Page images
PDF
EPUB

hill itself, but some portion of the ground imme- CHAP. diately below it; it did not, however, reach as far — as any of the other hills. The valley between the Palatine and the Aventine, afterwards the site of the Circus Maximus, was in the earliest times covered with water; so also was the greater part of the valley between the Palatine and the Capitoline, the ground afterwards occupied by the Roman forum.

III.

been carefully preserved by tradi- tus does not mention it as going tion; and this is exactly one of the on to join the Forum Boarium, points on which, as we know by because in the earliest times this our own experience with regard to valley was either a lake or a parish boundaries, a tradition kept swamp, and the Pomorium could up by yearly ceremonies, may safe. not descend below the edge of the ly be trusted. The exact line of Palatine hill. Nibby, in his work this original Pomærium is thus on the walls of Rome, places the marked by Bunsen in his descrip- Curiæ Veteres on the Palatine, tion of Rome, Vol. I. p. 137 : “ It and the Sacellum Larium between set out from the Forum Boarium, the Arch of Titus and the Forum the site of which is fixed by the on the Via Nova. The position of Arch of Septimius Severus, at the the Curiæ Veteres is certainly Janus Quadrifons,” (this must doubtful. Niebuhr himself (Vol. I. not be confounded with the Arch p. 283. Note 735. Eng. Tr.) of Severus on the Via Sacra, just thinks that the Pomærium can under the capitol,) “and passed scarcely be carried so far as the through the valley of the circus, foot of the Esquiline; and the so as to include the Ara Maxima, authority for identifying the Curiæ as far as the Ara Consi, at the foot Veteres with the site of the Baths of the hill. It then proceeded of Titus or Trajan is not decisive; from the Septizonium, (just op- for it only appears that Biondo posite the church of S. Gregorio, writing in 1440 calls the ruins of at the foot of the Palatine,) till it the Baths “Curia Vecchia,” and came under the baths of Trajan, says that in old legal instruments (or Titus,) which were the Curiæ they were commonly so called. Veteres. From thence it passed (Beschreibung Roms, Vol. III. on to the top of the Velia, on part 2, p. 222.) Now considering which the Arch of Titus now the general use of the word Curia, stands, and where Tacitus places and that the name is in the sinthe Sacellum Larium.” It fol- gular number, it by no means lowed nearly the line of the Via follows that Biondo's Curia Vetus Sacra, as far as the eastern end of must be the Curiæ Veteres of the Forum Romanum. But Taci- Tacitus.

III.

CHAP. But the city of the Palatine hill grew in process

of time, so as to become a city of seven hills. Not The original seven bills. the seven famous hills of imperial or republican

Rome, but seven spots more or less elevated, and all
belonging to three only of the later seven hills, that
is, to the Palatine, the Cælian, and the Esquiline..
These first seven hills of Rome were known by the
names of Palatium, Velia, Cermalus, Cælius, Fagutal,
Oppius, and Cispius ?. Of this town the Aventine
formed a suburb; and the dyke of the Quirites,
ascribed in the story to Ancus Marcius, ran across
the valley from the edge of the Aventine to that of

the Cælian hill near the Porta Capena S. They did not At this time Rome, though already a city on include all the seven seven hills, was distinct from the Sabine city on the hills of the later city. Capitoline, Quirinal, and Viminal hills. The two

cities, although united under one government, had

. For the account of this old other seven spots, see Bunsen, Septimontium, see Festus under description of Rome, Vol. I. p. the word “ Septimontio.” Festus 141. Velia was the ascent on the adds an eighth name, Suburra. north-east side of the Palatine, Niebuhr conjectures that the in- where the Arch of Titus now habitants of the Pagus Sucusanus, stands. Cermalus, or Germalus, (which was the same district as was on the north-west side of the the Suburra, and lay under the Palatine just above the Velabrum: Esquiline and Viminal hills, near Fagutal is thought to have been the church of S. Francesco di Paola, the ground near the Porta Esquiwhere a miserable sort of square lina, between the Arch of Gallieis still called Piazza Suburra,) nus and the Sette Sale. Oppius may have joined in the festival of and Cispius were also parts of the the inhabitants of these seven hills Esquiline; the former is marked or heights, although they were not by the present church of S. Maria themselves “Montani,” (see Varro Maggiore, and the latter lay bede L. L., VI. 24. Ed. Muller,) to tween that church and the baths show that they belonged to the city of Diocletian. of the Palatine, and not to the 3 See Niebuhr, Vol. I. p. 403. Sabine city of the Capitoline hill. Ed. 2nd, and Bunsen, BeschreiFor the exact situations of the bung Roms, Vol. I. p. 620.

