Press enter after choosing selection

Foreign Correspondence

Foreign Correspondence image
Parent Issue
Day
18
Month
April
Year
1873
Copyright
Public Domain
OCR Text

KoüE, Jan. 11, 1873. Friesd Poirb! Ainong tho attractions of this grcat city probably notliing bo much induces thb stranger, of tthatever profossion or country, to come and to tarry hero as its extensivo ruina. Desolation and docay do not ordinarily present agreeablo nbjeota of contemplation, but wben tho great ajitiquity oí' un object prepares tis to auticipato its deoay and its tolerablo presorvation excites our eurprise j tyhen tho relies of' a past age are surroimded with tho spoll ot' woll-kuown historie story, and all these grand associations arise as we gaze upon them, truly thero is oomething profoundly interesting in broken columns and i'raguientary walls. - But whun in addition to thi-, thero is yet visiblo amid these ruins enough of noble areh and pillar, standing wall and vast expanso about which tho ivy clings, to becomo picturesque rather than forbidding, then, indeed, tboy becomo really chariuing, and it' on a scala sutSciently largo are gnmdly impreíeive. In allthat can enhanco the interest of antiquity there is no city that can rival Itonie. It is most natural to tuin our steps at an early day in the diroction of tho Capitol and tho Forum, aftcr having seen the Pantheon bocause of its bcing tnort hear at hand. ïiie approach to the Capítol iïoni the northwest ia very fine. We como into the Piazza Araeceli, in front, at the very base of thu hill, and before us is the lofty iiight of 124 steps to the church on the northern end, ereoted in 1318. At the tight is the corresponding open space, up which a winding ascent for carritiges is being eonstrueted, wlïile diicoüy before na is tha incliued plane of asphalt, twenty-flve or thirty feet wido, with a heavy ornamental balustrade of white marble at the sides surmoütited at tho lower extremity by two ancient soulptured lionesses in black basalt There were signs of a mild latitude at tho lei't hand ia the spaee beteen thls asoent and the ste2JS to the church, which is filled With boautiful specimens of semi tropical growth : cacti ten i'eet liigli, of several kinds, with p.ilmü, ceüUiry plunts, and orange trees, etc. Looking upward we see at the top of tho ascunt, standing on our sido, Castor and h'.s steed,' and on the other Pollux with hip, wbich foïuied the celebratêd group that is supposed to have once ornamouted the Theater of Poiupey. ïhe figures are all colossal and finely cxecuted in pure white niarblo; the ho'sos are uAccoJinijly ainrited xn attitude, as if restrained with difficulty froiu raafahrg down the descont by the brothers standing at thfir sides. Castor and Pollux wore i'avorife divinitios witli theHomans, bet'uio whose armiea they wero belicved to have appeared upon their wliito cbargers and lod theni to victory. This group it is probable adopted the tradïtiori and represonts tho mythioal héroes either as just ready to mount fr their tiraely assistancc, or olse as just (íisniounted and animated liko thoir steeds by tho excitement of sur.cessful eüdeavor. Near the top of the asoent ia an artiiicial cave and behind an iron screen in the shrubbery at our lcft is the famous Citpitoline wolf over whoso arriral and growth during tho past sumirler so ir.uch curious interest was iüanifested by the liomans. Tho freedom of the city is of courso awarded to any respectablo wolf on account of tho aid afforded by ono oí their progenitors to llomulus and liemus in the olden timo, so this one is sheltered and fcd at public expense, audalwayshas an admiring crowd in attundance at bis daily levees. Directly faciug us as wo ascend into the Campidoglio (tho present nam ui' the Piazza) iá an efjuestriau statuo of Marcus Aurelius in brouwi as perfoctly presorved as it' fresh froin some modern foundry, and which has boen pfonounced by many competent judges, M. Angelo includod, as of noarly niatcliless perfection in lifelike proportions and attitude. Erectec at first in the l?orum, it for about 40( years stood near tho palaco of tho Laternii, and now for 300 yeara ha3 occupiec its present sito. Thoi-o does not appeai tobo any proper saddlo or