Seeing Europe with Famous Authors, Volume 7 - Italy, Sicily, and Greece (Part One)
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Editor of "Great Epochs in American History" Associate Editor of "The Worlds Famous Orations" and of "The Best of the World's Classics," etc.




Vol. VII


Part One



Italy, Sicily and Greece

Tourists in great numbers now go to Italy by steamers that have Naples and Genoa for ports. By the fast Channel steamers, however, touching at Cherbourg and Havre, one may make the trip in less time (rail journey included). In going to Rome, four days could thus be saved; but the expense will be greater—perhaps forty per cent.

... "and now, fair Italy! Thou art the garden of the world, the home Of all Art yields, and Nature can decree; Even in thy desert, what is like to thee? Thy very weeds are beautiful, thy waste More rich than other climes' fertility; Thy wreck a glory, and thy ruin graced With an immaculate charm which can not be defaced."

At least four civilizations, and probably five, have dominated Italy; together they cover a period of more than 3,000 years—Pelasgian, Etruscan, Greek, Roman, Italian. Of these the Pelasgian is, in the main, legendary. Next came the Etruscan. How old that civilization is no man knows, but its beginnings date from at least 1000 B.C.—that is, earlier than Homer's writings, and earlier by nearly three centuries than the wall built by Romulus around Rome. The Etruscan state was a federation of twelve cities, embracing a large part of central and northern Italy—from near Naples as far north perhaps as Milan and the great Lombard plain. Etruscans thus dominated the largest, and certainly the fairest, parts of Italy. Before Rome was founded, the Etruscan cities were populous and opulent commonwealths. Together they formed one of the great naval powers of the Mediterranean. Of their civilization, we have abundant knowledge from architectural remains, and, from thousands of inscriptions still extant. Cortona was one of their oldest towns. "Ere Troy itself arose, Cortona was."

After the Etruscans, came Greeks, who made flourishing settlements in southern Italy, the chief of which was Paestum, founded not later than 600 B.C. Stupendous ruins survive at Paestum; few more interesting ones have come down to us from the world of ancient Hellas. The oldest dates from about 570 B.C. Here was once the most fertile and beautiful part of Italy, celebrated for its flowers so that Virgil praised them. It is now a lonely and forsaken land, forbidding and malarious. Once thickly populated, it has become scarcely more than a haunt of buffalos and peasants, who wander indifferent among these colossal remains of a vanished race. These, however, are not the civilizations that do most attract tourists to Italy, but the remains found there of ancient Rome. Of that empire all modern men are heirs—heirs of her marvelous political structure, of her social and industrial laws.

Last of these five civilizations is the Italian, the beginnings of which date from Theodoric the Goth, who in the fifth century set up a kingdom independent of Rome; but Gothic rule was of short life, and then came the Lombards, who for two hundred years were dominant in northern and central parts, or until Charlemagne grasped their tottering kingdom and put on their famous Iron Crown. In the south Charlemagne's empire never flourished. That part of Italy was for centuries the prey of Saracens, Magyars and Scandinavians. From these events emerged modern Italy—the rise of her vigorous republics, Pisa, Genoa, Florence, Venice; the dawn, meridian splendor and decline of her great schools of sculpture, painting and architecture, the power and beauty of which have held the world in subjection; her literature, to which also the world has become a willing captive; her splendid municipal spirit; a Church, whose influence has circled the globe, and in which historians, in a spiritual sense, have seen a survival of Imperial Rome. But here are tales that every schoolboy hears.

Sicily is reached in a night by steamer from Naples to Palermo, or the tourist may go by train from Naples to Reggio, and thence by ferry across the strait to Messina. Its earliest people were contemporaries of the Etruscans. Phoenicians also made settlements there, as they did in many parts of the Mediterranean, but these were purely commercial enterprises. Real civilization in Sicily dates from neither of those races, but from Dorian and Ionic Greeks, who came perhaps as early as the founding of Rome—that is, in the seventh or eighth century B.C. The great cities of the Sicilian Greeks were Syracuse, Segesta and Girgenti, where still survive colossal remains of their genius. In military and political senses, the island for 3,000 years has been overrun, plundered and torn asunder by every race known to Mediterranean waters. Beside those already named, are Carthaginians under Hannibal, Vandals under Genseric, Goths under Theodoric, Byzantines under Belisarius, Saracens from Asia Minor, Normans under Robert Guiscard, German emperors of the thirteenth century, French Angevine princes (in whose time came the Sicilian Vespers), Spaniards of the house of Aragon, French under Napoleon, Austrians of the nineteenth century, and then—that glorious day when Garibaldi transferred it to the victorious Sardinian king.

The tourist who seeks Greece from northern Europe may go from Trieste by steamer along the Dalmatian coast (in itself a trip of fine surprizes), to Cattaro and Corfu, transferring to another steamer for the Piraeus, the port of Athens; or from Italy by steamer direct from Brindisi, the ancient Brundusium, whence sailed all Roman expeditions to the East, and where in retirement once dwelt Cicero. No writer has known where to date the beginnings of civilization in Greece, but with Mycenae, Tiryns, and the Minoan palace of Crete laid bare, antiquarians have pointed the way to dates far older than anything before recorded. The palace of Minos is ancient enough to make the Homeric age seem modern. With the Dorian invasion of Greece about 1000 B.C., begins that Greek civilization of which we have so much authentic knowledge. Dorian influence was confined largely to Sparta, but it spread to many Greek colonies in the central Mediterranean and in the Levant. It became a powerful influence, alike in art, in domestic life, and in political supremacy. One of its noblest achievements was its help in keeping out the Persian, and another in supplanting in the Mediterranean the commercial rule of Phoenicians. Attica and Sparta became world-famous cities, with stupendous achievements in every domain of human art and human efficiency. The colossal debt all Europe and all America owe them, is known to everyone who has ever been to school.

F. W. H.


Italy, Sicily, and Greece—Part One



THE ANTIQUITIES—By Joseph Addison 10

THE PALACE OF THE CAESARS—By Rodolfo Lanciani 17

THE COLISEUM—By George S. Hillard 24

THE PANTHEON—By George S. Hillard 29

HADRIAN'S TOMB—By Rodolfo Lanciani 32

TRAJAN'S FORUM—By Francis Wey 35

THE BATHS OF CARACALLA—By Hippolyte Adolphe Taine 37

THE AQUEDUCT BUILDERS—By Rodolfo Lanciani 41


PALM SUNDAY IN ST. PETER—By Grace Greenwood (Mrs. Lippincott) 53

THE ELECTION OF A POPE—By Cardinal Wiseman 55

AN AUDIENCE WITH PIUS X.—By Mary Emogene Hazeltine 59


SANTA MARIA MAGGIORE—By Hippolyte Adolphe Taine 67

CATACOMBS AND CRYPTS—By Charles Dickens 69



EXCURSIONS NEAR ROME—By Charles Dickens 78





THE CATHEDRAL—By Hippolyte Adolphe Taine 96

THE ASCENT OF THE DOME OF BRUNELLESCHI—By Mr. and Mrs. Edwin H. Blashfield 102


GHIBERTI'S GATES—By Charles Yriarte 116

THE PONTE VECCHIO—By Charles Yriarte 119

SANTA CROCE—By Charles Yriarte 121

THE UFFIZI GALLERY—By Hippolyte Adolphe Taine 125

FLORENCE EIGHTY YEARS AGO—By William Cullen Bryant 131


THE APPROACH FROM THE SEA—By Charles Yriarte 138


A TOUR OF THE GRAND CANAL—By Theophile Gautier 143

ST. MARK'S CHURCH—By John Ruskin 148


HOW THE CAMPANILE FELL—By Horatio F. Brown 161


THE LAGOONS—By Horatio F. Brown 174

THE DECLINE AMID SPLENDOR—By Hippolyte Adolphe Taine 177

THE DOVES OF ST. MARK'S—By Horatio F. Brown 183











[ST. PETER'S, ROME Courtesy John C. Winston Co.]





At last I am arrived in this great capital of the world. If fifteen years ago I could have seen it in good company, with a well-informed guide, I should have thought myself very fortunate. But as it was to be that I should thus see it alone, and with my own eyes, it is well that this joy has fallen to my lot so late in life.

Over the mountains of the Tyrol I have as good as flown. Verona, Vicenza, Padua, and Venice I have carefully looked at; hastily glanced at Ferrara, Cento, Bologna, and scarcely seen Florence at all. My anxiety to reach Rome was so great, and it so grew with me every moment, that to think of stopping anywhere was quite out of the question; even in Florence, I only stayed three hours. Now I am here at my ease, and as it would seem, shall be tranquilized for my whole life; for we may almost say that a new life begins when a man once sees with his own eyes all that before he has but partially heard or read of.

