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whole top of the mountain appeared all in flames, which, the wind blowing from the westward, carried with it a vast quantity of burnt ashes, which have always been found to be the ordinary attendants of those flamy irruptions. It is not certain how far this shake of the ninth diffused itself, but it is probable, that more or less of it was felt through most of the south parts of this island; for the inhabitants of the cities of Mineo, Palaonia, Ragosa, and the town of Licodia, felt all of them the same shake, and at the very same minute of the day, as Catanea had done.
All this was but the forerunner of the horridest shake of all, which fell out on the eleventh. This affected the whole island, but very unequally; and, by the exactest computation that can be made, the whole period of it lasted not above six minutes, from Messina northwards, to cape Coio, the farthest point of Sicily to the south.
Catanea is thought to have been the first that fell under the weight of this heavy calamity. This city, which is as ancient as most in Sicily, seated in a pleasant and rich soil, inhabited by several of the gentry thereabouts, endowed with an university, and containing about twenty-four thousand souls, was sunk out of sight in a moment. There happened some fisherboats to be at that time in the bay that lies south of the town, and within a league's distance, who give an account, that they saw the city sink down, with the noise, as it were, of some thousand pieces of great ordnance discharged all at once. After it was thus vanished out of their sight, the fishermen say, that, some minutes thereafter, to the eastward, near where the city stood, there rose up a little mountain, which, lifting itself up several times a considerable height above the ordinary level of the ground thereabouts, sunk at last likewise out of their sight. The fishermen do likewise declare, that, during all this horrid tragedy, which they saw befał the city Catanea, they themselves were every moment expecting to be swallowed up in the bay, by reason of the strange violent agitations of the sea ; and scarce was this heaving up of the imaginary mountain on the southside of Catanea over, but they felt the sea calm. It is thought there have not escaped, of the inliabitants of Catanea, above two thousand in all: those, that escaped, came away either after the shaking of the ninth, or the morning of the eleventh ; and the hideous roaring of mount Ætna, which used to be the forerunner of some calamity on that side, gave them warning to flee: but they were the better sort of people only, that had the opportunity to make so happy an escape, the rest falling under the universal ruin. In the place, where Catanea stood, appears now at a distance a great lake, with some great heaps of rubbish appearing here and there above the water.
I had almost forgot one circumstance very remarkable, which the fishermen, that were in the bay of Catanea, at the time of this last shake, do positively affirm. They say, that both before, and some minutes after the earthquake happened, mount Ætna appeared more than ever in flames, and the noise was greater than it had been since its first irruption of the seventh. But, a few minutes after Catanea was swallowed up, there was neither flames to be seen, nor the least noise to be heard for the space of five or six hours together. And then the mountain began a-new again to roar and throw out flames more duskish and smoky than at any time before.
The same shake, that utterly destroyed Catanea, did lay in heaps more than half of Saragosa, the ancient Syracusa. This city, once the greatest of Sicily, and, if we will believe sonie ancient historians, particularly Strabo, the largest once in the world, may contend with any in Europe for antiquity, having been the seat, for a great many ages, of a flourishing commonwealth, and the scene of a great many warlike actions. It retained still some marks of its ancient greatness, and, with the advantages of a rich soil, and pleasant situation, and a strong castle to defend it, might contain about sixteen thousand people. This ancient city suffered much by the shake of the ninth, most of the best buildings, and the greatest part of the castle being rent in several places. Upon the tenth at night, it underwent another considerable shake with a mighty tempest of wind, so that the great bell in one of its churches was heard several times to make a sound, through the violent trembling of the steeple. A great many were killed by the fall of houses the time this shake and tempest happened ; and most that were able, or had the opportunity, fled out of town that night, which was the occasion of their safety.
But the shake of the eleventh brought with it a sudden and in. evitable destruction, throwing down, in a moment, more than two parts in three of the whole city, and burying in its rubbish above four parts in five of the people that were left. The least computation that can be made of the loss of the inhabitants of it, is above seven thousand, the rest escaping, as I have said, the night before, and some hundreds were digged out of the ruins alive, but lame and bruised, so that few of them, it is thought, will recover. Most of the magistrates, and people of best fashion, ran into the great church for shelter, where they met with death by the fall of the stone roof and the steeple both together.
