Charles Babbage.

Observations on the temple of Serapis at Pozzuoli near Naples; with an attempt to explain the causes of the frequent elevation and depression of large portions of the earth's surface in remote periods, and to prove that those causes continue in action at the present time. With a supplement. Conjectu online

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Online LibraryCharles BabbageObservations on the temple of Serapis at Pozzuoli near Naples; with an attempt to explain the causes of the frequent elevation and depression of large portions of the earth's surface in remote periods, and to prove that those causes continue in action at the present time. With a supplement. Conjectu → online text (page 1 of 5)
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021

184




Ex Libris
C. K. OGDEN



GMJF. LIBftmY, LOS



OBSERVATIONS



TEMPLE OF SERAPIS



POZZUOLI NEAR NAPLES,



AN ATTEMPT TO EXPLAIN THE CAUSES OF THE FREQUENT

ELEVATION AND DEPRESSION OF LARGE PORTIONS OF

THE EARTH'S SURFACE IN REMOTE PERIODS,

AND TO PROVE THAT THOSE CAUSES CONTINUE IN ACTION AT
THE PRESENT TIME.



WITH A SUPPLEMENT.

CONJECTURES ON THE PHYSICAL CONDITION OF THE SURFACE
OF THE MOON.



BY

CHARLES BABBAGE, ESQ.

PRIVATELY PRINTED.
18*7.



PRINTED BY RICHARD AND JOHN E. TAYLOR,
RED LION COURT, FLEET STREET.



OBSERVATIONS

ON

THE TEMPLE OF SERAPIS,

AT POZZUOLI, NEAR NAPLES,

WITH

REMARKS ON CERTAIN CAUSES WHICH MAY PRODUCE
GEOLOGICAL CYCLES OF GREAT EXTENT.

[Read at the Geological Society of London, March 12, 1834.]

[This paper, by the request of the author, was returned to him soon after it was
read, and has been in his possession ever since. Other avocations obliged him to
lay it aside, and he only recently returned it to the Council, ready for publication,.
An abstract both of the facts and of the theory, drawn up by the author, was how-
ever printed in the Proceedings of the Geol. Society for March 1834, vol. ii. p. 72.]

THE facts and observations which I have thrown together in the
following paper were collected during the month of June 1828, in
company with Mr. Head *. They relate to a monument of ancient
art, which is perhaps more interesting than any other to the geologist.

I shall first state the facts which came under my own observation,
without assuming that they have not been previously noticed, though
not aware of their having yet been collected into one point. I
shall then suggest an explanation of the singular phenomena which
the temple presents, and afterwards briefly sketch those more gene-
ral views to which I have been led by reflecting on the causes that
appear to have produced the alternate subsidence and elevation of
the temple of Serapis.

In the year 1749, the upper portions of three marble columns which
had been nearly concealed by underwood, were discovered, in the
neighbourhood of the town of Pozzuoli. In the following year ex-
cavations were made, and ultimately it was found that these columns
formed part of a large temple which was supposed to have been dedi-
cated to the god Serapis.

The temple is situated about a hundred feet from the sea, and its
form will be better understood from the accompanying view (see
Plate I.), taken with a camera lucida, and the ground plan (fig. ] )
which is copied from that in the work of the Canonico Jorio.

The most remarkable circumstance which first attracts the atten-
tion of the observer is the state of the remaining three large columns,
which at present stand in an upright position. Throughout a part
of their height, commencing at nearly 11 feet above the floor of the
temple, and continuing about 8 feet, they are perforated in all direc-
tions by a species of boring marine animal, the Modiola lithophaga
of Lamarck, which still exists in the adjacent parts of the Medi-
terranean.

* Now Sir Edmund Head, Bart.

1091S01



4 BABBAGE ON THE TEMPLE OF SERAPIS.

I shall now give a description of the Temple of Serapis from the
notes I made in 1828.




