Obrázky na stránke
PDF
ePub

The exact site of the arch has not been as yet identified, but several voussoirs in travertine of its arch have been discovered.

We now come to the site of one of the earliest buildings connected with the regal period. Here on this platform in front of the temple of Antoninus and Faustina was most probably the place where originally stood the royal palace of King Numa. Ovid tells us, ‘This little spot, which now supports the halls of Vesta, was in former times the vast palace of the unshaven Numa. He further says, “This was the small palace of Numa.' From the first quotation we find the term Atrium Vestæ' was applied to the Regia ; and consequently, when Horace says in his ‘Satire,' that in passing along the Via Sacra, · Ventum erat ad Vestæ,' it was the Regia of Numa he meant, not the temple of Vesta, which was close to the Nova Via. The above passages show that this Regia was a small building, and built on a small plot of ground. The strongest proof that the site of the Regia is correctly identified with the platform in front of the temple of Antoninus is the following. We are told the body of Cæsar was burnt in front of the Regia, and that a temple to Divus Julius was afterwards built on the spot by Augustus. Now, the substructures of the temple of Divus Julius Jare in front of the platformthe site assigned to the Regia.

The Regia, or Atriuna Vestä as it was also called, was the dwelling-place of the Pontifex Maximus, and here Cæsar lived.

Here we stand on the confines of the Forum. Ovid

[ocr errors]

tells us the temple of Divus Julius was built in the Forum. • Cæsar,' he says, 'tenet in magno templa dicata Foro' (owns a temple consecrated to him in the great Forum); and Servius says the Regia was on the borders of the Forum ('finibus Fori'). Where we now stand, therefore, between these two buildings, the Regia and the temple of Divus Julius, we are on the borders of the Forum ; from this spot the Via Sacra passed along the Forum.

We have now reached a part of the Via Sacra where we must put this question, which way did the continuation of the Via Sacra run? In the opinion of some it turned to the left, and passed in front of the Basilica Julia. According to others it passed on in a straight line to the arch of Septimius Severus, a view I am inclined to adopt for the following rea

It was the well-known principle of a Roman engineer, in making a road, to take the straightest line to the goal to which his road was directed. Now this is fully carried out in the course of the Via Sacra. It led down the Clivus Sacer from the arch of Titus, passed under the arch of Fabius, which was on the borders of the Forum; then went in a straight line along the north-east side of the Forum by the Basilica Æmilia, the temple of Janus, the Curia Julia, to the foot of the Capitoline, where it ascended the Clivus Capitolinus to the temple of Jupiter Capitolinus. There is nothing to support the view that, on reaching the edge of the Forum, it turned to the left, then to the right, and reaching the arch of Tiberius, turned again to the right, when it had again to turn to the

sons.

left to pass up the Clivus Capitolinus. These frequent turnings were against the well-known principle of the Roman engineer - 'such turns being,' to use Mr. Fergusson's words, 'as abhorrent to a Roman roadmaker as a vacuum is said to be to nature.'

There is not the slightest foundation for supposing the course of the Via Sacra was ever changed at a later period. The Romans, who were intensely conservative in their religious practices, would never have changed the course of a via which was consecrated by the use and custom of many ages.

These considerations would lead me to the conclusion that the Via Sacra ran in a straight line from this point along the north-east side of the Forum, flanked on one side by the most important buildings -the Basilica Æmilia, the temple of Janus, the Curia Julia—and on the other by monuments and statues erected to illustrious men; then, inclining to the left, it ascended the Clivus Capitolinus till it reached its termination at the temple of Jupiter Capitolinus.

[graphic]
[graphic][merged small]

THE Capitol was the head of the Roman state, and the shrine of its religion; it was a fortress and a temple; it was the symbol of the divine mission of Rome, of its unity and power. It was the hill of the kings and of the Republic, as the Palatine was the hill of the emperors.

It was the work of the Tarquins. It was, as Mr. Merivale writes, the centre of the religious system of the city, the spot where the holiest mysteries of her faith were solemnized by the chief of her priesthood. In the temple on this hill the images of the gods, on occasions of peculiar solemnity, after being paraded through the city on litters, were reclined on costly cushions and invited to a gorgeous banquet. This was that rock eternal and immovable to which the empire of the world was promised, and which the race of Julius and Æneas should inherit for ever and ever.

When Camillus was dissuading the Romans from leaving Rome, after the ruin of the city by the Gauls, "There,' he exclaimed, ‘is the Capitol, where, a human head being found, it was foretold that in that place would be the head of the world and the chief seat of empire.

It was the proud boast of Augustus that all nations should bring their tribute to the Capitol, and it was also the boast of the Roman poet that the great Jove who dwelt in the temple on the Capitoline Hill, when casting his eyes over the whole world, saw every land subject to Rome.

Such was the sacredness of the temple of Jupiter Capitolinus, that Cæsar and Claudius climbed its steps on their knees; and so sacred was the hill itself, that it was considered impiety to cheat on the Capitol.

Hither the victorious conqueror came, in lengthened triumphal procession, preceded by the captives and spoils taken in war, to offer thanksgivings and sacrifices at the shrine of Jupiter Capitolinus.

To this temple came Paulus Æmilius, Pompeius, Julius Cæsar, and Augustus, to bend the knee before the statue of Jupiter Optimus Maximus.

The original name of the hill was Saturnius, as Saturn is said to have founded a city on it. In the time of Evander, Virgil tells us, it was a tangled mass of woody thickets; and such was the awful sanctity of the spot, that it scared the frighted rustics, who shuddered at the grove and cliff. It was afterwards called Tarpeius Mons; some say from the commander of the citadel, Tarpeius, others from the virgin Tarpeia, who was buried at the foot of it.* It retained this name until Tarquinius Priscus consecrated the hill to

* According to Ampère, the primitive Etruscan name of the Capitol was Tarqueius (Tarcho, Tarquinius, are Etruscan names). Afterwards it was changed into Tarpeius, when it was occupied by the Sabines. In the Sabine dialect the p and q were convertible. Tzetes calls Tarquin, Tarpinios.

« PredošláPokračovať »