The city of Noto had yet a worse fate than Syracusa, scarce any part of it now standing. This place is one of the ancientest of Sicily, and once contended for the preheminence with Syracusa itself. It is situate on a very high rock, almost inaccessible on all sides, but by one narrow passage ; having under the cape Passan, one of the best and largest harbours of the whole island, and being the key of Sicily on that side. The mighty hardness of the rock on which Noto stood, seemed to secure it from the hazard of earthquakes, but it felt that shake on the ninth, with more violence than any other place of the island. That of the eleventh laid it, in a moment, in heaps, the manner whereof we cannot attain, by reason none of the inhabitants are left, but some few that left the place on the ninth. There is seen yet standing a part of the church of a Benedictine monastery, and scarce any more of the whole town; the inhabitants being computed about seven thousand souls.
Augusta, a city well situated, having a large prospect into the sea, and adorned with very large and safe harbours, a place of good trade for corn; this place suffered considerably by the shake of the ninth; many of the inhabitants, to the number of about six hundred, were bruised to death with the fall of the houses. On the tenth, there was another shake, which obliged most of the people of note to betake themselves to the castle for their security, which proved as unlucky to them, as the great church had been to them of Syracusa ; for, there happening great flashes of lightning, which seemed to set the whole heavens on fire, one of them fell on the magazine of powder kept there, and blew up the castle and all the people within, amounting to about eleven hundred. The shake on the eleventh put an end to the catastrophe, by overturning the lown, and burying the rest of the inhabitants in it; so that there scarce remains any thing of the ancient Augusta, but the name. The in habitants were reckoned near six thousand, of whom we have account of none left.
Lentini, the ancient Leontium, famous for the beautiful lake on which it stood, a place of about three thousand families, and a place of tolerable trade by fishing and salt-mines, underwent the misfortune of its neighbour, and ancient rival, Syracusa. The shake of the eleventh reduced it to ashes, and it is not known if any of the inhabitants be saved. There are now to be seen several great heaps of earth in the lake, where there was none before: and the peasants, who live on the other side, opposite to the place where Lentini stood, have reported, that since this earthquake, the lake, which was formerly clear and limpid, and wonderfully stored with all variety of fish, is now become brackish, and of a salt and bituminous taste, and vast number of fish are found every day dead upon the shore.
Some better fate had Calatgirone, a pretty town, containing above seven thousand people, and well built, most of hewn stone. The shake of the ninth was very little perceptible there; and that of the eleventh was much less than any where within some miles of it. It was not so little, but that it overturned about the fifth part of the town, and two monasteries, and, it is thought, destroyed in all no fewer than two thousand souls.
Minco felt both the shakes of the ninth and the eleventh, and there seemed but little difference betwixt the violence of either, or the damage each did. At both times several houses, and a pretty large church, were overturned, and it it is thought near four thousand of the inhabitants are perished. It was remarkable, that the time of the shake of the ninth, the heavens about this town were very serene, scarce a cloud appearing above the horizon: but that of the eleventh was attended with a mighty storm of thunder, lightning, and hail, which lasted above six hours together.
Monreal, commonly called Morreal, received some damage in its buildings, and some few of the inhabitants perished by their fall. The shake of the eleventh did greatly shatter the cathedral church,
which is, indeed, one of the beautifullest structures in the world. The dome, which stands above the high allar, fell, and crushed in pieces four curious pillars of brass, with several statues of saints of as good workmanship as any in Christendom. Neither was the archbishop's palace free, it being set on fire by lightning, and a considerable part of it burnt down.
Palermo, the seat of the Viceroy, felt little or nothing of the shake of the ninth, though several small shakings they had had some days before. But that of the eleventh was almost as terrible as in any other place, except Catanea, Syracusa, and Augusta. A great many houses were shattered, and some fell to the ground. The cathedral suffered extremely in its roof, and a church, belonging to the Carmelite monastery, was totally destroyed. The Viceroy, with all his family, and the archbishop, retired a-board the gallies in the harbour, where, by the violent motion of the water, they expected every moment to be swallowed up : some part of the great mole built of stone, that secures the port, being shattered within a few feet of their galley. It is said, there were not above one hundred people in all killed at Palermo, and those mostly that lived in a suburb built of wood.
