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Bill Thayer

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Chapter 1
This webpage reproduces a chapter of
Pagan and Christian Rome

by Rodolfo Lanciani

published by Houghton, Mifflin and Company
Boston and New York, 1892

Text, maps and black & white illustrations are in the public domain.
Any color photos are © William P. Thayer.


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Chapter 3



Ancient guide-books of Rome, published in the middle of the fourth century,​1 mention four hundred and twenty-four temples, three hundred and four shrines, eighty statues of gods, of precious metal, sixty-four of ivory, and three  p52 thousand seven hundred and eighty-five miscellaneous bronze statues. The number of marble statues is not given. It has been said, however, that Rome had two populations of equal size, one alive, and one of marble.

I have had the opportunity of witnessing or conducting the discovery of several temples, altars, shrines, and bronze statues. The number of marble statues and busts discovered in the last twenty-five years, either in Rome or the Campagna, may be stated at one thousand.

Before beginning the description of these beautiful monuments, I must allude to some details concerning the management and organization of ancient places of worship, upon which recent discoveries have thrown a considerable, and in some cases, unexpected light.

Roman temples, like the churches of the present day, were used not only as places of worship, but as galleries of pictures, museums of statuary, and "cabinets" of precious objects. In chapter v. of "Ancient Rome," I have given the catalogue of the works of art displayed in the temple of Apollo on the Palatine. The list includes: The Apollo and Artemis driving a quadriga, by Lysias; fifty statues of the Danaids; fifty of the sons of Egypt; the Herakles of Lysippos; Augustus with the attributes of Apollo (a bronze statue fifty feet high); the pediment of the temple, by Bupalos and Anthermos; statues of Apollo, by Skopas; Leto, by Kephisodotos, son of Praxiteles; Artemis, by Timotheos; and the nine Muses; also a chandelier, formerly dedicated by Alexander the Great at Kyme; medallions of eminent men; a collection of gold plate; another of gems and intaglios; ivory carvings; specimens of palaeography; and two libraries.

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Entablature of the Temple of Concord.

The Temple of Apollo was by no means the only sacred museum of ancient Rome; there were scores of them, beginning  p53 with the Temple of Concord, so emphatically praised by Pliny.​a This temple, built by Camillus, at the foot of the Capitol, and restored by Tiberius and Septimius Severus, was still standing at the time of Pope Hadrian I (772‑795), when the inscription on its front was copied for the last time by the Einsiedlensis. It was razed to the ground towards 1450. "When I made my first visit to Rome," says Poggio Bracciolini, "I saw the Temple of Concord almost intact (aedem fere integram), built of white marble. Since then the Romans have demolished it, and turned the structure into a lime-kiln." The platform of the temple and a few fragments of its architectural decorations were discovered in 1817. The reader may appreciate the grace of these decorations, from a fragment of the entablature now in the portico of the Tabularium, and one of the capitals of the cella, now in the Palazzo dei Conservatori. The cella contained one central and ten side niches, in which eleven masterpieces of Greek chisels were placed, namely, the Apollo and Hero, by Baton; Leto nursing Apollo and  p54 Artemis, by Euphranor; Asklepios and Hygieia, by Nikeratos; Ares and Hermes, by Piston; and Zeus, Athena, and Demeter, by Sthennis. The name of the sculptor of the Concordia in the apse is not known. Pliny speaks alsoº of a picture by Theodoros, representing Cassandra; of four elephants, cut in obsidian, a miracle of skill and labor, and of a collection of precious stones, among which was the sardonyx set in the legendary ring of Polykrates of Samos. Most of these treasures had been offered to the goddess by Augustus, moved by the liberality which Julius Caesar had shown towards his ancestral goddess, Venus Genetrix. We know from Pliny, XXXV.9, that Caesar was the first to give due honor to paintings, by exhibiting them in his Forum Julium. He gave about $72,000 (eighty talents), for two works of Timomachos, representing Medea and Ajax. At the base of the Temple of Venus Genetrix he placed his own equestrian statue, the horse of which, modelled by Lysippos, had once supported the figure of Alexander the Great. The statue of Venus was the work of Arkesilaos, and her breast was covered with strings of British pearls. Pliny (XXXVII.5), after mentioning the collection of gems made by Scaurus, and another made by Mithradates, which Pompey the Great had offered to Jupiter Capitolinus, adds: "These examples were surpassed by Caesar the dictator, who offered to Venus Genetrix six collections of cameos and intaglios."

A descriptive catalogue of these valuables and works of art was kept in each temple, and sometimes engraved on marble. The inventories included also the furniture and properties of the sacristy. In 1871 the following remarkable document was discovered in the Temple of Diana Nemorensis. The inventory, engraved on a marble pillar three feet high, is now preserved in the Orsini Castle at Nemi.  p55 It has been published by Henzen in "Hermes," vol. VI. p. 8, and reads as follows, in translation: —

Objects offered to [or belonging to] both temples [the temple of Isis and that of Bubastis]: — Seventeen statues; one head of the Sun; four silver images; one medallion; two bronze altars; one tripod (in the shape of one at Delphi); a cup for libations; a patera; a diadem [for the statue of the goddess] studded with gems; a sistrum of gilded silver; a gilt cup, a patera ornamented with ears of corn;º a necklace studded with beryls; two bracelets with gems; seven necklaces with gems; nine ear-rings with gems; two nauplia [rare shells from the Propontis]; a crown with twenty-one topazes and eighty carbuncles; a railing of brass supported by eight hermulae; a linen costume comprising a tunica, a pallium, a belt, and a stola, all trimmed with silver; a like costume without trimming.

[Objects offered] to Bubastis: — A costume of purple silk; another of turquoise color; a marble vase with pedestal; a water jug; a linen costume with gold trimmings and a golden girdle; another of plain white linen.

The objects described in this catalogue did not belong to the Temple of Diana itself, one of the wealthiest in central Italy; but to two small shrines, of Isis and Bubastis, built by a devotee within the sacred enclosure, on the north side of the square.

The ancients displayed remarkably bad taste in loading the statues of their gods with precious ornaments, and in spoiling the beauty of their temples with hangings of every hue and description. A document published by Muratori​2 speaks of a statue of Isis which was dedicated by a lady named Fabia Fabiana as a memorial to her deceased grand-daughter Avita. The statue, cast in silver, weighed one  p56 hundred and twelve and a half pounds, and was muffled in ornaments and jewelry beyond conception. The goddess wore a diadem in which were set six pearls, two emeralds, seven beryls, one carbuncle, one hyacinthus, and two flint arrow-heads; also earrings with emeralds and pearls, a necklace composed of thirty-six pearls and eighteen emeralds, two clasps, two rings on the little finger, one on the third, one on the middle finger; and many other gems on the shoes, ankles, and wrists. Another inscription discovered at Constantine, Algeria, describes a statue of Jupiter dedicated in the Capitol of that city. The devotees had placed on his head an oak-wreath of silver, with thirty leaves and fifteen acorns; they had loaded his right hand with a silver disk, a Victory waving a palm-leaf, and a crown of forty leaves; and in the other had fastened a silver rod and other emblems.

The hangings and tinsel not only disfigured the interior of temples, but were a source of danger from their combustibility. When we hear of fires destroying the Pantheon in A.D. 110, the Temple of Apollo in 363, that of Venus and Rome in 307, and that of Peace in 191, we may assume that they were started and fed by the inflammable materials with which the interiors were filled. There is no other explanation to be given, inasmuch as the structures were fire-proof, with the exception of the roof. As for the disfiguration of sacred buildings with all sorts of hangings, it is enough to quote the words of Livy (XL.51). "In the year of Rome, 574, the censors M. Fulvius Nobilior and M. Aemilius Lepidus restored the temple of Jupiter on the Capitol. On this occasion they removed from the columns all the tablets, medallions, and military flags omnis generis which had been hung against them."

The right of performing sacrifices was sometimes granted  p57 to civilians, on payment of a fee. An inscription discovered among the ruins of the Temple of Malakbelos, outside the Porta Portese, on the site of the new railway station, relates how an importer of wine, Quintus Octavius Daphnicus, having built at his own expense a banqueting hall within the sacred enclosure, was rewarded with the immunitas sacrum faciendi, that is, the right of performing sacrifices without the assistance of priests. The performances were regulated by tariffs, which specified a price for every item; and one of these has actually survived to our day.3

D . . . .

PRO · SANGVINE (nomen animalis)


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PRO · CORONA ·         A · IIII

D . . . .

For the blood of ––––– (perhaps a bull)
And for its hide
If the victim be entirely burnt
For the blood and skin of a lamb
If the lamb be entirely burnt
For a cock (entirely burnt)
For blood alone
For a wreath
For hot water (per head)

xxv asses.
iv asses.
vi-½ asses.
iii-½ asses.
iv asses.
xiii asses.
ii asses.

The meaning of this tariff will be easily understood if we recall the details of a Graeco-Roman sacrifice, in regard to the apportionment of the victim's flesh. The parts which were the perquisite of the priests differ in different worships; sometimes we hear of legs and skin, sometimes  p58 of tongue and shoulder. In the case of private sacrifices the rest of the animal was taken home by the sacrificer, to be used for a meal or sent as a present to friends. This was, of course, impossible in the case of "holocausts," in which the victim was burnt whole on the altar. In the Roman ritual, hides and skins were always the property of the temple.​4 In the above tariff two prices are charged: a smaller one for ordinary sacrifices, when only the intestines were burnt, and the rest of the flesh was taken home by the sacrificer; a larger one for "holocausts," which required a much longer use of the altar, spit, gridiron, and other sacrificial instruments. Four asses are charged for each crown or wreath of flowers, half that amount for hot water.

The site of a sanctuary can be determined not only from its actual ruins, but, in many cases, from the contents of its favissae, or vaults, which are sometimes collected in a group, sometimes spread over a considerable space of ground. The origin of these deposits of terra-cotta or bronze votive objects is as follows: —

Each leading sanctuary or place of pilgrimage was furnished with one or more rooms for the exhibition and safekeeping of ex‑votos. The walls of these rooms were studded with nails on which ex‑voto heads and figures were hung in rows by means of a hole on the back. There were also horizontal spaces, little steps like those of a lararium, or shelves, on which were placed those objects that could stand upright. When both surfaces were filled, and no room was left for the daily influx of votive offerings, the priests removed the rubbish of the collection, that is, the terra-cottas, and buried them either in the vaults (favissae) of the  p59 temple, or in trenches dug for the purpose within or near the sacred enclosure.

