Imágenes de páginas

Tusculum, Labicum, and other towns of great antiquity, were added to the territory of Rome with much labour; and it will now be necessary to mark the limits of the country, properly called by the Romans, Latium Antiquum. The Anio has its source among those higher mountains which appear to the left of the Alban hills, in a direction that may be marked by looking over the Basilica of Santa Croce; it becomes a river at Subiaco, fetches a compass beyond the Mount Guadagnolo, and reaches Tivoli at the distance of about fifty miles from its source. It continues to flow through the Campagna from Tivoli, to its junction with the Tyber, dividing (in this distance of about nineteen miles) Latium from the Sabine territory. Thus a portion of the two rivers with the sea coast form three of the utmost boundaries of Latium Antiquum. It is not so easy to define its limits at any given period towards the south. We learn from Pliny that ancient Latium, properly so called, extended along the sea coast from the Tyber to Circeii (now S. Felice), being a distance of fifty miles. At a subsequent period, Latium advanced as far as the Liris and even to Sinuessa; thus joining Campania and the ancient country of the Samnites. It is probable, that long before the time of Strabo, the several distinct nations which had exercised the valour of the Romans in their first conquests, were blended in the general name of Latini. Independent of the tribes who dwelt about the Alban hills, and the Aborigines in the plain nearer Rome, we may enumerate the Rutuli, the Volsci, the Equi, the Hernici, and the Ausones. The situations of the two former have already been intimated; the Equi dwelt along the roots of the mountains extending from Tibur to Præneste; the Hernici inhabited more towards the south, and the source of the Anio; and the territory of the still more distant Ausones reached to the Liris. This country, therefore, in its full extent, may more properly be designated the New Latium, or the Latium of the empire. The ancient country of the Sabines comprehended all that territory lying between the Anio and the Tyber, as far as those two rivers, with the mountains for a base, form nearly an isosceles triangle; the extremities of that base may be conceived to lie beyond the Mount Guadagnolo, and a little to the east of the Mount Soracte. At these points the rivers suddenly diverge, and continue nearly in opposite directions; the vertex is at the junction of the rivers, which takes place, as has been observed, at the short distance of three miles from the city. The Sabine territory, therefore, approached nearer to Rome than any other of the neighbouring countries, and this may easily account for the first wars of Romulus being waged against that people, which ended in the two nations being united under one king [A. C. 747.] We shall now proceed to point out some of the most celebrated places of Latium, as they may be discerned from the tower of the Capitol.

"We have already left the scene of Virgil's "epic War" in the dreary country that extends along the coast of the Mediterranean; and the eye has been directed to the Monte Cavo, on which stood the temple of Jupiter Latialis. To this summit the minor triumphs ascended to perform the usual sacrifices, and the Via Numinis, as the initials V. N., still legible on the pavement, testify, may be followed for several hundred feet in uninterrupted preservation. This conspicuous object was seen

over the whole of Latium, and might be considered as the joyful sign of home to the mariners approaching the port of Ostia.

"Beneath the summit of the Monte Cavo, but inclining to the left, the eye reposes upon a green plain, which is readily contrasted with the surrounding woods. This plain is commonly called the Camp of Hannibal; not surely because Hannibal ever had his camp there, but because, according to Livy, the Romans placed a garrison on the Alban Mount when the Carthaginian hovered about the walls of Rome. The modern village of Rocca di Papa, seen at the same time with the plain, has been supposed, from its relative situation, to occupy the site of the citadel of Albano. Above this village, still keeping our direction towards the Anio, rises another summit, more distant and little inferior in height to the Alban Mount, that is, the Mount Algido, beyond which was the town of that name belonging to the Equi. This mount was crowned by the Temple of Diana, and is celebrated in ancient song, as the coolest retreat in the neighbourhood of Rome. The snow, fetched from the cavities near the top of the Algido, still supplies the luxury of the Eternal City, A little within the hills that intervene between Albano and Frascati are the modern villages of Marino and Grotto-Ferrata; and in passing from one to the other may be traversed the Vallis Ferentina, so renowned in the first ages of Rome, where the diet of the Latin states assembled to discuss the interests of peace and war. The town of Frascati, which adorns the nearest eminence in the chain of hills, cannot be mistaken; its imposing buildings at the distance of twelve miles, must already have attracted the attention of the spectator; but it does not occupy the site of the ancient Tusculum: that city, which is inseparable from the immortal name of Cicero, was situated near two miles from the modern town, (behind and above) and not much below the Mount Algido. A new interest has been given to Tusculum by the excavations lately made amongst its ruins; but the antiquary still seeks in vain for the veritable scene of the Tusculan Questions. The hills of Frascati, amongst which we may include the Monte Porzio, gradually decline towards the territory of the Equi; but before they close with that undulated plain, there is distinctly to be seen, on their last and lowest eminence, the village of La Colonna. It is concluded, from a passage in Strabo, and from an inscription discovered on the spot, that here stood the ancient Labicum. This was one of the towns in the neighbourhood of Rome which Coriolanus got possession of when he waged war against his country-and the Muse of Virgil revived its waning fame in the days of Augustus. In the plain which lies between the hills we are now leaving, and the mountains we shall soon arrive at, are to be traced the vestiges of many places which shine in Livy's pictured page;' but in the dull uniformity of that part of the Campagna, no object can be fixed upon at this distance to mark their situations. The Lake Regillus, where the Tarquins sustained the fatal defeat; Gabii the seat of their stratagem; and Collatia connected with the name of Lucretia, and the liberty of Rome, are still sufficient to attract the curiosity of the stranger, and to give employment to the antiquary. The town that appears at the greatest distance upon the declivities of the Prænestine mountains, twenty-five miles from Rome, is


