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adduced their evidence and put forth their arguments upon the several points at issue between them: the cause has been fully heard, and it is now open to any scholar who has made himself acquainted with the facts of the case to pronounce his judgment upon the result. Of this result it will be my object in the following pages to put the reader as far as possible in possession; and keeping clear to the utmost of my power of all minor points incidental to the controversy, to point out the broad and leading features which may be looked on as established with reasonable certainty, or on the other hand to indicate those points concerning which we can only arrive at a balance of conflicting testimony.
Before entering, however, upon the special questions under discussion, it may be well to cast a glance upon the present state of Roman topography in general, and to point out briefly the position in which it was found by M. Bunsen, and that to which it attained under his auspices. It is only by such a review that we can arrive at a fair estimate of the services rendered to the cause of true learning by the authors of the Beschreibung on the one hand, or by M. Becker on the other. For the latter is too apt to forget, while criticizing the labours of his predecessors, how much he himself owes to them. Coming to the subject after the rubbish has been cleared away, and the path rendered comparatively easy, he does not sufficiently bear in mind the exertions that were necessary to prepare the way. Standing on a vantage ground from whence he is able to discern the errors of the writers who had preceded him, he forgets that it is to those writers he is indebted for placing him in the position which he is so fortunate as to occupy.
Such a preliminary review seems also the more necessary, because there is much reason to believe that the topographical labours of M. Bunsen are still but little known in this country: and though his name is familiar to every scholar, the number of his readers has probably been small; fewer still must be those who have entered sufficiently into the details of the subject to feel themselves competent to estimate his merits at their just value. And it is one of the evils necessarily resulting from the method which he has unfortunately adopted, of keeping back the authorities on which he rests his conclusions, that his readers have not the means presented to them of distinguishing those which are sound from the unsound. They are compelled to re
ceive his dicta either with implicit faith or with general mistrust. Hence, as soon as his authority is overthrown in some particulars, and they find that their guide is not infallible, they rush into the opposite extreme, and follow M. Becker in comprising in one sweeping condemnation the "uncritical spirit of the Italians," and "the hasty, unfounded assumptions of the Beschreibung.” The topography of the "Eternal City" was a subject which had more or less occupied the attention of scholars from the first revival of learning in Italy: and before the middle of the fifteenth century, Poggio Bracciolini had recorded, in a passage familiar to most readers through the medium of Gibbon's paraphrase, the aspect presented in his days by the ruins of the imperial city. His object was not, however, to enter into any detailed description or investigation of ancient Rome: but this was done just about the same time by another Italian, though like Poggio also a stranger at Rome-Biondo Flavio, of Forli, whose work entitled Roma Instaurata, dedicated to Pope Eugenius IV., and therefore composed between the years 1431 and 14473, is the first regular treatise upon Roman topography. That such a first attempt should contain numerous errors was inevitable, but it is in all respects a remarkable production; and when we consider the state of classical learning at the period when it was composed, as well as the mass of vulgar errors and absurd misnomers from which it was necessary for the author to extricate himself, we cannot but agree with M. Bunsen in terming it a "gigantic stride" towards the development of the truth. This work became in great measure the foundation of the labours of succeeding writers, of whom the most important were Andrea Fulvio, Lucio Fauno, and Bartolomeo Marliano. To the last of these we are indebted for a concise, but condensed and accurate description of Rome, which, adopting all that was valuable in the researches of his predecessors, and discarding many of their errors, may be considered as the complete representative of the first period of Roman topography. As such, it deservedly found a place in the great collection of Grævius, and must still continue to claim the attention of
3 It was first published at Verona, in 1482; afterwards at Venice in 1510, and by Froben at Basle, among the works of Biondo, in 1559. A so-called translation of it in Italian was published by
Lucio Fauno in 1548, but the translator has omitted many passages of the original work. See an instance mentioned in the appendix to this article, p. 379.
the student; M. Bunsen has justly observed that in many points it has never been surpassed: and we shall have frequent occasion to observe hereafter how often his views, after having been rejected by his successors, have been again adopted by the latest writers, and may now be regarded as established with certainty.
It is unnecessary to dwell upon the numerous writers, who from the middle of the sixteenth to that of the seventeenth century, contributed to the illustration of this subject. The works of Panvinius, Fabricius, Fulvius Ursinus, and many others, while they contributed additions or corrections more or less important in the details, did not effect any revolution in the general views entertained by their predecessors. A great reputation was obtained for a time by the treatise of the Jesuit Alessandro Donato, published in 1638, but this also was soon eclipsed by the Roma Antica of Famiano Nardini, a work which from the time of its first appearance in 1666 (after the author's death), to the commencement of the present century, was regarded as the standard authority upon this subject. It is not altogether easy to account for the very exaggerated reputation obtained by this work; something may be attributed to its being composed in Italian instead of Latin, but probably more to the character for learning which the author appears to have enjoyed during his lifetime, and the expectations consequently entertained it was distinguished also by the novelty of its views, and the boldness with which the author set aside longestablished opinions in order to substitute his own theories. Yet, on any explanation, it is impossible not to regard the credit so long obtained by Nardini, as a very unfavourable symptom of the state of classical learning during the period of his influence. His fame indeed, as is often the case, was established only by degrees in the works of Fabretti and Montfaucon, published before the end of the same century, he is frequently visited with severe and well-merited censure; but throughout the eighteenth century his authority appears to have been regarded as paramounts, and the publication of a new edition of his work as late
• An excellent review of all preceding writers upon the subject will be found in M. Bunsen's preface to the Beschreibung.