All the dreams of my youth I now behold realized before me; the subjects of the first engravings I ever remembered seeing (several views of Rome were hung up in an anteroom of my father's house) stand bodily before my sight, and all that I had long been acquainted with, through paintings or drawings, engravings, or wood-cuts, plaster-casts, and cork models are here collectively presented to my eye. Wherever I go I find some old acquaintance in this new world; it is all just as I had thought it, and yet all is new; and just the same might I remark of my own observations and my own ideas. I have not gained any new thoughts, but the older ones have become so defined, so vivid, and so coherent, that they may almost pass for new ones....

I have now been here seven days, and by degrees have formed in my mind a general idea of the city. We go diligently backward and forward. While I am thus making myself acquainted with the plan of old and new Rome, viewing the ruins and the buildings, visiting this and that villa, the grandest and most remarkable objects are slowly and leisurely contemplated. I do but keep my eyes open and see, and then go and come again, for it is only in Rome one can duly prepare oneself for Rome. It must, in truth, be confessed, that it is a sad and melancholy business to prick and track out ancient Rome in new Rome; however, it must be done, and we may hope at least for an incalculable gratification. We meet with traces both of majesty and of ruin, which alike surpass all conception; what the barbarians spared, the builders of new Rome made havoc of....

When one thus beholds an object two thousand years old and more, but so manifoldly and thoroughly altered by the changes of time, but, sees nevertheless, the same soil, the same mountains, and often indeed the same walls and columns, one becomes, as it were, a contemporary of the great counsels of Fortune, and thus it becomes difficult for the observer to trace from the beginning Rome following Rome, and not only new Rome succeeding to the old, but also the several epochs of both old and new in succession. I endeavor, first of all, to grope my way alone through the obscurer parts, for this is the only plan by which one can hope fully and completely to perfect by the excellent introductory works which have been written from the fifteenth century to the present day. The first artists and scholars have occupied their whole lives with these objects.

And this vastness has a strangely tranquilizing effect upon you in Rome, while you pass from place to place, in order to visit the most remarkable objects. In other places one has to search for what is important; here one is opprest, and borne down with numberless phenomena. Wherever one goes and casts a look around, the eye is at once struck with some landscape—forms of every kind and style; palaces and ruins, gardens and statuary, distant views of villas, cottages and stables, triumphal arches and columns, often crowding so close together, that they might all be sketched on a single sheet of paper. He ought to have a hundred hands to write, for what can a single pen do here; and, besides, by the evening one is quite weary and exhausted with the day's seeing and admiring.

My strange, and perhaps whimsical, incognito proves useful to me in many ways that I never should have thought of. As every one thinks himself in duty bound to ignore who I am, and consequently never ventures to speak to me of myself and my works,[2] they have no alternative left them but to speak of themselves, or of the matters in which they are most interested, and in this way I become circumstantially informed of the occupations of each, and of everything remarkable that is either taken in hand or produced. Hofrath Reiffenstein good-naturedly humors this whim of mine; as, however, for special reasons, he could not bear the name which I had assumed, he immediately made a Baron of me, and I am now called the "Baron gegen Rondanini ueber" (the Baron who lives opposite to the Palace Rondanini). This designation is sufficiently precise, especially as the Italians are accustomed to speak of people either by their Christian names, or else by some nickname. Enough; I have gained my object; and I escape the dreadful annoyance of having to give to everybody an account of myself and my works....

In Rome, the Rotunda,[3] both by its exterior and interior, has moved me to offer a willing homage to its magnificence. In St. Peter's I learned to understand how art, no less than nature, annihilates the artificial measures and dimensions of man. And in the same way the Apollo Belvidere also has again drawn me out of reality. For as even the most correct engravings furnish no adequate idea of these buildings, so the case is the same with respect to the marble original of this statue, as compared with the plaster models of it, which, however, I formerly used to look upon as beautiful.

Here I am now living with a calmness and tranquility to which I have for a long while been a stranger. My practise to see and take all things as they are, my fidelity in letting the eye be my light, my perfect renunciation of all pretension, have again come to my aid, and make me calmly, but most intensely, happy. Every day has its fresh remarkable object—every day its new grand unequaled paintings, and a whole which a man may long think of, and dream of, but which with all his power of imagination he can never reach.

Yesterday I was at the Pyramid of Cestius, and in the evening on the Palatine, on the top of which are the ruins of the palace of the Caesars, which stand there like walls of rock. Of all this, however, no idea can be conveyed! In truth, there is nothing little here; altho, indeed, occasionally something to find fault with—something more or less absurd in taste, and yet even this partakes of the universal grandeur of all around....

Yesterday I visited the nymph Egeria, and then the Hippodrome of Caracalla, the ruined tombs along the Via Appia, and the tomb of Metella, which is the first to give one a true idea of what solid masonry really is. These men worked for eternity—all causes of decay were calculated, except the rage of the spoiler, which nothing can resist. The remains of the principal aqueduct are highly venerable. How beautiful and grand a design, to supply a whole people with water by so vast a structure! In the evening we came upon the Coliseum, when it was already twilight. When one looks at it, all else seems little; the edifice is so vast, that one can not hold the image of it in one's soul—in memory we think it smaller, and then return to it again to find it every time greater than before.

We entered the Sistine Chapel, which we found bright and cheerful, and with a good light for the pictures. "The Last Judgment" divided our admiration with the paintings on the roof by Michael Angelo. I could only see and wonder. The mental confidence and boldness of the master, and his grandeur of conception, are beyond all expression. After we had looked at all of them over and over again, we left this sacred building, and went to St. Peter's, which received from the bright heavens the loveliest light possible, and every part of it was clearly lit up. As men willing to be pleased, we were delighted with its vastness and splendor, and did not allow an over-nice or hypercritical taste to mar our pleasure. We supprest every harsher judgment; we enjoyed the enjoyable.

Lastly we ascended the roof of the church, where one finds in little the plan, of a well-built city. Houses and magazines, springs (in appearance at least), churches, and a great temple all in the air, and beautiful walks between. We mounted the dome, and saw glistening before us the regions of the Apennines, Soracte, and toward Tivoli the volcanic hills. Frascati, Castelgandolfo, and the plains, and beyond all the sea. Close at our feet lay the whole city of Rome in its length and breadth, with its mountain palaces, domes, etc. Not a breath of air was moving, and in the upper dome it was (as they say) like being in a hot-house. When we had looked enough at these things, we went down, and they opened for us the doors in the cornices of the dome, the tympanum, and the nave. There is a passage all round, and from above you can take a view of the whole church, and of its several parts. As we stood on the cornices of the tympanum, we saw beneath us the pope passing to his mid-day devotions. Nothing, therefore, was wanting to make our view of St. Peter's perfect. We at last descended to the piazza, and took in a neighboring hotel a cheerful but frugal meal, and then set off for St. Cecilia's.

It would take many words to describe the decorations of this church, which was crammed full of people; not a stone of the edifice was to be seen. The pillars were covered with red velvet wound round with gold lace; the capitals were overlaid with embroidered velvet, so as to retain somewhat of the appearance of capitals, and all the cornices and pillars were in like manner covered with hangings. All the entablatures of the walls were also covered with life-like paintings, so that the whole church seemed to be laid out in mosaic. Around the church, and on the high altar more than two hundred wax tapers were burning. It looked like a wall of lights, and the whole nave was perfectly lit up. The aisles and side altars were equally adorned and illuminated. Right opposite the high altar, and under the organ, two scaffolds were erected, which also were covered with velvet, on one of which were placed the singers, and on the other the instruments, which kept up one unbroken strain of music....

And yet these glorious objects are even still like new acquaintances to me. One has not yet lived with them, nor got familiar with their peculiarities. Some of them attract us with irresistible power, so that for a time one feels indifferent, if not unjust, toward all others. Thus, for instance, the Pantheon, the Apollo Belvedere, some colossal heads, and very recently the Sistine Chapel, have by turns so won my whole heart, that I scarcely saw any thing besides them. But, in truth, can man, little as man always is, and accustomed to littleness, ever make himself equal to all that here surrounds him of the noble, the vast, and the refined? Even tho he should in any degree adapt himself to it, then how vast is the multitude of objects that immediately press upon him from all sides, and meet him at every turn, of which each demands for itself the tribute of his whole attention. How is one to get out of the difficulty? No other way assuredly than by patiently allowing it to work, becoming industrious, and attending the while to all that others have accomplished for our benefit.

Of the beauty of a walk through Rome by moonlight it is impossible to form a conception, without having witnessed it. All single objects are swallowed up by the great masses of light and shade, and nothing but grand and general outlines present themselves to the eye. For three several days we have enjoyed to the full the brightest and most glorious of nights. Peculiarly beautiful at such a time is the Coliseum. At night it is always closed; a hermit dwells in a little shrine within its range, and beggars of all kinds nestle beneath its crumbling arches; the latter had lit a fire on the arena, and a gentle wind bore down the smoke to the ground, so that the lower portion of the ruins was quite hid by it, while above the vast walls stood out in deeper darkness before the eye. As we stopt at the gate to contemplate the scene through the iron gratings, the moon shone brightly in the heavens above. Presently the smoke found its way up the sides, and through every chink and opening, while the moon lit it up like a cloud. The sight was exceedingly glorious. In such a light one ought also to see the Pantheon, the Capitol, the Portico of St. Peter's, and the other grand streets and squares—and thus sun and moon, like the human mind, have quite a different work to do here from elsewhere, where the vastest and yet the most elegant of masses present themselves to their rays.