During these last years I have been present at the discovery of five deposits of ex‑votos, each marking the site of a place of pilgrimages. The first was found in March, 1876, on the site of a temple of Hercules, outside the Porta S. Lorenzo; the second in the spring of 1885, on the site of the Temple of Diana Nemorensis; the third in 1886, near the Island of Aesculapius (now of S. Bartolomeo); the fourth in 1887, near the shrine of Minerva Medica; the last in 1889, on the site of the Temple of Juno at Veii.

The existence of a temple of Hercules, outside the Porta S. Lorenzo, within the enclosure of the modern cemetery, was first made known in 1862, in consequence of the discovery of an altar raised to him by Marcus Minucius, the "master of the horse" or lieutenant-general of Q. Fabius Maximus (217 B.C.). This altar is now exhibited in the Capitoline Museum.​5 Fourteen years later, in 1876, the favissae of the temple were found in the section of the cemetery called the Pincio. There were about two hundred pieces of terra-cotta, vases of Etruscan and Italo-Greek manufacture; several statuettes of bronze, and pieces of aes rude, and aes grave librale, one of them from the town of Luceria. This deposit seems to have been buried at the beginning of the sixth century of Rome.

The excavation of the temple of Diana Nemorensis was undertaken in 1885, by Sir John Savile Lumley, now Lord Savile of Rutherford, the English ambassador at Rome, with the kind consent of the Italian government. It seems that this Artemisium Nemorense was not only a place of worship and devotion, but also a hydro-therapeutic establishment.  p60 The waters employed for the cure were those which spring from the lava rocks at Nemi, and which, until a few years ago, fell in graceful cascades into the lake, at a place called "Le Mole."

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Portrait Bust of Person cured at Nemi.
They now supply the city of Albano, which has long suffered from water-famine. I can vouch for their therapeutic efficiency from personal experience; in fact I could honestly put up my votive offering to the long-forgotten goddess, having recovered health and strength by following the old cure. Diana, however, was chiefly worshipped in this place as Diana Lucina. I need not enter into particulars on this subject. The ex‑votos collected in large quantity by Lord Savile, representing young mothers nursing their first-born, and other offerings of the same  p61 nature, testify to the skill of the priests. Perhaps they practised other branches of surgery, because, among the curiosities brought to light in 1885, are several figures with large openings on the front through which the intestines are seen. Professor Tommasi-Crudeli, who has made a study of this class of curiosities, says that they cannot be  p62 considered as real anatomical models, because the work is too rough and primitive to enable us to distinguish one intestine from the other. The number of objects collected by Lord Savile may be estimated at three thousand.

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Nemi and the site of the Temple of Diana.
A Platform of the Temple of Diana.         B Village of Nemi and Castle of the Orsinis.

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The stern of the ship of the Island of the Tiber.

Characteristic objects of a like nature — breasts cut open and showing the anatomy — have been found in large numbers in and near the island of the Tiber, where the Temple of Aesculapius stood, at the stern of the marble ship. It seems that the street leading from the Campus Martius to the Pons Fabricius, and across it to the temple, was lined with shops and booths for the sale of ex‑votos, as is the case now with the approaches to the sanctuaries of Einsiedeln, Lourdes, Mariahilf, and S. Jago.º In the foundations of the new quays of the Tiber, above and below the bridge, the ex‑votos have been found in regular strata along the line of the banks, whereas in the island itself they have come to light in much smaller quantities. As the votive objects deposited in this sanctuary, from the year 292 before Christ to the fall of the Empire, may be counted not by thousands, but by millions of specimens, I believe that the bed of the Tiber must have been used as a favissa.

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Fragment of a Lamp inscribed with the name of Minerva.
The name of Minerva Medica is familiar to students and visitors of old Rome;​6 but the monument which bears it, a nymphaeum of the gardens of the Licinii, near the Porta Maggiore, has no connection whatever with the goddess of wisdom. Minerva Medica was the name of a street on the Esquiline, so called from a shrine which stood at the crossing, or near the crossing, with the Via Merulana, not far from the church of SS. Pietro e Marcellino. Its foundations  p63 and its deposit of ex‑votos were discovered in 1887. The shape and nature of the offerings bear witness to numberless cases of recovery performed by the merci­ful goddess, the Athena Hygieia or Paionia of the Greeks. There is a fragment of a lamp inscribed with her name, which leaves no doubt as to the identity of the deposit. There is also a votive head, not cast from the mould, but modelled a stecco, which alludes to Minerva as a restorer of hair. The scalp is covered with thick hair in front and on the top, while the sides are bald, or showing only an incipient growth. It is evident, therefore, that the woman whose portrait-head we have found had lost her curls in the course of some malady, and having regained them through the intercession of Minerva, as she piously believed, offered her this curious token of gratitude. This, at least, is Visconti's opinion. Another testimonial of Minerva's efficiency in restoring hair has been found at Piacenza, a votive tablet put up MINERVAE MEMORI by  p64 a lady named Tullia Superiana, RESTITUTIONE SIBI FACTA CAPILLORUM (for having restored her hair).

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Votive Head.

As regards the multitude of ex‑votos, no other temple or deposit discovered in my time can be compared with the favissae of the Temple of Juno at Veii. In Roman traditions this temple was regarded as the place where Camillus emerged from the cuniculus, or mine, on the day of the capture of the city. The story runs that Camillus, having carried his cuniculus under the Temple of Juno within the citadel, overheard the Etruscan aruspex declare to the king of Veii that victory would rest with him who completed the sacrifice. Upon this, the Roman soldiers burst through the floor, seized the entrails of the victims, and bore them to Camillus, who offered them to the goddess with his own hand, while his followers were gaining possession of the city. The account is certainly more or less fabricated; but, as Livy remarks, "it is not worth while to prove or disprove these things." We are content to know that within the citadel of Veii, the "Piazza d'Armi" of the present day, there was a temple of great veneration and antiquity, and that it was dedicated to Juno. Both points have been proved and illustrated by modern discoveries.

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The Cliffs under the Citadel of Veii (now called Piazza d'Armi).

The ex‑votos of the Latin sanctuaries were, as I have just remarked, buried in the favissae; but at Veii, because of the danger and the difficulty of excavating them within the citadel, and in solid rock, the ex‑votos were carted away and thrown from the edge of the cliff into the valley below. The place selected was the north side of the rocky ridge connecting the citadel with the city, which ridge towers one hundred and ninety-eight above the cañon of the Cremera. The mass of objects thrown over here in the course of centuries has produced a slope which reaches nearly to the top of the cliff. The reader will appreciate the  p65 importance of the deposit from the fact that the mine has been exploited ever since the time of Alexander VII (1665‑1667); and in the spring of 1889, when the most recent excavations were made, by the late empress Theresa of Brazil, the mass of terra-cottas brought up to the surface was such that work had to be given up after a few days, because there was no more space in the farmhouse for the storage of the booty. Pietro Sante Bartoli left an account of the excavations made on the same spot by cardinal Chigi, during the pontificate of Alexander VII. Modern topographers do not seem to be aware of this fact; it is not mentioned by Dennis,​b or Gell, or Nibby, although it is the only evidence left of the discovery of the famous sanctuary. "Not far from the Isola Farnese a hill [the Piazza d'Armi], rises from the valley of the Cremera, on the plateau of which cardinal Chigi has discovered a beautiful temple with fluted columns of the Ionic order. The frieze is carved with  p66 trophies and panoplies of various kinds; the reliefs of the pediment represent the emperor Antoninus [?] sacrificing a ram and a sow, and although the panels lie scattered around the temple, and the figures are broken, apparently no important piece is missing. There is also an altar four feet high, with figures of Etruscan type, which was removed to the Palazzo Chigi [now Odescalchi]. The columns and marbles of the temple were bought by cardinal Falconieri to build and ornament a chapel in the church of S. Giovanni de' Fiorentini. . . Not far from the temple a stratum of ex‑votos has been found, so rich that the whole of Rome is now overrun with terra-cottas. Every part of the human body is represented, — heads, hands, feet, fingers, eyes, noses, mouths, tongues, entrails, lungs, symbols of fecundity, whole figures of men and women, horses, oxen, sheep, pigs, — in such quantities as to make several hundred cartloads. There were also bronze statuettes, sacred utensils, and mirror-cases, which were all stolen or destroyed. I have known of one workman breaking marvellous objects (cose insigni) into small fragments to melt them into handles for knives."

When the farms of Isola Farnese and Vaccareccia, in which the remains of Veii and of its extensive cemeteries are situated, were sold, a few years ago, by the empress of Brazil to the marchese Ferraioli, the parties concerned agreed that the right of excavating and the objects discovered should belong to her, for a limited number of years, up to 1891, I believe. The first campaign, opened January 2, 1889, and closed in June, must be considered as one of the most valuable contributions to the study of Etruscan civilization which have been supplied of late to students, either by chance or by design. Had the empress been able to carry out her plans for two or three years more, the whole city and necropolis would have been explored, surveyed, and  p67 illustrated, in the most strictly scientific manner. Political events and the death of this noble woman brought the enterprise to a close. To come back, however, to the bed of votive objects in terra-cotta and bronze, I was able to make a rough estimate of its dimensions, which are two hundred and fifty feet in length, fifty feet in width, and from three to four in depth; nearly forty-four thousand cubic feet. The objects collected in two weeks number four thousand; the fragments buried again as worthless, double that number. The heads of veiled goddesses alone amount to four hundred and forty-seven, of which three hundred and seventy are full-faced, the rest in profile. The vein contains fifty-two varieties of types; to Bartoli's list, we must add busts, masks, arms, breasts, wombs, spines, bowels, lungs, toes, figures cut open across the breast and showing the anatomy, figures approximately human, or male and female embryos ending like the trunk of a tree with stumps corresponding to the feet, figures of hermaphrodites, human torsos modelled purposely without heads, arms without hands, legs without feet, hands holding apples or jewel-caskets, figurines of mothers nursing twins, beautiful life-sized statues of draped women, with movable hands and feet, rats, wild boars, sucking pigs, cows, rams, apples and other fruits, and "marbles."