5 The work of the Marchese Venuti, published in 1763, which obtained in its own day a great reputation, though it
added in fact very little to our knowledge, follows the views of Nardini in almost all points of importance. The last edition of this work (Roma, 1824, 2 vols. 4to.) is enriched by the valuable notes of Stefano Piale, which are worth far more than the original text.
as the year 1818, with the addition of some learned notes by the late Professor Nibby, then quite a young man, as well as the advantage of additional plans and illustrations, could not but serve to confirm the authority so long conceded to him. Symptoms of a disposition to throw off the yoke had however already appeared among Italian antiquarians; Piale in particular had the merit of restoring to the forum of Augustus and the temple of Mars Ultor, their true appellations, and the still greater boldness to return to the view of the earlier topographers concerning the position of the Roman forum, which subsequent discoveries have established beyond a doubt. But it was reserved for the authors of the Beschreibung, or rather for M. Bunsen, to whom we owe all the topographical investigations in the first volume of that work, to raise openly the standard of revolt against the authority of Nardini, and shatter in pieces the idol so long worshipped with superstitious reverence. It is on this account more especially that the appearance of that work is to be regarded as the opening of a new era in Roman topography; and had M. Bunsen no other merit than the overthrow of long-established prejudices, and the reopening the field of fair and free discussion, which he has thus effected, he would still have conferred an inestimable benefit on the cause of truth, and the progress of antiquarian science.
But Nardini was not the only idol whom it was necessary to remove, before the field of inquiry could be cleared from the confusion which had so long enveloped it. There remained two others whose power had been far longer established, and whom it must have appeared still more presumptuous to assail. Every one who has bestowed the slightest attention upon Roman topography must be familiar with the names of Publius Victor and Sextus Rufus, to whom are ascribed two catalogues of the public buildings and monuments of ancient Rome, arranged according to the order of the regions of Augustus. It is evident that such an enumeration, if authentic and accurate, would be of the highest value, and accordingly we find these catalogues frequently cited by the earlier topographers, while Nardini adopted them as the basis on which he mainly rested his investigations. Yet it could hardly have escaped the attention of any well-informed scholar that many things in these lists were in direct contradiction to well-known passages in classical writers; others as clearly proceeded only from a misconception of such passages. Great obscurity also existed con
cerning the names of the supposed authors and the period at which they lived; and it was even asserted that no authority could be found in the MSS. for the names themselves. These circumstances had led M. Bunsen to the conclusion that they must be discarded as uncertain and treacherous guides, when the proofs were pointed out to him by M. Emiliano Sarti that the catalogues in question were palpably not the work of any ancient authors, even of the 4th or 5th century, but, in their present state at least, the mere patchwork of some learned man since the revival of letters, and certainly not older than the 15th century: the foundation of them both being no other than a third catalogue of the same kind appended to the Notitia Imperii, and commonly cited under that name, but which, from its comparative meagreness had found little favour with former topographers. This important discovery at once removed the chief stumbling-block that had stood in the way of former inquirers into the subject: M. Bunsen adopted without hesitation the views of M. Sarti, which are indeed supported by evidence so irresistible, that it is difficult to understand how any one can
6 It is thus that the documents in question are described by M. Bunsen (Beschr. 1. p. 173): “In ihrer gegenwärtigen Gestalt ein Machwerk vom Ende des fünfzehnten und Anfang des siebzehnten Jahrhunderts ;" and this appears to be fully established by the arguments he has brought forward, and by those which must be suggested by an impartial examination of the catalogues themselves. M. Becker goes farther, and pronounces them to be " a mere literary fraud” (ein reiner literärischer Betrug.-Handb. p. 711); a fact of which I can see no evidence. It is much to be regretted that M. Sarti has never fulfilled his intention of giving to the world a full development of his views upon this point, which as a mere literary question is full of difficulties, however clear it may be that these once so much valued catalogues are of no topographical worth. The proofs of this latter point, as well as a few remarks on the literary question, will be found in the form of an appendix to the present article.
7 Nardini, who has made the pseudoVictor and Rufus the basis of his whole
work, speaks thus slightingly of the Notitia: "La descrizione, che è nella Notizia dell' Impero, essere stata fatta da Autore antico, io non dubito: ma vedendo nelle Regioni di Constantinopoli descritti minutamenti i siti, e i confini con grande esattezza, in quelle di Roma un magro trascorso, e di più scorgendovi diversi errori manifesti, ed a Vittore e Rufo contrarj, li dubito fatti da alcun' Orientale, delle cose di Roma non pratico affatto; e perciò in darle fede intera converrà andare con piè più lento che di testuggine." (Roma Antica, tom. 1. p. 133.) The danger is now the other way, and a strong tendency is observable in the late German topographers to attach an exaggerated importance to every statement of the Notitia, now become their sole remaining guide of this description. It must be carefully borne in mind that this catalogue cannot have been compiled earlier than the fifth century, and bears in its present form the most unequivocal marks of the barbarism and ignorance of the copyists by whom it has been transmitted to us.