1. The external walls of the temple are lowest on the side nearest
the sea, where they are about 7 feet 6 inches high. They gradually
increase in height, until, at the extreme end of the cella, B, the portion
which remains measures 13 feet 4 inches above the pavement of the
temple.

2. The three columns X', X", X"', each about 41 feet high and 4
feet 1 1 inches in diameter at the base, are nearly similar, and are re-
presented in Plate I., X' being the left-hand column in the plate.
The pavement of that part of the temple marked I I, figure 1, is
about 5 inches lower than the rest of the internal area.

The top of the base of the shaft is 2 feet 4 inches above the pave-
ment, and the marble of which it is composed is uninjured. That
part ot the shaft of the column immediately above the base pre-
sents nothing remarkable up to the height of 5 feet 8 inches.



BABBAGE ON THE TEMPLE OF SERAPIS. 5

3. At this point commences a calcareous coating, which covers
the marble for about 1 foot of its height. A space of ] foot 5
inches follows, which is uncovered and uninjured.

4. It is above this point that the most remarkable phenomena pre-
sent themselves. The column is here pierced with a number of holes,
in many of which are the remains of the Modiola: these remains
being firmly fixed in the holes by a dried paste of sandy mud. The
attempts of successive visitors have broken most of the shells, and it
is difficult, even where the external aperture of the holes admits it,
to extract a perfect specimen. Those which are now before the
Society were acquired by many hours of labour, during which I
first loosened the paste with a steel wire, and then picked out with a
pair of tweezers the particles of mud and sand which clogged up the
shells. The length, or height, of that part of the column thus per-
forated is as nearly as I could measure it 8 feet 2| inches ; the lowest
perforation being 8 feet 1 inch above the base, and the highest 16
feet 3^ inches above the same level. Near the top of the perforated
portion there appears to be a slight indentation quite round the
columns, which seems to mark, by the corrosion of the surface, that
it remained for a considerable time the line of the level of water.

5. At 6 feet 6 inches above these perforations, the column X"
appears to be cracked nearly through its whole thickness. There
are indications of cracks in the two others, but they are more doubtful,
and further information on this point is required.

The upper part of this column, about 15 feet 8 inches, is unin-
jured ; its total height above the pavement was found, by measuring
with a tape, to be 41 feet 1 inch, which exceeds the sum of the
measures of the separate parts by 4^ inches: the height by the
mean of four measures with a box sextant, was 41 feet 4 inches.

A number of prostrate fragments of columns are scattered about
in the temple. They are of three different sizes, which will be de-
noted by (1), (2), (3). They are described in the following list.

List of Fragments.

6. A fragment of the upper part of a large column (1) of Cipo-
lino marble, 15 feet long, 13 feet girth. It is perforated in every
part, along the whole length and also at the two extremities, one
hole of a Modiola being actually in the axis. It is represented in the
annexed woodcut (fig. 2.) Serpulse are attached to this column, and
some are found within the holes previously occupied by the Modiolae.

I extracted from the perforations two complete specimens of an Area,
and also one single valve of the same species of shell. The holes in
which these occurred were rather larger than the shells they contained.
A thin fragment is split off from one end of this portion of a column.
The fragment itself was found at a considerable height above the
pavement of the temple, and remained for some time on an elevated
bank of sand which the workmen had left. It is so represented in
some of the older engravings.

7. A fragment of Cipolino (1), length 10 feet. It is the middle



6 BABBAGE ON THE TEMPLE OF SERAP1S.

part of a column. There was a tufaceous deposit remaining attached
to it, in which were noticed some very small bits of brick : and a simi-
lar deposit covers the broken angles and the ends of the fragment.

There were no marks either of shells or of Serpulae on this
fragment*.

Fig. 2.




8. A fragment of the bottom of a column (1), 17 feet long. The
upper edge of the calcareous coating (see par. 3) is 6 feet 4 inches
from the base; the breadth of the zone about 1 foot; height to
lower edge of disintegrated part of column, 8 feet 7 inches. This
fragment is perforated on the upper or broken end almost in the axis,
and the disintegrated part also is perforated.