The first structures dedicated to the gods in Rome were called arae, and had the shape of a cube of masonry, in the centre of a square platform. They were modelled, in a measure, on the pattern of the Pelasgic hierones, in which the territory of Tibur and Signia is especially abundant. The arae best known in Roman history and topography are six in number, namely, the ara maxima Herculis; the Roma quadrata; the ara Aii Locutii; the ara Ditis  p68 et Proserpinae; the ara pacis Augustae; and the ara incendii Neroniani. The oldest of these were built of rough stones; those of later periods took the characteristic shape of the altar of Verminus, represented on page 52 of my "Ancient Rome," and of the altar raised to Vedjovis by the members of the Julian family, at Bovillae, their birthplace, where it was found by the Colonnas in 1823. It is now in the villa of that family on the Quirinal.​7 In imperial times the conventional shape was preserved, with the addition of two pulvini, or volutes, on the opposite edges of the cornice, as represented in the illustration on page 35 of "Ancient Rome" (a marble altar found at Ostia).


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A Pelasgic hieron, or platform of altar, at Segni.

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The Ara Maxima Herculis. This altar, the oldest in Rome, was raised in memory of the visit of Hercules to our country. Tacitus and Plinyº attribute its construction to Evander the Arcadian, forgetting that in prehistoric times the tract of land on which the altar stood, between the Forum Boarium and the Circus Maximus, was submerged by the waters of the Velabrum. It was at all events a very ancient structure, held in great veneration. Its rough shape and appearance were never changed, as shown by a precious — yet unpublished — sketch by Baldassare Peruzzi which I found among his autographs in Florence. A round temple was built near the altar, in later times, of which we know two particulars: first, that it had a mysterious power of repulsion for dogs and flies;​8 second, that it contained, among other works of art, a picture by the poet Pacuvius, next in antiquity and value to the one painted by Fabius Pictor, in the Temple of Health, in 303 B.C.9 The Temple of Hercules, the Ara Maxima, and the bronze statue of the hero-god were discovered, in a good state of preservation, during the pontificate of Sixtus IV, between the apse of S. Maria in Cosmedin (the Temple of Ceres), and the Circus  p70 Maximus. We have a description of the discovery by Pomponio Leto, Albertini, and Fra Giocondo da Verona; and excellent drawings by Baldassare Peruzzi.10

Except the bronze statue, and a few votive inscriptions, which were removed to the Capitoline Museum, everything — temple, altar, and platform — was levelled to the ground by the illustrious Vandals of the Renaissance.

The Roma Quadrata. According to the ancient ritual, the founder of a city, after tracing the sulcus primigenius or furrow which marked its limits, buried the plough, the instruments of sacrifice, and other votive offerings, in a round hole, excavated in the centre of the marked space. The round hole was called mundus, and its location was indicated by a heap of stones, which in course of time took the shape of a square altar. The mundus of ancient Rome was located in the very heart of the Palatine, in front of the Temple of Apollo, and the altar upon it was named the Roma Quadrata. This name has been much discussed, and it has even been applied to the Palatine city itself, although it is an established fact that there is, strictly speaking, no connection between the two. The controversy has been resumed lately by Professor Luigi Pigorini in a paper still unpublished which was read at the sitting of the German Institute, December 17, 1890; and by Professor Otto Richter in his pamphlet Die älteste Wohnstätte des römischen Volks, Berlin, 1891.

In view of the ignorance of ancient writers on this subject, and the almost absurd definitions they give of the word, we had come to the conclusion that the altar had been removed or concealed by Augustus, when he built the Temple of Apollo and the Portico of the Danaids, in 28  p71 B.C. A remarkable inscription discovered September 20, 1890 (to which I shall refer later), by mentioning the Roma Quadrata as existing A.D. 204, shows that our opinion was wrong, and that the old altar, the most venerable monument of Roman history, had survived the vicissitudes of time, and the transformation of the Palatine from the cradle of the city into the palace of the Caesars.

In December, 1869, when the nuns of the Visitation were laying the foundations of a new wing of their convent on the area of the Temple of Apollo,​11 I saw a line of square pilasters at the depth of forty-one feet below the pavement of the Portico of the Danaids, and in the centre of the line a heap of stones, either of tufa or peperino, roughly squared. It is more than probable that, in 1869, I did not think of the Roma Quadrata, and of its connection with those remains, so deeply buried in the heart of the hill; but I am sure that a careful investigation of that sacred spot would lead to very important results.

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Ara of Aius Locutus on the Palatine.
The Ara of Aius Locutius. In 1820, while excavations were proceeding near the western corner of the Palatine (at the spot marked No. 7, on the plan, page 106, of "Ancient Rome"), an altar was discovered, of archaic type, inscribed with the following dedication: "Sacred to  p72 a Divinity, whether male or female. Caius Sextius Calvinus, son of Caius, praetor, has restored this altar by decree of the Senate." Nibby and Mommsen believe Calvinus to be the magistrate mentioned twice by Cicero as a candidate against Glaucias in the contest for the praetor­ship of 125 B.C. They also identify the altar as (a restoration of) the one raised behind the Temple of Vesta, in the "lower New Street," in memory of the mysterious voice announcing the invasion of the Gauls, in the stillness of the night, and warning the citizens to strengthen the walls of their city. The voice was attributed to a local Genius, whom the people named Aius Loquens or Locutius. As a rule, the priests refrained from mentioning in public prayers the name and sex of new and slightly known divinities, especially of local Genii, to which they objected for two reasons: first, because there was danger of vitiating the ceremony by a false invocation; secondly, because it was prudent not to reveal the true name of these tutelary gods to the enemy of the commonwealth, lest in case of war or siege he could force them to abandon the defence of that special place, by mysterious and violent rites. The formula si deus si dea, "whether god or goddess," is a consequence of this superstition; its use is not uncommon on ancient altars; Servius describes a shield dedicated on the Capitol to the Genius of Rome, with the inscription:GENIO  p73 URBIS ROMAE SIVE MAS SIVE FEMINA, "to the tutelary Genius of the city of Rome, whether masculine or feminine." The Palatine altar, of which I give an illustration, cannot fail to impress the student, on account of its connection with one of the leading events in history, the capture and burning of Rome by the Gauls, 390 B.C.

The Ara Ditis et Proserpinae. On the 20th of September, 1890, the workmen employed in the construction of the main sewer on the left bank of the Tiber, between the Ponte S. Angelo and the church of S. Giovanni dei Fiorentini, found a mediaeval wall, built of materials collected at random from the neighboring ruins. Among them were fragments of one or more inscriptions which described the celebrations of the Ludi Saeculares under the Empire. By the end of the day, seventeen pieces had been recovered, seven of which belonged to the records of the games celebrated under Augustus, in the year 17 B.C., the others to those celebrated under Septimius Severus and Caracalla, in the year 204 A.D. Later researches led to the discovery of ninety-six other fragments, making a total of one hundred and thirteen, of which eight are of the time of Augustus, two of the time of Domitian, and the rest date from Severus.

The fragments of the year 17 B.C., fitted together, make  p74 a block three metres high, containing one hundred and sixty-eight minutely inscribed lines. This monument, now exhibited in the Baths of Diocletian, was in the form of a square pillar enclosed by a projecting frame, with base and capital of the Tuscan order, and it measured, when entire, four metres in height. I believe that there is no inscription among the thirty thousand collected in volume vi. of the "Corpus" which makes a more profound impression on the mind, or appeals more to the imagination than this official report of a state ceremony which took place over nineteen hundred years ago, and was attended by the most illustrious men of the age.

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Pillar commemorating the Ludi Saeculares.
The origin of the saecular games seems to be this: In the early days of Rome the northwest section of the Campus Martius, bordering on the Tiber, was conspicuous for traces of volcanic activity. There was a pool here called Tarentum or Terentum, fed by hot sulphur springs, the efficiency of which is attested by the cure of Volesus, the Sabine, and his family, described by Valerius Maximus. Heavy vapors hung over the springs, and tongues of flame were seen issuing from the cracks of the earth. The locality became known by the name of the fiery field (campus ignifer), and its relation­ship with the infernal realms was soon an established fact in folk-lore. An altar to the infernal gods was erected on the borders of the pool, and games were held periodically in honor of Dis and Proserpina, the victims being a black bull and a black cow. Tradition attributed this arrangement of time and ceremony to Volesus himself, who, grateful for the recovery of his three children, offered sacrifices to Dis and Proserpina, spread lectisternia, or reclining couches, for the gods, with tables and viands before them, and celebrated games for three nights, one for each child which had been restored to health. In the  p75 republican epoch they were called Ludi Tarentini, from the name of the pool, and were celebrated for the purpose of averting from the state the recurrence of some great calamity by which it had been afflicted. These calamities being contingencies which no man could foresee, it is evident that the celebration of the Ludi Tarentini was in no way connected with definite cycles of time, such as the saeculum.

Not long after Augustus had assumed the supreme power, the Quindecemviri sacris faciundis (a college of priests to whom the direction of these games had been intrusted from time immemorial) announced that it was the will of the gods that the Ludi Saeculares should be performed, and misrepresenting and distorting events and dates, tried to prove that the festival had been held regularly at intervals of 110 years, which was supposed to be the length of a saeculum. The games of which the Quindecemviri made this assertion were the Tarentini, instituted for quite a different purpose, but their suggestion was too pleasing to Augustus and the people to be despised. Setting aside all disputes about chronology and tradition, the celebration was appointed for the summer of the year 17 B.C.