stirrups. None of the present buildings on the Capitolino are of ancient Rome. On the heiglit at tho lelt (north) whoro onoe etood tho tomple of Juno Moneta is the uhurch of Araciuli, aüd riext tlio Piazza somewhat lowor is a palaee of tho 17th oentury, now occupied by the Capitolino museum. In the depression foraiing the central portion of the sUmmit fronting us and upon tho lower stories of thu anoient Tabularium aa its substruoture, is the ralaco ot tüe öonatorsi crocted at tho closo of the Mth ccntury and used for civil offices ; whilo upon tho right hand heiglit, above tho Tarpian rock, wbero the grandest touiple in Ëome was crcctcd to Júpiter Capitolinus, now, stands tho large modern edifice in wliich is the Instituto of Archeology and a Pro tcstant hospital, and lower, next to the Piazza, is the palace of the Conservatori, occupicd as a guard house and for various civil purposes. The general appearance or shapc of the hill seoms to conform to arciont descriptions, and going to the western brow of the hill we rind there two rival claimants to tlic honors of tlio Tarpeian rock. Tho onc at the noithwest auglo of tho liill has the losser height, that at the southwest and nearer the Forum by somuwhat more than thirty yards is by mimy thought to be the rock over which crimináis were tlirown. Thcre is, however, no great reason for hot dispute, for the wholo abrupt precipice constitutes the authentio rook where tho faithless Tarpeia was buried after betraying her country, and crushod beneath tho bracelets and shields of the Sabino army Tho Piazza is iiiiely situated, and bting about oue hundred and flfty i'uet abovt, tlie Tibor coniuiauds exteusive views, ont of which, taketi froni tho Campanilo above tlie Senatorial palace, nffords an excellent survoy over the añcient city ruins toward tho sdiitli and oast, and of more recont Home in the oppositc diroction. A fiino fountain, adorned with a sitting statue of Roma and the half reclining rivor gods, the Tiber and the Nilc, at either side, oecupies a spaoe in front of the last named palace, bencath a doublo ñight of stairs which Hichaöl Angelo causod to be construoted for the central outranco. A street practicable for carriages drscends in a winding way at the right, and another more stoep at tho lelt, eastward to tho great center and focus of ancient Rome, the i'amous Foriimi Tho strangcr who visit8 thia city may remain weeks visiting St. Poter's and tho splondid colloctions of tho Vatican, riding and stopping on tho Corso, going on Sunday and Thursday after noons to tho Pinoio, where a grand cavalcado of tho fincst turnouts in Romo and thousanda of idle pedestrians listen to the splondid military band, and visiting all the finost palaces with their rioh galleries, and still know nothing and sec nothing that will realizo his anticipations of those wonderful ruins which surrouud tho studeut's Romo with its brightost halo. But let hiin onco pass beyond these more frequented business streets and passing over the Capitolino begin the . descent beyond at either side of tho Palaco of tho Senators : guddenly tho wholo scène is changed, and at last he looks üpon another Rome, ono he had read about and longed tosee. As soon as wo pass piirtly Hown und arotthu t'no palaco W8 Come into full viuw of tho ancient Forum Uomanuin, with archos and columna still standing here and there, the remains of temples and palaces in broken fragmenta acattsred ia multitudinous confusión about the feSofttAted area, w ''! i Iwyoud on the slope of the Palatino s the arch' óf Titus, and beyond the "Vilia the higher portions of the Coíiseum are visible, with tho vast substructures of ,ho palaces of the Cresars covering the ntire Palatino at the right. Of tho first mpressions of this suddcn and almost unoxpeotod siglit no desoription will be attempted. The forum occupies a low position, abutting at its eastern extremity on the Japitoline, on its southorn sido is the Palatino, on the riortlieíístern and extendng aoross at a lesa olüvation to meet the atter is tho Esquilme, whieh descends rom tho north, whilo aloug thö liCïth „líe the iöw grotlnd e tumli baok toward tho Forum of Trajan and that of Augus,U3. Tho natural drain of this low and once marshy región