John Chetwode Eustace.

A classical tour through Italy, an. MDCCCII (Volume 1) online

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room (circular) in these baths 1 12 feet in diameter, which
might have been covered with a dome upon the principle of
the Halle au Bled at Paris, and been the Cella Solearis
alluded to.



The vaults and passages under the arena
bear out Mr. Eustace's conjecture : we can
only add, that they appear to have been
used principally for the introduction of the
wild beasts ; the cages containing them
were raised through a trap-door, and a
simple process turned the beast out upon
the arena. In the excavations were found
various fragments and inscriptions record-
ing repairs to the arena, .the podium,
and the seats ; but the latest alludes to
the partial reinstatement of the building
after the dilapidation of a tremendous
earthquake in the sixth century, by
the Prefect Basilius, perhaps its last re-
pair. The present Pope has built an
immense buttress to the top of the
building, to uphold the tottering extre-
mity of the outer circle ; and the con-


victs were still employed in a work of
draining for its security in 1820.

The temple of Fortuna virilis has been
simply cleared of the rubbish which had
accumulated about the podium.


This appellation was attached to the
eight patchwork granite columns of a
strange species of Ionic order at the foot
of the Clivus Capitolinus ; but the late
excavations have laid open the foundations
of the cell of the real temple behind the
arch of Septimius Severus, and adjoining
the temple of Jupiter Tonans. The site
had been occupied by a church dedicated
to Sts. Sergio and Bacco, which was thrown
down to open the way to the Capitol for
the Emperor Charles V.

The eight columns are now assigned to
the temple of Fortune, restored by Costan-


tine, after being burnt under Maxentius ;
they are an extraordinary example of
patchwork, with different unfinished bases
and capitals eked out with stucco, while
the portions composing the granite shafts
are placed sometimes with their diminished
ends downwards, and what was originally
the moulding immediately above the base,
now forms that directly under the capital.
Between this and the three columns of
Jupiter Tonans, runs the ancient paving
of the Clivus Capitolinus of large blocks
of lava. The latter temple was placed
upon an elevated podium, and a narrow
terrace or platform ran along its front.

Little more has been done to the tri-
umphal arches than laying them open to
the ancient basaltic pavement, and build-
ing dwarf walls around them to prevent
the earth again falling in. This is also
done at the temple of Antoninus and


The arch of Titus, which required no
excavation, exists in a most melancholy
state of dilapidation, and is only up-
held by timber supports. It is placed at
one corner of the oblong plot of ground
selected by the Emperor Hadrian for the
site of his magnificent double temple to
Venus and Rome. This area was about
five hundred and thirty-five feet by three
hundred and twenty. It was enclosed by
a wall, around the inside of which was a
portico of granite columns about three feet
diameter, and consequently thirty high.
In the midst of this area arose the perip-
teral temple of white marble fluted co-
lumns of the Corinthian order, designed
by the emperor; and if we may judge
from the waste of white marble to be ob-
served in its walls, not without some mis-
takes in the execution, arising in all pro-
bability from his want of professional prac-
tice. The double temple was elevated


upon seven steps, and columns of porphyry
adorned the interior of both portions. The
vaulted roof of stucco was gilded, and the
pavement shone in compartments of ser-
pentine and giallo antico. Some remains
of steps adjoining the arch of Titus shew
that in all probability a propylea gave
entrance to the peribolus on that side.

The excavations at the three columns
in the forum have only shewn that the
building to which they belonged was ele-
vated upon a lofty podium with a plat-
form, and approached by a magnificent
flight of steps. It is presumed to have
been the Comitium.