The three preceding fragments appear from their dimensions to
have formed parts of one column. Their united length is 42 feet,
which is about the height of the columns that remain standing. I
did not however record in my notes whether the broken ends fa-
voured this supposition.

9. A fragment (1)7 feet 4 inches long, perforated at both ends,
and all over.

10. A fragment 11 feet 4 inches; from base to beginning of cal-
careous zone 6 feet 7 inches ; breadth of zone 1 foot 4 inches ; from
base to beginning of disintegration 7 feet 11 inches: not perforated
at the base.

11. A fragment (2) of lower portion of a column of African

* The part of the column, which was nearly horizontal, was covered with this
deposit to the depth of from a quarter to half an inch, and the rain had washed
portions of it away, leaving little miniature columns protected hy small caps of
stones on their tops. These forcibly reminded me of the clay pillars in the valley
of Visp, which I had visited several years before in company with my friend Sir
J. Herschel. Several of those pillars were from 50 to 70 feet high, whilst none
of these on the fallen fragments of the columns of the temple attained as many
hundredths of an inch.



BABBAGE ON THE TEMPLE OF SERAPIS. 7

calcareous breccia, length 6 feet 10 inches ; from base to beginning
of disintegration 4 feet : not perforated at the end.

12. A capital of white marble, perforated; but only four decided
marks were observed.

13. A fragment of Cipolino, 9 feet long, the upper endof a column ;
from the upper end to the beginning of disintegration 7 feet : disin-
tegrated, but not perforated at the fracture.

14. This fragment is half-buried ; it is perforated, but not at the end.

15. The lower part of a column (2) of Cipolino, length 12 feet
6 inches ; the base is smooth ; length from base to top of calcareous
zone 3 feet 1 1 inches ; depth of that zone 1 foot ; from the top of
the zone to the bottom of the disintegration is 7 inches.

16. The lower part of a column of African breccia, length 6 feet
5 inches ; it is smooth at the base ; from base to upper edge of cal-
careous zone 3 feet 9 inches; breadth of zone 1 foot 10 inches:
not perforated at broken end.

17. Two small fragments; short, and both perforated.

18. A fragment (2) of African breccia, length 8 feet 5 inches,
the lower part of a column ; from base to top of calcareous zone
2 feet 8 inches ; breadth of zone about 1 foot ; base to disintegra-
tion 4 feet: end not perforated.

19. A fragment, the bottom part of a column (2) of Cipolino,
length 9 feet 8 inches ; calcareous zone indistinctly marked ; from
base to disintegration 3 feet 4 inches.

20. A split fragment 7 feet long ; it is disintegrated, and has
Serpulae upon it along its whole length, and also at the end.

21. A column of Cipolino, 13 feet 6 inches long; top diameter

1 foot 7 inches; lower diameter 1 foot 10 inches: no perforation or
disintegration.

22. A fragment (2) not perforated at the fractures.

23. Fragment of the bottom of a Cipolino column, length 9 feet;
from base to disintegration 4 feet 6 inches ; zone indistinct ; breadth
of zone about 1 foot 1 1 inches ; height of top of zone from base 4 feet

2 inches: no deposit on the fractured end; no perforations on the
fracture.

24. A fragment of the bottom of a column of African breccia,
1 2 feet 6 inches long ; from base to disintegration 3 feet 8 inches :
no calcareous zone ; end perforated.

25. A fragment of a granite column, length 7 feet 8 inches ; from
base to lower edge of zone 4 feet 3 inches ; breadth of zone 3 feet.

26. A fragment of a granite column, length 9 feet 2 inches ; from
base to lower edge of zone 4 feet 3 inches ; breadth of zone 3 feet
4 inches.

27. Fragment of granite column, length 1 1 feet 2 inches ; from
base to lower edge of zone 4 feet 4 inches ; breadth of zone 2 feet
10 inches.

28. Fragment of bottom of a column (2) of Cipolino, 12 feet
9 inches long ; from base to disintegration 6 feet 6 inches : not per-
forated at end.