is thxough a nariow depreïSlöB at wie south.between tLa Ialu.;ine and tho Capitoline, along which and undorneath a branoh is cuustruotiid the celebrated Cloaca Staxirua. Owing to its low situation the aggregation of overlying dirt and debris had for centuries hidden from view all tho prostrato ruins( and nothing was visible above that did not exceed a height of from 15 to 20 fect; but during the present century at different times with more or less zeal and systematic aim excavations have boon mado here and elsewhore with much suecos. - Át the present time thia work is boiug prosecuted with considerable vigor, and in tho arca already cleared, an oblong spaoe of about 150 by 250 yards, not only tho foundations of tnany important cdifioes but an innumerable . quantity of fragmentary columns, statuary, reliëfs and facades, architectural docorations, oto., bayo boert found. As already stated the remains of the Tabulariura, or place for the public records forms the basement of tho present palace of the Senators, and upon tho side noxt the Forum these romaiiis, constructed of brick for the most par;, are about fifty feet jn height and consist of a corridor ana a series of h-regular rooms of small size, gloomy and dark, önly lighted by a few. small oxternal windows to represent two different stories, and probably was the ï)rtin used for tho records. If tho visitor stand about midway iiext the wall of the Tubularium, at his left extendjng eastward is the excavated base of the Temple of Ooncord, consisting of a concreto of broken brick and pozzuolana, and still BOÜd as ever ; at the rigbt is the foundation of the Templo of Vospasian, as it is now callod, and equally solid as tüe former. Upon an oíevated terraco thoro are still standing three flutod Corinthian colamns of whito raarblo supporting a portion of the entablature wich formed tho northeast portion of tlio temple. Some pious inonk in the eighth century happened to ,ranscribe the inscription when tho front was still entire, wliich confirms the present designatioH of tho edifice. Only the ast seven lottors of the last word now remain. Üpon another elevatcd baso of huge leppcrine blocks south of the ancient narrow street which ran betwecn it and the Templo of Vespasian stood the Temple of Saturn, of the fine pórtico to whioh there still remain eight gracsful Ionio round columns of granito, with tho woll presorvcd capitals and architravo and a small part of the pediment resting upon them. On tho steps lcading to tnis teniplü it is said the Roman generáis made oath that they had reiidered a true account of tho spoil and prisoners - a practice for eliciting facta for which in recent times the mero reports of tho officers concerned has beenthoughtsuffioient. Desoending the ancient stroet referred to we come to the aren of Septimus Soverus, ii front of the Temple of Concord, still remarkably perfect except in the unavoidablo rnarks which timo and barbarism havo traccd upon tho crürabling uiaiblc, and particularly upon thn bas reliëfs witk which it is covered. And hero a general remark muy bc madu that in the bonstmotion of nearly all the ancient ediliccs in which largo blocks of stone wei-e used, whether in temple walls, triumphal arches, columns of more than a single pieco, thorma!, the Colisouru, or indeed any massivo structare, thoso stonoa wero i held together and kept in placo by tho insertion of heavy iron bolts or claraps, and.düring the rniddlo ages the usos of iron haring multiplied it becamo more than ordioaj'ily valuable, and strange to say the domand received a lurgo supply from tb o extracüon of tho iron usod in these cdifices and structures. Tho consejüeflce, as may be readüy iinagiued, was most lamentable, for thero is now in Homo scarcely a surviving monument of its ropublican or imperial days that is not sádly defaccd by the nnmorous hOl6i ruthlessly gouged into tho closoly fitting joints of tra-ertine, granito, and marblo, riefacing oftoiitinrea whcro tho corroding finger of time h?.s íor cighteen centuries failed to leavo an iropression. This triumphal arch, crooted in honor of tho Eniperor Septimus Sevcrus end hia gons Caracalla and Gota, A. D. 203, to coinmemorate his victories over tho Parthians and