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consists of two or three little chambers, and a low tower, on which Cosmo II. affixed an inscription. This house she has taken measures to purchase, and proposes to devote to it that care and consideration which are attached to the cradle and to the roof of genius.
This is not the place to undertake the defence of Boccaccio; but the man who exhausted his little patrimony in the acquirement of learning, who was amongst the first, if not the first, to allure the science and the poetry of Greece to the bosom of Italy:- who not only invented a new style, but founded, or certainly fixed, a new language; who, besides the esteem of every polite court of Europe, was thought worthy of employment by the predominant republic of his own country, and, what is more, of the friendship of Petrarch, who lived the life of a philosopher and a freeman, and who died in the pursuit of knowledge, such a man might have found more consideration than he has met with from the priest of Certaldo, and from a late English traveller, who strikes off his portrait as an odious, contemptible, licentious writer, whose impure remains should be suffered to rot without a record. ' That English traveller, unfortunately for those who have to deplore the loss of a very amiable person, is beyond all criticism; but the mortality which did not protect Boccaccio from Mr. Eustace, must not defend Mr. Eustace from the impartial judgment of his successors. Death may canopise his virtues, not his errors; and it may be modestly pronounced that he transgressed, not only as an author, but as a man, when he evoked the shade of Boccaccio in company with that of Aretine, amidst the sepulchres of Santa Croce, merely to dismiss it with indignity. As far as respects
"Il flagello de' Principi, Il divin Pietro Aretino,'
it is of little import what censure is passed upon a coxcomb who owes his present existence to the above burlesque character given to him by the poet, whose amber has preserved many other grubs and worms: but to classify Boccaccio with such a person, and to excommunicate his very ashes, must of itself make us doubt of the qualification of the classical tourist for writing upon Italian, or, indeed, upon any other literature; for ignorance on one point may incapacitate an author merely for that particular topic, but subjection to a professional prejudice must render him an unsafe director on all occasions. Any perversion and injustice may be made what is vulgarly called "a case of conscience," and this poor excuse is all that can be offered for the priest of Certaldo, or the author of the Classical Tour. It would have answered the purpose to confine the censure to the novels of Boccaccio; and gratitude to that source which supplied the muse of Dryden with her last and most harmonious numbers might, perhaps, have restricted that censure to the objectionable qualities of the hundred tales. At any rate, the repentance of Boccaccio might have arrested his exhumation, and it should have been recollected and told, that in his old age he wrote a letter entreating his friend to discourage the reading of the Decameron, for the sake of modesty, and for the sake of the author, who would not have an apologist always at hand to state in his excuse that he wrote it when young, and at the command of his superiors. It is neither the licentiousness of the writer, nor the evil propensities of the reader, which have given to the Decameron alone, of all the works of Boccaccio, a perpetual popularity. The establishment of a new and delightful dialect conferred an immortality on the works in which it was first fixed. The sonnets of Petrarch were, for the same reason, fated to survive his self-admired Africa, the "favourite of kings." The invariable traits of nature and feeling with which the novels, as
well as the verses, abound, have doubtless been the chief source of the foreign celebrity of both authors; but Boccaccio, as a man, is no more to be estimated by that work, than Petrarch is to be regarded in no other light than as the lover of Laura. Even, however, had the father of the Tuscan prose been known only as the author of the Decamerou, a considerate writer would have been cautious to pronounce a sentence irreconcileable with the unerring voice of many ages and nations. An irrevocable value has never been stamped upon any work solely recommended by impurity.
