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Jobrj M. Kellt/ 

Donated be/ 
Williara Klassea 


Tbe UoiaeRsity o|i 

St. Michael's College 

ToRonto, OotaRio 

- -. 

(From a painting by Giulio Romano, Francesco Penni and Raffaelino del Colle) 







(fo Rtoersibe ^prcss, 

Copyright, 1892, 

All rights reserved. 

The Riverside Press, Cambridge, Mass., U. 8. A, 
Electrotyped and Printed by H. O. Houghton & Co. 


THE author desires to express his gratitude to Mr. Ed- 
ward Robinson, of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, for 
the kind assistance rendered to him in superintending the 
preparation of this volume. 

With a few exceptions, the drawings in this book are by 
Harold B. Warren, of Boston, who also made the drawings 
for " Ancient Rome in the Light of Recent Discoveries." 














by Giulio Romaua, Francesco Penni, and Raffaellino del Colle) 

(Heliotype) . Frontispiece 



done at the order of Maria Macellaria) .... 32 

Nortet's Les Catacombes Romaines) 118 



COVERED AT THE TIME OF PAUL V. (from a rare engraving 
by Benedetto Drei, head master mason to the Pope. The site 
of the tomb of S. Peter and the Fenestella are indicated by 

the author) 132 

S. PETER'S IN 1588 (from an engraving by Ciampini) . . 146 
THE Two BASILICAS OF S. PAUL (the original structure of Con- 

stantine in black ; that of Theodosius and Honorius shaded) 150 





nanni) 202 



TOMB OF INNOCENT VIII. (Heliotype) 242 

TOMB OF PAUL III. (Heliotype} 246 




TORINUS (Heliotype) . 268 








HERD . 18 


THE FOUR SEASONS (from the Imperial Palace, Ostia) . . 24 

ACHILLEO . . . . .... . .26 












D' ARMI) 65 

THE FAMILY OF AUGUSTUS (relief from the Ara Pacis, in the Gal- 
lery of the Uffizi, Florence) 83 







gorio) 103 









SIDE) 134 



THE CHAIR OF S. PETER (after photograph from original) . . 140 
BRONZE STATUE OF S. PETER . . . . . . . 142 


THE BURNING OF S. PAUL'S, JULY 15, 1823 (from an old print) 152 


MILITARY FUNERAL EVOLUTIONS (from the base of the column 

of Antoninus) ......... 170 

THE APOTHEOSIS OF AN EMPEROR (from the base of the column 

of Antoninus) ......... 171 


FOR GRAIN . . . . . . . . 184 


THE PONTE NOMENTANO ... o .... 187 








PORTRAIT OF POPE CORNELIUS (from a fresco near his grave) . 219 




C^LIAN . 230 



















SURGEON'S INSTRUMENTS (from a relief on a tombstone) . . 353 




The early adoption of Christianity not confined to the poorer classes. 
Instances of Roman no]bles who were Christians. The family of the 
Acilii Glabriones. Manius Acilius the consul. Put to death be- 
cause of his religion. Description of his tomb, recently discovered. 
Other Christian patricians. How was it possible for men in public 
office to serve both Christ and Caesar ? The usual liberality of the 
emperors towards the new religion. Nevertheless an open profession 
of faith hazardous and frequently avoided, Marriages between Chris- 
tians and pagans. Apostasy resulting from these. Curious dis- 
covery illustrating the attitude of Seneca's family towards Christianity. 

1 The relations between the Empire, the Christians, and the Jews have 
been discussed by really numberless writers, beginning with the Fathers of 
the Church. I have consulted, among the moderns: Mangold: De ecclesia 
primceva pro ccesaribus et magistratibus romanis preces fundente. Bonn, 1881. 
Bittuer: De Groecorum et Romanorum deque Judceorum et christianorum sacris 
jejuniis. Posen, 1846. Weiss: Die romischen Kaiser in ihrem Verhaltnisse zu 
Juden und Christen. Wien, 1882. Mourant Brock: Rome, Pagan and Papal. 
London, Hodder & Co. 1883. Backhouse and Taylor: History of the primi- 
tive Church. (Italian edition.) Rome, Loescher, 1890. Greppo: Trois me- 
moires relatifs a Vhistoire ecclesiastique. Dollinger: Christenthum und Kirche. 
Champagny (Comte de): Les Antonins, vol. i. Gaston Boissier : La Jin du 
paganisme, etc., 2 vols. Paris, Hachette, 1891. Giovanni Marangoni: Delle 
cose gentilesche trasportate ad uso delle chiese. Roma, Pagliarini, 1744. Mos- 
heiiii: De rebus Christianis ante Constantinum. Carlo Fea: Dissertazione suite 
rovine di Roma, in Winckelmann's Storia delle arti. Roma, Pagliarini, 1783, 
vol. iii. Louis Duchesne : Le liber pontificalis. Paris, Thorin, 1886-1892. 
O. B. de Rossi: Bullettino di archeologia cristiana. Roma, Salviucci, 1863- 


Christians in the army. The gradual nature of the transformation 
of Rome. The significance of the inscription on the Arch of Con- 
stantine. The readiness of the early Church to adopt pagan customs 
and even myths. The curious mixture of pagan and Christian con- 
ceptions which grew out of this. Churches became repositories for 
classical works of art, for which new interpretations were invented. 
The desire of the early Christians to make their churches as beautiful 
as possible. The substitution of Christian shrines for the old pagan 
altars at street corners. Examples of both. The bathing accommo- 
dations of the pagan temples adopted by the Church. Also the cus- 
tom of providing public standards of weights and measures. These 
set up in the basilicas. How their significance became perverted in 
the Dark Ages. The adoption of funerary banquets and their de- 
generation. The public store-houses of the emperors and those of the 
popes. Pagan rose-festivals and their conversion into a Christian 

IT has been contended, and many still believe, that in 
ancient Rome the doctrines of Christ found no proselytes, 
except among the lower and poorer classes of citizens. 
That is certainly a noble picture which represents the new 
faith as searching among the haunts of poverty and slavery, 
seeking to inspire faith, hope, and charity in their occu- 
pants ; to transform them from things into human beings ; 
to make them believe in the happiness of a future life ; to 
alleviate their present sufferings ; to redeem their children 
from shame and servitude ; to proclaim them equal to their 
masters. But the gospel found its way also to the man- 
sions of the masters, nay, even to the palace of the Caesars. 
The discoveries lately made on this subject are startling, 
and constitute a new chapter in the history of imperial 
Rome. We have been used to consider early Christian his- 
tory and primitive Christian art as matters of secondary 
importance, and hardly worthy the attention of the classi- 
cal student. Thus, none of the four or five hundred vol- 
umes on the topography of ancient Rome speaks of the 


basilicas raised by Constantine ; of the church of S. Maria 
Antiqua, built side by side with the Temple of Vesta, the 
two worships dwelling together as it were, for nearly a cen- 
tury ; of the Christian burial - grounds ; of the imperial 
mausoleum near S. Peter's ; of the porticoes, several miles 
in length, which led from the centre of the city to the 
churches of S. Peter, S. Paul, and S. Lorenzo; of the 
palace of the Ca3sars transformed into the residence of the 
Popes. Why should these constructions of monumental 
and historical character be expelled from the list of classi- 
cal buildings ? and why should we overlook the fact that 
many great names in the annals of the empire are those of 
members of the Church, especially when the knowledge of 
their conversion enables us to explain events that had been, 
up to the latest discoveries, shrouded in mystery ? 

It is a remarkable fact that the record of some of these 
events should be found, not in church annals, calendars, 
or itineraries, but in passages in the writings of pagan 
annalists and historians. Thus, in ecclesiastical documents 
no mention is made of the conversion of the two Domitillae, 
or Flavius Clemens, or Petronilla, all of whom were rela- 
tives of the Flavian emperors ; and of the Acilii Glabriones, 
the noblest among the noble, as Herodianus calls them 
(2, 3). Their fortunes and death are described only by the 
Roman historians and biographers of the time of Domitian. 
It seems that when the official feriale, or calendar, was 
resumed, after the end of the persecutions, preference was 
given to names of those confessors and martyrs whose 
deeds were still fresh in the memory of the living, and of 
necessity little attention was paid to those of the first and 
second centuries, whose acts either had not been written 
down, or had been lost during the persecutions. 

As the crypt of the Acilii Glabriones on the Via Salaria 


has become one of the chief places of attraction, since its 
re-discovery in 1888, I cannot begin this volume under bet- 
ter auspices than by giving an account of this important 
event. 1 

In exploring that portion of the Catacombs of Priscilla 
which lies under the Monte delle Gioie, near the entrance 
from the Via Salaria, de Rossi observed that the labyrinth 
of the galleries converged towards an original crypt, shaped 
like a Greek T (Gamma), and decorated with frescoes. 
The desire of finding the name and the history of the first 
occupants of this noble tomb, whose memory seems to have 
been so dear to the faithful, led the explorers to carefully 
sift the earth which filled the place ; and their pains were 
rewarded by the discovery of a fragment of a marble coffin, 
inscribed with the letters : ACILIO GLABRIONI FILIO. 

Did this fragment really belong 
to the F crypt, or had it been thrown 
there by mere chance ? And in 
case of its belonging to the crypt, 
was it an isolated record, or did it 
Tablet of Aciiius Giabrio. belong to a group of graves of the 
Acilii Glabriones? The queries were fully answered by 
later discoveries ; four inscriptions, naming Manius Aciiius 
. . . and his wife Priscilla, Aciiius Rufinus, Aciiius Quin- 
tianus, and Claudius Aciiius Valerius were found among the 
debris, so that there is no doubt as to the ownership of the 
crypt, and of the chapel which opens at the end of the longer 
arm of the F. 

1 See de Rossi: Bullettino di archeologia cristiana, 1888-1889, p. 15 ; 1890, 
p. 97. Edmond Le Blant: Comptes rendus de I'Acad. des Inscript., 1888, p. 
113. Arthur Frothingham : American Journal of Archaeology, June, 1888, 
p. 214. R. Lanciani: Gli horti Aciliorum sul Pincio, in the Bullettino della 
commissione archeologica, 1891, p. 132; Underground Christian Rome, in the 
Atlantic Monthly, July, 1891. 


The Manii Acilii Glabriones attained celebrity in the 
sixth century of Rome, when Acilius Glabrio, consul in 
563 (B. c. 191), conquered the Macedonians at the battle 
of Thermopylai. We have in Rome two records of his 
career : the Temple of Piety, erected by him on the west 
side of the Forum Olitorium, now transformed into the 
church of S. Nicola in Carcere; and the pedestal of the 
equestrian statue, of gilt bronze, offered to him by his son, 
the first of its kind ever seen in Italy, which was discovered 
by Valadier in 1808, at the foot of the steps of the temple, 
and buried again. Towards the end of the republic we 
find them established on the Pincian Hill, where they had 
built a palace and laid out gardens which extended at least 
from the convent of the Trinita dei Monti to the Villa 
Borghese. 1 The family had grown so rapidly to honor, 
splendor, and wealth, that Pertinax, in the memorable sit- 
ting of the Senate in which he was elected emperor, pro- 
claimed them the noblest race in the world. 

The Glabrio best known in the history of the first 
century is Manius Acilius, who was consul with Trajan, 
A. D. 91. He was put to death by Domitian in the year 
95, as related by Suetonius (Domit. 10) : " He caused 
several senators and ex-consuls to be executed on the 
charge of their conspiring against the empire, quasi 
molitores rerum novarum, among them Civica Cerealis, 
governor of Asia, Salvidienus Orfitus, and Acilius Glabrio, 
who had previously been banished from Rome." 

The expression molitores rerum novarum has a political 
meaning in the case of Cerealis and Orfitus, both staunch 
pagans, and a religious and political one in the case of 

1 See Ersilia Lovatelli: 11 Monte Pincio, in the Miscellanea archeologica, p. 
211. Rodolfo Lanciani: Su gli orti degli Acili sul Pincio, in the Bullettino di 
corrispondenza archeologica, 1868, p. 132. 


Glabrio, a convert to the Christian faith, called nova super- 
stitio by Suetonius and Tacitus. Other details of Glabrio's 
fate are given by Dion Cassius, Juvenal, and Fronto. We 
are told by these authors that during his consulship, A. D. 
91, and before his banishment, he was compelled by Domi- 
tian to fight against a lion and two bears in the amphi- 
theatre adjoining the emperor's villa at Albanum. The 
event created such an impression in Rome, and its memory 
lasted so long that, half a century later, we find it given by 
Fronto as a subject for a rhetorical composition to his pupil 
Marcus Aurelius. The amphitheatre is still in existence, 
and was excavated in 1887. Like the one at Tusculum, it 
is partly hollowed out of the rocky side of the mountain, 
partly built of stone and rubble work. It weU deserves a 
visit from the student and the tourist, on account of its 
historical associations, and of the admirable view which its 
ruins command of the vine-clad slopes of Albano and Castel 
Savello, the wooded plains of Ardea and Lavinium, the 
coast of the Tyrrhenian, and the islands of Pontia and 

Xiphilinus states that, in the year 95, some members of 
the imperial family were condemned by Domitian on the 
charge of atheism, together with other leading personages 
who had embraced "the customs and persuasion of the 
Jews," that is, the Christian faith. Manius Acilius Glabrio, 
the ex-consul, was implicated in the same trial, and con- 
demned on the same indictment with the others. Among 
these the historian mentions Clemens and Domitilla, who 
were manifestly Christians. One particular of the case, 
related by Juvenal, confirms the account of Xiphilinus. 
He says that in order to mitigate the wrath of the emperor 
and avoid a catastrophe, Acilius Glabrio, after fighting the 
wild beasts at Albanum, assumed an air of stupidity. In 


this alleged stupidity it is easy to recognize the prejudice 
so common among the pagans, to whom the Christians' re- 
tirement from the joys of the world, their contempt of pub- 
lic honors, and their modest behavior appeared as contemp- 
tissima inertia, most despicable laziness. This is the very 
phrase used by Suetonius in speaking of Flavius Clemens, 
who was murdered by Domitian ex tenuissima suspicione, 
on a very slight suspicion of his faith. 

Glabrio was put to death in his place of exile, the name 
of which is not known. His end helped, no doubt, the 
propagation of the gospel among his relatives and descend- 
ants, as well as among the servants and freedmen of the 
house, as shown by the noble sarcophagi and the humbler 

r ~w& wypesis^-fvt _ ..^rou^ -' - * <-j 


* ^ 

loculi found in such numbers in the crypt of the Cata- 
combs of Priscilla. The small oratory at the southern end 
of the crypt seems to have been consecrated exclusively to 
the memory of its first occupant, the ex-consul. The date 
and the circumstances connected with the translation of 


his relics from the place of banishment to Rome are not 

Both the chapel and the crypt were found in a state of 
devastation hardly credible, as though the plunderers had 
taken pleasure in satisfying their vandalic instincts to the 
utmost. Each of the sarcophagi was broken into a hundred 
pieces ; the mosaics of the walls and ceiling had been 
wrenched from then* sockets, cube by cube, the marble in- 
crustations torn off, the altar dismantled, the bones dis- 

When did this wholesale destruction take place ? In 
times much nearer ours than the reader may imagine. I 
have been able to ascertain the date, with the help of an 
anecdote related by Pietro Sante Bartoli in 144 of his 
archaeological memoirs : " Excavations were made under 
Innocent X. (1634-1655), and Clement IX. (1667-1670), 
in the Monte delle Gioie, on the Via Salaria, with the hope 
of discovering a certain hidden treasure. The hope was 
frustrated; but, deep in the bowels of the mound, some 
crypts were found, encrusted with white stucco, and re- 
markable for their neatness and preservation. I have heard 
from* trustworthy men that the place is haunted by spirits, 
as is proved by what happened to them not many months 
ago. While assembled on the Monte delle Gioie for a pic- 
nic, the conversation turned upon the ghosts who haunted 
the crypt below, when suddenly the carriage which had 
brought them there, pushed by invisible hands, began to 
roll down the slope of the hill, and was ultimately precipi- 
tated into the river Anio at its base. Several oxen had to be 
used to haul the vehicle out of the stream. This happened 
to Tabarrino, butcher at S. Eustachio, and to his brothers 
living in the Via Due Macelli, whose faces still bear marks 
of the great terror experienced that day." 


There is no doubt that the anecdote refers to the tomb 
of the Acilii Glabriones, which is cut under the Monte delle 
Gioie, and is the only one in the Catacombs of Priscilla re- 
markable for a coating of white stucco. Its destruction, 
therefore, took place under Clement IX., and was the work 
of treasure-hunters. And the very nature of clandestine 
excavations, which are the work of malicious, ignorant, and 
suspicious persons, explains the reason why no mention of 
the discovery was made to contemporary archa3ologists, and 
the pleasure of re-discovering the secret of the Acilii Gla- 
briones was reserved for us. 

These are by no means the only patricians of high stand- 
ing whose names have come to light from the depths of 
the catacombs. Tacitus ( Annal. xiii. 32) tells how Pom- 
ponia Graacina, wife of Plautius, the conqueror of Britain, 
was accused' of " foreign superstition," tried by her hus- 
band, and acquitted. These words long since gave rise to 
a conjecture that Pomponia Greecina was a Christian, and 
recent discoveries put it beyond doubt. An inscription 
bearing the name of nOMIIONIOC TPHKEINOC has been 
found in the Cemetery of Callixtus, together with other 
records of the Pomponii Attici and Bassi. Some scholars 
think that Grsecina, the wife of the conqueror of Britain, 
is no other than Lucina, the Christian matron who interred 
her brethren in Christ in her own prpperty, at the second 
milestone of the Appian Way. 

Other evidence of the conquests made by the gospel 
among the patricians is given by an inscription discovered 
in March, 1866, in the Catacombs of Praetextatus, near the 
monument of Quirinus the martyr. It is a memorial raised 
to the memory of his departed wife by Postumius Quietus, 
consul A. D. 272. Here also was found the name of 
Urania, daughter of Herodes Atticus, by his second wife, 


Vibullia Alcia, 1 while on the other side of the road, near 
S. Sebastiano, a mausoleum has been found, on the archi- 
trave of which the name URANIOR[UM] is engraved. 

In chapter vii. I shall have occasion to refer to many 
Christian relatives of the emperors Vespasian and Domitian. 
Eusebius, in speaking of these Flavians, and particularly of 
Domitilla the younger, niece of Domitian, quotes the au- 
thority of the historian Bruttius. He evidently means Brut- 
tius Prsesens, the illustrious friend of Pliny the younger, 
and the grandfather of Crispina, the empress of Commodus. 
In 1854, near the entrance to the crypt of the Flavians, at 
Torre Marancia (Via Ardeatina), a fragment of a sarco- 
phagus was found, with the name of Bruttius Crispinus. 
If, therefore, the history of Domitilla's martyrdom was 
written by the grandfather of Bruttia Crispina, the empress, 
it seems probable that the two families were united not only 
by the close proximity of their villas and tombs, and by 
friendship, but especially by community of religion. 

I may also cite the names of several Cornelii, Caecilii, and 
jErnilii, the flower of Roman nobility, grouped near the 
graves of S. Csecilia and Pope Cornelius ; of Liberalis, a 
consul suffectus? and a martyr, whose remains were buried 
in the Via Salaria ; of Jallia Clementina, a relative of Jallius 
Bassus, consul before A. D. 161 ; of Catia Clementina, 
daughter or relative of Catius, consul A. D. 230, not to 
speak of personages of equestrian rank, whose names have 
been collected in hundreds. 

A difficulty may arise in the mind of the reader : how 
was it possible for these magistrates, generals, consuls, 
officers, senators, and governors of provinces, to attend to 

1 A description of the beautiful villa of Herodes, adjoining the Catacombs 
of Prsetextatus, will be found in chapter vi. pp. 287 sqq. 

2 A consul suffectus was one elected as a substitute in case of the death or 
retirement of one of the regular consuls. 


their duties without performing acts of idolatry ? In chap- 
ter xxxvii. of the Apology, Tertullian says : " We are but of 
yesterday, yet we fill every place that belongs to you, cities, 
islands, outposts ; we fill your assemblies, camps, tribes and 
decuries ; the imperial palace, the Senate, the forum ; we 
only leave to you your temples." But here lies the diffi- 
culty ; how could they fill these places, and leave the tem- 

First of all, the Roman emperors gave plenty of liberty 
to the new religion from time to time ; and some of them, 
moved by a sort of religious syncretism, even tried to ally 
it with the official worship of the empire, and to place 
Christ and Jupiter on the steps of the same lararium. The 
first attempt of the kind is attributed to Tiberius; he is 
alleged to have sent a message to the Senate requesting 
that Christ should be included among the gods, on the 
strength of the official report written by Pontius Pilatus of 
the passion and death of our Lord. Malala says that Nero 
made honest inquiries about the new religion, and that, 
at first, he showed himself rather favorable towards it ; a 
fact not altogether improbable, if we take into considera- 
tion the circumstances of Paul's appeal, his absolution, and 
his relations with Seneca, and with the converts de domo 
Ccesaris, " of the house of Csesar." Lampridius, speaking 
of the religious sentiments of Alexander Severus, says : 
" He was determined to raise a temple to Christ, and en- 
listed him among the gods ; a project attributed also to 
Hadrian. There is no doubt that Hadrian ordered temples 
to be erected in every city to an unknown god ; and because 
they have no statue we still call them temples of Hadrian. 
He is said to have prepared them for Christ ; but to have 
been deterred from carrying his plan into execution by 
the consideration that the temples of the old gods would 


become deserted, and the whole population turn Christian, 
omnes chr is tianos futures." 1 

The freedom enjoyed by the Church under Caracalla is 
proved by the graffiti of the Domus Gelotiana, described 
in my " Ancient Rome." 2 The one caricaturing the cruci- 
fixion, which is reproduced on p. 122 of that volume, 
stands by no means alone in certifying to the spreading 
of the faith in the imperial palace. The name of Alex- 
amenos, " the faithful," is repeated thrice. There is also a 
name, LIBANUS, under which another hand has written 
It is very likely a joke on Libanus, a Christian page like 
Alexamenos, whom his fellow-disciples had nicknamed " the 
bishop." It is true that the title is not necessarily Chris- 
tian, having been used sometimes to denote a municipal 
officer ; 3 but this can hardly be the case in an assembly of 
youths, like the one of the Domus Gelotiana ; and the con- 
nection between the graffiti of Libanus and those of Alex- 
amenos seems evident. In reading these graffiti, now very 
much injured by dampness, exposure, and the unscrupulous 
hands of tourists, we are really witnessing household quar- 
rels between pagan and Christian dwellers in the imperial 
palace, in one of which CaracaUa, when still young, saw 
one of his playmates struck and punished on account of 
his Christian origin and persuasion. 

Septimius Severus and Caracalla issued a constitution, 4 

1 Lampridius, in Sev. Alex., c. 43. 

2 In chapter v., p. 122, of Ancient Rome, I have attributed these graffiti to 
the second half of the first century; but after a careful examination of the 
structure of the wall, on the plaster of which they are scratched, I am con- 
vinced that they must have been written towards the end of the second cen- 

Orelli, 4024, Digest L., iv. 18, 7. 
4 See Ulpian: De officio Procons., i. 3. 


which opened to the Jews the way to the highest honors,, 
making the performance of such ceremonies as were in 
opposition to the principles of their faith optional with 
them. What was granted to the Jews by the law of the 
empire may have been permitted also to the Christians by 
the personal benevolence of the emperors. 

When Elagabalus collected, or tried to collect, in his own 
private chapel the gods and the holiest relics of the uni- 
verse, he did not forget Christ and his doctrine. 1 Alex- 
ander Severus, the best of Roman rulers, gave full freedom 
to the Church ; and once, the Christians having taken pos- 
session of a public place on which the pcpinarii, or tavern- 
keepers, claimed rights, Alexander gave judgment in favor 
of the former, saying it was 
preferable that the place 
should serve for divine wor- 
ship, rather than for the sale 
of drinks. 2 

There can scarcely be any 
doubt that the emperor Philip 
the Arab (Marcus Julius Phi- 
lippus, A. D. 244), his wife 
Otacilia Severa, and his son 
Philip the younger were Chris- 
tians, and friends of S. Hippo- 
lytus. Still, in spite of these 
periods of peace and freedom 
of the Church, we cannot be 
blind to the fact that for a 
Christian nobleman wishing Portrait Bust of Philip the Younger. 

to make a career, the position was extremely hazardous. 

1 Lampridius, Heliog., 3. 

2 See Greppo: Memoire sur les laraires de Vempereur Ahxandre Severe. 


Hence we frequently see baptism deferred until mature or 
old age, and strange situations and even acts of decided 
apostasy created by mixed marriages. 

The wavering between public honors and Christian re- 
tirement is illustrated by some incidents in the life of 
Licentius, a disciple of S. Augustine. Licentius was the 
son of Romanianus, a friend and countryman of Augustine ; 
and when the latter retired to the villa of Verecundus, after 
his conversion, in the year 386, Licentius, who had attended 
his lectures on eloquence at Milan, followed him to his re- 
treat. He appears as one of the speakers in the academic 
disputes which took place in the villa. 1 In 396, Licentius, 
who had followed his master to Africa, seduced by the 
hopes of a brilliant career, determined to settle in Rome. 
Augustine, deeply grieved at losing his beloved pupil, wrote 
to call him back, and entreated him to turn his face from 
the failing promises of the world. The appeal had no 
effect, and no more had the epistles, in prose and verse, ad- 
dressed to him for the same purpose by Paulinus of Nola. 
Licentius, after finishing the course of philosophy, being 
scarcely a catechumen, and a very unsteady one at that, en- 
tered a career for public honors. Paulinus of Nola de- 
scribes him as aiming not only at a consulship, but also at 
a pagan pontificate, and reproaches and pities him for his 
behavior. After this, we lose sight of Licentius in history, 
but a discovery made at S. Lorenzo fuori le Mura in De- 
cember, 1862, tells us the end of the tale. A marble sarco- 
phagus was found, containing his body, and his epitaph. 
This shows that Licentius died in Rome in 406, after having 
reached the end of his desires, a place in the Senate ; and 

1 The name of the villa was Cassiacum ; its memory has lasted to the pres- 
ent age. See the memoir of Luigi Biraghi, 5. Agostino a Cassago di Brianza. 
Milauo, 1854. 



that he died a Christian, and was buried near the tomb of 
S. Lorenzo. This sarcophagus, hardly noticed by visitors 
in spite of its great historical associations, is preserved in 
the vestibule of the Capitoline Museum. 

As regards mixed marriages, a discovery made in 1877, 
near the Porta del Popolo, has revealed a curious state of 
things. In demolishing one of the towers by which Sixtus 
IV. had flanked that gate, we found a fragment of an in- 
scription of the second century, containing these strange 
and enigmatic words : " If any one dare to do injury to 
this structure, or to otherwise disturb the peace of her who 
is buried inside, because she, my daughter, has been [or 
has appeared to be] a pagan among the pagans, and a 
Christian among the Christians "... Here followed the 
specification of the penalties which the violator of the tomb 

Inscription found near the Porta del Popolo, 1877. 

would incur. It was thought at first that the phrase quod 
inter fedeles fidelis fuit, inter alienos pagana fuit had 
been dictated by the father as a jocose hint of the religious 
inconsistency of the girl ; but such an explanation can 
hardly be accepted. A passage of Tertullian in connection 
with mixed marriages leads us to the true understanding of 
the epitaph. In the second book Ad Uxorem, Tertullian 
describes the state of habitual apostasy to which Christian 
girls marrying gentiles willingly exposed or submitted them- 


selves, especially when the husband was kept in ignorance 
of the religion of the bride. He mentions the risks they 
would incur of betraying their conscience by accompanying 
their husbands to state or civil ceremonies, thus sanction- 
ing acts of idolatry by the mere fact of their presence. In 
the book De Corona, he concludes his argument with the 
words : " These are the reasons why we do not marry infi- 
dels, because such marriages lead us back to idolatry and 
superstition." The girl buried on the Via Flaminia, by the 
modern Porta del Popolo, must have been born of a Chris- 
tian mother and a good-natured pagan father ; still, it 
seems hardly consistent with the respect which the ancients 
had for tombs that he should be allowed to write such ex- 
traordinary words on that of his own daughter. 

We must not believe, however, that gentiles and Chris- 
tians lived always at swords' points. Italians in general, 
and Romans in particular, are noted for their great toler- 
ance in matters of religion, which sometimes degenerates 
into apathy and indifference. Whether it be a sign of 
feebleness of character, or of common sense, the fact is, that 
religious feuds have never been allowed to prevail among 
us. In no part of the world have the Jews enjoyed more 
freedom and tolerance than in the Roman Ghetto. The 
same feelings prevailed in imperial Rome, except for occa- 
sional outbursts of passion, fomented by 
the official persecutors. 

An inscription was discovered at Ostia, in 
January, 1867, in a tomb of the Via Seve- 
riana, of which I append an accurate copy, 
inscription in a tomb The tomb and the inscription are purely 
of the Via Seven- pagan, as shown by the invocation to the 

4- f\ 4-* " * 

infernal gods, Diis Manibus. This being 
the case, how can we account for the names of Paul and 

D . M 



Peter, which, taken separately, give great probability, and 
taken together give almost absolute certainty, of having 
been adopted in remembrance of the two apostles ? One 
circumstance may help us to explain the case : the prefer- 
ence shown for the name of Paul over that of Peter ; the 
former was borne by both father and son, the latter ap- 
pears only as a surname given to the son. This fact is 
not without importance, if we recollect that the two men 
who show such partiality for the name of Paul belong 
to the family of Anneus Seneca, the philosopher, whose 
friendship with the apostle has been made famous by a 
tradition dating at least from the beginning of the fourth 
century. The tradition rests on a foundation of truth. 
The apostle was tried and judged in Corinth by the pro- 
consul Marcus Anneus Gallio, brother of Seneca ; in Rome 
he was handed over to Afranius Burro, prefect of the 'prse- 
torium, and an intimate friend of Seneca. We know, 
also, that the presence of the prisoner, and his wonderful 
eloquence in preaching the new faith, created a profound 
.sensation among the members of the praetorium and of the 
imperial household. His case must have been inquired 
into by the philosopher himself, who happened to be con- 
sul suffectus at the time. The modest tombstone, dis- 
covered by accident among the ruins of Ostia, gives us the 
evidence of the bond of sympathy and esteem established, 
in consequence of these events, between the Annei and the 
founders of the Church in Rome. 

Its resemblance to the name of the Annei reminds me of 
another remarkable discovery connected with the same city, 
and with the same question. There lived at Ostia, towards 
the middle of the second century, a manufacturer of pottery 

and terracottas, named Annius Ser , whose lamps were 

exported to many provinces of the empire. These lamps 


are generally ornamented with the image of the Good 
Shepherd ; but they show also types which are decidedly 
pagan, such as the labors of Hercules, Diana the huntress, 

etc. It has been surmised that Annius Ser was 

converted to the gospel, and that the adoption of the sym- 
bolic figure of the Redeemer on his lamps was a result 

of his change of religion ; but to ex- 
plain the case it is not necessary to 
accept this theory. I believe he was 
a pagan, and that the lamps with the 
Good Shepherd were produced by 
him to order, and from a design 
supplied to him by a member of the 
local congregation. 

Another question concerning the 
behavior of early Christians has ref- 
erence to their military service un- 

Lamp of Annius Ser ,witb der the imperial eagles, and to the 

figure of the Good Shepherd. cases o f conscience which may have 

arisen from it. On this I may refer the reader to the works 
of Mamachi, Lami, Baumgarten, Le Blant, and de Rossi, 1 
who have discussed the subject thoroughly. Speaking from 
the point of view of material evidence, I have to record 
several discoveries which prove that officers and men of the 
cohortes prcetorice and urbance could serve with equal loy- 
alty their God and their sovereign. 

In November, 1885, I was present at the discovery of a 
marble sarcophagus in the military burial-grounds of the Via 
Salaria, opposite the gate of the Villa Albani. It bore two 
inscriptions, one on the lid, the other on the body. The 
first defies interpretation; 2 the second mentions the name 

1 See Bullettino di archeologia cristiana, 1865, p. 50. 

a It contains the words PETRO LILLVTI PAVLO. They are surely 


of a little girl, Publia ^Elia Proba, who was the daughter of 
a captain of the ninth battalion of the praetorians, and a 
lady named Clodia Plautia. They were all Christians ; but 
for a reason unknown to us, they avoided making a show 
of their persuasion, and were buried among the gentiles. 

Another stray Christian military tomb, erected by a cap- 
tain of the sixth battalion, named Claudius Ingenuus, was 
found, in 1868, in the Vigna Grandi, near S. Sebastiano. 
Here also we find the intention of avoiding an open pro- 
fession of faith. A regular cemetery of Christian prae- 
torians was found in the spring of the same year by Mar- 
chese Francesco Patrizi, in his villa adjoining the praetorian 
camp. It is neither large nor interesting, and it seems to 
prove that the gospel must have made but few proselytes 
in the imperial barracks. 

We must not believe that the transformation of Rome 
from a pagan into a Christian city was a sudden and unex- 
pected event, which took the world by surprise. It was the 
natural result of the work of three centuries, brought to 
maturity under Constantine by an inevitable reaction against 
the violence of Diocletian's rule. It was not a revolution 
or a conversion in the true sense of these words ; it was the 
official recognition of a state of things which had long 
ceased to be a secret. The moral superiority of the new 
doctrines over the old religions was so evident, so over- 
powering, that the result of the struggle had been a fore- 
gone conclusion since the age of the first apologists. The 

genuine and ancient. I examined them in company with Mommsen, Jordan, 
and de Rossi, and they attributed them to the beginning of the third century 
of our era. The best suggestiou regarding their origin is that they belong to 
a person, probably Christian, who used the name Petrus as gentilitium, and 
Paulus as cognomen, and who was the son of Lillutus, however barbaric this 
last name may sound. 


revolution was an exceedingly mild one, the transformation 
almost imperceptible. No violence was resorted to, and 
the tolerance and mutual benevolence so characteristic of 
the Italian race was adopted as the fundamental policy of 
State and Church. 

The transformation may be followed stage by stage in 
both its moral and material aspect. There is not a ruin of 
ancient Rome that does not bear evidence of the great 
change. Many institutions and customs still flourishing in 
our days are of classical origin, and were adopted, or tol- 
erated, because they were not in opposition to Christian 
principles. Beginning with the material side of the ques- 
tion, the first monument to which I have to refer is the 
Arch of Constantine, raised in 315 at the foot of the 
Palatine, where the Via Triumphalis diverges from the 
Sacra Via. 

The importance of this arch, from the point of view of 
the question treated in this chapter, rests not on its sculp- 
tured panels and medallions, spoils taken at random from 
older structures, from which the arch has received the nick- 
name of ^Esop's crow (la cornacchia di Esopo), but on 
the inscription engraved on each side of the attic. " The 
S. P. Q. R. have dedicated this triumphal arch to Constan- 
tine, because instinctu divinitatis (by the will of God), 
and by his own virtue, etc., he has liberated the country 
from the tyrant [Maxentius] and his faction." The opin- 
ion long prevailed among archaeologists that the words 
instinctu divinitatis were not original, but added after 
Constantine's conversion. Cardinal Mai thought that the 
original formula was diis faventibus, " by the help of the 
gods," while Henzen suggested nutu lovis optimi maximi, 
" by the will of Jupiter." Cavedoni was the first to de- 
clare that the inscription had never been altered, and that 


the two memorable words the first proclaiming officially 
the name of the true God in the face of imperial Rome 
belonged to the original text, sanctioned by the Senate. 
The controversy was settled in 1863, when Napoleon III. 
obtained from the Pope the permission to make a plaster 
cast of the arch. With the help of the scaffolding, the 
scholars of the time examined the inscription, the shape of 
each letter, the holes of the bolts by which the gilt-bronze 
letters were fastened, the joints of the marble blocks, the 
color and quality of the marble, and decided unanimously 
that the inscription had never been tampered with, and that 
none of its letters had been changed. 

The arch was raised in 315. Was Constantine openly 
professing his faith at that time ? Opinions are divided. 
Some think he must have waited until the defeat of Licinius 
in 323 ; others suggest the year 311 as a more probable 
date of his profession. The supporters of the first theory 
quote in its favor the fact that the pagan symbols and 
images of gods appear on coins struck by Constantine and 
his sons ; but this fact is easily explained, when we consider 
that the coinage of bronze was a privilege of the Senate, 
and that the Senate was pagan by a large majority. Many 
of Constantine's constitutions and official letters speak in 
favor of an early declaration of faith. When the Dona- 
tists appealed to him from the verdict of the councils of 
Aries and Rome, he wrote to the bishops: Meum judicium 
postulant, qui ipse judicium Christi expecto : " They ap- 
peal to me, when I myself must be judged by Christ." 
The verdict of the council of Rome against the sectarians 
was rendered on October 2, 313, in the " palace of Fausta 
in the Lateran ; " the imperial palace of the Lateran, there- 
fore, had already been handed over to the bishop of Rome, 
and a portion of it turned into a place of worship. The 


basilica of the Lateran still retains its title of " Mother and 
head of all churches of Rome, and of the world," ranking 
above those of S. Peter and S. Paul in respect to age. 

Such being the state of affairs when the triumphal arch 
was erected, nothing prevents us from believing those two 
words to be original, and to express the relations then exist- 
ing between the first Christian emperor and the old pagan 
Senate. At all events, nothing is more uncompromising 
than these two words, because the titles of Deus summus, 
Deus aUissimus, magnus, ceternus, are constantly found on 
monuments pertaining to the worship of Atys and Mithras. 
" These words," concludes de Rossi, " far from being a 
profession of Christianity engraved on the arch at a later 
period, are simply a ' moyen terme/ a compromise, between 
the feelings of the Senate and those of the emperor." 

Many facts related by contemporary documents prove 
that the change of religion was, at the beginning, a per- 
sonal affair with the emperor, and not a question of state ; 
the emperor was a Christian, but the old rules of the empire 
were not interfered with. In dealing with his pagan sub- 
jects Constantine showed so much tact and impartiality as 
to cast doubts upon the sincerity of his conversion. He 
has been accused of having accepted from the people of 
Hispellum (Spello, in Umbria), the honor of a temple, and 
from the inhabitants of Roman Africa that of a priesthood 
for the worship of his own family (sacerdotium Flavice 
gentis). The exculpation is given by Constantine himself 
in his address of thanks to the Hispellates : " We are 
pleased and grateful for your determination to raise a tem- 
ple in honor of our family and of ourselves ; and we accept 

1 See de Rossi: Bullettino di archeologia cristiana, 1863, p. 49. Rohault de 
Fleury: L'arc de triomphe de Constant, in the Revue archeologique, Sept. 1863, 
p. 250. W. Henzen : Bullettino dell' Instituto, 1863, p. 183. 



it, provided you do not contaminate it with superstitious 
practices." The honor of a temple and of a priesthood, 
therefore, was offered and accepted as a political demon- 
stration, as an act of loyalty, and as an occasion for public 
festivities, both inaugural and anniversary. 

In accepting rites and customs which were not offensive 
to her principles and morality, the Church showed equal 
tact and foresight, and contributed to the peaceful accom- 
plishment of the transformation. These rites and customs, 
borrowed from classical times, are nowhere so conspicu- 
ous as in Rome. Giovanni Marangoni, a scholar of the 
last century, wrote a book on this subject which is full of 
valuable information. 1 The subject is so comprehensive, and 
in a certain sense so well known, that I must satisfy myself 
by mentioning only a few particulars connected with recent 
discoveries. First, as to symbolic images allowed in churches 
and cemeteries. Of Orpheus playing on the lyre, while 
watching his flock, as a substitute for the Good Shepherd, 
there have been found in the catacombs four paintings, two 
reliefs on sarcophagi, one engraving on a gem. Here is 

Picture of Orpheus found in the Catacombs of Priscilla. 

the latest representation discovered, from the Catacombs of 
Priscilla (1888). 

1 See Bibliography, p. 1. The title of the book may be translated thus: On 
the pagan and profane objects transferred to churches for their use and adornment. 



The belief that the sibyls had prophesied the advent of 
Christ made their images popular. The church of the 
Aracoeli is particularly associated with them, because tradi- 
tion refers the origin of its name to an altar AR A 
PRIMOGENITI DEI raised to the son of God by the 

The Four Seasons, from the Imperial Palace, Ostia. 

emperor Augustus, who had been warned of his advent by 
the sibylline books. For this reason the figures of Augus- 
tus and of the Tiburtine sibyl are painted on either side of 
the arch above the high altar. They have actually been 
given the place of honor in this church ; and formerly, 
when at Christmas time the Presepio was exhibited in the 
second chapel on the left, they occupied the front row, the 
sibyl pointing out to Augustus the Virgin and the Bambino 
who appeared in the sky in a halo of light. The two fig- 
ures, carved in wood, have now disappeared ; they were 
given away or sold thirty years ago, when a new set of 



images was offered to the Presepio by prince Alexander 
Torlonia. Prophets and sibyls appear also in Renaissance 
monuments ; they were modelled by della Porta in the Santa 
Casa at Loretto, painted by Michelangelo in the Sistine 
chapel, by Raphael in S. Maria della Pace, by Pinturicchio 
in the Borgia apartments, engraved by Baccio Baldini, a 
contemporary of Sandro Botticelli, and " graffite " by Mat- 
teo di Giovanni in the pavement of the Duomo at Siena. 

The images of the Four Seasons are not uncommon on 
Christian sarcophagi. The latest addition to this class 
of subjects is to be found in the church of S. Paolo alle 
TreFontane. Four medallions of polychrome mosaic, re- 
presenting the Hiems, Ver, ^Estas, and Autumnus, dis- 
covered in the so-called imperial palace at Ostia, were in- 
serted in the pavement of this church by order of Pius IX. 
Galenus and Hippokrates, manipulating medicines and cor- 
dials, were painted in the lower basilica at Anagni, Hermes 
Trismegistos was represented in mosaic in the Duomo of 
Siena, the labors of Hercules were carved in ivory in the 
cathedra of S. Peter's. Montfaucon describes the tomb 
of the poet Sannazzaro in the church of the Olivetans, 
Naples, as ornamented with the statues of Apollo and Mi- 
nerva, and with groups of satyrs. In the eighteenth 
century the ecclesiastical authorities tried to give a less 
profane aspect to the composition, by engraving the name 
of David under the Apollo, and of Judith under the Mi- 
nerva. Another mixture of sacred and profane concep- 
tions is to be found in the names of some of our Roman 
churches, as S. Maria in Minerva, S. Stef ano del Cacco 
(Kynokephalos), S. Lorenzo in Matuta, S. Salvatore in 
Tellure, all conspicuous landmarks in the history of the 
transformation of Rome. 

I shall mention one more instance. The portrait bust of 


S. Paul, of silver gilt, from the chapel of the Sancta Sanc- 
torum, was loaded with gems and intaglios of Greek or 
Greece-Roman workmanship, among which was a magnifi- 
cent cameo with the portrait-head of Nero, which had 

been worn, most probably, 
by the very murderer of 
the apostle. 1 

In the next chapter I 
shall speak of ancient tem- 
ples as museums of statu- 
ary, galleries of pictures, 
and cabinets of precious ob- 
jects. I need not describe 
the acceptance and devel- 
opment of this tradition by 
the Church. To it we are 
indebted for the inexhaus- 
tible wealth in works of art 
of every kind, of which 
Italy is so proud. But in 
the period which elapsed 
between the fall of the em- 
pire and the foundation of 
the Cosmati school, the 
Christians were compelled, 
by the want of contempo- 

Ancient Candelabrum in the church of SS. rary productions, to borrow 

tive fragments from temples, palaces, and tombs. The 
gallery of the Candelabra, in the Vatican museum, has 

1 The two busts of S. Peter and S. Paul, described in Cancellieri's book, 
Memorie storiche delle sacre teste del santi apostoli Pietro e Paolo, Roma, Ferretti, 
1852 (second edition), were stolen by the French revolutionists in 1799. 


been formed mostly of specimens formerly set up in 
churches. The accompanying cut represents the cande- 
labrum still existing in the church of SS. Nereo ed Achil- 
leo, one of the most exquisite and delicate works of the 
kind. The Biga, or two-horse chariot, in the Vatican, was 
used for centuries as an episcopal throne in the choir of S. 
Mark's. In the church of the Aracreli there was an altar 
dedicated to Isis by some one who had returned safely 
from a perilous journey. This bore the conventional em- 
blem of two footprints, which were believed by the Chris- 
tians to be the footprints of the angel seen by Gregory 
the Great on the summit of Hadrian's tomb. Philip de 
Winghe describes them as those of a puer quinquennia, a 
boy five years old. 1 This curious relic has been removed 
to the Capitoline Museum. 

The indifference with which these profane and sometimes 
offensive works were admitted within sacred edifices is as- 
tonishing. The high altar in the church of S. Teodoro 
was supported, until 1703, by a round ara, on the rim of 
which the following words are now engraved : " On this 
marble of the gentiles incense was offered to the gods." 
Another altar, in the church of S. Michele in Borgo, was 
covered with bas-reliefs and legends belonging to the super- 
stition of Cybele and Atys ; a third, in the church of the 
Aracceli, had been dedicated to the goddess Annona by an 
importer of wheat. The pavement of the basilica of S. 
Paul was patched with nine hundred and thirty-one miscel- 
laneous inscriptions ; and so were those of S. Martino ai 
Monti, S. Maria in Trastevere, SS. Giovanni e Paolo, etc. 
We have one specimen left of these inscribed pavements in 
the church of SS. Quattro Coronati on the Cselian, which 
may be called an epigraphic museum. 

1 See Corpus Inscriptionum Latinarum, part VI., Xo. 351. 



The Templum Sacrse Urbis (SS. Cosma e Damiano). 

In the third chapter I shall have occasion to describe the 
transformation of nearly all the great public buildings of 
imperial Rome into places of Christian worship, but it falls 
within the scope of this chapter to remark that, in many 
instances, the pagan decorations of those buildings were 
not affected by the change. When Felix IV. took posses- 
sion of the tern/plum sacrce urbis, and dedicated it to SS. 
Cosma and Damianus, the walls of the building were cov- 
ered with incrustations of the time of Septimius Severus 
representing the wolf and other profane emblems. Pope 
Felix not only accepted them as an ornament to his church, 
but tried to copy them in the apse which he rebuilt. The 
same process was followed by Pope Simplicius (A. D. 468- 
483), in transforming the basilica of Junius Bassus on the 
Esquiline into the church of S. Andrea. 1 The faithful, 

1 In the Byzantine period this church and the adjoining monastery were 
called casa Barbara patricia. They are now comprised within the cloisters of 
S. Antonio all' Esquilino, on the left side of S. Maria Maggiore. 



raising their eyes towards the tribune, could see the fig- 
ures of Christ and his apostles in mosaic; turning to the 
side walls, they could see Nero, Galba, and six other Roman 
emperors, Diana hunting the stag, Hylas stolen by the 
nymphs, Cybele on the chariot drawn by lions, a lion at- 
tacking a centaur, the chariot of Apollo, figures perform- 
ing mysterious Egyptian rites, and other such profanities, 
represented in opus sectile marmoreum, a sort of Floren- 
tine mosaic. This unique set of intarsios was destroyed in 
the sixteenth century by the French Antonian monks for a 
reason worth relating. They believed that the glutinous 
substance by which the layer of marble or mother-of-pearl 

Mosaic from the church of S. Andrea. 

was kept fast was an excellent remedy against the ague ; 
hence every time one of them was attacked by fever, a por- 
tion of those marvellous works was sacrificed. Fever must 
have raged quite fiercely among the French monks, be- 
cause when this wanton practice was stopped, only four 


pictures were left. Two are now preserved in the church 
of S. Antonio, in the chapel of the saint ; two in the 
Palazzo AHbani del Drago alle Quattro Fontane, on the 
landing of the stairs. 1 

Intarsios of the same kind have been seen and described 
in the basilica of S. Croce in Gerusalemme, in the church 
of S. Stefano Rotondo, in that of S. Adriano, etc. When 
the offices adjoining the Senate Hall were transformed into 
the church of S. Martina, the side walls were adorned with 
the bas-reliefs of the triumphal arch of M. Aurelius, now 
in the Palazzo dei Conservatori (first landing, nos. 42, 43, 
44). One of them, representing the emperor sacrificing 
before the Temple of Jupiter, is given opposite page 90. 

The decoration of the churches, like that of the temples, 
was mostly done by private contributions and gifts of works 
of art. The laying out of the pavement, for instance, or 
the painting of the walls was apportioned to voluntary sub- 
scribers, each of whom was entitled to inscribe his name on 
his section of the work. The pavement of the lower basilica 
of Parenzo, in Dalmatia, is divided into mosaic panels of 
various sizes, representing vases, wreaths, fish, and animals ; 
and to each panel is appended the name of the contrib- 
utor : 

" Lupicinus and Pascasia made one hundred [square] 
feet. , 

" Clamosus and Successa, one hundred feet. 

" Felicissimus and his relatives, one hundred feet. 

" Fausta, the patrician, and her relatives, sixty feet. 

1 These incrustations, and the basilica to which they belong, have been 
illustrated by Ciampini : Vetera monumenta, vol. i. plates xxii.-xxiv. D'Agin- 
court: Histoire de I'art, Peinture, pi. xiii. 3. Minutoli: Ueber die Anfertigung 
und die Nutzanwendung derfdrbigen Gldser bei den Alien, pi. iv. De Rossi: La 
basilica di Giunio Basso, in the Bullettino di archeologia cristiana, 1871, p. 46. 


" Claudia, devout woman, and her niece Honoria, made 
one hundred and ten feet, in fulfilment of a vow." 1 

Theseus killing the Minotaur in the labyrinth of Crete, 
and labyrinths in general, were favorite subjects for church 
pavements, especiaUy among the Gauls. The custom is 
very ancient, a labyrinth having been represented in the 
church of S. Vitale at Ravenna as early as the sixth cen- 
tury. Those of the cathedral at Lucca, of S. Michele Mag- 
giore at Pavia, of S. Savino at Piacenza, of S. Maria in 
Trastevere at Rome (destroyed in the restoration of 1867), 
are of a later date. The image of Theseus is accompanied 
by a legend in the " leonine " rhythm : 

Theseus intravit, monstrumque biforme necavit. 

The symbolism of the subject is explained thus : The laby- 
rinth, so easy of access, but from which no one can escape, 
is symbolical of human life. At the time of the Crusades, 
church labyrinths began to be used for a practical purpose. 
The faithful were wont to go over the meandering paths 
on their knees, murmuring prayers in memory of the pas- 
sion of the Lord. Under the influence of this practice the 
classic and Carolingian name labyrinth was forgotten ; 
and the new one of rues de Jerusalem, or leagues, adopted. 
The rues de Jerusalem in the cathedral at Chartres, de- 
signed in blue marble, were 666 feet long ; and it took 
an hour to finish the pilgrimage. Later the labyrinths 
lost their religious meaning, and became a pastime for 
idlers and children. The one in the church at Saint- 
Oiner has been destroyed, because the celebration of the 
office was often disturbed by irreverent visitors trying the 
sport. 2 

1 See Andrea Amoroso: Le basiliche cristiane di Parenzo. Parenzo, Coana, 
1891. Mommsen: Corpus Inscriptionum Latinarum, vol. v. part i. nos. 365-367. 

2 See Lovatelli: / labirlnti e il loro simbolismo neW eta di mezzo, in the Nuova 


In Rome we have several instances of these private artis- 
tic contributions in the service of churches. The pavement 
of S. Maria in Cosmedin is the joint offering of many pa- 
rishioners ; and so were those of S. Lorenzo fuori le Mura 
and S. Maria Maggiore before their modern restoration. 
The names of Beno de Rapiza, his wife Maria Macellaria, 
and his children Clement and Attilia are attached to the 
frescoes of the lower church of S. Clemente ; and that of 
Beno alone to the paintings of S. Urbano alia Caffarella. 
In the apse of S. Sebastiano in Pallara, on the Palatine, 
and in that of S. Saba on the Aventine, we read the names 
of a Benedictus and of a Saba, at whose expense the apses 
were decorated. 