The column of Trajan is now placed at
one end of an oblong sunk area, sur-
rounded by a post and chain, of which the
line runs not parallel but obliquely to that


of the surrounding buildings ; as unfor-
tunately for the excavators, the form of the
modern piazza does not follow that of the
ancient city. Two double rows of columns
run across this area ; but those now seen
are only fragments of the ancient granite
shafts raised upon bases which have been
placed in the positions of the original
columns, as marked by the foundations.
Some portion of the ancient marble paving
remains, and is perfect in the immediate
vicinity of the great column. It is to be
regretted that the researches were necessarily
impeded in the direction of the line of
these porticos by the adjoining houses, and
on the other side of the column by the
Palazzo Imperiale and two churches; as
some interesting traces of the Ulpian li-
brary and basilica, or of the triumphal arch
and temple of Trajan might have been dis-

The temple of Mars and the peribolus


of the forum of Pallas, we believe, remain

We conclude that the water alluded to
by Mr. Eustace as remaining stagnant in
these hollows is of little consequence, and
but seldom rises into them; but with the
exception of those walled round, the exca-
vations will gradually be refilled.

The abandonment of the church of St.
Paulo fuori le mura we believe to be una-
voidable. The Benedictine monks are now
in possession, but the mal aria expels them
at an unusually early period of the year.
It is to be regretted that the columns of its
aisles are not employed in a building where
their magnificent shafts could be better
appreciated *. The cloister is a most curious

* They have been supposed by most antiquaries to have
belonged originally to the mausoleum of Hadrian, see
Vol. II. pages 19 and 117; but it is doubtful whether that
building ever had columns. This error seems to have arisen
from their having been really removed from the church
of St. Hadrian, the presumed Basilica of Paulus ^milius.


specimen of architecture in twisted columns
and mosaic.

The church and cloister of the Carthu-
sians is also now in the possession of the
Order. This church is perhaps the most
magnificent space in Rome, with the ex-
ception of St. Peter's ; and if it had been
restored more judiciously, and with refe-
rence to the original design, would have
been hardly inferior to that structure. But
the shutting up the side aisles has totally
perverted the effect of the columns, now
placed at rambling intervals, and support-
ing the ponderous pendentives of the groins
originally relieved by three gigantic vaults
like those of the Temple of Peace. What
architect in restoring the latter structure
would think of shutting out those mag-
nificent coffered arches, and seeking our
admiration by the substitution of the tor-
tured pediments and angels which straggle
upon their broken slopes in the church


of the Madonna e sette Angioli ? Would
it not have been better to have raised in-
stead of burying the columns six feet, and
omitted or shortened the high attic over
them ?

Mr. Lalande cites a mistake mentioned
by Boscovich, with reference to the scale
of the meridian of Bianchini : he errs,
there is no mistake.

The columns were originally forty-six
feet six inches high; the ancient dimensions
of the whole hall were 193 feet long, and
150 broad ; the inclosed space at present
is reduced in width to 80 feet. Mr. Eus-
tace's dimension. Vol. I. 404, which gives
350 feet to the length, is taken the other


Jam mens praetrepidans avet vagari :
Jam laeti studio pedes vigescunt.
O dulces comitum valete ccetus,
Longfe quos simul k domo profectos.
Divers^ variae viae reportant*.

Catul. XLIV.

The degree of preparation necessary for
travelling depends upon the motives which
induce us to travel. He who goes from
home merely to change the scene and to

* Now longs my flutt'ring heart to rove;
My feet with livelier ardour move.
Then fare ye well, my comrades gay !
From home at once we take our way.
But far through distant climates borne.
Must all by sep'rate paths return.



seek for novelty ; who makes amusement
his sole object, and has no other view but
to fill up a few months that must otherwise
remain unemployed, has no need of mental
preparation for his excursion. All that such
a loiterer can possibly want, are a conveni-
ent post-chaise, a letter of credit, and a
well-furnished trunk; for occupation he
will have recourse to inns, to coffee-houses,
and to theatres, with their appurtenances,
which cannot fail to supply him with inci-
dents, anecdote, and pastime in abundance.
But he who believes with Cicero, that it
becomes a man of a liberal and active mind
to visit countries ennobled by the birth and
the residence of the Great ; who, with the
same Roman, finds himself disposed by the
contemplation of such scenes to virtuous
a.^d honourable pursuits ; he who, like Titus
Quintius devoting the first days of leisure
after his glorious achievements, to the cele-
brated monuments of Greece, embraces the