Palestrina. The modern name, and the ruins of the famous temple of Fortune, nearly of equal extent with the town itself, indicate the site of the ancient Præneste: this was a favourite retreat of Augustus, and therefore has not been left unsung by his obsequious bard. The names of La Rocca and Monte S. Pietro have been applied to the summit on which might have stood the citadel; and it may be distinguished from our station far above the town itself. The Citadel of Præneste, coupled with the names of Sylla and Young Marius, will recall to memory the bloody history of the social war.


We may now pass along the chain of barren mountains for a distance of near fourteen miles; and the wearied eye will repose with pleasure upon the fresh hills and olives that adorn the environs of Tivoli: here, the Anio reminds us that we have arrived at the boundary of Latium ; for, in that direction, the country never extended beyond. Tibur, the resort of the rich and powerful Romans, its villas, its landscapes, and its ruins, have often been described. The ravages of late years made by the " præceps Anio" and the works of Pope Leo XII., may have a place in future descriptions; but in this rapid survey of the campagna of Rome, we are only pledged to point out boundaries and celebrated spots. There is Tivoli :

"And where yon bar

Of girdling mountains intercepts the sight

The Sabine farm was till'd, the weary bard's delight."

"The country beyond the Tyber, as was observed, had the name of Etruria, but the view of the Campagna, towards the north, is intercepted by the Janiculum, the Vatican, and the Monte Mario. The Montes Cimini are partially visible behind the latter, and the distant Soracte may serve to indicate the limits of Etruria, and the Sabine territory; to trace the outlines of the seven hills, we must turn again towards the south.

It is curious to compare this description of Mr. Burgess with the eloquent but melancholy picture drawn by Poggio from the same commanding spot, nine centuries after the fall of the western empire, in the time of Pope Eugenius IV. The passage is given in Gibbon.

"Her primæval state, such as she might appear in a remote age, when Evander entertained the stranger of Troy, has been delineated by the fancy of Virgil. This Tarpeian rock was then a savage and solitary thicket; in the time of the poet, it was crowned with the golden roofs of a temple; the temple is overthrown, the gold has been pillaged, the wheel of fortune has accomplished her revolution, and the sacred ground is again disfigured with thorns and brambles. The hill of the Capitol on which we sit, was formerly the head of the Roman empire, the citadel of the earth, the terror of kings; illustrated by the footsteps of so many triumphs, enriched with the spoils and tributes of so many nations. The spectacle of the world how is it fallen! how changed! how defaced! the path of victory is obliterated by vines, and the benches of the senators are concealed by a dunghill. Cast your eyes on the Palatine hill, and seek among the shapeless and enormous fragments, the marble theatre,

the obelisks, the colossal statues, the porticos of Nero's palace; survey the other hills of the city, the vacant space is interrupted only by ruins and gardens. The Forum of the Roman people, where they assembled to enact their laws, and elect their magistrates, is now enclosed for the cultivation of pot-herbs, or thrown open for the reception of swine and buffaloes. The public and private edifices, that were founded for eternity, lie prostrate, naked and broken, like the limbs of a mighty giant, and the ruin is the more visible from the stupendous relics that have survived the injuries of time and fortune."