There are in Rome two sets of antiquities, the Christian, and the heathen. The former, tho of a fresher date, are so embroiled with fable and legend, that one receives but little satisfaction from searching into them. The other give a great deal of pleasure to such as have met with them before in ancient authors; for a man who is in Rome can scarce see an object that does not call to mind a piece of a Latin poet or historian. Among the remains of old Rome, the grandeur of the commonwealth shows itself chiefly in works that were either necessary or convenient, such as temples, highways, aqueducts, walls, and bridges of the city. On the contrary, the magnificence of Rome under the emperors is seen principally in such works as were rather for ostentation or luxury, than any real usefulness or necessity, as in baths, amphitheaters, circuses, obelisks, triumphal pillars, arches, and mausoleums; for what they added to the aqueducts was rather to supply their baths and naumachias, and to embellish the city with fountains, than out of any real necessity there was for them....

No part of the antiquities of Rome pleased me so much as the ancient statues, of which there is still an incredible variety. The workmanship is often the most exquisite of anything in its kind. A man would wonder how it were possible for so much life to enter into marble, as may be discovered in some of the best of them; and even in the meanest, one has the satisfaction of seeing the faces, postures, airs, and dress of those that have lived so many ages before us. There is a strange resemblance between the figures of the several heathen deities, and the descriptions that the Latin poets have given us of them; but as the first may be looked upon as the ancienter of the two, I question not but the Roman poets were the copiers of the Greek statuaries. Tho on other occasions we often find the statuaries took their subjects from the poets. The Laocoeon is too known an instance among many others that are to be met with at Rome.

I could not forbear taking particular notice of the several musical instruments that are to be seen in the hands of the Apollos, muses, fauns, satyrs, bacchanals, and shepherds, which might certainly give a great light to the dispute for preference between the ancient and modern music. It would, perhaps, be no impertinent design to take off all their models in wood, which might not only give us some notion of the ancient music, but help us to pleasanter instruments than are now in use. By the appearance they make in marble, there is not one string-instrument that seems comparable to our violins, for they are all played on either by the bare fingers, or the plectrum, so that they were incapable of adding any length to their notes, or of varying them by those insensible swellings, and wearings away of sound upon the same string, which give so wonderful a sweetness to our modern music. Besides that, the string-instruments must have had very low and feeble voices, as may be guessed from the small proportion of wood about them, which could not contain air enough to render the strokes, in any considerable measure, full and sonorous. There is a great deal of difference in the make, not only of the several kinds of instruments, but even among those of the same name. The syringa, for example, has sometimes four, and sometimes more pipes, as high as the twelve. The same variety of strings may be observed on their harps, and of stops on their tibiae, which shows the little foundation that such writers have gone upon, who, from a verse perhaps in Virgil's Eclogues, or a short passage in a classic author, have been so very nice in determining the precise shape of the ancient musical instruments, with the exact number of their pipes, strings, and stops....

Tho the statues that have been found among the ruins of old Rome are already very numerous, there is no question but posterity will have the pleasure of seeing many noble pieces of sculpture which are still undiscovered; for, doubtless, there are greater treasures of this nature under ground, than what are yet brought to light.[5] They have often dug into lands that are described in old authors, as the places where such particular statues or obelisks stood, and have seldom failed of success in their pursuits. There are still many such promising spots of ground that have never been searched into. A great part of the Palatine mountain, for example, lies untouched, which was formerly the seat of the imperial palace, and may be presumed to abound with more treasures of this nature than any other part of Rome.

But whether it be that the richest of these discoveries fall into the Pope's hands, or for some other reason, it is said that the Prince Farnese, who is the present owner of this seat, will keep his own family in the chair. There are undertakers in Rome who often purchase the digging of fields, gardens, or vineyards, where they find any likelihood of succeeding, and some have been known to arrive at great estates by it. They pay according to the dimensions of the surface they are to break up; and after having made essays into it, as they do for coal in England, they rake into the most promising parts of it, tho they often find, to their disappointment, that others have been beforehand with them. However, they generally gain enough by the rubbish and bricks, which the present architects value much beyond those of a modern make, to defray the charges of their search.

I was shown two spaces of ground, where part of Nero's golden house stood, for which the owner has been offered an extraordinary sum of money. What encouraged the undertakers, are several very ancient trees, which grow upon the spot, from whence they conclude that these particular tracts of ground must have lain untouched for some ages. It is pity there is not something like a public register, to preserve the memory of such statues as have been found from time to time, and to mark the particular places where they have been taken up, which would not only prevent many fruitless searches for the future, but might often give a considerable light into the quality of the place, or the design of the statue.

But the great magazine for all kinds of treasure, is supposed to be the bed of the Tiber. We may be sure, when the Romans lay under the apprehensions of seeing their city sacked by a barbarous enemy, as they have done more than once, that they would take care to bestow such of their riches this way as could best bear the water, besides what the insolence of a brutish conqueror may be supposed to have contributed, who had an ambition to waste and destroy all the beauties of so celebrated a city. I need not mention the old common-shore of Rome, which ran from all parts of the town with the current and violence of an ordinary river, nor the frequent inundations of the Tiber, which may have swept away many of the ornaments of its banks, nor the several statues that the Romans themselves flung into it, when they would revenge themselves on the memory of an ill citizen, a dead tyrant, or a discarded favorite.

At Rome they have so general an opinion of the riches of this river, that the Jews have formerly proffered the Pope to cleanse it, so they might have for their pains what they found in the bosom of it. I have seen the valley near Ponte Molle, which they proposed to fashion into a new channel for it, until they had cleared the old for its reception. The Pope, however, would not comply with the proposal, as fearing the heats might advance too far before they had finished their work, and produce a pestilence among his people; tho I do not see why such a design might not be executed now with as little danger as in Augustus's time, were there as many hands employed upon it. The city of Rome would receive a great advantage from the undertaking, as it would raise the banks and deepen the bed of the Tiber, and by consequence free them from those frequent inundations to which they are so subject at present; for the channel of the river is observed to be narrower within the walls than either below or above them.

Next to the statues, there is nothing in Rome more surprizing than that amazing variety of ancient pillars of so many kinds of marble. As most of the old statues may be well supposed to have been cheaper to their first owners than they are to a modern purchaser, several of the pillars are certainly rated at a much lower price at present than they were of old. For not to mention what a huge column of granite, serpentine, or porphyry must have cost in the quarry, or in its carriage from Egypt to Rome, we may only consider the great difficulty of hewing it into any form, and of giving it the due turn, proportion, and polish. The most valuable pillars about Rome, for the marble of which they are made, are the four columns of oriental jasper in St. Paulina's chapel at St. Maria Maggiore; two of oriental granite in St. Pudenziana; one of transparent oriental jasper in the Vatican library; four of Nero-Bianco, in St. Cecilia Transtevere; two of Brocatello, and two of oriental agate in Don Livio's palace; two of Giallo Antico in St. John Lateran, and two of Verdi Antique in the Villa Pamphilia. These are all entire and solid pillars, and made of such kinds of marble as are nowhere to be found but among antiquities, whether it be that the veins of it are undiscovered, or that they were quite exhausted upon the ancient buildings. Among these old pillars, I can not forbear reckoning a great part of an alabaster column, which was found in the ruins of Livia's portico. It is of the color of fire, and may be seen over the high altar of St. Maria in Campitello; for they have cut it into two pieces, and fixt it in the shape of a cross in a hole of the wall that was made on purpose to receive it; so that the light passing through it from without, makes it look, to those who are in the church, like a huge transparent cross of amber.



The Palatine hill became the residence of the Roman emperors, and the center of the Roman Empire, not on account of its historical and traditional associations with the foundation and first growth of the city, nor because of its central and commanding position, but by a mere accident. At daybreak on September 21st, of the year 63 B.C., Augustus was born in this region, in a modest house, opening on the lane called "ad capita bubula," which led from the valley, where now the Coliseum stands, up the slopes of the hill toward the modern church and convent of St. Bonaventura.

This man, sent by God to change the condition of mankind and the state of the world, this founder of an empire which is still practically in existence,[7] never deserted the Palatine hill all through his eventful career. From the lane "ad capita bubula" he moved to the house of Calvus, the orator, at the northeast corner of the hill overlooking the forum; and in process of time, having become absolute master of the Roman Commonwealth, he settled finally on the top of the hill, having purchased for his residence the house of Hortensius, a simple and modest house, indeed, with columns of the commonest kind of stone, pavements of rubble-work, and simple whitewashed walls.