The true source of the outcry against Boccaccio, which began at a very early period, was the choice of his scandalous personages in the cloisters as well as the courts; but the princes only laughed at the gallant adventures so unjustly charged upon queen Theolinda, whilst the priesthood cried shame upon the debauches drawn from the convent and the hermitage; and most probably for the opposite reason, namely, that the picture was faithful to the life. Two of the rovels are allowed to be facts usefully turned into tales to deride the canonisation of rogues and laymen. Ser Ciappelletto and Marcellinus are cited with applause even by the decent Muratori. 3 The great Arnaud, as he is quoted in Bayle, states, that a new edition of the novels was proposed, of which the expurgation consisted in omitting the words “monk,” and “nun," and tacking the immoralities to other names. The literary history of Italy particularises no such edition; but it was not long before the whole of Europe had but one opinion of the Decameron; and the absolution of the author seems to have been a point settled at least a hundred years ago: "On se feroit siffler si l'on prétendoit convaincre Boccace de n'avoir pas été honnête homme, puis qu'il a fait le Décameron." So said one of the best men, and perhaps the best critic, that ever lived-the very martyr to impartiality. But as this information, that in the beginning of the last century one would have been hooted at for pretending that Boccaccio was not a good man, may seem to come from one of those enemies who are to be suspected, even when they make us a present of truth, a more acceptable contrast with the proscription of the body, soul, and rause of Boccaccio may be found in a few words from the virtuous, the patriotic contemporary, who thought one of the tales of this impure writer worthy a Latin version from his own pen. "I have remarked elsewhere," says Petrarch, writing to Boccaccio, "that the book itself has been worried by certain dogs, but stoutly defended by your staff and voice. Nor was I astonished, for I have had proof of the vigour of your mind, and I know you have fallen on that unaccommodating incapable race of mortals, who, whatever they either like not, or know not, or cannot do, are sure to reprehend in others; and on those occasions only put on a show of learning and eloquence, but otherwise are entirely dumb."5
It is satisfactory to find that all the priesthood do not resemble those of Certaldo, and that one of them who did not possess the bones of Boccaccio would not lose the opportunity of raising a cenotaph to his memory. Bevius, canon of Padua, at the beginning of the sixteenth century, erected at Arquà, opposite to the tomb of the Laureate, a tablet, in which he associated Boccaccio to the equal honours of Dante and of Petrarch.
1 Classical Tour, chap. ix. vol. ii. p. 355. edit. 3d. "Of Boccaccio, the modern Petronius, we say nothing; the abuse of genius is more odious and more contemptible than its absence; and it imports little where the impure remains of a licentious author are consigned to their kindred dust. For the same reason the traveller may pass unnoticed the tomb of the malignant Aretino." This dubious phrase is hardly enough to save the tourist from the suspicion of another blunder respecting the burial place of Aretine, whose tomb was in the church of St. Luke at Venice, and gave rise to the famous controversy of which some notice is taken in Bayle. Now the words of Mr. Eustace would lead us to think the tomb was at Florence, or at least was to be somewhere recognised. Whether the inscription so much
source; and it is in search of some memorial of the virtuous
No. XXIII. BATTLE OF THRASIMENE.
"An earthquake reel'd unheededly away."— Stanza Ixiii. "And such was their mutual animosity, so intent were they upon the battle, that the earthquake, which overthrew in great part many of the cities of Italy, which turned the course of rapid streams, poured back the sea upon the rivers, and tore
1 Cosmus Medices, Decreto Publico, Pater Patria. 2 Corinne, liv. xvii. chap. iii. vol. iii. page 218.
3 On Government, chap. ii. sect. xxvi. pag. 208. edit. 1751. Sidney is, together with Locke and Hoadley, one of Mr. Hume's "despicable" writers. 4 Tit. Liv. lib. xxii. cap. xii. 5 Ibid. cap. iv.
down the very mountains, was not felt by one of the combatants."4 Such is the description of Livy. It may be doubted whether modern tactics would admit of such an abstraction.
