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ART. XVI.-The Topography and Antiquities of Rome; includ ing the recent Discoveries made about the Forum and the Via Sacra. By the Rev. Richard Burgess, Chaplain to the Church of England Congregation at Rome, and Domestic Chaplain to Lieutenant-General the Right Honourable Lord Aylmer. London. Longman. 2 vols. 8vo.

To those who cast a careless eye over the actual state of the Eternal City, as it is still fondly called, and reflect withal upon the number of years in which it has been occupied by au intelligent and restless people, over whom have occasionally presided wise and powerful princes, endowed with ample means for every species of investigation, and by no means deficient in taste and learning themselves, it is matter of great surprise to observe, that so much of its history and antiquities should be left to the inquiries of modern writers and to the labours of foreign antiquaries, Nor will this surprise be lessened when they learn, that the Roman monuments have actually been the constant subjects of interest and study to many learned persons of that nation for the last three centuries, and continue to be so still. A little further inquiry, however, will serve to reconcile this apparent inconsistency to their minds; and when they reflect in how dark a cloud of ignorance and oblivion the minds of men were buried during the middle ages; how many active causes were in operation, calculated to assist the common process of decay; how complete and entire the changes which had been effected in the most remarkable portions of the city, and how many years it would necessarily require to bring to light what so many centuries had contributed to obscure, if some of it could ever be brought to light at all, their feelings will probably be changed, and they will rather wonder that so much has been already done, than that any thing should remain to be done.


Muojono le città, muojono i regni," is an observation applicable to many other kingdoms with whose history we are acquainted; but the fate of Rome has been peculiarly hard. It was not simply the hand of time passing rudely, without resistance or regret, over the surface of the city, nor yet the ravages of successive hordes of barbarians, Goths, Vandals, Lombards, and Franks, who affected for the most part to spare what they could not appropriate, and had not time for such mighty mischief--No, it was to other causes springing up within its own bosom that it chiefly owes its ruin:-to the desperate struggles of parties engaged in civil strife, converting temples into fortresses, and carrying into each other's quarters fire and sword;-to the pious zeal of Christians defacing the monuments of idolatry wherever they were found, and, above all, to the hasty labours and the neces

sities of the inhabitants themselves, building new structures with the materials of the old, heaping up fragments of marbles, cornices, and even sepulchral stones in sad confusion, for new substructions, and finally so changing the level of different parts of the city that the very roofs of former ages are now only upon a level with the pavement of the present. By all these means, not only had the general appearance of the place become strange, but the relations of the different parts with each other had been altered, so that an old Roman rising from his grave could scarcely have recognised the country of his birth. Many vallies betwen hills had been almost filled up, while the hills themselves had changed their comparative height and figure; pools and lakes had disappeared; streams had, in some measure, changed their courses; gates had left their places and retained their names, and vice versa; streets had become vineyards, and gardens had become streets; new eminences lofty as the hills had arisen, such as the Monte Testaceo, which were not even known to the inhabitants of ancient Rome; the city itself had moved westward in mass upon the Campus Martius, while a dreary silence reigned unbroken over the undulating ground, which had formerly the most resounded with the cheerful labours and the busy hum of men.

"Now all is changed; and here, as in the wild,
The day is silent, dreary as the night;
None stirring save the herdsman and his herd,
Savage alike; or they that would explore,
Discuss and learnedly; or they that come,
(And there are many who have crossed the earth,)
That they may give the hours to meditation,
And wander, often saying to themselves,
This was the ROMAN FORUM!""

"Once more we look, and all is still as night,
All desolate! Groves, temples, palaces,
Swept from the sight; and nothing visible,
Amid the sulph'rous vapours that exhale
As from a land accurst, save here and there
An empty tomb, a fragment like the limb
Of some dismembered giant. In the midst
A City stands, her domes and turrets crowned
With many a cross; but they, that issue forth,
Wander like strangers who had built among
The mighty ruins, silent, spiritless;

And on the road, where once we might have met
CESAR and CATO, and men more than kings,
We meet, none else, the pilgrim and the beggar."

Such was the state of Rome when emerging from the dark ages, after the restoration of learning, it gradually became the

subject of inquiry to the curious of every part of Europe; and
such in some respects it appears now. Nor do the first attempts
of the Literati appear to have been conducted with great judg-
ment, or to have formed a sound basis for future discoveries.
They contented themselves with collecting and recording such
traditions and fabulous conceits as were found scattered amongst
the minds of the vulgar, without a sufficient examination into the
authority whereon they rested; by this means they have con-
trived to perplex their successors rather than to enlighten them,
and to fix and perpetuate errors which a better method of inquiry
might have early dissipated. Amongst those, however, who were
most distinguished by their attempts to recognise and revive the
features of the ancient city, are Fulvio, Boissardo, Biondo,
Marliano, and particularly Bernardo Rucellai, the friend and re-
lation of Lorenzo de' Medici, whose work upon the antiquities
of Rome, often cited with approbation, has somehow or other
disappeared. Still much confusion prevailed, and Ligorio has
obtained more praise with his countrymen from a little book
called the Paradoxes, in which he exposed the errors of others,
and cleared the subject from the rubbish with which it was in-
cumbered, than for the three large volumes in which he has en-
deavoured to establish his own opinions. In the latter end of
the 17th century the work of Nardini was offered to the public,
and seems to have been received with great approbation by his
countrymen. Nor can we be surprised at it; in diligence of
compiling and accuracy of detail he has scarcely been surpassed
by any author since, though in learning and judgment he is
deemed inferior to his predecessor Donatus, to whom Mr. Bur-
gess acknowledges himself very much indebted, Boissard is too
prolix, Panciroli and Fabricio too concise; and Venuti, though
the most modern, is acknowledged by all to be very dull, and,
what is worse, very imperfect and incorrect.
In one respect,
indeed, these authors have left us little to perform, namely, in
learned illustration and research; by them all the classical authors
have been completely ransacked, and every passage, which might
serve, however obliquely or doubtfully, to throw light upon the
subject, has been produced; so that whatever room may still re-
main for difference of opinion respecting the application of the
learning, certain it is, that it would be difficult to add materially
to the mass which their united labours have laid up.

