British Archaeological Association. Central Commit.

The Archaeological journal (Volume v. 34) online

. (page 32 of 54)
Online LibraryBritish Archaeological Association. Central CommitThe Archaeological journal (Volume v. 34) → online text (page 32 of 54)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

as round, and was probably erected over the deep round hole existing
on the Comitium, and marked on our plan. Near bj' " stood the statue
of Attius Navius, over the very spot where he had cut tlie whet-stone
in two, to the left of the Curia." — Plinj/ xxxiv, 11. Bio Casxius says it
stood near the fig-tree, and we place it upon the pedestal existing to
the right of the hole, (see Zivi/, i, 36). To the left of the hole is
another pedestal, and upon this we place Marsyas, with the fig-tree
beside bim, thus agreeing with the reliefs. It is rather a curious


coiucidonce, but since tliis ground has been cleared a fig-treo lias
sprung up by the ruined pedestal on which we place IMarsyas."

The Santo Calix of Valencia. — Through the kindness of Mr. J.
C. Robinson, we are enabled to reproduce a portion of a communica-
tio]i upon Art Treasures in Spain, made by him to the Times at the
end of last year, and which, as coming from such an authority, cannot
fail to interest our readers : —

"The Santo Calix of Valencia, like the so-callad emerald dish at
Genoa, has from time immemorial been considered one of the most
sacied relics in Christendom. The Genoa dish was thought to be the
veritable San graal, whatever that mystical vessel may have been,
while the holy chalice of Valencia is still held to be tho veritable cup
used by our Saviour at the Last Supper. As to how and when it found
its wa}^ to Valencia there is no record ; its advent is shrouded in the
mist of antiquity. At all events, it is likely enough that generation
after generation of devout believers, for a thousand years or more,
have adored it with bended knees and downcast eyes, scarcely daring
to cast even furtive glances at the sacrosanct utensil. Need it be said
that to see and examine such a treasure had long been a desideratum
with even a heretic like mj^self? There were, moreover, special
reasons for wishing to get to know the real form and fashioning of
this venerable cup ; the curiosity of archoeologists and ritualistic
antiquaries had always been stimulated by innumerable pictorial and
other representations of it, executed centuries apart ; but scarcely any
two of these representations were alike. In short, a delightful and
tantalizing mystery prevailed in regard to the Santo calix.

" I will, however, now set speculations at rest by describing exactly
what the Santo calix really is, and approximately when it was made.
It is clear from the litter disagreement of the various graphic
representations, that they were all made from memory, and that
nobody had ever been allowed to look long enough at the precious
relic, to be able to carry away the precise details in his mind's eye.
All the representations, however, agreed in one thing — that is, in
depicting the Santo calix as a cup-shaped vessel, of some jirecious
stone or other, mounted on a tall stem, flanked by two large loop-
shaped lateral handles. Now, two-handled chalices are of extremely
rare occurrence, and alwaj^s of great antiquity. My own impression
was that it would prove to be a work of the seventh or eighth century.

" The chalice is — or, at all events, was, when I was at Valencia —
exhibited on certain days to parties of eight or ten persons at a time,
who were required to kneel before it. After a prolonged interval of
expectation, the chalice was bi-ought out with great solemnity by its
priestly guardian, and, the stem being enveloped with a linen cloth,
it was held in succession, for a brief instant only, before the face of
each person ; at the same moment the worshipper was allowed to kiss
a certain precious stone, projecting from the gold framework of the
foot of the vessel. In this way the entire ceremony occupied only a
few minutes. Being forewarned as to the conditions of the exposition,
I awaited it with eager eyes, wUh a little card in the palm of one hand
and a pencil in the other, ready, although in frantic haste, to make
some sort of graphic memorandum in the presence even ; but whether
my fixed and earnest gaze contrasted too strongly with the reverend
glances of my neighbours, or whether the astute priest caught sight of
the poaching apparatus in my hands, certain it is that, when my turn


