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rious emperors resorted for a purer air than they could find at home. But this is all; and such intimations will hardly distinguish the case of ancient Rome from that of other large southern cities. Certainly there is nothing in them, that indicates the peculiar curse of an annual pestilence laying waste a vast territory, then quite as thickly crowded with population as the neighborhood of London or Paris is now.
Nor are its traces to be found even at a much later date. In the times of the empire there is no doubt, from many passages in the Epitomes, in Ammianus Marcellinus, and in Procopius, that the Campagna was still as full of population, as the state of the city might lead us to expect. Christian churches were opened or erected in the suburbs, in the time of Constantine and his immediate successors. The splendid tomb of St Helena, which would not have been built remote from observation, stood where all is now an unbroken waste. Indeed, as late as the year 400, when Honorious made his progress through Italy, the whole road from Ocriculum, a distance of fifty miles, on twenty five of which there are now but two human dwellings, and those supported by the government ; this whole road was so completely lined with splendid houses, villas, temples, and triumphal arches, or, as Claudian happily expresses it, quicquid tantæ præmittitur urbi, that the Emperor imagined himself every moment approaching the gates of the capital
Under the papal power in the middle ages, everything, of course, declined, and the Campagna suffered in the common decay. But still, there are proofs, that it was not desolated by the Malaria. In the ninth century the Popes employed themselves, repeatedly, in enlarging and fortifying the city of Ostium, then of great consequence, but now entirely deserted. In the eleventh, twelfth, and thirteenth centuries, the Sciarras, the Sforzas, and the other independent feudal chieftains, who bore sway in that part of Italy, held throughout the Campagna those massive castles, whose ruins bear constant witness to a degree of salubrity that is now unknown ; while the remains of several forsaken monasteries, and two papal villas, which were chosen resorts and residences about the year 1300, prove, at least, that any inherent difficulty in the soil or atmosphere was a thing not yet apprehended.
The darkest and most disastrous period, however, that Rome has ever passed through, is that between 1305 and 1376, when the papal throne was established at Avignon. The city was then given up to the most desperate and bloody factions, under the conduct of what, in the language of the time, were well called the famiglie prepotenti, the Colonne, the Orsini, the Frangipani, and other domestic princes and military chiefs ; traces of whose residence and strength are still to be found where human habitation has long been impracticable. Nothing, perhaps, can exceed the misery they produced by their desperate quarrels. Faction succeeded to faction without an interval of repose; one ambitious family triumphed over another; and one demagogue displaced another, in such rapid succession, that it seemed as if the universal misery were fast approaching an inevitable conclusion. When, therefore, Gregory XI returned in 1377, he found the country about Rome laid waste; he found that the suburbs had disappeared ; that the walls were in many places broken down and destroyed; and that the whole of the discouraged and failing population was reduced to seventeen thousand souls ; so near was the eternal city to its final fall.
From this time, and, perhaps, partly in consequence of this melancholy desolation, we begin to find notices of what is now called the Malaria. In 1406, when Gregory XII was elected, we are expressly told by a contemporary, that he did not establish himself at the Lateran, where his predecessors had resided, while the air was not unhealthy-dum aer non infectus ; so that it must have been something recent. The villa Magliana, a favorite residence of Leo x, six miles from Rome, where he was seized with the illness of which he died in 1521, has been considered an infected spot ever since his time. The Vatican has been accounted positively unsafe since the conclave of 1623; and at every protracted election of a pope, which has happened during the past two centuries in the months of August and September, there has been a remarkable mortality among the cardinals and their attendants. Since 1710, the Palatine, the Circus Maximus, the Forum, the Baths of Dioclesian, the Coloseum, and, indeed, the whole of those portions of the city, where ancient Rome chiefly stood, have been quite abandoned to the Malaria. Very few buildings remain there, and none have been erected, so that from the Viminal round by the Lateran, and by the Baths of Antoninus to the Aventine, the whole must soon become an absolute desert.