Whether this selection of a site was made because the Palatine had long before been the Faubourg St. Honore, the Belgravia of ancient Rome, is difficult to determine. We know that the house of Hortensius, chosen by Augustus, was surrounded by those of Clodius, Scaurus, Crassus, Caecina, Sisenna, Flaccus, Catiline, and other members of the aristocracy. I am persuaded, however, that the secret of the selection is to be found in the simplicity, I will even say in the poverty, of the dwelling; in fact, such extreme modesty is worthy of the good sense and the spirit of moderation shown by Augustus throughout his career. He could very well sacrifice appearances to the reality of an unbounded power. It is just, at any rate, to recognize that even in his remotest resorts for temporary rest and retirement from the cares of government, he led the same kind of plain, modest life, spending all his leisure hours in arranging his collections of natural history, more especially the palaeo-ethnological or prehistoric, for which the ossiferous caverns of the Island of Capri supplied him with abundant materials.

It was only after the victory of Actium that, finding himself master of the world, he thought it expedient to give up, in a certain measure, his former habits, and live in better style. Having bought through his agents some of the aristocratic palaces adjoining the old house of Hortensius, among them the historical palace of Catiline, he built a new and very handsome residence, but declared at the same time that he considered it as public property, not as his own. The solemn dedication of the palace took place on January 14th, of the year 26 before Christ. Here he lived, sleeping always in the same small cubiculum, for twenty-eight years; that is to say, until the third year after Christ, when the palace was almost destroyed by fire.

As soon as the news of the disaster spread throughout the empire, an almost incredible amount of money was subscribed at once, by all orders of citizens, to provide him with a new residence; and altho, with his usual moderation, he would consent to accept only one denarius from each individual subscribed, it is easy to imagine how many millions he must have realized in spite of his modesty. A new, magnificent palace rose from the ruins of the old one, but it does not appear that the plan and arrangement were changed; otherwise Augustus could not have continued to sleep in the same room during the last ten years of his life, as we are told positively that he did.

The work of Augustus was continued by his successor and kinsman, Tiberius, who built a new wing near the northwest corner of the hill, overlooking the Velabrum. Caligula filled with new structures the whole space between the "domus Tiberiana" and the Roman forum. Nero, likewise, occupied with a new palace the south-east corner of the hill, overlooking the valley, where the Coliseum was afterward built. Domitian rebuilt the "domus Augustana," injured by fire, adding to its accommodations a stadium for gymnastic sports. The same emperor raised an altogether new palace, in the space between the house of Augustus, on one side, and those of Caligula and Tiberius on the other. Septimius Severus and his son restored the whole group of imperial buildings, adding a new wing at the southwest corner, known under the name of Septizonium. The latest additions, of no special importance, took place under Julia Mamaea and Heliogabalus.

Every emperor, to a certain extent, enlarged, altered, destroyed, and reconstructed the work of his predecessors; cutting new openings, walling up old ones, subdividing large rooms into smaller apartments, and changing their destination. One section alone of the imperial Palatine buildings remained unaltered, and kept the former simplicity of its plans down to the fall of the Empire—the section built by Augustus across the center of the hill, which comprised the main entrance, the portico surrounding the temple of Apollo, the temple itself, the Greek and Latin libraries, the shrine of Vesta, and the imperial residence.

The architectural group raised by Augustus on the Palatine, formed, as it were, the vestibule to his own imperial residence. We know with absolute certainty that it contained at least one hundred and twenty columns of the rarest kinds of marbles and breccias, fifty-two of which were of Numidian marble, with capitals of gilt bronze; a group of Lysias, comprising one chariot, four horses and two drivers, all cut in a single block of marble; the Hercules of Lysippus; the Apollo of Scopas; the Latona of Cephisodotos, the Diana of Timotheos; the bas-reliefs of the pediment by Bupalos and Anthermos; the quadriga of the sun in gilt bronze; exquisite ivory carvings; a bronze colossus fifty feet high; hundreds of medallions in gold, silver, and bronze; gold and silver plate; a collection of gems and cameos; and, lastly, candelabras which had been the property of Alexander the Great, and the admiration of the East.

Has the world ever seen a collection of greater artistic and material value exhibited in a single building? And we must recollect that the group built by Augustus comprises only a very modest section of the Palatine; that to his palace we must join the palaces of Tiberius, Caligula, Nero, Vespasian, Domitian, Septimius Serverus, Julia Mamaea, and Heliogabalus; that each one of these imperial residences equalled the residence of Augustus, if not in pure taste, certainly in wealth, in luxury, in magnificence, in the number and value of works of art collected and stolen from Greece and the East, from Egypt and Persia. By multiplying eight or ten times the list I have given above, the reader will get an approximate idea of the "home" of the Roman emperors in its full pride and glory. I have deliberately excluded from my description the residence or private house of Augustus, because he himself had deliberately excluded from it any trace of that grandeur he had so lavishly bestowed on the buildings which constituted the approach to it....

During the rule of Claudius, the successor of Caligula, little or nothing was done toward the enlargement or the embellishment of the palace of the Caesars. Nero, however, the successor of Claudius, conceived the gigantic plan of renewing and of rebuilding from the very foundations, not only the imperial residence, but the whole metropolis. In the rebuilding of the city the emperor secured for himself the lion's share; and his Golden House, of which we possess such beautiful remains, occupied the whole extent from the Palatine to the Quirinal, where now the central railway station has been erected. Its area amounted to nearly a square mile, and this enormous district was appropriated, or rather usurped, by the emperor, right in the center of a city numbering about two million inhabitants.

Of the wonders of the Golden House it is enough to say that there were comprised within the precincts of the enchanting residence waterfalls supplied by an aqueduct fifty miles long, lakes and rivers shaded by dense masses of foliage, with harbors and docks for the imperial galleys; a vestibule containing a bronze colossus one hundred and twenty feet high; porticos three thousand feet long; farms and vineyards, pasture grounds and woods teeming with the rarest and costliest kind of game, zoological and botanical gardens; sulfur baths supplied from springs twelve miles distant; sea baths supplied from the waters of the Mediterranean, sixteen miles distant at the nearest point; thousands of columns crowned with capitals of Corinthian gilt metal; thousands of statues stolen from Greece and Asia Minor; walls encrusted with gems and mother-of-pearl; banqueting-halls with ivory ceilings, from which rare flowers and precious perfumes could fall gently on the recumbent guests.

More marvelous still was the ceiling of the state dining-room. It was spherical in shape, and cut in ivory, to represent the constellated skies, and kept in constant motion by machinery in imitation of the movements of the stars and planets. All these details sound like fairy-tales, like the dream of a fertile imagination; still they are described minutely by contemporary and serious writers, by Suetonius, by Martial and by Tacitus. Suetonius adds that the day Nero took possession of his Golden House, he was heard to exclaim, "At last I am lodged like a man."

The wonders created by him, however, did not last very long. Otho, his successor, on the very day of his election to the throne, signed an order of fifty millions of sesterces (two million dollars) to bring the Golden House to perfection; but after his murder Vespasian and Titus gave back to the people the greater portion of the ground usurped by Nero. They built the Coliseum on the very site of Nero's artificial lake, and the thermae of Titus on the foundation of his private palace; they respected only that portion of Nero's insane construction which was comprised within the boundaries of the Palatine hill.



The Venerable Bede, who lived in the eighth century, is the first person who is known to have given to the Flavian amphitheater its comparatively modern and now universal designation of the Coliseum; tho the name, derived from a colossal statue of the emperor Nero which stood near it, was probably then familiar to men's ears, as we may infer from his so calling it without explanation or remark.

When in its perfect state, the exterior, with its costly ornaments in marble, and its forest of columns, lost the merit of simplicity without gaining that of grandeur. The eye was teased with a multitude of details, not in themselves good; the same defects were repeated in each story, and the real height was diminished by the projecting and ungraceful cornices. The interior arrangements were admirable; and modern architects can not sufficiently commend the skill with which eighty thousand spectators were accommodated with seats; or the ingenious contrivances, by which, through the help of spacious corridors, multiplied passages, and staircases, every person went directly to his place, and immense audiences were dispersed in less time than is required for a thousand persons to squeeze through the entries of a modern concert-room. We know that this interior of the Coliseum was decorated with great splendor. The principal seats were of marble, and covered with cushions. Gilded gratings, ornaments of gold, ivory, and amber, and mosaics of precious stones, displayed the generosity of the emperors, and gratified the taste of the people.

How, or at what period, the work of ruin first began does not distinctly appear. An earthquake may have first shattered its ponderous arches, and thus made an opening for the destroying hand of time. There can be no doubt that it suffered violence from the hands of civil and foreign war. But more destructive agencies than those of earthquake, conflagration or war, were let loose upon it. Its massive stones, fitted to each other with such nice adaptation, presented a strong temptation to the cupidity of wealthy nobles and cardinals, with whom building was a ruling passion; and for many ages the Coliseum became a quarry. The Palazzo della Cancelleria, the Palazzo Barberini, the Palazzo Farnese, and the Palazzo Veneziano were all built mainly from the plunder of the Coliseum; and meaner robbers emulated the rapacity of their betters, by burning into lime the fragments not available for architectural purposes.

