Saturday, November 28, 2009

The mysterious Monsieur Toselli

A personage that late 19th century visitors to Antakia frequently mention is an Italian engineer called Eugene (presumably Eugenio) Toselli. Forster mentions him as do others. In Bulletin de la Société nationale des antiquaires de France, Volume 66

the author of the article mentions visiting Toselli's house and being shown works from his collection. In another source we found reference to excavations that Toselli paid for out of his own pocket. Where and what these were is not clear.

In the Comptes Rendus of 1932-3, the venerable Chapot was still receiving new material, in this case from the son of Toselli, who must have still been living there all those many years later.  

I found an interesting reference to an auction in 1908 of Prehistoric Items (Préhistorique ages de la pierre, du bronze, du fer: Catalogue spécial des objets provenant de la collection Eugène Boban et des collections Émile Collin, du Chambon, Gaberel, Landesque, etc. etc by Charles Schleicher, Publisher Schleicher Frères, 1908) that included some Bronze Age articles sourced from the Toselli Fouilles (Toselli Excavations) in Syria giving credence to his history as some sort of amatuer archaeologist. This is a mere handful of items though.

It would be very interesting to know more of the trajectory of this man as clearly he had quite a meaningful collection and its whereabouts would be an addition to scholarship in the field. By trawling through Google Books I have come upon some references to some of these (which very well may be lost works from the very limited Antioch opus of inscriptions as per Mommsen). I shall publish these as I come upon them to keep them out of obscurity.

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