Pages and lives

Flipping through the Book of Sacrifice and Glory, a gallery of young students, reckless heroes to contemporaries, shows itself to the eye and memory. Biographies, accompanied by photographic portraits, bear witness to their existence and extol their glorious deaths. A frame enriched with grotesques in red ink encloses such words and images, with Latin mottos that seem to elevate them to the values of Roman classicism.

The Book was conceived by the Comitato per le onoranze and the Athenaeum to be given to the families of deceased students as a celebratory memento honoring the bravery shown by students at the front in their last moments of life, further recognition to be added to the medals awarded to them. Three boys are, for example, highlighted, awarded the gold medal for valor, including Federico Guella (1893-1915).

Federico Guella, I (Frizzi 1923)Federico Guella, II (Frizzi 1923)

Guella, enrolled in the first year of Medicine and surgery and promoted to second lieutenant in the 114th Cavalry Regiment, was posthumously awarded the gold medal from the commutation of the silver one, for his "steadfastness" and "trepidity." One of the classrooms on the first floor of the Ancient Courtyard, Classroom E, where the reference is still visible today, was also dedicated to Guella:

Ingresso dell'Aula E (Aula Guella)

It’s significant to note that the students who appear in the volume came from the various Faculties, in addition to the already seen Medicine and surgery, sometimes accompanied by the mention of the Università Castrense, as in the case of Mario Balliana (1892-1916), in his fifth year, an aspiring medical officer with the 113th Infantry Regiment.

Equally relevant is to see that some students, whose names appear in the bronze door knockers, are instead absent from the Book. They had not been considered at first by the committee in charge of compiling the list of names; there is, for example, Giovanni Maggio (1897-1918), who died outside the war zone, albeit from wounds sustained there. He does not have a file in the Lauree caduti series, and his name will not be engraved on the Doorway until a few years after the inauguration. Maggio, enrolled in the first year of Engineering, a lieutenant in the 43rd Field Artillery Regiment, was awarded a bronze medal.

Giovanni Maggio, AGAPd