The site of the battle of Thrasimene is not to be mistaken. The traveller from the village under Cortona to Casa di Piano, the next stage on the way to Rome, has for the first two or three miles, around him, but more particularly to the right, that flat land which Hannibal laid waste in order to induce the Consul Flaminius to move from Arezzo. On his left, and in front of him, is a ridge of hills bending down towards the lake of Thrasimene, called by Livy "montes Cortonenses," and now named the Gualandra. These bills he approaches at Ossaja, a village which the itineraries pretend to have been so denominated from the bones found there but there have been no bones found there, and the battle was fought on the other side of the hill. From Ossaja the road begins to rise a little, but does not pass into the roots of the mountains until the sixty-seventh milestone from Florence. The ascent thence is not steep but perpetual, and continues for twenty minutes. The lake is soon seen below on the right, with Borghetto, a round tower, close upon the water; and the undulating hills partially covered with wood, amongst which the road winds, sink by degrees into the marshes near to this tower. Lower than the road, down to the right amidst these woody hillocks, Hannibal placed his horse, in the jaws of, or rather above the pass, which was between the lake and the present road, and most probably close to Borghetto, just under the lowest of the tumuli." On a summit to the left, above the road, is an old circular ruin, which the peasants call" the tower of Hannibal the Carthaginian." Arrived at the highest point of the road, the traveller has a partial view of the fatal plain, which opens fully upon him as he descends the Gualandra. He soon finds himself in a vale enclosed to the left, and in front, and behind him by the Gualandra hills, bending round in a segment larger than a semicircle, and running down at each end to the lake, which obliques to the right and forms the chord of this mountain arc. The position cannot be guessed at from the plains of Cortona, nor appears to be so completely enclosed unless to one who is fairly within the hills. It then, indeed, appears "a place made as it were on purpose for a snare,' ," locus insidiis natus. Borghetto is then found to stand in a narrow marshy pass close to the hill, and to the lake, whilst there is no other outlet at the opposite turn of the mountains than through the little town of Passignano, which is pushed into the water by the foot of a high rocky acclivity." There is a woody eminence branching down from the mountains into the upper end of the plain nearer to the side of Passignano, and on this stands a white village called Torre. Polybius seems to allude to this erinence as the one on which Hannibal encamped, and drew out his heavy-armed Africans and Spaniards in a conspicuous position. From this spot he despatched his Balearic and lightarmed troops round through the Gualandra heights to the right, so as to arrive unseen and form an ambush amongst the broken acclivities which the road now passes, and to be ready to act upon the left flank and above the enemy, whilst the horse shut up the pass behind. Flaminius came to the lake near Borghetto at sunset; and, without sending any spies before him, marched through the pass the next morning before the day had quite broken, so that he perceived nothing of the horse and light troops above and about him, and saw only the heavy-armed Carthaginians in front on the hill of Torre. The consul began to draw out his army in the flat, and in the meantime the horse in ambush occupied the pass behind him, at Borghetto. Thus the Romans were completely enclosed, having the lake on the right, the main army on the hill of Torre in front, the Gualandra hills filled with the light-armed on their left flank, and being prevented from receding by the cavalry, who, the farther they advanced,
6 T. Liv. lib. xxii. cap. iv.
7 Hist. lib. ii. cap. 83. The account in Polybius is not so easily recomcileable with present appearances as that in Livy; he talks of halls to the right and left of the pass and valley; but when Flaminius entered he had the lake at the right of both.
stopped up all the outlets in the rear. A fog rising from the lake now spread itself over the army of the consul, but the high lands were in the sunshine, and all the different corps in ambush looked toward the hill of Torre for the order of attack. Hannibal gave the signal, and moved down from his post on the height. At the same moment all his troops on the eminences behind and in the flank of Flaminius rushed forwards as it were with one accord into the plain. The Romans, who were forming their array in the mist, suddenly heard the shouts of the enemy amongst them, on every side, and before they could fall into their ranks, or draw their swords, or see by whom they were attacked, felt at once that they were surrounded and lost.
There are two little rivulets which run from the Gualandra into the lake. The traveller crosses the first of these at about a mile after he comes into the plain, and this divides the Tuscan from the Papal territories. The second, about a quarter of a mile further on, is called " the bloody rivulet; and the peasants point out an open spot to the left between the Sanguinetto" and the hills, which, they say, was the principal scene of slaughter. The other part of the plain is covered with thick-set olive trees in corn grounds, and is nowhere quite level except near the edge of the lake. It is, indeed, most probable that the battle was fought near this end of the valley, for the six thousand Romans, who, at the beginning of the action, broke through the enemy, escaped to the summit of an eminence which must have been in this quarter, otherwise they would have had to traverse the whole plain, and to pierce through the main army of Hannibal.