The material of which the Coliseum was built is exactly fitted to the purposes of a great ruin. It is travertine, of a rich, dark, warm color, deepened and mellowed by time. There is nothing glaring, harsh, or abrupt in the harmony of tints. The blue sky above, and the green earth beneath, are in unison with a tone of coloring not unlike the brown of one of our own early winter landscapes. The travertine is also of a coarse grain and porous texture, not splintering into points and edges, but gradually corroding by natural decay. Stone of such a texture everywhere opens laps and nooks for the reception and formation of soil. Every grain of dust that is borne through the air by the lazy breeze of summer, instead of sliding from a glassy surface, is held where it falls. The rocks themselves crumble and decompose, and turn into a fertile mold. Thus, the Coliseum is throughout crowned and draped with a covering of earth, in many places of considerable depth. Trailing plants clasp the stones with arms of verdure; wild flowers bloom in their seasons; and long grass nods and waves on the airy battlements. Life has everywhere sprouted from the trunk of death. Insects hum and sport in the sunshine; the burnished lizard darts like a tongue of green flame along the walls; and birds make the hollow quarry overflow with their songs. There is something beautiful and impressive in the contrast between luxuriant life and the rigid skeleton upon which it rests.

As a matter of course, everybody goes to see the Coliseum by moonlight. The great charm of the ruin under this condition is, that the imagination is substituted for sight; and the mind for the eye. The essential character of moonlight is hard rather than soft. The line between light and shadow is sharply defined, and there is no gradation of color. Blocks and walls of silver are bordered by, and spring out of, chasms of blackness. But moonlight shrouds the Coliseum in mystery. It opens deep vaults of gloom where the eye meets only an ebon wall, upon which the fancy paints innumerable pictures in solemn, splendid, and tragic colors. Shadowy forms of emperor and lictor and vestal virgin and gladiator and martyr come out of the darkness, and pass before us in long and silent procession. The breezes which blow through the broken arches are changed into voices, and recall the shouts and cries of a vast audience. By day, the Coliseum is an impressive fact; by night, it is a stately vision. By day, it is a lifeless form; by night, a vital thought.

The Coliseum should by all means be seen by a bright starlight, or under the growing sickle of a young moon. The fainter ray and deeper gloom bring out more strongly its visionary and ideal character. When the full moon has blotted out the stars, it fills the vast gulf of the building with a flood of spectral light, which falls with a chilling touch upon the spirit; for then the ruin is like a "corpse in its shroud of snow," and the moon is a pale watcher by its side. But when the walls, veiled in deep shadow, seem a part of the darkness in which they are lost—when the stars are seen through their chasms and breaks, and sparkle along the broken line of the battlements—the scene becomes another, tho the same; more indistinct, yet not so mournful; contracting the sphere of sight, but enlarging that of thought; less burdening, but more suggestive.

But under all aspects, in the blaze of noon, at sunset, by the light of the moon or stars—the Coliseum stands alone and unapproached. It is the monarch of ruins. It is a great tragedy in stone, and it softens and subdues the mind like a drama of Aeschylus or Shakespeare. It is a colossal type of those struggles of humanity against an irresistible destiny, in which the tragic poet finds the elements of his art. The calamities which crusht the house of Atreus are symbolized in its broken arches and shattered walls. Built of the most durable materials, and seemingly for eternity—of a size, material, and form to defy the "strong hours" which conquer all, it has bowed its head to their touch, and passed into the inevitable cycle of decay. "And this too shall pass away"—which the Eastern monarch engraved upon his signet ring—is carved upon these Cyclopean blocks. The stones of the Coliseum were once water; and they are now turning into dust. Such is ever the circle of nature. The solid is changing into the fluid, and the fluid into the solid; and that which is unseen is alone indestructible. He does not see the Coliseum aright who carries away from it no other impressions than those of form, size, and hue. It speaks an intelligible language to the wiser mind. It rebukes the peevish and consoles the patient. It teaches us that there are misfortunes which are clothed with dignity, and sorrows that are crowned with grandeur. As the same blue sky smiles upon the ruin which smiled upon the perfect structure, so the same beneficent Providence bends over our shattered hopes and our answered prayers.



The best preserved monument of ancient Rome, and one of the most beautiful buildings of the modern city, is unhappily placed. The Pantheon stands in a narrow and dirty piazza, and is shouldered and elbowed by a mob of vulgar houses. There is no breathing-space around, which it might penetrate with the light of its own serene beauty. Its harmonious proportions can be seen only in front; and it has there the disadvantage of being approached from a point higher than that on which it stands. On one side is a market; and the space before the matchless portico is strewn with fish-bones, decayed vegetables, and offal.[10]

Forsyth, the sternest and most fastidious of architectural critics, has only "large draughts of unqualified praise" for the Pantheon; and, where he finds nothing to censure, who will venture to do any thing but commend? The character of the architecture, and the sense of satisfaction which it leaves upon the mind, are proofs of the enduring charm of simplicity. The portico is perfectly beautiful. It is one hundred and ten feet long and forty-four deep, and rests upon sixteen columns of the Corinthian order, the shafts being of granite and the capitals of marble. Eight of these are in front, and of these eight, there are four (including the two on the extreme right and left) which have two others behind them; the portico being thus divided into three portions, like the nave and side aisles of a cathedral; the middle space, leading to the door, being wider than the others. The granite of the shafts is partly gray and partly rose-colored, but, in the shadow in which they stand, the difference of hue is hardly perceptible. The proportions of these columns are faultless; and their massive shafts and richly-carved capitals produce the effect, at once, of beauty and sublimity. The pediment above is now a bald front of ragged stone, but it was once adorned with bas-reliefs in bronze; and the holes, made by the rivets with which they were fastened, are still to be seen.

The aisles of the portico were once vaulted with bronze, and massive beams or slabs of the same metal stretched across the whole structure; but this was removed by Urban VIII., and melted into a baldachino to deface St. Peter's, and cannon to defend the castle of St. Angelo; and, not content with this, he has added insult to injury, and commemorated his robbery in a Latin inscription, in which he claims to be commended as for a praiseworthy act. But even this is not the heaviest weight resting on the memory of that vandal pope. He shares with Bernini the reproach of having added those hideous belfries which now rise above each end of the vestibule—as wanton and unprovoked an offense against good taste as ever was committed. A cocked hat upon the statue of Demosthenes in the Vatican would not be a more discordant addition. The artist should have gone to the stake, before giving his hand to such a piece of disfigurement.

The cell, or main portion of the building to which the portico is attached, is a simple structure, circular in form, and built of brick. It was formerly encrusted with marble. The cell and the portico stand to each other in the most harmonious relation, altho it seems to be admitted that the latter was an addition, not contemplated when the cell was built. But in the combination there is nothing forced or unnatural, and they seem as necessary and as preordained complements, one to the other, as a fine face and a fine head. The cell is a type of masculine dignity, and the portico, of feminine grace; and the result is a perfect architectural union.

The interior—a rotunda, surmounted by a dome—is converted into a Christian church, a purpose to which its form and structure are not well adapted; and the altars and their accessories are not improvements in an architectural point of view. But in spite of this—in spite of all that it has suffered at the hands of rapacity and bad taste—tho the panels of the majestic dome have been stript of their bronze, and the whole has been daubed over with a glaring coat of whitewash—the interior still remains, with all its rare beauty essentially unimpaired. And the reason of this is that this charm is the result of form and proportion, and can not be lost except by entire destruction. The only light which the temple receives is from a circular opening of twenty-eight feet in diameter at the top; and falling, as it does, directly from the sky, it fills the whole space with the purity of the heavens themselves. The magical effect of this kind of illumination it is impossible to describe....

The pavement of the Pantheon, composed of porphyry, pavonazzetto, and giallo antico, tho constantly overflowed by the Tiber, and drenched by the rains which fall upon it from the roof, is the finest in Rome. There is an opening in the center, through which the water entering by the dome is carried off into a reservoir.

The Pantheon has a peculiar interest in the history of art, as the burial place of Raphael. His grave was opened in 1833, and the remains found to be lying in the spot which Vasari had pointed out.



Nerva was the last Emperor buried in the mausoleum of Augustus.[12] Trajan's ashes were laid to rest in an urn of gold under his monumental column. Hadrian determined to raise a new tomb for himself and his successors, and, like Augustus, selected a site on the green and shady banks of the Tiber, not on the city side, however, but in the gardens of Domitia, which, with those of Agrippina, formed a crown property called by Tacitus "Nero's Gardens." The mausoleum and the bridge which gave access to it were substantially finished in A.D. 136. Antoninus Pius, after completing the ornamental part in 139, transferred to it Hadrian's ashes from their temporary burial-place in the former villa of Cicero at Puteoli, and was himself afterward interred there....

