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would understand the meaning of what we find there. The astonishing vastness of the buildings, and the magnificence of their plan, discoverable in their remains, make the place a second Babylon, only preserved to us. It is a strange memorial of that extreme of human selfishness which makes thousands and tens of thousands spend their toil, to exalt the name or indulge the wanton fancy of a few. The wealth of the great men of Rome far exceeded that of our own aristocrats; it was gained in a less honourable way-by the pillage of provinces ; and though, to be sure, some of the most princely houses among ourselves owe their opulence to the plunder of sacred property, yet the Roman nobility neither expended it in the relief of the destitute or the support of industry, nor consecrated it to religious purposes. The great remains of Rome are those of villas or palaces, and baths ; the one raised to gratify their own pride, the other to keep in good humour their large and turbulent populace. On the other band, as their religion was but a political instrument, so their temples were, for the most part, but appendages to the habitations of their nobles. The shore of the bay of Baiæ, in the neighbourhood of Naples, nay, the whole western coast of Italy, for many miles, evidences the magnificence of their villas, even if we have no testimony from history to inform us of it. At Rome itself, the golden house of Nero covered the whole of the Palatine Hill, besides the valley between the Palatine and the Esquiline. Nor was this structure mere continuous ranges of buildings accidentally connected together by one name of a palace; the whole space was occupied by one uninterrupted foundation, of which there are still remains. History informs us that, besides the usual suits of apartments proper for an imperial residence, it contained fields, plantations, and ponds; and even now it is possible to descend through the ploughed land, on the top of the hill, into subterraneous apartments formerly used as baths, and still decorated with the remains of paintings and gilding.
As to their public baths, of the magnificence of their designs we may form some notion, by considering the size of the Pantheon, which is still perfect, which was intended but as the introductory apartment to those of Agrippa. The Pantheon was built about thirty years before the Christian era, and was intended to commemorate the victory of Augustus over Antony. It is round, and its diameter is 144 feet, which is also its height. It may give some idea of its size, to say, that inside it is three-fourths the height of the Monument in London. In front of it is a portico, supported by 16 granite columns, 42 feet high, independent of their bases and capitals, and each of one block.
These baths were in design only; enough, however, is actually left of the baths of Caracalla and Dioclesian to evidence their actual accomplishment of Roman power. Those of Caracalla are
situated on the Aventine Hill. They are above a third of a mile in length, and above a quarter of a mile broad; consisting of huge, shapeless piles of brickwork. One of the rooms was 203 feet by 146, and covered with a flat roof. In one part of the ruins it is possible to climb up to the top, where a kind of shrubbery flourishes in various directions along the broken ledges of wall. So immense is the scale of these fragments, that the beholder cannot resist the impression, that a more than human hand has been concerned in their demolition. Earthquakes must have aided the efforts of conquerors. Nor does it seem extravagant to consider that these are, in part, the fulfilment of the curse which has overtaken the place; at least this was felt in the early Christian times, when a notion seems to have prevailed, that Rome was peculiarly destined to “ fall into the Lord's hand,” and not into “the hand
When Totila's successes threatened to destroy Rome, a Christian made this declaration about them :-“ Rome shall not be exterminated by barbarians, but shall consume away internally, exhausted by tempests, whirlwinds, and earthquakes.” Pope Gregory, who mentions this, then adds—“ The mysteries of this prophecy are now revealed to us clearer than light; for we see the walls dissolved, houses overthrown, churches destroyed by whirlwinds, and the buildings sinking from age."* Looking on all these, and such like mighty fabrics, as a kind of public establishment of paganism, and the symbols of the fourth monster-kingdom, and the bitter persecutor of the gospel, we may perhaps enter into, and even applaud, the feelings under which the Christians engaged, as far as they were able, in their destruction. It was advisable, of course, if possible, to turn them to a Christian purpose ; but, if they could not be consecrated into churches, there was an abundant reason against sparing them; and this even applies to the case of the Coliseum, which did not merit preservation till it was made a memorial of Martyrs, not of gladiatorial shows. As it is, we cannot enter its arena without seeing the cross in the middle of it; which turns the mind, whether it will or no, to religious reflections.
