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Ligabue Magazine n° 77
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Ligabue Magazine

Year IX
Number 16
1th Semester - 1990


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* Digital versions from no. 1 to no. 57 are obtained from a scan of the magazine. May therefore present the imperfections in the display of text and images.


The advent of 1990 saw «Ligabue Magazine»entering its ninth year. Since 9 is a sacred number, it would seem an appropriate occasion for me to make a public confession, starting out, as it were, with a novena to request the protection of the nine Muses. My name is boldly printed on the title page of the magazine and with the appearance of each new issue and the growing popularity of the periodical, I feel increasingly uncomfortable. This is because I have received so many compliments from our readers - about the extraordinary illustrations, comprehensive articles, excellent quality of printing and the well-matched combination of topics that are entertaining reading whilst losing none of their scientific worth.
My embarassment - which grows more acute with every fresh outburst of praise - stems from the fact that these amiable souls are quite evidently convinced that I am an authority on palaeontology, anthropology, malacology, zoology, ethnology and even astronomy. Although this makes me blush like a Homarus vulgaris (or perhaps lobster would be a better description) I have to admit to being the unworthy pupil of Giancarlo Ligabue or, better still, an imitator or Ferdinando Incarriga. Should this name be unfamiliar, please bear with me for a few more lines so that you will see that there is a funny side to my «penance». Dr. Incarriga was an affable Neapolitan, a publisher of wide-ranging interests, who in 1834 issued a book entitled A Collection of One Hundred Anacreonites Concerning Certain Sciences, Arts, Virtues, Vices and Diverse Topics, by Ferdinando Incarriga, Judge at the Grand Court of Salerno. Here are one or two examples of the wisdom he so generously imparted in the volume, which was distributed to «young persons eager to learn»:
ASTRONOMY - « Astronomy is the
pleasing science /
practiced by Man to measure /
Stars, Sun and Lunar Globe /
and to see what is up above him. /
Having reached there, verify /
to good end the Torches that light the
World /
The harmony of this sphere /
is watched over by God alone. »
Another verse concerns the Eclipse and reads:
«An Eclipse occurs when the Moon
passes frequently across the Sun /
Or else between the Moon and Earth /
and darkness falls upon this world. /
So innocent an occurrence /
was once the cause offear, /
it being believed that God, in anger,
had joined Humanity. »
These pleasantries do something to mitigate the gravity of my act of contrition, and since my words contain not the slightest trace of repentance, I should also explain that the Editor is not always, or is not necessarily, an expert on the subjects covered in the publication of which he is in charge. First and foremost, the Editor is legally responsible, and is liable to find himself behind bars should he print articles which, for example, constitute defamation of Parliament or third parties, or which glorify obscenity or violence - although in the case of «Ligabue Magazine » I clearly need have no fears on either count. Secondly, editors must ensure that articles are clearly and concisely written, bearing in mind that a great scientist may write brilliantly in his own academic jargon, only to falter when it comes to writing to the administrator of his apartment block to complain about a water leak coming down from the skylight into the asbestos cavity below the roof tiles. The Editor also has the right to take part in production meetings about forthcoming issues of the magazine, where he cautiously puts forward his own suggestions as to potential subjects and illustrations. Provided he doesn't make any blunders, his proposals may even be accepted. And that is as far as I will go, having resolved to bare my conscience unabashedly but only in moderation. Having purged my feelings, I will now turn to more serious matters, particularly as this, the sixteenth edition of «Ligabue Magazine», ought to uphold the first paragraph of our statute of ideals, which declares that every new issue should be even better than the last.
It is up to readers to tell us whether or not we have kept our promise. Nevertheless, I am certain that they will be fascinated by Viviano Domenici's The Bushmen of the Kalahari Desert, particularly since the article is illustrated with outstanding and rare original photographs. Approxirnately 60,000 bushmen are scattered across various southern African countries, and the groups which have least been corrupted by the evils of the twentieth century live - or seek to survive - in the Kalahari Desert in South Botswana, the former British protectorate of Bechuanaland, twice the size of Italy and with less than 700,000 inhabitants. Just to give an idea of the hardships they face, these bushmen try to eke out their meagre water supply by storing and sealing the water in the shells of ostrich eggs. The author, a well known name to our readers, is chief science editor of the Corriere della Sera, and has often joined expeditions organized by the Ligabue Research and Study Centre.
Another regular contributor is journalist and photographer Massimo Cappon who on page 110 describes the remarkable new discovery of the royal palace of Assurnazirpal II at the Nimrud acropolis in Iraq. Ethnographic research all too often reveals that many peoples still live in dire poverty. The Mam of Chuchumatanes in Guatemala are one such group, who nonetheless forget their problems for one day each year with the Carrera de los caballos, described on page 120 by Fausto Sassi, a reporter for Italian Swiss television.
Professar Angelo Pesce, a formidable authority on the Middle East, discusses the lives and fabulous wealth of the Nabataeans, who wandered the Arabian Desert in the second and third centuries B. C., selling incense and myrrh.
In our last issue, Lucia and Massimo Simion unveiled the secret wonders of the mangrove forests, and on page 72 of this edition they introduce us to the hippopotami living in the waters of Mzima in the Tsavo National Park in Kenya.
The pueblo of Santa Clara in New Mexico is the scene of an exhilarating festival of dance, sacred songs and sexual symbols, celebrated by descendents of the Anasazi tribe. The event was witnessed by Sandra and Flavia Busatta (the former an English teacher, the latter a chemical engineer), both members of the American Indian Society. Their article on page 96 is preceded by Viviano Domenici's piece on The Rise and Fall ofthe Anasazi Indians. «Ligabue Magazine » would be incomplete without a feature on the fortunes and mishaps of the Belluno-born explorer Gerolamo Segato, a scientist of many talents whose exploits are recalled on page 132 by another member of the Ligabue Research and Study Centre, the highly respected Egyptologist Franco Cimmino. The author has applied himself to his task with the utmost diligence, enthusiastically charting the career of an explorer of long ago - one of the favourite topics of this magazine.

Real all editroial... Ettore Della Giovanna
In This Number...
Gerolamo Segato a Hapless Genius

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Incense and Myrrh: the Gold if Nabateans

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Mzima Springs: Clear Waters for Hippopotami

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The Bushmen of the Kalahari Desert

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The Carrera de los Caballos

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The Nimrud Treasure

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The Rise and Fall of the Anazasi Indians

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