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period of distress and anarchy, in which empire, c H.A.P.
and arts, and riches, had migrated from the banks of the Tyber, was incapable of restoring or adorning the city; and as all that is human must retrograde if it do not advance, every successive age must have hastened the ruin of the works of antiquity. To measure the progress of decay, and to ascertain, at each aera, the state of each edifice, would be an endless and useless labour; and I shall content myself with two observations, which will introduce a short inquiry into the general causes and effects. 1. Two hundred years before the eloquent complaint of Poggius, an anonymous writer composed a description of Rome *. His ignorance may repeat the same objects under strange and fabulous names. Yet this barbarous topographer had eyes and ears; he could observe the visible remains; he could listen to the tradition of the people; and he distinctly enumerates seven theatres, eleven baths, twelve arches, and eighteen palaces, of which many had disappeared before the time of Poggius. It is apparent, that many stately monuments of antiquity survived till a late periodf,
* Liber de Mirabilibus Romae, ex Registro Nicolai Cardimalis de Arragonià in Bibliotheca St Isidori Armario IV. No. 69. This treatise, with some short but pertinent notes, has been published by Montfaucon, (Diarium Italicum, p. 283 –3ol.), who thus delivers his own critical opinion: Scriptor 13mi circiter saeculi, ut ibidem notatur; antiquariae rei imperitus, et, ut ab illo aevo, nugis et anilibus fabellis refertus : sed quia monumenta quae is temporibus Romae supererant pro modulo recenset, non parum inde lucis mutuabitur qui Romanis antiquitatibus indagandis operám navabit, (p. 283.).
+ The Pere Mabillon (Analecta, tom iv. p. 5oz.) has pub. lished an anonymous pilgrim of the 9th century, who in his visit
c H.A.P. and that the principles of destruction acted with
Four causes of of destruction;
I. The in . juries of Inature ;
vigorous and increasing energy in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. 2. The same reflection must be applied to the three last ages; and we
should vainly seek the Septizonium of Severus",
which is celebrated by Petrarch, and the antiqua
rians of the sixteenth century. While the Roman.
edifices were still entire, the first blows, however
visit round the churches and holy places of Rome, touches on several buildings, especially porticoes, which had disappeared before the 13th century.
* Qn the Septizonium, see the Memoires sur Petrarque (tom. i. p. 325-), Donatus (p. 338.), and Nardini (p. 117.
ders of ancient days, the pyramids" attracted the c H A p.
curiosity of the ancients: an hundred generations, the leaves of autumn f, have dropped into the grave; and after the fall of the Pharaohs and Ptolemies, the Caesars and Caliphs, the same pyramids stand erect and unshaken above the floods of the Nile. A complex figure of various and minute parts is more accessible to injury and decay; and the silent lapse of time is often accelerated by hurricanes and earthquakes, by fires and inundations. The air and earth have doubtless been shaken; and the lofty turrets of Rome have tottered from their foundations; but the seven hills do not appear to be placed on the great cavities of the globe; nor has the city, in any age, been exposed to the convulsions of nature, which in the climate of Antioch, Lisbon, or Lima, have crumbled in a few moments the works of ages into dust. Fire is the most powerful agent of life and death: the rapid mischief may be kindled and propagated by the indus
hurricanes and earthquakes 3.
try or negligence of mankind; and every period of
the Roman annals is marked by the repetition of similar calamities. A memorable conflagration, the guilt or misfortune of Nero's reign, continued, though with unequal fury, either six, or
Vol. XII. D d nine
* The age of the pyramids is remote and unknown, since Diodorus Siculus (tom. i. l. i. c. 44. p. 72.) is unable to decide whether they were constructed Ioco or 34oo years before the 182th Olympiad. Sir John Marshman's contracted scale of the Egyptian dynasties would fix them about 2000 years before Christ, (Canon. Chronicus, p. 47.).
+ See the speech of Glaucus in the Iliad, (2.146.). This
natural but melancholy image is familiar to Homer.
o nine days *. Innumerable buildings, crowded in
J close and crooked streets, supplied perpetual fuel
for the flames; and when they ceased, four only of the fourteen regions were left entire; three were totally destroyed, and seven were deformed by the relics of smoking and lacerated edifices f. In the full meridian of empire, the metropolis arose with fresh beauty from her ashes; yet the memory of the old deplored their irreparable losses, the arts of Greece, the trophies of victory, the monuments of primitive or fabulous antiquity. In the days of distress and anarchy, every wound is mortal, every fall irretrievable; nor can the damage be restored either by the public care of government, or the activity of private interest. Yet two causes may be alledged, which render the calamity of fire more destructive to a flourishing than a decayed city. 1. The more combustible materials of brick, timber, and metals, are first melted or consumed; but the flames may play without injury or effect on the naked walls,
* The learning and criticism of M. des Vignoles (Histoire
Critique de la Republique des Lettres, tom. viii. p. 74—I 18.
ix. p. 172–187.) dates the fire of Rome from A. D. 64, July
walls, and massy arches, that have been despoiled of their ornaments. It is among the common and plebeian habitations, that a mischievous spark is most easily blown to a conflagration; but as soon as they are devoured, the greater edifices which have resisted or escaped, are left as so many islands in a state of solitude and safety. From her situation, Rome is exposed to the danger of frequent inundations. Without excepting the Tyber, the rivers that descend from either side of the Apennine have a short and irregular course; a shallow stream in the summer heats; an impetuous torrent, when it is swelled in the spring or winter by the fall of rain, and the melting of the snows. When the current is repelled from the sea by adverse winds, when the ordinary bed is inadequate to the weight of waters, they rise above the banks, and overspread, without limits or controul, the plains and cities of the adjacent countries. Soon after the triumph of the first Punic war, the Tyber was increased by unusual rains; and the inundation surpassing all former measure of time and place, destroyed all the buildings that were situate below the hills of Rome. According to the variety of ground, the same mischief was produced by different means; and the edifices were either swept away by the sudden impulse, or dissolved and undermined by the
long continuance of the flood". Under the reign D d 2 of
* A. U. C. 507, repentina subversio ipsius Romae prevenit triumphum Romanorum . . . . diversae ignium aquarunoue cla