Beside the passages of the "Hadrian's Life," and of Dion Cassius, two descriptions of the monument have come down to us, one by Procopius, the other by Leo I. From these we learn that it was composed of a square basement of moderate height, each side of which measured 247 feet. It was faced with blocks of Parian marble, with pilasters at the corners, crowned by a capital. Above the pilasters were groups of men and horses in bronze, of admirable workmanship. The basement was protected around by a sidewalk and a railing of gilt bronze, supported by marble pillars crowned with gilded peacocks, two of which are in the Giardino della Pigna, in the Vatican. A grand circular mole, nearly a thousand feet in circumference, and also faced with blocks of Parian marble, stood on the square basement and supported in its turn a cone of earth covered with evergreens, like the mausoleum of Augustus.

Of this magnificent decoration nothing now remains except a few blocks of the coating of marble, on the east side of the quadrangle, near the Bastione di S. Giovanni. All that is visible of the ancient work from the outside are the blocks of peperino of the mole which once supported the outer casing. The rest, both above and below, is covered by the works of fortification constructed at various periods, from the time of Honorius (393-403) to our own days. In no other monument of ancient and medieval Rome is our history written, molded, as it were, so vividly, as upon the battered remains of this castle-tomb. Within and around it took place all the fights for dominion with which popes, emperors, barons, barbarians, Romans, have distracted the city for fifteen hundred years.

Of the internal arrangement of the monument nothing was known until 1825, when the principal door was discovered in the middle of the square basement facing the bridge. It opens upon a corridor leading to a large niche, which, it is conjectured, contained a statue of Hadrian. The walls of this vestibule, by which modern visitors generally begin their inspection, are built of travertine, and bear evidence of having been paneled with Numidian marble. The pavement is of white mosaic. On the right side of this vestibule, near the niche, begins an inclined spiral way, 30 feet high and 11 feet wide, leading up to the central chamber, which is in the form of a Greek cross.

There is no doubt that the tomb was adorned with statues. Procopius distinctly says that, during the siege laid by the Goths to the castle in 537, many of them were hurled down from the battlements upon the assailants. On the strength of this passage topographers have been in the habit of attributing to the mausoleum all the works of statuary discovered in the neighborhood; like the Barberini Faun now in Munich, the exquisite statue of a River God described by Cassiano dal Pozzo, etc., as if such subjects were becoming a house of death. The mausoleum of Hadrian formed part of one of the largest and noblest cemeteries of ancient Rome, crossed by the Via Triumphalis. The tomb next in importance to it was the so-called "Meta," or "sepulcrum Romuli," or "sepulcrum Neronis," a pyramid of great size, which stood on the site of the church of St. Maria Transpontina, and was destroyed by Alexander VI. in 1499.



In the midst of the busy quarters lying at the base of the Quirinal, you come out upon a great piazza which you name at once without ever having seen it before; Trajan's Column serves as ensign for a forum, of which Apollodorus of Damascus erected the porticoes. The lines described by the bases of a plantation of pillars will help you to identify the pesimeter of the temple which Hadrian consecrated, and the site of the Ulpian Library which was divided into two chambers—one for Greek books, and the other for Latin; and finally the situation of the basilica, opening on to the forum and with its apse in the north-northwest direction....

It was in the Ulpian Basilica that, in 312, Constantine, having assembled the notables of the empire seated himself in the presbyterium, to proclaim his abjuration of polytheism in favor of the religion of Christ; on that day and spot the prince closed the cycle of antiquity, opened the catacombs, and inaugurated the modern world. The Acts of St. Sylvester describe many passages of the discourse in which, "invoking truth against mischievous divisions," and declaring that he "put away superstitions born of ignorance and reared on unreason," the emperor ordains that "churches be opened to Christians, and that the priests of the temples and those of Christ enjoy the same privileges." He himself undertakes to build a church in his Lateran palace.

I do not think there exists any monument in the world more precious or more exquisite in its proportions than Trajan's Column, nor one that has rendered more capital service. This has been set forth with more authority than I can pretend to, by Viollet-le-Duc, the architect who has written best on his own art; his description sums up the subject and makes everything clear. A set of pictures of the campaigns of Trajan against the Decians—the bas-reliefs—reproduces the arms, the accouterments, the engines of war, the dwellings of the barbarians; we discern the breed of the warriors and their horses; we look upon the ships of the time, canoes and quinqueremes; women of all ranks, priests of all theogonies, sieges, and assaults. Such are the merits of this sculptured host, that Polidoro da Caravaggio, Giulio Romano, Michael Angelo, and all the artists of the Renaissance have drawn thence models of style and picturesque grouping.

Trajan's Column is of pure Carrara marble. The shaft measures about ninety-four English feet, by twelve in diameter at the base, and ten below the capital, which is Doric and carved out of a single block; the column is composed of thirty-four blocks, hollowed out internally and cut into a winding stair. A series of bas-reliefs, divided from one another by a narrow band, run spirally around the shaft parallel to the inner staircase of a hundred and eighty-two steps, and describes twenty-three circuits to reach the platform on which the statue is placed. The foot and the pedestal are seventeen feet high; the torus, of enormous diameter, is a monolith; the whole construction rises a hundred and thirty-five feet from the ground. These thirty-four blocks, measuring eleven meters in circumference by one in height, had—a task of considerable precision—to have holes drilled in them for the screws of the staircase, it being necessary to determine from the inside precisely where these borings must be made in order not to break the continuity of the bas-reliefs, executed by several different hands, and which are more deeply worked in proportion as they gain in height, so as to appear of an equal projection.



You reach the Baths of Caracalla, the most imposing object after the Coliseum that one sees in Rome. These colossal structures are so many signs of their times. Imperial Rome plundered the entire Mediterranean basin, Spain, Gaul, and two-thirds of England, for the benefit of a hundred thousand idlers. She amused them in the Coliseum with massacres of beasts and of men; in the Circus Maximus with combats of athletes and with chariot races; in the theater of Marcellus with pantomimes, plays, and the pageantry of arms and costume; she provided them with baths, to which they resorted to gossip, to contemplate statues, to listen to declaimers, to keep themselves cool in the heats of summer. All that had been invented of the convenient, agreeable, and beautiful, all that could be collected in the world that was curious and magnificent, was for them; the Caesars fed them and diverted them, seeking only to afford them gratification, and to obtain their acclamations.

A Roman of the middle classes might well regard his emperors as so many public purveyors, administering his property, relieving him from troublesome cares, furnishing him at fair rates, or for nothing, with corn, wine, and oil, giving him sumptuous meals and well-got-up fetes, providing him with pictures, statues, pantomimists, gladiators, and lions, resuscitating his "blase" taste every morning with some surprising novelty, and even occasionally converting themselves into actors, charioteers, singers, and gladiators for his especial delight. In order to lodge this group of amateurs in a very suitable to its regal pretensions, architecture invented original and grand forms. Vast structures always indicate some corresponding excess, some immoderate concentration and accumulation of the labor of humanity. Look at the Gothic cathedrals, the pyramids of Egypt, Paris of the present day, and the docks of London!

On reaching the end of a long line of narrow streets, white walls, and deserted gardens, the great ruin appears. There is nothing with which to compare its form, while the line it describes on the sky is unique. No mountains, no hills, no edifices, give any idea of it. It resembles all these; it is a human structure, which time and events have so deformed and transformed, as to render a natural production. Rising upward in the air, its moss-stained embossed summit and indented crest with its wide crevices, a red, mournful, decayed mass, silently reposes in a shroud of clouds.

You enter, and it seems as if you had never seen anything in the world so grand. The Coliseum itself is no approach to it, so much do a multiplicity and irregularity of ruins add to the vastness of the vast enclosure. Before these heaps of red corroded masonry, these round vaults spanning the air like the arches of a mighty bridge before these crumbling walls, you wonder whether an entire city did not once exist there. Frequently an arch has fallen, and the monstrous mass that sustained it still stands erect, exposing remnants of staircases and fragments of arcades, like so many shapeless, deformed houses.

Sometimes it is cleft in the center, and a portion appears about to fall and roll away, like a huge rock. Sections of wall and pieces of tottering arches cling to it and dart their projections threateningly upward in the air. The courts are strewed with various fragments, and blocks of brick welded together by the action of time, like stones incrusted with the deposits of the sea. Elsewhere are arcades quite intact, piled up story upon story, the bright sky appearing behind them, and above, along the dull red brickwork is a verdant head-dress of plants, waving and rustling in the midst of the ethereal blue.

Here are mystic depths, wherein the bedewed shade prolongs itself among mysterious shadows. Into these the ivy descends, and anemones, fennel, and mallows fringe their brinks. Shafts of columns lie half-buried under climbing vines and heaps of rubbish, while luxuriant clover carpets the surrounding slopes. Small green oaks, with round tops, innumerable green shrubs, and myriads of gillyflowers cling to the various projections, nestle in the hollows, and deck its crest with their yellow clusters. All these murmur in the breeze, and the birds are singing in the midst of the imposing silence....