We cannot help following with emotion the development 
of this artistic feeling even among the lowest classes of 
mediaeval Rome. 1 We read of an ^Egidius, son of Hip- 
polytus, a shoemaker of the Via Arenula, leaving his sub- 
stance to the church of S. Maria de Porticu, with the re- 
quest that it should be devoted to the building of a chapel, 
" handsome and handsomely painted, so that everybody 
should take delight in looking at it." Such feelings, ex- 
ceptional in many Italian provinces, were common through- 
out Tuscany. When the triptych of Duccio Buoninsegna, 
now in the " Casa dell' opera " at Siena, was carried from 
his studio to the Duomo, June 9, 1310, the whole popu- 
lation followed in a triumphant procession. Renzo di Mai- 
tano, another Sienese artist of fame, had the soul of a poet. 
He was the first to advocate the erection of a church, 
" grand, beautiful, magnificent, whose just proportions in 

Antologia, 16 Agosto, 1890. Ame": Carrelages e'maille's du moyen age. Eu- 
gene Miintz : Etudes iconographiques et archeologiques sur le moyen age. 

1 See Pietro Pericoli: Lo spedale di S. Maria della Consolazione. Imola 
Galeati, p. 64. 


height, breadth, and length should so harmonize with the 
details of the decoration as to make it decorous and solemn, 
and worthy of the worship of Christ in hymns and canticles, 
for the protection and glory of the city of Siena." So 
spoke the artists of that age, and their language was under- 
stood and felt by the multitudes. Their lives were made 
bright and cheerful in spite of the troubles and misfortunes 
which weighed upon their countries. Think of such senti- 
ments in our age ! 

But I am digressing from my subject. Another step of 
the religious and material transformation of the city is 
marked by the substitution of chapels and shrines for the 
old arce wmpitales, at the crossings of the main thorough- 
fares. The institution of altars in honor of the Lares, or 
guardian genii of each ward or quarter, is ancient, and can 
be traced to prehistoric times. When Servius Tullius en- 
closed the city with his walls, there were twenty-four such 
altars, called sacraria Argeorum. Two facts speak in 
favor of their remote antiquity. The priestess of Jupiter 
was not allowed to sacrifice on them, unless in a savage 
attire, with hair unkempt and untrimmed. On the 17th of 
May, the Vestals used to throw into the Tiber, from the Sub- 
lician bridge, manikins of wickerwork, in commemoration 
of the human sacrifices once performed on the same altars. 

When Augustus reorganized the capital and its wards, 
in the year 7 B. c., the number of street-shrines had grown 
to more than two hundred. Two hundred and sixty-five 
were registered, A. D. 73, in the census of Vespasian ; three 
hundred and twenty-four at the time of Constantine. A 
man of much leisure, and evidently of no occupation, the 
cavaliere Alessandro Kufini, numbered and described the 
shrines and images which lined the streets of Rome in the 
year 1853. As modern civilization and indifference will 



soon obliterate this historical feature of the city, I quote 
some results of Rufini's investigations. 1 There were 1,421 
images of the Madonna, 1,318 images of saints, orna- 
mented with 1,928 precious objects, and 110 ex-votos; 
1,067 lamps were kept burning day and night before them, 
a most useful institution in a city whose streets have not 
been regularly lighted until recent years. 

As prototypes of a classical and Christian street-shrine, 
respectively, we may take the cedicula compitalis of Mer- 
curius Sobrius, discovered in April, 1888, near S. Martino 
ai Monti, and the immagine di Ponte, at the corner of the 
Via dei Coronari and the Vicolo del Micio. The shrine of 

Mercury near S. Mar- 
tino was dedicated by 
Augustus, in the year 
10 B. c. The inscrip- 
tion engraved on the 
front of the altar says : 
" The emperor Augus- 
tus dedicated this shrine 
to Mercury in the year 
of the City, 744, from 
money received as a 
new-year's gift, during 
his absence from Rome." 
Suetonius (Chapter 57) says that every year, on Janu- 
ary 1, all classes of citizens climbed the Capitol and offered 
strence calendarice to Augustus, when he was absent ; and 
that the emperor, with -his usual generosity, appropriated 
the money to the purchase of pretiosissima deorum simu- 
lacra, "the most valuable statues of gods," 'to be set up 

1 Published in two volumes with the title : Indicazione delle immagini di 
Maria, collocate sulle mura esterne di Roma. Ferretti, 1853. 

The Shrine and Altar of Mercurius Sobrius. 


at the crossings of thoroughfares. Four pedestals of these 
statues have already been found : one near the Arch of 
Titus, at the beginning of the sixteenth century ; one, in 
1548, near the Senate House ; one, in the same year, by the 
Arch of Septimius Severus. The fourth pedestal, that re- 
cently discovered near S. Martino ai Monti, was raised at 
the crossing of two important streets, the clivus suburanus 
(Via di S. Lucia in Selci), and the viciis sobrius (Via dei 
Quattro Cantoni), from which the statue was nicknamed 
Mercurius Sobrius, " Mercury the teetotaller." 

The immagine di Ponte, in the Via dei Coronari, the 
prototype of modern shrines, contains an image of the 
Virgin in a graceful niche built, or re-built, in 1523, by 
Alberto Serra of Monferrato, from designs by Antonio da 
Sangallo. Its name is derived from that of the lane lead- 
ing to the Ponte S. Angelo (Canale di Ponte). The house 
to which it belongs is No. 113 Via dei Coronari, and No. 5 
Vicolo del Micio. 

Monumental crosses were sometimes erected instead of 
shrines. Count Giovanni Gozzadini has called the atten- 
tion of archaeologists to this subject in a memoir " Sulle 
croci monumentali che erano nelle vie di Bologna del 
secolo XIII." He proves from the texts of historians, 
Fathers, and councils that the practice of erecting crosses 
at the junction of the main streets is very ancient, and be- 
longs to the first century of the freedom of the Church, 
when the faithful withdrew the emblem of Christ from the 
catacombs, and raised it in opposition to the street shrines 
of the gentiles. Bologna has the privilege of possessing 
the oldest of these crosses. One bears the legend " In the 
name of God ; this cross, erected long since by Barbatus, 
was renewed under the bishopric of Vitalis (789-814)." 
This class of monuments abounds in Rome, although it be- 


longs to a comparatively recent age. Such are the crosses 
before the churches of SS. Sebastiano, Cesareo, Nereo ed 
Achilleo, Pancrazio, Lorenzo, Francesco a Ripa, and others. 

The most curious and interesting is perhaps the column 
of Henry IV. of France, which was erected under Clement 
VIII. in front of S. Antonio all' Esquilino, and which the 
modern generation has concealed in a recess on the east 
side of S. Maria Maggiore. It is in the form of a culveriu 
a long slender cannon of the period standing upright. 
From the muzzle rises a marble cross supporting the figure 
of Christ on one side, and that of the Virgin on the other. 
It was erected by Charles d'Anisson, prior of the French 
Antonians, to commemorate the absolution given by 
Clement VIII. to Henry IV. of France and Navarre, on 
September 17 of the year 1595. The monument has a re- 
markable history. Although apparently erected by private 
enterprise, the kings of France regarded it as an insult 
of the Curia, an official boast of their submission to the 
Pope ; and they lost no opportunity of showing their 
dissatisfaction in consequence. Louis XIV. found an occa- 
sion for revenge. The gendarmes who had escorted his 
ambassador, the due de Crequi, to Rome, had a street brawl 
with the Pope's Corsican body-guards ; and although it was 
doubtful which side was to blame, Louis obh'ged Pope 
Alexander VII. to raise a pyramid on the spot where the 
affray had taken place, with the following humiliating in- 
scription : 

" In denunciation of the murderous attack committed by 
the Corsican soldiers against his Excellency the due de 
Crequi, Pope Alexander VII. declares their nation deprived 
forever of the privilege of serving under the flag of the 
Church. This monument was erected May 21, 1664, ac- 
cording to the agreement made at Pisa." 


The revenge could not have been more complete ; so 
bitter was it that Alexander VII. drew a violent protest 
against it, to be read and published only after his death. 
His successor, Clement IX., a favorite with Louis XIV., 
obtained leave that the pyramid should be demolished, 
which was done in June, 1668, with the consent of the 
French ambassador, the due de Chaulnes. Whether by 
stipulation or by the good will of the Pope, the inscrip- 
tion of the column of Henry IV. was made to disappear at 
the same time. We have found it concealed in a remote 
corner of the convent of S. Antonio. 1 The column itself, 
and the canopy which sheltered it, fell to the ground on 
Thursday, February 15, 1744 ; and when Benedict XIV. 
restored the monument in the following year, he severed 
forever its connection with these remarkable historical 
events, by dedicating it DEIPAR^E VIRGIN!. Having 
been dismantled in 1875, during the construction of the 
Esquiline quarter, it was reerected in 1880, not far from 
its original place, on the east side of S. Maria Maggiore, 
not without opposition, because there are always men 
who think they can obliterate history by suppressing monu- 
ments which bear testimony to it. 

One of the characteristics of ancient sanctuaries, by which 
the weary pilgrim was provided with bathing accommoda- 
tions, is also to be found in the old churches of Rome. We 
are told in the " Liber Pontificalis " that Pope Symmachus 
(498-514), while building the basilica of S. Pancrazio, on 
the Via Aurelia, fecit in eaclem balneum, " provided it with 
a bath." Another was erected by the same Pope near the 

1 The inscription, after all, was very mild in comparison with the violent 
formula imposed upon Alexander VII. It read: "In memory of the absolu- 
tion given by Clement VIII. to Henry IV. of France and Navarre, September 
17, 1595." 


apse of S. Paolo fuori le Mura, the supply of water of 
which was originally derived from a spring; later from 
wheels, or noriahs, established on the banks of the Tiber. 
Notices were written on the walls of these bathing apart- 
ments, warning laymen and priests to observe the strictest 
rules of modesty. One of these inscriptions, from the baths 
annexed to the churches of SS. Sylvester and Martin, is 
preserved in section II. of the Christian epigraphic museum 
of the Lateran. It ends with the distich : 


" There is no harm in seeking strength and purity of 
body in baths ; it is not water but our own bad actions that 
make us sin." These verses are not so good as their moral; 
but inscriptions like this prove that the abandonment of 
such useful institutions must be attributed not to the undue 
severity of Christian morality, but to the ruin of the aque- 
ducts by which fountains and baths were fed. However, 
even in the darkest period of the Middle Ages we find 
the traditional " kantharos," or basin, in the centre of the 
quadri-porticoes or courts by which the basilicas were en- 
tered. Such is the vase in the court of S. Csecilia, repre- 
sented on the next page, and that in front of S. Cosimato 
in Trastevere ; and such is the famous calix marmoreus, 
which formerly stood near the church of SS. Apostoli, men- 
tioned in the Bull of John III. (A. D. 570), by which the 
boundary line of that parish was determined. This his- 
torical monument, a prominent landmark in the topography 
of mediaeval Rome, was removed to the Baths of Diocletian 
at the beginning of last year. 

In many of our churches visitors may have noticed one 
or more round black stones, weighing from ten to a hun- 


dred pounds, which, according to tradition, were tied to the 
necks of martyrs when they were thrown into wells, lakes, 
or rivers. To the student these stones tell a different tale. 

Kantharos in the Court of St. Caecilia. 

They prove that the classic institution of the ponderaria 
(sets of weights and measures) migrated from temples to 
churches, after the closing of the former, A. D. 393. 

As the amphora was the standard measure of capacity 
for wine, the metreta for oil, the modius for grain, so the 
libra was the standard measure of weight. 1 To insure 

1 The amphora corresponds to 26.26 litres; the metreta to 39.39 litres; the 


honesty in trade they were examined periodically by order 
of the aediles ; those found iniquce (short) were broken, 
and their owners sentenced to banishment in remote islands. 
In A. D. 167, Junius Rusticus, prefect of the city, ordered 
a general inspection to be made in Rome and in the prov- 
inces ; weights and measures found to be legal were marked 
or stamped with the legend " [Verified] by the authority 
of Q. Junius Rusticus, prefect of the city." These weights 
of Rusticus are discovered in hundreds in Roman excava- 
tions. 1 

The original standards were kept in the Temple of Jupi- 
ter on the Capitol, and used only on extraordinary occasions. 
Official duplicates were deposited in other temples, like 
those of Castor and Pollux, Mars Ultor, Ops, and others, 
and kept at the disposal of the public, whence their name 
s&pondera publica. Barracks and market-places were also 
furnished with them. The most important discovery con- 
nected with this branch of Roman administration was made 
at Tivoli in 1883, when three mensce ponderarice, almost 
perfect, were found in the portico or peribolos of the Temple 
of Hercules, adjoining the cathedral of S. Lorenzo. This 
wing of the portico is divided into compartments by means 
of projecting pilasters, and each recess is occupied by a 
marble table resting on " trapezophoroi " richly ornamented 
with symbols of Hercules and Bacchus, like the club and 
the thyrsus. Along the edge of two of the tables runs the 
inscription, " Made at the expense of Marcus Varenus 
Diphilus, president of the coUege of Hercules," while the 
third was erected at the expense of his wife Varena. The 

modius to 8.75 litres. The pound, divided into twelve ounces, corresponds to 
327.43 grammes, a little more than 11 English ounces. 

1 See Antichi pesi inscritti del museo capitolino, in the Bullettino delta commis- 
sione archeologica comunale di Roma, 1884, p. 61, pis. vi., viL 


tables are perforated by holes of conical shape, varying in 
diameter from 200 to 380 millimetres. Brass measures of 
capacity were fastened into each hole, for use by buyers 
and sellers. They were used in a very ingenious way, both 
as dry and liquid measures. The person who had bought, 
for instance, half a modius of beans, or twenty-four sextarii 
of wine, and wanted to ascertain whether he had been 
cheated in his bargain, would fill the receptacle to the 
proper line, then open the valve or spicket below, and 
transfer the tested contents again to his sack or flask. 

The institution was accepted by the Church, and ponde- 
raria were set up in the principal basilicas. The best set 
which has come down to us is that of S. Maria in Trastevere, 
but there is hardly a church without a " stone " weighing 
from five or ten to a hundred pounds. The popular super- 
stition by which these practical objects were transformed 
into relics of martyrdoms is very old. Topographers and 
pilgrims of the seventh century speak of a stone exhib- 
ited in the chapel of SS. Abundius and Irenaeus, under 
the portico of S. Lorenzo fuori le Mura, " which, in their 
ignorance, pilgrims touch and lift." They mention also 
another weight, exhibited in the church of S. Stephen, near 
,S. Paul's, which they believed to be one of the stones with 
which the martyr was killed. 

In 1864 a schola (a memorial and banqueting hall) was 
discovered in the burial grounds adjoining the praetorian 
camp, which had been used by members of a corporation 
called the sodalium serrensium, that is, of the citizens of 
Serrae, a city of Samothrake, I believe. Among the objects 
pertaining to the hall and its customers were two meas- 
ures for wine, a sextarium, and a hemina, marked with the 
monogram of Christ and the name of the donor. 1 They 

1 See de Rossi: Bullettino di archeologia cristiana, 1864, p. 57. 


are now exhibited in the sola del bronzi of the Capitoline 

The hall of the citizens of Serrse, discovered in 1864, be- 
longs to a class of monuments very common in the suburbs 
of Rome. They were called cellce, memoriae, exedrce, and 
scholce, and were used by relatives and friends of the per- 
sons buried under or near them, in the performance of ex- 
piatory ceremonies or for commemorative banquets, for 
which purpose all the necessaries, from the table-service to 
the festal garments, were kept on the spot, in cabinets en- 
trusted to the care of a watchman. This practice save 
the expiatory offerings was adopted by the Christians. 
The agapai, or love-feasts, before degenerating into those 
excesses and superstitions so strongly denounced by the 
Fathers of the Church, were celebrated over or near the 
tombs of martyrs and confessors, the treasury of the local 
congregation supplying food and drink, as well as the ban- 
queting robes. In the inventory of the property confis- 
cated during the persecution of Diocletian, in a house at 
Cirta (Constantine, Algeria), which was used by the faith- 
ful as a church, we find registered, chalices of gold and 
silver, lamps and candelabras, eighty-two female tunics, six- 
teen male tunics, thirteen pairs of men's boots, forty-seven 
pairs of women's shoes, and so on. 1 A remarkable dis- 
covery, illustrating the subject, has been lately made in the 
Catacombs of Priscilla ; that of a graffito containing this 
sentence : " February 5, 375, we, Florentinus, Fortunatus, 
and Felix, came here AD CALICE[M] (for the cup)." To 
understand the meaning of this sentence, we must compare 
it with others engraved on pagan tombs. In one, No. 
25,861 of the " Corpus," the deceased says to the passer-by : 
" Come on, bring with you a flask of wine, a glass, and all 

1 See Ada purgationis Cceciliani, post Optati opp. ed Dupin, p. 168. 


that is needed for a libation ! " In another, No. 19,007, 
the same invitation is worded : " Oh, friends (convivce), 
drink now to my memory, and wish that the earth may be 
light on me." We are told by S. Augustine * that when 
his mother, Monica, visited Milan in 384, the practice of 
eating and drinking in honor of the martyrs had been 
stopped by S. Ambrose, although it was still flourishing in 
other regions, where crowds of pilgrims were still going 
from tomb to tomb with baskets of provisions and flasks of 
wine, drinking heavily at each station. Paulinus of Nola 
and Augustine himself strongly stigmatized the abuse. The 
faithful were advised either to distribute their provisions to 
the poor, who crowded the entrances to the crypts, or to 
leave them on the tombs, that the local clergy might give 
them to the needy. There is no doubt that the record ad 
calicem venimus, scratched by Florentinus, Fortunatus, and 
Felix on the walls of the Cemetery of Priscilla, refers to 
these deplorable libations. 

Many drinking-cups used on these occasions have been 
found in Rome, in my time. 
They are generally works of 
the fourth century of our 
era, cut in glass by unskillful 
hands, and they show the por- 
trait-heads of SS. Peter and 
Paul, in preference to other 

i . n , i 1-1 mi Sample of a Drinking-cup. 

subjects 01 the kind. 1ms 

fact is due not only to the special veneration which the 
Romans professed for the founders of their church, but 
also to the habit of celebrating their anniversary, June 29, 
with public or domestic agapai. S. Peter's day was to the 
Romans of the fourth century what Christmas is to us, as 

1 Confess, vi. 2. 


regards joviality and sumptuous banquets. On one of these 
occasions S. Jerome received from his friend Eustochio 
fruit and sweets in the shape of doves. In acknowledging 
the kind remembrance, S. Jerome recommends sobriety on 
that day more than on any other : " We must celebrate the 
birthday of Peter rather with exaltation of spirit, than with 
abundance of food. It is absurd to glorify with the satis- 
faction of our appetites the memory of men who pleased 
God by mortifying theirs." The poorer classes of citizens 
were fed under the porticoes of the Vatican basilica. The 
gatherings degenerated into the display of such excesses of 
drunkenness that Augustine could not resist writing to the 
Romans : " First you persecuted the martyrs with stones 
and other instruments of torture and death ; and now you 
persecute their memory with your intoxicating cups." 

The institution of public granaries (horrea publicd) for 
the maintenance of the lower classes was also accepted and 
favored by Christian Rome. On page 250 of my " Ancient 
Rome," I have spoken of the warehouses for the storage of 
wheat, built by Sulpicius Galba on the plains of Testaccio, 
near the Porta S. Paolo, named for him horrea galbana, 
even after their purchase by the state. These public gran- 
aries originated at the time of Caius Gracchus and his 
grain laws. Their scheme was developed, in course of 
time, by Clodius, Pompey, Seianus, and the emperors, to 
such an extent that, in 312 A. D., there were registered in 
Rome alone two hundred and ninety granaries. They may 
be divided into three classes : In the first, and by far the 
most important, a plentiful supply of breadstuffs was kept 
at the expense of the state, to meet emergencies of scarcity 
or famine, and the wants of a population one third of 
which was fed gratuitously by the sovereign. The second 
was intended especially for the storage of paper (horrea 


chartaria), candles (horrea candelaria), spices (horrea 
piperataria), and other such commodities. The third class 
consisted of buildings in which the citizens might deposit 
their goods, money, plate, securities, and other valuables for 
which they had no place of safety in their own houses. 
There were also private horrea, built on speculation, to be 
let as strong-rooms like our modern vaults, storage-ware- 
houses, and ".pantechnicons." 

The building of the new quarter of the Testaccio, the 
region of horrea par excellence, has given us the chance of 
studying the institution in its minutest details. I shall 
mention only one discovery. We found, in 1885, the official 
advertisement for leasing a horrea, under the empire of 
Hadrian. It is thus worded : 

" To be let from to-day, and hereafter annually (begin- 
ning on December 13) : These warehouses, belonging to 
the Emperor Hadrian, together with their granaries, wine- 
cellars, strong-boxes, and repositories. 

" The care and protection of the official watchmen is in- 
cluded in the lease. 

" Regulations : I. Any one who rents rooms, vaults, or 
strong-boxes in this establishment is expected to pay the 
rent and vacate the place before December 13. 

" II. Whoever disobeys regulation No. I., and omits ta 
arrange with the horrearius (or keeper-in-chief) for the 
renewal of his lease, shall be considered as liable for another 
year, the rent to be determined by the average price paid 
by others for the same room, vault, or strong-box. This 
regulation to be enforced in case the horrearius has not 
had an opportunity to rent the said room, vault, or strong- 
box to other people. 

"III. Sub-letting is not allowed. The administration 
will withdraw the watch and the guarantee from rooms,. 


vaults, or strong-boxes which have been sub-let in violation 
of the existing rules. 

"IV. Merchandise or valuables stored in these ware- 
houses are held by the administration as security for pay- 
ment of rental. 

" V. The tenant will not be reimbursed by the adminis- 
tration for improvements, additions, and other such work 
which he has undertaken on his own account.. 

" VI. The tenant must give an assignment of his goods 
to the keeper-in-chief, who shall not be held responsible for 
the safe-keeping of merchandise or valuables which have 
not been duly declared. The tenant must claim a receipt 
for the said assignment and for the payment of his rental." 

The granaries of the Church were intended only for the 
storage of corn. The landed estates which the Church 
owned in Africa and Sicily were administered by deputies, 
whose special duty it was to ship the produce of the harvest 
to Rome. During the first siege of Totila, in 546, Pope 
Vigilius, then on his way to Constantinople, despatched 
from the coast of Sicily a fleet of grain-laden vessels, under 
the care of Valentine, bishop of Silva Candida. The at- 
tempt to relieve the city of the famine proved useless, and 
the vessels were seized by the besiegers on their landing at 
Porto. In 589 an inundation of the Tiber, described by 
Gregoire de Tours, carried away several thousand bushels 
of grain, which had been stored in the horrea ecdesice, and 
the granaries themselves were totally destroyed. 

The " Liber Pontificalis," vol. i. p. 315, describes the ca- 
lamities which befell the city of Rome in the year 605 ; 
King Agilulf trying to enter the city by violence ; heavy 

1 See Gaetano Marini: Iscrizioni doliari, p. 114, n. 279. Giuseppe Gatti: La 
lex horreorum, in the Bullettino della commissione archeologica comunale di Roma, 
1885, p. 110. 


frosts killing the vines ; rats destroying the harvest, etc. 
However, as soon as the barbarians were induced to retire 
by an offer of twelve thousand solidly Pope Sabinianus, 
who was then the head of the Church, iusslt aperiri horrea 
ecclesice (threw open the granaries), and offered their con- 
tents at auction, at a valuation of one solidus for thirty 

The grain was not intended to be sold, but to be dis- 

A Granary of Ostia. 

tributed among the needy ; the act of Sabinianus was, there- 
fore, strongly censured, as being in strong contrast to the 
generosity of Gregory the Great. A legend on this siibject 
is related by Paulus Diaconus in chapter xxix. of the Life 
of Gregory. He says that Gregory appeared thrice to Sabi- 
nianus, in a vision, entreating him to be more generous ; 
and having failed to move him by friendly advice, he struck 
him dead. The price of one soUdus for thirty modii is 


almost exorbitant ; grain cost exactly one half this at the 
time of Theodoric. 

The institution has outlived all the vicissitudes of the 
Middle Ages. Gregory XIII., in 1566, Paul V., in 1609, 
Clement XI., in 1705, re-opened the horrea ecclesice in the 
ruined halls of the Baths of Diocletian ; and Clement XIII. 
added a wing to them, for the storage of oil. These build- 
ings are still in existence around the Piazza di Termini, 
although devoted to other purposes. 

It would be impossible to follow in all its manifestations 
the material and moral transformation of Rome from the 
third to the sixth centuries, without going beyond the limits 
of a single chapter. 

The customs and practices of the classical age were so 
deeply rooted among the citizens that even now, after a 
lapse of sixteen centuries, they are noticeable to a great ex- 
tent. When we read, for instance, of Popes elected by the 
people assembled at the Rostra, 1 such as Stephen III., in 
768, we must regard the circumstance as caused by a re- 
membrance of past ages. Under the pontificate of Inno- 
cent II. (1130), of Eugenius III. (1145-1150), and of 
Lucius III. (1181-1185) the senators, or municipal magis- 
trates, used to sit and administer justice in S. Martina and 
S. Adriano, that is, in the classic Roman Curia. Many 
other details will be incidentally described in the following 
chapters. I close the present one by referring to a grace- 
ful custom, borrowed likewise from the classic world, the 
use of roses in church or funeral ceremonies and in social 

The ancients celebrated, in the month of May, a feast 
called rosaria, in which sepulchres were profusely deco- 

1 The place was called in tribus fatis, from the three statues of sibyls de- 
scribed by Pliny, H. N. xxxiv. See Goth. i. 25. 


rated with the favorite flower of the season. Roses were 
also used on occasions of public rejoicing. A Greek in- 
scription, discovered by Frankel at Pergamon, mentions, 
among the honors shown to the emperor Hadrian, the 
fihodismos, which is interpreted as a scattering of roses. 
Traces of the custom are found in more recent tunes. In 
the Illyrian peninsula, and on the banks of the Danube, the 
country people, still feeling the influence of Roman civili- 
zation, celebrated feasts of flowers in spring and summer, 
under the name of rousalia. In the sixth century, when 
the Slavs were vacillating between the influence of the 
past and the present, the celebration of the Pentecost was 
mixed up with that of the half-pagan, half-barbarous rou- 
salia. Southern Russians believe in supernatural female 
beings, called Rusalky, who bring prosperity to the fields 
and forests, which they have inhabited as flowers. 

The early Christians decorated the sepulchres of martyrs 
and confessors, on the anniversary of their interment, with 
roses, violets, amaranths, and evergreens ; and they cele- 
brated the rosationes on the name-days of churches and 
sanctuaries. Wreaths and crowns of roses are often en- 
graved on tombstones, hanging from the bills of mystic 
doves. The symbol refers more to the joys of the just in 
the future life than to the fleeting pleasures of the earth. 
The Acts of Perpetua relate a legend on this subject ; that 
Saturus had a vision in the dungeon in which he was 
awaiting his martyrdom, in which he saw himself trans- 
ported with Perpetua to a heavenly garden, fragrant with 
roses, and turning to his fair companion, he exclaimed: 
" Here we are in possession of that which our Lord prom- 
ised ! " 

Roses and other flowers are painted on the walls of his- 
torical cubiculi. In a fresco of the crypts of Lucina, in the 


Catacombs of Callixtus, are painted birds, symbolizing souls 
who have been separated from their bodies, and are play- 
in in fields of roses around the Tree of Life. As the 


word Paradeisos signifies a garden, so its mystic represen- 
tation always takes the form of a delightful field of flowers 
and fruit. Dante gives to the seat of the blessed the shape 
of a fair rose, inside of which a crowd of angels with golden 
wings descend and return to the Lord : 

" Nel gran fior discendeva, che s' adorna 
Di tante foglie : e quiudi risaliva, 
La dove lo suo amor sempre soggiorna." 1 

Paradiso, xxxi. 10-12. 

Possibly it is from this allegory of paradise that the rite 
of the " golden rose " which the Pope blesses on Quadra- 
gesima Sunday is derived. The ceremony is very ancient, 
although the first mention of it appears only in the life of 
Leo IX. (1049-1055); and I may mention, as a curious 
coincidence, that the kings and queens of Navarre, their 
sons, and the dukes and peers of the realm, were bound to 
offer roses to the Parliament at the return of spring. 

Roses played such an important part in church ceremonies 
that we find a fundus rosarius given as a present by Con- 
stantine to Pope Mark. The rosaria outlived the suppres- 
sion of pagan superstitions, and by and by assumed its 
Christian form in the feast of Pentecost, which falls in the 
month of May. In that day roses were thrown from the 
roofs of churches on the worshipers below. The Pente- 
cost is still called by the Italians Pasqua rosa. 

1 " Sank into the great flower, that is adorned 
With leaves so many, and thence reascended 
To where its love abideth evermore." 

Longfellow's Translation. 



Ancient temples as galleries of art. The adornment of statues with 
jewelry, etc. Offerings and sacrifices by individuals. Stores of ex- 
votos found in the favissce or vaults of temples. Instances of these 
brought to light within recent years. Remarkable wealth of one at 
Veii. The altars of ancient Rome. The ara maxima Herculis. 
The Roma Quadrata. The altar of Aius Locutius. That of Dis 
and Proserpina. Its connection with the Saecular Games. The dis- 
covery of the inscription describing these, in 1890. The ara pads 
Augusts. The ara incendii Neroniani. Temples excavated in 
my time. That of Jupiter Capitolinus. History of its ruins. The 
Capitol as a place for posting official announcements. The Temple of 
Isis and Serapis. The number of sculptures discovered on its site. 
The Temple of Neptune. Its remains in the Piazza di Pietra. The 
Temple of Augustus. The Sacellum Sand. 

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 

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 Sachsischen Gesellschaft der Wissenschaften, 
vols. ii. 549; iii. 269; viii. 694. Preller: Die Regimen der Stadt Rom. Jena: 
Hochhausen, 1846. Jordan: Topographic der Stadt Rom. Berlin: Weidmann, 
ii., pp. 1 & 178. Bichter: Topographic der Stadt Rom, 1889, p. 5; id.: Hermes, 
xx., p. 91. De Rossi: Piante iconografiche e prospettiche di Roma anteriori al 
sec. XVI. Roma: Salviucci, 1879. Guido: 11 testo siriaco delta descrizione di 
Roma, etc., in the Bullettino Comunale, 1884, p. 218; and 1891, p. 61. Lanciani: 
Ricerche sidle XIV regioni urbane ; in the Bullettino comunale, 1890, p. 115. 


thousand seven hundred and eighty-five miscellaneous 
hronze 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 discov- 
ered 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 monu- 
ments, I must allude to some details concerning the man- 
agement 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 Ly- 
sippos ; Augustus with the attributes of Apollo (a bronze 
statue fifty feet high) ; the pediment of the temple, by Bu- 
palos 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 in- 
taglios ; ivory carvings ; specimens of palaeography ; and 
two libraries. 

The Temple of Apollo was by no means the only sacred 
museum of ancient Rome ; there were scores of them, be- 



ginning with the Temple of Concord, so emphatically praised 
by Pliny. 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 JEinsiedlensis. 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 (cedem fere integrant,), 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 

&ra&aafc^ JLZii;L&sL?S:; j&j&ss- * -: >X.r 

Entablature of the Temple of Concord. 

of these decorations, from a fragment of the entablature 
now in the portico of the Tabularium, and one of the capi- 
tals 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 Hera, by Baton ; Leto nursing Apollo and 


Artemis, by Euphranor ; Asklepios and Hygieia, by Nike- 
ratos ; 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 also 
of a picture by Theodores, 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 Csesar 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 Ly- 
sippos, 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 remark- 
able document was discovered in the Temple of Diana Ne- 
niorensis. The inventory, engraved on a marble pillar three 
feet high, is now preserved in the Orsini Castle at Nemi. 


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 Del- 
phi) ; 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 ; 
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 hermulce ; a linen costume com- 
prising 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 pedes- 
tal ; 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 cen- 
tral 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 l 
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 

1 Inscript. 139, i. 


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 dedi- 
cated 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 

The hangings and tinsel not only disfigured the interior 
of temples, but were a source of danger from their combus- 
tibility. 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 as- 
sume 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. 
^Emilius 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 


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, hav- 
ing 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. 1 


PRO-SANGVINl (nomen animatis) 








D. . .. 

For the blood of (perhaps a bull) 

And for its hide 

If the victim be entirely burnt .... xxv asses. 
For the blood and skin of a lamb ... iv asses. 
If the lamb be entirely burnt .... vil asses. 

For a cock (entirely burnt) iii* asses. 

For blood alone xiii asses. 

For a wreath iv asses. 

For hot water (per head) .... ii asses. 

The meaning of this tariff will be easily understood if 

we recall the details of a Grseco-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 

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


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. 1 In the above tariff two prices are charged : 
a smaller one for ordinary sacrifices, when only the intes- 
tines were burnt, and the rest of the flesh was taken home 
by the sacrificer ; a larger one for " holocausts," which re- 
quired 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 

The site of a sanctuary can be determined not only from 
its actual ruins, but, in many cases, from the contents 
of its favissce, 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 fur- 
nished with one or more rooms for the exhibition and safe- 
keeping 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 re- 
moved the rubbish of the collection, that is, the terra-cottas, 
and buried them either in the vaults (favissce) of the 

1 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. 


temple, or in trenches dug for the purpose within or near 
the sacred enclosure. 

During these last years I have been present at the dis- 
covery of five deposits of ex-votos, each marking the site of 
a place of pilgrimage. 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 ^Esculapius (now of S. Bartolorneo) ; 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 dis- 
covery 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. 1 Fourteen years later, in 1876, the 
favissce of the temple were found in the section of the 
cemetery called the Pincio. There were about two hun- 
dred pieces of terra-cotta, vases of Etruscan and Italo-Greek 
manufacture ; several statuettes of bronze, and pieces of 
ces rude, and ces 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 Rufford, 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 wor- 
ship and devotion, but also a hydro-therapeutic establish- 

1 See Henzen, Bulletino dell' Institute, 1863, p. 58. Moinmseii : Corpus In- 
scriptionum Latinarum, vol. i. no. 1503. 



ment. The waters employed for the cure were those which 
spring from the lava rocks at Nemi, and which, until a few 

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. 

years ago, fell in graceful cascades into the lake, at a place 

called "Le Mole." 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 

6Ilter intO pa^ularS O n this Sub- 

ject. The ex-votos collected in 
large quantity by Lord Savile, representing young mothers 
nursing their first-born, and other offerings of the same 

Portrait Bust of Person cured at 



nature, testify to the skill of the priests. Perhaps they 
practised other branches of surgery, because, among the 

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

curiosities brought to light in 1885, are several figures 
with large openings on the front, through which the intes- 
tines are seen. Professor Tommasi-Crucleli, who has made 
a study of this class of curiosities, says that they cannot be 


considered as real anatomical models, because the work is 
too rough and primitive to enable us to distinguish one in- 
testine from the other. The number of objects collected 
by Lord Savile may be estimated at three thousand. 

Characteristic objects of a like nature breasts cut open 
and showing the anatomy have been found in large num- 
bers in and near the island of the Tiber, where the Temple 
of -^sculapius 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. 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 be- 
fore 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 afavissa. 

The name of Minerva Medica is familiar to students and 
visitors of old Rome ; 1 but the monument which bears it, 
a nymphaBum 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 cross- 
ing, or near the crossing, with the Via Merulana, not far 
from the church of SS. Pietro e Marcellino. Its founda- 

1 See Cicero : De Divinatione, ii. 59, 123. Preller : Die Regionen, p. 133. 
Nibby : Roma Ant., ii. p. 334. Beckner : Topogr., p. 539. Cavedoni : Bull. . 
delV Inst. 1856, p. 102. Visconti : Bullettino Comunale, 1887, p. 154, 156. 
Middleton : The Remains of Ancient Rome, ed. 1892, vol. ii. p. 233. 



tions and its deposit of ex-votos were discovered in 1887. 
The shape and nature of the offerings bear witness to num- 
berless 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 Fragment of a Lamp inscribed 
11 i -. .-. n with the name of Minerva. 

alludes to Minerva as a restorer ot 

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 

Votive Head. 

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 be- 
lieved, 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 MINERVA MEMORI by 


a lady named Tullia Superiana, RESTITUTIONE SIBI 
FACTA CAPILLORUM (for having restored her hair). 

As regards the multitude of ex-votos, no other temple 
or deposit discovered in my time can be compared with the 
favissce of the Temple of Juno at Veii. In Roman tradi- 
tions 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 dis- 
prove 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. 

The ex-votos of the Latin sanctuaries were, as I have just 
remarked, buried in the favissce ; 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 feet above the canon 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 


importance of the deposit from the fact that the mine has 
been exploited ever since the time of Alexander VII. (1655- 
1667) ; and in the spring of 1889, when the most recent ex- 

mmm^sm '-m. 

mimK^^iiJ^^ff^: ,;,--" , ./ 
.,;,:,;, mf^^uIsM : W : ^, 
*TOW,4w> p/|^f^%^%^feip^ 

The Cliffs under the Citadel of Veil (now called Piazza d f Armi). 

cavations were made, by the late empress Theresa of Brazil, 
the mass of terra-cottas brought 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, or Gell, or Nibby, although it is the only evi- 
dence left of the discovery of the famous sanctuary. " Not 
far from the Isola Farnese a hill [the Piazza d' Armi], 
rises from the vaUey 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 


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 im- 
portant 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 mir- 
ror-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 dis- 
covered 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 


illustrated, in the most strictly scientific manner. Political 
events and the death of this noble woman brought the en- 
terprise 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 num- 
ber. The heads of veiled goddesses alone amount to four 
hundred and forty-seven, of which three hundred and sev- 
enty 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 corre- 
sponding to the feet, figures of hermaphrodites, human tor- 
sos modelled purposely without heads, arms without hands, 
legs without feet, hands holding apples or jewel-caskets, 
figurines of mothers nursing twins, beautiful life-sized stat- 
ues 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 arcc, 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 arce 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 



et Proserpince ; the ara pads Augustas; and the ara 

incendii Neroniani. The oldest of these were built of 
rough stones ; those of later periods took the characteristic 

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

shape of the altar of Verminus, represented on page 52 
of my " Ancient Rome," and of the altar raised to Ved- 
jovis by the members of the Julian family, at Bovillse, their 
birthplace, where it was found by the Colonnas in 1823. 
It is now in the villa of that family on the Quirinal. 1 In 
imperial times the conventional shape was preserved, with 
the addition of two pulvim t 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 

1 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: ^Eneas, ii. p. 1083. Canina: Via Appia, i. p. 209-232. Mommseu: 
Corpus Inscriptionum Latinarum, vol. i. p. 207, no. 807. 



THE ARA MAXIMA HERCULIS. This altar, the oldest in 
Rome, was raised in memory of the visit of Hercules to our 
country. Tacitus and Pliny 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 Baldassarre Pe- 
ruzzi which I found among his autographs in Florence. A 
round temple was built near the altar, in later times, of 
which we know two particu- 
lars : first, that it had a mys- 
terious power of repulsion for 
dogs and flies ; l second, that 
it contained, among other 
works of art, a picture by the 
poet Pacuvius, next in antiq- 
uity and value to the one 
painted by Fabius Pictor, in 
the Temple of Health, in 303 
B. c. 2 The Temple of Her- 
cules, 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 

1 Pliny, N. H., x. 29, 41. 

2 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 Comunale, 1889, p. 340, tav. xi.-xii. 

Round Temple of Hercules in the Forum 


Maxiinus. We have a description of the discovery by 
Pomponio Leto, Albertini, and Fra Giocondo da Verona ; 
and excellent drawings by Baldassarre Peruzzi. 1 

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 primigeniiis 
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 alteste Wohnstatte des ro- 
mischen Volks, Berlin, 1891. 

In view of the ignorance of ancient writers on this sub- 
ject, 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 

1 See the Annali dell' Institute, 1854, p. 28. 


B. c. A remarkable inscription discovered September 20, 
1890 (to which I shall refer at length later), by mention- 
ing 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, 1 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. 

THE ARA OF Aius LOCTJTIUS. In 1820, while excava- 
tions were proceeding near the western corner of the Pala- 
tine (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 

1 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 iu 1824, by Camuccini, at the expense of Mr. Charles 



a Divinity, whether male or female. Caius Sextius Cal- 
vinus, son of Caius, praetor, has restored this altar by 
decree of the Senate." Nibby and Momniseu believe Cal- 

vinus to be the magistrate 
mentioned twice by Cicero 
as a candidate against Glau- 
cias 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 

Ara of Aius Locutius on the Palatine. 



tutelary Genius of the city of Rome, whether masculine or 
feminine." The Palatine altar, of which I give an illustra- 
tion, 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. 

September, 1890, the workmen em- 
ployed 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 ran- 
dom from the neighboring ruins. 
Among them were fragments of one 
or more inscriptions which described 
the celebrations of the Ludi Scecu- 
lares under the Empire. By the 
end of the day, seventeen pieces had 
been recovered, seven of which be- 
longed 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 20-i A. D. 
Later researches led to the discovery 
of ninety-six other fragments, mak- 
ing a total of one hundred and thir- 
teen, 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 

Pillar commemorating the 
Ludi Saculares. 


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 illus- 
trious men of the age. 

The origin of the ssecular 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 Taren- 
tum 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 vic- 
tims being a black bull and a black cow. Tradition at- 
tributed 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 


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 evi- 
dent that the celebration of the Ludi Tarentini was in no 
way connected with definite cycles of time, such as the 

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 Sceculares 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 
sceculum. The games of which the Quindecemviri made 
this assertion were the Tarentini, instituted for quite a dif- 
ferent 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, espe- 
cially 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 con- 
sidered terra incognita by the topographers, and indicated 
by a blank spot in the archaBological maps of the city. I 



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 archi- 

Plan and section of the Altar of Dis and 

traves, leading to the spaces between the six parallel walls, 
and finally, of a column with foliage carved upon its sur- 
face. On my return to Rome, in the spring of 1887, every 
trace of the monument had disappeared under the embank- 


ment of the Corso Vittorio Emanuele. I questioned fore- 
men and workmen, I consulted the notebooks of the con- 
tractors, 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 frag- 
ment, the only one saved from the excavations, gave me 
the clue to the mystery. It was not a column, it was a 
putoinus, 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. 

The drawings which illustrate my account of the dis- 
covery * 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 

1 See Lanciani : I? itinerario di Einsiedlen,iaihe Monumenti antichi pubblicati 
dalla Accademia dei Lincei 1891. 


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. In- 
stead 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 ; conse- 
quently 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 the palaces on either side of the 
Corso, and the 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 in- 
formation from such materials as the oracle of the Sibyl, 
referred to by Zosimus, the Carmen Sceculare 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 en- 
ables 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. 1 

There is such a tone of simplicity and common-sense, 
such a display of method and mutual respect between Au- 
gustus, 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 

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


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 Quinde- 
cemviri to the Senate to take their proposal into considera- 
tion, 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, Gains 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 scaf- 
foldings 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 Quin- 
decemviri 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 es- 
pecially 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 occa- 
sion. 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 


the ceremonies shall be made known to the public by ad- 
vertisement (albo proposita) ; that the mornings of May 
26, 27, and 28, shall be set apart for the distributio suffi- 
mentorum, in which the Quindecemviri were wont to dis- 
tribute among the citizens torches, sulphur and bitumen, 
for purification ; and the mornings of May 29, 30, and 31, 
for the fruyum acceptio, or distribution of wheat, barley, 
and beans. To avoid overcrowding, four centres of distri- 
bution 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 pro- 
gramme 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 

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, w. 17-20, alludes to the first : " 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 attend- 
ing public festivities and ceremonies of state. The Senate, 
considering the extraordinary case of the Ludi Sceculares, 
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 re- 
port of the celebration shall be engraved. The bronze 
pillar is probably lost forever, but the marble one is that 


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 Fioren- 
tini 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 fol- 
lowing order was observed in the ceremonial pageant ; first 
came Augustus as Emperor and Pontifex Maximus, next 
the Consuls, the Senate, the Quindecemviri and other col- 
leges of priests, then foUowed the Vestal Virgins, and a 
group of one hundred and ten matrons (as many as there 
were years in the sceculuin] selected from among the most 
exemplary matres familice above twenty-five years of age. 

Twenty-seven boys and twenty-seven girls of patrician 
descent whose parents were both living (patrimi et ma- 
trimi) were enlisted on June 3, to sing the hymn composed 
expressly 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 offi- 
cial choir (tibicines et fidicines qid sacris piiblicis prasto 
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 


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 Au- 
gustus on the Palatine), and the Sacra Via, singing the 
praises of the immortal gods : 

" Quibus septera placuere colles ! " 

During those days and nights Augustus gave evidence of 
a truly remarkable strength of mind and body, never miss- 
ing 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. 

ARA PACIS AUGUSTAE. Among the honors voted to 
Augustus by the Senate in the year 13 B. c., on the occa- 
sion of his triumphal return from the campaigns of Ger- 
many 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 the Campus Martius and dedi- 
cated 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, 1 and 
again in 1859, when the present duke of Fiano was rebuild- 
ing the southern wing of the palace on the Via in Lucina. 
Of the panels and basreliefs found in 1554, some were 

1 Codex Vatic. 7,721, f. 67. 



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. 

The family of Augustus. 

Relief from the Ara Paeis, in the Gallery of the 
Uffizi, Florence. 

ARA LSTCE:NT>II NERONIASI. 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 cele- 
bration of expiatory sacrifices, on altars expressly con- 
structed 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." 


The altar, six metres long by three wide, built of traver- 
tine with a coating of marble, stands in the middle of a 
paved area of considerable size. The area is lined with 
stone cippi, pkced 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 dedi- 
cated by the emperor Domitian in consequence of an unful- 
filled 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 Volkana- 
lia, 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 struc- 
tures. The first temple in the excavation of which I took 
part was that of Jupiter Optimus Maximus on the Capi- 
toline Hill. 1 Its discovery was due more to an intuition 

1 See Rycquius : De Capitolio romano. Leyden, 1669. Bunsen: Beschrei- 
bung der Stadt Rom, iii. A, p. 14. Hirt : Der capitolinische Jupitertempel, in 
the Abhandlungen der Berliner Akademie, 1813. Bureau de la Malle : Me- 
moire sur la position de la roche tarpeienne, in the Memoires de V Academic des 
Inscriptions, 1819. Niebuhr : Romische Geschichte, i. 5,588. Mommsen : Bul- 
lettino deir Institute, 1845, p. 119. Lanciani: II tempio di Giove Ottimo Massimo, 
in the Bullettino comunale, 1875, p. 165, tav. xvi. Jordan : Osservazioni sul 


of the truth, than to actual recognition of existing re- 
mains. On November 7, 1875, while digging for the foun- 
dation of the new Rotunda in the garden which divides the 
Conservatori palace from that of the Caffarellis, the resi- 
dence of the German ambassador, our workmen came 
upon a piece of a 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 Optiinus 
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 (v.i. 20), ne quis in Arce aut Capi- 
tolio habitaretj and also the passage of Aulus Gellius 
(v. 12) in which the shrine of Vedjovis is placed between 
the Arx and the Capitoliurn. 

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 Aracceli with that of the 
temple, the Caffarelli palace with that of the citadel. The 
Germans upheld the opposite theory. In these circum- 
stances it is not surprising that the discovery made Noveni- 

tempio di Giove Capitolino. Lettera al sig. cav. R. Lanciani, Roma, 1876. 
Hiilseu : Osservazioni sulV architettura del tempio di Giove Capitolino, in the 
Mittheilungen des deutschen archdologischen Instituts, romische A btheilung, 1888, 
p. 150. Audollent : Dessin ine'dit d'un fronton du temple de Jupiter Capitolin, 
in the Melanges de VEcole-franfaise, 1889, Juin. 


her 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. 

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 207^ feet long, by 192 feet 
broad. The front of the edifice, ornamented with three 
rows of columns, faced the south. The style of the archi- 
tecture was purely Etruscan, and the intercolumniations 
were so wide as to require architraves of timber. 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 Regina ; 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 plat- 
form 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, 

R. Lanciani del. 



Norbanus and Sulla having proved groundless. He prob- 
ably 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 sec- 
ond restoration took place in the year 9 B. c. under Au- 
gustus, 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 capettaccio, 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. 

The foundation walls, which Pliny and Livy enumer- 
ate among the wonders of Rome, have been, and are still 



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 

View of the Platform of the Temple of Jupiter. 

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 1 with- 
out acquiring a new sense of the magnitude and power of 
the city. 

These inscriptions are found mostly at the foot of the sub- 
structure, 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 kings 

1 See Bullettino Comunale, 1886, p. 403 ; 1887, p. 14, 124, 251 ; 1888, p. 138. 
Mommsen : Zeitschrift fur Numismatik, xv. p. 207-219. 


Mithradates Philopator and Mithradates Philadelphos, of 
Pontus, from Ariobarzanes Philoromseus of Cappadocia 
and Athenais his queen, from the province of Lycia, from 
some townships of the province of Oaria, 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. Fla- 
minio Vacca, the sculptor and amateur-archaeologist of the 
sixteenth century, says : " Upon the Tarpeian Rock, be- 
hind the Palazzo de' Conservatori, several pillars of Pen- 
telic 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 be- 
longed 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." 

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 ex- 
cavating the foundations of a house, No. 13, Via Mon- 
tanera. The discoveries are described by Montagnani as 
" marble entablatures of enormous size and beautiful work- 
manship, 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 


platform, the substructure, and the column of Pentelic 
marble in the Conservator! 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 destruc- 
tion. 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. 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. 

The Temple of Jupiter is represented in ancient monu- 
ments 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 con- 
tains 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 be- 
ing reduced by one half, that is, from eight to four. 1 

1 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 
Melanges, 1889, planche ii. 



There is one interesting feature of the Capitolium, which 
is not well known among those who do not make a profes- 
sion 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 de- 
partments. 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 honestce 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. 1 These copies end with the clause : 

" Transcribed (and compared or verified) from the orig- 
inal bronze tablet which is hung in Rome, in the Capi- 
tolium " 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 cedes 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 cjentis Iidice, on the right 
side, opposite the statue of Bacchus " (March 7, 71). 

1 See Clemente Cardinati : Diplomi imperiali di privilegi. Velletri, 1835. 
Joseph Arneth : Zwolf romische Militardiplome, "VVien, 1843. Mommsen : 
Bulkttino dell' Institute, 1845, p. 119; Annali dell' Institute, 1858, p. 198; Corpus 
Inscriptionum Latinarum, vol. iii. part ii. p. 843. Le*on Re'nier : Receuil des 
diplomes militaires, premiere livraison, Paris, 1876. 


" 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 ap- 
pears 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 ^>ost templum dim 
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 Col- 
legio Romano and the Baths of Agrippa, formerly occu- 
pied 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. dis- 
covered the two lions of Nektaneb I. which are now in the 


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 Thothmes III., who was 
famous for her expedition to the Red Sea, recently de- 
scribed by Dummichen ; * 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 Horem- 
heb ; the portrait statue of the grand dignitary Uahabra, a 
good specimen of Saitic art ; a column of the temple, cov- 
ered with high reliefs, which represented a procession of 
bald-headed priests holding canopi in their hands ; a cap- 
ital, 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 

1 Die Flotte einer agyptischen Konigin aus dem siebzehnten Jahrhundert. 


as many works of art as the houses about it, I asked the 
municipal authorities to try the experiment, and my pro- 
posal was accepted at once. 

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 
Saitic school, perfected even in the 
smallest details, and still more im- 
pressive for its historical connec- 
tion 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 urceus, the symbol of roy- 
alty, were hammered away at the 
same time. The explanation of 
these facts is given by Herodotos. 
When Cambyses conquered Sai's, 
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 memorice 
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 

The Sphinx of Amasis. 



same province, singled out this work of art, to be shipped 
to Rome as a votive offering for the Temple of Isis, igno- 
rant of the historical value of its mutilations, 
he had the nose and the urceus carefully re- 
stored. 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 tem- 
ple, and now in the Piazza della Minerva. In 
these two monuments of the Roman Iseum we 
possess a synopsis of Egyptian history between 
595 and 526 B. c. 

