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TARPEIAN ROCK-CAPITOL, AND ANCIENT MAGNIFICENCE ROMAN FORUM-CICERO-SCIPIO AFRICANUS-RELICS OF THE FORUM-ARCHES OF SEPTIMUS SEVERUS, TITUS, AND CONSTANTINE-COLISEUM -- ANCIENT AND MODERN APPROPRIATION-REFLECTIONS-MARCUS CURTIUS-VOLUMNIA ANCIENT SAYING UPON THE COLISEUM-ANCIENT GAMES OF THE COLISEUM, AND OF PROBUS, CARINUS, GORDIAN, TRAJAN, AND JULIUS CÆSAR-TRIUMPH OF AURELIAN -ZENOBIA-DESCRIPTION OF THE GLADIATORS, AND OF THE GLADIATORIAL GAMES BATHS OF CARACALLAOF DIOCLETIAN, AND CHURCH OF Sa. MARIA DEGL' ANGELI— BATHS OF TITUS, AND THE SETTE SALE-SCULPTURES— NERO'S TOWER AND GOLDEN HOUSE.
THE first memorable vestige of antiquity I name in proof of the havocs of past ages, and of the alterations of centuries, is the Tarpeian Rock on the Capitoline Hill. Who would not tremble to look down a precipice so terrific, according to
* Near the brow of the hill; once eighty feet deep: and whence malefactors were precipitated. It immortalizes the perfidy of Tarpeia, daughter of Tarpeius, governor of the citadel of Rome, who promised to open the gates of the city to the besieging Sabines for the bribe of the gold bracelets on their arms. Tatius, their King, promised this, but availing himself of her equivocal expression to have " what they carried on their left arms," he not only threw her his bracelet, but also his shield, and as his army followed their monarch's example, Tarpeia was soon crushed to death, and hurled down this rock, ever afterwards called by her name.
Seneca's description, and from which the patriot Manlius, surnamed Capitolinus, owing to his having there saved his country, was nevertheless for his encroaching ambition hurled down to a horrid death! How different its present appearance. A little projection, and a fall of about forty-five feet upon a rising dunghill close beneath!
Proceed we to the Capitol: once the Fortress, the Sanctuary, and the most splendid Temple of old Rome. Begun by Tarquinius Priscus, continued by Servius Tullius, as well as by Tarquin the Proud, and consecrated by the Consul Horatius, soon after the expulsion of the Tarquins.
Here were preserved the laws and the oracles of Rome here the Senate deliberated; here Consuls, Generals, and Judges, offered sacrifice to Tarpeian Jove, either to implore his aid in the impending battle, or to offer the spoils of conquered nations; and here was borne in public triumph the exulting . Roman who had achieved a victory!
In the centre was the Temple of the Guardian Deity of Rome, Jupiter Capitolinus; fronted with an hundred pillars; ascended by an hundred steps; while within its sacred hall, the immortal Jove was seated on a throne of gold; one hand grasped the thunderbolt, the other held the sceptre of the world: Juno and Minerva supported his right, and his left.
Once, its riches could not be told; its gilding
only had cost Domitian £2,300,000; it contained the spoils of the universe, and the costliest gifts; one present by Augustus weighed 2000 lbs. of gold, besides jewels; it had brazen thresholds, and a golden roof; silver shields were hung upon its walls, and golden chariots filled its courts! One other relic it also held: the straw thatched cottage of its founder Romulus.
The whole edifice was burnt in the contests between Vitellius and Vespasian, A. D. 69; also during the civil wars of Marius, and Domitian, who finally rebuilt it, endeavouring to make it eclipse in its present, all its past splendours. All these glories have vanished. On the summit are now some modern erections, and some relics of ancient art; but these I omit for the present, and proceeding to the brow of the hill, passing the buildings on the Capitol, range in prospect o'er the Roman Forum, the grandest, and most extended assemblage of ruined temples, historic recollections, and lofty inspirations, that the world can show collectively.
How impressive is it to tread that very ground where illustrious Romans were wont to assemble, to legislate, to decide on battle, or on peace, and to fix the fates of nations; that spot where thousands thronged to hear their orators declaim, and where Cicero pleaded: That very spot where he was hailed as the Father of his Country,
The Roman Forum.
and as a second founder of Rome; for here he dared to denounce Catiline as a traitor to it; and, though 20,000 men backed the rebel's cause, and though the dagger of assassination even then thirsted to drink the accuser's blood, yet eloquence with patriotism prevailed: Catiline fell, and Rome was saved!
This one spot where still remain so many temples, each consecrated to some tutelary God, to whose omnipotence, and sacred protection, a Roman would so openly and confidently appeal.
Witness again the immortal Scipio Africanus. The champion of his country, and covered with glory, yet compelled in this place to answer the malevolent charges of an envious faction, on the first day he condescended to listen; on the second morning he suddenly cut short all proceedings, and apostrophising the surrounding multitudes to this effect: "Fellow Citizens! on this day, this very day, did I conquer Annibal, and the Carthaginians in Africa: let us away then, O Romans, let us away to the Capitol, to thank Jove, greatest, best : Juno, Minerva, and the other immortal Gods for the victory they gave us!"*-instantly all the people arose, and followed him with acclamations to the temple, leaving the accusers, and the judgment seat deserted.
* Thirty-eighth Book of Livy, fifty-first Sect.
The Roman Forum.
Such was the Roman Forum. As it is, there remain three Corinthian Columns of Greek marble, part of the portico of a temple dedicated to Jupiter Tonans, erected by Augustus in gratitude for his escape from a thunderbolt which killed his servant by his side; and on the entablature of which are sculptured ancient sacrificial instruments. Eight Columns appertaining to a disputed temple, that of Fortune, or of Concord. Some remains of a temple lately discovered, and positively asserted as the Temple of Concord. The Column of Phocas. Three magnificent columns, remains supposed of the Comitium, or Hall of Assembly of the People, but according to others, vestiges of the Temple of Jupiter Stator-erected, or at least vowed, as far back as the days of Romulus, who, when his troops were flying from the victorious Sabines intreated Jupiter to stay their flight. His prayers were heard the Romans were victorious, and this temple was the acknowledgment to heaven and there are, further, some shattered remnants of the Curia, or building appropriated for religious, or for senatorial purposes.
Also the Triumphal Arch erected about 1600 years ago in honour of the victories gained by Septimus Severus over the Parthians.
The Triumphal Arch of Titus consecrated to that Emperor in commemoration of the conquest of Jerusalem; but which is not at this moment seen,