Abbildungen der Seite

other inscription found on the same spot is composed of these letters—


and records a Praetor belonging, it is thought, to the last age of the republic. A fragment shows the following letters:—


and other inscriptions of doubtful import were also found, and were removed. Amongst them was a fragment of the Capitoline Fasti, which was not submitted to profane inspection. The excavators on this site had to work through the foundation walls of modem buildings, and an accumulation, composed in a great measure, of broken marble, travertine, and brick-work, all of which, mingled with rubbish and common earth, gave to the spectator who looked into the deep pit below him, from the footway of modern Bome to the level of the ancient city, a lively conception of the variety and succession of structures that crowded this part of the Forum, and of the ruins that laid them low. The column of Phocas itself was a fragment probably of some building of the age of the Antonines—certainly not of the wretched times when it was raised, 608 A.d. (For. Rom., p. 165). The inscriptions underwent the same fate as those on the Arch of Severus, erased and altered after the murderer Phocas had been killed by Heraclius.


St. Martina — St. Hadrian — Basilica Emilia—Cosmas and Daraianus — Temple of Remus, or of the Penates — St. Lorenzo in Miranda — Antoninus and Faustina — Basilica of Constantine — Temple of Venus and Rome — Arch of Titus — St. Maria Liberatrice — Curia Hostilia — Church of St. Theodore — Temple of Romulus or Vesta — Basilica Julia.

Roman Forum.

The local sanctity of the Roman Forum is somewhat impaired by the doubts which obscure the greater part of the conspicuous remains in this quarter. The site of the Forum itself, at least the exact position of it, is not quite determinately known. Some antiquaries previous to Panvinius thought it to be near the temple supposed that of Pallas in what is now called the Forum of Nerva.* Fulvius laid it down between the Capitoline and Palatine hills.t Marlianus extended it as far as the Arch of Titus, and Baronius lengthened it to St. Nicholas in Carcere.% Donatus believed in the more restricted sense, § and he is followed by Nardini. Some

[ocr errors]

idea may be formed of the size from that of the Forum of Trajan, which was probably the larger of the two. When Constantius visited Rome it was regarded as a venerable remnant of former power.* The destruction of the monuments and the desolation of the site must date at least as early as the fire of Guiscard.

The name of the Roman Forum seems to have been obliterated in the earliest times, and when it reappears the modern denomination by a singular coincidence shows that time had accomplished the repented vow of Totila.t The Forum was the Cow-field in the beginning of the fifteenth century, and the sacred precincts are usually known by no other name to this day. The accretion of soil is so great in the Campo Vaccino, that the excavations to the ancient level have thrown up heaps of earth, the disposal of which has become a matter of difficulty. The dissection has not yet led to a correct anatomy of the ancient structure.J Despairing of any discoveries at the foot of the three columns (the pretended Comitium), the Abate Fea was superintending the labours of the convicts in the summer, 1817, to ascertain the actual

* "Perspectissimum priscas potentias forum obstupuit."—Amm. Marcell., lib. xvi. cap. 10, p. 143.

t Totila said he would make Rome a sheep-walk, Ixt{k6^otov. The coincidence would be more striking, if, as the Latin translation interprets it, and as Gibbon has apparently followed that translation, the Gothic king had used the words " in gregum pascua," a " pasture for cattle." See Decline and Fall, cap. xliii. tom. vii. at p. 369.

J This was written in 1817. What has been done towards the above-named object will be seen in the subsequent pages.

direction by which the triumphal way ascended the Capitoline hill. The difficulty of squeezing the twenty elephants and the four stags abreast of Aurelian's car, into the space between the Arch of Severus and the supposed Temple of Concord, was not, however, likely to be" surmounted by any discoveries beneath the soil.* It does not seem that any flooring similar to that of the Forum of Trajan will be found in this quarter: nor have the labours at the base of the three columns decided whether they are still to be the Comitium, or be restored to their former tenants, Castor and Pollux, or to Jupiter Stator.t They have, however, added two or three fragments to the Fasti, the original mass of which was discovered at the opposite church of Santa Maria Liberatrice.t

* Vopisc. in Vit. Aurel. Hist. Aug., p. 210, edit. 1519; or under the arch would be equally difficult. Roman antiquaries have a very summary way of getting rid of difficulties. Some one mentioned this reference to Vopiscus to the Abate Fea—" Oh," said Fea, "Vopiscus was wrong." The probable direction of the Triumphal Way is elsewhere shown in this volume.

t Nardini, lib. v. cap. iii., is positive for the Comitium; after which we may be amused with the following opinions. "Quoiqu' il y ait des antiqnaires qui croient que les trois superbes colonnes isotees que Ton voit dans le Forum, &c., et l'opinion la plus commune est qu'elles sont un reste du Portique du temple de Jupiter Stator."—Vasi, Itine'raire de Bome, 1816, tom. i. p. 78. "Ma che sicuramente sono avanzi del tempio di Castore et Pottuce."ltinerario di Soma, &c., opera dell' Antiquario Andrea Manazzale, Roma, 1817, torn. i. p. 44. Mr. Forsyth has hit these two antiquaries, "lacquey de places in print."

X The view of the Forum in Paul V.'s time gives a mass of brickwork, called Rostra Vetera et Nova, near the Palatine; some arched St. Martina.

From the church of St. Martina in tribus Foris* to the corner of the Carinse, there is not an object that has not been disputed, and that may not again become the subject of controversy. Nardini -j- thought the church of Saint Hadrian might be the temple dedicated by Antoninus to Hadrian, a scandalous but probable con

ruins, called Templum Libertatis, near the Comitium; then a single arch and two steps, like a sentry-box, Templum Deorum Penatum; and behind these the Curtian Lake, with four arches, partly filled up, called curia nova ad Septentrionem vergens.

* The church is now called S. Martina e Luca. Donatus, I believe, originated the conjecture that it stood on the site of the Secretarium Senatus. Nibby speaks of it with some hesitation:—" Pretende che fosse l' archivio del Senate" The next church is now generally adjusted to the Basilica iEmilia; although, to get rid of some difficulties, Bunsen, as I found in 1842, had conjectured that there were two iEmilian Basilicas. In regard to the building itself, it seems decided that the brickwork of the facade, the only part laying claim to any antiquity, belongs to the sixth or seventh century." Nibby, the author from whom these words are quoted, formerly spoke with much decision in favour of this church being composed in part of the Basilica iEmilia,b chiefly on the strength of an inscription on a marble pedestal discovered in digging for the foundation of the modern church in 1665; and Nibby adds to this conjecture that the columns of Phrygian marble which adorned the Basilicas of iEmilius in the reign of Valentinian II. were transferred to the church of St. Paul's without the Walls, which was built at that period. This is only a conjecture.

t Lib. v. cap. 8.

• Roma nel anno 1838, p. 27.

b Foro Romano, p. 156.

« ZurückWeiter »