others, though wanting in some of its dotails tho evidences of that higher art of sculpture wliioh had proviously prëvailod is a structure of fine proportions. Whtn surmounted by the bronzo chariot bearing tho limperor crownod with victory and drawn by six horses abreast, it must have presented an imposing appoaranco spanning tho stroet at tho head of tho Forum. Tho wido attic, or spaoo above the arches, contains the long Latin dedication from which Caraealla, after murdering his brothor, caused his name to be crased and the words " optímuí fortüsimisqt.ie principïbn" to be inserted, in strango contrast with tho act just committed. - The spaces below wore filled with bas reliofa of scènes conneoted with tho victories commemorated - now muoh injured by time and the hand of barbafistn. The figures havo been very generally decapitated, and wero nover of the finest oxecution. Tho Victorios, which bond forward with thearch and seein proclaimiqg the Emporor's praise to all passers by, are woll preserved, as also some of the barbarian captives represen tod upon the bases of the four C'orinthian columns whiuh support tho frieze on bolh faces of tho arch. The old flat polygonal stoncs with which the street Clivus Capitolinus was pavod are still lying as they were uncovered and as they lay when in the halcyon days of oonquest and victory triuiuphs were decreod to their generáis, and tho long oavalcade in tho splendid trappings of " a Iioman holiday " with tho spoi1 of war and the pitiful trains of captivo inarched oTer them, coming along th Via Sacra through the Foriftn, turning t the right just before reaching tlie Temp] of Satuin, passing along its lofty base (3( feet high next the fprtlnl), boginnip.g th 'aseent &i thejCagitoline, winding aloug to the lef i cf the Temples L doncord and of Vespasian oil thö right and oi'Sa'.urn on tho left, and tlieu going again to tho right, thus reaching the summit by an easy grade. The street Yia Sacra was ovidently not a wide one( but stirring '8cen.es havo been onacted along its devious track and in yon Forum below. - Just at tho right or western side of the Arcll of Severus stood the Umbilicus Boma, a circular brick baso of about ten feet diameter, once faced with fine red marblo vrhich is stlil visible riear tlie treet paveinent, on which once probubly tood an ornamental shaft of some kind, ;o represent, as the name implies, the livng center of the great city. An elcvi'.tod platform of briok but also faced in :ormer times with thin slabs of a reddish colored marblo extended from this ideal center, its front rounded out in the diroc;ion of the Forum, to the Aureum Millearoum, or golden milestone, from whioh ;he distanees inside tho walls were all moasured. The platform with its beauti'al marble front and doubtless equally rioh in its pavemerit and acecssories, was about eight fout abovo the level of the street beforo it and but littlo above tlie Clivus Capitolinus in its rear, and ís satisfactorily identified by its position and peculiar conformation as tho celebrated Rostrum from which in the time of Cicero and tho golden age o: Rome all the great orators appealcd to the populace whenever its spprotWl 01 disapproval was iiilportant. Hero, un doubtedlv, on that great occasion which Shakespeare haa rendered almost sublimo, thü funeral of the iuurdered Censar, Mark Antony poured forth those burniug yot cautious words which did indeed stir up hia auditors " to a sudden flood of rnutiny and rago." Hero stood the orator of all ages after tho esdape of Catilino to his camp and army, and bofore the people justiñed the driving of this eneiuy of the State from the city( and ftgftia in his third oration exposed the damning proofs ( f the great conspiracy and appealed to thera for a united thauksgi-ving to the gods. Here the demagogues of ihat day made great parade of their hsgh deserts and incorruptible honor, and sometimos then as now successfully cajoled the unwi ting populace. tieaving this smaller oxcavated area "between Iho ïr.odern slroet j'üst referred to and the Tabulariuni, which, aa explaiitoi, underlies the palaco of the Senators and forms the roar part of the Capitoline, embnicing nearly an acre of space, we retvace our steps and reach