cailie, the chalice was unceremoniously whisked from under my nose,
and all I saw was a passing formless gleam, while the read}', but I
fear faithless, kiss died on my lips. The defeat was complete and
ignominious. Fortunately, I was not pressed for time in Valencia,
and there was nothing for it hut to undertake a siege (la)is les regies.
There is, however, a key to every lock, and it is not necessary to
explain how, with patience and perseverance, I finally got a view of
the Santo calix, all to myself. The following is the result: — The
chalice consists of a circular cup, nearly four inches in diameter,
hollowed out from a single splendid hair-brown sardonyx. A plain
but tasteful moulding wrought in the stone, round the lip, in addition
to the evidence of the precious material itself, showed it to be of
antique Eoman origin. The base is formed of another fine sardon^-.x
cup of shallower form, and fixed in an inverted position. This is of
larger size, not less than about 6^ inches in diameter. In one or two
places I detected some incised marks, very like ancient Cufic characters,
and from these and the general shape I suspect that the base is less
ancient than the bowl. The bowl and the base are united by a
straight stem in pure gold, with a circular knop in the centre ; four
strap-work bands of gold connect this stem with the sardonyx base,
the lower edge of which is also bound round with a gold band or
gallery. The stem, as has been already noted, is flanked by two
peculiar "ogee" shaped handles, also in pure gold. The stem, knoj),
and handles are inlaid with delicate arabesque patterns in black
enamel. The band or galler^^ round the base bears on the summit a
string of fine Oriental pearls, which are also continued on the vertical
bands. In the midst of each of these bands is set, projecting in high
relief, a splendid Cabochon gem. These stones, four in all, are respec-
tively two rubies, a sapphire, and an emerald. Finally, the entire
height of the chalice is about 8.V inches. As X have said, the cup itself
is of Eonian work, therefore, however improbable, it is not actually
impossible, that it should have been used at the Last Supper. The
sardonyx base is, I think, of JMore^co origin, probably of the eighth or
ninth century, and I have now little doubt that the original gold
mountings were of the same period. A moment's glance at these
sufficed to tell me their story. This is what has evidently happened :
The ancient gold mounts in the course of time becoming dilapidated,
some time about the year 1 400 the band or gallery round the foot wa.?
renewed, and a current Gothic pattern of the day, consisting ot small
pierced quatrefoils within lozenge-shaped panels, was substituted for
the original design, wliatever it may have been ; somewhat more than
a century later (probably about lo20) all the rest of the gold mounts
were renewed, bu^. this time the original pattern was, I have no doubt,
followed, exce])t in one respect — that is, in regard to a beautiful
arabesque pattern in black enamel with which the various decorative
surfaces are unifoimly adorned ; this consists of an elegant pattern of
interlaced work and clelicate foliage, the peculiar style and workman-
ship indicating, without any doubt, the hand of a skilful Spanish
goldsmith of the period above indicated. The Santo calix as it stands
is thus a work of four disfinct periods — namely, of the lioman Imperial
epoch, the eightli or ninth century, and the fifteenth and sixteenth
centuries respectivel}'. Ford states that the chalice was broken in
1744 by a clumsy canonigo, one Vicente Trigola ; but I saw no evidence
of that disaster, and if it occurred it was probably only some dislocation
of the gold mountings.


" In regard to five of the thirty pieces of silver which Judas received
for betraying our Saviour, and which, being only filthy lucre, are
handed round for inspection after the exposition of the ^<(lnto calix, T
can only say that the coin put into my hand was a fine Greek tetra-
drachni of, 1 think, Thuriuni.

*' Among the other precious aUutJas of the Cathedral at Valencia, are
three large altar frontals, each about 12 ft. long by 3 ft. 6 in. high, the
designs representing subjects from the Passion of Christ, finely
executed in I'aisecl work of gold and silver thread and silk embroidery.
The special interest of these frontals, however, is from the fact that
they originally belonged to old St Paul's Cathedral in London,
and were purchased and brought to Spain, at the time of the Reforma-
tion, by two Valencian merchants, named Andrea and Petro de
Medina. Their English origin is revealed in many characteristic
details of costume, architecture, ornamentation, &c. To all appearance
they were made in the earlier j'ears of the sixteenth century, probably
not very long before the change of religion in England."