The town of Pasceni, it is not known whether the shake of the ninth, or the eleventh, destroyed it. It was a pretty place, consisting of about two hundred families, and those thought the richest of any little town of Sicily, by reason of the goodness of its wine and silk exported thence to the sea in considerable quantities. Now there is not one single house left standing, nor one single person saved. A new lake takes up now that spacious valley on the eastside of the town, which was all, hitherto, covered with the best of vines; and the water thereof is of a blackish colour, and a bituminous taste.
Patuzolo, a bigger place than Pasceni, though not so happily situated, nor so rich, fell under the same fate with it. None of the inhabitants, for any thing is yet known, were saved, the number of which might probably amount to about one thousand people at least,
Furla, a town about the bigness of Pasceni, and seated on a rising hill amidst quarries of stone, much of the nature of marble, was nothing more fortunate, we having no other account of its ruin, but what those, who saw it at a distance, could give. It may
be worthy of remark, that in several parts of the mountain about Furla, the rocks, which formerly were almost as white as Genoa marble, in the chinks that the earthquake made amongst them, the stones are now of a burnt colour, as if fire and powder had been used to rent them asunder. The fountains of fresh water, wherewith these mountains abound, have lost their clearness, and have both a sulphureous smell and taste. The inhabitants of Furla were reckoned to be near a thousand souls.
A town much greater than any of the three last, Sciorti, situated in a pleasant valley, and a rich soil, where the best rock salt is digged, was likewise totally demolished by the shake of the eleventh,
and now nothing but vast heaps of rubbish; and, which is strange, a church belonging to a Benedictine nunnery, yet intire, are to be seen, where Sciorti once stood. We know of none of the inhabitants that have saved themselves from this calamity, and they are reckoned to amount to two thousand souls.
The same fate befel Militello, no inconsiderable town, whereof the inhabitants were esteemed pretty rich, by the means of one of the most considerable manufacturies of silk that was in Sicily. It is probable this place was destroyed before the shake of the eleventh; for the country people, who dwell on the neighbouring ridge of mountains, do affirm, that it was not to be seen upon the eleventh in the morning : buit at what precise time it was swallowed up, they cannot tell, seeing, for three days before, they could not see so far as Militello, by reason of a thick fog, which continued from twelve of the clock of the eighth day, till the morning of the eleventh. It is scarce to be imagined what a surprising change this place has undergone: for a considerable part of the mountain, that lay on the northside of the town), has been, through the violence of the earthquake, torn asunder, and the one half has overwhelmed the town: there being a vast chasm now to be seen betwixt it, and the other part of the mountain that remained still in its first posture. Militello might probably contain about six thousand people, whereof no one is left to give tidings now its calamity came about.
Lyochela had not altogether so bad a fate as the former. This place felt the shake of the ninth very severely, insomuch that a great part of the houses fell by it. The inhabitants over and above this, and some former shakes, had another prognostick of the ruin that was coming on the place, which influenced a considerable number of them to leave the town upon the ninth at night. There was an old castle, which stood upon a rising ground, about two miles from Luochela, said to have been built by the Romans in the time of the Punick war. This castle was, in the view of the people of Luochela, swallowed up in a moment, and no remaining vestige was to be seen where it stood ; but, instead thereof, there gushed up a prodigious quantity of waters, which, in a few hours, made up a very considerable lake where the castle had stood. So that it is to the affrightful view of this castle's being overturned, that more than the half of the people of the town owe their safety, as having fled the town upon sight thereof. The rest of the town and inhabitants were utterly destroyed on the eleventh ; and now there remains nothing but vast heaps of rubbish where the town formerly stood. Luochela night probably contain two thousand people, whereof near the half are destroyed.
Palonia, a very pretty little towli, very well built, and endowed with one of the beautifulest churches in the whole island, veral shakes, of which those of the ninth and eleventh were the most terrible. The church was shattered in a thousand places;' and the dome was on the eleventh thrown down, which broke the. high altar to pieces, and crashed to death some three hundred peo