29. Three fragments perforated.






8



BABBAGE ON THE TEMPLE OF SERAPIS.



30. There are two fragments of small entablatures with the holes
drilled for working the leaves, but they are not chiselled.

31. An unfinished cornice at the door of T 10, and an unfinished
slab at the door of T 5, partly covered with calcareous deposit.

32. A square block, "eaten," (so in Notes, query perforated?).

ft. in.

33. The diameter of the large columns is 4 11

The diameter of the second size 2 6

Height of the base on which the shafts of the large

columns stand 2 4

Height of the base on which the columns in the

elevated central part A stand 1 4

Height of elevated central part A above floor of

temple 3 7

Step from pavement H down to the pavement I P

surrounding the central part 5



Par. where
decribed.


Material of
column.


!


Size of
column.


2!
||


Greatinci

Height
of top of
calc.
zone.


ustation.

Breadth
of
calc.
zone.


lili
**r


State of fragment.




Is

jr


2,3,4
6

7
8

9
10

11

13

14

IS
16

17

18
19
20

21
22

23

24
25
26
27
28


Cipolino . . .
Cinolino . . .


entire


1)....

1)


t. in.
38 94
15


ft. in.
6 8


ft in.

r o


ft. in.
8 1


'erforated all over,
and at both ends
>fo perforations. . .
Perforated at top,
and in axis
Perforated all over,
and at both ends
Not perforated at
the end
Not perforated at
the end
Xot perforated at
the fracture
Perforated, but not
at the end


2
3

4
5
6

7
9

10

11

12
13
14
15

16
17

18
19

20
21
22
23

24
25


Cipolino . . .
Cipolino . . .


middle

xjttom


1)....
1)....

1)....
(2)....


10

17

7 4

11 4

6 10


6 "4"
7 H






1
none
1 4


8 7

7 11
4

7 o


African breccia
Cioolino


bottom














Cipolino . . .
African breccia


bottom
bottom


(2)....

2 frags.
(2) ....
(2)....


12 6

6 5
short


3 11
3 9


1
1 10


5 6


Not perforated at
fracture
Perforated
End not perforated

Serpulee at cnd.anc
on whole length. .
Vot perforated
Not perforated at
fractures
Perforations- -none
on fractured end
End perforated... .


African breccia
Cipolino . . .


bottom
bottom


9 8
7 o




indist.


3 4








13 6












(2)










Cipolino . . .

African breccia
Granite. . . .


bottom

bottom
bottom




9

12 6
7 8
9 2


4 2


1 11


4 6
3 8


7 3


3

3 4


Granite ....
iCipolino . . .


bottom
bottom


(2)..".
3 frags


11 2
12 9


7 2


2 10


' 6 " e"


Not perforated at
fractures
Perforated







Of the Dark Incrustation.

34. On examining the internal walls of the temple, there appears in
several of its chambers a dark brown incrustation. Several hori-



BABBAGE ON THE TEMPLE OF SERAP1S. 9

zontal lines darker than the rest indicate that this incrustation is a
deposit from water, which must have remained in the temple at
various heights, from about 2 feet 9 inches to 4 feet 6 inches.

35. The incrustation is of a deep brown colour, varying in thickness
from one-sixtieth to about one-twentieth of an inch. It does not
adhere very strongly to the walls, which may probably be one reason
for the small quantity that remains attached to them. Mr. Faraday,
who kindly undertook to examine this, as also the other deposits which
will be alluded to, states that " it consists principally of carbonate
" of lime ; but there is also present a little combustible matter, pretty
" universally diffused through the mass; there is also a portion (small)
" of peroxide of iron present."

36. The following are my notes made on the spot. The dark in-
crustation is seen in the chamber marked C 2, fig. 1. It extends
over (covers) a piece of marble panelling, and is visible on the walls
where there is no panelling. Serpulse occur upon the incrustation
on the marble panelling. Its height from the floor to a dark well-
defined line about its middle is 3 feet 6y inches.

