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I believe that there are now no sticklers for the old designation.* Some masses of cemented flint were, in 1822, discovered contiguous to the arches on the side towards the Coliseum. They were then assigned to Nero's Golden House, a portion of which Vespasian converted into a vaulted portico. They were mingled with some modern structures of the middle ages; some of the standing, as well as the fallen fragments of the Basilica of Constantine were, in 1828, cased in brickwork, not, as it appeared, very judiciously, for it is by no means unlikely that these also may be mistaken hereafter for part of the substructure of Nero's Palace of Gold,
TEMPLE OF VENUS AND ROME. Since 1817, the Papal antiquaries employed themselves here very judiciously. They propped up the ruins by some brickwork, so as to keep clear the passage between the double cells, and a house was built on the side opposite to the arch of Titus, which will also contribute to preserve the few remains of what was once one of the most superb temples of Imperial Rome ; the excavations made on each side of the ruins enable us, with the help of ancient medals, to judge not only of the shape and size of the temple, but also of the quality of
* Dr. Smith's Dict., art. Roma, attributes the settlement of the question to a coin of Maxentius which tumbled out of the ruins in 1828 (p. 808), but the arguments of Nibby were conclusive without this confirmation.
the materials of which it was composed. The fragments of two enormous columns of Parian marble are now (1854) lying, as they were in 1822, on the side towards the Basilica of Constantine; and, on the opposite side, fronting the arch of Titus, is seen a flight of seven marble steps, which served as an ascent to the Pronaos of the temple. Nibby's · Essay on the Forum is very serviceable in this place,* and to edify the unlearned, informs us that the structure was of the kind called “ amphiprostilo-pseudo diptero decastilo-sistilo.” It was a most magnificent building of the most magnificent of all builders, Hadrian. It occupied the whole platform (part of the Velia), between the Basilica of Constantine, the arch of Titus and the Coliseum, towering above the Roman Forum and all its temples. The portion of the cell, still visible, opposite to the Coliseum, shows that it was highly decorated; the church and convent of S. Fracenesca Romana entirely inclose whatever remained of the twin tribunes.
ARCH OF TITUS. In the autumn of 1822 this arch was under repair, and the entablature had been weighed down in order to be replaced with greater precision and stabilitya most salutary work, for in 1817 this beautiful specimen of the Composite order seemed loosened and disjointed, and threatened a speedy fall. It is singular
that this monument to the best of the Roman emperors, who is seen, under the archway, flying on an eagle to heaven, is passed over in the same silence as the inferior arch of Severus, and that the first notice of it should be found in one of the Regionaries Rufus.* Its conspicuous position, spanning the Sacra Via on the summit of the Velian ridge, t might have saved it from oblivion. The restoration of this arch has been executed somewhat carelessly: it is patched and put together so as to show the former dislocations. The merit of the first restoration, such as it is, is ascribed in the inscription to Pius VII., but it was the work of the French government.
The excavations of late years have laid bare masses of regularly disposed brickwork on both sides of the ancient road leading from the Coliseum to the arch of Titus on the Velia ; but no name was assigned to them by any competent authority in 1854, except perhaps that those on the side of Venus and Rome were supposed to belong to the substructions of that temple.
Sta. MARIA LIBERATRICE. This church was originally dedicated to “St. Silvestro in lacu,” a title which most happily preserved the me
* Neither ancient author nor medal has any record of its existence.
† Smith's Dict., p. 809. Nibby objects to this nomenclature, and seems with hesitation to prefer the Via Sandalaria.-For. Rom., p. 216.
mory of the s« Lacus Juturnæ.” * Indeed the very lake itself was thought to have been discovered by some late researches; but the malignant eye of a rival antiquary found out that the pretended lake was nothing but a stagnant putrid puddle, composed partly of rain-water and partly of the drippings of the neighbouring modern fountain. Such are the words of Antonio Nibby,+ who wrote as if he was angry with the puddle, as well he might be; for if it were the true lake of Juturna, his Comitium and Græcostasis, his Curia, his Temple of Vesta, together with the Vulcanal Lupercal and Ruminal Fig-tree, shift their places at once, and reappear in sites most inconsistent with the conjectures of the Professor. Bunsen puts this church on the site of the Temple of Vesta.
CURIA HOSTILIA. Travellers are taught to see the remains of the Curia Hostilia or Julia in the walls of a granary between the Three Corinthian Columns of Castor and Pollux and the church of St. Theodore, under the angle of the Palatine Hill, contiguous to the Sta. Maria Liberatrice. These walls, which are of considerable magnitude, are unquestionably ancient, and the brickwork probably belongs to the Augustan age. But it is not very satisfactory to find that the principal argument for giving
* Fea, Descr. di Roma, p. 280. † For. Rom., p. 72, note.
so sounding a name to ruins which had hitherto almost escaped notice is, that the Curia was behind the Rostra, and that the Rostra were removed by Julius Cæsar from this ancient position to the 'angle of the Forum,“ near the church of St. Theodore.”*
CHURCH OF ST. THEODORE -- TEMPLE OF ROMULUS
TEMPLE OF VESTA.
The first church of St. Theodore was probably composed, in part, of the materials of a circular Pagan temple. Pope Hadrian I., in 774, found it entirely destroyed and rebuilt it. Nicolas V., Pope from 1450 or 51, was the next restorer ; but it fell into such
* “ Dal centro del lato del Foro furono da Cesare trasportati nell'angolo verso la chiesa di San Teodoro .” On referring to the note to account for this strange mixture of ancient sites with modern names of churches, we find a passage from Dion-kal to βημα εν μεσω που προτερον της αγορας ον, ες τον νυν τοπον ανεχωploon," and the rostra, which were formerly in the middle of the Forum, were removed to their present position.” The Greek historian says the rostra stood in the middle of the Forum. The essayist makes him say " the middle of the side of the Forum ;" and the words“ present position" are rendered by him “ the angle towards the church of St. Theodore,”-a tolerably free translation, it must be confessed ; yet, on the strength of such a version, the topographer proceeds, “ Trovata la Curia,” “Determinato il sito del Comitio ;" a and, pursuing his hypothesis through“all its details, he positively assigns to the Lupercal a position behind the church of Sta. Maria Liberatrice, and to the Ruminal fig-tree the very angle of the Palátine where the Comitium joined the Curia.