The Romans fought desperately for three hours; but the death of Flaminius was the signal for a general dispersion. The Carthaginian horse then burst in upon the fugitives, and the lake, the marsh about Borghetto, but chiefly the plain of the Sanguinetto and the passes of the Gualandra, were strewed with dead. Near some old walls on a bleak ridge to the left above the rivulet, many human bones have been repeatedly found, and this has confirmed the pretensions and the name of the "stream of blood."
Every district of Italy has its hero. In the north some painter is the usual genius of the place, and the foreign Julio Romano more than divides Mantua with her native Virgil.! To the south we hear of Roman names. Near Thrasimene tradition is still faithful to the fame of an enemy, and Hannibal the Carthaginian is the only ancient name remembered on the banks of the Perugian lake. Flaminius is unknown; but the postillions on that road have been taught to show the very spot where Il Console Romano was slain. Of all who fought and fell in the battle of Thrasimene, the historian himself has, besides the generals and Maharbal, preserved indeed only a single name. You overtake the Carthaginian again on the same road to Rome. The antiquary, that is, the hostler of the posthouse at Spoleto, tells you that his town repulsed the victorious enemy, and shows you the gate still called Porta di Annibale. It is hardly worth while to remark that a French travel writer, well known by the name of the President Dupaty, saw Thrasimene in the lake of Bolsena, which lay conveniently on his way from Sienna to Rome.
tree. 8 Stanza lxxxvii. The projected division of the Spada Pompey has already been recorded by the historian of the Decline and Fall of the
Roman Empire. Mr. Gibbon found it in the memorials of Flaminius Vacca; and it may be added to his mention of it, that Pope Julius III. gave the contending owners five hundred crowns for the statue, and presented it to Cardinal Capo di Ferro, who had prevented the judgment of Solomon from being executed upon the image. In a more civilised age this statue was exposed to an actual operation; for the French who acted the Brutus of Voltaire in the Coliseum, resolved that their Cæsar should fall at the base of that Pompey, which was supposed to have been sprinkled with the blood of the original dictator. The nine-foot hero was therefore removed to the arena of the amphitheatre, and, to facilitate its transport, suffered the temporary amputation of its right arm. The republican tragedians had to plead that the arm was a restoration: but their accusers do not believe that the integrity of the statue would have protected it. The love of finding every coincidence has discovered the true Cæsarian ichor in a stain near the right knee; but colder criticism has rejected not only the blood, but the portrait, and assigned the globe of power rather to the first of the emperors than to the last of the republican masters of Rome. Winkelmann 2 is loth to allow an heroic statue of a Roman citizen, but the Grimani Agrippa, a contemporary almost, is heroic; and naked Roman figures were only very rare, not absolutely forbidden. The face accords much better with the "hominem integrum et castum et gravem," than with any of the busts of Augustus, and is too stern for him who was beautiful, says Suetonius, at all periods of his life. The pretended likeness to Alexander the Great cannot be discerned, but the traits resemble the medal of Pompey. The objectionable globe may not have been an ill applied flattery to him who found Asia Minor the boundary, and left it the centre of the Roman empire. It seems that Winkelmann has made a mistake in thinking that no proof of the identity of this statue with that which received the bloody sacrifice can be derived from the spot where it was discovered. 5 Flaminius Vacca says sotto una cantina, and this cantina is known to have been in the Vicolo de' Leutari, near the Cancellaria; a position corresponding exactly to that of the Janus before the basilica of Pompey's theatre, to which Augustus transferred the statue after the curia was either burnt or taken down. 6 Part of the Pompeian shade, the portico, existed in the beginning of the XVth century, and the atrium was still called Satrum. So says Blondus. At all events, so imposing is the stern majesty of the statue, and so memorable is the story, that the play of the imagination leaves no room for the exercise of the judgment, and the fiction, if a fiction it is, operates on the spectator with an effect not less powerful than