The second work, discovered June 17, was 
an obelisk which was wonderfully well pre- 
served 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 mono- 
liths are almost identical in size and workman- 
ship, and are inscribed with the same car- 
touches 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 kynoke- 
phaloi or kerkopithekoi, five feet high, carved in black 

Obelisk of 

Rameses the 



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 cer- 
tainly seen in 1719 by the masons who built the founda- 
tions of the Biblioteca Casanatense. For some reason un- 
known 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 Sais, 
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, 1 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 im- 
proved and beautified the group, from time to time. At 
the beginning of the fourth century of our era it con- 
tained the propylaia, or pyramidal towers with a gateway, 
at each end of the dromos ; one near the present church 

1 See Flavius Josephus, Ant. Ind., rviii. 4. 


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 Sphaeri- 
sterion at Urbino, and fragments of a sixth in the Albani 

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 Capi- 
toline Museum, the sphinx of Queen Hathsepu in the Bar- 
racco collection, the sphinx of Amasis and the TranquilH 
sphinx in the Capitol, the cow Hathor and the statue of 
Uahabra in the Museo Archeologico in Florence, the kyno- 
kephaloi 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 Nico- 
machus Flavianus to revive the pagan religion in 394 A. D. 
is minutely described. 1 The reaction caused by this final 

1 See Morel: Revue Archeologique, 1868. De Rossi: Bullettino di archeologia 
cristiana, 1868. 


outburst of fanaticism must have been fatal to the temple. 
The masterpieces of the dronios 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 Ainasis, 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 preserva- 
tion 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 at- 
tention 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. 


THE TEMPLE OF NEPTUNE. The discoveries made in 
1878 in the Piazza di Pietra, on the site o the Temple of 
Neptune, rank next in importance to those just described. 
In repairing a drain which runs through the Via de' Ber- 
gamaschi to the Piazza di Pietra, the foundations of an 
early medieval church, dedicated to S. Stephen (Santo 
Stefano del Trullo) were unearthed, together with histor- 
ical inscriptions, pieces of columns of glallo 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. 

Dio Cassius (liii. 27) states that, in 26 B. c., Marcus 
Agrippa. built the Portico of the Argonauts, with a tem- 
ple in the middle of it, called the Poseidonion (II02EI- 
AflNION), 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 re- 
storation 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 



military uniforms, flags and weapons which were peculiar 
to each of the provinces. The fifteen provinces and four- 
teen 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 carv- 
ings. The temple, entabla- 
ture, 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 Nep- 
tunium 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 Con- 
servatori, two are in the Palazzo Odescalchi, one is in the 

One of the Provinces from the Temple 
of Neptune. 


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 

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 Mcenia, the columna Lactaria, the senaculum 
mulierum, the pila Tiburtina, thepila 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, 1 in which the bridge is represented from 
" remains concealed under a house, which have been care- 
fully examined and measured, as well as drawn by archi- 
tectural draughtsmen of much experience." 

The bridge never existed. Caligula made use of the 
roofs of edifices which were already there, spanning only 

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


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 basilicce Jiilice, 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 lugarius between the basilica 
and the Temple of Saturn, were but a few feet wide and 
could easily be crossed by means of s passer elle. We are 
told by Suetonius and Josephus how Caligula used some- 
times 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 Umplum dim Augusti ponte 
transmisso, gave me the first clew towards the identifica- 
tion 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 men- 
tioned 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. 

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 



Plau of the Temple of Augustas. 

inscription discovered in 1726, in the Columbaria of Livia 
on the Appian Way, mentions a C. Julius Bathyllus, sacris- 
tan 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 dim 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 and lime 
for the building of S. Peter's. 
Two documents show the won- 
derful state of preservation in 
which the temple was found. 
One is a sketch, taken in 
1549, by Pirro Ligorio, which, 
through the kindness of Pro- 
fessor T. H. Middleton, 1 I 
reproduce from the original, 
in the Bodleian Library ; the other is a description of the 
discovery by Panvinius. 2 The place was in such good condi- 

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

2 In the Cod. Vat., 3,439, f. 46. 

Remains of the Temple of Augustus, 
from a sketch by Ligorio. 


tion 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 SACELLTJM SANCI, or Shrine of Sancus on the 
Quirinal. 1 The worship of Semo Sancus Sanctus Dins 
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 up- 
holder 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 identifi- 
cation with the Roman Hercules, who was likewise invoked 
as a guardian of the sanctity of oaths (me-Ifercle, me-Dius 
Fidius]. There were two shrines of Semo Sancus in an- 
cient 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. 2 He 
must have glanced hurriedly at the first three names of the 
Sabine god, SEMONI SANCO DEO, and translated 
them 2IMHNI AEH SArKTH. 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, 

1 See Dressel : Bullettino dell' Institute, 1881, p. 38. Lanciani : Bullettino 
Comunale, 1881, p. 4. Visconti : Un simulacro di Semo Sancus, Roma, 1881. 
Preller : Romische Mythologie, p. 637. 

2 Apolog. 26. 



during the pontificate of Gregory XIII. The altar is pre- 
served in the Galleria Lapidaria of the Vatican Museum, 
in the first compartment (Dii). 

The shrine on the Quirinal is mi- 
nutely described by classical writers. It 
was hypsethral, that is, without a roof, 
so that the sky could be seen by the 
worshippers of the " Genius of heav- 
enly light." The oath me-Dius Fi- 
dius 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 

Its foundations were discovered in 
March, 1881, under what was for- 
merly 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 stat- 
ues. I am not sure whether the re- 
markable work of art which I shall 
describe presently was found in this Statue of Semo Sancus. 
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. 


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 representa- 
tions 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 
ossi/raga, 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 dis- 
tributed 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 Gallefia dei Candelabri, and 
the foundations of the shrine have been destroyed. 



The large number of churches in Rome. The six classes of the earliest 
of these. I. Private oratories. The houses of Pudens and Prisca. 

The evolution of the church from the private house. II. Scholae. 

The memorial services and banquets of the pagans. Two extant 
specimens of early Christian scholae. That in the Cemetery of Cal- 
lixtus. III. Oratories and churches built over the tombs of martyrs 
and confessors. How they came to be built. These the originals 
of the greatest sanctuaries of modern Rome. S. Peter's. The origin 
of the church. The question of S. Peter's residence and execution in 
Rome. The place of his execution and burial. The remarkable 
discovery of graves under the baldacchino of Urban VIII. The 
basilica erected by Constantine. Some of its monuments. The 
chair and statue of S. Peter. The destruction of the old basilica and 
the building of the new. The vast dimensions of the latter. Is S. 
Peter's body really still under the church ? The basilica of S. Paul's 
outside the walls. The obstacles to its construction. The fortified 
settlement of Johannipolis which grew up around it. The grave of 
S. Paul. IV. Houses of confessors and martyrs. The discoveries 
of padre Germane on the Caelian. The house of the martyrs John 
and Paul. V. Pagan monuments convei'ted into churches. Every 
pagan building capable of holding a congregation was thus transformed 
at one time or another. Examples of these in and near the Coliseum. 

VI. Memorials of historical events. The chapel erected to com- 
memorate the victory of Constantine over Maxentius. That of Santa 
Croce a Monte Mario. 

ROME, according to an old saying, contains as many 
churches as there are days in the year. This statement is 
too modest ; the " great catalogue " published by cardinal 


Mai 1 mentions over a thousand places of worship, while 
nine hundred and eighteen are registered in Professor 
Armellini's " Chiese di Roma." A great many have disap- 
peared since the first institution, and are known only from 
ruins, or inscriptions and chronicles. Others have been 
disfigured by "restorations." Without denying the fact 
that our sacred buildings excel in quantity rather than 
quality, there is no doubt that as a whole they form the 
best artistic and historic collection in the world. Every 
age, from the apostolic to the present, every school, every 
style has its representatives in the churches of Rome. 

The assertion that the works of mediaeval architects have 
been destroyed or modernized to such an extent as to leave 
a wide gap between the classic and Renaissance periods, 
must have been made by persons unacquainted with Rome ; 
the churches and the cloisters of S. Saba on the Aventine, 
of SS. Quattro Coronati on the Caelian, of S. Giovanni a 
Porta Latina, of SS. Vincenzo e Anastasio alle Tre Fon- 
tane, of S. Lorenzo fuori le Mura, are excellent specimens 
of mediaeval architecture. Let students, archaeologists, 
and architects provide themselves with a chronological 
table of our sacred buildings, and select the best speci- 
mens for every quarter of a century, beginning with the 
oratory of Aquila and Prisca, mentioned in the Epistles, 
and ending with the latest contemporary creations ; they 
cannot find a better subject for their education in art and 

From the point of view of their origin and structure, the 
churches of Rome of the first six centuries may be divided 
into six classes : 

I. Rooms of private houses where the first prayer-meet- 
ings were held. 

1 In volume ix. of the Spicilegium romanum, pp. 384-468. 


II. Scholae (memorial or banqueting halls in public ceme- 
teries), transformed into places of worship. 

III. Oratories and churches built over the tombs of 
martyrs and confessors. 

IV. Houses of confessors and martyrs. 

V. Pagan monuments, especially temples, converted into 

VI. Memorials of historical events. 

In treating this subject we must bear in mind that early 
Christian edifices in Rome were never named from a titular 
saint, but from their founder, or from the owner of the 
property on which they were established. The same rule 
applies to the suburban cemeteries, which were always 
named from the owner of the ground above them, not from 
the martyrs buried within. The statement is simple ; but 
we are so accustomed to calling the Lateran basilica " S. 
Giovanni," or the oratory of Pudens " S. Pudentiana," 
that their original names (Basilica Salvatoris, and Ecclesia 
Pudentiana) have almost fallen into oblivion. 

I shall select from each of the six classes such specimens 
as I believe will convey an impression of its type to the 
mind of the reader. 

I. PRIVATE ORATORIES. " In the familiar record of the 
first days of the Christian church we read how the men 
of Galilee, who returned to Jerusalem after the ascension, 
* went up into the upper chamber,' which was at once their 
dwelling-place and their house of prayer and of assembly. 
There, at the first common meal, the bread was broken and 
the cup passed around in remembrance of the last occasion 
on which they had sat at table with Christ. There too 
they assembled for their first act of church government, the 
election of a successor to the apostate Judas. All is simple 


and domestic, yet we have here the beginnings of what 
became in time the most wide-reaching and highly or- 
ganized of human systems. An elaborate hierarchy, a com- 
plicated theology were to arise out of the informal conclave, 
the memorial meal ; and in like manner, out of the homely 
meeting-place of the disciples would be developed the costly 
and beautiful forms of the Christian temple." l 

Rome possesses authentic remains of the " houses of 
prayer " in which the gospel was first announced in apos- 
tolic times. Five names are mentioned in connection with 
the visit of Peter and Paul to the capital of the empire, and 
two houses are mentioned as those in which they found 
hospitality, and were able to preach the new doctrine. One 
of these, belonging to Pudens and his daughters Pudentiana 
and Praxedes, stands halfway up the Vicus Patricius (Via 
del Bainbin Gesu) on the southern slope of the Viminal ; the 
other, belonging to Aquila and Prisca (or Priscilla), on the 
spur of the Aventine which overlooks the Circus Maximus. 
Both have been represented through the course of cen- 
turies, and are represented now, by a church, named from 
the owner the Titulus Pudentis, and the Titulus Priscce. 
Archseologists Jiave tried to trace the genealogy of Pudens, 
the friend of the apostles ; but, although it seems probable 
that he belonged to the noble race of the Cornelii ^Emilii, 
the fact has not yet been clearly proved. Equally doubt- 
ful are the origin and social condition of Aquila and his 
wife Prisca, whose names appear both in the Acts and in 
the Epistles. We know from these documents that, in 
consequence of the decree of banishment which was issued 
against the Jews by the emperor Claudius, Aquila and 
Prisca were compelled to leave Rome for a while, and that 

1 Baldwin Brown: From Schola to Cathedral, p. 1. Edinburgh, Douglas, 


on their return they were able to open a small oratory 
ecdesiam domesticam in their house. This oratory, one 
of the first opened to divine worship in Rome, these walls 
which, in all probability, have echoed with the sound of S. 
Peter's voice, were discovered in 1776 close to the modem 
church of S. Prisca ; but no attention was paid to the dis- 
covery, in spite of its unrivalled importance. The only 
memorandum of it is a scrap of paper in Codex 9697 of 
the Bibliotheque Nationale in Paris, in which a man named 
Carrara speaks of having found a subterranean chapel near 
S. Prisca, decorated with paintings of the fourth century, 
representing the apostles. A copy of the frescoes seems to 
have been made at the time, but no trace of it has been 
found. I cannot understand how, in an age like ours, so 
enthusiastically devoted to archaeological, historical, and 
religious research, no attempt has since been made to brino- 
this venerable oratory to light. 

In the same excavations of 1776 was found a bronze 
tablet, which had been offered to Gaius Marius Pudens 
Cornelianus, by the people of Clunia (near Palencia, Spain) 
as a token of gratitude for the services which he had ren- 
dered them during his governorship of the province of 
Tarragona. The tablet, dated April 9, A. D. 222, proves 
that the house owned by Aquila and Prisca in apostolic 
times had subsequently passed into the hands of a Cor- 
nelius Pudens ; in other words, that the relations formed 
between the two families during the sojourn of the apostles 
in Rome had been faithfully maintained by their descend- 
ants. Their intimate connection is also proved by the fact 
that Pudens, Pudentiana, Praxedes, and Prisca were all 
buried in the Cemetery of Priscilla on the Via Salaria. 1 

1 See de Rossi : Bullettino di archeologia cristiana, 1867, p. 46 ; Corpus In- 
scriptionum Latinarum, vi. no. 1454. Spalletti : Tavola ospitale trovata in 


A very old tradition, confirmed by the " Liber Pontifica- 
lis," describes the modern church of S. Pudentiana as hav- 
ing been once the private house of the same Pudens who 
was baptized by the apostles, and who is mentioned in the 
epistles of S. Paul. 1 Here the first converts met for prayers ; 
here Pudentiana, Praxedes and Timotheus, daughters and 
son of Pudens, obtained from Pius I. the institution of a 
regular parish-assembly (titulus), provided with a baptismal 
font ; and here, for a long time, were preserved some pieces 
of household furniture which had been used by S. Peter. 
The tradition deserves attention because it was openly ac- 
cepted at the beginning of the fourth century. The name 
of the church at that time was simply Ecclesia Pudentiana, 
which means "the church of Pudens," its owner and founder. 
An inscription discovered by Lelio Pasqualini speaks of a 
Leopardus, lector de Pudentiana, in the year 384 ; and in 
the mosaic of the apse the Redeemer holds a book, on the 
open page of which is written : " The Lord, defender of 
the church of Pudens." In course of time the ignorant 
people changed the word Pudentiana, a possessive adjective, 
into the name of a saint ; and the name Sancta Pudentiana 
usurped the place of the genuine one. It appears for the 
first time in a document of the year 745. 

The connection of the house with the apostolate of SS. 
Peter and Paul made it very popular from the beginning. 
Laymen and clergymen alike contributed to transform it 
into a handsome church. Pope Siricius (384-397), his 
acolytes Leopardus, Maximus and Ilicius, and Valerius Mes- 
salla, prefect of the city (396-403), ornamented it with 
mosaics, colonnades, and marble screens, and built on the 

Roma sull' Aventino. Roma, Salomoni, 1777 (p. 34). Lanciani : The Atlantic 
Monthly, July, 1891. Armellini : Chiese, first edition, p. 500. 
1 2 Timothy, iv. 21. 


west side of the Vicus Patricius a portico more than a 
thousand feet long, which led from the Subura to the vesti- 
bule of the church. 

In 1588 Cardinal Enrico Caetani disfigured the building 
with unfortunate restorations. He laid his hands even on 
the mosaics of the apse, considered by Poussin the best in 
Rome, as they are the oldest (A. D. 398), and mutilated the 
figures of two apostles, a portion of the foreground and 
the historical inscription. His architect, Francesco Ric- 
ciarelli da Volterra, while excavating the foundations for 
one of the pilasters of the new dome, made a discovery, 
which is described by Gaspare Celio 1 in the following 
words : 

" While Francesco Volterra was restoring the church of 
S. Pudentiana, and building the foundations of the dome, 
the masons discovered a marble group of the Laocoon, 
broken into many pieces. Whether from ill will or from 
laziness, they left the beautiful work of art at the bottom 
of the trench, and brought to the surface only a leg, with- 
out the foot, and a wrist. It was given to me, and I used 
to show it with pride to my artist friends, until some one 
stole it. It was a replica of the Belvedere group, consider- 
ably larger, and so beautiful that many believe it to be the 
original described by Pliny (xxvi. 5). The ancients, like 
the moderns, were fond of reproducing masterpieces. If the 
replica of the Pieta of Michelangelo, which we admire in 
the church of S. Maria dell' Anima, had been found under 
the ground, would we not consider it a better work than 
the original in S. Peter's ? Francesco Volterra complained 
to me many times about the slovenliness of the masons ; he 
says that, working by contract (a cottimo), they were afraid 

1 Gaspare Celio : Memoria del nomi degli artefici, p. 81. Napoli, Bonino, 



they should get no reward for the trouble of bringing the 
group to the surface." 



Remains of the House of Pudens, discovered in 1870. 

Remains of the house of Pudens were found in 1870. 
They occupy a considerable area 
ITABUNVMJ under the neighboring houses. 1 

*" "* The theory accepted by some mod- 

ern writers as regards the transfor- 
mation of these halls of prayer 
into regular churches is this. The 
prayer-meetings were held in the 
tciblinum (A) or reception room of 
the house, which, as shown in the 
accompanying plan, opened on the 
atrium or court (B), and this was 
surrounded by a portico or peristyle 

Plan of Pompeian House. ( C ) In the earl J da J S f the g S ' 

pel the tciblinum could easily ac- 
commodate the small congregation of converts ; but, as this 

1 See Duchesne : Liber pontificaiis, vol. i. pp. 132, 133. De Era : Storia di 
S. Pudenziana, two MSS. volumes in the library of S. Bernardo alle Terme. 

fr """P ' 
L-J !-* 



increased in numbers and the space became inadequate, the 
faithful were compelled to occupy that section of the por- 
tico which was in front of the meeting hall. When the 
congregation became still larger, there was no other way of 
accommodating it, and sheltering it from rain or sun, than 
by covering the court either with an awning or a roof. 
There is very little difference between this arrangement and 
the plan of a Christian basilica. The tdblinum becomes an 
apse ; the court, roofed over, becomes the nave ; the side 
wings of the peristyle become the aisles. 

Remains of the House of Pudens. Front Wall, pierced 
by modern windows. 

Bartolini : Sopra I' antichissimo altare di legno della basilica lateranense. Roma, 
1852. -De Rossi : Bullettino di archeologia cristiana, 1867, p. 49 ; Musaici delle 
chiese di Roma. Pellegrini : Scavi nelle term di Novato, in the Bullettino dell' 
Institute, 1870, p. 161. 


Among the Roman churches whose origin can be traced 

to the hall of meeting, besides those of Pudens and Prisca 
already mentioned, the best preserved seems to be that built 
by Demetrias at the third milestone of the Via Latina, near 
the "painted tombs." Demetrias, daughter of Anicius 
Hermogenianus, prefect of the city, 368-370, and of Tyr- 
rania Juliana, a friend of Augustine and Jerome, enlarged 
the oratory already existing in the tablinum of the Anician 
villa, and transformed it into a beautiful church, after- 
wards dedicated to S. Lorenzo. Church and villa were 
discovered in 1857, and, together with the painted tombs 
of the Via Latina, are now the property of the nation. 
The stranger could not find a pleasanter afternoon drive. 
The church is well preserved, and still contains the metric 
inscription in praise of Demetrias which was composed by 
Leo III. (795-816). 1 

II. SCROLL. The laws of Rome were very strict in 
regard to associations, which, formed on the pretence of 
amusement, charity, or athletic sports, were apt to degener- 
ate into political sects. Exception was made in favor of the 
collegia funeraticia, which were societies formed to provide 
a decent funeral and place of burial for their members. An 
inscription discovered at Civita Lavinia quotes the very 
words of a decree of the Senate on this subject : " It is per- 
mitted to those who desire to make a monthly contribution 
for funeral expenses to form an association." " These 
clubs or colleges collected their subscriptions in a treasure- 
chest, and out of it provided for the obsequies of deceased 
members. Funeral ceremonies did not cease when the 
body or the ashes was laid in the sepulchre. It was the 

1 See Lorenzo Fortunati : Relazione degli scavi e scoperte fatte lungo la via 
Latina. Roma, 1859. 


custom to celebrate on the occasion a feast, and to repeat 
that feast year by year on the birthday of the dead, and on 
other stated days. For the holding of these feasts, as well 
as for other meetings, special buildings were erected, named 
scholce ; and when the societies received gifts from rich 
members or patrons, the benefaction frequently took the 
shape of a new lodge-room, or of a ground for a new ceme- 
tery, with a building for meetings." The Christians took 
advantage of the freedom accorded to funeral colleges, and 
associated themselves for the same purpose, following as 
closely as possible their rules concerning contributions, the 
erection of lodges, the meetings, and the dydnai or love 
feasts ; and it was largely through the adoption of these 
well-understood and respected customs that they were 
enabled to hold their meetings and keep together as a cor- 
porate body through the stormy times of the second and 
third centuries. 

Two excellent specimens of scholce connected with Chris- 
tian cemeteries and with meetings of the faithful have 
come down to us, one above the Catacombs of Callixtus, 
the other above those of Soter. 

The first edifice has the shape of a square hall with three 
apses, cella tr ichor a. It is built over the part of the 
catacombs which was excavated at the time of Pope Fa- 
bianus (A. D. 236-250), who is known to have raised multas 
fdbricas per ccemeteria ; it is probably his work, as the 
style of masonry is exactly that of the first half of the 
third century. The original schola was covered by a 
wooden roof, and had no fagade or door. In the year 258, 
while Sixtus II., attended by his deacons Felicissimus and 
Agapetus, was presiding over a meeting at this place in 
spite of the prohibition of Valerian, a body of men invaded 

1 Baldwin Brown : ubi supra, p. 17. 


the schola, murdered the bishop and his acolytes, and razed 
the building nearly to the level of the ground. Half a 
century later, in the time of Constantine, it was restored to 
its original shape, with the addition of a vaulted roof and a 
fagade. The line which separates the old foundations of 
Fabianus from the restorations of the age of peace is clearly 
visible. Later the schola was changed into a church and 
dedicated to the memory of Syxtus, who had lost his wife 
there, and of Cecilia, who was buried in the crypt below. 
It became a great place of pilgrimage, and the itineraries 
mention it as one of the leading stations on the Appian 

When de Rossi first visited the place, fifty years ago, 
this famous schola or church of Syxtus and Caecilia was 
used as a wine-cellar, while the crypts of Csecilia and Cor- 
nelius were used as vaults. Thanks to his initiative the 
monument has again become the property of the Church of 
Rome ; and after a lapse of ten or twelve centuries divine 
service was resumed in it on the twentieth day of April of 
the present year. Its walls have been covered with inscrip- 
tions found in the adjoining cemetery. 

The theory suggested by modern writers with regard to 
the scholar is very much the same as that concerning the 
tdbtinum of private houses. At first the small building 
was sufficient to meet the wants of a small congregation ; 
with the increase of the members it became a presbiterium, 
or place reserved for the bishop or the clergy, while the 
audience stood outside, under the shelter of a tent, or a 
roof supported by upright beams. Here also we have all 
the architectural elements of the Christian basilica. 

The name schola, in its original meaning, has never died 
out in Rome ; and as in the Middle Ages we had the 
scholce of the Saxons, the Greeks, the Frisians, and the 


I = 



(From Xortet's Les Catacombes Romaines) 


Lombards, so we have in the present day those of the Jews 
(gli scoli degli ebrei). 

OF MARTYRS AND CONFESSORS. The sacred buildings of 
this class are, or were formerly, outside the walls, as burial 
was not allowed within city limits. To explain their origin 
and to understand their significance we must bear in mind 
the following rules. The action of the Roman law towards 
the Christians, that is, towards persons accused of atheism 
and rebellion against the Empire, resulted in the execution 
of those who were convicted. Except in extraordinary 
cases, the body of the victim could be claimed by relatives 
and friends and buried with due honors. In chapters vi. 
and vii. instances will be quoted of the erection of im- 
posing tombs to the memory of Roman patricians, generals 
and magistrates, who were put to death under the imperial 
regime. The same privileges of burial were granted to the 
Christians, who preferred, however, the modesty and safety 
of a grave in the heart of the catacombs to the pompous 
luxury of a mausoleum above ground. The grave of a 
martyr was an object of consideration, and was often visited 
by pilgrims, who adorned it with wreaths and lights on the 
anniversary of his execution. After the end of the perse- 
cutions the first thought of the victorious church was to 
honor the memory of those who had fought so gallantly for 
the common cause, and who at the sacrifice of their lives 
had hastened the advent of the days of freedom and peace. 
No better altar than those graves could be chosen for the 
celebration of divine service ; but they were sunk deep in 
the ground, and the cubicula of the catacombs were hardly 
capable of containing the officiating clergy, much less the 
multitudes of the faithful. Touching the graves, remov- 


ing them to a more suitable place, was out of the question ; 
in the eyes of the early Christians no more impious sacri- 
lege could be perpetrated. There was but one way left to 
deal with the difficulty ; that of cutting away the rock over 
and around the grave, and thereby gaining such space as 
was deemed sufficient for the erection of a basilica. The 
excavation was done in conformity with two rules, that 
the tomb of the martyr should occupy the place of honor 
in the middle of the apse, and that the body of the church 
should be to the east of the tomb, except in cases of " force 
majeure," as when a river, a public road, or some other 
such obstacle made it necessary to vary this principle. 

Such is the origin of the greatest sanctuaries of Chris- 
tian Rome. The churches of S. Peter on the Via Cornelia, 
S. Paul on the Via Ostiensis, S. Sebastian on the Via Appia, 
S. Petronilla on the Via Ardentina, S. Valentine on the 
Via Flaminia, S. Hermes on the Via Salaria, S. Agnes on 
the Via Nomentana, S. Lorenzo on the Via Tiburtina, and 
fifty other historical structures, owe their existence to the 
humble grave which no human hand was allowed to transfer 
to a more suitable and healthy place. 

When these graves were not very deep, the floor of the 
basilica was almost level with the ground, as in the case of 
S. Peter's, S. Paul's, and S. Valentine's ; in other cases it 
was sunk so deep in the heart of the hill that only the roof 
and the upper tier of windows were seen above the ground, 
as in the basilicas of S. Lorenzo, S. Petronilla, etc. There 
are two or three basilicas built, or rather excavated, entirely 
under ground. The best specimen is that of S. Hermes on 
the old Via Salaria. 

It soon became evident that edifices sunk in such awk- 
ward places could hardly answer their purpose, on account 
of dampness and the want of air and light. Several steps 


were taken to remedy the evil. Large portions of the 
hills were cut away so as to make the edifice free on one 
or two sides at least, and outlets for rain or spring water 
provided. We have a description of the system of drainage 
of S. Peter's, written by its originator, Pope Damasus, in a 
poem the original of which, discovered by Pope Paul V., 
in 1607, is preserved in the Grotte Vaticane : 

" The hill was abundant in springs ; and the water found 
its way to the very graves of the saints. Pope Damasus 
determined to check the evil. He caused a large portion 
of the Vatican Hill to be cut away ; and by excavating 
channels and boring cuniculi he drained the springs so as 
to make the basilica dry and also to provide it with a steady 
fountain of excellent water." 1 

The Acqua Damasiana is still in use, and has the honor of 
supplying the apartments of the Pope. Its feeding-springs 
are located at S. Antonino, twelve hundred yards west of 
S. Peter's. The aqueduct of Damasus, restored in 1649 by 
Innocent X., is neatly built in the old Roman style ; the 
channel is four feet nine inches high, three feet three 
inches wide, and runs through the clay of the hill at a 
depth of ninety-eight feet. The principal fountain, in the 
Cortile di S. Damaso, was designed by Algardi in 1649. 

Apparently the works accomplished for the same pur- 
pose at S. Lorenzo fuori le Mura, by Pope Pelagius II. 
(579-590), were no less important. They are described in 
another poem, a modern copy of which (1860) is to be seen 
on the side of the mosaic in the apsidal arch. The poem 
relates how the hill of Cyriaca was cut away, and how, in 
consequence of the excavation, the church became light, 

1 Dionysii : Vaticance basilicce cryptarum monumenta, pi. xxvii. De Rossi : 
Inscriptiones Christiance urjbis Romce, ii. p. 56, 350, 411. Ducbesne: Liber ponti- 
ficalis, i. cxxii. 


accessible, and free from the danger of landslips and inun- 
dations. The importance of the work of Pelagius is rather 
exaggerated by the composer of the poem. The church 
was never free from dampness and want of air and light 
until the pontificate of Pius IX., who cut away another 
section of the hill. 

The damage done to the catacombs by the builders of 
these sunken basilicas is incalculable. Thousands of graves 
must have been sacrificed for the embellishment of one. 

The reader cannot expect to find in these pages a de- 
scription of this class of basilicas ; that of S. Peter's alone 
would require several volumes. I have in my modest 
library not less than twenty-two volumes on the subject, an 
insignificant fraction of the Petrine literature. And what 
do we know about S. Peter's? Very little in comparison 
with the amount of knowledge that lies yet unpublished in 
the volumes of Grimaldi, 1 in the archives of the Vatican, 
in epigraphic, historical and diplomatic documents scattered 
among various European libraries. 

The history of the building has yet to be written. 
Duchesne's " Liber Pontificalis " and de Rossi's second vol- 
ume of the " Inscriptiones Christianse " provide the neces- 
sary foundations for such a work. Let us hope that the 
Vatican will soon find its own Rohault de Fleury. 2 

The following sketch of the origin of the two leading 
sacred edifices of Rome may answer the scope of the pre- 
sent chapter. But let me repeat once again the declara- 
tion that I write about the monuments of ancient Rome 

1 See Eugene Miintz : Ricerche intorno ai lavori archeologici di Giacomo 
Grimaldi. Firenze, 1881. The best autograph work of Grimaldi, dedicated 
to Paul V. in 1618, belongs to the Barberini library, and is marked xxxiv. 50. 

2 The author of Le Latran, dans le moyen age. 


from a strictly archaeological point of view, avoiding ques- 
tions which pertain, or are supposed to pertain, to religious 
controversy. For the archaeologist the presence and execu- 
tion of SS. Peter and Paul in Rome are facts established 
beyond a shadow of doubt by purely monumental evi- 
dence. There was a time when persons belonging to dif- 
ferent creeds made it almost a case of conscience to affirm 
or deny a priori those facts, according to their accept- 
ance or rejection of the tradition of any particular church. 
This state of feeling is a matter of the past, at least for 
those who have followed the progress of recent discoveries 
and of critical literature. However, if my readers think 
that I am assuming as proved what they stiU consider sub- 
ject for discussion, I beg to refer them to some of the 
standard works published on this subject by writers who 
are above the suspicion of partiality. Such are Dollin- 
ger's " First Age of Christianity " (translated by Henry 
Nutcombe Oxenham, second edition, London, Allen, 1867) ; 
Bishop Lightfoot's " Apostolic Fathers," part ii., London, 
Macmillan, 1885, one of the most beautiful and conclusive 
works on early Christian history and literature ; and de 
Rossi's " Bullettino di archeologia cristiana," for 1877. 
Bishop Lightfoot justly remarks that when Ignatius the 
second apostolic father, a contemporary of Trajan writes 
to the Romans " I do not command you, like Peter and 
Paul," the words are full of meaning, if we suppose him to 
be alluding to the personal relations of the two apostles 
with the Roman Church. In fact, the reason for his use 
of this language is the recognition of the visit to Rome 
of S. Peter as well as S. Paul, which is persistently main- 
tained in early tradition ; and thus it is a parallel to the 
joint mention of the two apostles in " Clement of Rome " 
(p. 357). Dollinger adds: "That S. Peter worked in 


Rome is a fact so abundantly proved and so deeply im- 
bedded in the. earliest Christian history, that whoever treats 
it as a legend ought in consistency to treat the whole of 
the earliest church history as legendary, or at least, quite 
uncertain. His presence in Corinth is obviously connected 
with his journey to Rome, and no one will accept the one 
and deny the other (see Cor. i. 12 ; iii. 22 ; xi. 22, 23 ; 
Clement's Ep. 47, etc.) Clement again reminds the Cor- 
inthians of the { martyrdom of Peter and Paul . . . among 
us,' meaning Rome. The very mention implies that S. 
Peter's martyrdom was a well-known fact, and it is incon- 
ceivable that his execution should have been known and 
not the place where it occurred, or that the place could 
have been forgotten, and a wrong one substituted some 
years later. And when Ignatius writes to the Romans 
' I do not command you like Peter and Paul ; they were 
apostles ' it is clear, without any explanation, that he 
desires to remind them of the two men who, as founders 
and teachers, had been the glory of the Church." 

The Ebionite document, called " The Preaching of Peter," 
produced about the time of Ignatius, or very soon after, 
and used by Heracleon in Hadrian's time, is manifestly 
founded on the undisputed fact of S. Peter having labored 
at Rome. It is inconceivable that the author of the Ebionite 
document should have put forward a groundless fable, about 
the theatre of S. Peter's operations, at a time when many 
who had seen him must have been still alive. Eusebius, 
who had the writings of Papias (and Hegesippos) before 
him, maintains with Clement, that S. Peter wrote his Epistle 
at Rome (Euseb. ii. 15). Papias, a disciple of S. John, 
speaking of this epistle declares that " Babylon " means 
expressly the capital of the empire. Hegesippos, a Chris- 
tian Jew of Palestine, who came to Rome in the first half 


of the second century, makes Linus the first bishop after 
the apostles, in accordance with Irenaeus, who says : " After 
Peter and Paul had founded the Roman church and set it in 
order, they gave over the episcopate to Linus." If we con- 
sider that Hegesippos came to Rome to investigate, among 
other things, the succession of local bishops for the short 
period of eighty-three years, that he certainly spoke with 
persons whose fathers could remember the presence of the 
apostles, we cannot help accepting his evidence as conclu- 

The main objection brought forward by the opponents 
is that, after the incident at Antioch, we have no positive 
knowledge of the actions and travels of S. Peter. Still, 
there is nothing to contradict the assumption of his journey 
to Rome, and his confession and execution there. The fact 
was so generally known that nobody took the trouble to 
write a precise statement of it, because nobody dreamed 
that it could be denied. How is it possible to imagine that 
the primitive Church did not know the place of the death 
of its two leading apostles ? In default of written testi- 
mony let us consult monumental evidence. 

There is no event of the imperial age and of imperial 
Rome which is attested by so many noble structures, all of 
which point to the same conclusion, the presence and exe- 
cution of the apostles in the capital of the empire. When 
Constantine raised the monumental basilicas over their 
tombs on the Via Cornelia and the Via Ostiensis ; when 
Eudoxia built the church ad Vincula ; when Damasus put 
a memorial tablet in the Platonia ad Catacumbas ; when 
the houses of Pudens and Aquila and Prisca were turned 
into oratories ; when the name of Nymphae Sancti Petri 
was given to the springs in the catacombs of the Via 
Nomentana ; when the twenty-ninth day of June was ac- 


cepted as the anniversary of S. Peter's execution ; when 
Christians and pagans alike named their children Peter and 
Paul ; when sculptors, painters, medallists, goldsmiths, 
workers in glass and enamel, and engravers of precious 
stones, ah* began to reproduce in Rome the likenesses of 
the apostles, at the beginning of the second century, and 
continued to do so till the fall of the empire; must we 
consider them all as laboring under a delusion, or as con- 
spiring in the commission of a gigantic fraud ? Why were 
such proceedings accepted without protest from whatever 
city, from whatever community, if there were any other 
which claimed to own the genuine tombs of SS. Peter and 
Paul ? These arguments gain more value from the fact that 
the evidence on the opposite side is purely negative. It is 
one thing to write of these controversies at a distance from 
the scene of the events, in the seclusion of one's own 
library ; but quite another to study them on the spot, and 
to follow the events where they took place. If my readers 
had the opportunity of witnessing the discoveries made 
lately in the Cemeterium Ostrianum, and the Platonia ad 
Catacumbas ; or of examining Grimaldi's manuscripts and 
drawings relating to the old basilica of Constantine ; or 
Carrara's account of the discoveries made in 1776 in the 
house of Aquila and Prisca, they would surely banish from 
their minds the last shade of doubt. 

Besides the works of Dollinger, Lightfoot, and de Rossi 
referred to above, there are thirty or forty which deal with 
the same question, as to whether S. Peter was ever at Rome. 
The list of them is given in volume xviii. of the " Encyclo- 
paedia Britannica," p. 696, no. 1. 

Two roads issued from the bridge called Vaticanus, 
Neronianus, or Triumphalis, the remains of which are 


still seen at low water between S. Giovanni dei Fiorentini 
and the hospital of S. Spirito, the Via Triumphalis, de- 
scribed in chapter vi., which corresponds to the modern 
Strada di Monte Mario, and joins the Clodia at la Gius- 
tiniana ; and the Via Cornelia, which led to the woodlands 
west of the city, between the Via Aurelia Nova and the 
Triumphalis. When the apostles came to Rome, in the 
reign of Nero, the topography of the Vatican district, which 
was crossed by the Via Cornelia, was as follows : 

On the left of the road was a circus begun by Caligula, 
and finished by Nero ; on the right a line of tombs built 
against the clay cliffs of the Vatican. The circus was the 
scene of the first sufferings of the Christians, described by 
Tacitus in the well-known passage of the " Annals," xv. 45. 
Some of the Christians were covered with the skins of wild 
beasts so that savage dogs might tear them to pieces ; others 
were besmeared with tar and tallow, and burnt at the stake ; 
others were crucified (crucibus adfixi), while Nero in the 
attire of a vulgar auriga ran his races around the goals. 
This took place A. D. 65. Two years later the leader of 
the Christians shared the same fate in the same place. He 
was affixed to a cross like the others, and we know exactly 
where. A tradition current in Rome from time immemorial 
says that S. Peter was executed inter duas metas (between 
the two metae), that is, in the S})ina or middle line of Nero's 
circus, at an equal distance from the two end goals; in 
other words, he was executed at the foot of the obelisk 
which now towers in front of his great church. For many 
centuries after the peace of Constantine, the exact spot of 
S. Peter's execution was marked by a chapel called the 
chapel of the " Crucifixion." The meaning of the name, 
and its origin, as well as the topographical details con- 
nected with the event, were lost in the darkness of the 


Middle Ages. The memorial chapel lost its identity and 
was believed to belong to " Him who was crucified," that 
is, to Christ himself. It disappeared seven or eight cen- 
turies ago. At the same time the words inter duas metas, 

O ' 

by which the spot was so exactly located, were deprived of 
their genuine significance. The name meta was generally 
applied to tombs of pyramidal shape ; of which two were 
still conspicuous among the ruins of Rome : the pyramid of 
Caius Cestius near the Porta S. Paolo, which was called 
Meta Remi, and that by the church of S. Maria Tras- 
pontina, in the quarter of the Vatican which was called 
Meta Romuli. The consequences* of this mistake were 
remarkable ; to it we owe the erection of two noble monu- 
ments, the church of S. Pietro in Montorio, and the " Tem- 
pietto del Bramante," in the court of the adjoining con- 
vent. It seems that in the thirteenth century, when some 
one 1 determined to raise a memorial of S. Peter's execution 
inter duas metas, he chose this spot on the spur of the 
Janiculum, because it was located at an equal distance from 
the meta of Romulus at la Traspontina, and that of Remus 
at the Porta S. Paolo ! 

The line of the Via Cornelia, which ran parallel with the 
north side of the circus, can be traced with precision by the 
help of the classical, or pagan, tombs discovered at various 
times along its borders. Let us start from the site of the 
modern Piazza di S. Pietro. Sante Bartoli, mem. 56-57, 
says that while Pope Alexander VII. was building the left 
wing of Bernini's portico, and the fountain of the southern 
semicircle, a tomb was discovered with a bas-relief above the 
door representing a marriage-scene (" vi era un bellissimo 

1 S. Pietro Montorio, rebuilt towards 1472, by Ferdinand IV. and Isabella 
of Spain, from the designs of Baccio Pontelli, stands on the site of an older 







bassorilievo di un matrimonio antico "). On July 19, 1614, 
three others were found in the atrium, in one of which was 
the sarcophagus of Claudia Hermione, the renowned pan- 
tomimist. The best discovery, that of pagan tombs exactly 
on the line with that of S. Peter's, was made in the presence 
of Grimaldi, November 9, 1616. " On that day," he says, 
" I entered a square sepulchral room (10 ft. X 11 ft.), the 
ceiling of which was ornamented with designs in painted 
stucco. There was a medallion in the centre, with a figure 
in high relief. The door opened on the Via Cornelia, which 
was on the same level. This tomb is located under the 
seventh step in front of the middle door of the church. I 
am told that the sarcophagus now used as a fountain, in 
the court of the Swiss Guards, was discovered at the time 
of Gregory XIII. in the same place, and that it contained 
the body of a pagan." 

We come now to the decisive point, the discoveries made 
in the time of Urban VIII., when the foundations of his 
bronze baldacchino were sunk to a great depth, in close 
proximity to the tomb of S. Peter. The genuineness of the 
account is proved by the fact that in spite of its great bear- 
ing on the question, so little importance was attached to it 
that, had not Professor Palmieri and Cavaliere Armellini 
unearthed it from the sacred dust of the Vatican archives, 
in which it had been buried for three and a half centuries, 
we should still have been wholly ignorant of its existence. 

The account published by Armellini l proves that S. 
Peter must have been buried in a small plot surrounded by 
other tombs, and probably protected by an enclosing wall. 
There were graves which in later ages had been dug in con- 
fusion, one above the other, by persons wishing to lie as 
near as possible to the remains of the apostle ; but those of 

1 Chiese di Roma, 1st edition, p. 520. 


the time of the persecution were arranged in parallel lines, 1 
and consisted of plain marble coffins bearing no name, and 
containing one or two bodies, which were dressed like 
mummies, with bands of darkish linen wound about the 
body and head. This statement is corroborated by other 
evidence. In 1615, when Paul V. built the stairs leading 
to the Confession and the crypts. " several bodies were 
found lying in coffins, tied with linen bands, as we read of 
Lazarus in the Gospel : ligatus pedibus et manibus in- 
stitis. One body only was attired in a sort of pontifical 
robe. Notwithstanding the absence of written indications 
we thought they were the graves of the ten bishops of 
Rome buried in Vaticano" So speaks Giovanni Severano 
on page 20 of his book " Memorie sacre delle sette chiese 
di Roma," which was printed in 1629. Francesco Maria 
Torrigio, who witnessed the exhumations with cardinal 
Evangelista Pallotta, adds that the linen bands were from 
two to three inches wide, and that they must have been 
soaked in aromatics. One of the coffins bore, however, the 
name LINVS. 2 Let us now refer to the " Liber Pontificalis," 
the authority of which as an historical text-book cannot be 
doubted, since the critical publication of Louis Duchesne. 3 
After describing the " deposition of S. Peter in the Vatican, 
near the circus of Nero, between the Via Aurelia and the 
Via Triumphalis, iuxta locum ubi crucifixus est (near the 
place of his crucifixion),*' it proceeds to say that Linus 
" was buried side by side with the remains of the blessed 
Peter, in the Vatican, October 24." Even if we were dis- 
posed to doubt Torrigio's correctness in copying the name 

1 " Collocate e poste una appresso all' altra con diligenza e cura esatta." 

2 Francesco Maria Torrigio : Le sacre grotte vaticane, p. 64. Roma, 1639. 

8 Le liber pontificalis : Texte, introduction et commentaire par I'abbe L. Du* 
chesne. Paris,-Thorin, 1886-1892. 


of the second bishop of Rome, 1 the fact of his burial in this 
place seems to be certain, because Hrabanus Maurus, a 
poet of the ninth century, speaks of Linus's tomb as visible 
and accessible, in the year 822. Another man was present 
at the discoveries enumerated by Torrigio and Severano ; 
the master-mason Benedetto Drei, whose drawing, printed 
in 1635, has become very rare. 

The reader will remark how perfectly Drei's sketch fits 
the written accounts of the other eye-witnesses, even in the 
detail of the child's grave " sejwltitra di un bambino" 
which is distinctly mentioned by them. 

The privileges which the Roman law allowed to sepul- 
chres, even of criminals, made it possible for the Christians 
to keep these graves in good order, with impunity. How- 
ever, they ran a great risk under Elagabalus. Among the 
many extravagances in which this youth indulged in con- 
nection with the circus, such as driving a chariot drawn by 
four camels, or letting loose thousands of poisonous snakes 
among the spectators, Lampridius mentions a race of four 
quadrigae drawn by elephants, which was to be run in the 
Vatican ; and as the track inside the circus was obviously 
too narrow for such an attempt, another was prepared out- 
side by removing or destroying those tombs of the Via 
Cornelia which stood in the way. 2 It is more than probable 
that the body of S. Peter was at that time transferred to a 
temporary place of shelter at the third milestone of the Via 
Appia, which I shall have opportunity to describe in the 
seventh chapter. 3 

1 The letters LINVS might be the termination of a longer name, like 

2 See Lampridius: Heliog. 23. 
8 See p. 345 sq. 


After the defeat of Maxentius in the plains of Torre di 
Quinto, Constantine " raised a basilica over the tomb of the 
blessed Pteter, which he enclosed in a bronze case. The 
altar above was decorated with spiral columns carved with 
vines which he had brought over from Greece." 

The basilica was erected hurriedly at the expense of the 
adjoining circus. Constantine took advantage of its three 
northern walls, which supported the seats of the spectators 
on the side of the Via Cornelia, to rest upon them the left 
wing of the church, and built new foundations for the right 
wing only. His architect seems to have been rather negli- 
gent in his measurements, because the tomb of S. Peter did 
not correspond exactly with the axis of the nave, and was 
not in the centre of the apse, being some inches to the left. 

The columns were collected from everywhere. I have 
discovered in one of the note-books of Antonio da Sangallo 
the younger a memorandum of the quality, quantity, size, 
color, etc., of one hundred and thirty-six shafts. Nearly 
all the ancient quarries are represented in the collection, not 
to speak of styles and ages. An exception must be made 
in favor of the twelve columns of the Confession, men- 
tioned above, which, according to the " Liber Pontificalis," 
were brought over from Greece (colwnnce vitinece quas de 
Grcecia perduxit : i. 176). I doubt the correctness of the 
statement ; they appear to me a fantastic Roman work of 
the third century. 

At all events the surmise of the " Liber Pontificalis " shows 
how little credit is to be attached to the tradition that they 
once belonged to the Temple of Solomon at Jerusalem. 2 

1 Liber Pontificalis, Silvester, xvi. p. 176. 

2 Pietro Mallio says that they came from the Temple of Apollo in Troy. 
This statement, however absurd, confirms the opinion that the tradition about 
Solomon's Temple is of modern origin. It seems that Constantine's canopy 
was borne by only six columns, and that the other six were added at the time 
of Gregory III. 


(From a rare engraving by Benedetto Drei, head master mason to the Pope. The site of the 
tomb of S. Peter and the Fenestella are indicated by the author) 



There are eleven left : of which eight ornament the balco- 
nies under the dome ; two, the altar of S. Mauritius, and one 
(reproduced in our illustration) the Cappella della Pieta, 
the first on the right. It is 
called the colonna santa (the 
holy column), because it was 
formerly used for the exor- 
cism of evil spirits. It was 
enclosed in a marble pluteus 
by Cardinal Orsini, in 1438. 
The walls of the church 
were patched with fragments 
of tiles (tegolozza) and stone, 
except the apse and the 
arches, which were built of 
good bricks bearing the 
name of the emperor : 

Domimis Noster CON- 

Grimaldi says that he could 
not find two capitals or two 
bases alike. He says also 
that the architraves and 
friezes differed from one in- 
tercolumniation to another, j 
and that some of them were 
inscribed with the names and 
praises of Titus, Trajan, Gal- 
lienus, and others. On each side of the first gateway, at 
the foot of the steps, were two granite columns, with com- 
posite capitals, representing the bust of the emperor Ha- 
drian framed in acanthus leaves. 

The accompanying illustration, which was copied from 

The Colonna Santa. 



an engraving of Ciampini, shows the aspect of the interior 
in the year 1588. 

View of a section of the Nave of old S. Peter's (South Side). 

It gives a fairly good idea of the decorations of the nave, 
in their general outline ; but fails to show the details of 
Constantine's patchwork. His system of structure may be 
better understood by referring to another of his creations, 
the basilica of S. Lorenzo fuori le Mura, of which a section 
of the interior is illustrated on p. 135. 

The atrium or quadri-portico was entered by three gate.- 
ways, the middle one of which had doors of bronze inlaid 
with silver. The nielli represented castles, cities, and ter- 
ritories which were subject to the apostolic see. The doors 
were stolen in 1167, and carried to Viterbo as trophies of 

The fountain in the centre of the atrium was a master- 



piece of the time of Symmachus (498-514), who had a 
great predilection for buildings connected with hygiene and 
cleanliness, such as baths, fountains, and necessaria. 1 The 
fountain is described in my " Ancient Rome," p. 286 ; let 
me add here the particulars concerning its destruction. 

The structure was composed of a square tabernacle sup- 
ported by eight columns of red porphyry, with a dome of 
gilt bronze. Peacocks, dolphins, and flowers, also of gilt 
bronze, were placed on the four architraves, from which 
jets of water flowed into the basin below. The border of 
the basin was made of ancient marble bas-reliefs, represent- 

Nave of San Lorenzo fuori le Mura. 

1 Venuti : Ragionamento sopra la pina di bronzo, etc., in the Codex Vaticanus 

9024. Gayet Lacour : La plgna du Vatican, in the Melanges de VEcole fran- 

caise, 1881, p. 312. Lanciani : II Pantheon e le terme diAgnppa, in the Notide 
degli scavi, 1882. De Rossi : Inscripthnes Christiana urbis Roma, vol. ii., 
428-430. Gori : Archivio storico artlstico, 1881, p. 230. 



ing panoplies, griffins, etc. On the top of the structure 
were semicircular bronze ornaments worked " a jour," that 

is, in open relief, with- 
out background, and 
crowned by the mono- 
gram of Christ. This 
gem of the art of the 
sixth century was ruth- 
lessly destroyed by Paul 
V. The eight columns 
of porphyry, one of 
which was ornamented 
with an imperial bust in 
high relief, have disap- 
peared, and so have the 
bas-reliefs of the border 
of the fountain, although 
Grimaldi claims to have 
saved one. The bronzes were removed to the garden of 
the Vatican, but, with the exception of the pine-cone and 
two peacocks, they were doomed to share the fate of the 
marbles. In 1613 the semicircular pediments, the four dol- 
phins, two of the peacocks, and the dome were melted to 
provide the ten thousand pounds of metal required for the 
casting of the statue of the Madonna which was placed 
by Paul V. on the column of S. Maria Maggiore. 

The most important monument of the atrium, after the 
fountain, was the tomb of the emperor Otho II. (t 983), 
or what was believed to be his tomb, as some contemporary 
writers attribute it to Cencio, prefect of Rome, who died 
1077. The body lay in a marble sarcophagus, which was 
screened by slabs of serpentine, the whole being surmounted 
by a porphyry cover supposed to have come from Hadrian's 

The Fountain of Svmmachus. 


mausoleum. The mosaic picture above represented the 
Saviour between SS. Peter and Paul. This historical mon- 
ument was demolished by Carlo Maderno in the night of 
October 20, 1610. The coffin was removed to the Quirinal 
and turned into a water-trough. Grimaldi saw it last, near 
the entrance gate from the side of the Via dei Maroniti. 
The panels of serpentine were used in the new building, the 
picture of the Saviour was removed to the Grotte ; the cover 
of porphyry was turned upside down, and made into a bap- 
tismal font. 