Additiois^vl Eemakks ox a "Tabula Hoxkstae Missioxis," found
AT Walcot, near Bath. — ''Since I published Mr Lysons' remarks
upon this talula, ( Ardumhcjiml Journal , vol. xxxiii, 250), I have endea-
voured, in every possible way, to recover the original fragment, or in
default, the drawing of it made by Mr. Lysons. In the latter respect,
I am glad to say that I have been successful. Mr. C. Poach Smith wrote
me to say that he believed he at one time had a tracing of the drawing,
but he could not then find it, much to my disappointment. Soon after-
wards Mr. J. T. Irvine, a well known antiquarj-, who had happened to
see my paper on the subject, wrote to mo to the effect that t]ie original
drawing was preserved in the collection of Mr. AV. Long, f. s.a., of
AVrington, Somerset. On applying to that gentleman, 1 found that
Mr. Irvine was correct, and Mr. Long has most courteously allowed a
copy of the drawing to be made. Mr. Long informs me that "it is
pasted in one of two very large folios, which were purcliased for me
some years ago from Mr. Lilly, the London bookseller. This purchase
gave rise, I think, to Mr. Scarth's statement that the ' tabula ' had
been in Mr. Lilly's possession. It appears to be a copy of the inscrip-
tion made by Mr. Lysons of the same size as the original, and has
written upon it 'Tabula honestae missionis, illustrated by ISlr. S. Lysons
from the original brass fragment in the possession of John Cranch,
])ec., 1815, found at AValcot, 1815." The following words appear to
have been added afterwards 'now of Jos. Barratt, 1817.' Barratt
was a bookseller, and at one time the owner of the large folio volumes
in which the copy of the inscription is placed."

" From the annexed plates it will seen that the fragments of inscrip-
tions remaining on each side of the plate were only:

(1-) " (2-)


rp . jjj . A YH IIS QVAS POST






E T /TW -ET S\/NT IN '


Rl BySVE5TlP£/N[)llS HON

ClvrfATEM^PEPir ETCoNvb/V/Vi cvm











"These letters will be seen embraced within a border, marking the limits
of the fragment ; those outside of this line in the plate are Mr. Lysons'
restoration of the remainder of the lines, which commence at the
conclusion of the list of cohorts named ; et . lii • a • , referring to the
third cohort of a people whose national name commenced witli a. As
stated in my previous remarks, the name of the imperial logati." is Ljst.
There is, however, one discrepancy between the drawing and the
account given in the minutes of the Society of Antiquaries. In the
latter the words ^^ qnoruiii nomi?ia suhcrijita .s««^" occur. In the
drawing they are absent, but " meruerunV is in their place.

" I must thus publicly express my thanks to Mr. Long for the facilities
he has given me, to enable a copy of the drawing to be made.

" Like most of the other tabulae, this one bears the duplicate inserij)-
tion on its reverse, at right angles to that on its front, which accounts
for so much more of the lettering being left on one side, to what there
is on the other."

The Chair of St. Peter. — The following account, for which we
are indebted to Mr. S. Eussell Forbes, will bo specially interesting at
the present time : —

"As January 18th was the feast of the chair of St. Peter in Rome,
some remarks on the chair (which does duty for St. Peter's) may be of
interest to our readers. A photograph of this famous object was
taken in 18G7 when it was last exposed to view ; and can be had at
any of the shops in Eome; visitors must be content with looking at the
photograph fur t!ie chair itself is not to be seen. At present it is
enclosed in the bronze covering, which is supported by the four
colossal figures of the Doctors of the church, in the apse of St. Peter's.

" It is encased in a frame work, in which arc the rings through wliich
the poles were inserted in order to carr}^ the person seated ; this casing,
consisting of four posts and sides, is made of oak, and is very much
decayed. The straight vertical joints are easily distinguished where
the frame is attached to the chair itself, which is composed of dark
acacia wood. The front panel is ornamented with three rows of
scj[uare plates of ivory, six in a row, eighteen in all, upon twelve of
which are engraved the labours of Hercules ; and on the other six
cosntellations, with thin Jaiiiina' of gold let into the engraved lines ;
some of the ivories are put on upside down, and Jiad evidently
nothing to do with the original chair ; they are Byzantine in stylo of
the eleventh century. The ivory band decorations of the back and
sides evidently belonged to the chair and correspond witii its architec-
ture, and fit into the wood-work. They are sculptured in relief,
representing combats of men, wild beasts and centaurs ; the centre
point of the horizontal bars has a portrait of Charlemagne cro^\ iied as
Emperor. In his right hand is a sceptre (broken) and in his left a
globe ; two angels on either side offer him crowns and palms, they
having combatants on each side. The chair is 4 ft. 8J in. high at
back, 2 ft. 10-i in. wide, 2 ft. 2^ in. deep, and 2 ft. 1 A in. high in front.
Fancy St. Peter using such a chair as this !