5 Storia delle Arti, &c. 1. ix. c. i.
6. Sueton. in vit. August. cap. 31. and in vit. C. J. Cæsar. cap. 88. Appian says it was burnt down.
7 Antig. Ro. lib. i.
8 Liv. flist. lib. x. cap. Ixix.
No. XXV. THE BRONZE WOLF. "And thou, the thunder-stricken nurse of Rome!" Stanza lxxxviii. Ancient Rome, like modern Sienna, abounded most probably with images of the foster-mother of her founder; but there were two she-wolves of whom history makes particular mention. One of these, of brass in ancient work, was seen by Dionysius 7 at the temple of Romulus, under the Palatine, and is universally believed to be that mentioned by the Latin historian, as having been made from the money collected by a fine on usurers, and as standing under the Ruminal figThe other was that which Cicero has celebrated both in prose and verse, and which the historian Dion also records as having suffered the same accident as is alluded to by the orator. 10 The question agitated by the antiquaries is,
whether the wolf now in the Conservator's Palace is that of Livy and Dionysius, or that of Cicero, or whether it is neither one nor the other. The earlier writers differ as much as the moderns: Lucius Faunus says, that it is the one alluded to by both, which is impossible, and also by Virgil, which may be. Fulvius Ursinus calls it the wolf of Dionysius, and Marlianus 3 talks of it as the one mentioned by Cicero. To him Rycquius tremblingly assents. Nardini is inclined to suppose it may be one of the many wolves preserved in ancient Rome; but of the two rather bends to the Ciceronian statue. Montfaucon 6 mentions it as a point without doubt. Of the latter writers the decisive Winkelmann 7 proclaims it as having been found at the church of Saint Theodore, where, or near where, was the temple of Romulus, and consequently makes it the wolf of Dionysius. His authority is Lucius Faunus, who, however, only says that it was placed, not found, at the Ficus Ruminalis, by the Comitium, by which he does not seem to allude to the church of Saint Theodore. Rycquius was the first to make the mistake, and Winkelmann followed Rycquius.
Flaminius Vacca tells quite a different story, and says he had heard the wolf with the twins was found near the arch of Septimus Severus. The commentator on Winkelmann is of the same opinion with that learned person, and is incensed at Nardini for not having remarked that Cicero, in speaking of the wolf struck with lightning in the Capitol, makes use of the past tense. But, with the Abate's leave, Nardini does not positively assert the statue to be that mentioned by Cicero, and, if he had, the assumption would not perhaps have been so exceedingly indiscreet. The Abate himself is obliged to own that there are marks very like the scathing of lightning in the hinder legs of the present wolf; and to get rid of this adds, that the wolf seen by Dionysius might have been also struck by lightning or otherwise injured.
Let us examine the subject by a reference to the words of Cicero. The orator in two places seems to particularise the Romulus and the Remus, especially the first, which his audience remembered to have been in the Capitol, as being struck with lightning. In his verses he records that the twins and wolf both fell, and that the latter left behind the marks of her feet. Cicero does not say that the wolf was consumed: and Dion only mentions that it fell down, without alluding, as the Abate has made him, to the force of the blow, or the firmness with which it had been fixed. The whole strength, therefore, of the Abate's argument hangs upon the past tense; which, however, may be somewhat diminished by remarking that the phrase only shows that the statue was not then standing in its former position. Winkelmann has observed that the present twins are modern; and it is equally clear that there are marks of gilding on the wolf, which might therefore be supposed to make a part of the ancient group. It is known that the sacred images of the Capitol were not destroyed when injured by time or accident, but were put into certain under-ground depositories, called favissæ.9 may be thought possible that the wolf had been so deposited, and had been replaced in some conspicuous situation when the Capitol was rebuilt by Vespasian. Rycquius, without mentioning his authority, tells that it was transferred from the Comitium to the Lateran, and thence brought to the Capitol. If it was found near the arch of Severus, it may have
1 Luc. Fauni de Antiq. Urb. Rom. lib. ii. cap. vii. ap. Sallengre, tom. i. p. 217. In his seventeenth chapter he repeats, that the statues were there, but not that they were found there.