What was the exact location of the sulphur springs, the Tarentum, and the altar of the infernal gods? I have reason to regard the discovery of the Altar of Dis and Proserpina as the most satisfactory I have made, especially because I made it, if I may so express myself, when away from Rome on a long leave of absence. It took place in the winter of 1886‑87, during my visit to America. At that time the work of opening and draining the Corso Vittorio Emanuele had just reached a place which was considered terra incognita by the topographers, and indicated by a blank spot in the archaeological maps of the city. I  p76 mean the district between the Vallicella (la Chiesa Nuova, the Palazzo Cesarini, etc.) and the banks of the Tiber near S. Giovanni dei Fiorentini. The reports spoke vaguely about the discovery of five or six parallel walls, built of blocks of peperino, of marble steps in the centre of this singular monument, of gates with marble posts and architraves, leading to the spaces between the six parallel walls, and finally, of a column with foliage carved upon its surface. On my return to Rome, in the spring of 1887, every trace of the monument had disappeared under the embankment  p77 of the Corso Vittorio Emanuele. I questioned foremen and workmen, I consulted the notebooks of the contractors, every day I visited the excavations which were still in progress, on each side of the Corso, for building the Cavalletti and Bassi palaces, and lastly, I examined the "column with foliage carved upon its surface," which in the mean time had been removed to the courtyard of the Palazzo dei Conservatori on the Capitol. This marble fragment, the only one saved from the excavations, gave me the clue to the mystery. It was not a column, it was a pulvinus, or volute, of a colossal marble altar, worthy of being compared, in size and perfection of work, with the Altar of Peace discovered under the Palazzo Fiano, with that of the Antonines discovered under the Monte Citorio, and with other such monumental structures. There was then no hesitation in determining the nature of the discoveries made in the Corso Vittorio Emanuele; an altar had been found there, and this altar must have been the one sacred to Dis and Proserpina, as no other is mentioned in history in the northwest section of the Campus Martius.

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Section of the altar of Dis and Proserpina.

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Plan of the altar of Dis and Proserpina.
The drawings which illustrate my account of the discovery​12 prove that the altar rose from a platform twelve feet square, approached on all sides by three or four marble steps, that platform and altar were enclosed by three lines of wall at an interval of thirty-six feet from one another, and that on the east side of the square ran a euripus, or channel, eleven feet wide, and four feet deep, lined with stone blocks, the incline of which towards the Tiber is about 1:100. This last detail proves that when the rough altar of Volesus Sabinus was succeeded by the later noble structure, the pool was drained, and its feeding springs  p78 were led into the euripus, so that the patients seeking a cure for their ailments could bathe in or drink the miracle-working waters with greater ease. No attention whatever was paid to the discovery at the time it took place. Instead of reaching the ancient level, the excavation for the main sewer of the Corso Vittorio Emanuele was stopped at the wrong place, within three feet of the pavement; consequently whatever fragments of the altar, of inscriptions, or of works of art, were lying on the marble floor will lie there forever, as the building of palaces on either side of the Corso, and construction of the Corso itself, with its costly sewers, sidewalks, etc., have made further research impossible, at least with our present means.

Concerning the celebration which took place around this altar in the year 17 B.C., we already possessed ample information from such materials as the oracle of the Sibyl, referred to by Zosimus, the Carmen Saeculare of Horace, and the legends and designs on the medals struck for the occasion; but the official report, discovered September 20, 1890, produces an altogether different impression; it enables us actually to take part in the pageant, to follow with rapture Horace as he leads a chorus of fifty-four young men and girls of patrician birth, singing the hymn which he composed for the occasion.13

There is such a tone of simplicity and common-sense, such a display of method and mutual respect between Augustus, the Senate, and the Quindecemviri, in the official transactions which preceded, attended and followed the celebration, in the resolutions passed by the several bodies, in the proclamations addressed to the people, and in the arrangements for the festivities, which a mass of a million  p79 or more spectators was expected to attend, that a lesson in civic dignity could be learned from this report by modern governments and corporations.

The official report begins, or rather began (the first lines are missing), with the request presented by the Quindecemviri to the Senate to take their proposal into consideration, and grant the necessary funds, followed by a decree of the Senate accepting the proposal and inviting Augustus to take the direction of the festivities. The request was addressed to the Senate on February 17, by Marcus Agrippa, president of the Quindecemviri, standing before the seat of the consuls. What a scene to witness! We can picture to ourselves the two consuls, Gaius Furnius and Junius Silanus, clad in their official robes, listening to the speech of the great statesman, who is supported by twenty colleagues, all ex-consuls, and chosen among the noblest, richest, and most gallant patricians of the age. The Senate agrees that the preparations for the festival, the building of the temporary stages, hippodromes, tribunes, and scaffoldings shall be executed by the contractors (redemptores), and that the treasury officials shall provide the funds.

Lines 1‑23 contain a letter from Augustus to the Quindecemviri detailing the programme of the ceremonies, the number and quality of persons who shall take part in it, the dates and hours, and the number and character of the victims. Two clauses of the imperial manifesto are especially noteworthy. First, that during the three days, June 1‑3, the courthouses shall be closed, and justice shall not be administered. Second, that ladies who are wearing mourning shall lay aside that sign of grief for this occasion. The date of the manifesto is March 24.

Upon the receipt of this document the Quindecemviri meet and pass several resolutions: that the rules regarding  p80 the ceremonies shall be made known to the public by advertisement (albo propositae); that the mornings of May 26, 27, and 28, shall be set apart for the distributio suffimentorum, in which the Quindecemviri were wont to distribute among the citizens torches, sulphur and bitumen, for purification; and the mornings of May 29, 30, and 31, for the frugum acceptio, or distribution of wheat, barley, and beans. To avoid overcrowding, four centres of distribution are named, and each of them is placed under the supervision of four members of the college, making a total of sixteen delegates. The places indicated in the programme are the platform of the Capitolium, the area in front of the Temple of Jupiter Tonans, the Portico of the Danaids on the Palatine, and the Temple of Diana on the Aventine.

On May 23 the Senate meets in the Septa Julia — the ruins of which still exist, under the Palazzo Doria and the church of S. Maria in Via Lata — and passes two resolutions. Horace's hymn, vv. 17‑20, alludes to the first: "O Goddess, whether you choose the title of Lucina or of Genitalis, multiply our offspring, and prosper the decree of the Senate in relation to the giving of women in wedlock, and the matrimonial laws." Among the penalties imposed on men and women who remained single between the ages of twenty and fifty years, was the prohibition against attending public festivities and ceremonies of state. The Senate, considering the extraordinary case of the Ludi Saeculares, which none among the living had seen or would ever see again, removes this prohibition. The second resolution provides for the erection of two commemorative pillars, one of bronze, the other of marble, upon which the official report of the celebration shall be engraved. The bronze pillar is probably lost forever, but the marble one is that  p81 recovered on the banks of the Tiber, September 20, 1890, the inscription on which I am endeavoring to explain.

The celebration in the strict sense of the word began at the second hour of the night of May 31. Sacrifices were offered to the Fates, on altars erected between the Tarentum and the banks of the Tiber, where S. Giovanni dei Fiorentini now stands; and the other ceremonies were performed on a wooden stage which was illuminated by lights and fires. This temporary theatre was not provided with seats, and the report calls it "a stage without a theatre." In the performances of the next day and in those of June 2 and 3, which took place on the Capitol and the Palatine, the following order was observed in the ceremonial pageant; first came Augustus as Emperor and Pontifex Maximus, next the Consuls, the Senate, the Quindecemviri and other colleges of priests, then followed the Vestal Virgins, and a group of one hundred and ten matrons (as many as there were years in the saeculum) selected from among the most exemplary matres familiae above twenty-five years of age.

Twenty-seven boys and twenty-seven girls of patrician descent whose parents were both living (patrimi et matrimi) were enlisted on June 3, to sing the hymn composed expressed by Horace. "Carmen composuit Q. Horatius Flaccus," so the report says (line 149). The first stanzas of the beautiful canticle were sung when the procession was marching from the Temple of Apollo to that of Jupiter Capitolinus, the middle portion on the Capitol, and the last on the way back to the Palatine. The accompaniments were played by the orchestra and the trumpeters of the official choir (tibicines et fidicines qui sacris publicis praesto sunt). The wealth of magnificence and beauty which the Romans beheld on the morning of June 3, 17 B.C., we can see as in a dream, but it baffles description. Imagine the  p82 group of fifty-four young patricians clad in snow-white tunics, crowned with flowers, and waving branches of laurel, led by Horace down the Vicus Apollinis (the street which led from the Summa Sacra Via to the house of Augustus on the Palatine), and the Sacra Via, singing the praises of the immortal gods: —

"Quibus septem placuere colles!"

During those days and nights Augustus gave evidence of a truly remarkable strength of mind and body, never missing a ceremony, and himself performing the sacrifices. Agrippa showed less power of endurance than his friend and master. He appeared only in the daytime, helping the emperor in addressing supplications to the gods, and in immolating the victims.

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The family of Augustus. Relief from the Ara Pacis, in the Gallery of the Uffizi, Florence.

Thayer's Note:

First, this relief is no longer in the Uffizi. It was brought back on site when the altar was reassembled in the 1930s.

Then, by modern standards, the photo is obviously not adequate: see instead my site on the Ara Pacis with links to several dozen other websites, almost all of them with photographs.

Ara Pacis AUGUSTAE. Among the honors voted to Augustus by the Senate in the year 13 B.C., on the occasion of his triumphal return from the campaigns of Germany and Gaul, was the erection of a votive altar in the Curia itself. Augustus refused it, but consented that an altar should be raised in Campus Martius and dedicated to Peace. Judging from the fragments which have come down to us, this ara was one of the most exquisite artistic productions of the golden age of Augustus. It stood in the centre of a triple square enclosure, on the west side of the Via Flaminia, the site of the present Palazzo Fiano. Twice its remains have been brought to light; once in 1554, when they were drawn by Giovanni Colonna,​14 and again in 1859, when the present duke of Fiano was rebuilding the southern wing of the palace on the Via in Lucina. Of the panels and basreliefs found in 1554, some were  p83 removed to the Villa Medici and inserted in the front of the casino, on the garden side; others were transferred to Florence; those of 1859 have been placed in the vestibule of the Palazzo Fiano. They are well worth a visit.

Ara Incendii Neroniani. In the month of July, A.D. 65, half Rome was destroyed by the fire of Nero. The citizens, overwhelmed by the greatness of the calamity, and ignorant of its true cause, made a vow for the annual celebration of expiatory sacrifices, on altars expressly constructed for the purpose in each of the fourteen regions of the metropolis. The vow was, however, forgotten until Domitian claimed its fulfilment some twenty or twenty-five years later. One of these altars, which adjoined Domitian's paternal house on the Quirinal, has just been found near the church of S. Andrea del Noviziato, in the foundations of the new "Ministero della Casa Reale."

 p84  The altar, six metres long by three wide, built of travertine with a coating of marble, stands in the middle of a paved area of considerable size. The area is lined with stone cippi, placed at an interval of two and a half metres from one another. The following inscription has been found engraved on two of them: "This sacred area, marked with stone cippi, and enclosed with a hedge, as well as the altar which stands in the middle of it, was dedicated by the emperor Domitian in consequence of an unfulfilled vow made by the citizens at the time of the fire of Nero. The dedication is made subject to the following rules: that no one shall be allowed to loiter, trade, build, or plant trees or shrubs within the line of terminal stones; that on August 23 of each year, the day of the Volkanalia, the magistrate presiding over this sixth region shall sacrifice on this altar a red calf and a pig; that he shall address to the gods the following prayer (text missing)." The inscription has been read twice: once towards the end of the fifteenth century, when the cippus containing it was removed to S. Peter's and made use of in the new building, and again in 1644, when Pope Barberini was laying the foundations of S. Andrea al Quirinale, one of the most graceful and pleasing churches of modern Rome.

