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them in Rome, and from Rome spread to other places. The name given to them by Anastasius is always cæmeteria. In Dr. Northcote's chapter on ‘Their Paintings and Sculpture' he has ingeniously mixed together two things which are not necessarily connected. The sculpture on the Sarcophagi cannot be restored, but the paintings may be, and often were. About thirty Catacombs are recorded to have been restored by the Popes in the eighth and ninth centuries; and the things which were likely to be restored are the paintings, and this agrees with what we find, but which Dr. Northcote altogether ignores. Those who are at all acquainted with the history of art can see at a glance the difference between a painting of the seventh century and one of the third or fourth ; and it is certain that three-fourths of the paintings are restorations of the later period, as Mr. Parker has shown by his photo-engravings; but those only excite the ire of Dr. Northcote, who cannot see that these are restorations, his rosecoloured spectacles will not allow him to see them. Then, in the sculpture also, it is well known to all who have studied the subject, that the Christian Sarcophagi are all of the fourth or fifth centuries ; there are no restorations of them, but they do not belong to the first three centuries ;' that some of the paintings on the vaults are of the second century is true, but they are not of Christian or religious subjects. The Vine on the vault of the great entrance chamber of Prætextatus is of the second century, but the Good Shepherd on the wall of the same chamber was of the fourth (it was destroyed in 1876). It is shown in Dr. Northcote’s woodcut at p. 69, but too small to show the different styles of drawing. The Vine on the vault of the passage at one of the entrances to S. Domitilla, Nereus, and Achilleus is of the third century; the character of the drawing is not like the one in Prætextatus. The other figures of ‘Daniel in the Lions' den,'Noe in the Ark,' &c., which Dr. Northcote assumes to be of the same period, because they are close at hand, are not earlier than the fourth, many of them later. 'The Good Shepherd' is not necessarily a Christian subject; the Christians adopted it from the heathens, but by far the greater number of them, and they are very numerous, are undoubtedly Christian, and some of them may be of the third. The style of drawing in the pretty woodcuts in Dr. Northcote's book is evidently that of the modern artist of the nineteenth century, who has drawn them on the wood. If compared with Mr. Parker's photographs and photo-engravings, the different style of art is very evident; in some cases they are not like the same picture. In one instance only Dr. Northcote acknowledges that the paintings are so rudely drawn, that' probably they belong to the age of the translation of the relics, i.e. the ninth century. He cannot see that the same remark applies to many others. With these slight blunders, which are what might be expected, this is a very good and useful guide to the Catacombs of Rome.
The other guide to the Catacombs is more ambitious than Dr. Northcote's, as will be seen by the title-page already given. It professes to be “Historical and Descriptive, and to explain the ‘Symbolism of Early Christian Art.' The idea is a good one, and it is fairly
executed as far as can be done by a compilation from good authorities, without taking the trouble to go and see the Catacombs themselves, so as to understand them more thoroughly. The woodcuts in this volume are also fairly drawn, but from the inaccurate drawings of Perret, not from the photographs. The first chapter, · Where the Catacombs are situated,' betrays the real ignorance of the author on the subject. He can see no difference between the drawing of the second century and that of the ninth, and although he intends to clear up the misrepresentations of the Romanists,' he adopts their statements as if they were gospel. He has hit upon the right explanation of the name catacomb, ad Catacumbas (p. 12), but he attributes it to the seventh century, whereas it was used in the third and fourth. He adopts De Rossi's estimate that 'the galleries of the Catacombs extended to 587 geographical miles,' which can be only a guess, there can be no real calculation. He says that 'the country about Rome consists almost entirely of volcanic rocks, of which the most ancient is a compact conglomerate, known as lithoid tufa, and still largely employed as building stone ; while above it lie ejected ashes and scoriæ, mixed with a few currents of solid lava. Underneath the lithoid tufa we come to the granular tufa, and it is in this formation the Catacombs are mainly excavated. This stone is dry and porous, and therefore easily worked ; and, being dry and porous, it rendered the galleries excavated in it not unsuitable as retreats for the living, a purpose to which they were often devoted.' This is altogether a misunderstanding of the description by De Rossi, and calculated entirely to mislead the student. To the single Catacomb of S. Calixtus, which alone De Rossi has described, it is practically true, but to many others it does not apply at all, and the assumption that they were often devoted as retreats for the living is not true. In the sharp but short persecution of the Christians under Julian the Apostate, the Bishops of Rome used to reside in the Monastery of S. Sebastian, or of S. Urban ad Catacumbas, and as there were subterranean passages from these into the Catacombs, and through the galleries of the Catacombs, with outlets known only to the Christian fossores, they might thus have escaped; but on one occasion the Pope was performing the service called THE Mass, in the small chapel at the entrance to the Catacomb of Prætextatus, and with the true martyr-spirit would not stop the service to escape, and was taken off to the place of public execution, where the Monastery of S. Sisto Vecchio now stands, and was beheaded there, having been legally condemned to death by the authorities.