2 Ap. Nardini, Roma Vetus, 1. v. c. iv.
3 Marliani Urb. Rom. Topograph. lib. ii. cap. ix. He mentions another wolf and twins in the Vatican, lib. v. cap. xxi."
4 Just. Rycquii. de Capit. Roman. Comm. cap. xxiv. pag. 250. edit. Lugd. Bat. 1696.
5 Nardini, Roma Vetus, lib. v. cap. 1v.
6" Lupa hodieque in capitolinis prostat ædibus, cum vestigio fulminis quo ictam narrat Cicero." Diarium Italic. tom. i. p. 174.
7 Storia delle Arti, &c. lib. iii. cap. iii. s. ii. note 10. Winklemann has made a strange blunder in the note, by saying the Ciceronian wolf was not in the Capitol, and that Dion was wrong in saying so.
8 Flam. Vacca, Memorie, num. iii. pag. i. ap. Montfaucon, Diar. Ital.
9 Luc. Faun. ibid.
10 See note to stanza LXXX. in "Historical Illustrations."
11" Romuli nutrix Lupa honoribus est affecta divinis, et ferrem, si animal
been one of the images which Orosius 10 says was thrown down in the Forum by lightning when Alaric took the city. That it is of very high antiquity the workmanship is a decisive proof; and that circumstance induced Winkelmann to believe it the wolf of Dionysius. The Capitoline wolf, however, may have been of the same early date as that at the temple of Romulus. Lactantius asserts that in his time the Romans worshipped a wolf; and it is known that the Lupercalia held out to a very late period 12 after every other observance of the ancient superstition had totally expired. This may account for the preservation of the ancient image longer than the other early symbols of Paganism.
It may be permitted, however, to remark, that the wolf was a Roman symbol, but that the worship of that symbol is an inference drawn by the zeal of Lactantius. The early Christian writers are not to be trusted in the charges which they make against the Pagans. Eusebius accused the Romans to their faces of worshipping Simon Magus, and raising a statue to him in the island of the Tyber. The Romans had proLably never heard of such a person before, who came, however, to play a considerable, though scandalous part in the church history, and has left several tokens of his aerial combat with St. Peter at Rome; notwithstanding that an inscription found in this very island of the Tyber showed the Simon Magus of Eusebius to be a certain indigenal god called Semo Sangus or Fidius. 13
Even when the worship of the founder of Rome had been abandoned, it was thought expedient to humour the habits of the good matrons of the city, by sending them with their sick infants to the church of Saint Theodore, as they had before carried them to the temple of Romulus. 14 The practice is continued to this day; and the site of the above church seems to be thereby identified with that of the temple; so that if the wolf had been really found there, as Winkelmann says, there would be no doubt of the present statue being that seen by Dionysius. But Faunus, in saying that it was at the Ficus Ruminalis by the Comitium, is only talking of its ancient position as recorded by Pliny; and even if he had been remarking where it was found, would not have alluded to the church of St. Theodore, but to a very different place, near which it was then thought the Ficus Ruminalis had been, and also the Comitium; that is, the three columns by the church of Santa Maria Liberatrice, at the corner of the Palatine looking on the Forum.