The church was entered by five doors, named respec- 
tively (from left to right) the Porta ludicii, fiavenniana, 
argentea or regia maior, Romano., and Guidonea. The 
first was called the " Judgment Door," because funerals en- 
tered or passed out through it. The name " Ravenniana " 
seems to have originated in the barracks of marine infantry 
of the fleet of Ravenna, detailed for duty in Rome, or else 
from the name " Civitas Ravenniana " given to the Traste- 
vere in the epoch of the decadence. It was reserved for the 
use of men, as the fourth or Romana was for women, and 
the fifth, Guidonea, for tourists and pilgrims. The main 
entrance, called the " Royal," or " Silver Door," was opened 
only on grand occasions. Its name was derived from the 
silver ornaments affixed to the bronze by Honorius I. (A. D. 
626-636) in commemoration of the reunion of the church 
of Histria with the See of Rome. According to the " Liber 
Pontificalis" nine hundred and seventy-five pounds of silver 
were used in the work. There were the figures of S. Peter 
on the left and S. Paul on the right, surrounded by halos 
of precious stones. They were the prey of the Saracens in 
845. Leo IV. restored them to a certain extent, changing 
the subject of the silver nielli. In the year 1437, Antonio 
di Michele da Viterbo, a Dominican lay brother, was com- 


missioned by Pope Eugenius IV. to carve new side doors in 
wood, while Antonio Filarete and Simone Bardi were asked 
to model and cast, in bronze, those of the middle entrance. 
On entering the nave the visitor was struck by the sim- 
plicity of Constantine's design, and by the multitude and 
variety of later additions, by which the number of altars 
alone had been increased from one to sixty-eight. Ninety- 
two columns supported an open roof, the trusses of which 
were of the kingpost pattern. In spite of frequent repairs, 
resulting from fires, decay, and age, some of these trusses 
still bore the mark of Constantine's name. They were 
splendid specimens of timber. Filippo Bonanni, whose 
description of S. Peter's deserves more credit than all the 
rest together, except Grimaldi's manuscripts, 1 says that on 
February 21, 1606, he examined and measured the hori- 
zontal beam of the first truss from the fayade, which Carlo 
Maderno had just lowered to the floor; it was seventy- 
seven feet long and three feet thick. The same writer 
copies from a manuscript diary of Rutilio Alberini, dated 
1339, the following story relating to the same roof : " Pope 
Benedict XII. (1334-1342) has spent eighty thousand 
gold florins in repairing the roof of S. Peter's, his head 
carpenter being maestro Ballo da Colonna. A brave man 
he was, capable of lowering and lifting those tremendous 
beams as if they were motes, and standing on them while 
in motion. I have seen one marked with the name of the 
builder of the church (CONstantine) ; it was so huge that 
all kinds of animals had bored their holes and nests in it. 
The holes looked like small caverns, many yards long, and 
gave shelter to thousands of rats." Grimaldi climbed the 
roof at the beginning of 1606, and describes it as made of 

1 Numismata summorum pontificum templi vaticani fabricam indicantia, by Phi- 
lippus Bonanni. Rome, 1696. 


three kinds of tiles, bronze, brick, and lead. The tiles of 
gilt bronze were cast in the tune of the emperor Hadrian 
for the roof of the Temple of Venus and Rome. Pope 
Honorius I. (625-640) was aUowed by Heraclius to make 
use of them for S. Peter's. The brick tiles were all 
stamped with the seal of King Theodoric, or with the 
motto BONO ROM^E (for the good of Rome). The lead 
sheets bore the names of various Popes, from Innocent 
III. (1130-1138) to Benedict XII. AU these precious 
materials for the chronology and history of the basilica 
have disappeared, save a few planks from the roof, with 
which the doors of the modern church were made. 

Another sight must have struck the pilgrim as he first 
crossed the threshold, that of the " triumphal arch " be- 
tween the nave and the transept, glistening with golden 
mosaics. We owe to Prof. A. L. Frothingham, Jr., of Bal- 
timore, the knowledge of this work of art, he having found 
the description of it by cardinal Jacobacci in his book " De 
Concilio " (1538). The mosaics represented the emperor 
Constantine being presented by S. Peter to the Saviour, to 
whom he was offering a model of the basilica. It was 
destroyed, with the dedicatory inscription, in 1525. 1 

The baptistery erected by Pope Damasus after the discov- 
ery of the springs of the Aqua Damasiana, and restored by 
Leo III. (795-816), stood at the end of the north transept. 2 
One of its inscriptions contained the verse 

" Una Petri sedes unum verumque lavacrum," 

an allusion both to the baptismal font and to the "chair of 
S. Peter's," upon which the Popes sat after baptizing the 

1 See Bullettino di archeologia cristiana, 1867, p. 33, sq. Idem, 1883, p. 90. 
a De Rossi : Inscriptiones christiance, ii. p. 428-430. Febeo : De identi- 
tate cathedra S. Petri, Rome, 1666. - Cancellieri : De secretaries, p. 1245. 


neophytes. The cathedra is mentioned by Optatus Mile- 
vitanus, Ennodius of Pavia, and by more recent authors, as 
having changed place many times, until Alexander VII., 

B A 

The Chair of S. Peter ; after photograph from original. A Oak wood, much de- 
cayed, and whittled by pilgrims. -B Acacia wood, inlaid with ivory carvings. 

with the help of Bernini and Paul Schor, placed it in a case 
of gilt bronze at the end of the apse. It has been minutely 
examined and described several times by Torrigio, Febeo, 
and de Rossi. I saw it in 1867. The framework and a few 
panels of the relic may possibly date from apostolic times ; 


but it was evidently largely restored after the peace of the 
Church. The upright supports at the four corners were 
whittled away by early pilgrims. 

Another work of art deserves attention, because its ori- 
gin, age, and style are still matters of controversy. I mean 
the bronze statue of S. Peter (see p. 142) placed against 
the right wall of the nave, near the S. Andrew of Francis 
de Quesnoy. Without attempting a discussion which would 
be inconsistent with the spirit of this book, I can safely 
state that the theories suggested by modern Petrographists, 
from Torrigio to Bartolini, deserve no credit. The statue 
is not the Capitoline Jupiter transformed into an apostle ; 
nor was it cast with the bronze of that figure ; it never held 
the thunderbolt in the place of the keys of heaven. The 
statue was cast as a portrait of S. Peter ; the head belongs 
to the body ; the keys and the uplifted fingers of the right 
hand are essential and genuine details of the original com- 
position. The difficulty, and it is a great one, consists in 
stating its age. There is no doubt that Christian sculp- 
tors modelled excellent portrait-statues in the second and 
third centuries : as is proved by that of Hippolytus (see p. 
143), discovered in 1551 in the Via Tiburtina, and now in 
the Lateran Museum, a work of the time of Alexander 

There is no doubt also that there is a great similarity 
between the two, in the attitude and inclination of the 
body, the position of the feet, the style of dress, and even 
the lines of the folds. But portrait-statues of bronze may 
belong to any age ; because, while the sculptor in marble 
is obliged to produce a work of his own hands and concep- 
tion, and the date of a marble statue can therefore be de- 
termined by comparison with other well-known works, 
the caster in bronze can easily reproduce specimens of 



earlier and better times by taking a mould from a good 
original, altering the features slightly, and then casting it in 
excellent bronze. This seems to be the case with this cele- 
brated image. I know that the current opinion makes it 
contemporary with the erection of Constantine's basilica ; 
but to this I cannot subscribe on account of the compara- 
tively modern shape of the keys. One of two things must 

Bronze Statue of S. Peter. 

be true, either that these keys are a comparatively recent 
addition, in which case the statue may be a work of the 
fourth century, or they were cast together with the figure. 
If the latter be the fact the statue is of a comparatively 
recent age. Doubts on the subject might be dispelled by 
a careful examination of these crucial details, which I have 
not been able to undertake to my satisfaction. 



The destruction of old S. Peter's is one of the saddest 
events in the history of the ruin of Rome. It was done at 
two periods and in two sections, a cross wall being raised in 
the mean time in the middle of the church to allow divine 
service to proceed without interruption, while the destruc- 
tion and the rebuilding of each half was accomplished in 
successive stages. 

Statue of S. Hippolytus. 

The work began April 18, 1506, under Julius II. It 
took exactly one century to finish the western section, from 
the partition wall to the apse. The demolition of the 
eastern section began February 21, 1606. Nine years later, 
on Palm Sunday, April 12, 1615, the jubilant multitudes 
witnessed the disappearance of the partition wall, and beheld 
for the first time the new temple in all its glory. 


It seems that Paul V., Borghese, to whom the completion 
of the great work is due, could not help feeling a pang of 
remorse in wiping out forever the remains of the Constan- 
tinian basilica. He wanted the sacred college to share the 
responsibility for the deed, and summoned a consistory for 
September 26, 1605, to lay the case before the cardinals. 
The report revealed a remarkable state of things. It seems 
that while the foundations of the right side of the church 
built by Constantine had firmly withstood the weight and 
strain imposed upon them, the foundation of the left side, 
that is, the three walls of the circus of Caligula, which had 
been built for a different purpose, had yielded to the pressure 
so that the whole church, with its four rows of columns, 
was bending sideways from right to left, to the extent of 
three feet seven inches. The report stated that this inclina- 
tion could be noticed from the fact that the frescoes of the 
left wall were covered with a thick layer of dust ; it also 
stated that the ends of the great beams supporting the roof 
were all rotten and no longer capable of bearing their 
burden. Then cardinal Cosentino, the dean of the chapter, 
rose to say that, only a few days before, while mass was 
being said at the altar of S. Maria della Colonna, a heavy 
stone had fallen from the window above, and scattered the 
congregation. The vote of the sacred college was a foregone 
conclusion. The sentence of death was passed upon the 
last remains of old S. Peter's; a committee of eight car- 
dinals was appointed to preside over the new building, and 
nine architects were invited to compete for the design. 
These were Giovanni and Domenico Fontana, Flaminio Pon- 
zio, Carlo Maderno, Geronimo Rainaldi, Nicola Braconi da 
Como, Ottavio Turiano, Giovanni Antonio Dosio, and Lu- 
dovico Cigoli. The competition was won by Carlo Maderno, 
much to the regret of the Pope, who was manifestly in favor 


of his own architect, Flaminio Ponzio. The execution of 
the work was marked by an extraordinary accident. On 
Friday, August 27, 1610, a cloud-burst swept the city with 
such violence that the volume of water which accumulated 
on the terrace above the basilica, finding no outlet but the 
winding staircases which pierced the thickness of the walls, 
rushed down into the nave in roaring torrents and inun- 
dated it to a depth of several inches. The Confession and 
tomb of the apostle were saved only by the strength of the 
bronze door. 

It is very interesting to follow the progress of the work 
in Grimaldi's diary, to witness with him the opening and 
destruction of every tomb worthy of note, and to make the 
inventory of its contents. The monuments were mostly 
pagan sarcophagi, or bath basins, cut in precious marbles ; 
the bodies of Popes were wrapped in rich robes, and wore 
the " ring of the fisherman " on the forefinger. Innocent 
VIII., Giovanni Battista Cibo (1484-1492), was folded in 
an embroidered Persian cloth ; Marcellus II., Cervini (1555), 
wore a golden mitre; Hadrian IV., Breakspeare (1154- 
1159), is described as an undersized man, wearing slippers of 
Turkish make, and a ring with a large emerald. Callixtus 
III. and Alexander VI., both of the Borgia family, have 
been twice disturbed in their common grave : the first time 
by Sixtus V., when he removed the obelisk from the spina of 
the circus to the piazza ; the second by Paul V. on Satur- 
day, January 30, 1610, when their bodies were removed to 
the Spanish church of Montserrat, with the help of the 
marquis of Billena, ambassador of Philip III., and of cardi- 
nal Capata. 

Grimaldi asserts that Michelangelo's plan of a Greek 
cross had not only been designed on paper, but actually 
begun. When Pope Borghese and Carlo Maderno deter- 


mined upon the Latin cross, not only the foundations of the 
front had been finished according to Michelangelo's design, 
but the front itself, with its coating of travertine, had been 
built to the height of several feet. The construction of the 
dome was begun on Friday, July 15, 1588, at 4 p. M. The 
first block of travertine was placed in situ at 8 p. M. of the 
thirtieth. The cylindrical portion or drum (tamburo) which 
supports the dome proper was finished at midnight of De- 
cember 17, of the same year, a marvellous feat to have ac- 
complished. The dome itself was begun five days later, 
and finished in seventeen months. If we remember that 
the experts of the age had estimated ten years as the time 
required to accomplish the work, and one million gold scudi 
as the cost, we wonder at the power of will of Sixtus V., 
who did it in two years and spent only one fifth of the 
stated sum. 1 He foresaw that the political persecution 
from the crown of Spain and the daily assaults, almost 
brutal in their nature, which he had to endure from count 
d'Olivare, the Spanish ambassador, would shorten his days, 
and consequently manifested but one desire : that the dome 
and the other great works undertaken for the embellish- 
ment and sanitation of the city should be finished before 
his death. Six hundred skilled craftsmen were enlisted to 
push the work of the dome night and day ; they were ex- 
cused from attending divine service on feast days, Sundays 
excepted. We may form an idea of the haste felt by all 
concerned in the enterprise, and of their determination 
to sacrifice all other interests to speed, by the following 
anecdote. The masons, being once in need of another re- 
ceptacle for water, laid their hands on the tomb of Pope 
Urban VI., dragged the marble sarcophagus under the dome 

1 But Sixtus V. (f 1590) did not complete the lantern surmounting the 
dome, upon which the gilded cross was placed November 18, 1593. 


on the edge of a lime-pit, and emptied it of its contents. 
The golden ring was given to Giacomo della Porta, the 
architect, the bones were put aside in a corner of the build- 
ing, and the coffin was used as a tank from 1588 to 1615. 

When we consider that the building-materials stones, 
bricks, timber, cement, and water had to be lifted to a 
height of four hundred feet, it is no wonder that five hun- 
dred thousand pounds of rope should have been consumed, 
and fifteen tons of iron. The dome was built on a frame- 
work of most ingenious design, resting on the cornice of the 
drum so lightly that it seemed suspended in mid air. One 
thousand two hundred large beams were employed in it. 

Fea and Winckelman assert that the lead sheets which 
cover the dome must be renewed eight or ten times in a 
century. Winckelman attributes their rapid decay to the 
corrosive action of the sirocco wind ; Fea to the variations 
in temperature, which cause the lead to melt in summer, and 
crack in winter. 

The size and height, the number of columns, altars, 
statues, and pictures, in short, the mirabilia of S. Peter's, 
have been greatly exaggerated. There is no necessity 
of exaggeration when the truth is in itself so astonishing. 
Readers fond of statistics may consult the works of Bricco- 
lani and Visconti. 1 The basilica is approached by a square 
1256 feet in diameter. The nave is six hundred and thir- 
teen feet long, eighty-eight wide, one hundred and thirty- 
three high ; the transept is four hundred and forty-nine 
feet long. The cornice and the mosaic inscription of the 
frieze are 1943 feet long. The dome towers to the height 
of four hundred and forty-eight feet above the pavement, 
with a diameter on the interior of 139.9 feet, a trifle less 

1 Vincenzo Briccolani : Descrizione della basilica vaticana, third ed. Roma, 
1816. Pietro Ercole Visconti : Metrologia vaticana. Roma, 1828. 


than that of the Pantheon. The letters on the frieze are 
four feet eight inches high. The old church contained sixty- 
eight altars and two hundred and sixty-eight columns ; while 
the modern one contains forty-six altars, before which 
one hundred and twenty-one lamps are burning day and 
night, and seven hundred and forty-eight columns, of 
marble, stone and bronze. The statues number three hun- 
dred and eighty-six, the windows two hundred and ninety. 

It is easy to imagine to what surprising effects of light 
and shade such vastness of proportion lends itself on the 
occasion of illuminations. These were made both inside 
(Holy Thursday and Good Friday) and outside (Easter, 
and June 29). The outside illumination required the use 
of forty-four hundred lanterns, and of seven hundred and 
ninety-one torches, and the help of three hundred and sixty- 
five men. It has not been seen since 1870. I have heard 
from old friends who remember the illumination of the 
interior, which was given up more than half a century ago, 
that no sight could be more impressive. In the darkness 
of the night, a cross studded with thirteen hundred and 
eighty lights shone like a meteor at a prodigious height, 
while the multitude crowding the church knelt and prayed 
in silent rapture. 

Before leaving the Vatican let me answer a doubt which 
may naturally have occurred to the mind of the reader, as 
it has long perplexed the author. After the many vicissi- 
tudes to which the place has been subject, from the time of 
Elagabalus to the pillage of the constable de Bourbon, 
can we be sure that the body of the founder of the Roman 
Church is still lying in its grave under the great dome of 
Michelangelo, under the canopy of Urban VIII., under the 
high altar of Clement VIII. ? After considering the case 
from its various aspects, and weighing all the circumstances 


which have attended each of the barbaric invasions, I can- 
not see any reason why we should disbelieve the popular 
opinion. The tombs of S. Peter and S. Paul have been ex- 
posed but once to imminent danger, and that happened in 
846, when the Saracens took possession of their respective 
churches and plundered them at leisure. Suppose the cru- 
saders had taken possession of Mecca : their first impulse 
would have been to wipe the tomb of the Prophet from the 
face of the earth, unless the keepers of the Kaabah, warned 
of their approach, had time to conceal or protect the grave 
by one means or another. Unfortunately, we know very 
little about the Saracenic invasion of 846 ; still it seems 
certain that Pope Sergius II. and the Romans were warned 
days or weeks beforehand of the landing of the infidels, 
by a despatch from the island of Corsica. Inasmuch as 
the churches of S. Peter and S. Paul were absolutely de- 
fenceless, in their outlying positions, I am sure that steps 
were taken to conceal or wall in the entrance to the crypts 
and the crypts themselves, unless the tombs were removed 
bodily to shelter within the city walls. An argument, very 
little known but of great value, seems 'to prove that the 
relics were saved. 

The " Liber Pontificalis " describes, among the gifts of 
Constantine, a cross of pure gold, weighing one hundred 
and fifty pounds, which he placed over the gold lid of the 
coffin. The golden cross bore the following inscription in 
niello work, " Constantine the emperor and Helena the 
empress have richly decorated this royal crypt, and the 
basilica which shelters it." If this precious object is there, 
the remains must a fortiori be there also. Here comes the 
decisive test. In the spring of 1594, while Giacomo della 
Porta was levelling the floor of the church above the Con- 
fession, removing at the same time the foundations of the 


Ciborium of Julius II., the ground gave way, and he saw 
through the opening what nobody had beheld since the 
time of Sergius II., the grave of S. Peter, and upon it 
the golden cross of Constantine. On hearing of the dis- 
covery, Pope Clement VIII., accompanied by cardinals Bel- 
larmino, Antoniano, and Sfrondato, descended to the Con- 
fession, and with the help of a torch, which Giacomo della 
Porta had lowered into the hollow space below, could see 
with his own eyes and could show to his followers the cross, 
inscribed with the names of Constantine and Helena. The 
impression produced upon the Pope by this wonderful sight 
was so great that he caused the opening to be closed at 
once. The event is attested not only by a manuscript depo- 
sition of Torrigio, but also by the present aspect of the 
place. The materials with which Clement VIII. sealed the 
opening, and rendered the tomb once more invisible and 
inaccessible, can still be seen through the " cataract " below 
the altar. 

Wonder has been manifested at the behavior of Con- 
stantine towards S. Paul, whose basilica at the second mile- 
stone of the Via Ostiensis appears like a pigmy structure in 
comparison to that of S. Peter. Constantine had no in- 
tention of placing S. Paul in an inferior rank, or of show- 
ing less honor to his memory. He was compelled by local 
circumstances to raise a much smaller building to this 
apostle. As before stated, there were three rules which 
builders of sacred memorial edifices had to observe : first, 
that the tomb-altar of the saint in whose honor the build- 
ing was to be erected should not be molested or moved 
from its original place either vertically or horizontally ; 
second, that the edifice should be adapted to the tomb so as 
to give it a place of honor in the centre of the apse ; third, 




f * * 







The original structure of Constantine in black, that of Theodosius and Honorius shaded 


that the apse and the front of the edifice should look to- 
wards the east. The position of S. Peter's tomb in relation 
to the circus of Nero and the cliffs of the Vatican was such 
as to give the builders of the basilica perfect freedom 
to extend it in all directions, especially lengthwise. This 
was not the case with that of S. Paul, which was only a 
hundred feet distant from an obstacle which could not be 
overcome, the high-road to Ostia, the channel by which 
the city of Rome was fed. The road to Ostia ran east 
of the grave ; hence the necessity of limiting the size of 
the church within these two points. Discoveries made 
in 1834, when the foundations of the present apse were 
strengthened, and again in 1850, when the foundations 
of the baldacchino of Pius IX. were laid, 1 have enabled 
Signer Paolo Belloni, the architect, to reconstruct the plan 
of the original building of Constantine. His memoir 2 is 
full of useful information well illustrated. One of his 
illustrations, representing the comparative plans of the 
original and modern churches, is here reproduced. 

The plan needs no comment, but one particular cannot 
be omitted. In the course of the excavations for the bal- 
dacchino, the remains of classical columbaria were found a 
few feet from the grave of the apostle, with their inscrip- 
tions still in place. He must, therefore, have been buried, 
like S. Peter, in a private area, surrounded by pagan tombs. 

In 386 Valentinian, Theodosius, and Arcadius asked 
Flavius Sallustius, prefect of the city, to submit to the 

1 The baldacchino raised with questionable taste above the ciboriuin of 
Arnolfo di Cambio, a pupil of Nicol6 Pisano (A. D. 1285), rests on four col- 
umns of Oriental alabaster, from the quarries of Sannhur, in the district of the 
Beni Souef, offered to Gregory XVI. by Mohammed Ali, viceroy of Egypt. 
The pedestals are inlaid with malachite, a present from the emperor Nicholas 
of Russia. 

2 Sulla grandezza e disposizione della primitiva basilica ostiense. Roma. 1835. 



Senate and the people a scheme for the reconstruction a 
fundamentis of the basilica, so as to make it equal in size 
and beauty to that of the Vatican. To fulfil this project, 
without disturbing either the grave of the apostle or the 
road to Ostia, there was but one thing to do ; this was to 
change the orientation of the church from east to west, and 
extend it at pleasure towards the bank of the Tiber. The 
consent of the S. P. Q. R. was easily obtained, and the 
magnificent temple, which lasted until the fire of July 15, 

The Burning of S. Paul's, July 15, 1823. (From an old print.) 

1823, was thus raised so as to face in a direction opposite 
to the usual one. 

The name of Pope Siricius, who was then governing the 
church, can still be seen engraved on one of the columns, 
formerly in the left aisle, now in the north vestibule : 

Another rare monument of historical value, in spite of 


its humble origin, came to light at the beginning of the 
last century, and was published by Bianchini and Muratori, 
who failed, however, to explain its meaning. It is a brass 
label once tied to a dog's collar, with the inscription " [I 
belong] to the basilica of Paul the apostle, rebuilt by our 
three sovereigns [Valentinianus, Theodosius, and Arcadius]. 
I am in charge of Felicissimus the shepherd." Such in- 
scriptions were engraved on the collars of dogs, and slaves, 
so that in case they ran away from their masters, their legal 
ownership would be known at once by the police, or whoever 
chanced to catch them. 

In course of time the basilica became the centre of a 
considerable group of buildings, especially of monasteries 
and convents. There were also chapels, baths, fountains, 
hostelries, porticoes, cemeteries, orchards, farmhouses, 
stables, and mills. This small suburban city was exposed 
to a constant danger of pillage, on account of its location 
on the high-road from the coast. In 846 it was ransacked 
by the Saracens, before the Romans could come to the 
rescue. For these considerations, Pope John VIII. (872 
882) determined to put the church of S. Paul and its sur- 
roundings under shelter, and to raise a fort that could also 
command the approach to Rome from this most dangerous 

The construction of Johannipolis, by which the history 
of the classical and early mediaeval fortifications of Rome 
is brought to a close, is described by one document only : 
an inscription above the gate of the castle, which was copied 
first by Cola di Rienzo, and later by Pietro Sabino, pro- 
fessor of rhetoric in the Roman archigymnasium (Sapi- 
enza), towards the end of the fifteenth century. A few 
fragments of this remarkable document are still preserved 
in the cloister of the monastery. It states that Pope 


John VIII. raised a wall for the defence of the basilica 
of S. Paul's and the surrounding churches, convents, and 
hospices, in imitation of that built by Leo IV. for the 
protection of the Vatican suburb. The determination to 
fortify the sacred buildings at the second milestone of 
the Via Ostiensis was taken, as I have just said, in conse- 
quence of the inroads of the Saracens, which, under the 
pontificate of John, had become so frequent. The atroci- 
ties which marked their second landing on the Roman 
coast were so appalling that the whole of Europe was 
shaken with terror. Having failed in his attempt to secure 
help from Charles the Bald, John placed himself at the 
head of such scanty forces as he could gather from land 
and sea, under the pressure of events. Ships from several 
harbors in the Mediterranean met in the roads of Ostia ; 
and on hearing that the hostile fleet had sailed from the 
bay of Naples, the Pope set sail at once. The gallant little 
squadron confronted the infidels under the cliffs of Cape 
Circeo, and inflicted upon them such a bloody defeat that 
the danger was averted, at least for a time. The church 
galleys came back to the mouth of the Tiber, laden with a 
considerable booty. 

It seems that the advance fort of Johannipolis was fin- 
ished and consecrated by Pope John soon after the naval 
battle of Cape Circeo (A. D. 877), because the inscription 
above referred to speaks of him as a triumphant leader, 

The location of this fortified outpost could not have 
been more judiciously selected. It commanded the roads 
from Ostia, Laurentum, and Ardea, those, namely, from 
which the pirates could most easily approach the city. It 
commanded also the water-way by the Tiber, and the tow- 
paths on each of its banks. It is a great pity that no 


stone of this historical wall should be left standing. It 


saved the city from further invasions of the African pirates, 
as the agger of Servius Tullius had saved it, centuries 
before, from the attacks of the Carthaginians. I have ex- 
amined the ground between S. Paul's, the Fosso di Grotta 
Perfetta, the Vigna de Merode, at the back of the apse, and 
the banks of the river, without finding a trace of the forti- 
fication. I believe, however, that the wall which encloses 
the garden of the monastery on the south side runs on the 
same line with John's defences, and rests on their founda- 
tions. We must not wonder at the disappearance of 
Johannipolis, when we have proofs that even the quadri- 
portico, by which the basilica was entered from the river- 
side, has been allowed to disappear through the negligence 
and slovenliness of the monks. Pope Leo I. erected in the 
centre of the quadri-portico a fountain crowned by a 
Bacchic Kantharos, and wrote on its epistyle a brilliant 
epigram, inviting the faithful to purify themselves bodily 
and spiritually, before presenting themselves to the apostle 
within. When Cola di Rienzo visited the spot, towards the 
middle of the fourteenth century, the monument was still 
in good condition. He calls it " the vase of waters (can- 
tharus aquanim}, before the main entrance (of the church) 
of the blessed Paul." One century later the whole structure 
had become a heap of ruins. Fra Giocondo da Verona 
looked in vain for the inscription of Leo I. ; he could only 
find a fragment " lying among the nettles and thorns " 
(inter orticas et spineta). The same indifference was shown 
towards the edifices by which the basilica was surrounded. 
They fell, or were overthrown, one by one. 

In 1633, when Giovanni Severano wrote his book on the 
Seven Churches, only one bit of ruins could be identified, 
the door and apse of the church of S. Stephen, to which a 


powerful convent had once been attached. Stranger still 
is the total destruction of the portico, two thousand yards 
long, which connected the city gate the Porta Ostiensis 
with the basilica. This portico was supported by marble 
columns, one thousand at least, and its roof was covered 
with sheets of lead. Halfway between the gate and S. Paul's, 
it was intersected by a church, dedicated to an Egyptian 
martyr, S. Menna. The church of S. Menna, the portico, 
its thousand columns, even its foundation walls, have been 
totally destroyed. A document discovered by Armellini 
in the archives of the Vatican says that some faint traces 
of the building (vestigia et parietes) could be still rec- 
ognized in the time of Urban VI. This is the last men- 
tion made by an eye-witness. 

Here, also, we find the evidence of the gigantic work of 
destruction pursued for centuries by the Romans them- 
selves, which we have been in the habit of attributing to 
the barbarians alone. The barbarians have their share of 
responsibility in causing the abandonment and the desola- 
tion of the Campagna ; they may have looted and damaged 
some edifices, from which there was hope of a booty ; they 
may have profaned churches and oratories erected over the 
tombs of martyrs ; but the wholesale destruction, the oblit- 
eration of classical and mediaeval monuments, is the work of 
the Romans and of their successive rulers. To them, more 
than to the barbarians, we owe the present condition of the 
Campagna, in the midst of which Rome remains like an 
oasis in a barren solitude. 

S. Paul was executed on the Via Laurentina, near some 
springs called Aquce Salvice, where a memorial chapel was 
raised in the fifth century. Its foundations were discovered 
in 1867, under the present church of S. Paolo alle Tre 
Fontane (erected in the seventeenth century by Cardinal 



Aldobrandini) together with historical inscriptions written 
in Latin and Armenian. I have also to mention another 
curious discovery. The apocryphal Greek Acts of S. Paul, 
edited by Tischendorff, 1 assert that the apostle was beheaded 
near these springs under a stone pine. In 1875, while the 
Trappists, who are now intrusted with the care of the 
Abbey of the Tre Fontane, were excavating for the founda- 
tions of a water-tank behind the chapel, they found a mass 
of coins of Nero, together with several pine-cones fossilized 
by age, and by the pressure of the earth. 

Tombstone of S. Paul. 

The " Liber Pontificalis," i. 178, asserts that Constantine 
placed the body of S. Paul in a coffin of solid bronze ; but 
no visible trace of it is left. I had the privilege of exam- 
ining the actual grave December 1, 1891, lowering myself 
from the fenestella under the altar. I found myself on 
a flat surface, paved with slabs of marble, on one of which 
(placed negligently in a slanting direction) are engraved the 

1 Acta apost. apocrif. p. 1-39. Lipsise, 1851. 


The inscription belongs to the fourth century. It has 
been illustrated since by my kind and learned friend, Prof. 
H. Grisar, to whom I am indebted for much valuable infor- 
mation on subjects which do not come exactly within my 
line of studies. 1 

of sacred buildings has been splendidly illustrated by the 
discoveries made by Padre Germane dei Passionisti under 
the church of SS. Giovanni e Paolo on the Cselian. The 
good work of Padre Germano is not unknown in America, 
thanks to Prof. A. L. Frothingham, who has described it 
in the " American Journal of Archaeology." The discov- 
erer himself will shortly publish a voluminous account with 
the title : La casa dei SS. Giovanni e Paolo sul monte 

The church has the place of honor in early itineraries of 
pilgrims, because of its peculiarity in containing a martyr's 
tomb within the walls of the city. William of Malmes- 
bury says : " Inside the city, on the Cselian hill, John and 
Paul, martyrs, lay in their own house, which was made 
into a church after their death." The Salzburg Itinerary 
describes the church as " very large and beautiful." The 
account of the lives of the two brothers, and of their 
execution under Julian the apostate, is apocryphal ; but no 
one who has seen Padre Germano's excavations will deny 
the essential fact, that in this noble Roman house of the 
Cselian some one was put to death for his faith, and that 
over the room in which the event took place a church was 
built at a later age. 

Tradition attributes its construction to Pammachius, son 

1 See : Die Grdbplatte des h. Paulus : neue Studien iiber die romischen Apostel- 
grdber, von H. Grisar, S. I. In the Romische Quartalschrift, 1892. Heft. I., II. 


of Bizantes, the charitable senator, and friend of S. Jerome, 
who built an hospice at Porto for the use of pilgrims land- 
ing from countries beyond the sea. The church, according 
to the rule, was not named from the martyrs to whose mem- 
ory it was sacred, but from the founders ; and it became 
known first as the Titulus Bizantis, later as the Titulus 

Strictly speaking, there was no transformation, but a 
mere superstructure. The Roman house was left intact, 
with its spacious halls, and classical decorations, to be used 
as a crypt, while the basilica was raised to a much higher 
level. The murder of the saints seems to have taken place 
in a narrow passage (fauces) not far from the tablinum or 
reception room. Here we see the fenestella confessionis, 
by means of which pilgrims were allowed to behold and 
touch the venerable grave. Two things strike the modern 
visitor : the variety of the fresco decorations of the house, 
which begin with pagan genii holding festoons, a tolerably 
good work of the third century, and end with stiff, un- 
canny representations of the Passion, of the ninth and tenth 
centuries ; second, the fact that such an important monument 
should have been buried and forgotten, so that its discovery 
by Padre Germano took us by surprise. The upper church, 
the "beautiful and great" Titulus Pammachii, was treated 
with almost equal contempt by Cardinal Camillo Paolucci 
and his architect, Antonio Canevari, who " modernized " it 
at the end of the seventeenth century. The " spirit of the 
age " which lured these seicento men into committing such 
archaeological and artistic blunders, placed no boundary 
upon its evil work. It attacked equaUy the great mediaeval 
structures and their contents. To quote one instance : 
in the vestibule of this church was the tomb of Luke, 
cardinal of SS. Giovanni e Paolo, the friend of S. Bernard, 


the legate at the council of Clermont. It was composed of 
an ancient sarcophagus, resting on two marble lions. Dur- 
ing the " modernization " of the seventeenth century, the 
coffin was turned into a water-trough, and cut half-way 
across so as to make it fit the place for which it was in- 
tended. Had it not happened that the inscription was 
copied by Bruzio before the mutilation of the coffin, we 
should have remained entirely ignorant of its connection 
with the illustrious friend of S. Bernard. But let us for- 
get these sad experiences, and step into the beautiful gar- 
den of the convent, which, large as it is, with its dreamy 
avenues of ilexes, its groves of cypress and laurel, and its 
luxuriant vineyards, is all included within the limits of one 
ancient temple, that of the Emperor Claudius (Claudium). 
The view from the edge of the lofty platform over the 
Coliseum, the Temple of Venus and Rome, and the slopes 
of the Palatine, is fascinating beyond conception, and as 
beautiful as a dream. No better place could be chosen for 
the study of the next class of Roman places of worship, 
which comprises : 

The experience gained in twenty-five years of active ex- 
ploration in ancient Rome, both above and below ground, 
enables me to state that every pagan building which was 
capable of giving shelter to a congregation was transformed, 
at one time or another, into a church or a chapel. Smaller 
edifices, like temples and mausoleums, were adapted bodily 
to their new office, while the larger ones, such as thermae, 
theatres, circuses, and barracks were occupied in parts only. 
Let not the student be deceived by the appearance of ruins 
which seem to escape this rule ; if he submits them to a 
patient investigation, he will always discover traces of the 


work of the Christians. How many times have I studied 
the so-called Temple of the Sibyl at Tivoli without detecting 
the faint traces of the figures of the Saviour and the four 
saints, which now appear to me distinctly visible in the 
niche of the cella. And again, how many times have I 
looked at the Temple of Neptune in the Piazza, di Pietra, 1 
without noticing a tiny figure of Christ on the cross in one 
of the flutings of the fourth column on the left. It seems 
to me that, at one period, there must have been more 
churches than habitations in Rome. 

I shall ask the reader to walk over the Sacra Via from 
the foot of the Temple of Claudius, on the ruins of which 
we are still sitting, to the summit of the Capitol, and see 
what changes time has wrought on the surroundings of this 
pathway of the gods. 

The Coliseum, which we meet first, on our right, was 
bristling with churches. There was one at the foot of the 
Colossus of the Sun, where the bodies of the two Persian 
martyrs, Abdon and Sennen, were exposed at the time of the 
persecution of Decius. There were four dedicated to the 
Saviour (S. Salvator in Tellure, de Trasi, de Insula, de 
rota Colisei), a sixth to S. James, a seventh to S. Agatha 
(ad caput Africce), besides other chapels and oratories 
within the amphitheatre itself. 

Proceeding towards the Summa Sacra Via and the Arch 
of Titus we find a church of S. Peter nestled in the ruins of 
the vestibule of the Temple of Venus (the S. Maria Nova 
of later times). 

Popular tradition connected this church with the alleged 
fall of Simon the magician, so vividly represented in 
Francesco Vanni's picture, in the Vatican, and two cavi- 
ties were pointed out in one of the paving^stones of the 

1 See chapter ii., p. 99. 


road, which were said to have been made by the knees of 
the apostle when he was imploring God to chastise the im- 
postor. The paving-stone is now kept in the church of S. 
Maria Nova. Before its removal from the original place it 
gave rise to a curious custom. People believed that rain- 
water collected in the two holes was a miracle-working 
remedy ; and crowds of ailing wretches gathered around 
the place at the approach of a shower. 

On the opposite side of the road, remains of a large 
church can still be seen at the foot of the Palatine, among 
the ruins of the baths attributed to Elagabalus. Higher 
up, on the platform once occupied by the " Gardens of 
Adonis " and now by the Vigna Barberini, we can visit the 
church of S. Sebastiano, formerly called that of S. Maria in 
Palatio or in Palladio. 

I am unable to locate exactly another famous church, 
that of S. Cesareus de Palatio, the private chapel which 
Christian emperors substituted for the classic Lararium 
(described in " Ancient Rome," p. 127). Here were placed 
the images of the Byzantine princes, sent from Constanti- 
nople to Rome, to represent in a certain way their rights. 
The custody of these was intrusted to a body of Greek 
monks. Their monastery became at one time very im- 
portant, and was chosen by ambassadors and envoys from 
the east and from southern Italy as their residence during 
their stay in Rome. 

The basilica of Constantine is another example of this 
transformation. Nibby, who conducted the excavations of 
1828, saw traces of religious paintings in the apse of the 
eastern aisle. They are scarcely discernible now. 

The temple of the Sacra Urbs, and the heroon of Romu- 
lus, son of Maxentius, became a joint church of SS. Cosma 
and Damiano, during the pontificate of Felix IV. (526- 


530); the Temple of Antoninus and Faustina was dedi- 
cated to S. Lorenzo ; the Janus Quadrifrons to S. Diony- 
sius, the hall of the Senate to S. Adriano, the offices of the 
Senate to S. Martino, the Mamertine prison to S. Peter, the 
Temple of Concord to SS. Sergio e Bacco. 

The same practice was followed with regard to the edifices 
on the opposite side of the road. The Virgin Mary was 
worshipped in the Templum divi Augusti, in the place of 
the deified founder of the empire ; and also in the Basilica 
Julia, the northern vestibule of which was transformed into 
the church of S. Maria de Foro. Finally, the ^Erarium 
Saturni transmitted its classic denomination to the church 
of S. Salvatore in ^Erario. 

In drawing sheet no. xxix. of my archaeological map of 
Rome, which represents the region of the Sacra Via, I have 
had as much to do with Christian edifices as with pagan 

rums. 1 

commemorative chapel erected in Rome is perhaps contem- 
porary with the Arch of Constantine, and refers to the same 
event, the victory gained by the first Christian emperor 
over Maxentius in the plain of the Tiber, near Torre di 

The existence of this chapel, called the Oratorium Sanctce 
Crucis (" the oratory of the holy cross "), is frequently 
alluded to in early church documents. The name must 
have originated from a monumental cross erected on the 

1 My map of ancient Rome (scale 1 : 1000), which has cost me twenty-five 
years of labor, will be published in forty-six sheets measuring 0.90 m. X 0.60m. 
each. The first, comprising sheets nos. iii., x., xvii., xxiii., xxx., and xxxvi. 
(from the gardens of Sallust to the Macellum Magnum on the Cseliac), will 
be ready in May, 1893. The plan is drawn in five colors, referring respectively 
to the royal, republican, imperial, mediaeval and modern epochs. 



battlefield, in memory of Constantino's vision of the " sign 
of Christ" (the monogram ^). In the procession which 
took place on S. Mark's day, from the church of S. Lorenzo 

Statue of Constantino the Great. 

in Lucina to S. Peter's, through the Via Flaminia and across 
the Ponte Milvio, the first halt was made at S. Valentine's, 1 
the second at the chapel of the Holy Cross. The " Liber 

1 The basilica of S. Valentine, discovered in 1886, by our archaeological 
commission, is mentioned on p. 120 of the present volume. 


Pontificalis," in the Life of Leo III. (795-816), speaks of 
this strange ceremony. It was called the " great litany," 
and occurred on the twenty-third of April, the day on which 
the Romans used to celebrate the Robigalia. The Chris- 
tian litany and the pagan ceremony had the same pur- 
pose, that of securing the blessing of Heaven upon the 
fields, and averting from them the pernicious effects of late 
spring frosts. The rites were nearly the same, the princi- 
pal one being a procession which left Rome by the Porta 
Flaminia, and passed across the Ponte Milvio to a suburban 
sanctuary. The end of the pagan pilgrimage was a temple 
of the god Robigus or the goddess Robigo, situated at the 
fifth milestone of the Via Claudia ; that of the Christian 
the monumental cross near the same road, and ultimately 
the basilica of S. Peter's. In course of time the oratory 
and cross lost their genuine meaning ; they were thought 
to mark the spot on which the miraculous vision had ap- 
peared to Constantine on the eve of battle. This was not 
the case, however, because Eusebius, to whom the emperor 
himself described the event, says that the 1 luminous sign 
appeared to him before the commencement of military 
operations, which means before he crossed the Alps and 
took possession of Susa, Turin, and Vercelli. But, if the 
heavenly apparition of the " sign of Christ " on Monte 
Mario is historically without foundation, the existence of 
the oratory is not. Towards the end of the twelfth cen- 
tury it was in a ruinous state, and converted probably into 
a stable or a hay-loft. The last archaeologist who mentions 
it is eroux d'Agincourt. He describes the ruins " on the 
slopes of the hill of the Villa Madama," and gives a sketch of 
the paintings which appeared here and there on the broken 
walls. Armellini and myself have explored the beautiful 
woods of the Villa Madama in all directions without find- 


ing a trace of the building. It was probably destroyed in 
the disturbances of 1849. 

The noble house of the Millini, to whom the Mons Vati- 
canus owes its present name of Monte Mario (from Mario 
Millini, son of Pietro and grandson of Saba), while build- 
ing their villa on the highest ridge, in 1470, raised a chapel 
in place of the one which had been profaned, and called it 
Santa Croce a Monte Mario. It was held in great venera- 
tion by the Romans, who made pilgrimages to it in times of 
public calamities, such as the famous plague (contagio- 
moria) of Alexander VII. I well remember this interest- 
ing little church, before its disappearance in 1880. Its 
pavement, according to the practice of the time, was inlaid 
with inscriptions from the catacombs, whole or in fragments, 
twenty-four of which are now preserved in the Lipsano- 
theca (Palazzo del Vicario, Piazza di S. Agostino). They 
contain a curious list of names, like Putiolanus (so called 
from his birth-place, Pozzuoli) or Stercoria, a name which 
seems to have been taken up by devout people, as a sign of 
humility. Another inscription over the door of the sacristy 
spoke of a restoration of the building in 1696 ; a third, 
composed by Pietro and Mario Mellini in 1470, sang the 
praises of the cross. The most important record, however, 
was engraved on a slab of marble at the left of the en- 
trance : 

" This oratory was first built in the year of the jubilee, 
MCCCL, by Pontius, bishop of Orvieto and vicar of the 
city of Rome." 

The inscription, besides proving that the removal of the 
oratory from its original site to the summit of the moun- 
tain had been accomplished before the age of the Millini, 
is the only historical record of the jubilee of 1350, which 
attracted to Rome enormous multitudes, so that pilgrims* 


camps had to be provided both inside and outside the walls. 
Petrarca and king Louis of Hungary (then on his way 
back from Apulia) were among the visitors. Bishop Pontius 
of Orvieto, Ponzio Perotti, is also an historical man. He 
was intrusted with the government of the city in conse- 
quence of the attempted assassination of his predecessor, 
cardinal Annibaldo, by a partisan of Cola di Eienzo. 

This chapel, to which so many interesting souvenirs were 
attached, which owed its origin to one of the greatest bat- 
tles in history, which commanded one of the finest pano- 
ramas in the world, is no more. It was sacrificed in 1880 
to the necessity of raising a fortress on the hill. No sign 
is left to mark its place. 



The death and burial of Augustus. His will. The Monumentum 
Ancyranum. Description and history of his mausoleum. Its con- 
nection with the Colonnas and Cola di Rienzo. Other members of 
the imperial family who were buried in it. The story of the flight 
and death of Nero. His place of burial. Ecloge, his nurse. The 
tomb of the Flavian emperors, Templum Flaviae Gentis. Its situation 
and surroundings. The death of Domitian. The mausolea of the 
Christian emperors. The tomb and sarcophagus of Helena, mother 
of Constantine. Those of Constantia. The two rotundas built near 
St. Peter's as imperial tombs. Discoveries made in them in the fif- 
teenth and sixteenth centuries. The priceless relics of Maria, wife of 
Honorius. Similar instances of treasure-trove in ancient and modern 

THE MAUSOLEUM OF AUGUSTUS. Ancient writers have 
left detailed accounts of the last hours of the founder of the 
Roman Empire. On the morning of the nineteenth of 
August, anno Domini 14, feeling the approach of death, Au- 
gustus inquired of the attendants whether the outside world 
was concerned at his precarious condition ; then he asked 
for a mirror, and composed his body for the supreme event, 
as he had long before prepared his mind and soul. Of his 
friends and the officers of the household he took leave in a 
cheerful spirit ; and as soon as he was left alone -with Livia 
he passed away in her arms, saying, " Livia, may you live 
happily, as we have lived together from the day of our mar- 

1 See Otto Hirscbfeld : Die kaiserlichen Grdbstdtten in Rom, in the Sitzungs' 
berichte der kgl. Akademie der Wissenschaften. Berlin, 1866. 


riage." His death was of the kind he had desired, peaceful 
and painless. EvOavaoiav (an easy end) was the word he 
used longingly, whenever he heard of any one dying without 
agony. Once only in the course of the malady he seemed to 
lose consciousness, when he complained of forty young men 
crowding around the bed to steal away his body. More than 
a wandering mind, Suetonius thinks this was a vision or pre- 
monition of an approaching event, because forty praetorian 
soldiers were really to carry the bier in the funeral march. 
The great man died at Nola, in the same villa and room 
in which his father, Octavius, had passed away years before. 
His body was transported from village to village, from city 
to city, along the Appian Way, by the members of each 
municipal council in turn ; and, to avoid the intense heat 
of the Campanian and Pontine lowlands, the procession 
marched only at night, the bier being kept in the local 
sanctuaries or town halls during the day. Thus Bovillae 
(le Frattocchie, at the foot of the Alban hills) was reached. 
The whole Roman knighthood was here in attendance ; the 
body was ca'rried in triumph, as it were, over the last ten 
miles of the road, and deposited in the vestibule of the 
palace on the Palatine Hill. 

Meanwhile proposals were made and resolutions passed 
in the Senate, which went far beyond anything that had 
ever been suggested in such contingencies of state. One of 
the members recommended that the statue of Victory which 
stood in the Curia should be carried before the hearse, that 
lamentations should be sung by the sons and daughters of 
the senators, and that the pageant, on its way to the Campus 
Martius, should march through the Porta Triumphalis, which 
was never opened except to victorious generals. Another 
member suggested that all classes of citizens should put aside 
their golden ornaments and all articles of jewelry, and wear 



only iron finger-rings ; a third, that the name of "August " 
should be transferred to the month of September, because 

Military funeral evolutions ; from the base of the Column of Antoninus. 

the lamented hero was born in the latter and had died in 
the former. These exaggerated expressions of grief were 
suppressed, however, and the funeral was organized with the 
grandest simplicity. The body was placed in the Forum, in 
front of the Temple of Julius Csesar, from the rostra of 
which Tiberius read a panegyric. Another oration was 
delivered at the opposite end of the Forum by Drusus, the 
adopted son of Tiberius. Then the senators themselves 
placed the bier on their shoulders, leaving the city by the 
Porta Triumphalis. The procession formed by the Senate, 
the high priesthood, the knights, the army, and the whole 
population skirted the Circus Flaminius and the Septa Julia, 
and by the ViaFlaminia reached theustrinum, or sacred en- 



closure for cremation. As soon as the body had been placed 
on the pyre the " march past " began in the same order, the 
officers and men of the various army corps making their 
evolutions or decursiones. This word, taken in a general 

* O 

sense, means a long march by soldiers made in a given time 
and without quitting the ranks ; when ref erring to a funeral 
ceremony it signifies special evolutions performed three 
times, in honor of distinguished generals. A decursio 
is represented on the base of the column of Antoninus 
Pius, now in the Giardino della Pigna. In that which I am 
describing, officers and men threw on the pyre the decora- 
tions which Augustus had awarded them for their bravery 
in battle. The privilege of setting fire to the rogus was 


The Apotheosis of an Emperor ; from the base of the Column of Antoninus. 

granted to the captains of the legions whom he had led 
so often to victory. They approached with averted faces, 


and, uttering a last farewell, performed their act of duty 
and respect. The cremation accomplished, and while the 
glowing embers were being extinguished with wine and 
perfumed waters, an eagle rose from the ashes as if carry- 
ing the soul of the hero to Heaven. Livia and a few offi- 
cers watched the place for five days and nights, and finally 
collected the ashes in a precious urn, which they placed in 
the innermost crypt of the mausoleum which Augustus had 
built in the Campus Martius forty-two years before. 

Of this monument we have a description by Strabo, and 
ruins which substantiate the description in its main lines. 
It was composed of a circular basement of white marble, two 
hundred and twenty-five feet in diameter, which supported 
a cone of earth, planted with cypresses and evergreens. 
On the top of the mound the bronze statue of the emperor 
towered above the trees. 

This type of sepulchral structure dates almost from pre- 
historic times, and was in great favor with the Etruscans. 
The territories of Vulci, near the Ponte dell' Abbadia, and 
of Veii, near the Vaccareccia, are dotted with these mounds, 
which the peasantry call cocumelle. Augustus made the 
type popular among the Romans, as is proved by the large 
number of tumuli which date from his age, on the Via Sa- 
laria, the Via Labicana, and the Via Appia. 

His tomb was entered from the south, the entrance being 
flanked by monuments of great interest, such as the obelisks 
now in the Piazza del Quirinale and the Piazza di S. Maria 
Maggiore ; the copies of the decrees of the Senate in honor 
of the personages buried within ; and, above all, the Res 
gestce dim Augusti, a sort of political will, autobiography, 
and apology, the importance of which surpasses that of any 
other document relating to the history of the Roman Empire. 

This was written by Augustus towards the end of his 


life. He ordered his executors to have it engraved on 
bronze pillars on each side of the entrance to his mausoleum. 
That his will was duly executed by Livia, Tiberius, Drusus, 
and Germanicus, his heirs and trustees, is proved by the fre- 
quent aUusions to the document made by Suetonius and 
Velleius, and also by the copies which have come down to 
us, not from Rome or Italy, but from the remote provinces 
of Galatia and Pisidia. 

It was customary in ancient times to raise temples in 
honor of the rulers of the empire, and to ornament them 
with their images and eulogies. These were called Au- 
yustea or cedes Augusti et Romce in the western provinces, 
GstSaOTela in eastern or Greek-speaking countries. 1 Ancyra 
(Angora), the capital of Galatia, and Apollonia, the capi- 
tal of Pisidia, were the foremost among the Asiatic cities to 
pay this honor to the founder of the empire. 

The Ancyran temple owes its preservation to the Chris- 
tians, who made use of it as a church from the fourth to 
the fifteenth centuries, and also to the Turks, who have 
turned it into a mosque associated with the Hadji Beiram. 
The temple and its invaluable epigraphic treasures became 
known towards the middle of the sixteenth century. In 
1555 an embassy was sent by the emperor Ferdinand 
II. to Suleiman, the khalif, who was then residing at 
Amasia. 2 It so happened that the head of the mission, 
Ogier Ghislain Busbecq, and his assistant, Antony Wrantz, 
bishop of Agram, were fond of archaBological investigation. 
They were struck by the importance of the Augusteum at 

1 Visitors to Rome may form an idea of a fftfraffTelov from that found at 
Ostia, in 1889, in the barracks of the firemen. I have given an illustrated 
description of this remarkable discovery in the Melanges de VEcole franfaise 
de Rome, tome ix., 1889, and in the Notizie degli scavi, January- April, 1889. 

3 The birthplace of Mithridates the Great, and of the geographer Strabo ; 
it still retains its ancient name. 


Ancyra ; and with the help of their secretaries, they made 
a tolerably good copy of its inscriptions. Since 1555 the 
place has been visited many times, notably by Edmond 
Guillaume, in 1861, and by Humann, in 1882. 1 There are 
two copies of the will of Augustus engraved on the marble 
wall of the temple : one in Latin, which is in the pronaos, 
on either side of the door ; the other in Greek, on the outer 
wall of the cella. Both were transcribed (or translated) 
" from the original, engraved on the bronze pillars at the 
mausoleum in Rome." The document is divided into three 
parts, and thirty-five paragraphs. The first part describes 
the honors conferred on Augustus, military, civil, and 
sacerdotal ; the second gives the details of the expenses which 
he sustained for the benefit and welfare of the public ; the 
third relates his achievements in peace and war ; and some 
of the facts narrated are truly remarkable. He says, for 
instance, that the Roman citizens who fought under his 
orders and swore allegiance to him numbered five hundred 
thousand, and that more than three hundred thousand com- 
pleted the term of their engagement, and were honorably 
dismissed from the army. To each of these he gave either 
a piece of land, which he bought with his own money, or 
the means of purchasing it in other lands than those as- 
signed to military colonies. Since, at the time of his death, 
one hundred and sixty thousand Roman citizens were still 
serving under the flag, the number of those killed in battle, 
disabled by disease, or dismissed for misconduct, in the 
course of fifty-five years 2 is reduced to forty thousand. 
The percentage is surprisingly low, considering the defec- 

1 See Momnasen : Res gestce divi Augusti, 2d edition. Berlin, Weidmann, 

2 Augustus enrolled his first army in October of the year 41 B. c. He died 
in August, A. D. 14. 


tive organization of the military medical staff, and the 
length and hardships of the campaigns which were con- 
ducted in Italy (Mutina), Macedonia (Philippi), Acarnania 
(Actium), Sicily, Egypt, Spain, Germany, Armenia and 
other countries. The number of men-of-war of large ton- 
nage, which were captured, burnt, or sunk in battle, is 
stated at six hundred. In the naval engagement against 
Sextus Pompeius, off Naulochos, he sank twenty-eight ves- 
sels, and captured or burnt two hundred and fifty-five ; so 
that only seventeen out of a powerful fleet of three hun- 
dred could make their escape. 

