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to greet its arrival, a general holiday was proclaimed, and multitudes streamed out to the pier to gaze at all the gay flags and ensigns expanded by the rich flotilla, for joy at escaping the dangers of the deep; to hail the bronzed veterans returning spoil-laden to their great 'Mother City;' and to amuse themselves with inspecting the crowds of foreigners coming from the very ends of the earth, as suitors for justice, candidates for promotion, or seekers after pleasure. Rome was then so strongly felt to be the great central object to which all commercial cupidity looked, that she was represented as a Crowned Queen, sitting enthroned upon the waves of the Mediterranean.
From which ever side of Italy the stranger approached the Imperial City by land, he emerged from the defiles of a magnificent amphitheatre of hills upon a vast open plain, near the centre of which, on the right bank of a noble river, an isolated cluster of seven hills, moderate in size, but crowned with stately edifices, announced the goal towards which, for many a hundred mile, some great Roman road had been conducting him, straight as flies the arrow, to the golden milestone at the foot of the Capitol. This plain, now a most awful image of death in the bosom of life, was already deserted by the vast swarms of population which had made it at once the hive and garden of Italy; its arable, fertile fields had been turned into pasture, whilst the cultivators of the soil had gone to swell the teeming population of the capital. But the stranger saw, in the stead of their hundred towns, numerous stately aqueducts, conveying from afar rivers of limpid water to this greatest of cities, over arches and through tunnels innumerable, bridging valleys and piercing mountains-monuments of the pomp and power of the people to whose luxury or wants they so ostentatiously ministered, rendered the more impressive from the solitudes through
which, for many successive miles, they planted their giant footsteps.
The awe with which the mistress of the world would be naturally approached was redoubled by the wayside spectacle, peculiarly Roman, of the monuments of the dead; for the sepulchres of twenty generations, crossed by the gaunt shade of funeral cypresses, lined with historic marble the sides of the eighteen well-appointed high-roads for several miles beyond the walls. The Appian Road, proudly styled the Queen of Ways, by which the stranger approached from Greece or Africa, was especially distinguished for the grandeur of its tombs. Here still rises the noble monument to Cecilia Metella, 'the wealthiest Roman's wife,' thus described by Byron :
'There is a stern round tower of other days,
The green leaves over all by time o'erthrown.
What was this tower of strength?
What treasure lay so lock'd, so hid? A woman's grave.'
But a still deeper impression of the grandeur of Rome was made on the stranger from Gaul by the prospect from Mons Marius, hard by the Flaminian Gate, as I can readily understand from the tide of emotions which it often swelled in myself. Hard by the Milvian Bridge, the scene of so many famous battles, spans 'the Yellow Tiber,' here deeper and wider than the Thames at Blackfriars, and the hills rising from its banks-the Janiculus and Vaticanus-sweeping away to some distance, return in their boldest form at this celebrated hill, whence the rugged chain of the Ape
nines, covered with snow for more than six months in the year, rises to the right of the far off horizon, and the Campagna stretches away to the left, its nearly level line melting into the more level line of the sea, which can only be distinguished from it by the bright line of light reflected from its waters. It was upon this vast plain that most of those achievements were performed that raised ancient Rome to greatness. Where could a warrior-race have found a grander theatre? Here were ample space and 'verge enough for the march of armies, the erection of encampments, the levels required for martial games and exercises, and room for the construction of the multitude of causeways that extended from the Capitol 4,080 miles into the heart of its provinces.
For ages before the days of Augustus, triumphant legions almost daily made these causeways clang with their iron tread. Grand processions glittered along this vast surface, with magnificent cars bearing captive princes arrayed in royal robes that mocked their misery, or conveying ambassadors from foreign lands, hastening to secure the favour of the Senate by gifts of barbaric pearls and gold, or of savage animals dragged from the interior of India or Africa. Even those long, green, swelling ridges in which the Campagna rises and falls, as in the heath country of Surrey and Berkshire, and the myriads of streams which interlace them, then displayed the prowess and wealth of Rome; for the precipitous, rocky cliffs which they form were made the natural strength of numberless citadels, like giant sentinels guarding the approach to the mistress of the world.
Within the enormous walls of Rome rose the famous Seven Hills, crowned with the temples of the gods and mansions of the senators, encircled with groves and gardens. The narrow valleys between them were studded thickly with the houses of the populace, whose crowded families lived on
different flats, as is still the custom in Scotland. Cabins, as is still the case, of mendicants, and of the feudal followers of the nobles, called clients or freedmen, then clustered thickly against the outer walls of the mansions of their patrons (fathers), and from them issued swarms of the most degraded and desperate of the populace. From the very first, the Forum, a public place lying between the Palatine and the Capitoline hills, was the favourite haunt of the citizens, and the only quarter in ancient Rome regularly planned. Its open space, nearly a square, was inclosed by public roads running along its borders, intended for public processions, and lined on the outer edge by rows of temples, the Senate-house, the courts of justice, and the Rostrum, or political pulpit, from which the orators harangued the mighty multitude, crowded without order or distinction around, whilst the Conscript Fathers' of the Senate debated in some hall or temple. This famous area, on whose narrow space the affairs of the world were transacted, was surrounded with colonnades, connecting hall with hall and temple with temple, which in the morning were the thoroughfare of men of business, and in the evening, overflowed with a mixed multitude of loungers and idlers amazing to behold. Indeed, the vast assembly daily crowded into the Forum and its outlets exceeded what we commonly witness in our own cities; for the Romans lived very much out of doors, were exceedingly gregarious in their habits, and most of the trades were exercised in the open air. The street-cries, which have ceased only in our own memory in London, were then rife in Rome, and contributed to realize the actual movement of life in the great metropolis, and to deepen the surging murmurs which still seem to resound across the abyss of eighteen centuries. The noble never crossed his threshold without a long train of retainers; the middle classes congregated to
the corners to hear the gossip of the day, and discuss politics; the freedmen and slaves hovered over the steam of the open cookshops, or loitered on their masters' errands to gaze on the rude drawings posted as placards on the walls, or to snatch a glimpse at the tricks of the conjurors and clowns, or to catch the air of some popular melody. Multitudes of foreigners, too, swelled the overwhelming human tide of population-men of strange costumes and figures, and, when they spoke, of speech still stranger; who, while they gazed around them with awe and admiration, became themselves each a centre of remark to a crowd of wondering citizens. From the Forum, the Sacra Via (or Holy Way), on one side bordered by public buildings and shops, and on the other, by a range of statues on pedestals, formed an august approach to the next great point of interest, the Capitoline Hill, which it mounted by a gradual ascent before the ancient Temples of Concord and of Saturn. This hill, on its northern summit, contained the temple of Juno Moneta, the Roman Mint; and that famous fortress, the Capitol, built upon the 'Rock eternal and immoveable, to which,' it was believed, the gods had promised the empire of the world, and which the race of Julius and Eneas should inherit for ever and ever.' On the eminence jutting toward the river rose the rock down which had been hurled many a conspirator against the liberties of the Republic-the
The promontory whence the traitor's leap,
Cured all ambition.'
On the opposite summit rose the Temple of Jupiter Capitolinus, the centre of the religious worship of the city, and the shrine to which the consul, dictator, or imperator, always led his conquering legions in his triumphal chariot, climbing the