Let us now turn our attention to more imposing structures. The first temple in the excavation of which I took part was that of Jupiter Optimus Maximus on the Capitoline Hill.​15 Its discovery was due more to an intuition  p85 of the truth, than to actual recognition of existing remains. On November 7, 1875, while digging for the foundation of the new Rotunda in the garden which divides the Conservatori palace from that of the Caffarellis, — the residence of the German ambassador, — our workmen came upon a piece of colossal fluted column of Pentelic marble, lying on a platform of squared stones, which were laid without mortar, in a decidedly archaic style. Were we in the presence of the remains of the famous Capitolium, or of one of the smaller temples within the Arx? To give this query a satisfactory answer, we must remember that the Capitoline Hill had two summits, one containing the citadel, or Arx, the other the Temple of Jupiter Optimus Maximus, the Capitolium. Ancient writers never use the two names promiscuously, or apply them indifferently to either summit or to the whole hill. The name of the hill is the Capitoline; not the Capitol, which means exclusively the portion occupied by the great temple. Suffice it to quote Livy's evidence (VI.20), ne quis in Arce aut Capitolio habitaret, and also the passage of Aulus Gellius (V.12) in which the shrine of Vedjovis is placed between the Arx and the Capitolium.

For many generations topographers tried to discover which summit was occupied by the citadel, and which by the temple. The Italian school, save a few exceptions, had always identified the site of the Aracoeli with that of the temple, the Caffarelli palace with that of the citadel. The Germans upheld the opposite theory. In these circumstances it is not surprising that the discovery made November  p86 7, 1875 should have excited us; because we saw at once our chance of settling the dispute, not theoretically, but with the evidence of facts.

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The Temple of Jupiter Optimus Maximus, designed by Tarquinius Priscus, built by Tarquinius Superbus, and dedicated in 509 B.C. by the consul M. Horatius Pulvillus, stood on a high platform 207½ feet long, by 192½ feet broad. The front of the edifice, ornamented with their rows of columns, faced the south. The style of the architecture was purely Etruscan, and the intercolumniations were so wide as to require architraves of timber.º The cella was divided into three sections, the middle one of which was sacred to Jupiter, that on the right to Minerva, that on the left to Juno regia; the top of the pediment was ornamented with a terra-cotta quadriga. Of the same material was the statue of the god, with the face painted red, and the body dressed in a tunica palmata and a toga picta, the work of an Etruscan artist, Turianus of Fregenae.

In 386 B.C. it was found necessary to enlarge the platform in the centre of which the temple stood; and as the hill was sloping, even precipitous, on three sides, it was necessary to raise huge foundation walls from the plain below to the level of the platform, a work described by Pliny (XXXVI.15,24) as prodigious, and by Livy (VI.4) as one of the wonders of Rome.

On July 6, 83 B.C., four hundred and twenty-six years after its dedication by Horatius Pulvillus, an unknown malefactor, taking advantage of the abundance of timber used in the structure, set fire to it, and utterly destroyed the sanctuary which for four centuries had presided over the fates of the Roman Commonwealth. The incendiary, less fortunate than Erostratos, remained unknown, the suspicions cast at the time against Papirius Carbo, Scipio,  p87 Norbanus and Sulla having proved groundless. He probably belonged to the faction of Marius, because we know that Marius himself laid hands on the half-charred ruins of the temple, and pillaged several thousand pounds of gold.

Sulla the dictator undertook the reconstruction of the Capitolium, for which purpose he caused some columns of the temple of the Olympian Jupiter to be removed from Athens to Rome. Sulla's work was continued by Lutatius Catulus, and finished by Julius Caesar in 46 B.C. A second restoration took place in the year 9 B.C. under Augustus, a third A.D. 74 under Vespasian, and the last in the year 82, under Domitian. It was therefore evident that, if the temple had not been literally obliterated since that time, its remains would show the characteristics of the age of Domitian, who is known to have made use of Pentelic marble in his reconstruction. We should also find these remains in the middle of a platform of the time of the kings, surrounded by foundation walls of the time of the republic. The accompanying plan shows how perfectly the remains discovered on the southwestern summit of the Capitoline Hill corresponded to this theory.

The platform, in the shape of a parallelogram, 183 feet broad and a few feet longer, is built of roughly squared blocks of capellaccio, exactly like certain portions of the Servian walls. Its area and height were reduced by one third, when the Caffarellis built their palace, in 1680. A sketch taken at that time by Fabretti and published in his volume "De Columna Trajana" shows that fourteen tiers of stone have disappeared. A portion of the same platform, discovered in 1865, by Herr Schloezer, Prussian minister to Pius IX, is represented on the next page.º

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View of the Platform of the Temple of Jupiter.

The foundation walls, which Pliny and Livy enumerate among the wonders of Rome, have been, and are still  p88 being, discovered on the three sides of the hill which face the Piazza della Consolazione, the Piazza Montanara, and the Via di Torre de' Specchi. They are built of blocks of red tufa, with facing of travertine. The travertine facing is covered with inscriptions set up in honor of the great divinity of Rome by the kings and nations of the whole world. One cannot read these historical documents​16 without acquiring a new sense of the magnitude and power of the city.

These inscriptions are found mostly at the foot of the substructure, on the side towards the Piazza della Consolazione. The latest, found in the foundations of the Palazzo Moroni, contain messages of friendship and gratitude from  p89 Mithradates Philopator and Mithradates Philadelphos, of Pontus, from Ariobarzanes Philoromaeus of Cappadocia and Athenais his queen, from the province of Lycia, from some townships of the province of Caria, etc.

As for the remains of the temple itself, the colossal column discovered November 7, 1875, in the Conservatori garden, is not the only one saved from the wreck. Flaminio Vacca, the sculptor and amateur-archaeologist of the sixteenth century, says: "Upon the Tarpeian Rock, behind the Palazzo de' Conservatori, several pillars of Pentelic marble (marmo statuale) were lately found. Their capitals are so enormous that out of one of them I have carved the lion now in the Villa Medici. The others were used by Vincenzo de Rossi to carve the prophets and other statues which adorn the chapel of cardinal Cesi in the church of S. Maria della Pace. I believe the columns belonged to the Temple of Jupiter. No fragments of the entablature were found: but as the building was so close to the edge of the Tarpeian Rock, I suspect they must have fallen into the plain."c

The correctness of this surmise is shown not only by the discovery of the dedicatory inscriptions, in the Piazza della Consolazione, just alluded to, but also from what took place in 1780, when the duca Lante della Rovere was excavating the foundations of a house, No. 13, Via Montanera. The discoveries are described by Montagnani as "marble entablatures of enormous size and beautiful workman­ship, with festoons and bucranii in the frieze. No one took the trouble to sketch them; they were destroyed on the spot. I have no doubt that they belonged to the temple seen by Vacca on the Monte Tarpeo, one hundred and eighty-six years ago."

All these indications, compared with the discovery of the  p90 platform, the substructure, and the column of Pentelic marble in the Conservatori garden, leave no doubt as to the real position of the Temple of Jupiter. To that piece of marble we owe the opportunity and the privilege of settling a dispute on Roman topography which had lasted at least three centuries.

The temple, rebuilt by Domitian, stood uninjured till the middle of the fifth century. In June, 455, the Vandals, under Genseric, plundered the sanctuary, its statues were carried off to adorn the African residence of the king, and half the roof was stripped of its gilt bronze tiles. From that time the place was used as a stone-quarry and lime-kiln to such an extent that only the solitary fragment of a column remains on the spot to tell the long tale of destruction. Another piece of Pentelic marble was found January 24, 1889, near the Tullianum (S. Pietro in Carcere). It belongs to the top of a column, and has the same number of flutings, — twenty-four.º This fragment seems to have been sawn on the spot to the desired length, seven feet, and then dragged down the hill towards some stone-cutter's shop. Why it was thus abandoned, half way, in a hollow or pit dug expressly for it, there is nothing to show.

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The Temple of Jupiter is represented in ancient monuments of the class called pictorial reliefs. I have selected for my illustration one of the panels from the triumphal arch of Marcus Aurelius, near S. Martina, because it contains a good sketch of the reliefs of the pediment, with Jupiter seated between Juno and Minerva. The temple itself is most carelessly drawn, the number of columns being reduced by one half, that is, from eight to four.17

 p91 There is one interesting feature of the Capitolium, which is not well known among those who do not make a profession of archaeology. It was used as a place for advertising State acts, deeds, and documents, in order that the public might take notice of them and be informed of what was going on in the administrative, military, and political departments. This fact is known from a clause appended to imperial letters-patent by which veterans were honorably discharged from the army or navy, and privileges bestowed on them in recognition of their services. These deeds, known as diplomata honestae missionis, were engraved on bronze tablets shaped like the cover of a book, the original of which was hung somewhere in the Capitolium, and a copy taken by the veteran to his home. The originals are all gone, having fallen the prey of the plunderers of bronze in Rome, but copies are found in great numbers in every province of the Roman empire from which men were drafted.​18 These copies end with the clause: —

"Transcribed (and compared or verified) from the original bronze tablet which is hung in Rome, in the Capitolium" — and here follows the designation of a special place of the Capitolium, such as, —

"On the right side of the shrine of the Fides populi romani (December 11, A.D. 52).

"On the left side of the aedes Thensarum" (July 2, A.D. 60).

"On the pedestal of the statue of Quintus Marcius Rex, behind the temple of Jupiter" (June 15, 64).

"On the pedestal of the ara gentis Iuliae, on the right side, opposite the statue of Bacchus" (March 7, 71).

 p92  "On the vestibule, on the left wall, between the two archways" (May 21, 74).

"On the pedestal of the statue of Jupiter Africus" (December 2, 76).