III.

Romanus.

still a separate existence; they were not completely CHAP. blended into one till that second period in Roman history which we shall soon have to consider, the reigns of the later kings.

The territory of the original Rome during its first The Ager period, the true Ager Romanus, could be gone round in a single day. It did not extend beyond the Tiber at all, nor probably beyond the Anio; and, on the east and south, where it had most room to spread, its limit was between five and six miles from the city. This Ager Romanus was the exclusive property of the Roman people, that is of the houses ; it did not include the lands conquered from the Latins, and given back to them again when the Latins became the plebs or commons of Rome. According to the augurs", the Ager Romanus was a peculiar district in a religious sense; auspices could be taken within its bounds, which could be taken no where without them. And now what was Rome, and what was the Scenery of

the neighcountry around it, which have both acquired an in- bourhood of

we Rome. terest such as can cease only when earth itself shall perish? The hills of Rome are such as we rarely see in England, low in height but with steep and rocky sides. In early times the natural wood still re

4 See Strabo, Lib. V. p. 253. recollections of my visit to Rome Ed. Xyland, and compare Livy, I. in 1827, was inserted some time 23. “ Fossa Cluilia, ab Urbe haud since in the History of Rome plus quinque millia.” And II. 39. published by the Society for the “Ad Fossas Cluilias V. ab Urbe Diffusion of Useful Knowledge. I M. P. castris positis, populatur am obliged to mention this, lest I inde Agrum Romanum.

night be suspected of having bor5 See Varro de L. L., V. 33. Ed. rowed from another work withMüller.

out acknowledgment what was in The substance of this descrip fact furnished to that work by tion, taken from my journals and myself.

VOL. I.

III.

CHAP. mained in patches amidst the buildings, as at this

- day it grows here and there on the green sides of

the Monte Testacco. Across the Tiber the ground rises to a greater height than that of the Roman hills, but its summit is a level unbroken line, while the heights, which opposite to Rome itself rise immediately from the river, under the names of Janiculus and Vaticanus, then sweep away to some distance from it, and return in their highest and boldest form at the Monte Mario, just above the Milvian bridge and the Flaminian road. Thus to the west the view is immediately bounded; but to the north and northeast the eye ranges over the low ground of the Campagna to the nearest line of the Apennines, which closes up, as with a gigantic wall, all the Sabine, Latin, and Volscian lowlands, while over it are still distinctly to be seen the high summits of the central Apennines, covered with snow, even at this day, for more than six months in the year. South and south-west lies the wide plain of the Campagna; its level line succeeded by the equally level line of the sea, which can only be distinguished from it by the brighter light reflected from its waters. Eastward, after ten miles of plain, the view is bounded by the Alban hills, a cluster of high bold points rising out of the Campagna, like Arran from the sea, on the highest of which, at nearly the same height with the summit of Helvellyn”, stood the Temple of Jupiter Latiaris, the scene of the com

7 The height of the Monte Cavo 3055 English feet, by Col. Mudge ; is variously given at 2938 or 2965 by Mr. Otley, in his Guide to the French feet. See Bunsen, Vol. I. Lakes, it is estimated at 3070. p. 40. Helvellyn is reckoned at

III.

mon worship of all the people of the Latin name. CHAP. Immediately under this highest point lies the craterlike basin of the Alban lake; and on its nearer rim might be seen the trees of the grove of Ferentia, where the Latins held the great civil assemblies of their nation. Further to the north, on the edge of the Alban hills looking towards Rome, was the town and citadel of Tusculum; and beyond this, a lower summit crowned with the walls and towers of Labicum seems to connect the Alban hills with the line of the Apennines just at the spot where the citadel of Præneste, high up on the mountain side, marks the opening into the country of the Hernicans, and into the valleys of the streams that feed the Liris. Returning nearer to Rome, the lowland country Character

of the Camof the Campagna is broken by long green swelling pagna. ridges, the ground rising and falling, as in the heath country of Surrey and Berkshire. The streams are dull and sluggish, but the hill sides above them constantly break away into little rocky cliffs, where on every ledge the wild fig now strikes out its branches, and tufts of broom are clustering, but which in old times formed the natural strength of the citadels of the numerous cities of Latium. Except in these narrow dells, the present aspect of the country is all bare and desolate, with no trees nor any human habitation. But anciently, in the time of the early kings of Rome, it was full of independent cities, and in its population and the careful cultivation of its little garden-like farms, must have resembled the most flourishing parts of Lombardy or the Netherlands.

[ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »