic year on January 15, 1941, with a lecture by Giuseppe Cardinali on the subject ‘Iberian and Latin Elements in the Formation of Roman Spain’, which covered the relationship between Falangists and Italian volunteers. Complimenting this the Board of the National Archaeological Museum decided, on November 29, 1940, to hold lecture cycles on the work of German, Portuguese and Italian researchers. In the session of January 8, 1941, Count Francesco Pellati was one of its speakers.
As General Commissar for Archaeological Excavations, Martínez Santa Olalla controlled Spanish relations with Italy until the fall of the Mussolini regime. In February 1940 he went to Rome to take part in the twelfth cycle of talks De Gli Studi Romani nel Mondo, giving a lecture on ‘Roman-Hispanic Archaeology’ in the Borromini Oratory, attended by the Spanish ambassador, Pedro García Conde. His Roman visit included a thorough tour of the excavations of the Imperial Forums, part of the work undertaken by the Mussolini government to glorify the city in the run-up to the 1942 Universal Exhibition, and radio talks on the ‘Hispanicization of Rome’ broadcast on Radio Roma. In both talks, Martínez Santa Olalla focused on the importance of the relationships between Hispania and Rome and the predominant role of the former in the maturation, development and defence of the Roman Empire.
At the end of World War II, contacts between Spain and Italy were rapidly re-established. On Lamboglia’s suggestion, Martín Almagro Basch, Director of Barcelona’s Archaeological Museum, and Taracena, Director of the National Archaeological Museum of Madrid, were invited to the I Convegno Preistorico Italo-Suissero. Approved by José María Albareda, as general secretary of the Higher Council for Scientific Research (CSIC), their attendance was justified, in the words of Taracena to J. Cañal, Director General of Cultural Relations of the Foreign Ministry, because:
‘... from a scientific point of view, the presence of Spain at the Congress is of undoubted interest, as it will be the occasion to reopen relationships that the past and present circumstances of the world impede’.
According to the report sent to the Department of Cultural Relations by the Consul of Spain in Genoa, on July 3, 1947, the success that accompanied Taracena’s attendance
‘... has brought to the attention of those at the Congress the Archaeology publications of the Higher Council for Scientific Research (CSIC) previously sent to the “Istituto di Studi Liguri”, which were unknown to the French and almost all the Italians, has obtained from some of these professors contributions for our journals and has informed everyone of the Spanish bibliography in the speciality subsequent to 1940, of which they knew nothing’.
In fact, the invitation to Almagro was in response to an earlier invitation to Lamboglia to take part in the 1st International Archaeology Course at Ampurias, held from August 25 to September 15 that same year, under the direction of Almagro himself and Pericot. The courses at Ampurias would be the basis for Spanish-Italian collaboration during the early years of Francoism. Massimo Pallotino (1948), Luigi Bernabò Brea (1950), Aldo Crivelli (1948), Romanelli (1949) and Graziosi (1950-1951), among others, took part in them (Gracia Alonso, 2009: 353-365; 2012).
Contacts between Spanish and Italian archaeologists and prehistorians during the first half of the twentieth century clearly reflect the development of two parallel schools of thought in archaeological research in Europe. In Spain, the ideas of the French, British and German liberals of the inter-war period gradually gave way to Italian influences based on the definition of archaeology that Fascism imposed on Italy between 1923 and 1943. The development of monumentalist archaeology in Spain, which began in the mid-1920s with the excavations of Mérida and Hispalis under Mélida, and in Ampurias (Empúries) with the work of Puig i Cadafalch, was supported by nationalist sentiments eager to recover tangible proof of the past.
The reaffirmation of Spanish culture – and of Catalan culture as well – was rooted in the assertion of its Classical origins, of its clear debts to ancient Greece and Rome. During the Spanish Civil War, and then once it was in power, the Franco regime exploited the political capital that this concept of Spain’s past provided. The idea of empire, strong central leadership, and political and linguistic unity, in stark opposition to the territorial, linguistic and cultural diversity endorsed by the Republic of 1931 to 1936, found perfect expression in the monumentalist approach to archaeology centred on the Roman Era, but repackaged as a Hispano-Roman recreation of the essence of Latin culture. For the regime, the emperors and poets born in Hispania were not ‘Romans’, but ‘Hispanic’ or ‘Spanish’. This Fascist-inspired approach to archaeology, whose influence would still be felt in Spain as late as the mid-1970s, was characterized by an unquestioning positivism that developed in the context of the country’s political isolation after the end of World War II. As a result, and for almost two decades, Spanish and European archaeology went their separate ways.
The process of academic internationalization championed by Bosch Gimpera and Obermaier culminated in the organization of the International Congresses of Prehistoric and Protohistoric Sciences and the meetings in Barcelona in 1929 and Berne in 1932. However, the turbulent events of the middle of the twentieth century brought it to an abrupt end, making way for the influence of Italian Fascist archaeology, exemplified by the contacts set up by García y Bellido, Taracena and Almagro after the Spanish Civil War, whose philosophy would dominate Spanish archaeological research during the Francoist period.
8 Antonio García y Bellido (Villanueva de los Infantes, 1903-Madrid, 1972). Archaeologist and historian, and a protégé of Obermaier, he became professor of Archaeology at the University of Madrid (1931). One of the most important researchers of Classical Archaeology in Spain after the end of Civil War.
9 José Ramón Mélida y Alinari (Madrid, 1856-1933). Spanish archaeologist and historian. Professor of Archaeology at the University of Madrid (1911-1931). Director of the Spanish National Archaeological Museum (1916-1930).