The baths of Dioclesian claim from us still greater wonder, and still less sympathy. They were even larger than those of Caracalla, and were built by the Christians who were at the time under persecution. Forty thousand of them are said to have been employed in the work. Two portions of the baths are all that remain, and are now churches; one of which, the celebrated Certosa, was the picture gallery of the baths. Here there are pillars of granite, each of one piece, and 46 feet high by 4 in diameter. The building is at present formed like a cross, being
* Burton's Antiquities of Rome, p. 9.
300 feet each way; and the height is 90, yet this is less than it was originally. The span of the roof is not less than 76 feet.
I just now spoke of the Coliseum, which may here be mentioned as another monument of the vastness of the Roman buildings. It was an amphitheatre for exhibitions of wild beasts and gladiatorial combats, being erected by the Emperor Vespasian and his son Titus, in memory of the successful termination of the Jewish war. It employed 15,000 workmen for ten years to build it. Perhaps it should be considered the most extraordinary work of ancient Rome. Its outer wall was 180 feet high, and this went round it; and it could hold 100,000 persons as spectators
of the games.
A remarkable destiny seems to have attended the monuments of the magnificence of Augustus ; as if the founder of the empire was marked out to be a type of its degradation. His mausoleum was conspicuously placed on the banks of the Tiber. It was of a circular form, higher than St. Paul's cathedral in London, with a dome surmounted by a figure of the Emperor. The whole was cased with white marble, and it was surrounded with public walks ornamented with evergreens. Here were buried the bodies of Augustus himself, of his nephew, Marcellus, and of Julius Cæsar. Of this majestic structure little remains but a circular mass of brickwork; still there is enough to turn it to account as a building. Accordingly, the sepulchre of the Cæsars is now a place for bull-fights; and the curious stranger, who attempts to penetrate into its vaults, will find that they are converted into stables, and strewed with rubbish.
The theatre of Marcellus, another work of Augustus, so far as it remains, has become a receptacle for fuel; and the portico of Octavia, which he built in honour of his sister, is a fish-market. The odious degradation of this last building is remarkably contrasted with its former splendour. It was a covered colonnade, inclosing on three sides the temples dedicated to Jupiter and Juno. There were 270 pillars of white marble. All that remains of it now are two or three of these, slabs of the marble being applied to the uses of the trade to which the ruin is appropriated.
I am tempted to mention the forum of Trajan, as affording another striking example, not of (what men call) the mutability of fortune, but of divine wrath. This forum contained, besides the celebrated pillar, a palace, triumphal arch, porticos, and other buildings. It was paved with marble, and ornamented with a multitude of gilt statues. IIistorians tell us,* that when the Emperor Constans came to Rome, in the middle of the fourth century, struck with astonishment at the gigantic edifices of this
Vide Burton's Antiquities of Rome, p. 170.
forum, he expressed a determination, instead of attempting any thing similar, merely to imitate a bronze horn which was part of an equestrian statue of the Prince who founded it. And they speak of it themselves, as " a structure unique in the world, and deserving the admiration even of celestial beings;" as “ a perfect miracle, even if ever so closely inspected.” All its building are now destroyed, except the pillar and a few broken granite columns which belonged to the library.
Such are some of the more striking ruins which present themselves in this fated city; and the extent of its desolation is further suggested to the mind by the vast mounds into which other of its buildings are now converted. The Monte Citorio, on the Campus Martius, is formed of the debris of ancient structures ; part of the theatre of Marcellus has become a considerable hill, on which a modern palace is erected. Both the forum, properly so called, and the forum of Trajan, have suffered from the remarkable accumulation of soil which the demolished buildings have occasioned. In the former of these, the present level is at the astonishing height of 20 to 30 feet above the ancient pavement, parts of which have been excavated.