You ascend, I know not how many stories, and, on the summit, find the pavement of the upper chambers to consist of checkered squares of marble; owing to the shrubs and plants that have taken root among them, these are disjoined in places, a fresh bit of mosaic sometimes appearing intact on removing a layer of earth. Here were sixteen hundred seats of polished marble. In the Baths of Diocletian there were places for three thousand two hundred bathers. From this elevation, on casting your eyes around, you see, on the plain, lines of ancient aqueducts radiating in all directions and losing themselves in the distance, and, on the side of Albano, three other vast ruins, masses of red and black arcades, shattered and disintegrated brick by brick, and corroded by time.

You descend and take another glance. The hall of the "piscine" is a hundred and twenty paces long; that in which the bathers disrobed is eighty feet in height; the whole is covered with marble, and with such beautiful marble that mantel ornaments are now made of its fragments. In the sixteenth century the Farnese Hercules was discovered here, and the Torso and Venus Callipygis, and I know not how many other masterpieces; and in the seventeenth century hundreds of statues. No people, probably, will ever again display the same luxurious conveniences, the same diversions, and especially the same order of beauty, as that which the Romans displayed in Rome.

Here only can you comprehend this assertion—a civilization other than our own, other and different, but in its kind as complete and as elegant. It is another animal, but equally perfect, like the mastodon, previous to the modern elephant.



One of the praises bestowed by Cicero on the founder of the city is that "he selected a district very rich in springs." A glance at the plan will at once prove the accuracy of the statement. Twenty-three springs have been described within the walls, several of which are still in existence; others have disappeared owing to the increase of modern soil. "For four hundred and forty-one years," says Frontinus, "the Romans contented themselves with such water as they could get from the Tiber, from wells, and from springs. Some of these springs are still held in great veneration on account of their health-restoring qualities, like the spring of the Camoenae, that of Apollo, and that of Juturna."

The first aqueduct, that of the "Aqua Appia," is the joint work of Appius Claudius Caecus and C. Plautius Venox, censors in 312 B.C. The first built the channel, the second discovered the springs 1,153 meters northeast of the sixth and seventh milestones of the Via Collatina. They are still to be seen, much reduced in volume, at the bottom of some stone quarries near the farmhouse of La Rustica.

The second aqueduct was begun in 272 B.C. by Manius Curius Dentatus, censor, and finished three years later by Fulvius Flaccus. The water was taken from the river Anio 850 meters above St. Cosimato, on the road from Tivoli to Arsoli (Valeria). The course of the channel can be traced as far as Gallicano; from Gallicano to Rome it is uncertain....

In 144 B.C. the Senate, considering that the increase of the population had diminished the rate of distribution of water (from 530 to 430 liters per head), determined that the old aqueducts of the Appia and the Anio should be repaired, and a new one built, the appropriation for both works being 8,000,000 sesterces, or 1,760,000 lire.

The execution of the scheme was entrusted to Q. Marcius Rex. He selected a group of springs at the foot of the Monte della Prugna, in the territory of Arsoli, 4,437 meters to the right of the thirty-sixth milestone of the Via Valeria; and after many years of untiring efforts he succeeded in making a display of the water on the highest platform of the Capitol. Agrippa restored the aqueduct in 33 B.C.; Augustus doubled the volume of the water in 5 B.C. by the addition of the Aqua Augusta. In 196 Septimius Severus brought in a new supply for the use of his Thermae Severianae; in 212-213 Caracalla built a branch aqueduct, four miles long, for the use of his baths; in 305-306 Diocletian did the same thing for his great thermae; and, finally, Arcadius and Honorius devoted to the restoration of the aqueduct the money seized from Count Gildo, the African rebel.

None of the Roman aqueducts are eulogized by Frontinus like the Claudian. He calls it "a work most magnificently done," and after demonstrating in more than one way that the volume of the springs collected by Claudius amounted to 4,607 quinariae, he says that there was a reserve of 1,600 always ready.

The works, began by Caligula in A.D. 38, lasted fourteen years, the water having reached Rome only on August 1, 52 (the birthday of Claudius). The course of the aqueduct was first around the slopes of the Monte Ripoli, like that of the Marcia and of the Anio Vetus. Domitian shortened it by several miles by boring a tunnel 4,950 meters long through the Monte Affiano. Length of channel, 68,750 meters, of which 15,000 was on arches; volume per day, 209,252 cubic meters. The Claudia was used for the Imperial table; a branch aqueduct, 2,000 meters long, left the main channel at Spem Veterem (Porta Maggiore), and following the line of the Via Caelimontana (Villa Wolkonsky), of the Campus Caelimontan (Lateran), and of the street now called di S. Stefano Rotondo, reached the temple of Claudius by the church of SS. Giovanni e Paolo, and the Imperial palace by the church of St. Bonaventura.

The Anio Novus, like the Vetus, was at first derived from the river of the same name at the forty-second milestone of the road to Subiaco, great precautions being taken for purifying the water. The works were begun by Caligula in A.D. 38, and completed by Claudius on August 1, 52, on a most magnificent scale, some of the arches reaching the height of thirty-two meters above ground; and there were eight miles of them. Yet, in spite of the purifying reservoir, and of the clear springs of the Rivus Herculaneus (Fosso di Fioggio), which had been mixed with the water from the river, the Anio Novus was hardly ever drinkable. Whenever a shower fell on the Simbruine mountains, the water would get troubled and saturated with mud and carbonate of lime. Trajan improved its condition by carrying the head of the aqueduct higher up the valley, where Nero had created three artificial lakes for the adornment of his Villa Sublacensis. These lakes served more efficiently as "purgatories," than the artificial basin of Caligula, nine miles below. The Anio Novus reached Rome in its own channel after a course of 86,964 meters, but for the last seven miles it ran on the same arches with the Aqua Claudia. The Anio Novus was the largest of all Roman aqueducts, discharging nearly three hundred thousand cubic meters per day.

There are two places in the suburbs of Rome where these marvelous arches of the Claudia and Anio Novus can be seen to advantage; one is the Torre Fiscale, three miles outside the Porta S. Giovanni on the Albano road (to be reached also from the Tavolato station, on the upper Albano railway); the other is the Vicolo del Mandrione, which leaves the Labicana one mile outside the Porta Maggiore and falls into the Tusculana at the place called Porta Furba.



The materials used in Roman constructions are the "lapis ruber" (tufa); the "lapis Albanus" (peperino); the "lapis Gabinus" (sperone); the "lapis Tiburtinus" (travertino); the silex ("selce"); and bricks and tiles of various kinds. The cement was composed of pozzolana and lime. Imported marbles came into fashion toward the end of the republic, and became soon after the pride and glory of Rome....

The only material which the first builders of Rome found at hand was the volcanic conglomerate called tufa. The quality of the stone used in those early days was far from perfect. The walls of the Palatine hill and of the Capitoline citadel were built of material quarried on the spot—a mixture of charred pumice-stones and reddish volcanic sand. The quarries used for the fortification of the Capitol were located at the foot of the hill toward the Argiletum, and were so important as to give their name, Lautumiae, to the neighboring district. It is probable that the prison called Tullianum, from a jet of water, "tullus," which sprang from the rock, was originally a portion of this quarry. The tufa blocks employed by Servius Tullius for the building of the city walls, and of the agger, appear to be of three qualities—yellowish, reddish, and gray; the first, soft and easily broken up, seems to have been quarried from the Little Aventine, near the church of St. Saba. The galleries of this quarry, much disfigured by medieval and modern use, can be followed to a considerable distance, altho the collapsing of the vaults makes it dangerous to visit them....

The quarries of the third quality were, or rather one of them was, discovered on February 7, 1872, in the Vigna Querini, outside the Porta St. Lorenzo, near the first milestone of the Vicolo di Valle Cupa. It was a surface quarry, comprising five trenches 16 feet wide, 9 feet deep. Some of the blocks, already squared, were lying on the floor of the trenches, others were detached on two or three sides only, the size of others was simply traced on the rock by vertical or horizontal lines. This tufa, better known by the name of cappellaccio, is very bad. The only buildings in which it was used, besides the inner wall of the Servian agger, are the platform of the temple of Jupiter Capitolinus, in the gardens of the German Embassy, and the "puticuli" in the burial-grounds of the Esquiline. Its use must have been given up before the end of the period of the Kings, in consequence of the discovery of better quarries on the right bank of the Tiber, at the foot of the hills now called Monte Verde....