10 Manuel Gómez-Moreno Martínez (Granada, 1870-Madrid, 1970). Spanish historian and archaeologist. Professor of Islamic Archaeology at the University of Madrid (1913-1934). Director of the archaeology and art sections at the Historical Studies Centre (Madrid).
13 Luis Pericot García (Gerona, 1899-Barcelona, 1978). Spanish archaeologist. Pupil of Bosch Gimpera. Professor at the universities of Santiago and Valencia (1925-1993) became professor at the University of Barcelona (1933-1969).
14 José Ferrandis Torres (Madrid, 1900-1948). Spanish historian and numismatist. Professor of Numismatics at the University of Madrid (1928-1948). Curator of the National Archaeological Museum (1925).
16 Cayetano de Mergelina y Luna (Sanlúcar de Barrameda, 1890-Murcia, 1962). Spanish historian and archaeologist. Professor of Archaeology and Numismatics at the University of Valladolid (1925-1952), became Principal (1939-1951), and professor of the University of Murcia (1952-1961).
18 Martín Almagro Basch (Tramacastilla, 1911-Madrid, 1984). Spanish archaeologist. Professor of Prehistory at the Universities of Barcelona (1941-1954) and Madrid (1954-1981). Director of the Archaeological Museum of Barcelona (1939-1960) and the Spanish National Archaeological Museum (1969-1981).
19 Julio Martínez Santa Olalla (Burgos, 1905-Madrid, 1972). Spanish archaeologist. A member of the Falange, he became commissioner-general of archaeological excavations after the Civil War. Professor at the Universities of Santiago, Zaragoza, Valencia and Madrid.
20 Juan Maluquer de Motes Nicolau (Barcelona, 1915-1988). Spanish archaeologist. Pupil of Bosch Gimpera. Professor of Archaeology at the Universities of Salamanca (1949-1959), and Barcelona (1959-1969), and Professor of Prehistory at the same university (1969-1985).
21 Carlos Alonso del Real y de Ramos (Madrid, 1914-1993). Spanish historian and archaeologist. Professor of Prehistory and Ancient History at the Universities of Santiago (1955-1980) and Madrid (1981-1984).
22 María Encarnación Cabré Herreros (Madrid, 1911-2005). Daughter of the archaeologist Juan Cabré Aguiló. One of the first female professional archaeologists in Spain. Her involvement in archaeological research ended after the Civil War.
25 Felipa Niño Mas (Benavente, 1902-Madrid, 1992). Spanish archaeologist. Curator of the Spanish Archaeological National Museum (1930-1972), he saved the most important pieces in the collections during the Spanish Civil War.
63 La Vanguardia. ‘Del Congreso de Arqueología. Visita a Tarragona’, 06/10/1929, p. 10. Joaquín María de Navascués y de Juan (Zaragoza, 1900-Madrid, 1975). Spanish archaeologist. Curator of the Spanish National Archaeological Museum (1930), director from 1951 to 1968.
64 José de Calasanz Serra Ráfols (Mahón, 1902-Barcelona, 1971). Pupil of Bosch Gimpera. Researcher at the Archaeological Service of Barcelona (1923-1932) and curator of the Archaeological Museum of Barcelona (1932-1971).
82 José Pérez de Barradas (Cádiz, 1897-Madrid, 1981). Spanish archaeologist and anthropologist. After the Spanish Civil War he become director of the National Museum of Anthropology and professor at the University of Madrid.
91 Miguel Blay Fábregas (Olot, 1866-Madrid, 1936). Spanish sculptor and academic. Member of the Royal Academy of Fine Arts of Saint Fernando (Madrid), and director of the Spanish Academy of Fine Arts in Rome (1925-1936).
99 AMAAEE. File R-1319. Dossier 83. Informe presentado por el Dr. Antonio Griera sobre las actividades del primer Congreso de Toponimia, del cuarto Congreso de Arqueología Sagrada, y la Asamblea de la Görresgesellschaft. Enrique Heras, S.I. (1888-1953). Director of the Indian Historical Research Institute. St. Xavier’s College (Bombay).
100 Ramón Serrano Suñer (Cartagena, 12/09/1901-Madrid, 01/09/2003). Spanish lawyer and politician. Brother-in-law of Francisco Franco and one of the leaders of the nationalist forces during the Spanish Civil War and the immediate post-war period.
106 Agustín Muñoz Grandes (Madrid, 27/01/1896-11/07/1970). Spanish soldier and politician. Minister of the Party (Spanish Falange) 1939-1940. Became the first leader of the Spanish Volunteer Blue Division in the Nazi Wehrmacht on the Russian front (1941).
Blánquez, J and M Pérez 2004 Apuntes y consideraciones para una biografía sobre Antonio García y Bellido. In AA.VV. Antonio García y Bellido y su legado a la Arqueología Española (1903-1972), pp. 19-58. Madrid.
Gracia Alonso, F 2010 Contactos hispano-italianos en la Arqueología durante la Guerra Civil y el primer franquismo. In AA.VV. Repensar la Escuela del CSIC en Roma. Cien años de Memoria, pp. 427-441. Madrid.
How to cite: Gracia Alonso, F 2012. Academic Relations Between Italian and Spanish Archaeologists and Prehistorians, 1916–1936. Bulletin of the History of Archaeology 22(2):12-22, DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5334/bha.22203
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Published on 21 August 2012.