But there was another method of illustration which had been more neglected, because more costly and less suited to the habits and genius of the Roman people, that is by excavations and actual examination of the foundations themselves. To this object the French artists and savans, while the city was in the possession of their army, applied themselves with great spirit and activity;

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and, short as their occupation was, it was sufficient to throw much new light upon many of the ancient monuments, and to open the way for larger discoveries to those who had the spirit to pursue them. Nor was this advantage neglected. When the papal government was restored, many of the labours which the French had set on foot were continued under its auspices with great felicity and success, and others, by permission of the government, have since been carried on by foreigners at their own costs. Meanwhile the literary part of the Roman people have not been inattentive to their results. Several periodical publications, connected with these discoveries, have been set on foot; the Academy of St. Luke has been overwhelmed with dissertations; and the artist and the architect have resumed their labours with fresh vigour and effect.

As yet, however, no single work embodying all these new discoveries, and containing a complete account of the antiquities of Rome, has proceeded from the pen of any Roman author, though, considering the advantages they possess, many might have been expected to be competent to such a task. Venuti's Description has been reprinted, and a new edition of Nardini, with large notes and additions has been given to the world by Professor Nibby, and also an itinerary by the same author upon the plan of Vasi; yet none of these works seem calculated to afford that extent and species of instruction which foreigners, who either resort to Rome for an enlarged information respecting the antiquities, or who living at a distance, are anxious to become acquainted with the later discoveries, might desire. In truth the Roman authors familiar with the scene have not perceived what sort of knowledge it was that such persons were wishing to obtain; nor would they, perhaps, have been desirous of cultivating it if they had: they have other objects in view, and questions amongst themselves to settle. Besides, the best encouragement for native industry and genius is native patronage, and this they certainly want. It is a fact well known to all who are acquainted with the society of that capital, that such labours have received little encouragement from the great body of the inhabitants themselves, who are more wrapped up in the living glory of their churches, or the substantial comforts of their monasteries and the passing splendour of their ceremonies and processions, than in the faded honours of ancient Rome. "Invitus dico," said Petrarch, "nusquam minus Roma cognoscitur quam Romæ ;" and the same observation may be applied in a certain degree now. In truth it requires only a very cursory knowledge of the priesthood or the nobility of Rome, to perceive that they take less interest in their antiquities than foreigners, and what is more, have often less knowledge of them. Instances of their indifference or ignorance

on these subjects must have frequently occurred to all who are moderately acquainted with Roman society, which are quite surprizing: and though there are some distinguished scholars both among the clergy and the laity who continue their endeavours to elucidate the ancient history, in spite of the discouragement under which they labour, yet even these are more intent for the most part upon the discussion of single controversial points which incidentally arise out of new discoveries, than upon enlarged views of the great features of the city.

But the greatest difficulty that all have to encounter is the strict censorship of the press, which hangs in terrorem over both the authors and their publishers, and shackles them in every stage of their proceedings. They are never safe, for the objections are not founded upon any fixed principle; and it sometimes occurs that a single volume of a work is permitted to appear, and the remainder, by an after-thought as it were, is laid under an interdict, and thus the expense and labour are entirely lost. It is difficult for those who have felt the happiness of being exempt from this scourge to estimate the chilling and baneful influence it spreads around, and the perpetual obstacles it offers to the flow of human genius and energy. The more a writer expands and pursues a subject, the more likely is he to fall upon some ground on which it may be dangerous for him to tread; and as he cannot always speculate before hand with any certainty upon what is likely to be thought innocent and inoffensive in the capricious views of the authorities, he finds the greatest safety to consist in silence, and next to that, in keeping himself and his subjects within as narrow bounds as possible-thus at once cramping his own energies, and stifling the information which might have been useful to others.

But were this obstacle removed, these are not the subjects which the government is most anxious to encourage. It is upon the richness and splendour of its Basilicas, and the decora tions of its religion, that it relies for the preservation of its importance in the world, and for the visits of foreigners, which are so gainful to its revenues. Witness the anxiety which the accidental destruction by fire of one of these edifices, the Church of S. Paolo di Fuori, has created. It is situated a mile and a half out of Rome, on the road to Ostium, in a spot so unwholesome as to render it of no use whatever as a Church; and yet the restoration of this proud but dreary building has been deemed of so much importance by the hierarchy, that while many useful labours in the city are suspended for want of funds, nearly half a million has been destined to this object, to be hardly wrung from the revenues of the Clergy of Rome, and from the charity of the faithful in every Catholic Church in Europe.

Under these circumstances the task which Mr. Burgess has

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