the inore eleratod street, from whence we can "botter survey that portion excavatec upou tho other sido and looking in th direction of tha (Joliseum. The exten and magnitude oí' tho work that ha been dono herc, and in which there ar fifty or sixty mon and teams daily en gaged at the presont timo may be con ceived from tho more statement that th nearly rectangular space almost eom plotely excavated to the level of tho an cient streets, an average depth of tvvent feet, embraces about flve acres. Th work has to be done with great caro, a an untiraely blow from pick or spad might do irreparable injury to sorae o tho buried archeological and arí treas ures. Tho most conspicuous rums no rntirely prostrate that present thnmselve i a wo stand on th elevated ítretjt i 'ront of the Ilostrum aro almost direotly n front and but a few feet distant, the olunm of Phocas, creotod in COS to tho surper-omperor of that name, whosa woakno8s beoame a stepping-stone to tho vatchful onoroaohments of the Popes. - 'he column, nearly 100 fent high, is beieved to have been taken from some othr placo, but bears no insoriptóon on itelf to identify it. It is a fino Corinthian lutod column of -white maible, upon a ofty base, with a beantiful capital onca urmounted by the statue of Phocaa. It vvaa this fine rolie of the past whoso basa and inscription were thea unexcavated which inspired Byron's allusion to " that nameless column with the buriod base." At the right and acioss tho Via Sacra is the extensivo ruin of tho Basilica of Julia, completeed in the time of AuguEtus. Conoiderablo portions of the beautiful ppvemefi formed of square blocks of colorcd marble remain, and of the jrokeu pillars and thoir bases suöieient romains wero discoverod to admit of a restoration so far as to show f.ha,t the1 magnifioent edifice ccnsisted of five , parallel, :ialls separatod only by these long (200 foct) rows of columns. The fragmenta of aioken cornices and frieze found in considerable uantity serve further to show the great clogance and exquisito archi-, tecture of the building. It appeara to havo been somewhat above the Via Sacra and approaohed by four steps. Furthor on and beyond this, ttpqü Ba elevated torrace which doubtlesa formed the sub-structure for the edifice, are still standing three of the finest pillara with a portion of thu superimpösed cornice: and. arcbitravo whioh are to be seen in anCient or incdern Rome. Theyare fluted and of tho Corinthian order and of groat beauty of oonstruction, and.being of Parian marble tome idea of the great magnificence of tlús temple to Qastor and Pollox may be inferrod. It was one of tho traditions of Rome that these twin brothors had ppoarcd upon their white steeds at the batlle of Lake Regillus, and. after aiding to secuvo tho victory announced it to tho poople and washed thcir horses at tho f juntain in the Forum. It was in honoi' of these divinities after this battle that tho temple was erented, noarly 500 yoara B. C, and restored again by Tiberius, and near its base jis a. spring, perhaps the spring. A douliri flight of stops leading up to the lofty pórtico from tho street was unco.vered only some two or threo years It. was in front of this templo that the body of Cicsar was burned by the peoplo in thoir f reftzy, instoad of proceeding on [to the Campus Martius for the purpoge as was usual, and on that spot a inonclith. was first erected. Afterwards, before the battle of Philippi, the Triumvirs decreed that a templo should be erected there. - Augustus completcd it and also placed a rostrum in its front after the battle of, Actium, and it is linowu as the Templa of tho Diefred Julius. So far history had tixed tho facts, and reeently the remains of this sinall temple or rather the high baso upon which it stood has been excavatod, and in fdrther proof of ita identity a lowor platform is also found in front correspoiiding in forin to a rostrum., Tbo supoístructure has entirely disappoared. It was nearly midway between tilia and tho lator ccluifln of Fhocas that the base was found about two weeks ago of the equestrian statue of Domitian, whicli was knoyn to have been erectatl u.i tha' -n t,nr of the Forum. Tours c5, . t

Article

Subjects
Old News
Michigan Argus