earliest opportunity of visiting the classic
regions of Italy; such a traveller will
easily comprehend the necessity of pro-
vidino; before-hand the information re-
quisite to enable him to traverse the country
without constant difficulty, doubt, and in-
quiry. And, indeed, if there be a Tour in
which such preparation is more particularly
wanting than in any other, it is that to
which I allude : as Italy owes more to
history than even to nature ; and he who
goes over it merely with his eyes open to
its embellishments, and his mind intent on
observation, though he may see much and
learn much also, will yet, with all his cu-
riosity and diligence, discover one-half
only of its beauties. Even those travellers
who have made some efforts to qualify
themselves by previous application, will on
many occasions regret that they have not
extended their researches still farther, and
that they have not by a longer course of


preparation, added to their means both of
amusement and of instruction*. It may,
therefore, be considered as an appropriate
introduction to an account of Italy, to
point out to the reader such branches of
information as are either indispensable or
highly advantageous in an excursion to that
country ; after which I mean to add a few
reflections and cautions, with a view either
to remove prejudices, or to prevent incon-

* Vous ne sauriez croire, says the Ahh^ Barthelemi to the
Comte De Caylus, combien mon voyage (en Italie) ni'a
humilie; j'ai vu tant de choses que j'ignorois, et que j'ignore
encore, qu'il m'a paru fou de se savoir gre de quelques con-
noissances superficiellesf. — Lettre xxi. Yet the author of
Anacharsis was one of the most learned and judicious anti-
quaries in France.

t You cannot believe how much my journey (in Italy)
has humbled me. T saw so many things of which I was
before ignorant, and of which I still remain ignorant, that
it appeared to me madness for a man to pride himself on a
little superficial knowledge.



I. As these pages are addressed solely
to persons of a liberal education, it is al-
most needless to recommend the Latin
Poets and Historians. Virgil and Horace,
Cicero and Livy, ought to be the insepa-
rable companions of all travellers ; they
should occupy a corner in every carriage,
and be called forth in every interval of
leisure, to relieve the fatigue and to heighten
the pleasure of the journey. Familiar ac-
quaintance or rather bosom intimacy with
the ancients is evidently the first and most
essential accomplishment of a classical

But there is a class of Poets who, though
nearly allied in language, sentiments, and
country, to the ancients, are yet in general
little known : I mean the modern Latin
poets, Vida, Sannazarius, Fracastorius,


Flaminius, Politian, &c*. who laboured
so successfully to restore the pure taste of
antiquity. Boileau and the French critics
affected to despise these authors-f-, and, for
what reason it is difficult to discover, un-
dervalued their latinity. But men of equal
discernment, Atterbury, Pope, and John-
son, entertained a very different opinion
of their merit, and not only read but some-
times borrowed from them. Every body is
acquainted with the beautiful compliment
which the British poet pays to Vida, and
through him indirectly to his fellow bards,
whose united rays lighted up the glories
of the second Augustan age ; and every

* Pope printed, or rather, I believe, reprinted, with
additions, a collection of poems from these authors in two
volumes duodecimo. The Clarendon press gave the pub-
lic a superb specimen of typographical elegance, in an
edition of Vida, in three volumes octavo, in the years 22, 23,
24, of the last century.

• t The contempt which the French critics generally shew
for modern Latin poetry, may perhaps arise from a con-
sciousness of their own deficiency in this respect. Cardinal


reader not blinded by prejudice must admit
the propriet}' of this poetical tribute, and
acknowledge, that not Vida only but several
of his contemporaries tread in the footsteps

Polignac, Vaniere, Rapin and Santeuil*, are the only Latin
poets, if I recollect well, of any consideration that France
has produced, and though they are not without merit, yet
they betray in the effort with which they advance and in the
very art which they display, somewhat of the latent bar-
barian. Even in Latin prose the French do not seem to
have succeeded better. There is always an appearance of
study and constraint in their style, veiy different from the
easy, unaffected flow of the Italian authors. The latter only
have either preserved or recovered the certa vox Romani
generis, urbisque propria, in qua nihil offendi, nihil displicere,
nihil animadverti possit, nihil sonare, aut olere peregrinumf . —
(Cicero de Or.)