Thrice he took the census of the citizens of Rome ; the 
first time in the year 29-28 B. c., when 4,063,000 souls 
were counted ; the second in the year 8 B. c., showing 
4,233,000; the third in 14 A. D., with 4,937,000. Under 
his peaceful rule, therefore, there was an increase of 
874,000 in the number of Roman citizens. He remarks 
with pride that, while from the beginning of the history of 
Rome to his own age the gate of the Temple of Janus had 
been shut but twice, as a sign that peace was prevailing 
over land and sea, he had been able to close it three times 
in the course of fifty years. His liberalities are equally 
surprising. Sometimes they took the form of free distribu- 
tions of corn, oil, or wine ; sometimes of an allowance of 
money. He asserts that he spent in gifts the sum of six 
hundred and twenty millions of sestertii, nearly twenty-six 
millions of dollars. Adding to this sum the cost of pur- 
chasing lands for his veterans in Italy (six hundred mil- 
lions) and in the provinces (two hundred and sixty millions), 
of giving pecuniary rewards to his veterans (four hundred 
millions), of helping the public treasury (one hundred and 
fifty millions), and the army funds (one hundred and sev- 
enty millions), besides other grants and bounties, the 


amount of which is not known, we reach a total expenditure 
for the benefit of his people of ninety-one million dollars. 

I need not speak of the material renovation of the city, 
which he found of brick and left of marble. Roads, streets, 
aqueducts, bridges, quays;, places of amusement, places of 
worship, parks, gardens, public offices, were built, opened, 
repaired, and decorated with incredible profusion. Sue- 
tonius says that, on one occasion alone, he offered to Jupiter 
Capitolinus sixteen thousand pounds of gold and fifty mil- 
lions' worth of jewels. In the year 28 B. c. not less than 
eighty-two temples were rebuilt in Rome itself. 

Were we not in the presence of official statistics and of 
state documents, we should hardly feel inclined to believe 
these enormous statements. We must remember, too, that 
the work of Augustus was seconded and imitated with 
equal magnitude by his wealthy friends and advisers, Mar- 
cius Philippus, Lucius Cornificius, Asinius Pollio, Munatius 
Plaucus, Cornelius Balbus, Statilius Taurus, and above all 
by Marcus Agrippa, to whom we owe the aqueducts of the 
Virgo and Julia, the Pantheon, the Therma3, the artificial 
lake (stagnum), the Portico of the Argonauts, the Temple 
of Neptune, the Portico of Vipsania Palta, the Diribitorium, 
the Septa, the Campus Agrippse, a bridge on the Tiber, and 
hundreds of other costly structures. During the twelve 
months of his sedileship, in 19 B. c., he rebuilt the network 
of the city sewers, adding many miles of new channels, 
erected eight hundred and five fountains, and one hundred 
and thirty water reservoirs. These edifices were orna- 
mented with three hundred bronze and marble statues, and 
four hundred columns. 

We have seen works of perhaps greater importance ac- 
complished in our age ; but, as Baron de Hiibner remarks, 
in speaking of another great man, Sixtus V., they are the 


joint product of government, national credit, speculation, 
and public and private capital ; and they are facilitated by 
wonderful mechanical contrivances. The transformation of 
Rome at the time of Augustus was the work of a few 
wealthy citizens, whose names will forever be connected 
with their splendid creations. 

The gates of the Mausoleum of Augustus were opened 
for the last time in A. D. 98, for the reception of the ashes 
of Nerva. We hear no more of it until the year 410, when 
the Goths ransacked the imperial vaults. No harm, how- 
ever, seems to have been done to the building itself at that 
time. Like the mausolea of Metella, on the Appian Way, 
and Hadrian, on the right bank of the Tiber, it was subse- 
quently converted into a stronghold, and occupied by the 
Colonnas. Its ultimate destruction, in 1167, marks one of 
the great occurences in the history of mediaeval Rome. 

Between the counts of Tusculum, partisans of the German 
Empire, and the Romans,' devoted to their independent 
municipal government, there was a feud of long standing, 
which had resulted occasionally in open violence. In 1167, 
Alexander III. being Pope, the Romans decided to strike the 
decisive blow on the Tusculaus, as well as on their allies, the 
Albans. The cardinal of Aragona, the biographer of Alex- 
ander III., states that towards the end of May, when the 
cornfields begin to ripen, the Romans sallied forth on their 
expedition against Count Raynone, much against the Pope's 
will ; and having crossed the frontier of his estate, set fire 
to the crops, uprooted trees and vineyards, ruined farm- 
houses, killed cattle, and laid siege to the city itself. Ray- 
none, knowing how precarious his position was, implored 
the help of the emperor Frederic, who was at that time en- 
camped near Ancona. The request was granted, and a 
body of German warriors returned with the ambassadors to 


the rescue of Tusculum. They soon perceived that, al- 
though the Romans had the advantage of numbers, they 
were so imperfectly drilled and so insubordinate that the 
chances were equal for both sides. The battle was opened 
at nine o'clock on the morning of Whit-Monday, May 30, 
1167. The twelve hundred Germans, led by Christian, 
archbishop of Mayence, and three hundred Tusculans, led by 
Raynone, gallantly attacked the advance guard of the 
Roman army, which numbered thirty thousand men. Over- 
come by panic, the Romans fled and disbanded at the first 
encounter. They were closely followed from valley to val- 
ley, and slain in such numbers that scarcely one third of 
them reached the walls of Aurelian in safety. The local 
memories of the battle still survive, after a lapse of eight 
centuries ; the valley which leads from the villa of Q. 
Voconius Pollio (Sassone) to Marino being still called by the 
peasantry " la valle dei morti." 

On the following day an embassy was sent to Arcnbishop 
Christian and Count Raynone begging leave to bury the 
dead. The permission was granted, with the humiliating 
clause that the number of dead and missing should be re- 
ported at Tusculum. The legend says that the number 
ascertained was fifteen thousand, which is an exaggeration. 
Contemporary historians speak of only two thousand dead 
and three thousand prisoners, who were sent to Viterbo. 
The chronicle of Sikkardt adds that the Romans were en- 
camped near Monte Porzio ; that the battle lasted only two 
hours, and that the dead were buried in the church of S. 
Stefano, at the second milestone of the Via Latina, with the 
following inscription : 




which, if genuine, proves that the number of killed in battle 
was only eleven hundred and sixty-six, that is, 1,000 + 100 

+ 60 + 6. 

The connection of the Mausoleum of Augustus with this 
medieval battle of CannaB is easily explained. The mauso- 
leum had been selected by the Colonnas for their stronghold 
in the Campus Martius, and it was for their interest to keep 
it in good repair. As happens in cases of crushing defeats, 
when the succumbing party must find an excuse and an op- 
portunity for revenge, the powerful Colonnas were accused 
of high treason, namely, of having led the advance-guard of 
the Romans into an ambush. Consequently they were ban- 
ished from the city, and their castle on the Campus Martius 
was destroyed. Thus perished the Mausoleum of Augustus. 

The history of its ruins, however, does not end with the 
events just described. Most important of all, they are asso- 
ciated with the fate of Cola di Rienzo. His biographer, 
in Book III. ch. xxiv., says that the body of the Tribune 
was allowed to remain unburied, for two days and one night, 
on some steps near S. Marcello. Giugurta and Sciarretta 
Colonna, leaders of the aristocratic faction, ordered the body 
to be dragged along the Via Flaminia, from S. Marcello to 
the mausoleum which had been occupied and fortified by 
that powerful family once more in 1241. In the mean time, 
the Jews had gathered in great numbers around the " Campo 
dell' Augusta," as the ruins were then called. Thistles and 
dry brushwood were collected and set afire, and the body 
thrown into the flames ; this extemporized pyre being fed 
with fresh fuel until every particle of the corpse was con- 
sumed. A strange coincidence, that the same monument 
which the founder of the empire, the oppressor of Roman 
liberty, had chosen for his own burial-place, should serve, 
thirteen centuries later, for the cremation of him who tried 


to restore popular freedom ! Here is the description of the 
event by a contemporary : " Along this street (the Corso of 
modern days) the corpse was dragged as far as the church of 
S. Marcello. There it was hung by the feet to a balcony, 
because the head had been crushed and lost, piece by piece, 
along the road ; so many wounds had been inflicted on the 
body that it might be compared to a sieve (crivello) ; the 
entrails were protruding like a bull's in the butchery; he 
was horribly fat, and his skin white, like milk tinted with 
blood. Enormous was his fatness, so great as to give him 
the appearance of an ox (bufalo). The body hung from the 
balcony at S. Marcello for two days and one night, while 
boys pelted it with stones. On the third day it was removed 
to the Campo dell' Augusta, where the Jewish colony, to a 
man, had congregated; and although the pyre had been 
made only with thistles, in which those ruins abounded, the 
fat from the corpse kept the flames alive until their work 
was accomplished. Not an atom of the great champion of 
the Romans was left." 

I need not remind the reader that the house near the 
Ponte Rotto, and opposite the Temple of Fortuna Virilis, 
which guides attribute to Cola di Rienzo, has no connec- 
tion with him. 1 He was born and lived many years near 
the church of S. Tommaso in Capite Molarum, between 
the Palazzo Cenci and the synagogue of the Jews, on the 
left bank of the Tiber. The church is still in existence, 
although it has changed its mediaeval name into that of 
S. Tommaso a' Cenci. 

The house by the Ponte Rotto, just referred to, has still 
another name in folk-lore ; it is called the House of Pilate. 
The denomination is not so absurd as it at first seems ; it 
brings us back to bygone times, when passion-plays were 

1 This house is described in Ancient Rome, chapter i., p. 17. 


performed in Rome in a more effective way than they are 
now exhibited at Oberammergau. They took place, not on 
a wooden stage, so suggestive of conventionality, but in a 
quarter of the city most wonderfully adapted to represent 
the Via Dolorosa of Jerusalem, from the houses of Pilate 
and Caiaphas to the summit of Calvary. 

The passion-play began at a house, Via della Bocca della 
Verita, No. 37, which is still called the " Locanda della 
Gaiffa," a corruption of Gaifa, or Caiaphas. From this 
place the procession moved across the street to the " Casa 
di Pilato," as the house of Crescenzio was called, where the 
scenes of the Ecce Homo, the flagellation, and the crowning 
with thorns, were probably enacted. The Via Dolorosa 
corresponds to our streets of the Bocca della Verita, Salara, 
Marmorata, and Porta S. Paolo ; there must have been 
stations at intervals for the representation of the various 
episodes, such as the meeting with the Virgin Mary, the 
fainting under the cross, the meeting with Veronica and 
with the man from Gyrene. The performance culminated 
on the summit of the Monte Testaccio, where three crosses 
were erected. One is still there. 

Readers who have had an opportunity of studying the 
Via Dolorosa at Jerusalem will be struck by the resemblance 
between the original and its Roman imitation. The latter 
must have been planned by crusaders and pilgrims on 
their return from the Holy Land towards the end of the 
thirteenth century. Every particular, even those which rest 
on doubtful tradition, was repeated here, such as that re- 
ferring to the house of the rich man, and to the stone in 
front of it on which Lazarus sat. A ruin half-way between 
the house of Pilate, by the Ponte Rotto, and the Monte 
Testaccio, or Calvary, is still called the Arco di S. Lazaro. 

The Mausoleum of Augustus was explored archseologi- 


cally for the first time in 1527, when the obelisk now in 
the Piazza di S. Maria Maggiore was found on the south 
side, near the church of S. Rocco. On July 14, 1519, 
Baldassarre Peruzzi discovered and copied some fragments 
of the original inscriptions in situ; but the discovery 
made in 1777 casts all that preceded it into the shade. In 
the spring of that year, while the corner house between the 
Corso and the Via degli Otto Cantoni (opposite the Via 
della Croce) was being built, the ustrimim, or sacred en- 
closure for the cremation of the members of the imperial 
family, came to light, lined with a profusion of historical 
monuments. Strabo describes the place as paved with 
* marble, enclosed with brass railings, and shaded by poplars. 
The marble pavement was found at a depth of nineteen 
feet below the sidewalk of the Corso. The first object to 
appear was the beautiful vase of alabastro cotognino, now 
in the Vatican Museum (Galleria delle Statue), three feet in 
height, one and one half in diameter, with a cover ending 
in a lotus flower, the thickness of the marble being only 
one inch. The vase had once contained the ashes of one 
of the imperial personages in the mausoleum ; either Ala- 
ric's barbarians or Roman plunderers must have left it in 
the ustrinum, after looting its contents. 

The marble pedestals lining the borders of the square 
were of two kinds : some were intended to indicate the 
spot on which each prince had been cremated, others the 
place where the ashes had been deposited. The former end 
with the formula HIC CREMATVS (or CREMATA) EST, 
the latter with the words HIC SITVS (or SITA) EST. 

Augustus was not the first member of the family to 
occupy the mausoleum. He was preceded by Marcellus 
(28 B. c.) whose premature fate is so admirably described 
by Virgil (^Eneid, vi. 872) ; by Marcus Agrippa, in 14 B. c. ; 


by Octavia, the sister of Augustus, in the year 13 ; by 
Drusus the elder, in the year 9 ; and by Caius and Lucius, 
nephews of Augustus. After Augustus, the interments 
of Livia, Germanicus, Drusus, son of Tiberius, Agrippina 
the elder, Tiberius, Antonia wife of Drusus, Claudius, 
Brittannicus, and Nerva are registered in succession. Of 
these great and, in many cases, admirable men and women, 
ten funeral cippi have been found in the ustrinum, some 
by the Colonnas before they were superseded by the Orsinis 
in the possession of the place, some in the excavations of 

The fate of two of them cannot fail to impress the stu- 
dent of the history of the ruins of Rome. The pedestal 
of Agrippina the elder, daughter of Agrippa, wife of Ger- 
manicus, and mother of Caligula, and that of her eldest 
son Nero, were hollowed out during the Middle Ages, 
turned into standard measures for solids, and as such placed 
at the disposal of the public in the portico of the city hall. 
The pedestal of Nero perished during the renovation of the 
Conservatori Palace at the time of Michelangelo ; that of 
Agrippina is still there. 

The fate of this noble woman is described by Tacitus in 
the sixth book of the Annals ; she was banished by Tiberius 
to the island of Pandataria, now called Ventotiene, where 
she spent the last three years of her life in solitude and 
grief. In 33 A. D. the most memorable date in Christian 
chronology she either starved herself to death volun- 
tarily, or was starved by order of her persecutor. On 
hearing of her death the emperor eulogized his own clem- 
ency, because, instead of strangling the princess and ex- 
posing her body on the Gemonian steps, he had allowed 
her to die a peaceful death in that island. No honors 
ivere paid to her memory, but as soon as Caligula succeeded 



Tiberius in the government of the empire, he sailed to 
Pandataria, collected the ashes of his mother and relatives, 
and ultimately placed them in the mausoleum. The cip- 
pus represented in the illustration below is manifestly the 

work of Caligula, be- 
cause mention is made 
on it of his accession 
to the throne. The 
hole excavated in it in 
the Middle Ages is ca- 
pable of holding three 
hundred pounds of 
grain, as shown by 
the legend RVGIA- 
engraved in Gothic let- 
ters above the munici- 
pal coat of arms. The 
three armorial shields 
below belong to the 
three syndics, or con- 

The Cippus of Agrippina the Elder, made into a 
measure for grain. 

servatori, by whose au- 
thority the standard 

measure was made. Another inscription, engraved in 1635 
on the opposite side, says : " The S. P. Q. R. pay honor to 
the memory of the noble and courageous woman who vol- 
untarily put an end to her life " (and here follows a witti- 
cism of doubtful taste on the bread which she denied her- 
self, and on the breadstuffs, for the measurement of which 
her tomb had been used). 

The other cippi found in the ustrinum mention four 
other children of Germanicus, among them Caius Caesar, 
the lovely child who was so much beloved by Augustus, 


and so deeply regretted by him. A statue representing the 
youth with the attributes of a Cupid was dedicated by Li via 
in the temple of the Capitoline Venus, and another one 
was placed by Augustus in his own bedroom, on entering 
and leaving which he never missed kissing the cherished 

The Mausoleum of Augustus and its precious contents 
have not escaped the spoliation and desecration which seem 
to be the rule both in past and modern times. The build- 
ing is used now as a circus. Its basement is concealed by 
ignoble houses ; the urn of Agrippina is kept in the court- 
yard of the Palazzo dei Conservatori ; three others have 
been destroyed, and six belong to the Vatican Museum. 

THE TOMB OF NERO. The defection of the last Roman 
legion was announced to Nero while at dinner in the 
Golden House. On hearing the news, he tore up the let- 
ters, upset the table, dashed upon the floor two marvellous 
cups, called Homeric., because their chiselling represented 
scenes from the Iliad ; and having borrowed from Locusta 
a phial of poison, went out to the Servilian gardens. He 
then despatched a few faithful servants to Ostia with orders 
to keep a squadron of swift vessels in readiness for his 
escape. After this he inquired of the officers of the prae- 
torian guards if they were willing to accompany him in 
his flight ; some found an excuse, others openly refused ; 
one had the courage to ask him : " Is death so hard ? " 
Then various projects began to agitate his mind ; now he 
was ready to beg for mercy from Galba, his successful 
opponent; now to ask help from the Parthian refugees, 
and again to dress himself in mourning, and appear bare- 
footed and unshaven before the public by the rostra, and im- 
plore pardon for his crimes ; in case that should be refused, to 



ask permission to exchange the imperial power for the gov- 
ernorship of Egypt. He was ready to carry this project into 
execution, but his courage failed at the last moment, as he 
knew that the exasperated people would tear him to pieces 

before he could reach the 
Forum. Towards evening 
he calmed his mind in the 
hope that there would be 
time enough to make a deci- 
sion if he waited until the 
next day. As midnight ap- 
proached he awoke, to find 
that the Pratorians detailed 
at the gates of the Servilian 
gardens had retired to their 
barracks. Servants were sent 
to rouse the friends sleeping 
in the villa, but none of them 
returned. He went around 
the apartments, finding them 
closed and deserted. On re- 
entering his own room he saw 
that his private attendants 

Head of Nero, in the Capitoline Museum. /' ' . 

bed-covers, and the phial of 

poison. Then he seemed determined to put an end to 
his life by throwing himself from one of the bridges ; but 
again his courage failed, and he begged to be shown a 
hiding-place. It was at this supreme moment that Phaon 
the freedman offered him his suburban villa, situated be- 
tween the Via Salaria and the Via Nomentana, four miles 
outside the Porta Collina. The proposal was accepted 
at once ; and barefooted, and dressed in a tunic, with a 



mantle of the commonest material about his shoulders, he 
jumped on a horse and started for the gate, accompanied by 
only four men, Phaon, Epaphroditus, Sporus, and another 
whose name is not given. 

The incidents of the flight were terrible enough to de- 
prive the imperial fugitive of the last spark of hope. The 
sky was overcast, and heavy black clouds hung close to the 
earth, the stillness of nature being occasionally broken by 
claps of thunder. The earth shook just as he was riding 
past the praetorian camp. He could hear the shouts of the 
mutinous soldiers cursing his name, while Galba was pro- 
claimed his successor. Farther on, the fugitives met several 
men hurrying towards the town in search of news. Nero 
heard some of them telling one another to be sure to run 
in search of him. Another passer inquired the news from 

The Ponte Nomentano. 

the palace. Before reaching the Ponte Nomentano, Nero's 
horse, frightened by a corpse which was lying on the road- 


side, gave a start. The slouched hat and handkerchief, 
with which the emperor was trying to conceal his face, 
slipped aside, and just at that moment a messenger from 
the praetorian camp recognized him, and by force of habit 
gave the military salute. 

Beyond the bridge the Via Nomentana divides : the main 
road, on the right, leads to Nomentum (Mentana) ; the left 
to the territory of Ficulea (la Cesarina). It is now called 
the Strada delle Vigne Nuove. Nero and his followers took 
this country road. The particulars given by Suetonius suit 
the present aspect and the nature of the district so exactly 
that we can follow the four men step by step to the walls 
of Phaon's villa. The slopes of the hills were then, as 
they are now, uncultivated, and covered with bushes. 
There is still a path on the banks of the Fosso della Cec- 
china, leading to the rear wall of the villa, aversum villce 
parietem ; and the hillsides are still honeycombed with poz- 
zolana quarries, the angustice cavernarum of Suetonius. 
The villa extends on the tableland, or ridge, between the val- 
leys of la Cecchina and Melaina. Its main gate corresponds 
exactly with the gate of the Vigna Chiari, the first of the 
" vigne nuove" on the right as one goes from Rome, at a 
distance of six kilometres from the threshold of the Porta 
Collina. For a radius of a thousand feet around the gate, 
we meet with the typical remains of a Roman villa of the 
first century, porticoes, water tanks, and substructions, 
from the platform of which there is a lovely view over the 
wooded plains of the Tiber and the Anio, the city, and the 
hills of the Vatican, and of the Janiculum, which frame 
the panorama. The site is pleasant, secluded, and quiet, 
so that it well fulfilled the wish for a secretior latetra ex- 
pressed by Nero in his hopeless condition. The fugitives 
dismounted at the turn of the Strada delle Vigne Nuove, 


and let the horses loose among the brambles. Not wishing 
to be seen in the open road, they followed the lower path 
on the banks of the Cecchina, which was concealed by a 
thick growth of canes. It was necessary to bore a hole in 
the rear wall of the villa, and while this was being done, 
Nero quenched his thirst from a pond of stagnant water, 
near the opening of the pozzolana quarries. Once inside 
the villa, he was asked to lie down on a couch covered with 
a peasant's mantle, and was offered a piece of stale bread, 
and a glass of tepid water. Food he refused, but touched 
the rim of the cup with his parched lips. It is curious to 
read in Suetonius of the many grimaces the wretch made 
before he could determine to kill himself ; he made up his 
mind to do so only when he heard the tramping of the 
horsemen whom the Senate had sent to arrest him. He 
then put the dagger into his throat, aided in giving the 
last thrust by his freedman Epaphroditus. The centurion 
sent to take him alive arrived before he expired. To him 
Nero addressed these last words : " Too late ! Is this your 
fidelity ? " He gradually sank, his countenance assuming 
such a frightful expression that all who were present fled 
in horror. Icelus,^ freedman of Galba, the newly elected 
emperor, gave his consent to a decent funeral. Ecloge 
and Alexandra, his nurses, Acte his mistress, and the three 
faithful men who had accompanied him in his flight, pro- 
vided the necessary funds, about five thousand dollars. 
The body was cremated, wrapped in a sheet of white woven 
with gold, the same that he had used on his bed New 
Year's night. The three women collected the ashes and 
placed them in the tomb of the Domitian family, which 
stood on the spur of the Pincian Hill which is behind the 
present church of S. Maria del Popolo. The urn was of 
porphyry, the altar upon which it stood of Carrara marble, 


and the tomb itself of Thesian marble. A pathetic dis- 
covery has just been made in the Vigna Chiari, on the 
exact spot of Nero's suicide, by my friend, Cav. Rodolfo 
Buti, that of the tomb of Claudia Ecloge, the old woman 
who was so devoted to her nursling. The epitaph is a 
plain marble slab containing only a name. But this simple 
inscription, read amid the ruins of Phaon's villa, with 
every detail of the scene of the suicide before one's eyes, 
makes more impression on the feelings than would a great 
monument to her memory. As she could not be buried 
within or near the family vault of the Domitii on the Pin- 
cian, she selected the spot where Nero's remains had been 

" When Nero perished by the justest doom 

Which ever the destroyer yet destroy 'd, 
Amidst the roar of liberated Rome, 

Of nations freed, and the world overjoy'd, 
Some hands unseen strew'd flowers upon his tomb, 

Perhaps the weakness of a heart not void 
Of feeling for some kindness done, when power 
Had left the wretch an uncorrupted hour." 1 

The original epitaph of Claudia Ecloge has been removed 
to the Capitoline Museum, where it seems lost among so 
many other objects of interest ; but the student who will 
select the Vigne Nuove for an afternoon excursion will 
find there a facsimile, placed by our archaeological commis- 
sion on the front wall of the Casino di Vigna Chiari. 

Quirinale -Venti Settembre, which leads from the Quirinal 
Palace to the Porta Pia, corresponds exactly to the old Alta 
Semita, which was a street of such importance, on account 
of its length, straightness, and surroundings, that the whole 

1 Don Juan, canto III., cix. 



region (the sixth) was named from it. For our present 
purpose we shall take into consideration only the first part, 
between the Quirinal Palace and 
the Quattro Fontane. It was bor- 
dered on the north side by the 
Temple of Quirinus, discovered 
and demolished in 1626, and by 
the Capitolium Vetus, the old 
Capitol, also destroyed in 1625, 
by Pope Barberini. 

The opposite side of the street 
was lined with private mansions of 
families who were eminent in the 
history of the republic and the 
empire. The first belonged to 
Pomponius Atticus, the friend of 
Cicero, and to his descendants the 
Pomponii Bassi. Cicero locates it 
between the Temple of Quirinus 
and the Temple of Health, that 
is, near the present church of S. 
Andrea al Quirinale ; and precise- 
ly here, in November, 1558, the 
house was discovered by Messer 
Uberto Ubaldini, in such perfect 
condition that the family docu- 
ments and deeds, inscribed on 
bronze, were still hanging on the 
walls of the tablinum, a fact 
that is recorded only twice in the annals of Roman excava- 
tions. 1 The house, seen and described by Manuzio and 

1 The other instance was in the excavations of the palace of the Valerii 
Aradii, near S. Erasrno, on the Cselian, the most successful ever made in Rome. 

Plan of the Alta Semita. 


Ligorio, stood at the corner of the Alta Semita and a side 
street called " The Pomegranate " (ad malum punicum), 
and was profusely adorned with statues, colonnades, spa- 
cious halls, etc. One of the bronze tablets, which was 
saved from the ruins, and is now exhibited in the Gallery 
of the Uffizi, at Florence, states that the municipal council 
of Ferentinum, assembled in the Temple of Mercury, had 
placed the city under the guardianship of Pomponius Bas- 
sus, A. D. 101. The patronage was accepted by the gallant 
patrician, and tabulae hospitales were exchanged between 
the parties. 

When his majesty king Humbert laid out a new gar- 
den, in 1887, on the site of this house, I hoped to come 
across some of the ruins described by Manuzio and Ligorio. 
But nothing was found, except a marble statue, of no espe- 
cial value, which is now preserved in the royal palace. 

Another illustrious man lived near the Temple of Health, 
Valerius Martial the epigrammatist. He distinctly says 
so in his " Epigrams " (x. 58 ; xi. 1). Was the house his 
own, or did he dwell in it as a tenant or guest? I be- 
lieve he was the guest of his wealthy relative and coun- 
tryman G. Valerius Vegetus, consul A. D. 91, whose city 
residence occupied half the site of the present building of 
the Ministry of War, on the Via Venti Settembre. 

The residence has been explored three times, at least; 
the first in 1641, the second in 1776, the last in the 
autumn of 1884. Judging from this last exploration, 
which was conducted in my presence, and described by 
my late friend Capannari in the " Bullettino Comunale " 
of 1885, the palace of Valerius Vegetus must have been 
built and decorated on a grand scale. Martial, like all 
poets, if not actually in financial difficulties, was never a 
rich man, much less the owner of a private residence in 


a street and quarter in which the land alone represented a 

Between the two palaces just described, the Pomponian 
and the Valerian, in the space now occupied by the Palazzo 
Albani and the church and convent of S. Carlino alle 
Quattro Fontane, there was an humbler house, which be- 
longed to Flavius Sabinus, brother of Vespasian. Here 
the emperor Domitian was born, October 24, A. D. 50. The 
house which stood at the corner of the Alta Semita and 
the " Pomegranate " street was converted by him into a 
family memorial, or mausoleum, after the death of his 
father and brother. Here were buried, besides Vespasian 
and Titus, Flavius Sabinus, Julia, daughter of Titus, and 
ultimately Domitian himself. 

The story of his death is as follows : After murdering his 
cousin Flavius Clemens, the Christian prince whose fate I 
have described in chapter i., his life became an intolerable 
burden to him. The fear that some one would suddenly 
rise to revenge the innocent blood into which he had 
dipped his hands made him tremble every moment for his 
lif e ; so much so that he caused the porticos of the im- 
perial palace to be encrusted with Phengite marble, in the 
brilliant surface of which he could see the reflection of his 
followers and attendants, and could watch their proceed- 
ings even if they were at quite a distance behind him. 
For several weeks he was frightened by thunderbolts. 
Once the Capitol was struck, next the family tomb on the 
Quirinal, which he had officially styled Templum Flavin 
Gentis ; and another time the imperial palace and even his 
own bedroom. He was heard to mutter to himself in de- 
spair, " Let them strike : who cares ? " On another occasion 
a furious cyclone wrenched the dedicatory tablet from the 
pedestal of his equestrian statue in the Forum. He also 


dreamed that Minerva, the protecting divinity of his happier 
days, had suddenly disappeared from his private chapel. 
What frightened him most, however, was the fate of Askle- 
tarion the fortune-teller. Having asked what sort of death 
Askletarion expected, the answer was : " I shall very soon 
be torn to pieces by dogs." To persuade himself and his 
friends that these predictions deserved no credit, Domi- 
tian, who had just received a very sad warning from the 
oracle of the Fortuna Pranestina, caused the necromancer 
to be killed at once, and his remains to be enclosed in a 
well-guarded tomb. But while the cremation was in pro- 
gress, a hurricane swept the ustfinum, and frightened 
away the attendants, so that the half -charred remains did 
fall a prey to the dogs. The story was related to the em- 
peror that very evening while he was at supper. 

The details of the assassination, which took place a few 
days later, on September 18, A. D. 96, in the forty-fifth year 
of his age, and the fifteenth of his reign, are not well known, 
because, with the exception of the four murderers, the deed 
was witnessed only by a little boy, to whom Domitian had 
given the care of the images of the gods in the bedroom. 
The names of the conspirators are Saturius, the head valet 
de chambre, Maximus, a freedman of a lower <;lass, Clo- 
dianus, an orderly, and Stephanus, who was the head of the 
party. He was led to commit the crime in the hope that 
the embezzlements of which he was guilty in his manage- 
ment of the property of Flavia Domitilla, niece of the 
emperor, would never be discovered, or punished. To avoid 
suspicion, he appeared for several days before the attempt 
with his arm bandaged, and in a sling, so that he could 
carry a concealed weapon with impunity even in the pres- 
ence of his intended victim. The boy stated at the 
inquest that Domitian died like a brave man, fighting 


unarmed against his assailants. The moment he saw Ste- 
phanus drawing his dagger he told the boy to hand him 
quickly the poniard under the pillow of his bed, and to run 
for help ; but he found only the empty scabbard, and all 
the doors were locked. The emperor fell at the seventh 

The corpse was removed to a garden which his nurse 
Phyllis owned, on the borders of the Via Latina; and 
the ashes were secretly mingled with those of his niece 
Julia, another nursling of Phyllis, and deposited in the 
family mausoleum on the Quirinal. The mausoleum, which 
rose in the middle, of the atrium of the old Flavian house, 
was discovered and destroyed towards the middle of the 
sixteenth century. Ligorio describes the structure as a 
round temple, with a pronaos of six columns of the com- 
posite order. The excavations were made at the expense 
of cardinal Sadoleto. He found among other things a 
beautiful marble statue of Minerva, with a shield in the 
left hand and a lance in the right. The villa of cardinal 
Sadoleto was afterwards bought by messer Uberto Ubal- 
dini, who levelled everything to the ground, and uprooted 
the very foundations of the building. In so doing he dis- 
covered several headless marble statues. Flaminio Vacca 
adds, that the columns were of bigio africano, fourteen 
feet high. 

The reader will easily understand, that were I to pass in 
review the tombs of all the rulers of the Roman Empire, 
from Trajan to Constantine, the present chapter would ex- 
ceed the allotted length of the entire book. The Mauso- 
leum of Hadrian, on which the history of the city is written 
century by century, down to our days ; the Column of 
Trajan, in the foundations of which the ashes of the best 



of Roman princes are buried ; the tomb of Geta, built in 
the shape of a septizonium, on the Appian Way ; the artifi- 

Remains of Geta's Mausoleum. 

cial hill of the Monte del Grano, believed to be the tomb 
of Alexander Severus, and his wife and mother, in the very 
depths of which the Capitoline sarcophagus and the Port- 
land vase were found : all these monuments would furnish 
abundant material for archaeological, artistic, and historical 
discussion. My purpose is, however, to mention only sub- 
jects illustrated by recent and little-known discoveries, or 
else to select such representative specimens as may help the 
reader to compare pagan with Christian art and civilization. 
For this reason, and to save unavoidable repetitions, I pass 
over the fate of the emperors of the second and third cen- 
turies, and resume my description with those who came to 
power after the peace of the church. 

tian members of the imperial family, Helena, mother of 
Constantine, and Constantia, his daughter, were buried in 
separate tombs, one on the Via Labicana, at the place 



formerly called ad duas Lauros and now Torre Pignattara, 
the other near the church of S. Agnese, on the Via No- 

Helena's mausoleum at Torre Pignattara (so called from 
the pignatte, or earthen vases built into the vault to lighten 
its weight) is round in shape, and contains seven niches or 

The Torre Pignattara. 

recesses for sarcophagi. One of these sarcophagi, famous 
in the history of art, was removed from its position as early 
as the middle of the twelfth century by Pope Anastasius 
IV., who selected it for his own resting-place. It was 
taken to the Lateran basilica, where it appears to have 
been much injured by the hands of indiscreet pilgrims. In 
1600 it was carried from the vestibule to the tribune, and 


thence to the cloister-court. When Pius VI. added it to 
the wonders of the Vatican Museum, it was subjected to a 
thorough process of restoration which employed twenty-five 
stone-cutters for a period of nine years. 

The reliefs upon it are tolerably well executed, but lack 
invention and novelty. They are partly borrowed from an 
older work, partly combined from various sources in an 
extraordinary manner ; horsemen hovering in the air, and 
below them, prisoners and corpses scattered around. They 
are intended to represent a triumphal procession, or possi- 
bly a military decursio, to which allusion has been made 

It may appear indiscreet and even insulting on the part 
of Anastasius IV. to have removed the remains of a cano- 
nized empress from this noble sarcophagus in order to have 
his own placed in it ; but we must bear in mind that al- 
though the Torre Pignattara has all the appearance of a 
royal mausoleum, and although the ground on which it 
stands is known to have belonged to the crown, Eusebius 
and Socrates deny that Helena was buried in Rome. Their 
assertion is contradicted by the " Liber Pontificalis " and 
by Bede, and above all by the similarity between this por- 
phyry coffin and the one discovered in the second mauso- 
leum of which I have spoken, that of S. Constantia, on 
the Via Nomentana. 

When the love of splendor which was characteristic of the 
Romans of the decadence induced them to take possession 
of the enormous block of primeval stone of which this 
second sarcophagus was made, the art of sculpture had al- 
ready degenerated ; all that it could accomplish was to 
impart to this mass of rock more of an architectural than 
a plastic shape. The representations with which the sarco- 
phagus is adorned or disfigured, as the case may be, if met 




with elsewhere would scarcely attract our attention. On 
the sides are festoons enclosing groups of winged boys 
gathering grapes ; on the ends are similar figures tread- 
ing out the grapes. This sarcophagus was removed to the 
Hall of the Greek Cross by the same enlightened Pope 
Pius VI. 

The same vintage scenes are represented in the beautiful 
mosaics with which the vault of the mausoleum is en- 
crusted, and from this circumstance the monument received 
the erroneous name of the Temple of Bacchus, at the time 
of the Renaissance. There is no doubt that this is the 

The Mausoleum of S. Constantia. 

tomb of the princess whose name it bears. Amianus Mar- 
cellinus, Book XXI., chapter i., says that the three daugh- 
ters of Constantine Helena, wife of Julian, Constantina, 
wife of Gallus Caesar, and Constantia, who had vowed her- 
self to chastity, and to the management of a congregation 



of virgins which she had established at S. Agnese were 
all buried in the same place. 

The study of these two structures may help us greatly to 
explain the origin and purpose of the two rotundas which 


D W 

Plan of the Imperial Mausoleum. 

are known to have existed on the south side of S. Peter's, 
in the arena of Nero's circus. One of them, dedicated to 
S. Petronilla, was destroyed in the sixteenth century ; the 
other, called the Church of S. Maria della Febbre, met 
with the same fate during the pontificate of Pius VI. 
Their exact situation in relation to the modern basilica is 
shown by the accompanying diagram. 

Mention of the structure, with its classical denomination 
of " Mausileos," appears in the life of Stephen II. (A. D. 752). 
To fulfil a promise which he had made to Pepin, king of 
France, that the remains of Petronilla, who was believed to 


be the daughter of Peter, should be no longer exposed to 
barbaric profanations in their original resting-place on the 
Via Ardeatina, but put under the shelter of the Leonine 
walls near the remains of her supposed father, he selected 
one of these two rotundas, which became known as the 
" chapel of the kings of France." The early topographers 
of the Renaissance, ignorant of its history, gave a wrong 
name to the building, calling it the Temple of Apollo. 
That it was, however, of Christian origin, is proved not 
only by the fact that a temple could never have been built 
across the spina of the circus, and by the technical details 
of its construction, which show it to be a work of the end 
of the fourth or the beginning of the fifth century, but also 
by historical evidence. In 423 Honorius was buried in the 
mausoleum close by S. Peter's (juxta beati Petri apostoli 
atrium in mausoleo}. In 451 the remains of the Emperor 
Theodosius II. were removed from Constantinople to the 
mausoleum ad apostolum Petrum. In 483 Basilius, pre- 
fect of the Prsetorium, summoned the leaders of the clergy 
and of the laity to the mausoleum quod est apud beatis- 
simum Petrum. A precious engraving by Bonanni, No. 
Ixxiv. of his volume on the Vatican, represents the outside 
of one of the rotundas, the nearest to the obelisk of the 
circus. The architecture of the building, so similar to the 
tomb of S. Helena at Torre Pignattara, gives some concep- 
tion of the enormous downfall of Roman art and civiliza- 
tion, when we compare it with the tombs of Augustus and 

The discovery of the imperial graves which filled the two 
rotundas did not take place at one and the same time. Their 
profanation and robbery was accomplished in various stages, 
by various persons ; and so little has been said or written 
about them, that only in these last years has de Rossi been 


able to reconstruct in its entirety this chapter in the history 
of the destruction of Rome. 

In the chronicle of Nicolo della Tuccia of Viterbo is the 
following entry, dated 1458 : " On the 27th day of June, 
news was circulated in Viterbo that two days before a great 
discovery had been made in S. Peter's of Rome. A priest of 
that church, having manifested the wish to be buried in the 
chapel of S. Petronilla, in the tribune on the right, where 
the story of the emperor Constantine was painted in ancient 
times, they found, while digging there, a tomb of exquisite 
marble, containing a sarcophagus, and inside of it, a smaller 
coffin of cypress wood overlaid with silver. This silver, of 
eleven carats standard, weighed eight hundred and thirty- 
two pounds. The bodies were wrapped in a golden cloth 
which yielded sixteen pounds of that precious metal. It was 
said that the bodies were those of Constantine and his little 
son. No written record or sign was found except a cross 
made in this shape : b<l The Pope, Callixtus III., took pos- 
session of everything and sent the gold and silver to the 
mint." We hear no more of the imperial mausoleum during 
the sixty following years. In the diary of Marcantonio 
Michiel, of Venice, the next discovery is registered under the 
date of December 4, 1519 : " A few days ago, while excava- 
tions were going on in the chapel of the kings of France, 
for the rebuilding of one of the altars, several antique coffins 
were found, and in one of them the bones of an old Christian 
prince, wrapped in a pall of gold cloth and surrounded with 
articles of jewelry. There was a necklace with a cross- 
shaped pendant, believed to be worth three thousand ducats. 
I know that a certain jeweller offered that amount of money 
for the dress alone to Giuliano Lena, who was in charge of 
the excavations. The Pope attached great importance to 
the jewels, although it was found out afterwards that they 


were not worth two thousand ducats, on account of some 
flaws in the stones, and of injury wrought by time on their 
mounting. The prospect of finding more made them over- 
turn the whole pavement of the chapel." Another entry 
of the same diary, under the date of December 23, says : 
" The treasure-trove in the chapel of the kings of France 
consists of eight pounds of gold from the melting of dresses, 
of a cross of gold, dotted with emeralds, and of a second 
plain one, the value of all being a little over one thousand 
ducats. The Pope made a present of some to the chapter 
of S. Peter's that they might make a new reliquary for the 
skull of S. Petronilla." 

The search was doubtless irregular, imperfect and care- 
less, as is proved by other and far richer discoveries which 
were made in 1544. Unfortunately, if the accounts we 
have of these are complete, no drawings were made before 
the dispersion of the objects. The only sketches which 
have reached us represent a few perfume bottles found 
inside the grave. Of these Jiacons there are two sets of 
drawings, one in a codex of marchese Raffaelli di Cingoli, 
f . 43, with the legend, " Five goblets of agate discovered in 
the foundations of S. Peter's during the pontificate of Paul 
III. in the tomb of Maria, daughter of Stilicho and wife of 
Honorius ; " the other in the codex of Fulvio Orsino, No. 
3439 of the Vatican Library. 

The discovery took place in 1544. A greater treasure 
of gems, gold, and precious objects has never been found 
in a single tomb. The beautiful empress was lying in a 
coffin of red granite, clothed in a state robe woven of gold. 
Of the same material were the veil, and the shroud which 
covered the head and breast. The melting of these mate- 
rials produced a considerable amount of pure gold, its 
weight being variously stated at thirty-five or forty pounds. 


Bullinger puts it at eighty, with manifest exaggeration. 
At the right of the body was placed a casket of solid sil- 
ver, full of goblets and smelling-bottles, cut in rock crys- 
tal, agate, and other precious stones. There were thirty in 
all, among which werelwo cups, one round, one oval, deco- 
rated with figures in high relief, of exquisite taste, and a 
lamp, made of gold and crystal, in the shape of a corru- 
gated sea-shell, the hole for the oil being protected and 
concealed by a golden fly, which moved around a socket. 
There were also four golden vases, one of which was 
studded with gems. 

In a second casket of gilded silver, placed at the left 
side, were found one hundred and fifty objects, gold 
rings with engraved stones, earrings, brooches, necklaces, 
buttons, hair-pins, etc. covered with emeralds, pearls and 
sapphires ; a golden nut, which opened in halves ; a bull a 
which has been published in a special work by Mazzuc- 
chelli ; 1 and an emerald engraved with the bust of Honorius, 
valued at five hundred ducats. Silver objects were scarce ; 
of these we find mentioned only a hairpin and a buckle of 
repousse" work. 

The letters and names engraved on some pieces prove 
that they formed the mundus muliebris (wedding gifts) 
and toilet articles of Maria, daughter of Stilicho and 
Serena, sister of Thermantia and Eucherius, and wife of the 
emperor Honorius. Besides the names of the four arch- 
angels Raphael, Gabriel, Michael and Uriel engraved 
on a band of gold, those of Domina Nostra Maria, and of 
Dominus Noster Honorius, were seen on other objects. 
The bulla was inscribed with the names of Honorius, 
Maria, Stilicho, Serena, Thermantia, and Eucherius, radi- 
ating in the form of a double cross .^U- with the exclama- 

1 La bolla di Maria, moglie di Onorio. Milan, 1819. 


tion " Vivatis ! " between them. With the exception of this 
bulla, which was bought by Marchese Trivulzio of Milan, 
at the beginning of the present century, every article has 
disappeared. That the gold was melted, and that the pre- 
cious stones were disposed of in various ways, so as to 
deprive them of their identity, is easy to understand, but 
where have the vases gone ? Were it not for the rough 
sketches made at the time of discovery we should not be 
able to form an idea of their beauty and elegance of shape. 
They were not the -work of goldsmiths of the fifth century, 
but were of classical origin ; in fact they represent a portion 
of the imperial state jewels, which Honorius had inherited 
from his predecessors, and which he had offered to Maria 
on her wedding day. Claudianus, the court poet, described 
them expressly as having sparkled on the breast and fore- 
head of empresses in bygone days. 

We know from Paul Diaconus that Honorius was laid to 
rest by the side of his empress ; his coffin, however, has never 
been found. It must still be concealed under the pave- 
ment of the modern church at the southern end of the tran- 
sept, near the altar of the crucifixion of S. Peter. 

An incident narrated by Flavius Josephus (" Antiqq." 
xvi., ii.) proves that even in this line of discoveries there 
is nothing new under the sun. Speaking of the financial 
troubles of King Herod, and of his urgent need of new 
resources for the royal treasury, he describes how Hirca- 
nus had rifled the sum of three thousand silver talents 
($3,940,000) from the tomb of David. Herod, on being 
reminded of this experiment, decided to try it again, in the 
hope that other treasures might be concealed in the recesses 
of the royal vault. Precautions were taken to conceal the 
attempt from the people : the tomb was entered in the 
darkness of the night, and only a few intimate friends were 


admitted to the secret. Herod found no more silver in 
coin or bars, but a considerable quantity of vases and other 
objects beautifully chiselled in gold. With the help of his 
associates the booty was removed to the palace. But the 
more the king had, the more he wanted : and setting aside 
dignity, self-respect and reverence for the memory of his 
great predecessors, he ordered his guard to search the vaults, 
even to the very coffins of David and Solomon. The legend 
says that the profanation was prevented by an outburst of 
flames which killed two of the men. This event filled 
Herod with fear, and to expiate his sacrilege he raised a 
beautiful monument of white marble at the entrance of the 

The reader must not believe that such discoveries are 
either of doubtful credibility or a matter of the past only. 
They have taken place in all centuries, the present included ; 
they take place now. 

In July, 1793, behind the choir of the nuns of S. Fran- 
cesco di Paola, in the Via di S. Lucia in Selci, a room of a 
private Roman house was discovered, and in a corner of it 
a magnificent silver service, which had once belonged to 
Projecta, wife of Turcius Asterius Secundus, who was pre- 
fect of the city in 362 A. D. The discovery was witnessed 
and described by Ennio Quirino Visconti and Filippo 
Aurelio Visconti. The objects were of pure silver, heavily 
gilded, and weighed one thousand and twenty-nine ounces. 
Besides plates and saucers, forks and spoons, candelabras 
of various sizes and shapes, there was a wedding-casket with 
bas-reliefs representing the bride and groom crowned with 
wreaths of myrtle ; she, with braids of hair encircling her 
head many times, in the fashion of the age of the empress 
Helena ; he, with the beard cut square, in the style worn by 
Julian the apostate, and Eugenius. The reliefs of the 


body of the casket represented love-scenes, Venus and the 
Nereids, the Muses and other pagan subjects ; and just 
under them was engraved the salutation : 

" Secundus and Proiecta, may you live in Christ." 

The casket was filled with toilet articles and jewels. Later 
discoveries brought the total weight of the silver to fifteen 
hundred ounces. 

In 1810 a peasant ploughing his field in the territory of 
Faleria, three miles from Civita Castellana, met with an 
obstacle which, on closer examination, proved to be a box 
filled with silver. He loaded himself with the precious 
spoils, as did many other peasants, whom the news of the 
discovery had attracted to the spot. There were plates, 
cups and saucers ; a tureen weighing four pounds, wrought 
in enamelled repousse, with birds, lizards, branches of ivy, 
berries, and other fruits and animals, and signed by the 
maker ; a statue of a centaur ; and a wine jug, which, after 
passing through many hands, became the property of the 
queen of Naples, Caroline Murat, at a cost of five thousand 

Alessandro Visconti reported the treasure-trove at once 
to count Tournon, the French prefect; but he took no 
official notice of it, and the silver was melted in the mint of 
Rome, and by the silversmiths of Viterbo and Perugia. 
Visconti estimates the weight of the silver at thirty thou- 
sand ounces. 1 

In 1821, under the foundations of a house at Parma, 
precious objects were found to the value of several thou- 
sand scudi. The few bought for the Museo Parmense by 
its director, Pietro de Lama, comprise eight bracelets, four 

1 Dissertazione su cf una antica argenteria, letta nelV accademia archeologica U 
d\ 1 gennaio, 1811. 


rings, a necklace, a chain to which is attached a medallion 
of Gallienus, a brooch, and thirty-four medals ; all of pure 
gold, and weighing three pounds and four ounces. 

On May 9, 1877, two earthen jars were discovered at 
Belinzago, near Milan, in a farm belonging to a man named 
Erba. They contained twenty-seven thousand bronze coins, 
with a total weight of . three hundred and sixty pounds. 
Except a few pieces belonging to Romulus, Maximian, 
Chlorus, Galerius, Galeria Valeria, and Licinius, the great 
mass bear the effigy and name of Maxentius, with an as- 
tonishing variety of letters and symbols on the reverse. 

My personal experience in the discovery of treasure, in 
the special significance of the word, is limited to the frag- 
ments of a bedstead (?) of gilt brass, studded with gems. 
This discovery took place in 1879, near the southwest corner 
of the Piazza Vittorio Emmanuele, on the Esquiline, in a 
room belonging to the Horti Lamiani, the favorite residence 
of Caligula and of Alexander Severus. The frame of the 
couch rested on four supports, most gracefully cut in rock- 
crystal ; the frame itself was ornamented with bulls' heads 
and inlaid with cameos and gems, to the number of four 
hundred and thirty. There was also a " glass paste " rep- 
resenting the heads, of Septimius Severus and his empress 
Julia Domna. It seems that parts of this rich piece of fur- 
niture must have been inlaid with agate incrustations, of 
which one hundred and sixty-eight pieces were discovered 
in the same room. 



Portraits of the early Popes. Those of SS. Peter and Paul. The 
tombs of the Popes. Their interest for the student. The tomb of 
Cornelius Martyr. Inscriptions and other monuments found in his 
crypt. The two Cornelii, pagan and Christian. The pontifical crypt 
in the Cemetery of Callixtus. The tomb of Gregory the Great. S. 
Peter's as a burial-place for the Popes. Gregory's several resting- 
places. The stress of Rome in his time. The legend of the angel. 
Gregory's good works. His house. The tomb of the Saxon Cead- 
walla. That of Benedict VII. The turbulent times in which he 
lived. The Crescenzi. The church of Santa Croce in Gerusalemme. 
Pope Sylvester II. The tradition about his death and tomb. The 
vicissitudes of the Lateran basilica. The Vassalletti. Study of the 
antique by mediaeval artists. The stone-cutter's shop on the site of 
the Banca Nazionale. The tomb of Innocent VIII. The story of 
the holy lance. The tomb of Paul III. His services to art. The 
tomb of Clement XIII. Bracci and Canova. The Jesuits in Clem- 
ent's time. 