At the same time, however, that the site of ancient Rome has been thus silently given up, the heart of the modern city and its very best portions have been gradually invaded. The Piazza Navona, the Ripetta, and the Quirinal began to be dangerous above a hundred years ago, and the last has since become absolutely unsafe during the hottest months, so, that, even for a century, the coming doom of Rome may be considered as having been inscribed on its walls, distinctly enough to have been understood by those, who well regarded the signs of the times. But within the last fifty years, when observation has been more accurate, this doom has been more apparent. The annual pestilence, which had so long reigned unmolested in the southern portions of the city has, within that time, intruded from the north. The Villa Borghese, the most ample and magnificent of the Roman country houses, which was built in the seventeenth century, just outside the Porta del Popolo, and which, during the greater part of the eighteenth, was the scene of more luxury and splendor, than almost any spot in Italy, has, for above forty years, been considered infected, and is now suffered to fall to ruin. The upper part of the Corso, and the Piazza di Spagna, to which strangers resort, and always have resorted in modern times, as the healthiest parts of the city, have not been entirely safe since the beginning of the present century, and are thought annually to grow worse. The public walk, which the French constructed hardly twenty years ago on the site, or nearly on the site, of the luxurious gardens of Sallust and Lucullus, must already be avoided during the evenings of the months of August and September. The beautiful Villa Ludovisi, in the same quarter, has been no more safe during the last thirty years, but the French Academy of Painting, though separated from it only by a public way, was never invaded till the summer of 1917, and has been condemned as dangerous, only since the death of several of the pupils in 1818.
Thus the last of the Roman hills, and the portion of the city, which, through a succession of ages, has been the chosen seat of its luxury, is now become the victim of the Malaria ;
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so that from the Vatican to the Lateran, and from the Villa Borghese to the gate of St Paul, there is no longer any considerable space from which those, who are able, do not escape during the hot months, and only very small portions, where, from some unexplained cause, this mysterious pestilence has not yet intruded. Outside of the walls, or in the deserted parts within them, no person will do more than pass rapidly on during the dangerous season, who can possibly avoid it.
On the final result of such a state of things, it is, of course, impossible to shut our eyes. The Mal'aria has been for four centuries constantly extending its ravages. It is a contest that has been for ages every year renewed, and every year followed by a signal defeat. The whole Campagna has been laid waste by it; three fourths of the space within the walls of the city have been given up to its desolation; and even in the remainder, though crowded with churches that would be cathedrals elsewhere, and with palaces such as transalpine kings do not dwell in, the unseen pestilence still goes forth unmolested. It is not, indeed, for human foresight to fix the dates of empires and cities; but it is more in the spirit of history than of prophecy to say, that Rome must one day become what Pæstum and Volterra are now.
How soon this solemn consummation must take place, we could perhaps almost determine, if we knew what is the cause of the Malaria. But this has been reserved among the darkest of nature's secrets. Whether it be, as some have supposed, an exhalation from waters hidden far under the surface, and therefore to be avoided, as one of the cardinals has wisely suggested, by literally paving the whole of the countless acres of the Campagna; or whether it be from the volcanic materials of the soil, which, after decaying for thousands of years, have at last reached the point, when, under the influences of the summer's heat, and the action of the sea air, a noxious gas is developed; or whether it be from any other of the many causes that have been suggested, or from all put together, we have, notwithstanding the discussions that have been carried on, no means to determine. Chemistry detects no difference between the air that, during the months of August and September, destroys life in the Campagna, and the air which elsewhere is life's support and nourishment.
All we know, therefore, of the Mal'aria is from its effects; and nothing can be more solemn than the exhibition the Campagna gives us of its long continued power. The eye wanders over its boundless waste without finding any other horizon, than that formed by the gentle undulations, which everywhere break without relieving its melancholy monotony. Frequently not a house, nor a tree, nor a sign of human habitation or life is to be seen for many miles. And yet here once lived the hardy and warlike tribes of the Fidenates and the Coriolani. Here was the crowd of population, that found no place in Rome in the times of the Republic. Here was no small portion of the splendor of the Empire. And, finally, here resided the strength of a proud barbarism in the middle ages, when the contest between the Orsini, the Sciarras, the Savelli, and other rude chieftains in their castles without the city, and the ecclesiastical usurpations within, remained so long undecided.
Hæc tunc nomina erant, nunc sunt sine nomine terræ. And yet, there is little in the Campagna to recall the deserts, which nature has elsewhere left or created in her works, since these melancholy wastes owe their power over the feelings and the imagination less to their present condition, than to the recollections and associations they awaken. For the heavens above them are of the most undisturbed and transparent blue. The sun shines with the purest and whitest light. The wind blows with the softest and most exhilarating freshness. The very vegetation is so rich and abundant, so wantonly luxuriant, that it seems as if nature were wooing man to cultivation ;-as if this must be one of the very chosen spots of all the earth for human habitation and happiness. But the mind refuses to rest on all this. The past and the future prevail over the present. It is impossible not to recollect, that this serene sky and brilliant sun, which should inspire such confidence, serve only to develope the noxious qualities of the soil; that the air which breathes so gently is as fatal as it is balmy; and that this abundant vegetation is composed only of gross and lazy weeds, such as may be fitly nourished by exhalations so deadly. Or if it were possible, for a moment, to drive away thoughts like these, the few intimations of human life and power that are visible, would recall others even more