It is, in fact, a mere conjecture where the image was actually dug up; and, perhaps, on the whole, the marks of the gilding, and of the lightning, are a better argument in favour of its being the Ciceronian wolf than any that can be adduced for the contrary opinion. At any rate, it is reasonably selected in the text of the poem as one of the most interesting relics of the ancient city 15, and is certainly the figure, if not the very animal, to which Virgil alludes in his beautiful
"Geminos huic ubera circum Ludere pendentes pueros, et lambere matrem Impavidos: illam tereti cervice reflexam Mulcere alternos, et corpora fingere lingua" 16
ipsum fuisset, cujus figuram gerit." Lactant. de Falsa Religione, lib cap. 11. pag. 101. edit. varior. 1660; that is to say, he would rather adore a wolf than a prostitute. His commentator has observed that the opinion of Livy concerning Laurentia being figured in this wolf was not universal. Strabo thought so. Ryequius is wrong in saying that Lactantius mentions the wolf was in the Capitol.
12 To A. D. 496. "Quis credere possit," says Baronius [Ann. Eccles. tom. viii. p. 602. in an. 496], “viguisse adhuc Romæ ad Gelasi tempora, quae fuere ante exordia urbis allata in Italiam Lupercalia 2 Gelasius wrote a letter which occupies four folio pages to Andromachus the senator, and others, to show that the rites should be given up.
13 Eccles. Hist. lib. it. cap. xiii. p. 40. Justin Martyr had told the story before; but Baronius himself was obliged to detect this fable. See Nardina, Roma Vet. lib. vii. cap. xii.
14 Rione xii. Ripa, accurata e succincta Descrizione, &c. di Roma Moderna, dell' Ab. Ridolf. Venuti, 1766.
15 Donatus, lib. xi. cap. 18. gives a medal representing on one side the wolf in the same position as that in the Capital; and in the reverse the wolf with the head not reverted. It is of the time of Antoninus Pius
16 Æn. vill. 631. See Dr. Middleton, in his Letter from Rome, who inclines to the Ciceronian wolf, but without examining the subject.
No. XXVI. JULIUS CESAR.
"For the Roman's mind Was modell'd in a less terrestrial mould."— Stanza xc. It is possible to be a very great man and to be still very inferior to Julius Cæsar, the most complete character, so Lord Bacon thought, of all antiquity. Nature seems incapable of such extraordinary combinations as composed his versatile capacity, which was the wonder even of the Romans themselves. The first general-the only triumphant politician - inferior to none in eloquence- comparable to any in the attainments of wisdom, in an age made up of the greatest commanders, statesmen, orators, and philosophers that ever appeared in the world an author who composed a perfect specimen of military annals in his travelling carriage at one time in a controversy with Cato, at another writing a treatise on punning, and collecting a set of good sayings — fighting and making love at the same moment, and willing to abandon both his empire and his mistress for a sight of the Fountains of the Nile. Such did Julius Cæsar appear to his contemporaries and to those of the subsequent ages who were the most inclined to deplore and execrate his fatal genius.
But we must not be so much dazzled with his surpassing glory, or with his magnanimous, his amiable qualities, as to forget the decision of his impartial countrymen : —
HE WAS JUSTLY SLAIN, 1
"Egeria! sweet creation of some heart
Which found no mortal resting-place so fair As thine ideal breast."— Stanza cxv.
The respectable authority of Flaminius Vacca would incline us to believe in the claims of the Egerian grotto. He assures us that he saw an inscription in the pavement, stating that the fountain was that of Egeria, dedicated to the nymphs. The inscription is not there at this day; but Montfaucon quotes two lines of Ovid3 from a stone in the Villa Giustiniani, which he seems to think had been brought from the same grotto.
This grotto and vailey were formerly frequented in summer, and particularly the first Sunday in May, by the modern Romans, who attached a salubrious quality to the fountain which trickles from an orifice at the bottom of the vault, and, overflowing the little pools, creeps down the matted grass into the brook below. The brook is the Ovidian Almo, whose name and qualities are lost in the modern Aquataccio. The valley itself is called Valle di Caffarelli, from the dukes of that name who made over their fountain to the Pallavicini, with sixty rubbia of adjoining land.
There can be little doubt that this long dell is the Egerian valley of Juvenal, and the pausing place of Umbritius, notwithstanding the generality of his commentators have supposed the descent of the satirist and his friend to have been into the Arician grove, where the nymph met Hippolitus, and where she was more peculiarly worshipped.