AMONG the curiosities of the three principal basilicas of 
Rome, the Lateran, the Vatican and the Ostiensis (S. 
Paul's), were collections of portrait heads of the Popes, 
which were painted above the colonnade on the three sides 
of the nave. In S. Peter's there were two sets, one on the 
frieze, above the capitals of the columns, the other on the 
walls of the nave, above the cornice ; the first is marked with 
the letters " G H." in the drawing of Ciampini which is 
reproduced in chapter iii., p. 134 ; the second, with the let- 
ters " I L." The set of the Lateran was painted by order 


of Nicholas III. (1277-1280). Since his time the basilica 
has been burned to the ground twice in 1308 and 1360 
and restored three times. Its last disfigurement, by 
Innocent X. and Borromini in 1644, concealed whatever 
was left standing of the old building, and made it impossi- 
ble for us to study its iconic pictures, if there were any still 
existing. We possess better information in regard to S. 
Peter's, thanks to Grimaldi, who described and copied both 
series of medallions before their destruction by Paul V. in 
1607. The lower series, which was painted by order of 
Nicholas III., began with Pope Pius I. (142-157) and 
ended with Anastasius (397-401). Grimaldi remarks that 
the Popes of the times of the persecutions, from Pius to 
Sylvester, were bareheaded ; those of a later age wore the 
tiara ; all had the round halo, or nimbus, except Tiberius 
(352-366), who had a square one. This last particular would 
prove that the portraits were originally painted in the time 
of Tiberius, because the square nimbus is the symbol of 
living persons. The upper series above the cornice was 
the more important of the two, on account of the chrono- 
logical inscriptions which accompanied and explained each 
medallion. These inscriptions, which were too small and 
faint to be read with the naked eye from below, were not 
copied before their destruction. Grimaldi could decipher 
but a few: SIRICIUS . SEDIT ANNA'S) xv. M(ensibus) v. 
v(iebus) xx. FELIX . SEDIT ANN(O) i. M(ensibus) . . . 
etc. The heads were bare, and framed by a round halo. 
They seem to have been painted at the time of Pope For- 
mosus (891-896), as were also the fresco-panels which ap- 
pear in the above-mentioned drawing of Ciampini. 

The guide-books of modern Rome describe the series of 
S. Paul's, restored in mosaic after the fire of 1823, as made 
up of imaginary likenesses except in the case of later Popes. 


This statement is not correct. The original medallions were 
painted on each side of the nave, and on the cross or end 
wall above the entrances. Those of the end wall disap- 
peared long since, on the occasion of some repairs to this 
part of the basilica. Those of the left side perished in the 
fire of 1823 ; but those of the right side, beginning with 
S. Peter and ending with Innocent (401417), were saved. 
They have since been detached from the wall, transferred 
first to canvas, then to stone, and are now exhibited in one 
of the corridors of the monastery. 1 As regards those which 
perished in the fire, they had already been copied, first in 
the seventeenth centuiy by order of Cardinal Francesco Bar- 
berini, and again in 1751 by Marangoni. The new series 
in mosaic is therefore not all fanciful and imaginary, but 
follows the tradition of the likenesses as they were first pro- 
duced in the fifth century. At that time the study of the 
pontifical succession was receiving considerable attention in 
Rome. There were written catalogues inserted in liturgical 
books, which were read to the congregation on certain days 
of the year, so that everybody could argue on the subject, 
and remember the order of succession of the bishops. To 
impress this more forcibly on the minds of the people, it was 
written on the walls of the newly erected basilica of S. Paul, 
and illustrated with portraits. The series must have struck 
the imagination of visitors and pilgrims. The idea of apos- 
tolic inheritance, of uninterrupted hierarchy, of the suprem- 
acy of the See of Rome, took a definite shape in the array of 
these busts of bishops, led by S. Peter, and congregated, as 
it were, around the grave of S. Paul. 

The custom found imitators in other churches and in 
other cities. Speaking of the gallery of Popes in the duomo 

1 Garrucci has reproduced them in the Storia delV arte cristiana, vol. ii. pi. 


at Siena, Symonds remarks how the accumulated majesty 
of their busts, larger than life, with solemn faces, each lean- 
ing from his separate niche, brings the whole past history 
of the Church into the presence of its living members. A 
bishop walking up the nave of Siena must feel as a Roman 
felt among the waxen images of ancestors renowned in 
council or war. " Of course," Symonds concludes, " the 
portraits are imaginary for the most part, but the artists 
have contrived to vary their features and expressions with 
great skill." This statement may be correct in a general way, 
especially in regard to the Middle Ages, but is subject to 
important exceptions. There is no doubt, for instance, that 
the likenesses of SS. Peter and Paul have been carefully 
preserved in Rome ever since their lifetime, and that they 
were familiar to every one, even to school-children. These 
portraits have come down to us' by scores. They are painted 

A Portrait head of S. Peter; from a medallion in re'peusse' dis- 
covered by Boldetti in the Catacombs of Domitilla. B Portrait 
head of S. Paul ; from a medallion preserved in the Museo Sacro 
Vaticano. Both are works of the second century. 

in the cubiculi of the catacombs, engraved in gold leaf in the 
so-called vetri cemeteriali, cast in bronze, hammered in silver 
or copper, and designed in mosaic. 1 The type never varies : 

1 Garrucci: Vetri adornati di figure in oro. Swoboda, quoted by De Waal in 


S. Peter's face is full and strong, with short curly hair and 
beard, while S. Paul appears more wiry and thin, slightly 
bald, with a long pointed beard. The antiquity and the 
genuineness of both types cannot be doubted. After the 
peace of Constantine, when Sylvester, Mark, Damasus, Siri- 
cius, and Symmachus began to fill the city with their 
churches and memorial buildings, and as the habit of ex- 
hibiting in each of them portraits of the founders became 
general, it is evident that the author of the collection of 
portraits in S. Paul's, which dates from the fifth century, 
must Have had plenty of authentic originals at his disposal. 

Next to these portraits, in the power of exciting the imag- 
ination and appealing to the sentiments of visitors and pil- 
grims, come the tombs of the Popes. I place them next to 
the images, because the tombs were of the most simple and 
modest character, and marked only by a name, or by an in- 
scription which a few could read and decipher. But to us, 
passionate students of history and art, those graves are in- 
valuable ; they mark the various stages of the decline and 
fall of the great city from year to year, as well as of her glo- 
rious resurrection ; they chronicle the leading events which 
have agitated Rome, Italy, and the world for the last sixteen 
centuries. To be sure, there are considerable breaks in the 
chain, due to the destruction of old S. Peter's, which con- 
tained eighty-seven graves ; but the descriptions of Pietro 
Mallio, of Maffeo Vegio, and of Pietro Sabino, and the 
drawings of Grimaldi and Ciampini, help us to fill the gaps. 

Ferdinand Gregorovius was inspired to write his book on 
the subject while in contemplation of the monument of 
Paul III., Farnese. He glanced around in the dim light of 
the evening and saw effigy after effigy of venerable men, 

the Romische Quartalschrift, 1888, p. 135. Armellini : ibidem, 1888, p. 130. 
De Rossi : Bullettino di archeologia cristiana, 1864, p. ; 1887, p. 130. 


seated on their marble thrones, with outstretched hands, 
like an assembly of patriarchs intrusted with the guardian- 
ship of their church. He devoted many hours to the study 
of this class of monuments, so strikingly Roman, " for in 
Rome, more than in any other city of the world, does inves- 
tigation lead one in the footsteps of Death." His volume, 1 
however, seems to me more like an essay written in hours 
of depression than an exhaustive and satisfying treatise. 
The materia prima has greatly increased since he wrote, 
owing to the discoveries made in the catacombs, in libraries 
and archives, and to the reproduction by photography of 
the fragments collected in the sacred grottos of the Vati- 
can. If any of our younger colleagues are willing and 
prepared to go over the work in a critical spirit, let them 
divide the subject into three periods. During the first, 
which begins with the entombment of S. Peter, June 29, 
A. D. 67, and ends with that of Melchiades, A. D. 314, the 
bishops of Rome were interred in the depths of the subur- 
ban cemeteries, and their loculi marked with a simple 
name. During the second period, which begins with the 
peace of Constantine and ends with the destruction of the 
Vatican basilica in 1506-1606, the pontifical graves were 
mostly ancient sarcophagi or bathing basins from the 
thermae, accompanied by an inscription in verse, and, as 
the Renaissance was approached, by canopies of Gothic or 
Romanesque style. In the third period, which ends with 
our time, the new church of S. Peter is transformed into a 
papal mausoleum which is worthy of being compared in 
refinement of art, in splendor of decoration, in richness of 
material, in historical interest, with the Pantheons of an- 
cient Rome. I shall select from each of the three periods 
a few representative specimens. 

1 Les tombeaux des popes romains. Traduction Sabatier. Paris, 1859. 


1849, while de Rossi was exploring the Vigna Molinari be- 
tween the Via Appia and the Ardeatina, in his attempt to 
define tlje site and extent of the various cemeteries which 
undermine that region, he found a fragment of a marble 
slab with the letters ELIVS MARTYR. 

Excited by a discovery the capital importance of which 
he was able to foresee at once, he asked an audience of the 
Pope, Pius IX., and begged him to purchase the Vigna 
Molinari, and grant the funds necessary to discover the 
crypt to which this fragment of a tombstone belonged. 
After listening quietly to the arguments by which the young 
man was advocating his cause, the Pope answered only 
four disheartening words : " Sogni di un archeologo ! " 
(dreams of an archaeologist). At the same time he gave 
orders for the immediate purchase of the vigna (now called 
dei Palazzi Apostolici) and for the appropriation of an " ex- 
ploration fund." In March, 1852, a crypt was discovered 
on the very border of the Appian Way ; in the crypt was 

Tombstone of Cornelius. 

a tomb, and with it were the missing fragments of the 
epitaph of Cornelius. 

Some weeks later the young discoverer escorted the Pope 


to the historical grave, and pointing to the epitaph ex- 
claimed : " Sogni di un archeologo ! " To judge of the 
importance of the discovery we must remember that the 
identification of the crypts of Lucina, and that of all the 
surrounding catacombs, depended mostly upon the identifi- 
cation of this one. The " Liber Pontificalis " says : " The 
emperor Decius gave judgment in the case of Cornelius : 
that he should be taken to the temple of Mars extra muros, 
and asked to perform an act of adoration : in case of a 
refusal that he should be beheaded. This was accordingly 
done, and Cornelius gave his life for his faith. Lucina, a 
noble matron, assisted by members of the clergy, collected 
his remains and buried them in a crypt on her own estate 
near the Cemetery of Callixtus, on the Appian Way ; and 
this happened on September 14 (A. D. 253)." As the 
Cemetery of Callixtus was the recognized burial-place of 
the bishops. of Rome, why was this exception made to the 
rule ? The reason is evident : the estate of Lucina con- 
tained the family vault of the Cornelii, or at least of a 
branch of the Cornelian race. The victim of the persecu- 
tion of Decius was the first Pope of noble and ancient 
lineage. Apparently his relatives wished to emphasize this 
fact in the place selected for his burial, and by proclaim- 
ing his illustrious descent on his gravestone through the 
use of the old and simple language of the republic, " Cor- 
nelius Martyr." The use of Latin at this age constitutes 
another conspicuous exception to the rule, because the Greek 
language was not only fashionable in the third century, 
but had been adopted almost officially by the Church. The 
majority of liturgical words, such as hymn, psalm, liturgy, 
homily, catechism, baptism, eucharist, deacon, presbyter, 
pope, cemetery, diocese, are of Greek origin, and the names 
of the Popes in the pontifical crypt of this same cemetery 


are, likewise, written in Greek letters even when they are 
strictly Roman, as in the case of AOTKI2 for LVCIVS. 

The crypt of Cornelius contains other historical records. 
A metric inscription composed by Damasus and placed 
above the loculus says to the pilgrim : " Behold : a descent 
to the crypt has been built : darkness has been expelled : 
you can behold the memorial of Cornelius and his resting- 
place. The zeal of Damasus has enabled him, though 
careworn and ailing, to accomplish the work and make 
your pilgrimage easier and more efficacious. If you are 
prepared to pray to the Lord in purity of heart, entreat 
Him to restore Damasus to health ; not that he is fond of 
life, but because the duties of his mission bind him still to 
this earth." These verses are, probably, the very last com- 
posed by the dying pontiff ( t 384). His work was finished 
by Siricius (A. D. 384-397), as proved by a second inscrip- 
tion below the loculus : " Siricius has completed the work 
and dressed the tomb of Cornelius in marble." 

The paintings of the crypt, although they date from the 
Byzantine period, are of historical interest. On the right 
we see the images of Cornelius and Cyprian, bishop of Car- 
thage. Their intimate connection in life, their martyrdom 
on the same day of the same month, made their memory 
inseparable. The church commemorates them on the same 
natale or anniversary, and their images stand side by side 
in this crypt. The artist who painted them prophesied the 
future ; he saw that the time would come when, in their 
graves, the bodies of the two friends would be united as 
their souls had been while they lived. Their remains were 
removed to Compiegne in the reign of Charles the Bald, 
those of Cornelius from Rome, those of Cyprian from 
Carthage, never to part again. 

A circular pedestal, like a section of a column, stands 


against the wall under the images. Such pedestals are not 
uncommon in the catacombs ; and they were intended to 
support a large flat bowl not unlike the holy-water basins of 
modern churches. Several specimens have been found in 
situ, in the cemeteries of Saturninus, Alexander, Agnes, 
and Callixtus. They are of the sa'me make, cut in marble 
so delicately as to be translucent, flat-bottomed, and very 
low. For what were they used? We cannot think of 
" holy water " in the modern sense, because in those days 
the faithful were wont to purify their hands, not in recepta- 
cles of stagnant water, but in springs or living fountains. 
It seems more in accordance with ancient rites to consider 
them as lamps, filled with scented oil or nard, on the sur- 
face of which wicks, secured to a piece of papyrus, floated 
like a veilteuse, to guide the footsteps of pilgrims in the 

A papyrus in the archives or treasury of the cathedral at 
Monza contains a list of oils collected by John, abbot of 
Monza, in the cemeteries of Rome, and offered by him to 
Theodolinda, Queen of the Lombards. Special mention is 
made in the document of the oil from the tomb of S. Cor- 
neliiis ; and de Rossi asserts that the fragments of a dia- 
phanous oil-basin found in the exploration of this crypt 
were soaked with an oleaginous substance. 1 

One cannot help being impressed by the coexistence on 
this same road, and within a mile of each other, of two 
family vaults of the Cornelii : one in the aristocratic burial- 
grounds between the vise Appia and Latina, the other in 
the subterranean haunts of a despised and persecuted race. 
One need not be a deep thinker or a religious enthusiast 
to appreciate that each is worthy of the other ; and that 
the Cornelius of the third century who chose to die the 

1 Roma sotterranea, i., p. 283. 




Portrait of p P e 

from a fresco near his grave. 

death of a criminal rather than betray his conscience, is 

a worthy descendant of the Scipios, 

the heroes of republican Rome. 

Whenever I happen to pay a visit 

to the hypogseum of the Cornelii 

Scipiones, 1 I try to finish my walk 

by way of that of their noble repre- 

sentative, the victim of the perse- 

cution of Decius. 

just mentioned the vault of the 
Popes as belonging to the same 
Cemetery of Callixtus. It was discov- 

. ^ 

ered in 1854. Its approaches were 
inscribed with a great number of graffiti, which marked the 
place as the most celebrated in the cemetery, if not in the 
whole of underground Rome. A pious hand had written 
near the entrance door : GERVSALE[M] CIVITAS ET 
is the Jerusalem of the martyrs of the Lord." The debris 
which obstructed the chamber was removed as quickly as 
the narrowness of the space would permit, and as it passed 
under the eyes of de Rossi, he was able to detect the names 
of Anteros, Fabianus, Lucius, and Eutychianus on the broken 
marbles. There were, besides, one hundred and twenty-five 
fragments of a metric inscription by Damasus, which gave 
the desired information, in the following words : 

" Here lie together in great numbers the holy bodies you 
are seeking. These tombs contain their remains, but their 

1 The hypogseum, discovered in 1617, excavated and pillaged in 1780-81, 
has, through my exertions, become national property, together with the Colum- 
baria of Hylas. 


souls are in the heavenly kingdom. liere you see the com- 
panions of Sixtus waving the trophies of victory ; there the 
bishops [of Rome] who shielded the altar of Christ; the 
pontiff who saw the first years of peace [Melchiades, A. D. 
311-314] ; the noble confessors who came to us from Greece 
[Hippolytus, Hadrias, Maria, Neon, Paulina], and others. 
I confess I wished most ardently to find my last resting 
place among these saints, but I did not dare to disturb their 

Callixtus (218-223), the founder of the cemetery, does 
not lie in it. He perished in a popular outbreak, having 
been thrown from the windows of his house into the square, 
the site of which corresponds with the modern Piazza di 
Santa Maria .in Trastevere, the area Callisti of the fourth 
century. The Christians recovered his body, and buried it 
in the nearest cemetery at hand, that of Calepodius by 
the Via Aurelia (between the Villa Painfili and the Casa- 
letto di Pio V.). 

Urban, his successor (A. D. 223-230), opens the series in 
the episcopal crypt of the Appian Way. His name, OYP- 
BANOC G(m'crjco7ioc;), has been read on a fragment of a mar- 
ble sarcophagus. Then follow Anteros (A. D. 235-236), 
Fabianus (A. D. 236-251), Lucius (A. D. 252-253), and 
Eutychianos (A. D. 275-283), in all, five bishops out of 
the eleven who are known to have been buried in the crypt. 

In looking at these humble graves we cannot help com- 
paring them with the great mausolea of contemporary em- 
perors. A war was then raging between the builders of the 
catacombs and the occupants of the imperial palace. It was 
a duel between principles and power, between moral and ma- 
terial strength. In 296, bishop Gaius, one of the last victims 
of Diocletian's persecution, was interred by the side of his 
predecessors in the crypt; in 313, only seventeen years 


later, Sylvester took possession of the Lateran Palace, which 
had been offered to him by Constantine. Such is the history 
of Rome ; such are the events which the study of her ruins 
recalls to our memory. 

his life given in the " Liber Pontificalis," i. 312, two things 
especially attract our attention : the mission sent by him to 
the British Isles, and his entombment in the " Paradise " of 
S. Peter's. Beginning with the latter, we are told that he 
died on March 12 of the year 604, and that his remains were 
buried " in the basilica of the blessed Peter, in front of the 
secretarium, in one of the intercolumniations of the portico." 
This statement requires a few words of comment. 

We have seen how the bishops of the age of persecutions 
were buiied in the underground cemeteries, with a marked 
preference for those of the Via Appia and the Via Salaria. 
From the time of Sylvester (314-335) to that of Leo the 
Great (440-461) they still sought the proximity of martyrs, 
and obeyed the rule which forbade burial within the walls of 
the city. Sylvester raised a modest mausoleum for himself 
and his successors over the Cemetery of Priscilla, on the 
Via Salaria, the remains of which have just been discov- 
ered. 1 Anastasius and Innocent I. found their resting- 
place over the Cemetery of Pontianus, on the road to Porto ; 
Zosimus and Sixtus in the church of S. Lorenzo ; Boni- 
face I. in that of S. Felicitas, on the Via Salaria. 

The Vatican began to be the official mausoleum of the 
Popes with Leo I. in 461. The place selected is not the 
interior of the church, but the vestibule, and more ex- 
actly the space between the middle doorway (the Porta 

1 It contained the graves of Marcellus f 308, Sylvester f 385, Siricius f 396, 
and Celestinus t 422. 



argentea) and the southwest corner, occupied by the secre- 
tarium, or sacristy, a hall of basilican shape in which the 
Popes donned their official robes before entering the church. 
The place can be easily identified by comparing the accom- 
panying reproduction of Ciampini's drawing of the front of 
the old basilica of S. Peter's with the plan published in 

The Atrium of Old S.. Peter's. 

chapter iii., p. 127. For nearly two and a half centuries 
they were laid side by side, until every inch of space was oc- 
cupied, the graves being under the floor, and marked by a 
plain slab inscribed with a few Latin distichs of semi-barbaric 
style. These short biographical poems have been trans- 
mitted to us, with a few exceptions, by the pilgrims of the 
seventh and ninth centuries, whose copies were afterwards 
collected in volumes, the most important of which is known 
as the Codex of Lauresheim. At the time of Gregory the 


Great there was but a small space left near the secretarium. 
This was occupied by Pelasgius I., Johannes III., Benedict I., 
and a few others. 

Sergius I. (687-701) was the first who dared to cross the 
threshold of the church, which he did, however, not for his 
own benefit, but to do honor to the memory of Leo I. The 
inscription in which he describes the event is too prolix to 
be given here. It tells us that the grave of Leo the Great 
was in the vestibule below the sacristy. There he lay " like 
the keeper of the temple, like a shepherd watching his 
flock." But other graves had crowded the place so that it 
was almost impossible to single them out, and read their 
epitaphs. Sergius therefore ordered the body of his prede- 
cessor to be removed to an oratory, or chapel, in the south 
transept of the church, and to be enclosed in a beautiful 
monument which he adorned with costly marbles, and with 
mosaics representing prophets and saints. The monument 
was destroyed by Paul V. on Saturday, May 26, 1607. 

The remains of Gregory the Great have also been moved 
several times. His tombstone must have been worn by the 
feet of pilgrims, as only eighteen letters out of many hundred 
have been preserved to our time. These were discovered 
not many years ago, in a dark corner of the Grotte Vati- 
cane. Two centuries after his death, his successor, Greg- 
ory IV. (827-844), carried his remains inside the church, to 
an oratory near the new sacristy, covered the tomb with 
panels of silver, and the back wall with golden mosaics. The 
body remained in this second place until the pontificate of 
Enea Silvio Piccolomini, Pius II. (1458-1464), who, having 
built a chapel to S. Andrew the apostle, removed Gregory's 
coffin to the new altar. The coffin is described as a conca 
cegyptiaca, an ancient bathing-basin, of porphyry, which was 
protected by an iron grating. The chapel, the altar, and the 


tomb were again sacrificed to the renovation of the church in 
the time of Paul V. On December 28, 1605, the porphyry 
urn was opened, and the body of the great man transferred 
to a cypress case ; on the eighth day of the following Janu- 
ary a procession, headed by the college of cardinals and the 
aristocracy, accompanied the remains to their fourth and 
last resting-place, the Cappella Clementina, built by Clement 
VIII., near the entrance to the modern sacristy. There are 
now two inscriptions : one on the marble lid, " Here lies 
Saint Gregory the Great, first of his name, doctor of the 
church ; " the other on the cypress case, " Evangelista Pal- 
lotta, cardinal of S. Lorenzo in Lucina, dean of this church, 
collected in this case the remains of Gregory the Great, and 
removed them from the altar of S. Andrew to this new 
chapel. Done by order of Paul V., in the first year of his 
pontificate, on Sunday, January 8, A. D. 1606." The altar- 
piece was not painted by Muziano, as stated in old guide- 
books, but by Andrea Sacchi. The picture was removed to 
Paris, with many other masterpieces, at the time of Napo- 
leon I. ; but Canova obtained its restitution in 1815. It is 
now preserved in the Vatican Gallery ; the copy in mosaic 
is the joint work of Alessandro Cocchi and Francesco Cas- 

The history of the pontificate of Gregory has been writ- 
ten and will shortly be published by my learned friend 
Professor H. Grisar. No better or greater subject could 
be found than this period when the city, abandoned by the 
Byzantine emperors, harassed, besieged, starved by the 
Lombards, found in her bishops her only chance of salva- 
tion. They never appear to greater advantage than in 
those eventful times, when Rome was sinking so low within, 
when her surroundings were changed into a lifeless desert. 
The queen who had ruled the world was trampled under 


the feet of her former slaves, and found assistance and sym- 
pathy nowhere. When Alboin overran the peninsula in 
568, at the head of his Lombards, with whom warriors of 

Statue of S. Gregory the Great. 

several other races, especially Saxons, were intermixed, the 
emperor Justin could offer no other help to the Romans 
than the advice of bribing the Lombard chiefs, or of caUing 
in the Franks. Barbarians for barbarians ! 


" On the death of Pope John III. in 573, Rome was so 
closely pressed that it was impossible to send to Constanti- 
nople for the confirmation of Benedict I., who had been 
elected his successor, and the papal throne remained vacant 
for one year. The same appears to have been the case on 
the death of Benedict, in 578, when Rome was held in siege 
by Zoto, duke of Beneventum, for the Lombard power had 
been distributed among thirty-six duchies. The particulars 
of this siege are unknown, but it probably lasted two or 
three years. On withdrawing from Rome Zoto took and 
plundered the Benedictine convent on Montecassino. The 
monks retired to Rome and established themselves in a con- 
vent near the Lateran, which they named after S. John 
Baptist, whence the basilica of Constantine or the Saviour 
subsequently took its name. . . . The misery of the Romans 
was aggravated by some natural calamities. Towards the 
end of 589, several temples and other monuments were de- 
stroyed by the flooding of the Tiber, and the city was after- 
wards afflicted by a devastating pestilence. 

" To the year 590, which is that of the election of Greg- 
ory, is referred the legend of the angel that was seen to 
hover over the Mausoleum of Hadrian, while Gregory was 
passing it in solemn procession, and to sheathe his flaming 
sword as a sign that the pestilence was about to cease. At 
the same time three angels were heard to sing the antiphony 
Regina Cceli, to which Gregory replied with the hymn Ora 
pro nobis Deum alleluja ! " * 

This graceful story is the invention of a later century, 
but it is worth while to trace its origin. It was customary 
in the Middle Ages to consecrate the summits of hills and 
mountains to Michael, the archangel, from an association 
of ideas which needs no explanation. Similarly, in classical 

1 Dyer : History of Rome, p. 344. 


times, the Alpine passes had been placed under the protec- 
tion of Jupiter the Thunderer, and lofty peaks crowned 
with his temples. Without citing the examples of Mont 
Saint Michel on the coast of Normandy, or of Monte Gar- 
gano on the coast of Apulia, we need only look around 
the neighborhood of Rome to find the figure of the angel 
wherever a solitary hill or a commanding ruin suggested 
the idea or the sensation of height. Deus in altis habitat. 
Here is the isolated cone of Castel Giubileo on the Via 
Salaria (a fortified outpost of Fidenae) ; there the moun- 
tain of S. Angelo above Nomentum, and the convent of 
S. Michele on the peak of Corniculum. The highest point 
within the walls of Rome, now occupied by 'the Villa Au- 
relia (Heyland) was covered likewise by a church named S. 
Angelo in Janiculo. The two principal ruins in the valley 
of the Tiber the Mausoleum of Augustus and that of Ha- 
drian were also shaded by the angel's wings. The shrine 
over the vault of the Julian emperors was called S. Angelo 
de Augusto, while that 'built by Boniface IV. (608-615) 
above Hadrian's tomb was called inter nubes (among the 
clouds), or inter ccelos (in the heavens). This shrine was 
replaced later by the figure of an angel. During the pes- 
tilence of 1348 the statue was reported by thirty witnesses 
to have bowed to the image of the Virgin which the panic- 
stricken people were carrying from the church of Ara Cosli 
to S. Peter's. In 1378 the ungrateful crowd destroyed it 
in their attempt to storm the castle. Nicholas V. (1447- 
1455) placed a new image on the top of the monument, 
which perished in the explosion of the powder-magazine 
in 1497. The shock was so violent that pieces of the 
statue were found beyond S. Maria Maggiore, a distance 
of a mile and a half. Alexander VI., Borgia, set up a 
statue for the third time, which was stolen by the hordes of 



Charles V. for the sake of its heavy' gilding. The marble 
effigy by Raffaele di Montelupo was placed on the vacant 
base, and remained until Benedict XIV. (1740-1758) set 
up a fifth and last figure, which was cast in bronze by Wen- 

The Angel on the Mausoleum of Hadrian. 

It is remarkable that Gregory could think of the spiritual 
mission of the church in times so troubled, when the last 
hour of Rome and the civilized world seemed to have come. 
He saw that neither the condition of the world nor that of 
the Church was hopeless, and his ability, assisted by politi- 
cal circumstances, gave promise of more prosperous times. 
A great part of Europe accepted the Christian faith during 
his pontificate. Theolinda, queen of the Lombards, after 
the death of her husband Autharic, in 590, contributed 
greatly to the spreading of the gospel among her own peo- 
ple. The west Goths of Spain were converted through Rec- 
cared, their king. We need not repeat here the well-known 
story of the manner in which Gregory's sympathy for the 
Anglo-Saxon race was excited by seeing one of them in the 
slave-market of Rome. The mission to which he intrusted 


the conversion of the British Isles was composed of three 
holy men, Mellitus, Augustin, and John, who were accompa- 
nied by other devout followers. They left Rome in the 
spring of 596, but could not land on the shores of England 
until the middle of the following year. Mention of this 
fact is made in two documents only, in the " Liber Ponti- 
ficalis," vol. i. p. 312, and in a writing by Prosper of Aqui- 
tania in which the English nation is called gens extremo 
oceano posita (a people living at the end of the ocean). 

Not less surprising in the career of this man is the insti- 
tution of a school for religious music. It was established in 
one of the halls of the Lateran, and even the Carlovingian 
kings obtained from it skilful maestri and organists. It 
is still prosperous. To Gregory we owe the canto fer mo, 
or Gregorian chant, which, if properly executed, imparts 
such a grave and solemn character to the ceremonies of our 

Gregory's paternal house stood on the slope of the Caelian, 
facing the palace of the Caesars, on a street named the 
Clivus Scauri, which corresponds very nearly to the modern 
Via dei SS. Giovanni e Paolo. Fond as he was of monastic 
life, he extended hospitality to men of his own sentiments 
and habit of thought ; and transformed the old lararium 
into a chapel of S. Andrew. The place, which was gov- 
erned by the rule of S. Benedict, became known as the 
" Monastery of S. Andrew in the street of Scaurus." The 
typical plan of a Roman palace was not altered ; the atrium, 
accessible to the clients and guests of the monks, is de- 
scribed as having in the centre a " wonderful and most 
salubrious " spring, no doubt the " spring of Mercury " of 
classical times. It still exists, in a remote and hardly 
accessible corner of the garden, but its waters are no longer 
believed to be miracle-working, nor are they sought by 



crowds of ailing pilgrims as formerly. Time has brought 
other changes upon this cluster of buildings. In 1633 
cardinal Scipione Borghese completed its modernization by 

Modern facade of the Monastery of S. Gregory on the Cielian. 

raising the fagade, which does so little honor to him and 
his architect, Giovanni Soria. But let us pause on the top 
of the staircase which leads to it, with our faces towards 
the Palatine ; there is no more impressive sight in the 


whole of Rome. Placed as we are between the Baths of 
Caracalla, the Circus Maximus, the dwelling of the emper- 
ors, and the Coliseum, with the Via Triumphalis at our feet, 
we can hardly realize the wonderful transformation of men 
and things. From the hill beyond us the generals who led 
the Roman armies to the conquest of the world took their 
departure ; from this modest monastery went a handful of 
humble missionaries who were to preach the gospel and to 
bring civilization into countries far beyond the boundary 
line of the Roman empire. Of their success in the British 
Islands we have monumental evidence everywhere in 
Rome. Here in the vestibule of this very church is en- 
graved the name of Sir Edward Carne, one of the Commis- 
sioners sent by Henry VIII. to obtain the opinion of 
foreign universities respecting his divorce from Catherine 
of Aragon ; and, not far from it, that of Robert Pecham, 
who died in 1567, an exile for his faith, and left his sub- 
stance to the poor. 

These, however, are comparatively recent memories. In 
the vestibule of S. Peter's, not far from the original grave 
of Gregory the Great, we should have found that of a 
British king, reckoned among the saints in the old martyr- 
ologies, who had come in grateful acknowledgment of the 
double civilization which his native island had received 
from pagan and Christian Rome. 1 Under the date of 688 
the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle records : " This year king Cead- 
walla went to Rome and received baptism from Pope 
Sergius, and he gave him the name of Peter, and in about 
seven days afterwards, on the twelfth before the Kalends 

1 See the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, edited by J. A. Giles, in Bohn's Antiquarian 
Library ; and the excellent memoir of Domenico Tesoroni, King Ceadicalla's 
Tomb in the Ancient Basilica of S. Peter (Rome, Bertero, 1891), from which I 
quote almost verbatim. 


of May (April 20), while he was yet in his baptismal gaiv 
ments, he died, and he was buried in S. Peter's." The 
fair-haired convert, who had met with a solemn and enthu- 
siastic reception from Pope Sergius, the clergy, and the 
people, received after his death the greatest honor that the 
Church and the Romans could offer him : he was buried in 
the " Popes' Corner," or portions pontiftcum, almost side 
by side with Gregory the Great. The verses engraved on 
the tomb of the latter 

" Ad Christum Anglos convertit pietate magistra 
Sic ftdei acquirens agmina gente nova," 

(by pious cares he converted the English to Christ, acquir- 
ing thereby for the true faith multitudes of a new race) 
could not have found a more convincing witness to their 
truth than this grave of Ceadwalla, because with his con- 
version, which was due to the preaching of S. Wilfrid, the 
Christian religion spread rapidly among the Saxons of the 
West, and that part of the country which had most resisted 
the new faith was forever secured to Christian civilization. 
In fact Wessex became the most powerful member of the 
Heptarchy, till it attained absolute dominion over the whole 

Ceadwalla's tomb, forgotten, and perhaps concealed by 
superstructures, was brought to light again towards the 
end of the sixteenth century. Giovanni de Deis, in a 
work published in 1588, says : " The epitaph l and the tomb 
on which it was engraved lay for a long time concealed 
from the eyes of visitors, and only in later years it was dis- 
covered by the masons engaged in rebuilding S. Peter's." 
Not a fragment of the monument has come down to us, 
and such was the contempt with which the learned men of 
the age looked upon these historical monuments, that none 

1 De Rossi : Inscriptions christiance, ii. p. 288. 


of them condescended to give us the details of the discov- 
ery. " It is deeply to be regretted," says cardinal Mai, 
" that such a notable trophy as the tomb of Ceadwalla, the 
royal catechumen, which was erected and inscribed by 
Sergius I., disappeared from the Vatican, and was irre- 
trievably lost, together with innumerable monuments of 
ancient art and piety, owing to the calamities of the times, 
the avidity of the workmen, and the negligence of the 

" Ceadwalla's tomb," I quote from Tesoroni, " was not 
the only monument of Anglo-Saxon interest to be seen in 
old S. Pietro. William of Mahnesbury and other chron- 
iclers mention two other kings, Offa of Essex, and Coenred 
of Mercia, as having renounced their crowns and embraced 
the monastic life in one of the Vatican cloisters. They 
were also buried in the Paradise near the Popes' Corner. 
It is doubtful whether king Ina, who succeeded Ceadwalla, 
and his queen, Aethelburga, were buried in the same place, 
or in the Anglo-Saxon quarter by the church of S. Maria 
in Saxia, founded, probably, by Ina himself. It is certain, 
however, that at a later time king Burrhed of Mercia was 
entombed in the same quarter, and in the same church. 
The place is still named from the Anglo-Saxons, S. Spirito 
in Sassia." 

The threshold of S. Peter's once crossed, we hear no 
more of Popes being buried outside, in the old atrium. 
The second aisle on the left that entered by the Gate of 
Judgment was intended to receive their mortal remains. 
Hence its name of porticus pontificum (the aisle of the 
pontiffs). On the day of his coronation the newly elected 
head of the church was asked to cross this aisle on his way 
from the chapel of S. Gregory to the high altar, that the 
sight of so many graves should impress on his mind the 


maxim, " The glory of the world vanisheth like the flame 
of a handful of straw ; " and a handful of straw was actually 
burned before his eyes, while the dean of the church 
addressed to him the words, " My father, sic transit gloria 

THE TOMB OF BENEDICT VII. (974-983). The basilica 
of S. Croce in Gerusalemme contains but one tomb, that of 
Benedict VII., whose career is described in a metric inscrip- 
tion of seventeen verses, inserted in the wall of the nave 
on the right of the entrance. I mention it because Gre- 
gorovius seems to have been unaware of its existence, in 
spite of its historical value. 1 It recalls to our mind one of 
the most turbulent and riotous periods in the annals of 
Rome and the papacy, the fight between the "indepen- 
dents " led by the Crescenzi, and the party of the Saxon 
emperors, represented by Popes Benedict VI. and VII. 
The Crescenzio mentioned in the epitaph of Benedict VII. 
was the son of John and Theodora, and one of the most 
active members of a family which has thrice attempted to 
reestablish the republic of ancient Rome and shake off the 
yoke of German oppression. This one is known as Cres- 
centius de Theodora, from the name of his mother ; and 
also as Crescentius de Caballo, from his residence on the 
Quirinal, near the colossal statues of Castor and Pollux, 
which have given to the hill its modern name of Monte 
Cavallo. The Castel S. Angelo was the stronghold of the 
family. Under the shelter of its massive ramparts they 
were able to dictate the law to the Popes, and commit 
bloodshed and sacrilege with impunity. In 928 Marozia 
and her second husband Guido, marquis of Tuscany, with 

1 Duehesne : Lib. pontif. ii. 258. Marucchi : Iscrizioni relative alia storia di 
Roma dal secolo V al XV. (p. 74). Roma, 1881. 


their partisans, fell on Pope John X., who was staying in 
the Lateran Palace, murdered his brother Pietro before his 
eyes, and dragged him through the streets of Rome to 
the castle. The unfortunate Pope lingered awhile in a 
dark dungeon, and was ultimately killed by suffocation. 
Marozia, perhaps to dispel the suspicions of a violent death, 
allowed him to be buried with due honors near the middle 
door of the Lateran, at the foot of the nave. His grave- 
stone was seen and described by Johannes Diaconus, but 
has long since disappeared. In 974 Crescenzio, son of 
Theodora, committed another sacrilegious murder, that of 
Benedict VI. Helped by a deacon named Franco he con- 
fined him in the same dungeon of Castel S. Angelo, while 
Franco placed himself on the chair of S. Peter, under the 
name of Boniface VII. The legal Pope was soon after 
strangled. Such crimes startled for a moment the apathy 
of the Romans, who besieged and stormed the castle, de- 
posed the usurper, and named in his place Benedict VII., 
whose grave we are now visiting in S. Croce in Gerusa- 
lemme. Yet Crescenzio and Franco did not pay dearly for 
their crimes. Franco, after plundering the Vatican basilica 
of its valuables, migrated to Constantinople, a rich and free 
man. Crescenzio died peacefully in the monastery of S. 
Alessio on the Aventine in the year 984. His tomb, the 
tomb of a murderer, whose hands had been stained with 
the blood of a Pope, was allowed the honor of a laudatory 
inscription. It can still be seen in the cloisters of the mon- 
astery : " Here lies the body of Crescentius, the illustrious, 
the honorable citizen of Rome, the great leader, the great 
descendant of a great family," etc. "Christ the Saviour 
of our souls made him infirm and an invalid, so that, aban- 
doning any further hope of worldly success, he entered 
this monastery, and spent his last years in prayer and 


All these events are alluded to in the epitaph of Bene- 
dict VII., in S. Croce. This church has been so thoroughly 
deprived of its charm and interest by another Benedict 
(XIV., in the year 1744) that one cannot help paying atten- 
tion to the few objects which have survived the " transfor- 
mation," and especially to this humble stone hardly known 
to students. 

Should any of my readers care to arrange their re- 
searches in Rome systematically, and study its monuments 
group by group, according to chronological and historical 
connections, they will find abundance of material in the 
period in which the murders of John X. and Benedict VI. 
took place. There is the tomb of Landolfo, brother of 
Crescenzio, at S. Lorenzo fuori le Mura ; that of Crescenzio 
at S. Alessio ; the house of Nicola di Crescenzio, near the 
Bocca della Verita, a fascinating subject for a day's work. 

The church of S. Croce has seen another strange death 
of a Pope, that of Sylvester II. (999-1003), a French- 
man, Gerbert by name. A legend, related first by cardinal 
Benno in 1099, describes him as deep in necromantic know- 
ledge, which he had gathered during a journey through the 
Hispano-Arabic provinces. He is said to have carried in 
his travels a sort of a diabolical oracle, a brazen head which 
uttered prophetic answers. After his election, in 999, he 
inquired how long he should remain in power ; the response 
was "as long as he avoided saying mass in Jerusalem." 
The prophecy was soon fulfilled. He expired in great 
agony on Quadragesima Sunday, 1003, while celebrating 
mass in this church, the classic name of which he seems not 
to have known. The legend asserts that his sins were par- 
doned by God, and that he was given an honorable burial 
in the church of S. John Lateran. A mysterious influ- 
ence, however, hung over his grave. Whenever one of his 


successors was approaching the end of life, the bones of 
Sylvester would stir in their vault, and the marble lid would 
be moistened with drops of water, as stated in the epitaph, 
which is still visible in S. John Lateran, against one of 
the pillars of the first right aisle. It begins with the 
distich : 


We are ready to forgive the originators of the legend 
about the rattling of the bones ; the verses are so bad and 
distorted that it is no wonder they were wrongly under- 
stood. Their author wanted to express the readiness of the 
deceased to appear before the Lord at His coming ; but, not 
being particularly successful in the choice of his language, 
his simple-minded contemporaries, so inclined towards the 
supernatural, saw in the words venturo domino an allusion 
to the coming, not of the Sovereign Judge, but of the 
future Pope ; and they thought the expression ad sonitum 
referred not to the trumpet of the last judgment, but to the 
rattling of the bones whenever a dominus venturus might 
appear on the scene. 

This popular interpretation soon became official. John 
the Deacon has accepted it blindly in his description of the 
Lateran. " In the same aisle (the last on the left, near the 
Cappella Corsini) lies Gerbert, archbishop of Reims, who 
took the name of Sylvester after his election to the pontifi- 
cate. His tomb, although in a dry place, sends forth drops 
of water even in clear and dry weather," etc. The tomb 
was opened and destroyed in 1648. Rasponi, an eye- 
witness, describes the event in his book " De Basilica et 
Patriarchio Lateranensi " (Rome, 1656, p. 76) : " In the 
year 1648, while new foundations were being laid for the 


left wing of the church, the corpse of Sylvester II. was 
found in a marble sarcophagus, twelve feet below the 
ground. The body was well composed and dressed in state 
robes; the arms were crossed on the breast; the head 
crowned with the tiara. It fell into dust at the touch of 
our hands, while a pleasant odor filled the air, owing to the 
rare substances in which it had been embalmed. Nothing 
was saved but a silver cross and the signet ring." 

The church of S. John Lateran has passed through the 
same vicissitudes as that of S. Croce in Gerusalemme, but 
with less detriment. Clement VIII., who reconstructed the 
transept ; Sixtus V., who rebuilt the north portico ; Inno- 
cent X., Pius IX., and Leo XIII. have all been more 
merciful than Benedict XIV. At all events, if the sight 
of the church itself in its present state is distasteful to the 
true lover of ancient and medieval Rome, nothing could 
delight him more than the cloisters of Vassalectus which 
open at the south end of the transept. I speak of the 
building as well as of its contents. The cloisters have just 
been restored to their original appearance by Leo XIII. 
and by his architect, conte Francesco Vespignani, and a 
museum of works of art from the old basilica has been 
formed under its arcades. 

There are three or four details regarding it which de- 
serve notice. The design of this exquisite structure has 

been attributed, as usual, to one of 
the Cosmatis ; but it belongs to 
Pietro Vassalletto and his son. In 
demolishing one of the clumsy 
buttresses, which were built two 

inscription of Vassalectus. centuries ago against the colonnade 

of the south side, count Vespignani 

discovered (1887) the authentic signatures of both artists, 



in the inscription which is here reproduced. It is thus 
translated : " I, Vassalectus, a no- 
ble and skilful master in my pro- 
fession, have finished alone this 
work which I began in company 
with my father." 1 Their school 
lasted for four generations, from 
1153 to the middle of the follow- 
ing century, and ranks next in im- 
portance to that of the Cosmatis. 
Many of their productions are 
signed, as for example the episco- 
pal chair in the church of S. An- 
drea at Anagni, dated 1263 ; a 
screen in the cathedral of Segni, 
dated 1185 ; the candelabra in S. 
Paolo fuori le Mura; the lion in 
the porch of SS. Apostoli ; the 
canopy in SS. Cosma e Damiano, 
dated 1153 ; fragments of an in- 
laid screen in the studio of the 
illustrious artist, Senor Villegas, 
etc. We are in the habit of assert- 
ing that only the Renaissance mas- 
ters studied and were inspired by 
the antique ; but the fascination of 
ancient art was equally felt by 
their early precursors of the twelfth 
century. The archway in the mid- 
dle of the SOUth side Of these Clois- Candelabrum in the Church of 

ters (opposite the one reprtesented S " Paol fuori le Mura< 
in our illustration) rests on sphinxes, one of which is 

1 Barbier de Montault: Revue archeologique, xiv. 244. Frothingham : Amer- 


bearded. The human-headed monsters, wearing the daft 
or nemes, images of Egyptian Pharaohs, were obviously 
modelled in imitation of ancient originals. Nor is this the 
only case. The gate of S. Antonio on the Esquiline is also 
supported by crouching sphinxes (A. D. 1269). It has been 
suggested that such works were inspired by crusaders who 
had seen the wonders of Egypt. But if the reader remem- 
bers what I said about the Temple of Isis in the Campus 
Martius, in chapter ii., p. 92, he will at once perceive how 
the Vassalletti were able to draw their Egyptian models 
from a much nearer source. A fact mentioned by Winckel- 
mann l proves that one of them owned and studied a statue 
of ^Esculapius, in the plinth of which he actually engraved 
his own name, [VJASSALECTVS. The statue was seen by 
Winckelmann in the Verospi palace, but I have not been 
able to ascertain its present location. In these same clois- 
ters are some delightful figures of saints, in high relief, 
from an old ciborium. One of them, representing S. John 
the Baptist, is obviously modelled on the type of an An- 
tinous, with the same abundance of curly hair, the same 
profile and characteristic eyebrows. In October, 1886, I 
actually saw a mediaeval stonecutter's shop, dating perhaps 
from the eleventh or twelfth century, in which the place of 
honor was given to a statue of Antinous. The fact is so 
remarkable for an age in which statues were sought, not 
as models, but as material for the limekiln, that I beg leave 
to describe it. 

The site of the Palazzo della Banca Nazionale, in the 

icon Journal of Archaeology, 1891, p. 44. De Rossi : Bullettino di archeologia 
cristiana, 1875, p. 29 ; 1891, p. 91. Steyenson : Mostra di Roma, alV esposi- 
zione di Torino, 1884, p. 174. Rohault de Fleury : Le latran au moyen age 
(planches 45, 46). Paris, 1877. 

1 Storia delle arti, edizione Fea, vol. ii. p. 144. 



street of the same name, was occupied in old times by the 
house of Tiberius Julius Frugi, a member of the college of 
the Arvales. This house shared the fate of all ancient 
buildings : it was allowed to 
fall to ruin, and later became 
the property of whoever chose 
to occupy it. Among these 
mediaeval occupants was a 
stonecutter who collected in 
the half-ruined halls frag- 
ments, blocks of columns, and 
marbles of various kinds, 
some of which had already 
been re-cut for new uses. 
There was also a deposit of 
the fine sand which is even 
now employed for sawing 
stones. We can judge of 
the approximate age in which 
the stonecutter lived, by the 
fact that in his time the pave- 
ments of the Roman house 
were already covered with .a 
stratum of rubbish six feet 

A statue of Antinous, the 
favorite of Hadrian, deified 
after his death and wor- 
shipped in the form of a Bacchus, was found standing 
against the rear wall of the workshop. It is cut in Greek 
marble, and the style of sculpture is excellent. None of 
the prominent portions of the body have been separated 
from the trunk, so that the only injuries wrought by time 

The Antinous of the Banca Nazionale. 


are slight, and confined to the nose and hands. A patient 
study of this figure has enabled me to reconstruct its story. 
First of all, we are sure that, from the knees down, the 
statue had been immersed in a stream of water for a very 
long period, because the surface of the marble is corroded 
and full of small holes, caused by the action of running 
water. It also bears visible traces of having been scraped 
with a piece of iron and scoured to get rid of the mud and 
calcareous carbonates with which it must have been in- 
crusted when taken out of the stream. These facts concur 
to prove that the Antinous, having been thrown into the 
water, or having fallen in by accident, was found or bought 
after the lapse of centuries, by our stonecutter. An at- 
tempt was then made to clean the statue, and, with the in- 
tention of preserving it as a work of art and a model, it 
was placed in the best room of the workshop. Both were 
buried for a second time, to be brought to light again in 
1886. The statue can now be seen in the vestibule of the 
Banca Nazionale. 

As representative specimens of later art and later glories 
I venture to suggest the tombs of Innocent VIII. (1484- 
1492), by Antonio Pollaiuolo, of Paul III. (1524-1549) 
by Guglielmo della Porta, and of Clement XIII. (1758- 
1769) by Antonio Canova. 

THE TOMB OF INNOCENT VIII. This noble work, by 
Antonio Pollaiuolo, is set against the second pilaster of the 
nave of S. Peter's on the left side, opposite the " Porta dei 
Musici." If we reflect that, besides its importance in the 
history of art, this monument brings back to our memory 
the fall of Constantinople and Granada, the discovery of the 
new world, the figures of Bayazid, Ferdinand, and Christo- 



pher Columbus, we have a subject for meditation, as well 
as aesthetic enjoyment. Innocent VIII., Giovanni Battista 
Cibo, of Genoa, is represented on his sarcophagus sleeping 
the sleep of the just, while above it he appears again in the 
full power of life, seated on the pontifical throne, with the 
right hand raised in the act of blessing the multitude, and 
the left holding the lance with which Longinus had pierced 
the side of the Saviour on the cross. This holy relic was a 
gift from the infidels, who had just taken possession of the 
capital of the Greek empire, and had raised the crescent on 
the pinnacles of S. Sophia. It seems that while Bayazid II. 
was besieging Broussa, his rebellious brother Zem or Zizim, 
who had already been defeated in the battle of June 20, 
1481, succeeded in making his escape to Egypt, and ulti- 
mately to the island of Rhodes. The grand master of the 
Knights of S. John, d'Aubusson, received him cordially 
and sent him first to France, and later to Rome. Here he 
was received with royal honors ; he rode through the streets 
on a charger, escorted by Francesco Cibo, a relative of the 
Pope, and count d'Aubusson, brother of the grand master. 
He is described as a man fond of sight-seeing, about forty 
years old, of a fierce and cruel countenance, tall, erect, well 
proportioned, with shaggy eyebrows, and aquiline nose. His 
brother Bayazid, fearing that he might be induced to try 
another rebellion with the help of the knights, the Pope, 
and the Venetians, treated him generously with a yearly 
allowance of forty thousand scudi ; and secured the good 
grace of Innocent VIII. with the present of the holy 
lance. 1 

To this extraordinary gift of Bayazid we owe one of the 
masterpieces of the Renaissance, the ciborio della santa 

1 Zizim died by poisoning, February 24, 1495, during the pontificate of Alex- 
ander VI., Borgia. 


lancia, begun by Innocent VIII. and finished by the ex- 
ecutors of his will, Lorenzo Cibo and Antoniotto Pallavi- 
cino, in 1495. Unfortunately we have now only a drawing 
of it by the unskilful hand of Giacomo Grimaldi ; 1 it was 
taken to pieces in 1606, and a few of its panels, medallions, 
and statues, which were of the school of Mino da Fiesole, 
were removed to the Sacred Grottos, where no one is al- 
lowed to see them. Grimaldi, who wrote the proces-verbal 
of the demolition of the ciborium, says that the desecration 
and the removal of the relics took place on Septuagesima 
Sunday, January 22, about seven in the evening ; at nine 
o'clock lightning struck the unfinished roof of the basilica ; 
heavy pieces of masonry fell with a crash ; mosaics were 
wrenched from their sockets, and fissures and rents pro- 
duced in various parts of the building. In the same night 
the Tiber overflowed its banks, and the turbulent waters 
rushed as far as the palace of Cardinal Rusticucci in the 
direction of the Vatican. 

The inscription on the tomb of Innocent VIII. mentions, 
among the glories of his pontificate, the discovery of a new 
world. Thirty years before his election Constantinople had 
been taken by the infidels ; but the conquests made in the 
West brought a compensation for the losses sustained on 
the shores of the Bosphorus. Innocent lived to hear of the 
capture of Granada and of the conquest of Ferdinand of 
Aragon, in the Moorish provinces of southern Spain; and 
just at that time the Hispano-Portuguese branch of the 
great Latin family seems to have burst forth with renewed 
vitality and religious enthusiasm, destined to give Rome 
new victories and new worlds. Bartolomeo Diaz had al- 
ready doubled the Cape of Good Hope ; the sea route to 

1 Published by Miintz, in the Archivio storico dell' arte, vol. iv., 1891, 
p. 366. 


India was opened. The Pope could once again consider 
himself the master of the world, and was able to present 
John II. of Portugal with " the lands of Africa, whether 
known or unknown." Death overtook the gentle and peace- 
ful pontiff on July 26, 1492. Eight days after his demise 
another Genoese, 1 another worthy representative of the 
strong Ligurian race, set sail from the harbor of Palos to 
discover another continent, and begin a third era in the his- 
tory of mankind. 