The successive layers of tufa, collected in many ages, vary considerably in all sorts of ways, in thickness from a few inches to twenty or thirty feet, and in quality and colour ; some of the layers are still volcanic dust or sand, others have been hardened into stone, harder or softer according to circumstances. It is also a great blunder or exaggeration, when our author says, “the Christian community set to work to enlarge the Catacombs ; they constructed them one below the other ; sometimes as many as five rows or stages of galleries were superimposed in the same crypt; the uppermost would not be more than twenty-five feet below the surface, the lowest would be nearly three hundred.' This is gross exaggeration; the usual height of the galleries did not exceed ten feet, and if we allow another ten feet of tufa between the galleries it is ample, as may be readily seen by the sloping steps going down from one to the other. Twenty feet for each gallery is therefore quite sufficient to allow, and this gives 120 feet for the six stages, instead of 300. We doubt whether any one was more than 100 feet deep. The whole of this chapter is full of ludicrous blunders : at p. 19 it is stated, '2. The Cemeteries of S. Praetextatus and S. Sebastian are situated under the Vatican Hill,' which is about three miles off, and on the other side of the Tiber. 5. Under the Via Ostiensis, those of SS. Felix and Adajecta or Commodilla, S. Cyriac, S. Timotheus, and S. Zeno. Not one of these is on the road to Ostia, and they are not all on the same road ; some are on the road to Ardea, others on that to Tibur or Tivoli. At p. 36 it is stated that after A.D. 312, when the ‘Peace of the Church' was proclaimed by Constantine, subterranean interments fell gradually into disuse.' This is entirely a mistake ; a large proportion of them are later, and it is doubtful whether there is a single painting of a religious or scriptural subject before that date, and not one painting of a saint not scriptural before the sixth, if so early. John I. in A.D. 523 made one catacomb or cemetery, according to Anastasius, and restored two others, and we have the same subjects and the same style of painting in all three, but we do not remember a single figure of a saint (not scriptural) of his time.
In describing the translation of the relics' of the martyrs, as they are called, he says that 2300 bodies were carried to the one Church of S. Prassede, and many cartloads of the relics of martyrs to the Pantheon ;' we might add similar numbers were sent to some other churches also; and he very naturally observes that the dead in the Catacombs were not all martyrs, but Roman writers invariably indulge in this exaggeration,' which is very true. When he quotes Lord Lindsay, who says that ' Rome is undermined in every direction by subterranean excavations,' he repeats what he ought to know is altogether false. The Catacombs are two miles from Rome, and many much farther off, as we have said. Lord Lindsay probably is aware of this now, though he was mistaken when he wrote.
Chapter IV. relates to the Early Christian Inscriptions, which are genuine things, and there is a good superficial summary of information about these. The same may be said of Chapter V. On Christian Monographs and Symbols,' which are always interesting ; and in Chapter VI. ‘On Christian Art in the Catacombs.' The woodcuts are fairly engraved, but we could have wished that some of them 'had been from more accurate drawings; the celebrated Jewelled Cross' is an instance, the inaccurate drawing of Perret is strictly followed ; the same objection applies to Chapter VII., on The Paintings in the Catacombs ; ' the drawings are so inaccurate that they can scarcely be recognised, and their character is that of the modern artist who has drawn them, not of the early period to which the Catacombs belong. Chapter VIII. and last, ' A Tour through
the Catacombs' is not very satisfactory, but it is well intended, and we are loth to criticise it. Throughout he follows De Rossi and Dr. Northcote too blindly, and sees objects through their coloured spectacles. When he follows Mr. Marriott in saying that the Catacomb paintings in no way countenance the Romish cultus of the Virgin, he is quite right, but they are both mistaken in supposing that the Romish assumption that the female figure seated on the same throne with Christ, in the same mosaic in the Church of S.M. in Trastevere, is intended for the Blessed Virgin ; the inscription which she holds in her hand from the Song of Solomon shows that the figure was intended for THE CHRISTIAN CHURCH, 'the ever youthful Bride of Christ.' The Romanists, as usual, beg the whole question by their false assumption. Each of the figures bears a scroll with an inscription, one of which is a genuine text from the Vulgate version of the Song of Solomon, the other is half genuine, and the other half made up for the purpose in the thirteenth century, when the WORSHIP OF THE MADONNĀ, OR BLESSED VIRGIN, was fully established.