The vicissitudes of all human affairs, and particularly that instance of it which his own beloved Italy presented, seems to have been the only thought of which the mind of Poggio was capable in such a scene; but Mr. Burgess could readily admit of other themes, and the tinge of melancholy which could not well be excluded from the picture only serves to blend agreeably with the many lively features and natural beauties he describes.

Poggio then enumerates the relics, a bridge, an arch, a sepulchre, a pyramid of Cestius, a temple of peace, or as it is now called, the Basilica of Constantine, with sundry other objects, then more buried and in a much less imposing shape than they are at present. In comparing this description with that of the anonymous writer two centuries before, it would appear that the 13th and 14th centuries were the most destructive to the buildings and temples of Rome. While the Roman edifices were still entire, says Gibbon, the first blows, however weighty and impetuous, were resisted by the solidity of the mass and the harmony of the parts; but the slightest touch would precipitate the fragments of arches and columns that already nodded to their fall.

We shall now proceed to notice more particularly a few of those points, which are likely to be most acceptable to the reader on account of the new light which has been thrown upon them either by modern excavations, or by the maturer labours of the learned respecting them. And first, before we quit the Capitoline Hill, where our memory delights to linger, we are attracted by the platform of a temple which has been lately brought to light, between the Capitol and the Forum, and constitutes an important subject of one of Mr. Burgess's Dissertations. The excavations which have effected this discovery, were begun by the French in 1811, but the temple itself was not discovered till 1817, when the Cella and four votive inscriptions were brought to light; of these, the most perfect belongs to the age of Augustus, and furnishes the ruin with an unquestionable title to the name it bears.



NO. XXIII.—JULY, 1832.



In the beginning of 1851, the excavations were still in progress, and the magnitude and construction of the Cella had come out more clearly. It stood upon a solid and lofty basement, which is nearly all that is left for description, of which one wall of peperine stone faced with marble, extending 70 feet in length and 14 in heighth, may be plainly traced. Of the portico, nothing now remains; but the steps spoken of by Cicero, where the Roman knights took their station, might have been on the flanks like those of the temple of Adrian, so as to lead to it either from the Clivus Capitolini or the Clivus Asyli. The Cella was comparatively large, making a rectangular room of about 100 feet by 80, and portions of the walls rising about eight feet still exist. The interior still exhibits many traces of rich materials with which it was covered, and the elevation of one step seems to mark the ascent from the Pronaon to the Cella. Judging from the whole of the substructions, it reached from the foundation of the Capitol to the brink of the Roman Forum, having on the east the ascent to the Capitol on the side of the Asylum, and on the other the temple of Jupiter Tonans. Agreeable to these discoveries is the description given of it by Festus and Dion; the former of which places it between the Capitol and the Forum, and the latter near the Mamertine prison. It was founded in the 387th year of the city in honour of the union then effected by Camillus, between the Plebeians and the Nobles, and built upon the site of an ancient senaculum; it continued to be used occasionally for the deliberation of the magistrates, and many interesting events in the Roman annals are connected with it.

"In the Catiline conspiracy, Cicero convoked the senate thither, when Lentulus and Volturcius, with the deputies of the Allobroges, were introduced. Augustus raised it from its republican simplicity to its imperial magnificence: it is probable he entirely rebuilt it, for we find that Tiberius dedicated it, (A. D. 11.) and inscribed his own name upon it, together with that of his brother Drusus, though already dead. If it was destroyed in the civil war of Vitellius and Otho, of which, however, there is no direct proof, Vespasian must be considered as the restorer; and it is to that period, and later, we must look for its greatest splendour. It contained, amongst other works of arts, the group of Battos adoring Apollo and Juno, the Sculpture of the Greek artist Bedas; Latona in the act of supporting her two children, Apollo and Diana, the work of Euphranor; the Esculapius and Hygias of Nicerates; the Mars and Mercury of Pisierates; the Ceres and other figures made by Sthenis. Of the pictures, we find a Bacchus by Nicias, and a Cassandra by Theodorus. These celebrated works of ancient art, and all the precious materials which adorned the building, are now reduced, as we have seen,

* An Equites Romanos amplectetur? qui frequentissime in gradibus concordiæ steterunt: qui vos ad libertatem, &c. Cic. in Marc. Anton. Phil. vii.

« AnteriorContinuar »