THE TOMB OF PAUL III. Historians and artists alike 
agree in placing the monument of Paul III. at the head of 
this class of artistic creations. In a niche on the left of the 
high altar of S. Peter's the figure of the noble old pontiff is 
seated on a bronze throne. With his head bent upon his 
breast, he seems absorbed in thought. Great events, to be 
sure, had taken place during his administration, which were 
more or less connected with the affairs of his own family : 
such as the foundation of the duchy of Parma in favor of 
his son, Pierluigi, the marriage of his grandson Ottavio to 
Marguerite, daughter of Charles V., and the creation of the 
order of the Jesuits ; and as some of these events had re- 
sulted differently from what he had expected, no wonder 
his countenance betrays a feeling of disappointment. Two 
female figures of marble are seen reclining against the sar- 
cophagus : one old, representing Prudence, the other young, 
representing Justice ; the one holds a mirror, the other a 
bundle of rods. It seems that Guglielmo della Porta mod- 
elled them according to a sketch proposed by Michelangelo ; 
in fact, they bear a strong resemblance to the figures of 

1 The question as to the birthplace of Christopher Columbus seems to have 
r been finally settled in favor of Savona. Unquestionable evidence has been dis- 
covered on June 17 of the present year, by the Historical Society at Madrid. 


Night and Day on the tomb of Lorenzo de' Medici, at Flor- 
ence. The Prudence is said to be a portrait of Giovannella 
Caetani da Sermoneta, the mother of the Pope, while Justice 
represents his sister-in-law, Giulia Farnese, according to 
Martinelli, or his daughter Constance, the wife of Bosio 
Sforza, according to Rotti. The elder woman's profile is 
exactly that of Dante, so much so that Maes speaks of 
her as the " Dantessa di S. Pietro." Her younger compan- 
ion is, or rather was, of marvellous beauty, before Bernini 
draped her form with a leaden tunic. During my lifetime, 
this has been removed once, for the benefit of a Frenchman 
who was collecting materials for the life of della Porta ; but 
I have not been able to obtain a copy of the photograph 
taken at the time. Formerly the statue was miscalled 
Truth, which gave rise to the saying that, although Truth 
as a rule is not pleasing, this pleased too much. The 
strange infatuation of a Spanish gentleman for her is de- 
scribed by Sprenger, Caylus, and Cancellieri. 1 

The original design of the monument required four stat- 
ues, because it was intended to stand alone in the middle of 
the church, and not half concealed in a niche. The other 
two statues were actually modelled, one as Abundance, the 
other Tenderness ; they are now preserved in one of the 
halls of the Farnese palace. 

Paul III., Alessandro Farnese, was the first Roman ele- 
vated to the supreme pontificate after Martin V., Colonna 
(1417-1424). Pomponio Leto, his preceptor, had imbued 
him with the spirit of the humanists. His conversation was 
gay and spirituelle ; he seemed to bring back with him the 
fine old times of Leo III. He died beloved and worshipped 

1 Theodor Sprenger : Roma Nova, p. 232. Frankfort, 1660. Caylus : in 
vol. xxv. of the Memoir -es de I' Academic des inscriptions et belles lettres. Can- 
cellieri : II mercato, p. 42. 



by his subjects. We may well share a little of these senti- 
ments, if we remember how much art is indebted to him. 

The Palazzo Madama, now used as the Senate-house, and 
the Villa Madama, on the eastern slope of Monte Mario, still 
belonging to the descendants of the Farnese family, were 
given by him to Marguerite of Spain, after her marriage 
with his grandson Ottavio. The Farnesina, which he 
bought at auction in 1586, associates his memory with that 
of the Chigis, of Raphael, Michelangelo, and Baldassarre 
Peruzzi. Then comes his share in the construction of S. 
Peter's ; in the painting of the " Last Judgment," and in 
the finishing of the " Sala Regia," the richest hall in the 
Vatican. But no other work, in my estimation, gives us as 
true an idea of his taste and delicate sentiment as the apart- 
ments which he caused to be built and decorated, on the 
summit of Hadrian's Mole. I am writing these lines in the 
loggia or vestibule which opens from the great hall. Paul 
himself placed on the lintel a record of his work, of which 
Raffaello da Montelupo and Antonio da Sangallo were the 
architects ; Marco da Siena, Pierin del Vaga, and Giulio Ro- 
mano, the decorators. The ceilings of the bedroom and din- 
ing-hall, carved in wood, and those of the reception-room, in 
gilt and painted stucco, are things of beauty which no visitor 
to Rome should fail to see. The bath-room, a work of his 
predecessor, Clement VII., is copied from the antique. In 
1538, while the building of this artistic gem was in progress, 
Benvenuto Cellini was thrown into one of the dungeons 
below, as a prisoner of state. He was accused of having 
stolen jewels belonging to the apostolic treasury ; but the 
true reason seems to have been an offence against the Pope, 
which he had committed in 1527, while the hosts of the con- 
stable de Bourbon were besieging the castle. The offence is 
described by Benvenuto himself in the f ollowing words : 


" While I was performing this duty [of keeping guard 
on the ramparts] some of the cardinals who were in the 
castle used to come up to see me, and most of all cardinal 
Ravenna and cardinal de' Gaddi, to whom I often said 
that I wished they would not come any more, because their 
red caps could be seen a long way off, and made it mighty 
dangerous for both them and me from those palaces which 
were near by, like the Torre de' Bini ; so that, finally, I shut 
them out altogether, and gained thereby their ill-will quite 
decidedly. Signer Orazio Baglioni, who was my very good 
friend, also used to come and chat with me. While he was 
talking with me one day, he noticed a kind of a demonstra- 
tion in a certain tavern, which was outside the Porta di Cas- 
tello, at a place called Baccanello. This tavern had for a 
sign a red sun, painted between two windows. The windows 
being closed, Signer Orazio guessed that just behind the 
sun between them, there was a company of soldiers having 
a good time. So he said to me, ' Benvenuto, if you had a 
mind to fire your cannon near that sun, I believe you would 
do a good piece of work, because there is a good deal of 
noise there, and they must be men of importance.' I replied 
to the gentleman, l It is enough for me to see that sun to be 
able to fire into the middle of it ; but if I do, the noise of 
the gun and the shock it will make will knock over that 
barrel of stones which is standing near its mouth.' To 
which the gentleman answered, ' Don't wait to talk about 
it, Benvenuto, for, in the first place, in the way in which 
the barrel is standing, the shock of the cannon could not 
knock it over j but even if it did, and the Pope himself 
were under it, it would not be as bad as you think ; so shoot, 
shoot ! ' So I, thinking no more about it, fired right into the 
middle of the sun, exactly as I had promised I would. The 
barrel fell, just as I said, and struck the ground between 


cardinal Farnese and messer Jacopo Salviati. It would 
have crushed both of them had it not happened that they 
were quarrelling, because the cardinal had just accused 
messer Jacopo of being the cause of the sacking of Rome, 
and had separated to give more room to the insults they 
were flinging at each other." l The cardinal never forgot 
his narrow escape. 

From the point of view of archaeological interests Paul 
III. will always be remembered as long as the Museo Nazio- 
nale of Naples and the Baths of Caracalla of Rome continue 
to hold the admiration of students. In reading the account 
of his excavation of the Baths, we seem to be transported 
to dreamland. No one before him had laid hands on the 
immeasurable treasures which the building contained. Stat- 
ues were found in their niches or lying in front of them ; 
the columns were standing on their pedestals ; the walls 
were still incrusted with rare marbles and richly carved 
panels ; the swimming-basins were still ready for use. Pietro 
Sante Bartoli says : " The excavation of the Baths of Cara- 
calla, which took place in the time of Paul III. (1546) is 
the most successful ever accomplished. It yielded such a 
mass of statues, columns, bas-reliefs, marbles, cameos, in- 
taglios, bronze figures, medals, and lamps, that no more 
room could be found for them in the Farnese palace." The 
collection comprises the Farnese Bull, the two statues of 
Herakles, the Flora, the Athletes, the Venus Callipyge, the- 
Diana, the " Atreus and Thyestes," the so-called " Tuccia," 
and a hundred more masterpieces, which were, unfortunately, 
removed to Naples towards the end of the last century. 

THE TOMB OF CLEMENT XIEL From the golden age of 
Guglielmo della Porta to the barocco art of the eighteenth 

1 Vita di Benvenuto Cellini, lib. 1, xrrvi. 


century ; from the tomb of Alessandro Farnese to that of 
Prospero Lambertini (Benedict XIV., 1740-1758), we can 
follow, stage by stage, the pernicious influence exercised on 
Roman art by the school of Bernini. The richness and 
magnificence of papal mausolea increased in proportion to 
the decline in taste. The sculptors seem to have had but 
one ambition, to produce a theatrical effect ; their abuse of 
polychromy is incredible ; the grouping of their figures 
conventional; the contortions to which they submit their 
Hopes and Charities, their Liberalities and Benevolences, 
their Justices and Prudences are simply absurd. 

Pietro Bracci, the artist of the monument of Benedict 
XIV. ? by pushing mannerism to the extreme point, caused a 
wholesome reaction in art. The tomb of Clement XIII., 
Carlo Rezzonico of Venice (1758-1769), was intrusted to 
Canova. There is the difference of a few years only be- 
tween the two, but it seems as if there were centuries. 
This monument, which marks a prodigious reaction towards 
the pure ideals of classical art, was uncovered on April 4, 
1795, before an immense assembly of people. The whole 
of Rome was there, and the defeat of the partisans of Ber- 
nini's style could not have been more complete. 

Disguised in ecclesiastical robes, Canova mixed with the 
crowd, and was able to hear for himself that the reign of a 
false taste in art was once more over, so unanimous was the 
admiration and approval of the multitudes for his bold at- 
tempt. The tomb of Clement XIII. rests on a high base- 
ment of grayish marble, in the middle of which opens a door 
of the Doric style, giving access to the vault. The two 
world-renowned marble lions crouch upon the steps, watch- 
ing the sarcophagus ; Religion stands on the left, holding a 
cross in the right hand ; while the Genius of Death, with an 
inverted torch, is seen reclining on the opposite side. It is 



a graceful, but slightly conventional figure. One can easily 
perceive the influence of the study of the antique in the 
head of this Genius, which Canova considered one of his 
best productions. It is the Apollo Belvedere of modern 
times, the " Catholic Apollo," as Forsyth calls the archangel 
of Guido in the church of the Capuchins. The Pope is rep- 
resented kneeling and praying, with hands clasped, and a 
face full of sentiment and thought. When, seated before 
this monument, we turn our eyes towards the tombs of 
Clement X. and Benedict XIV., and other similar produc- 
tions of the eighteenth century, we can hardly realize that 
Canova was a contemporary of Pietro Bracci and Carlo 

The tomb is also historically interesting. It was under 
Clement XIII. that the order of the Jesuits was tried be- 
fore the tribunal of Europe. The kingdom of Portugal, 
where they had made their first advance towards greatness 
and fame, was the first to attack them. The marquess of 
Pombal, prime minister of Joseph I., taking advantage of 
the uneasiness caused by the earthquake of 1755 and by a 
murderous attempt against the king, expelled the order from 
the country and the colonies (January 9 - September 3, 
1759). One hundred and twenty-four were put in irons ; 
one, named Malagrida, executed ; thirty-seven allowed to die 
in prison ; and the rest were embarked on seven ships and 
transported to foreign lands. Charles III. of Spain, and 
his minister, count d'Aranda, followed the example of Por- 
tugal. The Jesuits were banished from Spain, February 28, 
1767 ; and in the night between April 2 and 3, they were 
put, five thousand in number, on transport vessels, and sent 
to Rome. King Louis XV. and the due de Choiseul used 
the same process in France. The attempt of Damiens, Jan- 
nary 5, 1757, and an alleged scandal in the administration 



of the property of the order at la Martinique were taken up 
as pretexts for punishment, and the order was banished in 
1764. King Ferdinand IV. of Naples, the grand master of 
Malta, the duke of Parma, and other potentates took their 
share also in the crusade. Whatever may be the sentiment 
which we personally feel towards this brotherhood, the fig- 
ures of Lorenzo Ricci, the general who so bravely contested 
every inch of the battlefield, and of Clement XIII., who died 
before signing the decree of suppression so loudly demanded 
by Portugal, Spain, France, Parma, Naples and Malta, will 
always be remembered with respect. The pressure brought 
on the old Pope by half the kingdoms of Europe, which were 
governed directly or indirectly by the Bourbons, was not 
merely that of diplomacy. He was deprived of Avignon 
and the comte Venoisin in France, of Benevento in south- 
ern Italy ; but to no purpose. The decree suppressing the 
order was only signed by his successor Clement XIV., Gan- 
ganelli, on July 21, 1773. Lorenzo Ricci died the follow- 
ing year, a state prisoner in the castle of S. Angelo. 



Various modes of burial in Rome. Inhumation and cremation. Grad- 
ual predominance of the latter. Columbaria. Inscription describ- 
ing the organization of one of these, on the Via Latina. The extent 
of the pagan cemeteries outside of Rome, and the number of graves 
they contained. Curiosities of the epitaphs. The excavations in the 
garden of La Farnesina. The Roman house discovered there. The 
tomb of Sulpicius Platorinus. Its interesting contents. The " di- 
vine crows." The cemetery in the Villa Pamfili. Tombs on the Via 
Triumphalis. That of Helius, the shoemaker. The tombs of thg 
Via Salaria. That of the Licinii Calpurnii. The unhappy history 
of this family. The tomb of the precocious boy. Improvvisatori 
of later times. The tomb of Lucilia Polla and her brother. Its 
history. The Valle della Caffarella. Its associations with Herodes 
Atticus. His fortune and its origin. His monuments to his wife. 

The remarkable discovery of the corpse of a young woman, in 1485. 

Various contemporary accounts of it. Its ultimate fate. Discov- 
ery of a similar nature in 1889. 

INHUMATION seems to have been more common than cre- 
mation in prehistoric Rome ; hence, certain families, to give 
material evidence of their ancient lineage, would never sub- 
mit to cremation. Such were the Cornelii Scipiones, whose 
sarcophagi were discovered during the last century in the 
Vigna Sassi. Sulla is the first Cornelius whose body was 
burned ; but this he ordered done to avoid retaliation, that 
is to say, for fear of its being treated as he had treated the 
corpse of Marius. Both systems are mentioned in the law 
of the twelve tables : hominem mortuum in urbe ne sepelito 


neve urito, a statement which shows that each had an equal 
number of partisans, at the time of the promulgation of the 

This theory is confirmed by discoveries in the prehistoric 
cemeteries of the Viminal and Esquiline hills, which contain 
coffins as well as cineraria, or ash-urns. The discoveries 
have been published only in a fragmentary way, so that 
we cannot yet follow their development stage by stage, 
and determine at what periods and within what limits the 
influence of more civilized neighbors was felt by the prim- 
itive dwellers upon the Seven Hills. One thing is certain ; 
the race that first colonized the Campagna was buried in 
trunks of trees, hollowed inside and cut to measure, as is 
the custom among some Indian tribes of the present day. 
In March, 1889, the engineers who were attending to the 
drainage of the Lago di Castiglione the ancient Regillus 
discovered a trunk of quereus robur, sawn lengthways 
into two halves, with a human skeleton inside, and frag- 
ments of objects in amber and ivory lying by it. The coffin, 
roughly cut and shaped, was buried at a depth of fourteen 
feet, in a trench a trifle longer and larger than itself, and 
the space between the coffin and the sides of the trench was 
filled with archaic pottery, of the type found in our own 
Roman necropolis of the Via dello Statute. There were 
also specimens of imported pottery, and a bronze cup. The 
tomb and its contents are now exhibited in the Villa di 
Papa Giulio, outside the Porta del Popolo. 

When Rome was founded, this semi-barbaric fashion of 
burial was by no means forgotten or abandoned by its in- 
habitants. We have not yet discovered coffins actually dug 
out of a tree, but we have found rude imitations of them 
in clay. These belong to the interval of time between the 
foundation of the city and the fortifications of Servius 


Tullius, having been found at the considerable depth of 
forty-two feet below the embankment of the Servian wall, 
in the Vigna Spithoever. They are now exhibited in the 
Capitoline Museum (Palazzo dei Conservatori), together with 
the skeletons, pottery, and bronze suppellex they contained. 

Nearly every type of tomb known in Etruria, Magna 
Grsecia, and the prehistoric Italic stations has a representa- 
tive in the old cemeteries of the Viminal and the Esquiline. 
There are caves hewn out of the natural rock, with the en- 
trance sealed by a block of the same material ; in these are 
skeletons lying on the funeral beds on either side of the 
cave, or even on the floor between them, with the feet 
turned towards the door, and Italo-Greek pottery, together 
with objects in bronze, amber, and gold. There are also 
artificial caves, formed by horizontal courses of stones which 
project one beyond another, from both sides, till they meet 
at the top. Then there are bodies protected by a circle of 
uncut stones ; others lying at the bottom of wells, and 
finally regular sarcophagi in the shape of square huts, and 
cineraria like those described on page 29 of my "Ancient 

Comparing these data we reach the conclusion that in- 
humation was abandoned, with a few exceptions, towards the 
end of the fifth century of Rome, to be resumed only to- 
wards the middle of the second century after Christ, under 
the influence of Eastern doctrines and customs. For the 
student of Roman archaeology these facts have not merely a 
speculative interest ; a knowledge of them is necessary for 
the chronological classification of the material found in cem- 
eteries and represented so abundantly in public and private 

The acceptance of cremation as a national, exclusive sys- 
tem brought as a consequence the institution of the ustrina, 


the sacred enclosures in which pyres were built to convert 
the corpses into ashes. Several specimens of ustrina have 
been found near the city, and one of them is still to be 
seen in good preservation. It is built in the shape of a 
military camp, on the right of the Appian Way, five and a 
half miles from the gate. When Fabretti first saw it in 
1699, it was intact, save a breach or gap on the north side. 
He describes it as a rectangle three hundred and forty feet 
long, and two hundred feet wide, enclosed by a wall thirteen 
feet high. Its masonry is irregular both in the shape and 
size of the blocks of stone, and may well be assigned to the 
fifth century of Rome, when the necessity for popular us- 
trina was first felt. When Nibby and Gell visited the spot 
in 1822 they found that the noble owner of the farm had 
just destroyed the western side and a portion of the eastern, 
to build with their materials a maceria, or dry wall. 

The ustrina which were connected with the Mausoleum 
of Augustus and the ara of the Antonines have already 
been described in chapter iv. Another institution, that 
of columbaria, or ossaria, as they would more properly be 
called, owes its origin to the same cause. Columbaria are 
a specialty of Rome and the Campagna, and are found no- 
where else, not even in the colonies or settlements originat- 
ing directly from the city. They begin to appear some 
twenty years before Christ, under the rule of Augustus and 
the premiership of Maecenas. Inasmuch as the Campus 
Esquilinus, which, up to their time, had been used for the 
burial of artisans, laborers, servants, slaves, and freedmen, 
was suppressed in consequence of the sanitary reforms de- 
scribed by Horace, 1 and was buried under an embankment of 
pure earth, and converted into a public park ; as, moreover, 
the disappearance of the said cemetery was followed closely 

1 See chapter iii., p. 67, of Ancient Rome. 



by the appearance of columbaria, I believe one fact to be 
a consequence of the other, and both to be part of the same 
hygienic reform. No cleaner, healthier, or more respectable 
substitute for the oldjnftieoft could have been contrived by 
those enlightened statesmen. Any one, no matter how low 
in social position, could secure a decent place of rest for a 
paltry sum of money. The following inscription, still to be 
seen in the columbarium discovered in 1838, in the Villa 




has been interpreted by Hiilsen to mean that Pacisecus Isar- 
gyros had sold to Pinaria Murtinis a place for one as. 
Tombstones often mention transactions of this kind, and 
state the cost of purchase for one or more loculi, or for the 
whole tomb. Friedlander, in a Konigsberg Programm for 
October, 1881, 1 has collected thirty-eight documents con- 
cerning the cost of tombs ; they vary from a minimum of 
two hundred sestertii ($8.25 ) to a maximum of one hun- 

\ TT / 

dred and ninety-two thousand ($8,000). 

There were three kinds of columbaria : first, those built 
by one man or one family either for their own private use, 
or for their servants and freedmen ; second, those built by 
one or more individuals for speculation, in which any one 
could secure a place by purchase ; third, those built by a 
company for the personal use of shareholders and con- 

As a good specimen of the columbaria of the second 
kind we can cite one built on the Via Latina, by a company 

1 De titulis in quibus impensce monumentorum sepulcralium indicate sunt. 


of thirty-six shareholders. It was discovered in 1599, not 
far from the gate, and its records were scattered all over the 
city. As a proof of the negligence with which excavations 
were conducted in former times, we may state that, the same 
place having been searched again in 1854 by a man named 
Luigi Arduini, other inscriptions of great value were dis- 
covered, from which we learn how these burial companies 
were organized and operated. The first document, a marble 
inscription above the door of the crypt, states that in the 
year 6 B. c. thirty-six citizens formed a company for the 
building of a columbarium, each subscribing for an equal 
number of shares, and that they selected two of the stock- 
holders to act as administrators. Their names are Marcus 
^Emilius, and Marcus Fabius Felix, and their official title is, 
curatores cedificii xxxvi. sociorum. They collected the con- 
tributions, bought the land, built the columbarium, approved 
and paid the contractors' bills, and having thus fulfilled 
their duty convened a general meeting for September 30. 
Their report was approved, and a deed was drawn up and 
duly signed by all present, declaring that the administrators 
had discharged their duty according to the statute. They 
then proceeded to the distribution of the loculi in equal 
lots, the loculi representing, as it were, the dividend of the 
company. The tomb contained one hundred and eighty 
loculi for cinerary urns, and each of the shareholders was 
consequently entitled to five. The distribution, however, 
was not so easy a matter as the number would make it 
appear. We know that it was made by drawing lots, per 
sortitionem ollarum, and we know also that in some cases 
the shareholders, as a remuneration to their chairmen, admin- 
istrators, and auditors of accounts, voted them exemption 
from the rule, by giving them the right of selecting their 
loculi without drawing (sine sorte). Evidently some places 


were more desirable than others, and if we remember how 
columbaria are built, it is not difficult to see which loculi 
must have been most in demand. 

The pious devotion of the Romans towards the dead 
caused them to pay frequent visits to their tombs, especially 
on anniversaries, when the urns were decorated with flow- 
ers, libations were offered, and other ceremonies performed. 
These infer ice, or rites, could be celebrated easily if the loc- 
ulus and the cinerary urn were near the ground, while lad- 
ders were required to reach the upper tiers. The same diffi- 
culty was experienced when cinerary urns had to be placed 
in their niches ; and the funeral tablets and memorials con- 
taining the name, age, condition, etc., of the deceased, which 
were either written in ink or charcoal, or else engraved on 
marble, could not be read if too high above the pavement. 
For these reasons, and to avoid any suspicion of partiality 
in the distribution of lots, the shareholders trusted to chance. 
The crypt discovered in the Via Latina contained five rows 
of niches of thirty-six each. The rows were called sortes, 
the niches loci. Now, as each shareholder was entitled to 
five loci, one on each row, lots were drawn only in regard to 
the locus, not to the row. The inscriptions discovered in 
1599 and 1854 are therefore all worded with the formula : 
" Of Caius Rabirius Faustus, second tier, twenty -eighth 
locus ; " "Of Caius Julius ^Eschinus, fourth tier, thirty- 
fourth locus ; " "Of Lucius Scribonius Sosus, first tier, 
twenty-third locus : " in all, nine names out of thirty-six. 
The allotment of Rabirius Faustus is the only one known 
entirely. He had drawn No. 30 in the first row, No. 28 in 
the second, No. 6 in the third, No. 8 in the fourth, No. 31 
in the fifth. 

It took at least thirty-one years for the members of the 
company to gain the full benefit of their investment ; the 


last interment mentioned in the tablets having taken place 
A. D. 25. This late comer is not an obscure man ; he is the 
famous charioteer, or auriga circensis, Scirtus, who began 
his career A. D. 13, enlisting in the white squadron. In the 
lapse of thirteen years he won the first prize seven times, the 
second thirty-nine times, the third forty times, besides other 
honors minutely specified on his tombstone. 1 

The theory that Roman tombs were built along the high 
roads in two or three rows only, so that they could all be 
seen by those passing, has been shown by modern excava- 
tions to be unfounded. The space allotted for burial pur- 
poses was more extensive than that. Sometimes it extended 
over the whole stretch of land from one high-road to the 
next. Such is the case with the spaces between the Via 
Appia and the Via Latina, the Labicana and Praenestina, 
and the Salaria and Nomentana, each of which contains 
hundreds of acres densely packed with tombs. In the tri- 
angle formed by the Via Appia, the Via Latina, and the 
walls of Aurelian, one thousand five hundred and fifty-nine 
tombs have been discovered in modern times, not includ- 
ing the family vault of the Scipios. 2 Nine hundred and 
ninety-four have been found on the Via Labicana, near the 
Porta Maggiore, in a space sixty yards long by fifty wide. 
The number of pagan tombstones registered in volume vi. of 
the " Corpus " is 28,180, exclusive of the additamenta, 
which will bring the grand total to thirty thousand. As 
hardly one tombstone out of ten has escaped destruction, we 
may assume as a certainty that Rome was surrounded by a 
belt of at least three hundred thousand tombs. 

The reader may easily imagine what a mass of informa- 

1 See Luigi Grifi : Sopra la iscrizione antica dell' auriga Scirto, in the Accade- 
mia archeologica, 1854, v. xiii. 

2 See the Corpus inscriplionum latinarum, vol. vi., part 2, nos. 4327-5886. 



tion is to be gathered from this source. In this respect, the 
perusal of parts II., III., and IV. of the sixth volume of the 
" Corpus " is more useful to the student than all the hand- 
books and " Sittengeschichten " in the world ; and besides, 
the reading is not dry and tiresome, as one might suppose. 
Many epitaphs give an account of the life of the deceased ; 
of his rank in the army, and the campaigns in which he 
fought ; of the name of the man-of-war to which he be- 
longed, if he had served in the navy ; of the branch of trade 
he was engaged in ; the address of his place of business ; 
his success in the equestrian or senatorial career, or in the 
circus or the theatre ; his " etat civil," his age, place of birth, 
and so on. Sometimes tombstones display a remarkable elo- 
quence, and even a sense of humor. 

Here is an expression of overpowering grief, written on a 
sarcophagus between the images of a boy and a girl : " 
cruel, impious mother that I am : to the memory of my 
sweetest children, Publilius who lived 13 years 55 days, 
and ^Eria Theodora who lived 27 years 12 days. Oh, mis- 
erable mother, who hast seen the most cruel end of thy 
children ! If God had been merciful, thou hadst been 
buried by them." Another woman writes on the urn of her 
son Marius Exoriens : " The preposterous laws of death 
have torn him from my arms ! As I have the advantage of 
years, so ought death to have reaped me first." 

The following words were dictated by a young widow for 
the grave of her departed companion : " To the adorable, 
blessed soul of L. Sempronius Firmus. We knew, we loved 
each other from childhood : married, an impious hand sepa- 
rated us at once. Oh, infernal Gods, do be kind and merci- 
ful to him, and let him appear to me in the silent hours of 
the night. And also let me share his fate, that we may be 
reunited dulcius et celerius" I have left the two adverbs 


in their original form ; their exquisite f eeling defies transla- 

The following sentence is copied from the grave of a 
f reedman : " Erected to the memory of Memmius Clarus by 
his co-servant Memmius Urbanus. I know that there never 
was the shade of a disagreement between thee and me : 
never a cloud passed over our common happiness. I swear 
to the gods of Heaven and Hell, that we worked faithfully 
and lovingly together, that we were set free from servitude 
on the same day and in the same house : nothing would ever 
have separated us, except this fatal hour." 

A remarkable feature of ancient funeral eloquence is 
found in the imprecations addressed to the passer, to insure 
the safety of the tomb and its contents : l 

" Any one who injures my tomb or steals its ornaments, 
may he see the death of all his relatives." 

u Whoever steals the nails from this structure, may he 
thrust them into his eyes." 

A grumbler wrote on a gravestone found in the Vigna 
Codini : 

" Lawyers and the evil-eyed keep away from my tomb." 

It is manifestly impossible to make the reader acquainted 
with all the discoveries in this department of Roman arch- 
aeology since 1870. The following specimens from the 
vise Aurelia, Triumphalis, Salaria, and Appia seem to me to 
represent fairly well what is of average interest in this class 
of monuments. 

VIA AURELIA. Under this head I record the tomb of 
Platorinus, which was found in 1880 on the banks of the 
Tiber, near La Farnesina, although, strictly speaking, it 

1 See Walch : Ad Gorii Xenia, p. 98. Orelli-Henzen : vol. 2, no. 4789, etc. 



belongs to a side road running from the Via Aurelia to the 
Vatican quarters, parallel with the stream. The discovery 
was made in the following circumstances : 

A strip of land four hundred metres long by eighty broad 
was bought by the state in 1876 and cut away from the 
gardens of la Farnesina, to widen the bed of the Tiber. It 
was found to contain several ancient edifices, which have 
since become famous in topographical books. I refer more 
particularly to the patrician house discovered near the 
church of S. Giacomo in Settimiana, the paintings of which 
are now exhibited in Michelangelo's cloisters, adjoining the 
Baths of Diocletian. 

These paintings have been 
admirably reproduced in color 
and outline by the German 
Archaeological Institute, 1 but 
they have not yet been illus- 
trated from the point of view 
of the subjects they repre- 
sent. They are divided into 
panels by pilasters and col- 
ored columns, each half be- 
ing distinguished by a differ- 
ent color : white (Nos. 1, 5, 
6, of the plan), red (Nos. 2, 
4), or black (No. 3). The 
frieze of the "black" series 

represents the trying of a criminal case by a magistrate, 
very likely the owner of the palace, with curious details 
concerning the evidence asked and freely given to him. 

Near the frieze, the artist has drawn pictures as though 

1 Monumenti inediti delV Institute di correspondenza archeologica, Supplements, 

Ancient house in the Farnesina Gardens. 


hung to the wall, with folding shutters, some wide open, 
some half - closed. They are genre subjects, such as a 
school of declamation, a wedding, a banquet ^ and though 
the figures are not five inches long, they are so wonderfully 
executed that even the eyebrows are discernible. 

The pictures in the centre of the panels are of larger 
size. Those of the " white " room are painted in the style 
of the Attic lekythoi, or oil-jugs. The figures are drawn 
in outline with a dark, subtle color, each space within the 
outline being filled in with the proper tint ; though a few 
only are drawn without the colors. One of these re- 
markable pictures represents two women, one sitting, 
the other standing, and both looking at a winged Cupid. 
Another represents a lady playing on the seven-stringed 
lyre, each of the strings being marked by a sign which, 
perhaps, corresponds to the notes of the scale. In one of 
the panels from room No. 4 is still visible what we suppose 
to be the signature of the artist: CGAGYKOC CFIOei 
(sic). It seems as if Baldassarre Peruzzi, Raphael, Giulio 
Romano, il Sodoma, il Fattore, and Gaudenzio Ferrari, to 
whom we owe the wonders of the Farnesina dei Chigi, must 
have unconsciously felt the influence of the wonders of this 
Roman house which was buried under their feet. It is a 
great pity that the two could not have been left standing 
together. What a subject for study and comparison these 
two sets of masterpieces of the golden ages of Augustus 
and Leo X. would have offered to the lover of art ! 

The ceiling of the room No. 2, carved in stucco, is 
worthy of the paintings. The reliefs are so flat that the 
prominent points do not stand out more than three milli- 
metres. The artist might have modelled them by breathing 
over the stucco, they are so light and delicate. One of the 
scenes represents the borders of a river, with villas, temples, 







shrines, and pastoral huts scattered under the shade of 
palm or sycamore trees, the foliage of which is waving 
gently in the breeze. The people are variously occupied, 

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Specimen of outline designs in the ancient house in the Farnesina Gardens. 

some are fishing with the rod, some bathing, some carrying 
water-jars on their heads. The gem of the reliefs is a 
group of oxen, grazing in the meadow, of such exquisite 
beauty as to cast into shade the best engravings of Italo- 
Greek or Sicilian coins. 

Next in importance to the Roman house comes the tomb 
of Sulpicius Platorinus, discovered in May, 1880, at the 


opposite end of the Farnesina Gardens, near the walls of 
Aurelian. A corner of this tomb had been exposed to 
view for a couple of years, nobody paying attention to it, 
because, as a rule, tombs within the walls, having been ex- 
posed for centuries to the thieving instincts of the populace 
in general, and of treasure-hunters in particular, are always 
found plundered and barren of contents. In this instance, 
however, it was our fortune to meet with a welcome excep- 
tion to the rule. 

From an inscription engraved on marble above the 
entrance door, we learn that the mausoleum was raised in 
memory of Caius Sulpicius Platorinus, a magistrate of the 
time of Augustus, and of his sister Sulpicia Platorina, the 
wife of Cornelius Priscus. The room contained nine niches, 
and each niche a cinerary urn, of which six were still un- 
touched. These urns are of the most elaborate kind, 
carved in white marble, with festoons hanging from bulls' 
heads, and birds of various kinds eating fruit. Some of 
the urns are round, some square, the motive of the dec- 
oration being the same for all of them. The cover of 
the round ones is in the shape of a tholus, a building 
shaped something like a beehive, the tiles being represented 
by acanthus leaves, and the pinnacle by a bunch of 

The covers of these urns were fastened with molten lead. 
The unsealing of them was an event of great excitement ; 
it was performed in the coffee-house of the Farnesina, in 
the presence of a large and distinguished assembly. I re- 
member the date, May 3, 1880. They were found to be 
half full of water from the last flood of the Tiber, with a 
layer of ashes and bones at the bottom. The contents were 
emptied on a sheet of white linen. Those of the first had 
no value; the second contained a gold ring without its 


stone. which was found, however, in the third cinerarium ; 
a most extraordinary circumstance. It can be explained by 
supposing that both bodies were cremated at the same time, 
and that their ashes were somehow mixed together. The 
stone, probably an onyx, was injured by the action of the 
fire, and its engraving nearly effaced. It seems to repre- 
sent a lion in repose. Nothing was found in the fourth ; 
the fifth furnished two heavy gold rings with cameos rep- 
resenting respectively a mask and a bear-hunt. The last 
urn, inscribed with the name of Minasia PoUa, a girl of 
about sixteen, as shown by the teeth and the size of some 
fragments of bone, contained a plain hair-pin of brass. 

Having thus finished with the cineraria and their con- 
tents, the exploration of the tomb itself was resumed. In- 
scriptions engraved on other parts of the frieze gave us a 
full list of the personages who had found their last resting- 
place within, besides the two Platorini, and the girl Minasia 
Polla, just mentioned. They are : Aulus Crispinius Caepio, 
who played an important part in court intrigues at the time 
of Tiberius ; Antonia FurniUa ; and her daughter, Marcia 
Furnilla, the second wife of Titus. She was repudiated by 
him A. D. 64, as described by Suetonius. 1 Historians have 
inquired why, and found no clew, considering what a model 
man Titus is known to have been. .If. the marble statue 
found in this tomb, and reproduced in our illustration, is 
really that of Marcia Furnilla, and a good likeness, the 
reason for the divorce is easily found, she looks hopelessly 

The bust represented in the same plate, one of the most 
refined and carefully executed portraits found in Rome, is 
probably that of Minasia Polla, and gives a good idea of the 
appearance of a young noble Roman lady of the first half 

1 Titus, 4. 


of the first century. Another statue, that of the emperor 
Tiberius, in the so-called " heroic " style, was found lying 
on the mosaic floor. Although crushed by the falling of 
the vaulted ceiling, no important piece was missing. 

Both statues, the bust, the cinerary urns, and the inscrip- 
tions, are now exhibited in Michelangelo's cloisters in the 
Museo delle Terme. 

It is difficult to explain how this rich tomb escaped plun- 
der and destruction, plainly visible as it was for many cen- 
turies, in one of the most populous and unscrupulous quar- 
ters of the city. Perhaps when Aurelian built his wall, 
which ran close to it, and raised the level of Trastevere, the 
tomb itself was buried, and its treasures left untouched. 

Beginning now the ascent of the Janiculum, on our way 
towards the Porta S. Pancrazio and the Villa Pamfili, I must 
mention a curious discovery made three centuries ago near 
the church of S. Pietro in Montorio ; that of a platform, 
lined with terminal stones inscribed with the legend : 
DEVAS CORNISCAS SACRVM ("this area is sacred 
to the divine crows "). The place is described by Festus 
(Ep. 64). It is a remarkable fact that in Rome not only 
men but animals should remain faithful to old habits and 
traditions. Some of my readers may have noticed how 
regularly every day, towards sunset, flights of crows are 
seen crossing the skies on their way to their night lodgings 
in the pine-trees of the Villa Borghese. They have two 
or three favorite halting-places, for instance the campanile 
of S. Andrea delle Fratte, the towers of the Trinita de' 
Monti, where they hold noisy meetings which last until the 
first stroke of the Ave-Maria. This sound is interpreted 
by them as a call to rest. Whether the area of the sacred 
crows described by Festus was planted with pines, and used 
as a rest at night, or simply as a halting-place, the fact of 






their daily migration to and from the swamps of the Ma- 
remma, and of their evening meetings, dates from classical 

And now, leaving on our right the Villa Heyland, the 
Villa Aurelia, formerly Savorelli, which is built on the re- 
mains of the mediaeval monastery of SS. John and Paul, 
and the Villa del Vascello, which marks the western end of 
the gardens of Geta, let us enter the Villa Pamfili-Doria, 
interesting equally for the beauty of its scenery and its 
archaeological recollections. We are told by Pietro Sante 
Bartoli that when he first came to Rome, towards 1660, 
Olimpia Maidalchini and Camillo Pamfili, who were then 
laying the foundations of the casino, discovered " several 
tombs decorated with paintings, stucco-carvings, and nobi- 
lissimi mosaics." There were also glass urns, with remains 
of golden cloths, and the figures of a lion and a tigress, 
which were bought by the Viceroy of Naples, the marchese 
di Leve. Some years later, when Monsignor Lorenzo Cor- 
sini began the construction of the Casino dei Quattro Venti 
(since added to the Villa Pamfili and transformed into a 
sort of monumental archway), thirty-four exquisite tombs 
were found and destroyed for the sake of their building- 
materials. One cannot read Bartoli's account 1 and examine 
the twenty-two plates with which he illustrates his text, 
without feeling a sense of horror at the deeds which those 
enlightened personages were capable of perpetrating in cold 

He says that the thirty-four tombs formed, as it were, a 
small village, with streets, sidewalks, and squares ; that they 

1 See : Pietro Sante Bartoli : Gli antichi sepolcri. Roma : de Rossi, 1727. 
Corpus inscriptionum latinarum, vol. vi., part ii., pp. 1073, 1076. Villa 
Pamphylia, ejusque palatium cum suis prospectibus : statuce, f antes, vivaria. Ro- 
mae : f ol. max. Ignazio Ciampi : Innocenzo X Pamfili e la sua carte. Roma : 
Galeati, 1878. 


were built of red and yellow brick, exquisitely carved, like 
those of the Via Latina. Each retained its funeral suppel- 
lex and decorations almost intact : paintings, bas-reliefs, mo- 
saics, inscriptions, lamps, jewelry, statues, busts, cinerary 
urns, and sarcophagi. Some were still closed, the doors 
being made not of wood or bronze, but of marble ; and in- 
scriptions were carved on the lintels or pediments, giving an 
account of each tomb. These records tell us that in Roman 
times this portion of the Villa Pamfili was called Ager Fon- 
teianus, and that the inclined tract of the Via Aurelia, 
which runs close by, was called Clivus Rutarius. Bartoli 
attributes the extraordinary preservation of this cemetery 
to its having been buried purposely under an embankment 
of earth, before the fall of the empire. Since the seven- 
teenth century many hundreds of tombs have been found 
and destroyed in the villa, especially in April, 1859. The 
only one still visible was discovered in 1838, and is remark- 
able for its painted inscriptions, and for its frescoes. 1 There 
were originally one hundred and seventy-five panels, but 
scarcely half that number are now to be seen. They repre- 
sent animals, landscapes, caricatures, scenes from daily life, 
and mythological and dramatic subjects. One only is his- 
torical, and, according to Petersen, represents the Judgment 
of Solomon (see p. 271). This subject, although exceed- 
ingly rare, is by no means unique in classical art, having al- 
ready been found painted on the walls of a Pornpeian house. 

VIA TRIUMPH ALIS. The necropolis which lined the Via 
Triumphalis, from Nero's bridge near S. Spirito, to the top 

1 See : Otto Jahn : Die Wandgemalde des Columbariums in der Villa Pam- 
fili, in the Abhandlungen der bayerischen Akademie, 1857. Eugen Petersen: 
Sitzungsberichte des Archaologischen Institute, Romische Abtheilung, March 18, 



of the Monte Mario, has absolutely disappeared, although 
some of its monuments equalled in size and magnificence 
those of the viae Ostiensis, Appia, and Labicana. Such 
were the two pyramids, on the site of S. Maria Traspontina, 

The Judgment of Solomon. 

called, in the Middle Ages, the " Meta di Borgo " and the 
" Terebinth of Nero." Both are shown in the bas-reliefs of 
Filarete's bronze door in S. Peter's (see p. 272), in the ci- 
borium of Sixtus IV. (now in the Grotte Vaticane), and 
in other mediaeval and Renaissance representations of the 
crucifixion of the apostle. The pyramid is described by 
Ruccellai and Pietro Mallio as standing in the middle of 
a square which is paved with slabs of travertine, and towering 
to the height of forty metres above the road. It was coated 
with marble, like the one of Caius Cestius by the Porta 
S. Paolo. Pope Donnus I. dismantled it A. D. 675, and 
made use of its materials to build the steps of S. Peter's. 
The pyramid itself, built of solid concrete, was levelled to 
the ground by Pope Alexander VI., when he opened the 
Borgo Nuovo in 1495. 

The " Terebinth of Nero " is described as a round marble 
structure, as high as Hadrian's tomb. It was also disman- 


tied by Pope Donnus, and its materials were used in the 
restoration and embellishment of the " Paradisus " or quadri- 
portico of S. Peter's. 

Next to the " terebinth " was the tomb of the favorite 

Panel from the bronze door of S. Peter's, by Filarete. 

horse of Lucius Verus. This wonderful racer, belonging 
to the squadron of the Greens, was named Volucris, the 
Flyer, and the emperor's admiration for his exploits was 
such that, after honoring him with statues of gilt-bronze in 
his lifetime, he raised a mausoleum to his memory in the 
Vatican grounds, after his career had been brought to a 
close. The selection of the site was not made at random, 
as we know that the Greens themselves had their burial- 
ground on this Via Triumphalis. 

Proceeding on our pilgrimage towards the Clivus Cinnse, 
the ascent to the Monte Mario, we have to record a line of 


tombs discovered by Sangallo in building the fortifications 
or " Bastione di Belvedere." One of them is thus described 
by Pirro Ligorio on p. 139 of the Bodleian MSS. " This 
tomb [of which he gives the design] was discovered with 
many others in the foundations of the Bastione di Belvedere, 
on the side facing the Castle of S. Angelo. It is square in 
shape, with two recesses for cinerary urns on each side, and 
three in the front wall. It was gracefully decorated with 
stucco-work and frescoes. Next to it was an ustrinum 
where corpses were cremated, and on the other side a sec- 
ond tomb, also decorated with painted stucco-work. Here 
was found a piece of agate in the shape of a nut, so beauti- 
fully carved that it was mistaken for a real nutshell. There 
was also a skeleton, the skull of which was found between 
the legs, and in its place there was a mask or plaster cast 
of the head, reproducing most vividly the features of the 
dead man. The cast is now preserved in the Pope's ward- 
robe." 1 

Finally, I shall mention the tomb of a boot and shoe 
maker, which was discovered February 5, 1887, in the 
foundations of one of the new houses at the foot of the 
Belvedere. This excellent work of art, cut in Carrara 
marble, shows the bust of the owner in a square niche, above 
which is a round pediment. The portrait is extremely 
characteristic : the forehead is bald, with a few locks of 
short curled hair behind the ears ; and the face shaven, 
except that on the left of the mouth there is a mole 

1 A discovery of the same kind has come within my experience. In 1885, 
while excavating near the city walls, between the Porta S. Lorenzo and the 
Porta Maggiore, we found an amphora of great size, containing the corpse of 
a little child embedded in lime. He had probably died of a contagious dis- 
ease. The corpse had been reduced to a handful of tiny bones ; and the im- 
pression of them was so spoiled by dampness and age that it was found impossi- 
ble to cast the form of the infant. 



covered with hair. The man appears to be of mature age, 
but healthy, robust, and of rather stern expression. 

Above the niche, two " forms " or lasts are represented, 
one of them inside a caliga. They are evidently the signs 
of the trade carried on by the owner of the tomb, which is 

announced in his epitaph : 
" Caius Julius Helius, 
shoemaker at the Porta 
Pontinalis, built this tomb 
during his lif etime for him- 
self, his daughter Julia Flac- 
cilla, his freedman Caius 
Julius Onesimus and his 
other servants." 

Julius Helius was there- 
fore a shoe-merchant with 
a retail shop near the mod- 
ern Piazza di Magnanapoli 
on the Quirinal. Although 
the qualification of sutor is 
rather indefinite and can 
be applied indifferently to 
the solearii, sandaliarii, 
crepidarii, baxearii (mak- 
ers of slippers, sandals, 
Greek shoes), etc., as well 
as to the sutores vetera- 
mentarii or menders of old 
boots, yet Julius Helius, as shown by the specimen repre- 
sented on his tomb, was a caligarius, or maker of caligce, 
which were used chiefly by military men. Boot and shoe 
makers and purveyors of leather and lacings (comparatores 
mercis sutoriw) seem to have been rather proud men in 

Tomb of Helius, the shoemaker. 


their day, and liked to be represented on their tombs 
with the tools of their trade. A bas-relief in the Museo di 
Brera represents Cains Atilius Justus, one of the fraternity, 
seated at his bench, in the act of adjusting a caliga to the 
wooden last. A sarcophagus inscribed with the name of 
Atilius Artemas, a local shoemaker, was discovered at Ostia 
in 1877, with a representation of a number of tools. The 
reader is probably familiar with the fresco from Hercula- 
neum representing two Genii seated at a bench ; one of 
them is forcing a last into a shoe, while his companion is 
busy mending another. Class XVI. of the Museo Cristiano 
at the Lateran contains several tombstones of Christian 
sitt ores with various emblems of their calling:. 


The shoemakers formed a powerful corporation from the 
time of the kings ; their club called the Atrium sutorium 
was the scene of a religious ceremony called Tubilustrium, 
which took place every year on March 23. They seem 
to have been also an irritable and violent set. Ulpianus * 
speaks of an action for damages brought before the magis- 
trate by a boy whose parents had placed him in a boot- 
shop to learn the trade, and who, having misunderstood 
the directions of his master, was struck by him so heavily 
on the head with a wooden form that he lost the sight of 
one eye. 

VIA SALARIA. Visitors who remember the Rome of past 
days will be unpleasantly impressed by the change which 
the suburban quarters crossed by the vise Salaria, Pinciana 
and Nomentana have undergone in the last ten years. In 
driving outside the gates the stranger was formerly surprised 
by the sudden appearance of a region of villas and gar- 
dens. The villas Albani, Patrizi, Alberoni, and Torlonia, 

1 Digest, ix., 2, 5, 3. 


not to speak of minor pleasure-grounds, merged as they 
were into one great forest of venerable trees, with the blue 
Sabine range in the background, gave him a true impres- 
sion of the aspect of the Roman Campagna in the imperial 

The scene is now changed, and not for the better. Still, 
if any one has no right to grumble, it is the archaeolo- 
gist, because the building of these suburban quarters has 
placed more knowledge at his disposal than could have been 
gathered before in the lapse of a century. I quote only one 
instance. Famous in the annals of Roman excavations are 
those made between 1695 and 1741 in the vineyard of the 
Naro family, between the Salaria and the Pinciana, back of 
the Casino di Villa Borghese. It took forty-six years to 
dig out the contents of that small property, which included 
twenty-six graves of praetorians and one hundred and forty- 
one of civilians. 

In 1887, in cutting open the Corso d' Italia, which con- 
nects the Porta Pinciana with the Salaria, eight hundred 
and fifty-five tombs were discovered in nine months. The 
cemetery extends from the Villa Borghese to the praetorian 
camp, from the walls of Servius Tullius to the first mile- 
stone. The gardens of Sallust were surrounded by it on 
two sides ; a striking contrast between the silent city of 
death on the one hand, and the merriest and noisiest meet- 
ing-place of the living on the other. 

Although the cemetery was mostly occupied by military 
men, the high-roads which cross it were lined with mausolea 
belonging to historical families. Such is the tomb of the 
Licinii Calpurnii, discovered in 1884, in the foundations of 
the house No. 29, Via di Porta Salaria, the richest and 
most important of those found in Rome in my lifetime. 1 Its 

1 See : Notizie degli Scavi, 1884, p. 393. Henzen : Bulkttino dell' Instituto, 



history is connected with one of the worst crimes of Mes- 

There lived in Rome in her time a nobleman, Marcus 
Licinius Crassus Frugi, ex-praetor, ex-consul (A. D. 27) ex- 
governor of Mauritania, the husband of Scribonia, by whom 
he had three sons. There was never a more unlucky family 
than this. The origin of their misfortunes is curious enough. 
Licinius Crassus, whom Seneca calls " stupid enough to be 
made emperor," committed, among other fatuities, that of 
naming his eldest son Pompeius Magnus, after his great- 
grandfather on the maternal side : a useless display of pride, 
as the boy had titles enough of his own to place him at the 
head of the Roman aristocracy. Caligula, jealous of the 
high-sounding name, was the first to threaten his life ; but 
spared it at the expense of the name. Claudius restored 
the title to him, as a wedding-present, on the day of his 
marriage with Antonia, daughter of the emperor himself by 
^Elia Pretina. His splendid career, his nobility and grace 
of manners, and his alliance with the imperial family, excited 
the hatred of Messalina, a foe far more dangerous than 
Caligula. She extorted from her weak husband the sen- 
tence of death against Pompeius and his father and mother. 
The execution took place in the spring of 47. 

The second son, Licinius Crassus, was murdered by Nero 
in 67. 

The third son, Lucius Calpurnius Piso Frugi Licinianus, 
who was only eleven at the time of the executions of 47, 
spent many years in banishment, while the extermination of 
his family was slowly progressing. Being left alone in the 
world, at last Galba took mercy upon him, adopted him as a 
son, and heir to the Sulpician estates, and lastly, in January, 

1885, p. 9. Stevenson : idem, 1885, p. 22. Geffroy : Melanges de VEcole 
fran^-aise de Rome, 1885, p. 318, pi. vii-xiii. 


69, named him successor to the throne. If he had but spared 
him this honor ! Only four days later he was murdered, to- 
gether with Galba, by the praetorian rebels ; and his head, 
severed from his body, was given to his young widow, Vera- 
nia Gemina. 

History speaks of a fifth unfortunate member of the 
family, who died a violent death even under the mild and 
just rule of Hadrian. His name was Calpurnius Licinianus, 
ex-consul A. D. 87. Having conspired against Nerva, he, 
and his wife, Agedia Quintina, were banished to Tarentum. 
A second conspiracy against Trajan brought upon him 
banishment to a solitary island, and an attempt to escape 
from it was the cause of his death. 

Such was the fate of the seven occupants of this sepul- 
chral chamber. When I first descended into it, in Novem- 
ber, 1884, and found myself surrounded by those great 
historical names of murdered men and women, I felt more 
than ever the vast difference between reading Roman his- 
tory in books, and studying it from its monuments, in the 
presence of its leading actors ; and I realized once more 
what a privilege it is to live in a city where discoveries of 
such importance occur frequently. 

I wish I could tell my readers that my hands did actu- 
ally touch the bones of those murdered patricians, and the 
contents of their cinerary urns. They did not, however, be- 
cause the spell of adversity seems to have pursued the Cal- 
purnii even into their tombs, and there is reason to believe 
that their last repose was troubled by persecutors, who fol- 
lowed them to their graves. Their cippi were found broken 
into fragments, their names half erased, and their ashes 
scattered to the four winds. 