"On the base of the column, on the inner side, near the statue of Jupiter Africus" (September 5, 85).

"On the tribunal by the trophies of Germanicus, which are near the shrine of the Fides" (May 15, 86).

Comparing these indications of localities with the dates of the diplomas, — there are sixty-three in all, — it appears that they were not hung at random, but in regular order from monument to monument, until every available space was covered. In the year 93 there was not an inch left, and the Capitol is mentioned no more as a place for exhibiting or advertising the acts of Government. From that year they were hung "in muro post templum divi Augusti ad Minervam," that is, behind the modern church of S. Maria Liberatrice.

The Temple of Isis and Serapis. In the spring of 1883, in surveying the tract of ground between the Collegio Romano and the Baths of Agrippa, formerly occupied by the Temple of Isis and Serapis, and in collecting archaeological information concerning it, I was struck by the fact that, every time excavations were made on either side of the Via di S. Ignazio for building or restoring the houses which line it, remarkable specimens of Egyptian art had been brought to light. The annals of discoveries begin with 1374, when the obelisk now in the Piazza della Rotonda was found, under the apse of the church of S. Maria sopra Minerva, together with the one now in the Villa Mattei von Hoffman. In 1435, Eugenius IV discovered the two lions of Nektaneb I which are now in the  p93 Vatican, and the two of black basalt now in the Capitoline Museum. In 1440 the reclining figure of a river-god was found and buried again. The Tiber of the Louvre and the Nile of the Braccio Nuovo seem to have come to light during the pontificate of Leo X; at all events it was he who caused them to be removed to the Vatican. In 1556 Giovanni Battista de Fabi found, and sold to cardinal Farnese, the reclining statue of Oceanus now in Naples. In 1719 the Isiac altar now in the Capitol was found under the Biblioteca Casanatense. In 1858 Pietro Tranquilli, in restoring his house, — the nearest to the apse of la Minerva, — came across the following-named objects: a sphinx of green granite, the head of which is a portrait of Queen Haths'epu, the oldest sister of Thotmes III, who was famous for her expedition to the Red Sea, recently described by Dümmichen;​19 a sphinx of red granite, believed to be a Roman replica; a group of the cow Hathor, the living symbol of Isis, nursing the young Pharaoh Horemheb; the portrait statue of the grand dignitary Uahábra, a good specimen of Saïtic art; a column of the temple, covered with high reliefs, which represented a procession of bald-headed priests holding canopi in their hands; a capital, carved with papyrus leaves and lotus flowers; and a fragment of an Egyptian basrelief in red granite, with traces of polychromy.

In 1859 Augusto Silvestrelli, the owner of the next house, on the same side of the Via di S. Ignazio, found five capitals of the same style and size, which, I believe, are now in the Museo Etrusco Gregoriano. Inasmuch as no excavation had ever been made under the pavement of the street itself, which is public property, and as there was no reason why that strip of public property should not contain  p94 as many works of art as the houses about it, I asked the municipal authorities to try the experiment, and my proposal was accepted at once.

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The Sphinx of Amasis.
The work began on Monday, June 11, 1883. It was difficult, because we had to dig to a depth of twenty feet between houses of very doubtful solidity. First to appear, at the end of the third day, was a magnificent sphinx of black basalt, the portrait of King Amasis. It is a masterpiece of the Saïtic school, perfected even in the smallest details, and still more impressive for its historical connection with the conquest of Egypt by Cambyses.

The cartouches bearing the king's name appear to have been purposely erased, though not so completely as to render the name illegible. The nose, likewise, and the uraeus, the symbol of royalty, were hammered away at the same time. The explanation of these facts is given by Herodotos. When Cambyses conquered Saïs, Amasis had just been buried. The conqueror caused the body to be dragged out of the royal tomb, then flogged and otherwise insulted, and finally burnt, the maximum of profanation, from an Egyptian point of view. His name was erased from the monuments which bore it, as a natural consequence of the memoriae damnatio. This sphinx is the surviving testimonial of the event­ful catastrophe. When, six or seven centuries later, a Roman governor of Egypt, or a Roman merchant from the  p95 same province, singled out this work of art, to be shipped to Rome as a votive offering for the Temple of Isis, ignorant of the historical value of its mutilations, he had the nose and the uraeus carefully restored. Now both are gone again, and there is no danger of a second restoration. I may remark, as a curious coincidence, that, as the name of Amasis is erased from the sphinx, so that of Hophries, his predecessor, is erased from the obelisk discovered in the same temple, and now in the Piazza della Minerva. In these two monuments of the Roman Isaeum we possess a synopsis of Egyptian history between 595 and 526 B.C.

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Obelisk of
Rameses the
The second work, discovered June 17, was an obelisk which was wonderfully well preserved to the very top of the pinnacle, and covered with hieroglyphics. It was quarried at Assuan, from a richly colored vein of red granite, and was brought to Rome, probably under Domitian, together with the obelisk now in the Piazza del Pantheon. The two monoliths are almost identical in size and workman­ship, and are inscribed with the same cartouches of Rameses the Great. The one which I discovered was set up, in 1887, to the memory of our brave soldiers who fell at the battle of Dogali. The site selected for the monument, the square between the railway station and the Baths of Diocletian, is too large for such a comparatively small shaft.

Two days later, on the 19th, we discovered two kynokephaloi or kerkopithekoi, five feet high, carved in black  p96 porphyry. The monsters are sitting on their hind legs, with the paws of the forearms resting on the knees. Their bases contain finely-cut hieroglyphics, with the cartouche of King Necthor-heb, of the thirtieth Sebennitic dynasty. One of these kynokephaloi, and also the obelisk, were certainly seen in 1719 by the masons who built the foundations of the Biblioteca Casanatense. For some reason unknown to us, they kept their discovery a secret. Many other works of art were discovered before the close of the excavations, in the last days of June. Among them were a crocodile in red granite, the pedestal of a candelabrum, triangular in shape, with sphinxes at the corners; a column of the temple, with reliefs representing an Isiac procession; and a portion of a capital. From an architectural point of view, the most curious discovery was that the temple itself, with its colonnades and double cella, had been brought over, piece by piece, from the banks of the Nile to those of the Tiber. It is not an imitation; it is a purely original Egyptian structure, shaded first by the palm-trees of Saïs, and later by the pines of the Campus Martius.

The earliest trustworthy account we have of its existence is given by Flavius Josephus. He relates how Tiberius, after the assault of Mundus against Paulina,​20 condemned the priests to crucifixion, burned the shrine, and threw the statue of the goddess into the Tiber. Nero restored the sanctuary; it was, however, destroyed again in the great conflagration, A.D. 80. Domitian was the second restorer; Hadrian, Commodus, Caracalla, and Alexander Severus improved and beautified the group, from time to time. At the beginning of the fourth century of our era it contained the propylaia, or pyramidal towers with a gateway, at each end of the dromos; one near the present church  p97 of S. Stefano del Cacco, one near the church of S. Macuto. They were flanked by one or more pairs of obelisks, of which six have been recovered up to the present time, namely, one now in the Piazza della Rotonda, a second in the Piazza della Minerva, a third in the Villa Mattei, a fourth in the Piazza della Stazione, a fifth in the Sphaeristerion at Urbino, and fragments of a sixth in the Albani collection.

From the propylaia, a dromos, or sacred avenue, led to the double temple. To the dromos belong the two lions in the Museo Etrusco Gregoriano, the two lions in the Capitoline Museum, the sphinx of Queen Hathsèpu in the Baracco collection, the sphinx of Amasis and the Tranquilli sphinx in the Capitol, the cow Hathor and the statue of Uahábra in the Museo Archeologico in Florence, the kynokephaloi of Necthor-heb, the kynokephalos which gave the popular name of Cacco (ape) to the church of S. Stefano, the statue formerly in the Ludovisi Gallery, the Nile of the Braccio Nuovo, the Tiber of the Louvre, the Oceanus at Naples, the River-God buried in 1440, the Isiac altars of the Capitol and of the Louvre, the tripod, the crocodile and sundry other fragments which were found in 1883. Of the temple itself we possess two columns covered with mystic bas-reliefs, seven capitals, — one in the Capitol, the others in the Vatican, — and two blocks of granite from the walls of the cella, one in the Barberini gardens, one in the Palazzo Galitzin.

The last historical mention we possess of this admirable Egyptian museum of ancient Rome was found by Delille in the "Cod. Parisin." 8064, in which the attempt by Nicomachus Flavianus to revive the pagan religion in 394 A.D. is minutely described.​21 The reaction caused by this final  p98 outburst of fanaticism must have been fatal to the temple. The masterpieces of the dromos were upset, and otherwise damaged, the faces of the kynokephaloi and the noses and paws of the sphinxes were knocked off, and statues of Pharaohs, gods, priests, dignitaries, and Pastophoroi were hurled from their pedestals, and broken to pieces. When this wholesale destruction took place, the pavement of the temple was still clear of the rubbish and loose soil. The sphinx of Amasis, found June 14, was lying on its left side on the bare pavement; the two apes had fallen on their backs. No attempt, however, was made to overthrow the obelisks, at least the one which I discovered. When the monolith fell, in the eighth or ninth century, the floor of the Iseum was already covered with a bed of rubbish five feet thick. To this fact we owe the wonder­ful preservation of the obelisk, the soft, muddy condition of the soil having eased the weight of the fall.

Students have wondered at the existence, in our time, of such a mine of antiquities in this quarter of the Campus Martius, where it appears as if, in spite of the feverish search for ancient marbles, this spot had escaped the attention of the excavators of the past four or five centuries. It did not escape their attention. The whole area of the Iseum, save a few recesses, has been explored since the Middle Ages, but the search was made to secure marble, which could be burnt into lime, or turned into new shapes. Of what use would porphyry, or granite, or basalt be for such purposes? These materials are useless for the lime-kiln, and too hard to be worked anew, and accordingly they were left alone. In the excavations of 1883 I found the best evidence that such was the case. The obelisk is of granite; its pedestal of white marble. The obelisk escaped destruction, but the pedestal was split, and made ready for the lime-kiln.

 p99  The Temple of Neptune.d The discoveries made in 1878 in the Piazza di Pietra, on the site of the Temple of Neptune, rank next in importance to those just described. In repairing a drain which runs through the Via de' Bergamaschi to the Piazza di Pietra, the foundations of an early mediaeval church, dedicated to S. Stephen (Santo Stefano del Trullo) were unearthed, together with historical inscriptions, pieces of columns of giallo antico, and other architectural fragments. On a closer examination of the discoveries, I was able to ascertain that the whole church had been built with spoils from the triumphal arch of Claudius in the Piazza di Sciarra, and from the Temple of Neptune in the Piazza di Pietra. To enable the reader to appreciate the value of the discovery, I must begin with a short description of the temple itself.

