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bending forward to strike the enemy. Another will have it, that whatever is placed on the head may be said to hang, as we call hanging gardens, such as are planted on the top of the house. Several learned men, who like none of these explications, believe there has been a fault in the transcriber, and that pendentis ought to be perdentis; but they quote no manuscript in favour of their conjecture. The true meaning of the word is certainly as follows. The Roman soldiers, who were not a little proud of their founder, and the military genius of their republic, used to bear on their helmets the first history of Romulus, who was begot by the god of war, and suckled by a wolf. The figure of the god was made as if descending on the priestess Ilia, or, as others call her, Rhea Silvia. The occasion required his body should be naked,
Tu quoque inermis eras cum te formosa sacerdos
Cepit, ut huic urbi semina mugna darés. Ov. de Fast. lib. 3.
That Rome's high founder boreThough on other occasions he is drawn, as Horace has described him, Tunică cinctum adamantina. The sculptor, however, to distinguish him from the rest of the gods, gave him what the medalists call his proper attributes, a spear in one hand, and a shield in the other. As he was represented descending, his figure appeared suspended in the air over the vestal virgin, in which sense the word pendentis is extremely proper and poetical. Besides the antique basso relievo, that made me first think of this interpretation, I have since met with the same figures on the reverses of a couple of ancient coins, which were stamped in the reign of Antoninus Pius, as a compliment to that emperor, whom, for his excellent government and conduct of the city of Rome, the senate regarded as a second kind of founder.
Ilia Vestalis (quid enim vetat inde moveri)
Sacra lavaturas manè petebat aquas :
Dum sedet, umbrosæ salices volucresque canor&
Fecerunt somnos, et leve murmur aquæ;
Et cadit a mento languidu fuctu manus.
Et sua divinâ furta fefellit ope.
Ov. de Fast. lib. 3. eleg. 1.
As the fair vestal to the fountain came,
I cannot quit this head without taking notice of a line in Seneca the tragedian.
-Primus emergit solo
Sen. Edip. act. 3.
I cannot doubt but the poet had here in view the posture of Zetus in the famous group of figures, which represents the two brothers binding Dirce to the horns of a mad bull.
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 to twelve. The same variety of strings may be observed on their harps, and of stops on their Tibiæ, 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. It is, indeed, the usual fault of the writers of antiquities, to straiten and confine themselves to particular models. They are for making a kind of stamp on every thing of the same name, and, if they find any thing like an old description of the subject they treat on, they take care to regulate it on all occasions, according to the figure it makes in such a passage: as the learned German author, quoted by Monsieur Baudelot, who had
probably never seen any thing of a household god, more than a canopus, affirms roundly, that all the ancient lares were made in the fashion of a jug-bottle. In short, the antiquaries have been guilty of the same fault as the system-writers, who are for cramping their subjects into as narrow a space as they can, and for reducing the whole extent of a science into a few general maxims. This a man has occasion of observing more than once, in the several fragments of antiquity that are still to be seen in Rome. How many dresses are there for each particular deity? What a variety of shapes in the ancient urns, lamps, lachrymary vessels, Priapuses, household gods, which have some of them been represented under such a particular form, as any one of them has been described with in an ancient, author, and would probably be all so, were they not still to be seen in their own vindication? Madam Dacier, from some old cuts of Terence, fancies that the larva or persona of the Roman actors, was not only a vizard for the face, but had false hair to it, and came over the whole head like a helmet. Among all the statues at Rome, I remember to have seen but two that are the figures of actors, which are both in the Villa Matthei. One sees on them the fashion of the old sock and larva, the latter of which answers the description that is given of it by this learned lady, though I question not but several others were in use; for I have seen the figure Thalia, the comic muse, sometimes with an entire head-piece in her hand, sometimes with about half the head, and a little friz, like a tower, running round the edges of the face, and sometimes with a mask for the face only, like those of a modern make. Some of the Italian actors wear at present these masks for the whole head. I remember formerly I could have no notion of that fable in Phædrus, before I had seen the figures of these entire head-pieces.
Personum tragicam forté vulpes viderat :
Turning it o'er, he mutter'd with disdain,
I find Madam Dacier has taken notice of this passage in Phædrus, upon the same occasion; but not of the following one in Martial, which alludes to the sane kind of masks.
Non omnes fallis, scit te Proserpina canum,
Lib. 3. ep. 43.
Will strip thy hoary noddle of its mask. In the Villa Borghese is the bust of a young Nero, which shows us the form of an ancient Bulla on the breast, which is neither like a heart, as Macrobius describes it, nor altogether resembles that in Cardinal Chigi's cabinet; so that, without establishing a particular instance into a general rule, we ought, in subjects of this nature, to leave room for the artist or wearer. There are many figures of gladiators at Rome, though I do not remember to have seen any of the Retiarius, the Samnite, or the antagonist to the Pinnirapus. But what I could not find among the statues, I met with in two antique pieces of mosaic, which are in the possession of a cardinal. The Retiarius is engaged with the Samnite, and has had so lucky a throw, that his net covers the whole body of his adversary from head to foot, yet his antagonist recovered himself out of the toils, and was conqueror, according to the inscription. In another piece is represented the combat of the Pinnirapus, who is armed like the Samnite, and not like the Retiarius, as some learned men have supposed: on the helmet of his antagonist are seen the two Pinnæ, that stand upon either side like the wings in the Petasus of a Mercury, but rise much higher, and are more pointed.
There is no part of the Roman antiquities that we are better acquainted with, than what relates to their