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the tenth century.* It was again a strong place, and the Corsi family had fortified it, or occupied its fortifications, in the course of the next hundred years. Their houses on the hill were thrown down by the emperor Henry IV. in 1084, and Guiscard soon afterwards levelled whatever remained of the fortress.t
In 1118, however, it was still the place of assembly. The friends of pope Gelasius II. and the Heads of the regions are said to have mounted into the Capitol, to rescue him from Cencio Frangipane. In that century the Capitol is crowned with churches, and in the possession of monks. Aracoeli and St. John the Baptist, the monastery of the Benedictines (who were settled there by the anti-pope Anaclete II. about 1130 or 1134), some gardens and mean houses and shops had succeeded to the pagan temples and to the feudal towers.S
At the revolution of Arnold of Brescia (1143, 1144), in the same century, the Capitol was naturally selected for the restoration of the senate and the equestrian
* Dissertazione sulle Rovine, p. 330, note A. There seems some doubt here. Muratori, ad an. 998, tom. v. p. 509, is much amused at a story of Peter Damian's, that the anti-pope had his eyes bored out, his ears cut off, and his tongue also cut off, and being then put on an ass, with his face to the tail, which he held in his hand, was paraded about Rome, and obliged to exclaim, “Such is the deserving punishment of him who endeavours to expel the pope of Rome from his seat.” Damian tells this, with the exception of the tongue cut out; a Saxon annalist tells it with the exception of the exclamation; so that the joke is only in Muratori’s confusion.
+ See previous account of the destruction of Roman Remains.
order. The hill became the seat of the revolutionary government, and we find Pope Lucius II., in 1145, repulsed and killed with a stone in an attempt to drive the people from their post.* The rebuilding of the capitoline citadelf was part of the proposed reform, and appears to have been carried, partially at least, into effect. From this period the Capitol resumed something of its importance, and, if those who saw it may be trusted, of its splendour. The people held a consultation there before they attacked Frederic Barbarossa in 1155.
It appears in the transactions of the subsequent centuries as the centre of the city. The duties and ceremonies of the recovered senate, or senator, were rendered more respectable by being performed on the site of ancient dominion, and whilst the tomb of Hadrian was regarded with jealousy and affright, the tenant of the Capitol was looked upon as the lawful master of Rome. Here Rienzi planted the standard of the good estate-here Petrarch was crowned. The popular assemblies were convoked on this hill. The bell of the great tower was the signal of alarm, and was thought to watch over the new liberties of the Romans. The tolling is often heard in the night of those unhappy ages.
The importance of this station was fatal to the new
** Annali d'Italia, tom. vi. p. 480.
+ “Andava costui (Arnold of Brescia) predicando che si dovea riffabbricare il campidoglio.”—Annali d'Italia, tom. vi. p. 481.
Annali, &c., tom. vi. p. 517.
citadel, which, after being frequently assaulted and taken in the quarrels of the barons and the people, and the popes, seems to have lost all appearance of a fortress in the beginning of the fifteenth century. But the people were still summoned to the hill in the tumults which followed the death of King Ladislaus * in 1414, and a house for the tribunals of the senator and his conservators was built upon the ancient enrolment office of Catulus.f Hear what was then the condition of the hill from a Roman, who, after describing its ancient glories, exclaims, “But now, besides the brickhouse built for the use of the senator and his assessors by Boniface IX.,I and raised upon ruins, and such as an old Roman citizen of moderate fortune would have despised; besides the church of Aracoeli, belonging to the brothers of the blessed Francis, constructed on the foundation of the temple of the Feretrian Jupiter, there is nothing to be seen on this Capitoline, or Tarpeian mountain, adorned once with so many noble
* Vendettini. Serie cronologica, &c., p. 75, 76.