It is again visible in the chamber marked 23 C, but no Serpulaa
were observed : height to about its middle 3 feet 4- inches.

In the chamber 29 C, the same deposit is seen extending over the
stucco and over the fragments of marble imbedded in it. Its height
from the floor to the lower edge is 2 feet 9 inches.

Of the Great Incrustation.

37. At the height of about 9 feet from the floor of the temple
a level line runs round several of the chambers, which marks the
upper edge of a thick incrustation, evidently deposited from water.
The average depth of this incrustation is about 2 feet, but the lower
edge, although perfectly well defined, is not a level line ; it is in several
places slightly inclined and irregular, as it would kavebeen if thelower
part of the temple had been filled up with ashes or sand or any other
substances. The incrustation covers pieces of wrought marble,
African red, &c., and does not fill up certain small holes in the walls
but incrusts the inside ; also the joints between the marble slabs are
indicated by a re-entering in the incrustation.

38. This deposit is visible both on the outside and the inside of
the temple. At the north corner, on the outside just beyond the
archway, five or six dark lines could be traced on this deposit, as if
each had successively been the line of water-level : the moulding of
the archway is in many parts covered with this deposit.

In the chamber marked C 8, on the wall as you enter on the right-
hand, the upper edge of the deposit is level, but the lower edge in-
clines towards the centre of the temple.

39. On the inner walls at the south or sea side the deposit is scarcely
visible, but it may be seen decidedly to exist in the chambers C to
the west of the great entrance. It extends over the marble panelling
which remains, as well as over the broken plaster.

It is not visible on the top of the walls on the upper broken edge.

40. The height of the upper edge of this incrustation above the



10 BABBAGE ON THE TEMPLE OF SERAPIS.

pavement of the cella B is 9 feet 4 inches, and its average depth
about 2 feet.

This incrustation varies in thickness from one-tenth to nearly one-
fourth of an inch ; it is hard, and appears to consist of layers deposited
in succession, the inner layers being rather more crystalline than the
outer.

The exterior surface shows a number of large striae extending in
a vertical direction, and in some parts presents the appearance of
being mammellated.

Mr. Faraday informs me that " this deposit consists principally of
" carbonate of lime, A little sulphate of lime is present, and also a
" little oxide of iron with silica and alumina, but all these together do
" not probably make more than four or five per cent. I can find no
" magnesia, nor any but the minutest trace of muriates."

Of the Strata in which the Temple was imbedded.

41. At the north corner of the temple on the outside, behind the
chamber D 4, I found a good section of the stratified mass by which
the temple was covered up. It is about 20 feet high, and I regret
that although I measured and noted the thickness of some of the
beds, and brought away specimens, yet I did not examine them with
that minuteness which my subsequent reasonings upon the facts con-
vince me they well deserve.

No. 1, commencing from the present surface of the adjacent
country, is a bed which appears to be a modern accumulation of
rubbish. The foundation of a stone wall penetrates this bed, but
does not enter the next.

No. 2 is a bed of coarse sand apparently volcanic, and of pebbles
mixed with sea shells : it is about 1 foot 3 inches thick, and resembles
No. 6, except that it has shells and contains more crystals.

No. 3 is a dark grey sand about 6 inches ; it is almost entirely
composed of crystals, and is clearly volcanic.

No. 4 is composed of coarse sand and pebbles, and is about 8 inches
thick.

No. 5 is composed of waterworn brick, sea-shells and shingle, and
is about 1 foot 8 inches thick. In it occur masses of rolled brick-
work, some of them measuring a foot in each direction. Serpulae are
attached to them, and in their interstices shells are found sometimes
in good preservation. This bed also contains portions of mosaic.

No. 6, the lowest bed, is probably volcanic tuff. It resembles that
compound in colour, and in the roughness and angularity of its ag-
gregated grains ; in the silky pumice-like appearance of some parts,
and in containing very minute black grains, possibly hornblende and
specular iron. It is pulverulent like that above Pompeii. I did not
observe any shells in it, nor are there any indications of its compo-
nents having been rolled by the sea, although in one part of the sec-
tion there was an efflorescence of salt.