" It is asserted by the Eoman church that this chair was used by St.
Peter as his upis>jopal throne during his rule over tlie church at
Eome. Even, if we grant for argument's sake that he was Bishop in
Eome, there is no evidence to prove that this was his chair ; in fact
every evidence is to the contrary. All the primitive episcopal chairs
are of marble and as unlike this one in construction as possible, which



is not an episcopal throne, but a sella gestatorin or cathedra, similar to
the chairs intioduced in Eomo in the time of the Emperor Claudius,
nieutioued by Sueto7iius, Nero 26; and Juvenal 1-64, 6-90. It is not
unlike in shape to that used to carry tlie Pope in grand ceremonies in
St. Peter's. Some early authors speak of a sella (/estatoria which was
placed in the baptistry of old St. Peter's by Damasius, and which
formerl\ , on the 22nd of February, was carried hence to the liigh altar,
where the Pope with much ceremony was enthroned upon it.

"It was eventually passed on from one chapel to another, till it is
said that when Pome was sacked by the Imperialists in lo27, they
stripped it of its ornaments and covering, for the sake of its value ;
and that beneath they found an old carved wooden chair with tiie
inscription, '' There is only one God and Mahomet is his Prophet.'''' This
same formula is engraved upon the back of the marble episcopal chair
in the church of St. Pietro in Castello, at Venice. In 1558 the feast of
the chair of St. Peter was fixed in Rome for the 18th of January ; and
in Antioch for February 22nd; and in 1655 Pope Alexander VII
placed the present chair where it now stands. It is mediaeval, ninth
century, and is not unlike eariy representations in art of the chair used
by the Apostle Paul, which we may look upon as episcopal.

"The ivory diptych of St. Paul, (a.d. 400) the property of Mr. Car-
rand, of Lyons, engraved by the Arundel society, represents Paul
seated on a chair holding in his left hand a roll, the symbol of apostle-
ship, whilst the right hand is raised in the act of blessing Linus, who
carries a book in his hand. At the back of the chair is St. Mark,
holding a roll in his left hand. The chair is light, and not unlike a
modern library one in shape. Later art agrees with the present chair.
A fresco at St. Clement's (Pome). 1050, represents St. Peter installing
Clement into the Papal chair — a chair, as far as can be seen not unlike
the ju'esent one of St. Peter — which was made after the coronation of
Cliarlemagne as emperor of the Holy Eoman Empire a.d. 800."

Interkstikg Discovery ix Romk. — We are further indebted to Mr.
Eussell Forbes for the following communication : —

" In making a new drain in the Piazza Pietra, near the Temple of
Antoninus Pius, the workmen came upon an interesting piece of
sculpture : —

" It consists of a large base six and a lialf feet high by five feet wide ;
the marble is cut so as to form a panel, with a projecting cornice, in
the centre of which is a female fieruro five feet high in alto relief
standing upon a projecting base; tlio face is unfortunattly gone, but
the head is surmounted by a Phrygian cap, and one of the curls of the
hair is still distinguishable. The iigure is clothed in the Roman toga
which comes down to the feet, which peep out beneath, showing the
shoes, which are not unlike what wo term an Oxford shoe ; the right
foot is more advanced than the other, so it can be plainly seen, showing
that it was not a sandal. The ri^ht hand is gone, but the remains
show that something was held in the hand ; between the fore-finger and
thumb of the left hand, which is nearly perfect, the lady holds some-
thing small. The back of the base is hollowed out, as though it had
been erected against a column. It is of a good period of art, of white
marble with a dark grain, end excellent workmanship, the drapery
being very fine though rather thick over the left leg.
^"Cicero Ad Atticus XIII, 33, informs us that Julius Caisar com-
menced a Septa in the Campus Martins for the Comitia Centuriata


and Tributa. It consisted of a beautiful building of marble surrounded
with a portico a mile square. It adjoined the Villa Publica. It was
completed by Lepidus the triumvir, and dedicated by Agrippa, Dio
53-23. Frontinus, Aq. 22, says the arches of the Aqua Virgo ended in
the Campus Martins, in front of the Septa. Donati says such arches
were found in front ot the Church of St. Ignazio, not far from where
this base has been found.