On the whole, this book may be recommended as containing much useful information in a portable and convenient form ; but it is much to be regretted that the author did not go and see the Catacombs for himself before he wrote about them.
Since the foregoing notice was in type, we have received Dr. Spencer Northcote's new work, Epitaphs of the Catacombs; or, Christian Inscriptions in Rome during the first four Centuries. (London : Longmans, Green and Co., 1878.) We are happy to find that this is a work in which · all true Catholics can agree, whether Greek Catholics, Roman Catholics, or Anglo-Catholics; and all English Catholics will be much obliged to Dr. Northcote for the very useful and popular abridgment of the great work of De Rossi that he has made. All Catholics agree in their admiration of the early Christian Martyrs, and in considering the contemporary inscriptions on their graves, or relating to them, as peculiarly interesting. Unfortunately, few English people read Italian, and yet all well-informed persons have long heard of the great work of De Rossi, and wish to know more about it. Some violent Protestants, indeed, have denied the authenticity of the inscriptions, but without any reason; even if some of them are plaster casts, as is said, and the original marble slabs are preserved in the Vatican for greater security, this does not make them less authentic, or less interesting. It will be observed that of the four bishops of Rome who were buried in the catacomb of S. Calixtus in the third century, two were Greek, and are inscribed as Episcopus or Bishop, and not Papa or Pope ; it is well known that Papa is still the name of any priest in the Greek Church : he is the father of his flock; it was not till after the transfer of the seat of empire to Byzantium by Constantine, that the Bishop of Rome assumed that he was sole father of the whole Christian Church of Western Europe. This was probably, in fact, part of the system of the temporal power of the Roman Church, which is grounded entirely on the decretals of S. Gregory. Since the time of Baronius they have been given up by the Romans themselves, though portions of them are still used in the public service of the Roman Church, extracts from the decretals being part of the Roman Breviary. Of course Dr. Northcote makes no reference to this, but he does honestly acknowledge that Papa was not originally an exclusive title of the Bishop of Rome. We should not have mentioned this, were it not that ignorant persons often accuse Anglo-Catholics of Romanism, whereas the most formidable enemies of Romanists are well-informed Anglo-Catholics, who know the History of the Church, especially such as happen to know by experience the difference between Roman theory and practice. The present work of Dr. Northcote's is written in a truly Christian spirit, and we will add a few extracts, to give some idea of its nature and plan :
From the earliest ages, and in all stages of civilisation, men have sought to preserve their memories from decay by means of inscriptions, more particularly by inscriptions graven upon their tombs'; as though they would fain bid special defiance to the envious tooth of time, there where its bite seemed to be at once inevitable and fatal.....!
However, in spite of their brevity, they have often furnished important contributions to our stores of historical knowledge, and sometimes also in other branches of human science they have rendered valuable services. And, independently of these accidental uses which may occasionally be made of them, there is another and a more general interest which almost always attaches to them, if only they contain something more than a name and a date—the interest, namely, which belongs to the records of human thought and feeling under circumstances which are common to us all, viz. the thought of death, as anticipated by ourselves or already suffered by our friends and relatives ; the general view taken of life now that it is over; the feelings of regret at the loss of friends; the good qualities selected for commendation in the notice of the deceased, and the way in which the love or respect of the survivors is testified. We have, most of us, at some time or other of our lives, beguiled an idle hour by spelling out the monuments of some village churchyard with reference to these and similar particulars, and have rarely failed to derive amusement or instruction from the occupation. The same fruits may of course be gathered from the study of collections of monumental inscriptions, whether brought together in museums or copied into books ; and if the collection be sufficiently large, and tolerably homogeneous, they often teach us more of the inner life, give us a more lively picture of the temper and mode of thought which characterised the people to whom they belong, than the more elaborate productions of their poets, philosophers, or historians.. ....'
We have seen that the most striking point of contrast between the ancient Christian inscriptions and those of their Pagan contemporaries is, that the latter constantly set forth with accuracy the status of the person deceased, and therefore give his several names at least, if not his parentage also, and his titles ; whilst the former, evidently of set purpose, or at least from some instinct which had the power and uniformity of law, omitted all these things as wholly without value .....?
“We have desired to confine ourselves to a study of the more simple and original epitaphs—those which owed their origin to the affection and piety of private individuals, and which only undesignedly throw any light upon the tone of thought and feeling prevalent in the community to which their writers belonged. The inscriptions of Pope Damasus were