† At the angle where the prisons now are a portion of the old structure is still preserved ; and a still better specimen may be seen within the doorway immediately leading to the prisons. The portico of the Tabularium is so cased in the modern wall that, although distinctly seen, and one of the few certain remains, it produces less effect than any of the Roman antiquities.
The towers of the Capitol were the work of this Pope, the fortifier of the Castle of St. Angelo; and an inscription under his picture, in the Borgian apartments at the Vatican, boasts of this exploit as the true foundation of the papal power.
edifices.”* In this picture of desolation may be inserted the fragments of marble recorded by Poggio, and the cottages which served for the shops of the artisans who frequented the Wednesday market held there, until transferred, in 1477, to the Piazza Navona.t
The present state of the Capitol dates from the pontificate of Paul III. On the establishment of the papal power the castle of St. Angelo was to be the only fortress, and the genius of Michael Angelo was employed to make the ancient citadel not only accessible but inviting. The broad and easy ascent, the façade and steps of the senatorial palace, the lateral edifices have accomplished this object; but they accord ill with our preconceptions of the Roman Capitol. It should, however, be recollected, that although the area may have
*“Nunc vero præter lateritiam domum a Bonifacio IX. ruinis superædificatam qualem mediocris olim fastidissit Romanus civis usibus senatoris et causidicorum deputatam ; præter Aræcæli fratrum beati Franc. ecclesiam in Feretrii Jovis templi fundamentis extructam, nihil habet is Capitolinus Tarpeiusve mons tantis olim ædificiis exornatus.”-Flav. Blond. Rom. Inst., lib. i. fol. 10, edit. 1527.
f “ Eodem anno et mense essendosi più volte ordinato lo consiglio nel Palazzo de' Conservatori, che si dovesse fare lo mercato di Mercordi nella Piazza di Nagoni, tamdem lo mercato fu cominciato alli tredici dio Settembre dello detto anno (1477).”—Steph. Infess. Diar. Rom. ap. Script. Rer. Ital., tom. iii. par. ii. p. 1146.
I Gregory XIII. added the ornaments on the balustrade — the Castor and Pollux, and horses, which were found in the time of Pius IV., where the synagogue now stands in the Borghetto. Pius IV. supplied the basalt lions. See Vacca, p. 54. Sixtus V. transferred the trophies-absurdly called of Marius—to this spot, and the same pontiff added the two Constantines. Of the two milestones only one is ancient.
been partially levelled, the principal eminence is probably as high as that of the ancient hill. The tops of the buildings below were on a level with the base of the Capitoline structures in the reign of Vitellius, and the ascent was by a hundred steps,* which could hardly rise higher than the 124 steps of the church of Aracoeli. Calpurnius, in his seventh eclogue, says that the top of the Coliseum towered above the Tarpeian rock. We can account for that rock appearing less terrific than might be expected, since a large piece of it, as big as a house of ample magnitude,† fell down in the reign of Eugenius IV. The Caffarelli palace and other edifices conceal the form of the summit itself.
Aracoeli, whether on the site of the great temple or not, preserves the post which it occupied eight centuries ago. The Benedictines made way for the Franciscans in 1252, and popes and cardinals have been ambitious to contribute to the dignity of the substitute. The corporation, calling itself the Roman People,f affected to
*“Scandentes per conjuncta ædificia : quæ ut in multa pace, in altum edita, solum Capitolii æquabant.”—Taciti. Hist., lib. iii. cap. lxii. “Et qua Tarpeja rupes centum gradibus aditur.”—Ibid. Probably winding up from the corner under the Monte Caprino. See Smith's Dictionary, art. Rome—“ But their exact situation it is impossible to point out” (p. 772). I have elsewhere noticed their supposed site.
† “Rupis Tarpeiæ, cujus pars maxima domus amplæ magnitudinis æquiparanda proximis diebus collapsa est.”—Flav. Blond. ibid., lib. ii. fol. 22.
I Venuti, Descrizione, &c., di Rom. Mod., tom. ii. p. 341, edit. 1766.