"The Comitia Centuriata, when the people meet in their military
order to elect their highest magistrates, to pass their laws, and to
vote upon peace or war, always met outside the walls in the Campus
Martins. Comitia Tributa for less important magistrates, tribunes
and aediles, met sometimes in the Campus Martins. The Septa
consisted of pens, (hence the name) into which the tribes passed to
record their votes, which were given by ballot ; every voter received a
tabella, tablet, on which he wrote the name of the candidate for whom
he voted, lie then dropped it into an urn. Near by, Agrippa built the
Diribitorium, a large building, used for distributing and counting the
balloting tickets. It was dedicated by Augustus, Dio 55-8, Tliny
16-40. During a fire Claudius passed two nights here, Suetonius 18.

" We may conclude that this fragment belonged either to the Septa
Julia or the Diribitorium. The figure has been supposed by some to
represent an eastern city, by others a Dacian We think it represents
Libert}^ as shown by the cap, which is an emblem of liberty all over
the world, and that it formed the side of an entrance into one of the
pens of the Septa; that the something between the finger and thumb
of the left baud is the voting tablet, and that in the other band she
held an urn, denoting that ever3'body should have perfect liberty to
vote as he pleased.

" Witli this was found a beautiful piece of a marble frieze, with the
eg<^ pattern, below which is a design that wo do not remember to have
seen elsewhere. The soil beneath tlie find is an accumulation ; below
this was found a piece of a paved road. The soil above is an old
accumulation, as shown by the base of the columns of the temple
opposite. Some fragments of Corinthian capitals were also found,
and a statue broken into pieces, one foot of which is in a good state
of preservation."

Royal Ixstitutiox of Cornwall. — This useful Society was estab-
lished in 1818, and has just issued its Sixtieth Annual Eeport. It is,
we believe, one of the oldest of our Archaeological Societies, and has
done good service throughout its long career. Its objects, however,
embrace natural philosophy and natural history as well as antiquities ;
and it possesses a museum at Truro, in which are preserved many objects
of great interest in each of these branches of study. It has collected a
most valuable series of meteorological observations, extending from
1728 to the present time, of which a digest is being prepared for the
use of members of the Institution and the public. The valuable papers
printed in its earlier annual reports, and during later years in its
Journal, sufficiently attest the value of the work of this Society.

The Fifty-Ninth Annual Meeting was held on the 19th Nov. last,
when Mr. William Copeland Borlase, f. s. a., the author of Nenia
Cornuhioe, was elected Pi'esident, in succession to Mr. Jonathan
Rashleigh, Sheriff of Cornwall.

BmsToL A.XD Gloucestershire Arcil=eological Societv. — As the
Society, to which we have just alluded, is one of the oldest, so is this

322 arch^oloCtICal intelligence.

of wbicli we now treat one of the youngest of such Institutions ; and
we are glad to add tliat it displays all the vigour of youth, which
vigour, we trust, will continue over as long a period as that enjoyed by
her elder sister. The b'ociety was formed only in April, 1876, and
already it numbers nearly GOO members. Its Annual Winter Meeting
was held at Gloucester, on 24th January last, when there was a good
attendance of members. After dining together at the "Bell Hotel,"
the members and a lai'ge number of friends assembled at the Art
and Science Institution for a conversazione, where, through the
praiseworthy exertions of the local committee, a temporary Museum
had been formed, containing objects of great interest. Several papers
by local archa3ologists were read in the lecture room, which will be
printed in the next Volume of the Transactions of the Society, now, we
are informed, in the press. The First Volume of the Transactions has
been issued some time, and contains several very valuable and in-
teresting papers by well-known antiquarian and historical authors,
including Prof. Eolleston, Dr. Beddoe, Sir John Maclean, Mr. Gr. T.
Clark, Dr. Smith, and others.

We have pleasure in announcing that Mr. B. Montgomerie Ranking
has in the press an annotated edition of Milton's Comus, on the
priucij)le of the Clarendon Press Text Books. It is prefaced by three
essay's, on the Masque proper, on the history of this special example,
and upon its actual origin ; in the last, by parallel passages and
otherwise, Mr. Ranking attempts to establish the sources from which
Milton took his idea. A short derivative glossar}', in which the author
has had the assistance of his brother, Mr. D. F. Ranking, of Hertford
College, Oxford, will conclude the woi'k, which is published by Henry
West, 381, Mare Street, Hackney.

We are glad to know that the Rev. C. W. Boase, Fellow and
Librarian of Exeter College, Oxford, has in the pi'ess a "Register of
the Rectors and Fellows" of that College, from the date of its found-

Online LibraryBritish Archaeological Association. Central CommitThe Archaeological journal (Volume v. 34) → online text (page 32 of 54)