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of St. Pietro in Montorio, or the other eminences beyond the Tiber. They are so thickly strewn, and so massive, that it is not surprising the inhabitants of the rising town chose rather to seek for other sites, than to attempt to clear them away. But they are not without their use, for the flagging vapours of the malaria are supposed to settle round their summits, as well as those of the Coliseum, and thus to spare the modern city.
Where all repair has been hopeless, the descendants of those who reared these mighty fabrics converted the desolation of the ancient city to the purposes of other havoc. They scraped the old walls of the Palatine, as well as those of the Baths of Titus, for saltpetre, of which a manufacture was established in both those positions; and thus, if the phrase may be used, ruin begot ruin, destruction propagated destruction.
Less has been written on this, the parent Hill, than on any of the Roman antiquities. Bufalini, in 1561, published a plan, and Panvinius, in his work on the Circensian games, treated of some of the ruins ; but Bianchini's, up to a late period, was the only work dedicated solely to the Palatine structures, and that did not appear until after his death. Poor Guattini, in 1785, wrote an essay on the House of Augustus, and the common guide books parcelled out the antiquities according to the , usual method, and with the usual success; but in 1828 was published in Rome a quarto, with this title, “Il Palazzo de' Cesari sul Monte Palatino restaurato da COSTANTINO THON, Architetto della Corte di Russia, &c. Illustrato da Vicenzo Ballanti, &c.' The engravings accompanying this work are in large folio, and show the actual state of the Palace of the Cæsars, as well as representations of certain architectural fragments found upon the Hill, besides giving a restored palace of the Cæsars on a large scale and an imaginary temple of the Palatine Apollo. This handsome work was dedicated to the Emperor Nicholas, and is not unworthy of the Imperial patronage; but I cannot say that I found it of much use to me during my later visits to Rome. It is full of conjectural temples, palaces, houses, and libraries ; but, except the “giardino del Signor Mills,” and the “ orti del Collegio Inglese,” I recognized very little of anything of which I felt perfectly secure.
The Signor Ballanti confesses that little or nothing can be known of buildings existing on this spot in the time of Evander, excepting a few temples and a site or two, such as that of the Lupercal, which was certainly to be found above the church of Sta. Maria Liberatrice; but Signor Thon, the artist, in 1826, discovered vestiges of a round temple on the declivity immediately above the church just mentioned, “which must have belonged “ to the Temple of Victory originally founded by Evan“ der.* Also on the angle of the hill above the church “ of St. Anastasia certain peperine fragments have been “ long discovered, but, incredible as it may seem, no one
* “ La prima fondazione di questo tempio al dire di Dionisio nel lib. i. deve attribuirsi ad Evandro.”—l'alazzo de' Cesari, p. 17.
“ recognised them to be fragments of a round temple, * “ perhaps of Ceres, and built on the site of that erected “ by Evander to the same goddess.” Of the Temple of the Palatine Ceres, together with that of Apollo and the Augustan gods, the artist Thon discovered the circular form more distinctly than it had been before recognised. No classical author had indicated the precise position of the united temples of Cybele, Bacchus, and Juno Sospita; but Mr. Thon found the vestiges of them on the left of the convent of S. Bonaventura. He assigns also sites to the Temples of Jupiter Propugnator and Minerva, which unfortunately have not left any vestiges; “but “ perhaps the spot called “St. Sebastian in Pallara' may “ indicate where Pallas was once worshipped.”
“ Cicero, Scaurus and Clodius lived somewhere on the declivity opposite to the church of S. Gregorio; so did Dionysius and Q. Catulus. Many other private houses were also to be found there, not worth mentioning, excepting that of Vitruvius of Fondi, of whom, unfortunately, nothing is known.” |
Descending to the Imperial structures, I find, from this treatise, that the House of Augustus (at the southwest of the Villa Mills, or Palatina) was first excavated by a Frenchman, Rancouvril, the owner of the Villa Spada in 1775. He was rewarded by finding the Apollo Sauroctonus and the two Ledas, besides other inferior marbles. A great part of the excavation was filled up
again; but Guattani, in his · Monumenti Inediti,' gives an exact description of the original appearance of the remains. Plans of them were also published by Barberi and Piranesi. The descent to this house has been made practicable by a flight of fifty steps. How a palace on a hill could subside so deeply under ground, or how the soil could accumulate so high above it, I am not able to understand. There is so little depth of earth here that grass will not grow and trees soon die, as their roots find no nutriment in the crumbled brick-work of which the greater part of the whole Palatine Hill may be said to be composed.
Three steps of the curve of a theatre are observable in this quarter, on the side towards the Circus Maximus.
The so-called Baths of Livia are only some chambers of the House of Augustus, on which he subsequently founded the pronaos of the Temple of Apollo.'
The Temple of Apollo, according to Thon and Ballanti, has left remains of the cell and the inclosure, besides the great ruins of the Palatine Library. Many of the statues of this temple were discovered in the time of Vacca, who calls them Amazons. In the time of Bianconi (1720) the vaulted chambers were cleared, and two more compartments discovered; but the walls above were always as they are now seen since any modern notice has been taken of them. Such were the principal edifices constructed on this Hill by Augustus—" in gran parte ancora esistente,” says Signor Ballanti.
The HOUSE OF TIBERIUS and his Library were on that VOL. II.
part of the Palatine overlooking the Church of S. Anastasia, the south-west angle. The HOUSE OF CALIGULA was, as before mentioned, on the side overlooking the Forum. Amongst the vast remains which form part of it there are two walls much larger than the rest, perhaps, says Ballanti, part of the Temple of Augustus built by Caligula. Two other larger walls are also here discovered, perhaps, according to the same authority, part of the Temple of Caligula himself, where he sat to be adored. On the terraces above these ruins the Republican Government of 1849 gave a fête, and Trattorias were established in the vaults. The part of the Palace principally built by Nero is thought by these authorities, as well as by others, to be that looking towards St. Gregorio and the Celian mount. This part of the Palace was much restored by Septimius Severus. Nero also constructed the principal entrance towards the Sacred Way, and Domitian rebuilt it. Some of the substructions have been discovered in front of the Church of St. Francesca Romana. Domitian raised and planted what he called the GARDEN of Adonis ; Alexander Severus added the Diæta Mammæa, and adorned the Palace with his far-famed “Opus Alexandrinum.” The access to this portion of the Cæsarean Palace had in 1842 been rendered more easy by a flight of steps and a stone bench for a resting place. The ruins here were as wild and majestic at that day as when I saw them a quarter of a century before. From the summit of the long stuccoed terrace, which was the floor of the third story of the