Hence Mr. Roscoe has reason to mention these poets
with partiality, under the appellation of the rivals of Virgil
and Horace,

* This last author is inferior to the others, because more
affected. His hymns, though inserted in the Parisian bre-
viary, and much admired by French critics, are quite dis-
figured by conceit and antithesis.

t That certain style, peculiar to the Roman race, and to
the city of Rome, in which nothing can be objected to,
nothing can displease, nothing be animadverted upon,
nothing retain a foreign sound, or as it were, a foreign


of their illustrious countrymen Virgil and
Horace ; not unfrequentlj catch a spark of
their inspiration, and often speak their lan-
guage with the grace and the facility which
distinguish native Romans. Upon the
present occasion I mean to recommend, in
particular, only such passages in their works
as have an immediate connexion with Italy,
and are calculated to give an additional in-
terest to any part of its history, scenery, or
antiquities. In these passages, where the
subject calls forth their energies, they glow
with native fire and in numbers not un-
worthy the fathers of Roman verse, pure,
majestic, or pathetic, celebrate the grandeur,
describe the beauties, or lament the misfor-
tunes of their country.


II. It is evident that he who wishes to
become acquainted with the manners, or to


enjoy the society of the inhabitants of any
country, must previously learn their lan-
guage ; it is not therefore my intention, at
present, merely to recommend, what indeed
no traveller entirely neglects, the study of
Italian, but to enforce the necessity of com-
mencing it at a much earlier period, and of
continuing it for a much longer space of
time than is now customary. He who enters
Italy with an intention of applying to its
language particularly, must make a longer
residence there than our countrymen usually
do, or he will find too many external calls
upon his attention and curiosity to allow
him to devote his time to cabinet studies.
Information there, is to be gathered, not
from sedentary application, but from active
research and observation. One day is de-
voted to the contemplation of churches or
ruins, the next is passed in the examination
of pictures, a third is dedicated to a groupe
of ancient statues, and a fourth and a fifth


are agreeably spent in the galleries or the
gardens of a villa ; then excursions are to
be made to spots consecrated by history or
by song, to Horace's Sabine farm or to
Virgil's tomb, to Tihur or Tuscidum, to
Fesole, or Vallomhrosa. In these delightful
and instructive occupations, days, weeks,
and months glide away with imperceptible
rapidity, and the i^w leisure hours that may
chance to occur at intervals are scarcely
sufficient to give the diligent traveller time
to collect his remarks and to embody his
recollections. Let him, therefore, who
wishes to visit Italy with full satisfaction
and advantage, acquire, if possible, such
an acquaintance with its language, pre-
vious to his journey, that nothing may be
wanting to complete his command of it
but practice and conversation He that
travelleth into a country before he hath some
entrance into the language, goeth to school
and not to travel, says Bacon.



III. The next object which claims at-
tention is the History of the different Revo-
lutiojis of Italy, not only before, but during
the decline and after the fall of the Roman

The republican part of Roman history
is considered as purely classical, and as
such is pre-supposed in the first paragraph.
The lives or the reigns of the first Em-
perors are contained in Suetonius, Tacitus,
and Herodian, whose curious and amusins:
volumes must of course be perused with
attention, while the Scriptores Historic
AugustcE will not be neglected. The Abate
Deninas History of the Revolutions of
Italy, a work in great estimation, gives a
very satisfactory view of the whole subject,
including both ancient and modern times.
The two Sister Histories of Lorenzo and


of Leo, by Mr. Roscoe, contain a full and
interesting account of one of the most
important epochs that occur in the annals
of Italy ; they have long since attracted
the attention of every candid and reflect-
ing mind, and need not be recommended
to persons who mean to visit the country
which has been the theatre of the events,
and the abode of the great men so elo-
quently recorded in them.


IV. Though I do not mean to turn
young travellers into profound antiquaries,
yet I would have them at least skim over
all the regions of ancient learning. No
spot in this extensive territory is either
dreary or unproductive. Medals are inti-
mately connected with the history and the
manners, with the arts and even the taste
of the ancients.


.... And faithful to their charge of fame
Through climes and ages bear each form and name.
In one short view, subjected to our eye,
Gods, emp'rors, heroes, sages, beauties, lie.

