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reader may interpret as he pleases the “chambera" of Dionysius.
Pliny* asserts that the cloacæ of Tarquin were of so solid a construction that earthquakes could not injure them. The form of the arch is most favourable to such stability, and if the drain now seen be the “meatus” of Agrippa, what has become of the Tarquinian sewer, ex. isting in the days of Pliny, and described as indestructible ? Perhaps Mr. Duppa might ask what has become of the meatus of Agrippa ? but to this question the reply might be made that various drains have been discovered in Rome which correspond much better with the age of Agrippa than the Great Cloaca. The drain, before alluded to, discovered by Ficoroni in 1742, which Nardini thought belonged to the Cloaca Maxima,ť but which appears to have been only one of the sewers leading to it, was most likely the work of Agrippa; and Niebuhr remarks that the stones composing it were of travertine, whereas the blocks of the Cloaca of the Velabrum are of peperine. Many years before (1742), when the Farnese Palace was building, the architect discovered a sewer of considerable size, cut out of the chalk rock, running from the Campo de' Fiore to the Tiber. I Even under the Tarpejan rock a vaulted drain was found about the same period, which communicated
* Lib. 36, cap. 15.
with the wells of the Capitol.* The first of these has since been laid open: I saw it in 1853. Nardini conjectures that excavations in almost any quarter of Rome would lay open some one of these subterranean channels, which he thinks evidently supplied the inspired author of the Revelations with one of his images of the old Imperial City, for “the great harlot sitting on many waters” was almost a literal allusion to Rome and her thousand drains.f
The indefatigable Fea, in 1828, obtained permission to dig a deep trench in the Via de' Cerchi, in search of certain underground streams deriving their source from a spring in a large reservoir on the Celian Mount, contiguous to the site of the old Temple of Mercury. The Abate did not succeed in his enterprise, and was derided accordingly by his rival Antonio Nibby; but his labour was far from lost. After cutting through six or seven feet of earth, mixed with fragments of marble and carved stone-work, of ancient construction, the labourers came to a wall of good brick-work, at the bottom of which was a gutter that still conducted a clear rapid stream from the foot of the Palatine in the direction of the Velabrum. They followed the course of this stream, and cutting a trench 200 feet in length, found the same kind of brick-work continue at intervals until they came to a circular mass, looking like the remains of the Meta Sudans, into a hole at the bottom of which the water rushed with much rapidity, and was lost. That this was a subterraneous sewer was apparent, for parallel with the top of the brick-wall, and about five or six feet above the stream, there was found an ancient road, composed in the usual manner of black basalt polygons.
* Vacca, Mem. 65. † Nard. lib. vii. cap. v. on the Chiaviche.
The excavations near the Arch of Constantine and the Coliseum have laid bare the great drains in that quarter of the city, and shown the ducts through which the fountain of the Meta Sudans was supplied.
The water was running in the trench opened by Fea, as well as in that of Ficoroni, when I saw them; but whether any probable conjecture has been made as to the springs of so many streams I never learnt. Remains of reservoirs have been discovered in the Palatine, one of which, near the Church of St. Anastasia, was full of water; and the ancient city, before the construction of the aqueducts, must have trusted to her fountains, far more than to the Tiber, for her purest water.
None of these sewers just described have, however, the slightest resemblance to the great Cloaca of the Velabrum, although the drain of the Via de' Cerchi seems to have been connected with it; and I do not see how any one could mistake that very ancient work for a comparatively modern sewer.
Mr. Duppa's remarks on the arch of the Cloaca contain some objections to its supposed antiquity, not easily answered; and it is certainly singular that, with such a work before their eyes, the old Romans should not have copied that form of structure for the same or similar purposes; yet the stone-work of the great emissaries of the Alban lake and of Nemi is not arched. This writer, however, is surely wrong when he says that the oldest arch in Rome is that of the tomb of Cecilia Metella. He cannot have seen the entrance into the tomb of the Scipios, where the arch is complete, composed of nine enormous uncemented blocks of peperine; and a question may be raised as to whether the truncated cone of the Tullian dungeon may not be called an arch with as much propriety as the chamber of Metella's tomb.*.
I have ventured to enter into detail on this subject, inasmuch as I should be loth to encourage any criticism tending to detract from the interest attached to the most authentic of all the few vestiges of the old original Rome.
ST. NICHOLAS IN CARCERE. A Temple of Piety was built in the Forum Olitorium, by Acilius Glabrio the Duumvir,f to commemorate the victory of his father over Antiochus at Thermopylæ, and a gold statue of Glabrio was placed in this temple. Festus mentions that it was consecrated on a spot where a woman once lived who had nourished her father in
* Mr. Duppa has also made a mistake about the origin of a curious term connected with this question of the arch. The inhàbitants of Pagan Rome called an arched chamber “ fornicated.” The Christians described the deadly sin frequently committed in those chambers by the name given to that kind of structure.
+ Liv. Hist. lib. x.
prison with her own milk, and was thus the occasion of his being pardoned.* Solinus has much the same account. It is a pity that so fine a tale should be liable to such contradictions. The father in Festus is a mother in Pliny, † and the plebeian of the latter is a noble matron in Valerius Maximus.f The naturalist lays the scene in the prisons of the Decemvirs, and adds that a Temple of Piety was erected on the site of these prisons, where the Theatre of Marcellus afterwards stood. The other writer (Valerius) makes no mention of the temple. It seems clear, however, that Festus and Pliny allude to the same story, and that the change of sex was, perhaps, occasioned by some confusion of the father of Glabrio with the mother of the pious matron.
* “Pietati ædem ab Acilio consecratam ajunt eo loco quo quædam mulier habitaverit, quæ patrem suum inclusum carcere mammis suis clam aluerit ; ob hoc factum impunitas ei concessa sit.”-Sex. Pomp. Fest. de Verb. sig. lib. xx. ex Bib. Ant. August., p. 598, vol. 7, edit. Lucæ, 1772.
† “ Humilis in plebe et ideo ignobilis puerpera, supplicii causa carcere inclusa matre, cum impetrasset aditum a janitore semper excussa, ne quid inferret cibi, deprehensa est uberibus suis alens eam. Quo miraculo salus matris donata filiæ pietati est; ambæque perpetuis alimentis; et locus ille eidem consecratus est deæ C. Quinctio. M. Attilio Coss. templo pietatis extructo in illius carceris sede, ubi nunc Marcelli theatrum est.”—Hist. Nat., lib. vii. cap. 36. .
e“ Sanguinis ingenui mulierem prætor apud tribunal suum capitali crimine damnatam, triumviro in carcere necandam tradidit," &c.—Valer. Max. lib. v. cap. iv, note 7.
$ Or perhaps with the other Grecian story told by Valerius Maximus (ibid. No. 1, Externa), of Perus and Cimon, of which there. was a fine picture,