I believe these beds succeed each other in the order above given,
but unfortunately I omitted to measure their height above the pave-
ment of the temple, and I only possess specimens of Nos. 2, 3 and 6.



BABBAGE ON THE TEMPLE OF SERAPIS. 1 1

Various Observations.

42. The water of the Mediterranean enters the temple by a chan-
nel of masonry at the west corner, about 3 feet deep and about 1|
foot wide.

At the back of the temple a hot spring L exists. This supplies a
bath, which then runs over and mixes with the sea water.

At low water the taste of the water in the channel leading to the
sea is that of water impregnated with sulphuretted hydrogen ; at
high water it is that of weak sea water. Frogs were observed in it.

43. About 5 feet below the pavement of the present temple
another was discovered very richly ornamented. This may either
have been the floor of a former temple, or the bottom of a bath de-
signedly built below the level of the sea. This latter purpose would
however have been attended with this inconvenience, that from the
extremely small rise of the tides its water would not have been fre-
quently changed.

44. The circular walls of the inner extremity B are disconnected
from those of the temple, as if they had been built at a different period.

45. In the upper part of the north-west wall of the chamber 27 D
are parts of three windows, two of which appear to have been repaired.
In the centre window is a slab of marble containing an inscription.

A considerable crack extends downwards from another of the
windows, and there is another crack at the corresponding window
on the right, which extends across the whole floor of the room.

Detached pebbles were found on the top of some of the walls of
the temple.

46. The Canonico Jorio remarks that the pavement does not ap-
pear to have been broken as if by the fall of heavy bodies ; this is
generally correct, but the pavement on the step of the sea-side has
been removed.

47. The temperature of the bath into which the water from the
hot spring (L) flowed was in June 1828

Bath 99 Fahr.

Air 77

A few days previously I had found

Water in a vessel in the Grotto del Cane 90 Fahr.

In air 70-5

In grotto of Posilipo 65'5

Facts showing a change of the relative Level of the Land and Sea
in the neiglibourhood of the Temple of Serapis.

48. About half a mile along the sea-shore towards the west, and
standing at some distance from it, in the sea, are the remains of co-
lumns and buildings which bear the name of the temples of the
Nymphs and of Neptune. See fig. 3, next page.

The tops of the broken columns are nearly on a level with the
surface of the water, which is about five feet deep.

49. At the east foot of Monte Nuovo an ancient beach may be
seen for about fifty yards, which is two feet higher than the present



12



BABBAGE ON THE TEMPLE OF SEUAPIS.



beach, and which is covered by about seventeen feet of tuff. The
part of this older beach which is nearer to Pozzuoli is covered by a
stratum consisting of fine sand, shells, and water-worn fragments of
brick and pottery.

The whole plain called La Starza, which lies between the inland
cliffs and the sea, is of modern formation and consists of beds of
pumice or sand, containing recent marine shells, bones of animals and
fragments of building not rounded by attrition.

Fig. 3.




A Pozzuoli.

B The Bridge of Caligula.
C The Temple of Serapis.
D The Amphitheatre.



E The Arch of Antoninus Pius.
F The Temple of Neptune.
G The Temple of the Nymphs.



There are also the remains of two Roman roads, at present under
water ; one of these reached from Pozzuoli to the Lucrine lake.

50. Another vestige of the art of a remote period which exhibits
decided evidence of a change of level, is the series of piers placed in
the sea, projecting from the town of Pozzuoli, and known by the name
of the bridge of Caligula.


1 3 4 5

Online LibraryCharles BabbageObservations on the temple of Serapis at Pozzuoli near Naples; with an attempt to explain the causes of the frequent elevation and depression of large portions of the earth's surface in remote periods, and to prove that those causes continue in action at the present time. With a supplement. Conjectu → online text (page 1 of 5)