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One of the Provinces from the Temple of Neptune.
Dio Cassius (LIII.27) states that, in 26 B.C., Marcus Agrippa built the Portico of the Argonauts, with a temple in the middle of it, called the Poseidonion (ΠΟΣΕΙΔΩΝΙΟΝ), in token of his gratitude to the god of the seas for the naval victories he had gained over the foes of the commonwealth; but the beautiful ruins still existing in the Piazza di Pietra do not belong to Agrippa's work, nor to the golden age of Roman art. They belong to the restoration of the temple which was made by Hadrian after the great fire of A.D. 80, by which the Neptunium, or Poseidonion, was nearly destroyed. The characteristic feature of the temple was a set of thirty-six bas-reliefs representing the thirty-six provinces of the Roman Empire at the beginning of the Christian era. These reliefs were set into the basement of the temple, so as to form the pedestals of the thirty-six columns of the peristyle, while the intercolumniations, or spaces between the pedestals, were occupied by another set of bas-reliefs representing the  p100 military uniforms, flags and weapons which were peculiar to each of the provinces. The fifteen provinces and fourteen trophies belonging to the colonnade of the Piazza di Pietra, that is, to the north side of the temple, have all been accounted for. Four provinces were found during the pontificate of Paul III (1534‑50), two during that of Innocent X (1644‑55), two during that of Alexander VII (1655‑1667), three in our excavations of 1878, and four either are still in the ground or have perished in a lime-kiln. Here again we have an instance of the shameful dispersion of the spoils of ancient Rome. We have this wing of the temple still standing in all its glory, in the Piazza di Pietra; we have eleven pedestals out of fifteen, and as many panels for the intercolumniations; the others are probably within our reach, and we have beautiful pieces of the entablature with its rich carvings. The temple, entablature, and nearly all the trophies and provinces are public property; nothing would be easier than to restore each piece to its proper place, and make this wing of the Neptunium one of the most perfect relics of ancient Rome. Alas! three provinces and two trophies have emigrated to Naples with the rest of the Farnese marbles, one has been left behind in the portico of the Farnese palace in Rome, five provinces and four trophies are in the Palazzo dei Conservatori, two are in the Palazzo Odescalchi, one is in the  p101 Palazzo Altieri, two pieces of the entablature are used as a rustic seat in the Giardino delle Tre Pile on the Capitol, and another has been used in the restoration of the Arch of Constantine.

The Temple of Augustus. It is a remarkable fact that, at the beginning of archaeological research in the Renaissance, there was great enthusiasm over a few strange monuments of little or no interest, the existence of which would have been altogether unknown but for an occasional mention in classical texts. As a rule, the cinquecento topographers give a prominent place in their books to the columna Maenia, the columna Lactaria, the senaculum mulierum, the pila Tiburtina, the pila Horatia and other equally unimportant works which, for reasons unknown to us, had forcibly struck their fancy. The fashion died out in course of time, but never entirely. Some of these more or less fanci­ful structures still live in our books, and in the imagination of the people. The place of honor, in this line, belongs to Caligula's bridge, which is supposed to have crossed the valley of the Forum at a prodigious height, so as to enable the young monarch to walk on a level from his Palatine house to the Temple of Jupiter on the Capitol. This bridge is not only mentioned in guide-books, and pointed out to strangers on their first visit to the Forum, but is also drawn and described in works of a higher standard,​22 in which the bridge is represented from "remains concealed under a house, which have been carefully examined and measured, as well as drawn by architectural draughtsmen of much experience."

The bridge never existed. Caligula made use of the roofs of edifices which were already there, spanning only  p102 the gaps of the streets with temporary wooden passages. This is clearly stated by Suetonius in chapters xxii. and xxxvii. and by Flavius Josephus, "Antiq. Jud." XIX.1,11. From the palace at the northeast corner of the Palatine, he crossed the roof of the templum divi Augusti, then the fastigium basilicae Juliae, and lastly the Temple of Saturn close to the Capitolium. The Street of Victory which divided the emperor's palace from the Temple of Augustus, the Street of the Tuscans which divided the temple from the basilica, and the Vicus Iugarius between the basilica and the Temple of Saturn, were but a few feet wide and could easily be crossed by means of a passerelle. We are told by Suetonius​e and Josephus how Caligula used sometimes to interrupt his aerial promenade midway, and throw handfuls of gold from the roof of the basilica to the crowd assembled below. I have mentioned this bridge because the words of Suetonius, supra templum divi Augusti ponte transmisso, gave me the first clew towards the identification of the splendid ruins which tower just behind the church of S. Maria Liberatrice, between it and the rotunda of S. Teodoro.

The position of Caligula's palace at the northeast corner of the Palatine being well known, as also the site of the Basilica Julia, it is evident that the building which stands between the two must be the Temple of Augustus. This conclusion is so simple that I wonder that no one had mentioned it before my first announcement in 1881. The last nameless remains adjoining the Forum have thus regained their place and their identity in the topography of this classic quarter.

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Plan of the Temple of Augustus.
The construction of a temple in honor of the deified founder of the empire was begun by his widow Livia, and Tiberius, his adopted son, and completed by Caligula. An  p103 inscription discovered in 1726, in the Columbaria of Livia on the Appian Way, mentions a C. Julius Bathyllus, sacristan or keeper of the temple. Pliny (XII.19,42) describes, among the curiosities of the place, a root of a cinnamon-tree, of extraordinary size, placed by Livia on a golden tray. The relic was destroyed by fire in the reign of Titus. Domitian must have restored the building, because the rear wall of the temple, the murus post templum divi Augusti ad Minervam, is mentioned in contemporary documents as the place on which state notices were posted. It has been excavated but once, in June, 1549, when the Forum, the Sacra Via and the Street of the Tuscans were ransacked to supply marbles for the building of S. Peter's.

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Remains of the Temple of Augustus,
from a sketch by Ligorio.
Two documents show the wonder­ful state of preservation in which the temple was found. One is a sketch, taken in 1549, by Pirro Ligorio, which, through the kindness of Professor T. H. Middleton,​23 I reproduce from the original, in the Bodleian Library; the other is a description of the discovery by Panvinius.​24 The place was in such good condition  p104 that even the statue and altar of Vortumnus, described by Livy, Asconius, Varro and others, were found lying at the foot of the steps of the temple.

The Sacellum Sanci, or Shrine of Sancus on the Quirinal.​25 The worship of Semo Sancus Sanctus Dius Fidius was imported into Rome at a very early period, by the Sabines who first colonized the Quirinal Hill. He was considered the Genius of heavenly light, the son of Jupiter Diespiter or Lucetius, the avenger of dishonesty, the upholder of truth and good faith, whose mission upon earth was to secure the sanctity of agreements, of matrimony, and hospitality. Hence his various names and his identification with the Roman Hercules, who was likewise invoked as a guardian of the sanctity of oaths (me-Hercle, me-Dius Fidius). There were two shrines of Semo Sancus and ancient Rome, one built by the Sabines on the Quirinal, near the modern church of S. Silvestro, from which the Porta Sanqualis of the Servian walls was named, the other built by the Romans on the Island of the Tiber (S. Bartolomeo) near the Temple of Jupiter Jurarius. Justin, the apologist and martyr, laboring under the delusion that Semo Sancus and Simon the Magician were the same, describes the altar on the island of S. Bartolomeo as sacred to the latter.​26 He must have glanced hurriedly at the first three names of the Sabine god, — SEMONI SANCO DEO, — and translated them ΣΙΜΩΝΙ ΔΕΩ ΣΑΓΚΤΩ. The altar on which these names were written, the very one seen and described by S. Justin, was discovered on the same island, in July, 1574,  p105 during the pontificate of Gregory XIII. The altar is preserved in the Galleria Lapidaria of the Vatican Museum, in the first compartment (Dii).

The shrine on the Quirinal is minutely described by classical writers. It was hypaethral, that is, without a roof, so that the sky could be seen by the worshippers of the "Genius of heavenly light." The oath me-Dius Fidius could not be taken except in the open air. The chapel contained relics of the kingly period, the wool, distaff, spindle, and slippers of Tanaquil, and brass clypea or medallions, made of money confiscated from Vitruvius Vaccus.

Its foundations were discovered in March, 1881, under what was formerly the convent of S. Silvestro al Quirinale, now the headquarters of the Royal Engineers. The monument is a parallelogram in shape, thirty-five feet long by nineteen feet wide, with walls of travertine, and decorations of white marble; and it is surrounded by votive altars and pedestals of statues. I am not sure whether the remarkable work of art which I shall describe presently was found in this very place, but it is a strange coincidence that, during the progress of the excavations at S. Silvestro, a statue of Semo Sancus and a pedestal inscribed with his name should have appeared in the antiquarian market of the city.


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Statue of Semo Sancus.
The statue, reproduced here from a heliogravure, is life-sized, and represents a nude youth, of archaic type. His attitude may be compared to that of some early representations of Apollo, but the expression of the face and the modelling of some parts of the body are realistic rather than conventional. Both hands are missing, so that it is impossible to state what were the attributes of the god. Visconti thinks they may have been the avis Sanqualis or ossifraga, and the club of Hercules. The inscription on the pedestal is very much like that seen by S. Justin:—


According to Festus, bidentalia were small shrines of second-rate divinities, to whom bidentes, lambs two years old, were sacrificed. For this reason the priests of Semo were called sacerdotes bidentales. They were organized, like a lay corporation, in a decuria under the presidency of a magister quinquennalis. Their residence, adjoining the chapel, was ample and commodious, with an abundant supply of water. The lead pipe by which this was distributed through the establishment was discovered at the same time and in the same place with the bronze statues of athletes described in chapter xi. of my "Ancient Rome."

The pipe has been removed to the Capitoline Museum, the statue and its pedestal have been purchased by Pope Leo XIII and placed in the Galleria dei Candelabri, and the foundations of the shrine have been destroyed.

