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some error and fiction, contain some truth and fact. They realise that unless one can accept at least the broad outlines of tradition, one has nothing to go upon, and so they see that their task is to separate the false and the true. To do this they employ definite processes. Like Mommsen, they take the well-attested legal and political institutions of the Republic, and from the known reconstruct the unknown out of which it developed, or they collect archæological evidence to illuminate the traditions of tribal migrations or the growth and antiquity of famous towns. Their results are on the whole conservative; discovery after discovery proves that in one point or another tradition is correct. One side of the traditional history alone remains unsupported, the picturesque and sensational tales of kings and their battles. The history of the Heroic Age is confirmed, but the heroes drop out. Dull as the result may sound, it is not altogether a misfortune in the particular case of early Rome. For till the days of Sulla and Cæsar, there were few men of real greatness in the Roman Republic. Much of its history, like much of our own, is a long roll of extraordinary deeds done by ordinary men, and it cannot be appreciated till the personal element is subtracted, and the spectacle realised of a state which triumphed by coherence, by indomitable tenacity and by unwavering subordination of the individual to the common aim.
We pass on to the Empire. We approach a memorable age, distinguished above all others by the permanence and efficiency of its government, but to the student complex and difficult. Its interests spread over three continents, and many of its aspects can best be studied far away from Rome, on its elaborately guarded frontiers,
or in the towns of its provinces. Rome was the capital of the Empire ; but it was not always in Rome that the great tendencies of political or social developement went most really forward. It was a strange city, huge, wealthy, and old, and therefore filled, as old cities are, with inveterate traditions and intrigues and corruptions and idleness. There clustered the proudest and stubbornest aristocracy known to the historian. There the meaner sorts of political advancement or intellectual fame were soonest achieved. There was the home of a vast proletariat gathered during long years from many lands, immersed in its shrewd idle life, and unable even in the reign of Augustus to provide competent recruits in a military crisis. There, lastly, every Emperor in turn, though he might not himself reside there, erected his vastest or most stately buildings to
glorify what even a fifth-century Roman, himself provincialborn, could call the fairest queen of the world, the city that matched the starry heaven.
This greatness of Rome as a city inhabited by a vast and various multitude and adorned with splendid edifices, is not always adequately appreciated. Men see the fragments dotted up and down the modern streets, a few tolerably perfect, the more part merely wrecks. But it is hard out of
the fragments to reconstruct the former splendour, and it is doubly hard for Englishmen who are accustomed to London. For London, despite its size, far more nearly resembles Republican than Imperial Rome in the character of its public and private buildings. But the reconstruction must be attempted by anyone who wishes to realise what Rome was, and indeed discoveries are gradually helping us. As an instance, we may select, first, the exploration of the Basilica Æmilia, commenced only last summer, and still, as we write, in progress.
The Basilica Æmilia was a large public hall, consisting perhaps, like some other Roman basilicas, of a central nave or area with aisles or galleries on each side, and used, like them, for business of various kinds—a cross, as it were, between the Exchange and the Law Courts. It stood on the north side of the Forum, between the Temple of Faustina and the church of S. Adriano, which represents the ancient Senate House. Its origin reaches back into the second century before our era, and a Republican coin of B.c. 78 shows it as a small two-storied columned building ; but its existence as a noteworthy edifice dates from Julius Cæsar, who caused it to be reconstructed in B.C. 54 out of the spoils of his Gaulish campaigns. Burnt down forty years later, it was re-erected anew, as we are told, in magnificent style by Augustus. Part of it may possibly have been still standing in the fifteenth century : so at least specialists have inferred from an old sketch of Rome preserved in the Escurial Library at Madrid. Possibly it was finally destroyed in the fatal sixteenth century, when the Vatican authorities were plundering the buildings of the Forum with even more than their usual recklessness for antiquity. Certainly its ruins have long been buried beneath streets and houses, and until its excavation was commenced six months ago, its precise character was altogether unknown. Now a stately building begins to emerge, wrecked almost to the ground, despoiled of carvings and columns, but still adequate to testify to its former self. Its façade towards
the Forum appears to have measured more than one hundred and seventy feet; its depth backwards has been reckoned, perhaps enthusiastically, at twice its frontage. The corner-stone of its north-west angle still remains in its original position, a massive moulded block of Greek marble seven feet wide. Near it lie fragments torn from its cornice, each more than two tons in weight, sculptured with no mean skill.