The step from the Porta Capena to the Alban hill, fifteen miles distant, would be too considerable, unless we were to believe in the wild conjecture of Vossius, who makes that gate travel from its present station, where he pretends it was during the reign of the Kings, as far as the Arician grove, and
then makes it recede to its old site with the shrinking city. 4 The tufo, or pumice, which the poet prefers to marble, is the substance composing the bank in which the grotto is
Qui lapis videtur eodem Egerie fonte, aut ejus vicinia isthuc compartatus." Diarium Italic. p. 153.
The modern topographers3 find in the grotto the statue of the nymph, and nine niches for the Muses; and a late traveller has discovered that the cave is restored to that simplicity which the poet regretted had been exchanged for injudicious ornament. But the headless statue is palpably rather a male than a nymph, and has none of the attributes ascribed to it at present visible. The nine Muses could hardly have stood in six niches; and Juvenal certainly does not allude to any individual cave. Nothing can be collected from the satirist but that somewhere near the Porta Capena was a spot in which it was supposed Numa held nightly consultations with his nymph, and where there was a grove and a sacred fountain, and fanes once consecrated to the Muses; and that from this spot there was a descent into the valley of Egeria, where were several artificial caves. It is clear that the statues of the Muses made no part of the decoration which the satirist thought misplaced in these caves; for he expressly assigns other fanes (delabra) to these divinities above the valley, and moreover tells us that they had been ejected to make room for the Jews. In fact, the little temple, now called that of Bacchus, was formerly thought to belong to the Muses, and Nardini places them in a poplar grove, which was in his time above the valley.
It is probable, from the inscription and position, that the cave now shown may be one of the "artificial caverns," of which, indeed, there is another a little way higher up the valley, under a tuft of alder bushes: but a single grotto of Egeria is a mere modern invention, grafted upon the application of the epithet Egerian to these nymphea in general, and which might send us to look for the haunts of Numa upon the banks of the Thames.
Our English Juvenal was not seduced into mistranslation by his acquaintance with Pope: he carefully preserves the correct plural.
"Thence slowly winding down the vale, we view The Egerian grots: oh, how unlike the true !"
The valley abounds with springs 9, and over these springs, which the Muses might haunt from their neighbouring groves, Egeria presided: hence she was said to supply them with water; and she was the nymph of the grottos through which the fountains were taught to flow.
The whole of the monuments in the vicinity of the Egerian valley have received names at will, which have been changed at will. Venuti 10 owns he can see no traces of the temples of Jove, Saturn, Juno, Venus, and Diana, which Nardini found, or hoped to find. The mutatorium of Caracalla's circus, the temple of Honour and Virtue, the temple of Bacchus, and, above all, the temple of the god Rediculus, are the antiquaries' despair.
The circus of Caracalla depends on a medal of that emperor cited by Fulvius Ursinus, of which the reverse shows a circus, supposed, however, by some to represent the Circus Maximus. It gives a very good idea of that place of exercise. The soil has been but little raised, if we may judge from the small cellular structure at the end of the Spina, which was probably the chapel of the god Consus. This cell is half beneath the soil, as it must have been in the circus itself; for Dionysius 11 could not be persuaded to believe that this divinity was the Roman Neptune, because his altar was under ground.
4 De Magnit. Vet. Rom. ap. Græv. Ant. Rom. tom. iv. p. 1507.
5 Echinard, Descrizione di Roma e dell' Agro Romano, corretto dall' Abate Venuti, in Roma, 1750. They believe in the grotto and nymph. "Simulacro di questo fonte, essendovi sculpite le acque a pie di esso.”
6 Classical Tour, chap. vi. p. 217. vol. ii.
7 Sat. 111.
8 Lib. iii. cap. iii.
9" Urdique e solo aquæ scaturiunt." Nardini, lib. iii. cap. iii.
10 Echinard, &c. Cic. cit. p. 297, 298.
11 Antiq. Rom. lib. ii. cap. xxxi.