« PreviousContinue »
CHAP. and another on a much larger scale in the lake of
Copais in Boeotia. But the volcanic rocks, in which the lake of Alba lies, do not afford such natural tunnels, or at least they are exceeding small, and unequal to the discharge of any large quantity of water; so that if any unusual cause swells the lake, it can find no adequate outlet, and rises necessarily to a higher level. The Roman tradition reported that such a rise took place in the year 357: it was caused probably by some yolcanic agency, and increased to such a height, that the water at last ran over the basin of hills at its lowest point, and poured down into the Campagna. Traces 23 of such an outlet are said to be still visible; and it is asserted that there are marks of artificial cutting through the rock, as if to enlarge and deepen the passage. This would suppose the ordinary level of the lake in remote times to have been about two hundred feet higher than it is at present; and if this were so, the actual tunnel was intended not to remedy a new evil, but to alter the old state of the lake for the better, by reducing it for the time to come to a lower level. Possibly the discharge over the edge of the basin became suddenly greater, and so suggested the idea of diverting the water altogether by a different channel. But the whole story of the tunnel, as we have it, is so purely a part of the poetical account of the fall of Veii, that no part of it can be relied on as historical. The prophecy of the old Veientian,
22 Dionysius, XII. 11. Fragm.
23 Sir W. Gell, Topography of Rome, &c. Vol. I. p. 43.
and the corresponding answer of the Delphian oracle, CHAP. connecting the draining of the lake with the fate of Veii, must be left as we find them: only it is likely enough that any extraordinary natural phenomenon, occuring immediately after the visitation of pestilence, and in the midst of a long and doubtful war, should have excited unusual alarm, and have been thought important enough to require an appeal to the most famous oracle in the world. But other questions of no small difficulty remain: the length of the tunnel, according to the lowest statement given, exceeds two thousand one hundred yards24; according to others it exceeds two thousand six hundred 25 ; and one estimate makes it as much as two thousand eight hundred 26: its height varies from seven feet and a half to nine or ten feet; and its width is not less than four feet. Admitting that it was wholly worked through the tufo?", which is easily wrought, still the labour and expense of such a tunnel must have been considerable; and in the midst of an important war, how could either money or hands have been spared for such a purpose? Again, was the work exclusively a Roman one, or performed by the Romans jointly with the Latins, as an object of com
24 Westphal. Römische Kam- is excavated generally in the tufo. pagne, p. 25.
Mr. Meason, whose authority is 25 Sir W. Gell, Topography of considerable, as he had had much Rome, p. 39.
practical acquaintance with min26 Mr. Laing Meason, quoted ing, and went into the tunnel by Sir W. Gell in a note to p. 53 for about 130 yards from the of his Topogr. of Rome, Vol. I. lake, speaks of the work as cut in
27 Westphal says it is worked the tufo. through lava. Sir W. Gell says it
CHAP. mon concern to the whole confederacy? The Alban
lake can scarcely have been within the domain of Rome; nor can we conceive that the Romans could have been entitled to divert its waters at their pleasure without the consent of the neighbouring Latin cities. But if it were a common work; if the Latins entered heartily into the quarrel of Rome with Veii, regarding it as a struggle between their race and that of the Etruscans; if the overflow of the waters of their national lake, the lake which bathed the foot of the Alban mountain, where their national temple stood and their national solemnities were held, excited an interest in every people of the Latin name, then we may understand how their joint labour and joint contributions may have accomplished the work even in the midst of war; and the Romans, as they disguised on every occasion the true nature of their connexion with the Latins, would not fail to represent it as exclusively their own.
THE GAULS INVADE CENTRAL ITALY–BATTLE OF THE
ALIA— BURNING OF ROME-RANSOM OF THE CAPI-
“Hark! the Gaul is at her gates !"
Virgatis lucent sagulis ; tum lactea colla
Virgil, Æn. VIII. 658.
The fourth century before the Christian æra brought CHAP.
XXIV. the Gauls, as we have seen, for the first time within the observation of the civilized world. They then count of the crossed the Apennines, and overran central and of the Gaul
ish tribes in southern Italy; they then also broke in upon the Italy. Illyrian' tribes, established themselves between the Danube and Greece, and became known to the kings of Macedon? But whether it was in this same
I Justin, XXIV. 4. This is telas. The following words, cai the great expedition which Scylax Otev@v, appear to me to be corrupt. alludes to when he describes the ? In the very beginning of the Gauls on the north-western coast reign of Alexander, when a Gaulof the Adriatic, as “men who ish embassy came to congratulate had stayed behind from their ex. him on his victory over the Getæ. pedition;" åtonec dévres tñs otpa- Arrian, Exp. Alex. I. 4.
CHAP. century that they had first crossed the Alps as well
as the Apennines, is a question much more difficult to answer. If we follow the well-known account of Livy, we must fix their passage of the Alps two hundred years earlier : it was about six hundred years before the Christian æra, according to this statement, that there happened a vast emigration of the inhabitants of central Gaul; one great multitude, said the story, crossed the Rhine, and sought a home amidst the wilds of the Hercynian forest; another made its way over the Alps, descended into the plain of the Po, encountered and defeated the Etruscans, who were then the masters of the country, near the river Ticinus, and founded the city of Mediolanum. After this other tribes of central Gauls, entering Italy by the same course, and finding their countrymen already in possession of all to the westward of the Adda, penetrated still deeper, and extended the Gaulish settlements as far as the Adige. Again, at a later period, but bow much later we are not told, the Boii 4 and Lingones set out from the east and
3 Livy, V. 34, 35.
countries. Again, the Senones, + The Lingones came from the who are mentioned as having neighbourhood of Langres, that entered Italy last of all the Gauls, high table land which looks down are also included amongst the on the infant Marne to the north, tribes of the first swarm who and on the streams which feed the founded Mediolanum. Both these Saone to the south. The situa- circumstances seem to show, that tion of the Boii in Gaul is not in the view of the author of this known; their nation is only to be account, all the migrations into traced in the countries to which it Italy took place nearly continuhall emigrated, in Germany and ously, and were the result of one Italy. It is remarkable that the and the same cause. This also story speaks of a simultaneous seems to agree best with the fact, migration into Germany and Italy; that the last comers, instead of and we find Boii in both of these attempting to dislodge those who