The Basilica Æmilia is an instance of a recent discovery due to excavation. As an instance of what recent criticismi bas been able to achieve in illustration of the great buildings of Rome, let us take the Ara Pacis Auguste, the great Altar to Peace. It was erected in B.c. 13, on the occasion of the return of Augustus from his reorganisation of the Gaulish provinces, and its site was close to the Via Flaminia by which Augustus then entered Rome. In modern language we might describe it as halfway down the Corso, near S. Lorenzo in Lucina. References to it in ancient literature show that, at least during the Early Empire, it was regarded as a great work, and the carved and moulded fragments of it which have been found at various dates, in 1550 and 1859, show that it was rightly so regarded. It is no exaggeration to class it, with one of our chief authorities, among the most exquisite artistic productions of the Golden Age. But its remains, discovered at various dates, have been scattered among various museums. You may see them in Rome, in Florence, in Paris, and while you admire each individual piece, you gain no chance of realising what was the whole to which they once belonged. Now a German archæologist has essayed, not without the aid of conjecture, to piece the fragments together and reconstruct the original monument. It was not simply an altar, but an altar set in the midst of a little stone enclosure, forty-five feet perhaps in length and breadth, and it is the enclosing wall which bas yielded all or nearly all the remains which we so much admire. This wall was as much as twenty feet in height, and was carved all over in low relief. Outside, the ornament was divided into two portions : above, a row of figures in procession, about three quarters life-size ; below, a charming design of rich foliation. Inside were pilasters with festoons between them, and behind the altar a niche for a statue. The whole monument was not large; indeed, if this view be correct, it was not so large as is generally supposed. But the execution of its details was supreme, and its size was sufficient for
beauty. Add colour to it-for it probably was coloured. -and an Italian sky and sun, and you have a gem which you might match, maybe, from the existing medieval glories of Pisa or of Florence, but nowhere this side the Alps.
Chance has led us to take two instances of Roman splendour from the reign of Augustus; nor is that unreasonable, for it was then that Rome, first assumed an external magnificence which corresponded to her imperial position. The age was one in which great buildings might have been expected. Recent conquests in all quarters—those of Pompey in the East, of Cæsar in Gaul, of Augustus in Egypt and elsewhere—had brought to Rome an immense flood of money. The peace which followed the civil wars had permitted commerce and industry to revive, and increased the taxable property in the provinces. The government had abundant resources at its disposal. Even before the fighting was wholly over, before Antony was beaten and Egypt annexed, it had been able to issue from its mint huge quantities of gold coins. With all his caution and all his indifference to external show, Augustus had a real conception of empire, as well as a cynical appreciation of the uses of shows and processions. It is not strange that he used the resources at his disposal to beautify his capital that, according to the oft-quoted words of a Roman historian, he found Rome brick and left it marble. His successors imitated him, each in his own way. We need not record their work in detail. Very little of it has been affected in its broader aspects by the last ten years' researches, and we have already alluded to the new light thrown on the history of the Pantheon. But we may cite one curious detail, supplied by the latest excavations, which shows the effect of this perpetual building. Everyone has heard of the Via Sacra : everyone knows roughly the associations which attach to that historic street. During the last months the excavators have been busy with it, pursuing the same policy which they adopted in the vicinity of the Black Stone, and probing below the surface to see if anything more remains to be discovered. They have discovered that this Sacred Way was twice diverted in Imperial times to allow of Imperial buildings, not in the Forum itself, but in the ascent eastwards to the Velia and the spot where the Arch of Titus now stands. In the first distinguishable period it ran straight up the slope across the site of the Church of S. Francesca Romana and Hadrian's great Temple of Venus and Rome: this, likely enough, was its course in the days of Augustus, and the foundations of buildings which fronted C
it have been discovered along its pavement in good preservation. Later, some Emperor diverted it so that it swept across to the south side of the slope-possibly Nero, when he built the Golden House; possibly Hadrian, when he built the temple just named; but this we shall know better in due course. Then, in the second century, about 134 A.D., came changes in the great 'Bazaar' called the Porticus Margaritaria, and the curve of the Sacred Way was turned into a sharp angle to admit the new edifice. The Via Sacra at this point was one of the principal business streets of Rome during the Empire, and the changes made in it are amazing. It is as if Regent Street had once been straight, had then been bent into a curve, and lastly converted into a right angle—all in less than a hundred years. No wonder economists have sometimes suggested that the Emperors overbuilt themselves, and that the financial troubles of the later Empire are partly due to the ill-advised use of capital made by the earlier rulers. We do not think that this suggestion is correct, but it is not altogether founded on a misapprehension.
In the preceding paragraphs we have tried to show our readers how recent discoveries illuminate and assist our conceptions of Rome as an Imperial city adorned with Imperial magnificence. We pass on to notice one or two other of those discoveries which seem to possess individual importance for ordinary students and lovers of Rome and its history. The progress of historical research is rapidly bringing our knowledge of both ancient and modern history to such a point that new discoveries of really individual importance are rarely made. Every new-found fact fits into some corner, and, when combined with other facts, makes some little addition to our knowledge. Those who know the other facts can appreciate the value of this addition, but they are the specialists. The outsiders are often left wondering why learned men bother themselves about such and such a detail, and it is only when they chance to know the other details that they understand. That, we may observe in passing, is why Biblical research is so much more intelligible to average readers than any other work of specialists, for all average readers know something of the contents of their Bibles, but they do not know the details of Roman Imperial history. And if this is the case with all research, it is doubly so with that branch which at the moment concerns us ; for, as we have already said, the details of Roman archæology are mostly fragments. Still, there are exceptions : we will take the inscription of the Secular Games as a proof.