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the Kelts or Gauls broke through the thin screen CHAP.
XXII. which had hitherto concealed them from sight, and 4 began for the first time to take their part in the great drama of the nations. For nearly two hundred years they continued to fill Europe and Asia with the terror of their name: but it was a passing tempest, and if useful at all, it was useful only to destroy. The Gauls could communicate no essential points of human character in which other races might be deficient; they could neither improve the intellectual state of mankind, nor its social and political relations. When, therefore, they had done their appointed work of havoc, they were doomed to be themselves extirpated, or to be lost amidst nations of greater creative and constructive power; nor is there any race which has left fewer traces of itself in the character and institutions of modern civilization.
“Postrema vero partitio historiæ civilis ea sit, ut dividatur in meram aut mixtam. Mixturæ celebres duæ : altera ex scientiâ civili; altera præcipue ex naturali.”—Bacon, De Augmentis Scientiar. II. 10.
CHAP. A GREAT work might be written on the connexion
between the revolutions of nature and those of man-
altered by the labours of man: how diseases are ge-
of Italy was
of those exact and uninterrupted records of natural CHAP. phenomena, from which alone any safe conclusions can be drawn, we have only a few scattered notices; nor can we be sure that even these have recorded what was most worthy of our knowledge. Still these scanty memorials, such as they are, must not be neglected: and as we gain a wider experience, even these may hereafter be found instructive.
The first question with regard to the physical state The climato of ancient Rome is, whether the climate was such as anciently it is at present. Now here it is impossible not winter than
e it is now. to consider the somewhat analogous condition of America at this day. Boston is in the same latitude with Rome; but the severity of its winter far exceeds not that of Rome only, but of Paris and London. Allowing that the peninsular form of Italy must at all times have had its effect in softening the climate, still the woods and marshes of Cisalpine Gaul, and the perpetual snows of the Alps, far more extensive than at present, owing to the uncultivated and uncleared state of Switzerland and Germany, could not but have been felt even in the neighbourhood of Rome. Besides, even on the Apennines, and in Etruria and in Latium, the forests occupied a far greater space than in modern times : this would increase the quantity of rain, and consequently the volume of water in the rivers; the floods would be greater and more numerous, and before man's dominion had completely subdued the whole country, there would be large accumulations of water in the low grounds, which would still further increase the
CHAP. coldness of the atmosphere. The language of an
cient writers, on the whole, favours the same conclusion, that the Roman winter, in their days, was more severe than it is at present. It agrees with this, that the olive, which cannot bear a continuance of severe cold, was not introduced into Italy till long after the vine: Fenestella? asserted that its cultivation was unknown as late as the reign of Tarquinius Priscus; and such was the notion entertained of the cold of all inland countries, even in the latitude of Greece, that Theophrastus: held it impossible to cultivate the olive at the distance of more than four hundred stadia from the sea. But the cold of the
i It is by no means easy to XVII, 2, speaks of long snows know what weight is to be given being useful to the corn, which to the language of the poets ; nor shows that he is not speaking of how far particular descriptions or the mountains; and a long snow expressions may have been oc- lying in the valleys of central or casioned by peculiar local cir. southern Italy would surely be cumstances. Pliny's statement, a very unheard-of phenomenon Epistol. II. 17, that the bay-tree now.' Again, the freezing of the would rarely live through the rivers, as spoken of by Virgil and winter without shelter, either at Horace, is an image of winter, Rome, or at his own villa at Lau- which could not I think naturally rentum, if taken absolutely, would suggest itself to Italian poets of prove too much ; for although the the present day, at any point to bay is less hardy than some other the south of the Apennines. Other evergreens, yet how can it be con- arguments to the same effect may ceived that a climate in which the be seen in a paper by Daines Barolive would flourish, could be too rington, in the 58th volume of the severe for the bay? There must Philosophical Transactions. Gibeither have been some local pecu. bon also, after stating the arguliarity of winds or soil, which the ments on both sides of the questree did not like, or else the fact, tion, comes to the same concluas is sometimes the case, must sion. Miscellan. Works, Vol. III. have been too hastily assumed: p. 246. He quotes, however, the and men were afraid from long Abbé de Louguerue, as saying custom to leave the bay unpro- that the Tiber was frozen in the tected in the winter, although, bitter winter of 1709. in fact, they might have done it ? Pliny, Hist. Natur. XV. 1. with safety. Yet the elder Pliny, 3 Pliny, Hist. Natur. XV. I.
winter is perfectly consistentt with great heat in the CHAP. summer. The vine is cultivated with success on the Rhine, in the latitude of Devonshire and Cornwall, although the winter at Coblentz and Bonn is far more severe than it is in Westmorland; and evergreens will flourish through the winter in the Westmorland valleys far better than on the Rhine or in the heart of France. The summer heat of Italy was probably much the same in ancient times as it is at present, except that there were a greater number of spots where shade and verdure might be found, and where its violence would therefore be more endurable. But the difference between the temperature of summer and winter may be safely assumed to have been much greater than it is now. It then becomes a question whether the greater This perhaps
had an effect cold of the winter, and the greater extent of wood on the
healthiness and of undrained waters which existed in the times of the of the Romans, may not have had a favourable in-hood of
Rome. fluence in mitigating that malaria which is now the curse of so many parts of Italy, and particularly of
It is a common notion that western ; and this to such a declimate follows latitude, and that gree, that Kent is not only colder a northern country will be cold, Chan Cornwall, but colder than and a southern one warm, as com- Cumberland, or Argyleshire. On pared with each other throughout the other hand, the eastern coast the year. But this is by no means in summer enjoys a much greater an universal rule : on the con- share of steady fine weather and trary, climate in England is more sunshine than the western. Wall. affected by the longitude of a fruit will ripen in the neighbourplace, than by its latitude ; and the hood of Edinburgh far more surely winters are often mildest in those than in Westmorland, and wheat parts, where the summers are grows luxuriantly as far north as least genial. The whole eastern Elgin, while it is a rarity on the coast from Kent to Caithness, is coast of Argyleshire. much colder in winter than the