Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

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, 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. I

* Lib. iii. cap. iii. † “Undique e solo aquæ scaturiunt.”—Nardini, lib. iii. cap. iii.

I The true Egerian valley is now found within the city wall, where a brook runs across the road, at the spot assigned to the site of the old Porta Capena. That site is marked by the figure of an

The whole of the monuments in the vicinity of the Caffarelli valley have received names at will, which have been changed at will. Venuti * 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 the circus ascribed to Caracalla, 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 was given to Caracalla † in consequence of 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 I could not be persuaded to believe that this

arrow cut in the wall of a vineyard. The brook turns a mill. The former Egerian grotto is given to the god Almo, whose statue has succeeded to that of the nymph. The valley winds under the Cælian hill towards the Lateran. (1854.]

* Echinard, &c. Cic. cit., p. 297-298.

+ But in 1842 this circus was universally called the Circus of Romulus-not the founder of the great city, but the son of Maxentius. The excavations of the Duke of Torlonia, or rather an inscription found in the brick ruins near the Carceres, have satisfied the antiquarians on that point.

Antiq. Rom., lib. ii. cap. xxxi.

divinity was the Roman Neptune, because his altar was underground.

TOMB OF CECILIA METELLA.

Four words and two initials compose the whole of the inscription, which, whatever was its ancient position, is now placed in front of this towering sepulchre:

CÆCILIAE . Q. CRETICI. F. METELLAE . CRASSI.

It is more likely to have been the pride than the love of Crassus which raised so superb a memorial to a wife whose name is not mentioned in history, unless she be supposed to be that lady whose intimacy with Dolabella was so offensive to Tullia the daughter of Cicero, or she who was divorced by Lentulus Spinther, or she, perhaps the same person, from whose ear the son of Æsopus transferred a precious jewel to enrich his draught.* · When Mr. Bayle wanted to find another Roman matron of the same name with whom to divide the redundant vices of two or three other Cecilia Metellas, he seems to have known nothing of this wife of Crassus and daughter of the Cretic Metellus, whom, otherwise, he might have suspected of being the counterpart of his Madame D'Olonne.f

* “Filius Æsopi detractam ex aure Metellä

(Scilicet ut decies solidum exsorberet) aceto
Diluit insignem baccam."

Hor. Sat., lib. ii. Sat. iii. ver. 239. † Dictionnaire, article “Metella."

The common people have been more attentive to the ornaments of the sculptor than to the memory of the matron, for the metopes of the frieze, or a single ox's head with the Gaetani arms, gave to this tower during the middle ages the name of Capo di Bove.* There appears to have been another place of the same name near Ostia in the year 953, unless this tomb should be supposed to be the place alluded to in an old charter of that date.f It was, indeed, an old Roman name, for Suetonius mentions that Augustus was born at a spot in the Palatine called ad capita bubula.

At what period the tomb of Metella was converted into the citadel of a fort can be guessed only by the period at which the monuments in the city were occupied by the nobles. Certain it is that the tomb was put at once to this purpose without any previous spoliation, and that the garrison unconcernedly dwelt over not only the mausoleum but the very ashes of Metella, for the coffin remained in the interior of the sepulchre to the time of Paul III., who removed it to the court of the Farnese palace. The Savelli family were in pos

* Nardini, lib. iii. cap. iii, appears to say it is called Capo di Bove, from a single ox's head sculptured over the door, with the arms of the Gaetani, which Echinard (Agro Romano, &c., p. 295) also notices, but which the writer does not recollect to have seen.

+ Dissertazione sulle Rovine, &c., p. 391, note B. # In vita August., cap. v, $ Echinard, Agro Romano, ibid, in loc. citat. note. This, how

session of the fortress in 1312, and the German army of Henry VII. marched from Rome,* attacked, took, and burnt it, but were unable to make themselves by force masters of the citadel, that is, of the tomb, which must give us a high notion of its strength or of their weakness. The soldiers of the tomb surrendered their post upon terms, and Henry transferred the whole property to a brother of John Savelli who had married one of the Colonna, and who was to keep it until a sum of 20,000 marks, due to the Emperor, had been discharged by the dispossessed baron. The Gaetani family became masters of the place afterwards; they raised the walls which are still seen contiguous to the tomb, and were part of their mansion and adjoining offices. To their labours is ascribed the superstructure, part of which still remains on the top of the monument.

Poggio † saw the tomb entire when he first came to

ever, is disputed by Canina,a who thinks that the sarcophagus belongs to Herodes Atticus, and was not found in this tomb, but on the site of the villa of Herodes, where also were discovered the little columns with the Triopeian inscriptions, now at Naples.b

* “ Unde moti Romani cum Theotonicis ad unum castrum, quod vocatur caput Bovis prope urbem ad duo milliaria, quod castrum erat Domini Johannis de Sabello, cucurrerunt, et castrum, excepta arce, violenter acceperunt, et partem combusserunt,” &c. &c.--Iter Italicum Henrici VII. Imper., Script. Rer. Ital., tom. ix. p. 918.

† “ Juxta Viam Appiam ad secundum lapidem integrum vidi sepulchrum 'Q. Cæciliæ Metellæ, opus egregium, et id tot seculis

à Parte Prima della Via Appia, p. 87, note 25.
b. Ib. pp. 89-91, note.

« ZurückWeiter »