They merit therefore considerable atten-
tion. Addison's Dialogues, written with
the usual felicity of that graceful author,
deserve to be recommended as a very pro-
per introduction to this amusing branch of
knowledge. These dialogues have also,
independently of their scientific merit, a
very strong claim to the attention of the
classical traveller, from the numberless ex-
tracts from the ancients, and particularly
the poets, introduced with art, and fre-
quently illustrated with elegance.


V. As Italy possesses some of the most
perfect monuments of antiquity now re-
maining, Res antiqucB laudis et atiis*, as

* The glories of ancient art.


well as the most splendid productions of
modern genius in Architecture, Sculpture,
and Painting, it is absolutely necessary to
acquire a general knowledge of the prin-
ciples of these three great arts.

With regard to Architecture, Dean Al-
drich's Elements, translated by Mr. Smyth
of New College, is a very clear and con-
cise treatise on the general principles, pro-
portions, and terms of this art, and may
be recommended as a good work of the
kind for the use of beginners. The five
orders, according to Palladio's system, are
explained in a little treatise, and illustrated
in a set of neat engravings by Cyprimii *.
Scamozzis Lives of the principal Archi-
tects, preceded by a dissertation on the
art in general, is an useful and very enter-
taining work.

But the man who wishes to have accu-

*Roma ISOl.


rate ideas and comprehensive notions on
this subject, must not content himself with
these nor indeed with any modern compo-
sitions. He must have recourse to the an-
cients — inventas qui 'vitam excoluere per artes*
— and in their writings and monuments
study the best models and the fairest spe-
cimens of architectural beauty. Rollings
short treatise, in his Appendix to his An-
cient History, enriched with several cita-
tions and classical references, may serve as
an introduction. It is not, perhaps, always
accurate, because written before an exact
survey of several ancient monuments had
been made, but it is perspicuous and in-
teresting, and like all the works of that
excellent author, admirably calculated to
awaken curiosity in the youthful mind.
Stuart's Athens, a work of surprising exact-
ness, presents to the eye, in one groupe,

Who grac'd their age with new invented arts.



a collection of the noblest specimens of
Grecian art and of Attic taste now exist-
ing*. In these matchless edifices, erected
during the most flourishing period of Gre-
cian architecture, the reader will discover
the genuine proportions of the original
Doric, the first and favorite order of the
Grecian architects ; an order either slightly
mentioned or totally omitted by modern
artists, though it is supposed, at least as
employed in the Parthenon and the temple
of Theseus, to unite above all others, orna-
ment with simplicity and beauty with
solidity. Vitruvius must be perused or at
least consulted, with the assistance of the
Italian translation and notes, to remove
such difficulties as must invariably occur
without some explanation f.

* Mr. Wilkins's magnificent work, entitled. Magna Gre-
cia, is, in execution, accuracy, and interest, equal to any of
the kind, and cannot be too strongly recommended.

t Fitruvio del Galiani, Napoli.


Many works of greater length and more
detail might be recommended, but the few
alluded to are sufficient, not indeed to
perfect an architect, but to form the taste
of a young traveller. Besides, when the
first principles are once known and the
original proportions well understood, an
attentive observer may improve his taste
by comparing the best models of Greek
and Roman, of ancient and modern, archi-

* No art deserves more attention than Architecture,
because no art is so often called into action, tends so much
to the embellishment or contributes more to the .reputation
of a country. It ought, therefore, at all events to occupy
some portion of time in a liberal education. Had such a
method of insti'uction as that which is here recommended
been adopted a century ago, the streets of London, Oxford,
and Cambridge, would not present so many shapeless build-
ings, raised at an enormous expence, as if designed for
eternal monuments of the opulence and of the bad taste of
the British nation. We should not see such a multitude of
absurd edifices under the names of temples, ruins, &c. dis-
grace the scenery of England so much admired by foreigners.
In short, instead of allowing architects to pursue novelty at
the expence of taste, and seek for reputation by adaptations
and pretended imjifovements of their own invention, a me-

Online LibraryJohn Chetwode EustaceA classical tour through Italy, an. MDCCCII (Volume 1) → online text (page 4 of 27)