Narnia and Narni

You may be surprised to know that C. S. Lewis took the name of 'Narnia' from an ancient Roman town in the Italian province of Umbria. An incident in the Punic Wars took place there.

The Italian city on the site today is called 'Narni'. Narni now has a web page at http://www.bellaumbria.net/Narni/

In December 1996, WALTER HOOPER wrote;

"It will perhaps surprise you to hear that I spent a day (in Narni/Narnia) in October (1996). In fact, this was my second trip, as my godson and I were there first five years ago. C. S. Lewis came across the name 'Narnia' in a classical atlas he used as a boy, and continued to use it all his life. I have it now, and it's interesting to see that he underscored the name when he first saw it back in about 1914. In Italian Narnia is called 'Narni', and it's under that name that you will find it on modern maps.

It was already a very ancient town when the Romans conquered it in about 299 BC. In a little history of the place, it is stated that 'Although Neolithic people lived in this region, the first historical document, mentioning the town, is dated 600 BC, when Nequinum and its inhabitants are mentioned. In 299 BC, Narni was a Roman colony under the name of Narnia, a name that comes from the Nar river, which today is called the Nera.'

For me one of the most surprising things about Narnia is that a very popular local saint is called 'Blessed Lucy of Narnia.' She was a Dominican nun of the 16th century, but whether Lewis had ever heard of her I don't know. My godson, to whom the Lewis COMPANION is dedicated, and I first went there in October 1991. We knew about Blessed Lucy of Narnia, but we didn't know whether she was still remembered by the inhabitants of Narnia. To our delight, she is buried in a beautiful chapel attached to the 12th century cathedral of Narnia, and is very popular in that area…

But - oh! - what a beautiful place Narnia is. It's only about 50 miles north-east of Rome, and very easy to get to by train, or car. So far it remains unvisited by tourists, and so I've never encountered crowds there on my two visits."

6 comments:

Roger R. said...

The Real Lucy

As you may remember, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe is dedicated to Lucy Barfield, Lewis's goddaughter. Sadly, about 15 years after the book was published, Lucy was affected by multiple sclerosis, that left her bedridden and unable to feed herself. But being named in the book touched her life in ways that Jack Lewis could not have imagined.

For the rest of her life, Lucy received letters from children. Some, believing she was Lucy Pevensie, asked her about Narnia. Others knew she was ill and just wrote to say hello. "What a wonderful oasis of pleasure I have in this pretty terrible world, being recognized as Lucy," she once said.

narniafan123 said...

Just found some interesting stuff on the upcoming Chronicles of Narnia film. Narnia Resourceswitch

narniafan123 said...
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reep3 said...

Dear roger r., you write:

"For the rest of her life, Lucy received letters from children. Some, believing she was Lucy Pevensie, asked her about Narnia. Others knew she was ill and just wrote to say hello. "What a wonderful oasis of pleasure I have in this pretty terrible world, being recognized as Lucy," she once said."

Very very interesting! Where did you find this information? Where could I find more? Just very recently I came accross another, very similiar statement. "Up to the end she [Lucy] enjoyed answering the stacks of mail that came in from curious fans of Narnia". Do you maybe even know someone who wrote her and received her response? Or, maybe you know where at least some of those letters have been already published?

She was an amazing person. I would truly appreciate your assistace!

reep3 said...
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Anonymous said...

Narnia is my town now named Narni, for this I write also a book named
" Narnia e Narni" Heos editor
see at :

http://www.narnia.it/libronarnia_eu.htm