These are the sights which oppress the traveller in every part of Rome; and they are rendered still more solemn by the silence and solitude which reigns around. Even the Corso and other principal streets of the modern city are often empty, or nearly so; but many parts of Rome are almost a wilderness. Here you have no oflicious cicerones, as in other places, to intrude on you. You are allowed to reflect on what you see at your leisure; and to pass from one object of interest to another without molestation. It is this appearance of what may be called humiliation in the pagan city which has greatest power in waking our sympathy for it. Guilty as she has been, human nature can hardly forbear to mourn over her, when she seems, as it were, to sit in sackcloth and ashes, in token of her sorrow; but a sense of duty recals a sterner temper.
“ Rejoice over her, thou heaven, and ye holy apostles and prophets ! for God hath avenged you on her. In her was found the blood of prophets, and of saints, and of all that were slain upon the earth.”
It must be obvious to any attentive reader, how remarkably Scripture involves places in the judgments inflicted on their inhabitants. The case of Babylon, e. g., will occur to every one. Nor is there any pretence of saying that this is a part of an obsolete system, that it is Jewish, religion being now what is called “ more spiritual” than formerly. The state of Palestine is a standing witness to the contrary; to say nothing of Babylon, Egypt, and the rest, which have, up to this day, fulfilled the Old Testament prophecies. It is in vain to say judgments have ceased. We may maintain that nations are but collections of individuals,
that individuals are punished in the next world ; but, in spite of this argument, the fact remains, that the habitations of those guilty nations bear their curse after them. Perhaps there is no instance in scripture of a curse being repealed which was once inflicted on a place. If this, then, were the only reason for looking on Rome with fear, it would be a sufficient one; nor would the circumstance of a Christian church being there materially alter the case. For a church in a doomed city is only what the whole body of good men is in this fallen world—a light shining in darkness, but not removing it—a pledge of the future, but not of present well-being. The Christians in Jerusalem were not taken as intercessors for the guilty city; nor, on the other hand, were they bid avoid it. But they were to wait till the judgments came, and watch for them, and then remove themselves from the place as quickly as they could. The blood of martyrs shed there did not sanctify, but (as it were) pollute the soil. So would it be with Rome, even if her church were as pure as the early Christian company at Jerusalem. It avails not to call the Coliseum consecrated ground (as the pious inscription in it avers), because the primitive Christians there suffered; it is the aggravation of the wretchedness of the place, according to the passage above quoted, that in it was found the blood of the prophets and saints.
Not that this at all interferes with our cherishing an affectionate reverence for particular spots where saints have died and been buried. It is no paradox to say that the most sorrowful seasons of our life are often the most exquisitely pleasurable ; our mental supports rising with our external afflictions. And so, as regards place, God has put blessing and cursing on the same city, in the highest measure. This we all acknowledge as regards Jerusalem; and now I am but making a parallel case in the instance of Rome. Nay, not only in place and time, but in all things, good and evil go together, the tares and the wheat. This is the paradox of facts, not of doctrines, which our Lord's parable lays down, and which is strikingly exemplified in the great city I am speaking about. Therefore, preserving all holy abhorrence of Rome a seat of empire, still the Christian pilgrim may traverse it, and diligently trace out, and piously venerate, the footsteps of apostles, bishops, and martyrs.
The most eminent of these are, of course, St. Peter and St. Paul, both of whom lie buried here; then St. Clement, St. Sebastian, St. Laurence, St. Dionysius, and St. Gregory. St. Gregory, Bishop of Rome, has especial claims on the respect of Englishmen, since he is the founder of our church. Twelve hundred years have now elapsed since he planted the candlestick among us; and all that time it has been in a high station to give light to the whole house ;--the more detestable
those sacrilegious hands who are now attempting to displace it. A most interesting visit