The Author's Notes:

1 On the almanacs (Notitia, Curiosum), containing catalogues and statistics of Roman buildings in the fourth century, see Mommsen: Chronograph von 354, etc. in the Abhandlungen der Sächsichen Gesellschaft der Wissenschaften, vols. ii. 549; iii. 269; viii. 694. — Preller: Die Regionen der Stadt Rom. Jena: Hochhausen, 1846. — Jordan: Topographie der Stadt Rom. Berlin: Weidmann, II, pp. 1 & 178. — Richter: Topographie der Stadt Rom, 1889, p. 15; id.: Hermes, XX, p91. — De Rossi: Piante icnografiche e prospettiche di Roma anteriori al sec. XVI. Roma: Salviucci, 1879. — Guido: Il testo siriaco della descrizione di Roma, etc., in the Bullettino Comunale, 1884, p. 218; and 1891, p. 61. — Lanciani: Ricerche sulle XIV regioni urbane; in the Bullettino Comunale, 1890, p. 115.

Thayer's Note: Henri Jordan's parallel critical edition of the actual texts of the Regionaries of the City of Rome in their two variant forms, the Notitia and the Curiosum, is online on LacusCurtius.

2 Inscript. 139, i.

3 The fac-simile here presented is from the Corpus Inscriptionum Latinarum, vi. 820.

4 The sale of skins of victims sacrificed at Athens in the year 334 B.C., in state sacrifices only, brought a revenue of 5,500 drachmas.

5 See Henzen, Bullettino dell' Instituto, 1863, p. 58. — Mommsen: Corpus Inscriptionum Latinarum, vol. I. no. 1503.

6 See Cicero: De Divinatione, II. 59.123. — Preler: Die Regionen, p133. — Nibby: Roma Ant., II. p334. — Beckner: Topogr., p. 539. — Cavedoni: Bull. dell' Inst. 1856, p. 102. — Visconti: Bullettino Comunale, 1887, p. 154, 156. — Middleton: The Remains of Ancient Rome, ed. 1892, vol. II. p. 233.

7 Concerning this celebrated monument, see Tambroni and Poletti: Giornale arcadico, vol. XVIII., 1823, p. 371‑400. — Gell: Rome and its Vicinity, i. p. 219. — Klausen: Aeneas, ii. p. 1083. — Canina: Via Appia, i. p. 209‑232. — Mommsen: Corpus Inscriptionum Latinarum, vol. I. p. 207, no. 807.

8 Plin. N. H. X.29, 41.

9 A copy of this celebrated picture, dating from the second century B.C., has been found in a tomb on the Esquiline. It was published in facsimile and illustrated by Visconti in the Bullettino Comunale, 1889, p. 340, tav. xi.-xii.

10 See the Annali dell' Instituto, 1854, p. 28.

11 The convent and its garden occupy the sites of the house of Augustus, the temples of Vesta and Apollo, the Greek and Latin libraries, and the Portico of the Danaids, described in Ancient Rome, ch. v., p. 109. The estate has been owned successively by the Mattei, Spada, and Ronconi families, and by Charles Mills. Its finest ornament is a portico built by the Matteis in the sixteenth century from the designs of Raffaellino del Colle. This pupil of Raphael was also the painter of the exquisite frescoes representing Venus and Cupid, Jupiter and Antiope, Hermaphrodite and Salmace, and other subjects engraved by Marcantonio and Agostino Veneziano. These frescoes, greatly injured by age and neglect, were restored in 1824, by Camuccini, at the expense of Mr. Charles Mills.

12 See Lanciani: L' itinerario di Einsiedlen, in the Monumenti antichi pubblicati dalla Accademia dei Lincei, 1891.

13 This inscription is of such exceptional interest that it is given, as edited by Mommsen, at the close of this volume.

Thayer's Note: It can also be found offsite, where those temperamentally disinclined to follow Lanciani's rather romantic account of the Ludi Saeculares will also find an appendix ("Notes") giving a straightforward summary outline of them.

14 Codex Vatic. 7,721, f. 67.

15 See Rycquius: De Capitolio Romano. Leyden, 1669. — Bunsen: Beschreibung der Stadt Rom, iii. A, p. 14. — Hirt: Der capitolinische Jupitertempel, in the Abhandlungen der Berliner Akademie, 1813. — Dureau de la Malle: Mémoire sur la position de la roche tarpeienne, in the Mémoires de l'Academie des Inscriptions, 1819. — Niebuhr: Römische Geschichte, i. 5,588. — Mommsen: Bullettino dell' Instituto, 1845, p. 119. — Lanciani: Il tempio di Giove Ottimo Massimo, in the Bullettino comunale, 1875, p. 165, tav. xvi. — Jordan: Osservazioni sul tempio di Giove Capitolino. Lettera al sig. cav. R. Lanciani, Roma, 1876. — Hülsen: Osservazioni sull' architettura del tempio di Giove Capitolino, in the Mittheilungen des deutschen archäologischen Instituts, römische Abtheilung, 1888, p. 150. — Audollent: Dessin inédit d'un fronton du temple de Jupiter Capitolin, in the Mélanges de l'Ecole française, 1889, Juin.

16 See Bullettino Comunale, 1886, p. 403; 1887, p. 14, 124, 251; 1888, p. 138. — Mommsen: Zeitschrift für Numismatik, xv. p. 207‑219.

17 The same illustration has been selected by Middleton: The Remains of ancient Rome, vol. I. p. 363. — The reliefs of the pediment are also well shown in a sketch by Pierre Jacques, dated 1576, and published by Audollent in the Mélanges, 1889, planche ii.

18 See Clemente Cardinati: Diplomi imperiali di privilegi. Velletri, 1835. — Joseph Arneth: Zwölf römische Militärdiplome, Wien, 1843. — Mommsen: Bullettino dell' Instituto, 1845, p. 119; Annali dell' Instituto, 1858, p. 198; Corpus Inscriptionum Latinarum, vol. III, part II p. 843. — Léon Rénier: Recueil des diplomes militaires, première livraison, Paris, 1876.

19 Die Flotte einer ägyptischen Königin aus dem siebzehnten Jahrhundert.

20 See Flavius Josephus, Ant. Iud., XVIII.3.4.

21 See Morel: Revue Archéologique, 1868. — De Rossi: Bullettino di archeologia cristiana, 1868.

22 See Parker's Forum Romanum, London, 1876, plates xxiii. and xxiv.

Thayer's Note: Writing 13 years after Lanciani, Christian Hülsen still believed in the existence of this bridge, to the point of attributing some masonry to one of its piers (Il Foro Romano, Section XXIX); and yet another 24 years after that, Platner-Ashby give this construction, as improbable to engineer as it was ingenious to believe in, a few lines in their Topographical Dictionary (s.v. Pons Caligulae).

23 It has since been published by Middleton himself in his Remains of Ancient Rome, vol. I. p. 275, fig. 35, from a heliogravure of the original.

24 In the Cod. Vat., 3,439, f. 46.

25 See Dressel: Bullettino dell' Instituto, 1881, p. 38. — Lanciani: Bullettino Comunale, 1881, p. 4. — Visconti: Un simulacro di Semo Sancus, Roma, 1881. — Preller: Römische Mythologie, p. 637.

Thayer's Note: And after Lanciani wrote (also: more accessibly, since it's online), Platner & Ashby, Topographical Dictionary, s.v.  Semo Sancus.

26 Apolog. 26.

Thayer's Notes:

a Pliny the Elder never actually praises the Temple of Concord. In addition to a passing mention of it in Book 33, he mentions it many times (search for Concord in Books 34 and 35 mostly, but also in Books 36 and 37) but each time not for its own beauty: rather — and that is really our author's point — for the many extraordinary works of art housed there. Even then, Pliny does not go into much detail about these sculptures and paintings, nor get that enthusiastic, preferring dry enumeration much in the style of a list of links on the Web.

b The complete text of George Dennis's seminal Cities and Cemeteries of Etruria is online on my site. His chapters on Veii are here.

c More accurately, from the Memoirs of Flaminio Vacca (Memorie di varie Antichità trovate in diversi luoghi della Città di Roma, 1594), ap. Famiano Nardini, Roma Antica, 4th edition (revised by Antonio Nibby), 1820, p28:

Sopra il Monte Tarpejo dietro il Palazzo de' Conservatori, verso il Carcere Tulliano, sò essersi cavati molti pilastri di marmo statuale, con alcuni capitelli tanto grandi, che in uno di essi vi feci io il Leone per il Gran Duca Ferdinando nel suo Giardino alla Trinità; e degli altri il Cardinal Cesi ne fece fare, da Vincenzo de Rossi, tutte le Statue, e Profeti della sua Cappella in Santa Maria della Pace: e detti Pilastri si crede fossero del Tempio di Giove Statore. Non si trovarono nè cornicioni, nè altri segni di detto Tempio; onde io fo giudizio, che per essere tanto accosto alla ripa di detto monte; si siano dirupati da loro stessi; ovvero che dal furore de' Goti fossero precipitati. . . .

On the Tarpeian Mount behind the Palazzo de' Conservatori, toward the Carcer Tullianum, I know that many columns of statue marble have been dug up, some of whose capitals are so big that out of one of them I carved the Lion for Grand Duke Ferdinand in his Garden near the Trinità; and from the others Cardinal Cesi had Vincenzo de Rossi make all the Statues and the Prophets of his Chapel in S. Maria della Pace: and said Columns are believed to be from the Temple of Jupiter Stator. No cornices nor other remains of said Temple were found; from which circumstance I assume that, as the building was so close to the edge of the said mount, they must have fallen into the plain on their own; or that they were thrown down by the furor of the Goths [in the sack of Rome in 410]. . . .

(my translation)

d This building is now normally identified as the Temple of Hadrian. That emperor was modest to a fault, at least in the eyes of an archaeologist: although he built many temples and monuments, he is only known to have "signed" one, the Temple in honour of Trajan. On the other hand, this one is not his fault since when it was built, he was dead: it is the Temple to him erected by his successor Antoninus Pius. For good photos, see this informative page.

e In fact, this author (Calig. 37) merely says that Caligula used to throw handfuls of coins at people from the roof of the Basilica Julia; this is not the passage (Calig. 22) in which he speaks of the emperor's aerial . . . pontifications.

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Page updated: 21 Aug 20