They cover a space one mile in length and a quarter of a mile wide on each side of the valley of Pozzo Pantaleo. In fact, this valley, which runs from the Via Portuensis toward the lake of the Villa Pamphili, seems to be artificial; I mean, produced by the extraction of the rock of millions of cubic meters in the course of twenty-four centuries. If the work of the ancient quarrymen could be freed from the loose material which conceals it from view, we should possess within a few minutes' drive from the Porta Portese a reproduction of the famous mines of El Masarah, with beds of rock cut into steps and terraces, with roads and lanes, shafts, inclines, underground passages, and outlets for the discharge of rain-water. When a quarry had given out, its galleries were filled up with the refuse of the neighboring ones—chips left over after the squaring of the blocks; so that, in many cases, the color and texture of the chips do not correspond with those of the quarry in which they are found. This layer of refuse, transformed by time into humus, and worked upon by human and atmospheric forces, has given the valley a different aspect, so that it looks as if it were the work not of quarrymen, but of nature.

Tufa may be found used in many existing monuments of ancient Rome, such as the drains of the middle and southern basin of the left bank, the channels and arches of the Marcia and Anio Vetus, the Servian walls, the temples of Fortuna Virilis, of Hercules Magnus Custos, the Rostra, the embankment of the Tiber, etc. The largest and most magnificent quarries in the suburban district are the so-called Grotte della Cervara. No words can convey an idea of their size and of the regularity of their plan. They seem to be the work of a fanciful architect who has hewn out of the rock halls and galleries, courts and vestibules, and imitated the forms of an Assyrian palace.

For the study of the peperino mines, which contain a stone special to the Alban district, formed by the action of hot water on gray volcanic cinders, the reader should follow on foot the line of the new Albano railway, from the place called Il Sassone to the town of Marino. Many of the valleys in this district, now made beautiful by vineyards and oliveyards, owe their existence to the pickax of the Roman stonecutter, like the valley of Pozzo Pantaleo. The most curious sight is a dolmen or isolated rock 10 meters high, left in the center of one of the quarries to certify the thickness of the bed of rock excavated. In fact, the whole district is very interesting both to the archeologist and to the paysagiste. The mines of Marino, still worked in the neighborhood of the railway station, would count, like the Grotte della Cervara, among the wonders of the Campagna, were they known to the student as they deserve to be.

The principal Roman buildings in which the lapis Albanus has been used are: the Claudian aqueduct, the Cloaca Maxima, the temples of Antonius and Faustina, of Cybele, of the Eventus Bonus, of Neptune, the inclosure wall of the Forum Augustum, Forum Transitorium, and Forum Pacis, the Porticus Argonautarum, Porticus Pompeii, the Ustrinum of the Appian Way, etc. The sarcophagus of Cornelius Scipio Barbatus in the Vatican museum, and the tomb of the Tibicines in the Museo Municipale al Celio are also of this stone.

Travertine stone was quarried in the plains of Tivoli at places now called Le Caprine, Casal Bernini, and Il Barco. This last was reopened after an interval of many centuries by Count G. Brazza, brother of the African explorer. Lost in the wilderness and overgrown with shrubs, it had not been examined, I believe, since the visit of Brocchi. It can be reached by stopping at the station of the Aquae Albulae, on the Tivoli line, and following the ancient road which led to the works. This road, twice as wide as the Appian Way, is flanked by substructures, and is not paved, but macadamized. Parallel with it runs an aqueduct which supplied the works with motive power, derived probably from the sulfur springs. There are also remains of tombs, one of which, octagonal in shape, serves as a foundation to the farmhouse del Barco.

The most remarkable monument of the whole group is the Roman quarry from which five and a half million cubic meters of travertine have been extracted, as proved by the measurement of the hollow space between the two opposite vertical sides. That this is the most important ancient quarry of travertine, and the largest one used by the Romans, is proved, in the first place, by its immense size. The sides show a frontage of more than two and a half kilometers; the surface amounts to 500,000 square meters. The sides are quite perpendicular, and have the peculiarity of projecting buttresses, at an angle of 90 degrees. Some of these buttresses are isolated on three sides, and still preserve the grooves, by means of which they could be separated from the solid mass....

In order to keep the bottom of the works clean and free from the movement of the carts, for the action of the cranes, and for the maneuvres of the workmen, the chips, or useless product of the squaring of the blocks, were transported to a great distance, as far as the banks of the Anio, and there piled up to a great height. This is the origin of that chain of hills which runs parallel to the river, and of whose artificial formation no one, as far as I know, had the least suspicion. One of these hills, visible from every point of the neighboring district, from Hadrian's villa as well as from the Sulfur Baths, is elliptical in shape, 22 meters high, 90 meters long, and 65 meters wide. It can with reason be compared with our Testaccio. It is easy to imagine how immense must have been the number of blocks cut from the Cava del Barco during the period of the formation of this hill alone. Another proof of the antiquity of the quarry, and of its abandonment from imperial times down to our own day, is given by this fact....

There are three collections of brick-stamps in Rome; one, of little value, in the Kircherian museum; the second in the last room of the Vatican library, past the "Nozze aldobrandine;" the third and best in the Museo Municipale al Celio. This last contains over a thousand specimens, and a unique set of the products of Roman kilns. In fact, the first hall of the Museo is set apart exclusively for the study of ancient building and decorative materials.

Roman bricks were square, oblong, triangular, or round, the latter being used only to build columns in the Pompeiian style. The largest bricks that have been discovered in my time measure 1.05 meters in length. They were set into an arch of one of the great stairs leading to the avenue or boulevard established in Imperial times on the top of the agger of Servius. Roman bricks are very often stamped with a seal, the legend of which contains the names of the owner and the manager of the kilns, of the maker of the tile, of the merchant entrusted with the sale of the products, and of the consuls under whose term of office the bricks were made. These indications are not necessarily found all in one seal.

The most important of them is the consular date, because it helps the student to determine, within certain limits, the date of the building itself. The rule, however, is far from being absolute, and before fixing the date of a Roman structure from that of its brick stamps one must take into consideration many other points of circumstantial evidence. When we examine, for instance, the grain warehouses at Ostia, or Hadrian's villa at Tivoli, and find that their walls have never undergone repairs, that their masonry is characteristic of the first quarter of the second century, that their bricks bear the dates of Hadrian's age and no others, we may rest assured that the stamps speak the truth. Their evidence is, in such a case, conclusive. But if the bricks are variously dated, or bear the names of various kilns, and not of one or two only, then their value as an evidence of the date of a building is diminished, if not lost altogether....

The bricks, again, occasionally bear curious signs, such as footmarks of chickens, dogs, or pigs, which stept over them while still fresh, impressions of coins and medals, words or sentences scratched with a nail, etc. A bricklayer, who had perhaps seen better times in his youth, wrote on a tile the first verse of the Aeneid.

The great manufacturing center of Roman bricks was the district between the viae Triumphalis, Cornelia, and the two Aureliae, now called the Monti della Creta, which includes the southern slopes of the Vatican ridge and the northern of the Janiculum. Here also, as at Pozzo Pantaleo, the traces of the work of man are simply gigantic. The valleys del Gelsomino, delle Fornaci, del Vicolo delle Cave, della Balduina, and a section of the Val d'Inferno, are not the work of nature, but the result of excavations for "creta figulina," which began 2,300 years ago, and have never been interrupted since. A walk through the Monti della Creta will teach the student many interesting things. The best point of observation is a bluff between the Vicolo della Cave and the Vicolo del Gelsomino, marked with the word "Ruderi" and with the altitude of 75 meters, in the military map of the suburbs. The bluff rises 37 meters above the floor of the brick-kilns of the Gelsomino....

Roman bricks were exported to all the shores of the Mediterranean; they have been found in the Riviera, on the coasts of Benetia, of Narbonensis, of Spain and Africa, and in the island of Sardinia. The brick-making business must have been very remunerative, if we judge from the rank and wealth of many personages who had an interest in it. Many names of emperors appear in brick-stamps, and even more of empresses and princesses of the imperial family.


BY GRACE GREENWOOD (Mrs. Lippincott)

Yesterday began Holy Week with the imposing but tedious ceremonies of Palm Sunday at St. Peter's. At nine o'clock in the morning we were in our places—seats erected for the occasion near the high altar, drest in the costume prescribed by church etiquette—black throughout, with black veils on our heads. At about ten the Pope entered, and the rites, ordinary and extraordinary, the masses and processions, continued until one.

The entrance of the Pope into this his grandest basilica was, as usual, a beautiful and brilliant sight. He came splendidly vested, wearing his miter, and borne in his chair of state under a gorgeous canopy, between the flabelli—two enormous fans of white peacock feathers. He was preceded and followed by cardinals, bishops, arch-bishops, monsignori, abbots, the apostolic prothonotaries, generals of the religious orders, officers of the state, of the army, of his household, and the Guardia Nobile.

He took his seat on the throne, and received the homage of the cardinals, who, kneeling, kissed his right hand. This is a ceremony which is always gone through with in the most formal, mechanical, business-like manner possible. Some palms, not in natural branches, but cut and wreathed in various strange, fantastic forms, lay on the altar. The Pope's chief sacristan took one of these, a deacon another, a sub-deacon a third, and knelt at the foot of the throne. His Holiness read prayers over them, sprinkled them with holy water, and incensed them three times. One of these is held beside the throne by the prince assistant during the service; another is borne by the Pope when in procession.

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