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Palace, may be enjoyed a view to which the world cannot furnish an equal. I regret to say that, having repeatedly surveyed the Palatine ruins, I must repeat that, with all this learning in my hand, I had the bad fortune to find nothing more than I had seen in former visits. I looked from the angle of the terrace in the Farnese Gardens, towards Sta. Maria Liberatrice, and saw nothing corresponding to “the little bit of a segment of a circular wall” which the discoverer traces back to Evander. I had no better success when searching for the peperine fragments of the Temple of Ceres, above St. Anastasia. Indeed the gardener, who conducted our researches in 1828, denied that any excavations had been made at the period assigned to them only two years before (1826), and calling aloud to some peasants who were working in the garden below, he asked them if they had heard of any excavations? “Excavations !" replied the men, “ to be sure we have, and we are making them now!" They were digging holes for vine plants.
The great ruins in the Farnesi Gardens, assigned to the Palatine Library, were choked up with brambles and brick-work, and I had some difficulty in tearing my way through them to read an inscription recording a former attempt by Francis I., Duke of Parma, to restore the glories of the Imperial House. A donkey was tethered in the thicket by the side of some ashes of a gipsey
It seems strange that these remains of ancient Empire, when once partially rescued from the ravages of time, should again be abandoned to desolation and neglect. Fragments of sculptured marble are still scattered over the contiguous ilex grove in which the “ ARCADI " held their sittings, and in a hole lately dug I saw, in 1828, a fluted column, which the royal landlord of these gardens would not suffer to be removed.
Something even of the decoration of the Imperial apartments has been seen by modern eyes. One of the great subterranean saloons, discovered in the time of Innocent X., was found to be covered with gold tapestry, which fell to pieces when exposed to the air, and another compartment was seen to be inlaid with silver. The declivity of the Palatine, opposite to S. Gregorio, was excavated at this time (1645 to 1655), and was a mine of antiquarian treasure. Besides a great quantity of statues and precious marbles of every description, there was found an iron chest, containing all the implements of sacrifice, and, more curious than all, there was found a small chamber, about twelve palms wide, with a leaden coating on every side, between which and the walls a quantity of gold coin was discovered, and led to the conjecture that this was the position of the Imperial Treasury.*
This part of the Hill is now (1854) one mass of overgrown, choked-up ruins, partially contrived to serve as terraces attached to the Franciscan Convent above. The refectory of the good Fathers was a reservoir in the
time of the Cæsars.* Not long after my first visit in 1817, a portion of the Palatine Hill, once the Villa Spada, or Magnani, before mentioned, was purchased by an Englishman of the name of Mills, and the villa which was constructed there was for some time, even after the death of that gentleman, called the Villa Mills. It is now called the “* Vigna Palatina."
This building, with its Chinese monsters and its Dutch garden and high clipped hedgerows, that entirely shut out the view of the great ruins below, has entirely disfigured this portion of the Palatine, except perhaps the terraces which overlook the Circus Maximus, and the tall ruins of the so-called Palace or Tower of Nero. The exclusion of visitors from the Vigna Palatina, except on stated days, has much detracted from the interest of the Imperial Hill. In 1817 I used to ramble over it when and where I pleased. It has now (1854) on company days all the crowd and clatter of a sea-side promenade. The subterranean chambers, called “Camere d'Augusto, are kept under lock and key.t
ARCH OF CONSTANTINE. The first notice of the change which made Christianity the religion of the Roman world is to be found on this arch.
* Bartoli, Mem. v.
+ I hear some Portuguese nuns have now a convent on the Palatine in this quarter.—1858.
Imp. Caes. Fl. Constantino Maximo
P. F. Augusto. S. P. Q. R.
The record of the Divine instinct which, added to his magnanimity and his army, induced Constantine to march to Rome, shows that the stories of the Labarum and of the other prodigies which preceded the victories of the great Emperor are probably almost as old as his conversion ; but the “ instinctu Divinitatis ” have been substituted for some erased letters. The inscriptions SIC. X.-SIC. XX. and VOTIS. X. VOTIS XX., recall the old formulas by which the emperors tried to reconcile their subjects to slavery : “ Cioè, il Senato, ed il popolo accla“mavano sic X. SIC XX. sic decennalia sic vicenalia, “vale a dire che come prospero era passato il primo “ decennio, cosi passasse il secondo.”* It has been supposed that the words “triumphis insignem " show that the arch had been used for former triumphs before , the days of Constantine ; but the writer just quoted refers the expression to the road, the Via Triumphalis, and not to the structure. Whether this opinion be well-founded or not, it is certain that the arch is a very miscellaneous piece of work, belonging to at least
* Roma nel anno xxxviii. parta 1, p. 449.
three periods, to say nothing of the pious patchwork of the Popes. The decorated sculpture-all but that part of it which might become a village tombstone *_has so little to do with the exploits of Constantine, and so pointedly pourtrays certain portions of the life of Trajan, that it is strange the Senate and Roman people should have risked a flattery so awkward as this monument records. The insertion of a page of Livy in the Augustan Histories will hardly furnish a specimen of more curious mosaic. Not only may, works dedicated to Trajan, to Gordian, and to Constantine be here recognised, but it should be recollected that one of the Dacian kings, the heads of all of them, one of the eight columns, and a part of the entablature must be ascribed to the restoration of Clement XII, in 1733—they are modern. The story of Lorenzino de' Medici having despoiled the statues of their heads is generally discredited: at any rate he did not carry all of them to Florence, if it is true that one of them was found beneath the arch when restored by Clement XII., and transferred to the Vatican ; but this also is denied. The Abate Fea doubts whether the bust in question really represents a Dacian king. A late traveller † has fallen into two or three errors in his notice of this monument. He speaks of the arch as if it was certain it was erected for Constantine. He tells of the Arch of
* Forsyth, Remarks on Italy, p. 230.