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OME is the most powerfully
attractive city which the European traveller can possibly visit. It is the Mecca of his pilgrimage ; and wander where he may, he will not consider his travel complete until he has entered within the gates of the
Italian capital When entered, he finds the "eternal city," for the most part, a heap of ruins. Shrunk up within the girdle of its encircling walls, it exhibits on every side scenes of desolation, while it is surrounded by a pestilential waste, over which huge fragments of arched aqueducts stretch their lengthened miles of broken arches, as if in monumental mockery of the most laboured works of man. There are, however, scenes of impressive grandeur in and around the old imperial city, which, when once viewed, can never afterwards be forgotten. Such are those from the Pincian heights on the western side; from the eastern heights of the Janiculum hill; and from the circular balcony immediately under the ball on the dome of St. Peter's. From these elevated points of view, churches, palaces, columns, obelisks, and elevated statuary are seen mingling together in richest variety;
VOL. XIX.-- Second Series --JANUARY, 1873.
and all under a translucent, azure sky, which softens down all rigid forms, and harmonizes the whole into pictorial beauty and magnificence.
In our Frontispiece we present to our readers a view which will be familiar to all who have visited Rome. It is from the shore of the river, north of the Borghese palace, looking east. Immediately in front is the yellow Tiber, flowing upwards from the spectator. In the middle distance is the Bridge of St. Angelo, with its arches and figures of angels, leading from the city to the huge fortified tomb of Hadrian on the right, and to St. Peter's beyond,—the forms of which are reflected in the muddy water as it flows thick and heavily along. Little craft is seen on the river. Here and there appears a solitary ferry-boat crossing it with one or more passengers; and now and then a rough barge, laden with timber, or marble for sculptors, is beheld floating sluggishly onwards, under the steerage of ponderous oars and extended helm ; while, occasionally, may
be viewed something like a pleasure-boat, with its covered awning of mingled colours ; but, in most parts, the river of renown bears no signs of commerce or of pleasure.
From the lofty belfry of the Senators' Palace on the Capitol, the scene is intensely affecting to the thoughtful and reflecting mind. Here is the point of juncture between ancient and modern Rome. Here the spectator literally stands between the living and the dead. Here, on the one hand, are the crowded buildings of the modern capital; and on the other, in the valley of the old Forum, are strewn in mighty grandeur the relics of two thousand years and more, with the broken-down Colosseum at the end, lying like the shattered crown of fallen empire. Here may be traced the “
on which the “mistress of nations” sat, and on which the “whore of Babylon," with her full cup of fornications, afterwards enthroned herself. And here, with the crumbled palaces of the Cæsars on one side, and with the giant Vatican of the Popes on the other, memory and imagination exercise themselves to the utmost; while reason supports the declaration of Hobbes, that “the Papacy is the ghost of the deceased Roman Empire, sitting crowned upon the grave thereof."
, Of late, the excavations on the Palatine Hill, on the right looking down from the Capitol, have been extensive and important. The halls, courts, corridors, baths, and theatres, which have there been uncovered, mostly at the cost of France, surpass in size and in ruined sumptuousness, all previous discoveries; while are seen, as the deep-laid solid foundations of all, the huge uncemented masonry of the time of Romulus and of his immediate successors in power. Amidst these ruins of imperial grandeur, however, may be traced proofs of the deep degradation of human nature when at its utmost height of pomp and power. For the bath, provided for the relief and aid
of luxuriant gormandizers, who, having eaten to the full, would return to feast their pampered appetites sooner than nature in its own course would allow, is seen immediately next the banquet-hall. And among the statuary and sculptured objects brought to light by the excavations, is an Altar in stone similar to that which the Apostle Paul saw and remarked upon to the Greeks at Athens, dedicated “ to the unknown god.” A sketch of this is given at the end of this article. The inscription it bears in Roman characters upon its face is in English
SACRED EITHER TO GOD OR GODDESS. C- SEXTIUS CIP- CALVINUS, E. R., BY DECREE OF THE SENATE,
This altar, with its inscription, is proof that Rome, with her Pantheon of all known gods, was not satisfied with what it had, but suspected that there was still a god unknown by it.
To the Christian visitor of the great imperial city, there are, however, scenes and objects of still deeper interest.
The APPIAN Way, upon which the great Apostle of the Gentiles came to Rome a prisoner under military escort, and in which Christian brethren and friends who had formerly known him in the Eastern world, or had heard of his devoted labours for Christ their Lord, as well as read his Epistle to the Romans, met him, to his comfort and joy,—some of them at Appii Forum, and others at the Three Tarerns,-has undying interest for all the followers of the Redeemer. That Way still retains much of its original character, and may be mostly traced from Puteoli, where St. Paul landed, to the gate of the city. In some parts, the ruts of chariot-wheels, with the original pavement in its hard, exactly-fitted, angular blocks, still remain. By its sides are the monumental structures of notable citizens, while on the left are the CATACOMDS, in which the persecuted Christians of Pagan times hid themselves from their persecutors, and in which they were buried; their names, symbols of martyrdom, and hope of eternal life, being cut on plain slabs of marble which closed up their last earthly resting-places in the scooped-out tufan soil of chambers and galleries, wherein they or their friends had lived and sheltered. These memorials are absorbingly interesting to the Christian visitor, and as he threads his course along the solemn crypts and passages, and reads the simple inscriptions for the martyred dead, lie cannot do otherwise than exclaim with Milton,
"Avenge, O Lord ! Thy slaughtered saints.” Contrasting these subterranean places of Christian sepulture
“in dens and caves of the earth” with the massive tombs and sepulchral memorials of Paganism which line the Appian Way outside, the devout mind cannot but reflect upon the surpassing honour of the underground burial-places of Christian martyrs as compared with the lofty memorials of Pagan senators and emperors. Just within the Sebastian gate, is the recently-discovered burial-place of “Cæsar's household," which, in thought, links itself with St. Paul and his converts at Rome. And at the back of the Palatine Hill have been uncovered by the new excavations, barracks and guard houses of Roman soldiers, on the walls of which are rude but distinct scratchings of Roman ships, Roman sayings, and in one instance, of a man with an ass's head (for contempt) crucified, under which is the rude inscription, “Alexamenos worships his god.” So that in that very military hold, the Apostle Paul may have been kept a prisoner in chains, at the time when he did not reside at his own hired house, if not immured in the dark Mamertine dungeon on the other side of the Forum.
Within the city of the Apostle's labours, and in which so many suffered martyrdom for the “ truth as it is in Jesus,” there is much in the Paganized and Judaizing forms and ceremonies of the Church of Rome as there witnessed, to fill the Christian heart with godly jealousy and grief. It is oppressively painful to tread the marble floor of the largest and grandest temple of professed Christianity, and there to see the priests and people within it “wholly given to idolatry.” It is humiliating to behold intelligent,
immortal beings kissing with
under the false and blasphemous promise of special indulgences for sin. On
these stairs, when seeking forgiveness and indulgences by climbing penance on his bare knees, Martin Luther heard the Divine voice sound within his honest heart, “The