. The inscriptions, silent on the main point at issue, that of 
their violent death, are worded with marvellous dignity, 


coupled with a sad touch of irony. That engraved on the 
urn of Pompeius Magnus says : 






" [Here lies] Cna3us Pompeius Magnus, son of Crassus, etc., 
quaestor of the Emperor Claudius, his father-in-law" 
When we remember that it was precisely the alliance with 
the imperial family that caused the death of the youth ; that 
his death sentence was signed by Claudius, who was his 
father-in-law, we cannot help thinking that the names of the 
murdered man and his murderer were coupled purposely in 
this short epitaph. 

In a second and much larger chamber ten marble sar- 
cophagi were discovered, precious as works of art, but devoid 
of historical interest, because no name is engraved upon 
them. Perhaps the experience of their ancestors warned 
the Calpurnii of later generations not to tempt obnoxious 
fate again, but to adhere to obscurity and retirement, even 
in the secrecy of the family vault. As a work of art, each 
of the coffins is a choice specimen of Roman funeral sculp- 
ture of the second century of our era. Some are simply 
decorated with festoons, winged genii, scenic masks, or 
chimeras ; others with scenes relating to the Bacchic cycle, 
such as the infancy of the god, his triumphal return from 
India, and his desertion of Ariadne in the island of Naxos. 
The finest sarcophagus, of which we give an illustration, 



represents the rape of the daughters of Leukippos by Castor 
and Pollux. 

Sarcophagus of the Leukippides. 

The collection of sarcophagi, inscriptions, urns, portrait- 
heads, coins, and other objects belonging to the tombs, and 
the tombs themselves, ought to have become public property, 
and to have been kept together as a monument of national 
interest. Until recently the marbles were to be seen on the 
ground floor of the Palazzo Maraini in the Via Agostino 
Depretis, but some of them have now been removed to No. 9 
Via della Mercede. 

Proceeding two hundred yards farther, on the same side 
of the Via Salaria, we find the base of the tomb of the pre- 
cocious boy Quintus Sulpicius Maximus, the tomb itself hav- 
ing been discovered in 1871, in the interior of the right 
tower of the Porta Salaria, while this was being rebuilt after 
the bombardment of September 20, 18 70. 1 The tomb had 

1 See C. Ludovico Visconti : II sepolcro del fanciullo Quinto Sulpicio Massimo. 
Roma, 1871. Wilhelm Henzen : Sepolcri antichi rinvenuti alia porta salaria, 
in the Bullettino dell' Institute, 1871, p. 98. Luigi Ciofi : Inscriptiones latirxe et 
grcecce, cum carmine grceco extemporali Quinti Sulpicii Maximi. Roma, 1871. 
J. Henry Parker : Tombs in and near Rome. Oxford, 1877. (Plate X.) 


formed the core of the tower, just as that of Eurysaces, the 
baker, found in 1833, had been imbedded in the left tower 
of the Porta Praenestina. 

The tomb is composed of a pedestal, built of blocks of 
travertine, with a marble cippus upon it, ornamented with 
a statue of the youth, and the story of his life told in 
Greek and Latin verse. The story is simple and sad. 

On September 14, A. D. 95, the anniversary of his acces- 
sion to the throne, Domitian opened for the third time the 
certamen quinquennale, a competition for the world's cham- 
pionship in gymnastics, equestrian sports, music, and poetry, 
which he had instituted at the beginning of his reign. 1 
Fifty-two competitors in Greek poetry were present. The 
subject, drawn by lot, was : " The words which Jupiter made 
use of in reproving Apollo for having trusted his chariot 
to Phaeton." Quintus Sulpicius Maximus improvised, on 
this rather poor theme, forty-three versus extensor ales. 
The meaning of the adjective is doubtful. We are not cer- 
tain whether the boy spoke his verses extemporaneously, his 
words being taken down by shorthand ; or whether he and 
his fifty-one colleagues were allowed some time to consider 
the subject and write the composition, as is now the practice 
in literary examinations. Ancient writers speak of "improv- 
visatori " who manifested their wonderful gift at a prema- 
ture age ; 2 still, it seems almost impossible that fifty-two such 
prodigies could have been brought together at one competi- 
tion. Sulpicius Maximus was crowned by the emperor with 
the Capitoline laurels and awarded the championship of the 

1 On the subject of this competition see : Suetonius : Domitian, 4. Ste- 
fano Morcelli : Sull' Agone Capitolino. Dissertazione postuma. Milano, 1816. 
Joachim Marquardt : Handbuch der romischen Alterthtimer, iv., 453. 

2 See Cesare Lucchesini : Esame della questions se i latini avessero veri poeti 
improvvisatori. Lucca, 1828. 


world. The verses by which he won the competition are 
really very good, and show a thorough knowledge of Greek 
prosody. The victory, however, cost him dearly ; in fact, 
he paid for it with his life. The following inscription was 
engraved on his tomb : 

" To Q. Sulpicius Maximus, son of Quintus, born in Rome, 
and lived eleven years, five months, twelve days. He won 
the competition, among fifty-two Greek poets, at the third 
celebration of the Capitoline games. His most unhappy 
parents, Quintus Sulpicius Eugramus and Licinia Januaria, 
have caused his extemporized poem to be engraved on this 
tomb, to prove that in praising his talents they have not 
been inspired solely by their deep love for him (ne adfec- 
tibus suis indulsisse videantur)" 

Let the fate of this boy be a warning to those parents 
who, discovering in their children a precocious inclination 
for some branch of human learning, encourage and force 
this fatal cleverness for the gratification of their own pride, 
instead of moderating it in accordance with the physical 
power and development of youth. 

The world's competition, instituted by Domitian, had a 
long and successful career, and we can follow its celebration 
for many centuries, to the age of Petrarca and Tasso. An 
inscription discovered at Vasto, the ancient Histonium, 
describes the one which took place A. D. 107 in these words : 
" To Lucius Valerius Pudens, son of Lucius. Being only 
thirteen years old, he took part in the sixth certamen sa- 
crum, near the temple of Jupiter Capitolinus ; and won the 
championship among the Latin poets by the unanimous vote 
of the judges." These last words show that special jurors 
were appointed by the emperor for each section of the com- 
petitions. In the year 319 Constantine the Great and 
Licinius Caesar celebrated with great solemnity the fifty- 



eighth certamen. Ausonius of Burdigala, the great poet of 
the fourth century, speaks of an Attius Delfidius, an infant 
prodigy (pcene ab incunabidis poeta), who gained the prize 
under Valentinian I. The mediaeval and Renaissance custom 
of " laureating " poets on the Capitol was certainly derived 
from Domitian's institution. 

The race of the " improvvisatori " has never died out in 
central and southern Italy. One of the most celebrated in 
the sixteenth century, named Silvio Antoniano, at the age of 
eleven could sing to the accompaniment of his lute on any 
argument proposed to him, the poetry being as graceful 
and pleasing as the music. One day, while sitting at a 
state banquet in the Palazzo di Venezia, Giovanni Angelo 
de' Medici, one of the cardinals present, asked him if he 
could improvise " on the praises of the clock," the sound of 
which, from the belfry of the palace, had just struck his 
ears. The melodious song of Silvio, on such an extraordi- 
nary theme, was received with loud applause ; and when 
Giovanni Angelo de' Medici was elected Pope in 1559, under 
the name of Pius IV., he raised the young poet to the rank 
of a cardinal in recognition of his extraordinary talent. 

The mausoleum of Lucilia Polla and her brother Lucilius 
Paetus was discovered in May, 1885, in the Villa Bertone, 
opposite the Villa Albani, at a distance of seven hundred 
metres from the gate. It is the largest sepulchral structure 
discovered in my time, and worthy of being compared in 
size to the mausoleum of Metella on the Appian Way, and 
the so-called Torrione on the Labicana. It was originally 
composed of two parts : a basement, one hundred and ten 
feet in diameter, built of travertine and marble, which is the 
only part that remains j and a cone of earth fifty-two feet 
high, covered with trees, in imitation of the Mausoleum 
of Augustus, with which it was contemporary. The cone 


has disappeared. The inscription, sixteen feet long, is 
engraved on the side facing the Via Salaria, in letters of the 
most exquisite form to be found in Rome. It states that 
Marcus Lucilius Paetus, an officer who had the command of 
the cavalry and the military engineers in one or more cam- 
paigns, in the time of Augustus, had built the tomb for 
his sister Lucilia Polla, already deceased, and for himself. 

The fate of the monument has been truly remarkable. 
I believe there is no other in the necropolis of the Via 
Salaria which has undergone so many changes in the course 
of centuries. The first took place in the reign of Trajan, 
when the monument was buried under a prodigious mass of 
earth, together with a large section of an adjoining ceme- 
tery. In fact, columbaria dating from the time of Hadrian 
have been found built against the beautiful inscription of 
Lucilia Polla ; and the inscription itself was disfigured by 
a coating of red paint, to make it harmonize with the color 
of the three other walls of the crypt. The whole tract 
between the Salaria and the Pinciana was raised in the 
same manner twenty-five feet ; and contains, therefore, two 
layers of tombs, the lower belonging to the republican 
or early imperial epoch, the upper to the time of Hadrian 
and later. 

Where did this enormous mass of earth come from ? 

A clew to the answer is given on page 87 of my " Ancient 
Rome," where, in describing the construction of Trajan's 
forum, and the column which stands in the middle of it, 
" to show to posterity how high rose the mountain levelled 
by the emperor " (ad declarandum quantce altitudinis 
mons et locus sit egestus), I stated that I had been able 
to estimate the amount of earth and rock removed to 
make room for the forum at 24,000,000 cubic feet, 
and concluded, " I have made investigations over the 


Campagna to discover the place where the twenty-four 
million cubic feet were carted and dumped, but my efforts 
have not, as yet, been crowned with success." The place 
is now discovered. None but an emperor would have dared 
to bury a cemetery so important as that which I am now 
describing ; and if we remember that it was the open space 
which was nearest of all to Trajan's excavations, easy of 
access, that the burying of a cemetery for a necessity of 
state could be justified by the proceedings of Maecenas and 
Augustus, described on page 67 of the same book, and that 
the change must have taken place at the beginning of the 
second century, as proved by the dates, and by the con- 
struction and type of tombs belonging respectively to the 
lower and upper strata, I think that my surmise may be 
accepted as an established fact. 

Thus vanished the mausoleum of the Lucilii from the 
eyes and from the memory of the Romans of the second 
century. Towards the end of the fourth century the 
Christians, while tunnelling the ground near it, for one of 
their smaller catacombs, discovered the crypt by accident, 
and occupied it. The shape of this crypt may be compared 
to that of Hadrian's mausoleum ; that is, it was a hall in the 
form of a Greek cross, in the centre of the circular structure, 
and was reached by means of a corridor. The Christians 
scattered the relics of the first occupants, knocked down 
their busts, built arcosolia in the three recesses of the Greek 
cross, and honeycombed with loculi the side walls of the cor- 
ridor. The transformation was so complete that, when we 
first entered the corridor, in July, 1886, we thought we had 
found a wing of the catacombs of S. Saturninus. Some of 
the loculi were closed with tiles, others with pagan inscrip- 
tions which thefossores had found by chance in tunnelling 
their way into the crypt. Two loculi, excavated near the 


entrance outside the corridor, contained bodies of infants 
with magic circlets around their necks. They are most ex- 
traordinary objects in both material and variety of shape. 
The pendants are cut in bone, ivory, rock crystal, onyx, 
jasper, amethyst, amber, touch-stone, metal, glass, and 
enamel ; and they represent elephants, bells, doves, pastoral 
flutes, hares, knives, rabbits, poniards, rats, Fortuna, jelly- 
fish, human arms, hammers, symbols of fecundity, helms, 
marbles, boar's tusks, loaves of bread, and so on. 

The vicissitudes of the mausoleum did not end with this 
change of religion and ownership. Two or three centuries 
ago, when the fever of discovering and ransacking the cata- 
combs of the Via Salaria was at its height, some one found 
his way to the crypt, and committed purely wanton destruc- 
tion. The arcosolia were dismantled, and the loculi 
violated one by one. We found the bones of the Chris- 
tians of the fourth century scattered over the floor, and, 
among them, the marble busts of Lucilius Pa3tus and 
Lucilid, Polla, which the Christians of the fourth century 
had knocked from their pedestals. Such is the history of 

VIA APPIA. A delightful afternoon excursion in the 
vicinity of the city can be made to the Valle deUa Caffa- 
rella from the so-called " Tempio del Dio Redicolo " to the 
"Sacred Grove" by S. Urbano. Leaving Rome by the 
Porta S. Sebastiano, and turning to the left directly after 
passing the chapel of Domine quo vadis, we descend to the 
valley of the river Almo, now called the Valle della Caffa- 
rella, from the ducal family who owned it before the Tor- 
lonias. The path is full of charm, running, as it does, 
along the banks of the historical stream, and between hill- 
sides which are covered with evergreens, and scented with 





1 I 



the perfume of wild flowers. The place is secluded and 
quiet, and the solitary rambler is unconsciously reminded 
of Horace's stanza (Epod. II.) : 

" Beatus ille, qui procul negotiis, 
Ut prisca gens mortalium, 
Paterna rura bobus exercet suis, 
Solutus omni fcenore, 

Forumque vitat, et superba civium 
Potentiorum limina." 

In no other capital of the present day can the sentiment 
expressed by Horace be felt and enjoyed more than in Rome, 
where it is so easy to forget the worries and frivolities of city 
life by walking a few steps outside the gates. The Val 
d' Inferno and the Via del Casaletto, outside the Porta Ange- 
lica, the Vigne Nuove outside the Porta Pia, and the Valle 
della Caffarella, to which I am now leading my readers, all 
are dreamy wildernesses, made purposely to give to our 
thoughts fresher and healthier inspirations. Sometimes 
indistinct sounds from the city yonder are borne to our ears 
by the wind, to increase, by contrast, the happiness of the 
moment. And it is not only the natural beauty of these se- 
cluded spots that fascinates the stranger: there are associa- 
tions special to each which increase its interest tenfold. At 
the Vigne Nuove one can locate within a hundred feet the 
spot in which Nero's suicide took place. The Val d' Inferno 
brings back to our memory the two Domitise Lucillse, their 
clay-quarries and brick-kilns, of which the products were 
shipped even to Africa ; the Valle della Caffarella is full of 
souvenirs of Herodes Atticus and Annia Regilla, who are 
brought to mind by their tombs, by the sacred grove, by 
the so-called Grotto of Egeria, and by the remains of their 
beautiful villa. 


Herodes Atticus, born at Marathon A. D. 104, of noble 
Athenian parents, became one of the most distinguished 
men of his time. Philostratos, the biographer of the 
Sophists, gives a detailed account of his life and fortunes 
at the beginning of Book II. Inscriptions relating to 
his career have been found in Rome, on the borders of 
the Appian Way, the best-known being the Iscrizioni 
greche triopee ora Borghesiane, edited by Ennio Quirino 
Visconti in 1794. 1 His father, Tiberius Claudius Atticus 
Herodes, lost his fortune by confiscation for reasons of 
state, and was therefore obliged, at the beginning of his 
career, to depend upon the fortune of his wife, Vibullia 
Alcia, for his support. Suddenly he became the richest 
man in Greece, and probably in the world. Many writers 
have given accounts of his extraordinary discovery of trea- 
sure, which was made in the foundations of a small house 
which he owned at the foot of the Akropolis, near the Diony- 
siac Theatre. He seems to have been more frightened than 
pleased at the amount found, knowing how complicated 
was the jurisprudence on this subject, and how greedy 
provincial magistrates were. He addressed himself in 
general terms to the emperor Nerva, asking what he should 
do with his discovery. The answer was that he could 
make use of it as he pleased. Even then he was not reas- 
sured, and wrote again to the emperor declaring that the 

1 The bibliography on Herodes Atticus and his villa at the second mile- 
stone of the Appian Way is so rich that I can mention but a few of the leading 
works, besides Visconti's. Claude Saumaise : Me'moires sur la vie d'Herodes 
Atticus, in Academic des inscriptions et belles lettres, xxx. p. 25 ; Corpus inscrip- 
tionum grcBcarum : vol. iii. no. 6280, p. 924. Wilhelm Dittenberger : Die Fa- 
milie des Herodes Atticus. Richard Burgess : Description of the Circus on the 
Via Appia. Italian translation, p. 89. Rome, 1829. Ludovico Bianconi : 
Descrizione det circhi e particolarmente di quello di Caracalla. Roma, 1786. 
Antonio Nibby : Del circo volgarmente detto di Caracalla. Roma, 1825. 


fortune was far beyond his condition in life. Nerva's 
answer confirmed him emphatically in the full possession of 
this wealth. Herodes did much good with it, as a noble 
revenge for the persecutions which he had undergone in 
his younger days ; and at his death his son inherited, with 
the fortune, his generous instincts and kindliness. 

Curiosity leads us to inquire where this amount of gold 
and treasure came from, who it was that concealed it in the 
rock of the Akropolis, and when, and for what reason. 
Visconti's surmise that it was hidden there by a wealthy 
Roman, during the civic wars, and the proscriptions which 
followed them towards the end of the Republic, is obviously 
incorrect. No Roman general, magistrate, or merchant of 
republican times could have collected such a fortune in im- 
poverished Greece. I have a more probable suggestion to 
make. When Xerxes tngaged his fleet against the Greek 
allies in the straits of Salamis, he was so confident of gain- 
ing the day that he established himself comfortably on a 
lofty throne on the slope of Mount ^Egaleos to witness the 
fight. And when he saw Fortune turn against his forces, 
and was obliged to retire in hot haste, trusting his own 
safety to flight, I suppose that the funds of war, which 
were kept by the treasurer of the army at headquarters, 
may have been buried in a cleft of the Akropolis, in the 
hope of a speedy and more successful return. The amount 
of money carried by Xerxes' treasury officials for purposes 
of war must have been enormous, when we consider that 
2,641,000 men were counted at the review held in the 
plains of Doriskos. 

Whatever may have been the origin of the wealth of At- 
ticus it could not have fallen into better hands. His liberal- 
ity towards men of letters, and needy friends ; his works of 
general utility executed in Greece, Asia Minor, and Italy ; 


his exhibitions of games and entertainments in the Circus 
and in the Amphitheatre, did not prevent him from cultivat- 
ing science to such an extent that, on his arrival in Rome, he 
was selected as tutor of the two adopted sons of Antoninus 
Pius, Marcus Aurelius and Lucius Verus. Here he mar- 
ried Annia Regilla, one of the wealthiest ladies of the day, 
by whom he had six children. She died in childbirth, and 
Herodes was accused, we do not know on what ground, of 
having accelerated or caused her death by ill-treatment or 
violence. Regilla's brother, Appius Annius Bradua, consul 
A. D. 160, brought an action of uxoricide against Herodes, 
but failed to prove his case. Still, the calumny remained 
in the mind of the public. To dispel it, and to regain his 
position in society, Herodes, although stricken with grief, 
made himself conspicuous almost to excess in honoring the 
memory of his departed wife. Her jewels were offered to 
Ceres and Proserpina; and the land which 1 she had owned 
between the Via Appia and the valley of the Almo was cov- 
ered with memorial buildings, and also consecrated to the 
gods. On the boundary line of the property, columns 
were raised bearing the inscription in Greek and Latin : 

" To the memory of Annia Regilla, wife of Herodes, the 
light and soul of the house, to whom these lands once be- 
longed." x 

The lands are described in other epigraphic documents 
as containing a village named Triopium, wheat-fields, vine- 
yards, olive-groves, pastures, a temple dedicated to Faustina 
the younger under the title of the New Ceres, a burial- 

1 When Maxentius repaired the Appian Way in 309, one of these com- 
memorative columns was converted into a milestone, the seventh from the 
Porta Capena. The column was removed in the Middle Ages to the Church 
of S. Eusebio on the Esquiline, where it was seen and purchased, at the begin- 
ning of the last century, by cardinal Alessandro 'Albani. It now belongs to 
the Capitoline Museum. 



space for the family, placed under the protection of Minerva 
and Nemesis, and lastly a grove sacred to the memory of 

Many of these monuments are still in existence. The 
first structure we meet with is a tomb of considerable size 

Tomb of Annia Regilla (fragment). 

built in the shape of a temple, the lowest steps of which are 
watered by the Almo. Its popular name of " Temple of 
the God Rediculus" is derived from a tradition which 
points to this spot as the one at which Hannibal turned 
back before the gates of Rome, and where a shrine to the 


" God of Retreat " was subsequently raised by the Romans. 
The Campagna abounds in sepulchral monuments of a 
similar design, but none can be compared with this in the 
elegance of its terra-cotta carvings, which give it the ap- 
pearance and lightness of lace. The polychrome effect 
produced by the alternate use of dark red and yellow bricks 
is particularly fine. 

Although no inscription has been found within or near 
this heroon, there are reasons to prove that it was the family 
tomb of Regilla, Herodes, and their six children. A more 
beautiful and interesting structure is hardly to be found in 
the Campagna, and I wonder why so few visit it. Perhaps 
it is better that it should be so, because its present owner 
has just rented it for a pig-pen. 

Higher up the valley, on a spur of the hill above the 
springs of Egeria, stands the Temple of Ceres and Faustina, 
now called S. Urbano alia Cacffarella. It belongs to the 
Barberinis, who take good care of it, as well as of the 
sacred grove of ilexes which covers the slope to the south 
of the springs. The vestibule is supported by four marble 
pillars, but, the intercolumniations having been filled up by 
Urban VIII. in 1634, the picturesqueness of the effect is 
destroyed. Here Herodes dedicated to the memory of his 
wife a statue, minutely described in the second Triopian 
inscription, alluded to above. Early Christians took pos- 
session of the temple and consecrated it to the memory of 
Pope Urbanus, the martyr, whose remains were buried close 
by, in the crypta magna of the Catacombs of Pratextatus. 
Pope Paschal I. caused the Confession of the church to be 
decorated with frescoes representing the saint from whom 
it was named, with the Virgin Mary, and S. John. In the 
year 1011 the panels between the pilasters of the cella were 
covered with paintings illustrating the lives and martyr- 


doms of Csecilia, Tiburtius, Valerianus and Urbanus, and, 
although injured by restorations, these paintings form the 
most important contribution to the history of Italian art in 
the eleventh century. We have therefore under one roof, 
and within the four walls of this temple, the names of 
Ceres, Faustina, Herodes and Annia Regilla, coupled with 
those of S. Csecilia and S. Valerianus, of Paschal I., and 
Pope Barberini; decorations in stucco and brick of the 
time of Marcus Aurelius ; paintings of the ninth and 
eleventh centuries ; and all this variety of wealth intrusted 
to the care of a good old hermit, whose dreams are surely 
not troubled by the conflicting souvenirs of so many events. 

I need not remind the reader that the name of Egeria, 
given to the nymphseum below the temple, is of Renaissance 
origin. The grotto in which, according to the legend, and 
to Juvenal's description, Numa held his secret meetings 
with the nymph Egeria, was situated within the line of the 
walls of Aurelian, and in the lower grounds of the Villa 
Fonseca, that is to say, at the foot of the Caalian Hill, near 
the Via deUa Ferratella. I saw it first in 1868, and again 
in 1880 when collecting materials for my volume on the 
" Aqueducts and Springs of Ancient Rome." l In 1887 it 
was buried by the military engineers, while they were build- 
ing their new hospital near Santo Stefano Rotondo. The 
springs still make their way through the newly-made 
ground, and appear again in the beautiful nymphaeum of 
the Villa Mattei (von Hoffmann) at the corner of the Via 
delle Mole di S. Sisto and the Via di Porta S. Sebastiano. 

As regards the Sacred Grove, there is no doubt that its 
present beautiful ilexes continue the tradition, and flourish 

1 / comentari di Frontino intorno le acque e gli acquedotti : Opera premiata 
dalla r. Accademia del Lincei col premio reale di lire 10,000. Roma, Sal- 
viucci, 1880. 



on the very spot of the old grove, sacred to the memory of 

The Sacred Grove and the Temple of Ceres ; now S. Urbano alia Caffarella. 

To come back, however, to the " Queen of the Roads : " 
among the many discoveries that have taken place in the 
cemeteries which line it, that made on April 16, 1485, dur- 
ing the pontificate of Innocent VIII., remains unrivajled. 

There have been so many accounts published by modern 
writers * in reference to this extraordinary event that it may 

1 Among the modern writers on the subject are : Christian Hiilsen : Die 
Auffindung der romischen Leiche vom Jdhre 1485, in the Mittheilungen des In- 
stituts fur osterreichische Geschichtforschung, Band iv., Heft 3. J. Addington 
Symonds : History of the Renaissance, i. 23. Giovanni Antonio Riccy : Dell' 
antico pago Lemonio. Roma, 1802 (p. 109). Gregorovius : Geschichte der 
Stadt Rom im Mittelalter, vii., 3, p. 571. Corpus inscriptionum latinarum, vol. 
vi., no. 20,634. 


interest my readers to learn the truth by reviewing the evi- 
dence as it stands in its original simplicity. I shall only 
quote such authorities as enable us to ascertain what really 
took place on that memorable day. The case is in itself 
so unique that it does not need amplification or the addition 
of imaginary details. Let us first consult the diary of An- 
tonio di Vaseli : 

(f. 48.) " To-day, April 19, 1485, the news came into 
Rome, that a body buried a thousand years ago had been 
found in a farm of Santa Maria Nova, in the Cainpagna, 
near the Casale Rotondo. . . . (f. 49.) The Conservatori 
of Rome despatched a coffin to Santa Maria Nova elabo- 
rately made, and a company of men for the transportation 
of the body into the city. The body has been placed for 
exhibition in the Conservatori palace, and large crowds of 
citizens and noblemen have gone to see it. The body seems 
to be covered with a glutinous substance, a mixture of myrrh 
and other precious ointments, which attract swarms of bees. 
The said body is intact. The hair is long and thick ; the 
eyelashes, eyes, nose, and ears are spotless, as well as the 
nails. It appears to be the body of a woman, of good size ; 

Contemporary documents : Stefano Infessura : Diario, edited by Tomma- 
sini. Rome, 1890. Notarius a Nantiportu : in Cod. Vatic., 6,823, f. 250. 
Raffaele Maffei da Volterra (Volterranus, born 1451, died 1522) : Commentarii 
rerum Urbanarum, column 954 of the Lyons edition, 1552. Bartolomeo Fonte 
(Humanist, born 1445, died 1513) : letter to Francesco Sassetto, published by 
Janitschek : Gesells. der Renaissance, p. 120. Letter from Laur Pehem, dated 
April 15, 1475, in the Cod. Munich, 716 (among the papers collected by Hart- 
man Schedel). Copy of a letter from messer Daniele da San Sebastiano to 
Giacomo di Maphei, citizen of Verona, in the Cod. Marciano (Venice), xiv. 
267. Alexander ab Alexandro (born at Naples, 1461, died in Rome, 1523) : 
Genialium Dierttm, iii. 2. Fragment of the diary of Antonio di Vaseli (1481- 
1486), in the Archives of the Vatican, Armar. XV. fasc. 44. Fragment of the 
diary of Corona (first entry Jan. 30, 1481 ; last July 25, 1492) in the posses- 
sion of H. D. Grissel, Esq. Anonym ap. Mountfaucon, Diarium Italicum, 
si. 157. 


and her head is covered with a light cap of woven gold 
thread, very beautiful. The teeth are white and perfect ; 
the flesh and the tongue retain their natural color ; but if 
the glutinous substance is washed off, the flesh blackens in 
less than an hour. Much care has been taken in searching 
the tomb in which the corpse was found, in the hope of dis- 
covering the epitaph, with her name ; it must be an illus- 
trious one, because none but a noble and wealthy person 
could afford to be buried in such a costly sarcophagus thus 
filled with precious ointments." 

Translation of a letter of messer Daniele da San Sebas- 
tiano, dated MCCCCLXXXV : 

" In the course of excavations which were made on the 
Appian Way, to find stones and marbles, three marble 
tombs have been discovered during these last days, sunk 
twelve feet below the ground. One was of Terentia Tul- 
liola, daughter of Cicero ; the other had no epitaph. One of 
them contained a young girl, intact in all her members, cov- 
ered from head to foot with a coating of aromatic paste, 
one inch thick. On the removal of this coating, which we 
believe to be composed of myrrh, frankincense, aloe, and 
other priceless drugs, a face appeared, so lovely, so pleas- 
ing, so attractive, that, although the girl had certainly been 
dead fifteen hundred years, she appeared to have been laid 
to rest that very day. The thick masses of hair, collected 
on the top of the head in the old style, seemed to have been 
combed then and there. The eyelids could be opened and 
shut ; the ears and the nose were so well preserved that, 
after being bent to one side or the other, they instantly re- 
sumed their original shape. By pressing the flesh of the 
cheeks the color would disappear as in a living body. The 
tongue could be seen through the pink lips ; the articula- 
tions of the hands and feet still retained their elasticity. 


The whole of Rome, men and women, to the number of 
twenty thousand, visited the marvel of Santa Maria Nova 
that day. I hasten to inform you of this event, because 
I want you to understand how the ancients took care to 
prepare not only their souls but also their bodies for im- 
mortality. I am sure that if you had had the privilege of 
beholding that lovely young face, your pleasure would have 
equalled your astonishment." 

Translation of a letter, dated Rome, April 15, 1485, 
among Schedel's papers in Cod. 716 of the Munich library: 

" Knowing your eagerness for novelties, I send you the 
news of a discovery just made on the Appian Way, five 
miles from the gate, at a place called Statuario (the same as 
S. Maria Nova). Some workmen engaged in searching for 
stones and marbles have discovered there a marble coffin of 
great beauty, with a female body in it, wearing a knot of 
hair on the back of her head, in the fashion now popular 
among the Hungarians. It was covered with a cap of 
woven gold, and tied with golden strings. Cap and strings 
were stolen at the moment of the discovery, together with a 
ring which she wore on the second finger of the left hand. 
The eyes were open, and the body preserved such elasticity 
that the flesh would yield to pressure, and regain its natural 
shape immediately. The form of the body was beautiful in 
the extreme ; the appearance was that of a girl of twenty- 
five. Many identify her with Tulliola, daughter of Cicero, 
and I am ready to believe so, because I have seen, close by 
there, a tombstone with the name of Marcus Tullius ; and 
because Cicero is known to have owned lands in the neigh- 
borhood. Never mind whose daughter she was; she was 
certainly noble and rich by birth. The body owed its pres- 
ervation to a coating of ointment two inches thick, com- 
posed of myrrh, balm, and oil of cedar. The skin was white, 


soft, and perfumed. Words cannot describe the number 
and the excitement of the multitudes who rushed to admire 
this marvel. To make matters easy, the Conservatori have 
agreed to remove the beautiful body to the Capitol. One 
would think there is some great indulgence and remission 
of sins to be gained by climbing that hill, so great is the 
crowd, especially of women, attracted by the sight. 

" The marble coffin has not yet been removed to the city ; 
but I am told that the following letters are engraved on it : 
4 Here lies Julia Prisca Secunda. She lived twenty-six years 
and one month. She has committed no fault, except to 
die.' It seems that another name is engraved on the same 
coffin, that of a Claudius Hilarus, who died at forty-six. If 
we are to believe current rumors, the discoverers of the 
body have fled, taking with them great treasures." 

And now let the reader gaze at the mysterious lady. 
The accompanying cut represents her body as it was ex- 
hibited in the Conservatori palace, and is taken from an 
original sketch in the Ashburnham Codex, 1174, f . 134. 

The body of a girl found in 1485. 

Celio Rodigino, Leandro Alberti, Alexander ab Alexan- 
dro and Corona give other particulars of some interest : 
The excavations were undertaken by the monks of Santa 


Maria Nuova (now S. Francesca Romana), five miles from the 
gate. The tomb stood on the left or east side of the road, 
high above the ground. The sarcophagus was imbedded in 
the walls of the foundation, and its cover was sealed with 
molten lead. As soon as the lid was removed, a strong 
odor of turpentine and myrrh was remarked by those pres- 
ent. The body is described as well arranged in the coffin, 
with arms and legs still flexible. The hair was blonde, and 
bound by a fillet (infulci) woven of gold. The color of the 
flesh was absolutely lifelike. The eyes and mouth were 
partly open, and if one drew the tongue out slightly it 
would go back to its place of itself. During the first days 
of the exhibition on the Capitol this wonderful relic showed 
no signs of decay ; but after a time the action of the air 
began to tell upon it, and the face and hands turned black. 
The coffin seems to have been placed near the cistern of the 
Conservatori palace, so as to allow the crowd of visitors to 
move around and behold the wonder with more ease. Celio 
Rodigino says that the first symptoms of putrefaction were 
noticed on the third day ; and he attributes the decay more 
to the removal of the coating" of ointments than to the ac- 


tion of the air. Alexander ab Alexandro describes the oint- 
ment which filled the bottom of the coffin as having the 
appearance and scent of a fresh perfume. 

These various accounts are no doubt written under the 
excitement of the moment, and by men naturally inclined 
to exaggeration ; still, they all agree in the main details of 
the discovery, in the date, the place of discovery, and the 
description of the corpse. Who was, then, the girl for the 
preservation of whose remains so much care had been taken ? 

Pomponio Leto, the leading archaeologist of the age, ex- 
pressed the opinion that she might have been either Tulliola, 
daughter of Cicero, or Priscilla, wife of Abascantus, whose 


tomb on the Appian Way is described by Statius (Sylv. V. 
i. 22). Either supposition is wrong. The first is inval- 
idated by the fact that the body was of a young and tender 
girl, while Tulliola is known to have died in childbirth at 
the age of thirty-two. Moreover, there is no document to 
prove that Cicero had a family vault at the sixth milestone 
of the Appian Way. The tomb of Priscilla, wife of Ab- 
ascantus, a favorite freedman of Domitian, is placed by 
Statius near the bridge of the Almo (Fiume Almone, Acqua- 
taccio) four and a half miles nearer the gate ; where, in 
front of the Chapel of Domine quo vadis, it has been found 
and twice excavated : the first time in 1773 by Amaduzzi ; 
the second in 1887, under my supervision. The only clew 
worth following is that given in Pehem's letter of April 
15, now in the Munich library ; but even this leads to no 
result. The inscription, which was said to mention the 
name and age of the girl, is perfectly genuine, and duly 
registered in the " Corpus Inscriptionum," No. 20,634. It 
is as follows : 

D M 







" To the infernal gods. [Here lie] Julia Prisca, freed- 
woman of Lucius Julius, who lived twenty-six years one 
month, one day ; [and also] Q. Clodius Hilarus, who lived 
forty-six years. She never did any wrong except to die." 
Pehem, Malaguy, Fantaguzzi, Waelscapple and all the rest 
of them, assert unanimously that the inscription was found 


with the body on April 16, 1485, and they are all mistaken. 
It had been seen and copied, at least twenty-two years be- 
fore, by Felix Felicianus of Verona, and is to be found in 
the MSS. collection of ancient epitaphs, which he dedicated 
to Andrea 'Mantegna in 1463. The number of spurious in- 
scriptions concocted for the occasion is truly remarkable. 
Georges of Spalato (1484-1545) gives the following version 
of this one in his MSS. diary, now in Weimar : " Here lies 
my only daughter Tulliola, who has committed no offence, 
except to die. Marcus Tullius Cicero, her unhappy father, 
has raised this memorial." 

The poor girl, whose name and condition in life will 
never be known, and whose body for twelve centuries had 
so wonderfully escaped destruction, was most abominably 
treated by her discoverers in 1485. There are two versions 
as to her ultimate fate. According to one, Pope Innocent 
VIII., to stop the excitement and the superstitions of the 
citizens, caused the conservatori to remove the body at night 
outside the Porta Salaria, and bury it secretly at the foot of 
the city waUs. According to the second it was thrown into 
the Tiber. One is just about as probable as the other. 

How differently we treat these discoveries in our days ! 
In the early morning of May 12, 1889, I was caUed to wit- 
ness the opening of a marble coffin which had been dis- 
covered two days before, under the foundations of the new 
Halls of Justice, on the right bank of the Tiber, near Ha- 
drian's Mausoleum. As a rule, the ceremony of cutting the 
brass clamps which fasten the lids of urns and sarcophagi is 
performed in one of our archaeological repositories, where 
the contents can be quietly and carefully examined, away 
from an excited and sometimes dangerous crowd. In the 
present case this plan was found impracticable, because the 
coffin was ascertained to be filled with water which had, in 


the course of centuries, filtered in, drop by drop, through the 
interstices of the lid. The removal to the Capitol was there- 
fore abandoned, not only on account of the excessive weight 
of the coffin, but also because the shaking of the water 
would have damaged and disordered the skeleton and the 
objects which, perchance, were buried inside. 

The marble sarcophagus was embedded in a stratum of 
blue clay, at a depth of twenty-five feet below the level of 
the city, that is, only four or five feet above the level of the 
Tiber, which runs close by. It was inscribed simply with 
the name CREPEREIA TRYPHAENA, and decorated 
with bas-reliefs representing the scene of her death. No 
sooner had the seals been broken, and the lid put aside, 
than my assistants, myself, and the whole crowd of workmen 
from the Halls of Justice, were almost horrified at the sight 
before us. Gazing at the skeleton through the veil of the 
clear water, we saw the skull covered, as it were, with long 
masses of brown hair, which were floating in the liquid 
crystal. The comments made by the simple and excited 
crowd by which we were surrounded were almost as inter- 
esting as the discovery itself. The news concerning the pro- 
digious hair spread like wild-fire among the populace of the 
district; and so the exhumation of Crepereia Tryphaena 
was accomplished with unexpected solemnity, and its re- 
membrance will last for many years in the popular traditions 
of the new quarter of the Prati di Castello. The mystery 
of the hair is easily explained. Together with the spring- 
water, germs or seeds of an aquatic plant had entered the 
sarcophagus, settled on the convex surface of the skull, and 
developed into long glossy threads of a dark shade. 

The skull was inclined slightly towards the left shoulder 
and towards an exquisite little doll, carved of oak, which was 
lying on the scapula, or shoulder-blade. On each side of 




the head were gold earrings with pearl drops. Mingled 
with the vertebrae of the neck and back were a gold necklace, 
woven as a chain, with thirty-seven pendants of green jasper, 
and a brooch with an amethyst intaglio of Greek workman- 
ship, representing the fight of a griffin and a deer. Where 
the left hand had been lying, we found four rings of solid 
gold. One is an engagement-ring, with an engraving in 
red jasper representing two hands clasped together. The 
second has the name PHILETVS engraved on the stone j 
the third and fourth are plain gold bands. Proceeding 
further with our exploration, we discovered, close to the 
right hip, a box containing toilet articles. The box was 
made of thin pieces of hard wood, inlaid alia Certosina, 
with lines, squares, circles, triangles, and diamonds, of bone, 
ivory, and wood of various kinds and colors. The box, how- 
ever, had been completely disjointed by the. action of the 
water. Inside there were two fine combs in excellent pre- 
servation, with the teeth larger on one side than on the 
other : a small mirror of polished steel, a silver box for cos- 
metics, an amber hairpin, an oblong piece of soft leather, 
and a few fragments of a sponge. 1 The most impressive 
discovery was made after the removal of the water, and the 
drying of the coffin. The woman had been buried in a 
shroud of fine white linen, pieces of which were still en- 
crusted and cemented against the bottom and sides of the 
case, and she had been laid with a wreath of myrtle fastened 
with a silver clasp about the forehead. The preservation 
of the leaves is truly remarkable. 

1 Sponges are most frequently found in the cistai at Palestrina, which were 
nothing else but toilet-boxes. I have had the opportunity of examining the 
contents of twelve of them, lately discovered. These include sponges, combs 
of various kinds and shapes, hairpins, wooden boxes with movable lids, still full 
of excellent powders, cosmetics, and ointments, and other articles of the mundus 


Who was this woman, whose sudden and unexpected re- 
appearance among us on the twelfth of May, 1889, created 
such a sensation ? When did she live ? At what age did she 
die ? What caused her death ? What was her condition 
in life ? Was she beautiful ? Why was she buried with 
her doll? The careful examination of the tomb and its 
contents enable us to answer ah 1 these questions satisfac- 

Crepereia Tryphaena lived at the beginning of the third 
century after Christ, during the reigns of Septimius Severus 
and Caracalla, as is shown by the form of the letters and 
the style of the bas-reliefs engraved on the sarcophagus. 
She was not noble by birth ; her Greek surname Tryphcena 
shows that she belonged to a family of freedmen, former 
servants of the noble family of the Creperei. We know 
nothing aboi\t her features, except that she had a strong 
and fine set of teeth. Her figure, however, seems to have 
been rather defective, on account of a deformity in the 
ribs, probably caused by scrofula. Scrofula, in fact, seems 
to have been the cause of her death. In spite of this de- 
formity, however, there is no doubt that she was betrothed 
to the young man Philetus, whose name is engraved on the 
stone of the second ring, and that the two happy lovers had 
exchanged the oath of fidelity and mutual devotion for life, 
which is expressed by the symbol of the clasped hands. 
The story of her sad death, and of the sudden grief which 
overtook her family on the eve of a joyful wedding, is 
plainly told by the presence in the coffin of the doll and 
the myrtle wreath, which is a corona nuptialis. I believe, 
in fact, that the girl was buried in her full bridal costume, 
and then covered with the linen shroud, because there are 
fragments of clothes of various textures and qualities mixed 
with those of the white linen. 


And now let us turn our attention to the doll. This ex- 
quisite pupa, a work of art in itself, is of oak, to which the 
combined action of time and water has given the hardness 
of metal. It is modelled in perfect imitation of a woman's 
form, and ranks amongst the finest of its kind yet found in 
Roman excavations. The hands and feet are carved with the 
utmost skill. The arrangement of the hair is characteristic 
of the age of the Antonines, and differs but little from the 
coiffure of Faustina the elder. The doll was probably 
dressed, because in the thumb of her right hand are in- 
serted two gold keyrings like those carried by housewives. 
This charming little figure, the joints of which at the hips, 
knees, shoulders, and elbows are still in good order, is nearly 
a foot high. Dolls and playthings are not peculiar to chil- 
dren's tombs. It was customary for young ladies to offer 
their dolls to Venus or Diana on their wedding-day. But 
this was not the end reserved for Crepereia's doll. She was 
doomed to share the sad fate of her young mistress, and to 
be placed with her corpse, before the marriage ceremony 
could be performed. 



Sanctity of tombs guaranteed to all creeds alike. The Christians' prefer- 
ence for underground cemeteries not due to fear at first. Origin and 
cause of the first persecutions. The attitude of Trajan towards the 
Christians, and its results. - The persecution of Diocletian. The 
history of the early Christians illustrated by their graves. The tombs 
of the first century. The catacombs. How they were named. 
The security they offered against attack. Their enormous extent. 
Their gradual abandonment in the fourth century. Open-air ceme- 
teries developed in proportion. - The Goths in Rome. Their pillage 
of the catacombs. Thereafter burial within the city walls became com- 
mon. The translation of the bodies of martyrs. Pilgrims and their 
itineraries. The catacombs neglected from the ninth to the sixteenth 
century. Their discovery in 1578. Their wanton treatment by 
scholars of that time. Artistic treasures found in them. The cata- 
combs of Generosa. The story of Simplicius, Faustina and Viatrix. 

The cemetery of Domitilla. The Christian Flavii buried there. 

The basilica of Nereus, Achilleus and Petronilla. The tomb of 
Ampliatus. Was this S. Paul's friend ? The cemetery " ad cata- 
cumbas." The translation of the bodies of SS. Peter and Paul. 
The types of the Saviour in early art. The cemetery of Cyriaca. 
Discoveries made there. Inscriptions and works of art. The ceme- 
tery " ad duas Lauros." Frescoes in it. The symbolic supper. 
The discoveries of Monsignor Wilpert. The Academy of Pomponio 

THE Roman law which established the inviolability of 
tombs did not make exceptions either of persons or creeds. 

1 Principal authorities : Philip de Winghe : Cod. biblioth. Bruxell 17872. 
Panvinius : De Ccemeteriis Urbis Romce. Rome, 1568. Antonio Bosio : 


Whether the deceased had been pious or impious, a wor- 
shipper of Roman or foreign gods, or a follower of Eastern 
or barbaric religions, his burial-place was considered by 
law a locus religiosus, as inviolable as a temple. In this 
respect there was no distinction between Christians, pagans, 
and Jews ; all enjoyed the same privileges, and were sub- 
ject to the same rules. It is not easy to decide whether 
this condition of things was an advantage to the faithful. 
It was certainly advantageous to the Church that her ceme- 
teries should be considered sacred by the law, and that the 
State itself should enforce and guarantee the observance of 
the rules (lex monumenti} made by the deceased in con- 
nection with his interment, and tomb ; but as the police of 
cemeteries, and the enforcement of the leges monumen- 
torum, was intrusted to the college of high priests, who 
were stern champions of paganism, the church was liable to 
be embarrassed in many ways. When, for instance, a body 
had to be transferred from its temporary repository to the 
tomb, it was necessary to obtain the consent of the ponti- 
fices ; which was also required in case of subsequent re- 

Roma sotterranea opera postuma. Roma, 1632-34. Paolo Aringhi : Roma 
subterranea novissima. Roma, 1651 fol. Cologne, 1659 fol. M. A. Boldetti : 
Osservazioni sopra i cimiteri de' SS. martin. Roma, Salvioni, 1720. Gio- 
vanni Bottari : Sculture e pitture estratte dai cimiteri di Roma. 3 vol. Roma, 
1737-54. Filippo Buonarroti : Vasi antichi di vetro ornati di figure, etc. 
Firenze, 1716, 4. Raoul Rochette : Le catacombe di Roma. Milano, 1841. 
Giuseppe Marchi : Monumenti delle arti cristiane primitive. Roma, Puccinelli, 
1844. Raffaele Garrucci : Storia dell' arte cristiana. Roma : 6 vol. fol. ; 
Vetri ornati di figure in oro, trovati nei cimiteri dei Cristiani. Rome, Salviucci, 
1858. Louis Ferret : Les catacombes de Rome, etc. 6 vol. fol. Paris, 1852- 
1856. De Rossi : Roma sotterranea cristiana. 3 vol. fol. Roma, Salviucci, 
1864 ; Inscriptions Christianas Urbis Romce. 2 vol. fol. Rome, 1861-1887 ; 
Bullettino di archeologia cristiana. Roma, Salviucci, 1863-1891. Northcote 
and Brownlow : Roma sotterranea. 2 volumes 8vo, 2d ed. London, Longmans, 
1878. Northcote : Epitaphs of the Catacombs. London, Longmans, 1878. 
Henry Parker : The Catacombs of Rome. Oxford, Parker, 1877. 



movals, and even of simple repairs to the building. Roman 
epitaphs constantly refer to this authority of the pontiffs, 
and one of them, discovered by Ficoroni in July, 1730, 
near the Porta Metronia, contains the correspondence ex- 
changed on the subject between the two parties. The peti- 
tioner, Arrius Alphius, a favorite freedman of the mother 
of Antoninus Pius, writes to the high priests : " Having lost 
at the same time wife and son, I buried them temporarily in 
a terra-cotta coffin. I have since purchased a burial lot on 
the left side of the Via Flaminia, between the second and 
the third milestones, and near the mausoleum of Silius 
Orcilus, and furnished it with marble sarcophagi. I beg 
permission of you, my Lords, to transfer the said bodies to 
the new family vault, so that when my hour shall come, I 
may be laid to rest beside the dear ones." The answer 
was : " Granted (fieri placet}. Signed by me, Juventius 
Celsus, vice-president [of the college of pontiffs], on the 3d 
day of November [A. D. 155]." 

The greatest difficulty with which the Christians had to 
deal was the obligation to perform expiatory sacrifices in 
given circumstances ; as, for instance, when a corpse was 
removed from one place to another, or when a coffin, dam- 
aged by any accidental cause, such as lightning, inundation, 
fire, earthquake, or violence, had to be opened and the bones 
exposed to view. But these were exceptional cases ; and 
there is no doubt that the magistrates of Rome were nat- 
urally lenient and forbearing in religious matters, except in 
time of persecution. The partiality shown by early Chris- 
tians for underground cemeteries is due to two causes : the 
influence which Eastern customs and the example of the 
burial of Christ must necessarily have exercised on them, 
and the security and freedom which they enjoyed in the 
darkness and solitude of their crypts. Catacombs, however, 


could not be excavated everywhere, the presence of veins or 
beds of soft volcanic stone being a condition sine qua non 
of their existence. Cities and villages built on alluvial or 
marshy soil, or on hills of limestone and lava, were obliged 
to resort to open-air cemeteries. In Rome itself these were 
not uncommon. Certainly there was no reason why Chris- 
tians should object to the authority of the pontiffs in 
hygienic and civic matters. This authority was so deeply 
rooted and respected, that the emperor Constans (346-350), 
although a stanch Christian and anxious to abolish idolatry, 
left the pontiffs full jurisdiction over Christian and pagan 
cemeteries, by a constitution issued in 349. 1 

From apostolic times to the persecution of Domitian, the 
faithful were buried, separately or collectively, in private 
tombs which did not have the character of a Church insti- 
tution. These early tombs, whether above or below ground, 
display a sense of perfect security, and an absence of all 
fear or solicitude. This feeling arose from two facts : the 
small extent of the cemeteries, which secured to them the 
rights of private property, and the protection and freedom 
which the Jewish colony in Rome enjoyed from time imme- 
morial. The Romans of the first century, populace as well 
as government officials, made no distinction between the 
proselytes of the Old Testament and those of the New. 

Julius Caesar and Augustus treated the Jews with kind- 
ness, and when S. Paul arrived in Rome the colony was liv- 
ing in peace and prosperity, practising religion openly in 
its Transtiberine synagogues. 2 The same state of things 

1 See Cod. Theodos. ix. 17, 2. 

2 On the subject of the Jewish colony in Rome, see : Emmanuel Rodocana- 
chi : Le saint-siege et les Juifs : le Ghetto a Rome. Paris, Didot, 1891. A. 
Bertolotti : Les Juifs a Rome. Revue des eludes juives, 1881, fasc. 4. Raf- 
faele Garrucci : Cimiterio degli antichi Ebrei. Roma, 1862. Pietro Manfrin : 
Gli Ebrei sotto la dominazione romana. Roma, 1888-1890. Ettore Natali : 


prevailed throughout the peninsula. Thus the rabbi or 
archon of the synagogue at Pompeii called the Synagoga 
Libertinorum (the existence of which was discovered in 
September, 1764), could take, in virtue of his office, an 
active part in city politics and petty municipal quarrels, and 
in his official capacity could sign a document recommend- 
ing the election of a candidate for political honors, as is 
shown by one of the Pompeian inscriptions : 



The persecution which took place under Claudius was really 
the first connected with the preaching of the gospel. Ac- 
cording to Suetonius (Claud. 25) the Jews themselves were 
the cause of it, having suddenly become uneasy, trouble- 
some, and offensive, impulsore Chresto, that is to say, on 
account of Christ's doctrine, which was beginning to be 
preached in their synagogues. The expression used by Sue- 
tonius shows how very little was known at the tune about 
the new religion. Although Christ's name was not un- 
known to him, he speaks of this outbreak under Claudius as 
having been stirred up personally by a certain Chrestus, as 
though he were a living member of the Jewish colony. At 
that early stage the converts to the gospel were identified 
by the Romans with the Jews, not by mistake or error of 
judgment, but because they were legally and actually Jews, 

II Ghetto di Roma. Roma, 1887. Perreau : Education et culture des Israelites 
en Italie au moyen age. Corfou, 1885. 

1 This " poster," painted in red letters, which is now in the Museo Nazionale, 
Naples, was published by Zangemeister in vol. iv., p. 13, n. 117, of the Corpus 
inscriptionum latinarum. Prof. Mommsen, in the Rheinisches Museum, xix. 
(1864), p. 456, contradicts the opinion of de Rossi as regards the religious 
persuasion of this Fabius Eupor (Bullettino di archeologia cristiana, 1864, pp. 
70, 92). 


or rather one Jewish sect which was carrying on a dogmatic 
war against the others, on a point which had no interest 
whatever in the eyes of the Romans, that is, the advent of 
the Messiah. This statement is corroborated by many pas- 
sages in the Acts, such as xviii. 15 ; xxiii. 29 ; xxv. 9 ; 
xxvi. 28, 32 ; xxviii. 31. Claudius Lysias writes to the 
governor of Juda3a that Paul was accused by his fellow- 
citizens, not of crimes deserving punishment, but on some 
controversial point concerning their law. In Rome itself 
the apostle could preach the gospel with freedom, even when 
in custody, or under police supervision. 1 And as it was 
lawful for a Roman citizen to embrace the Jewish persua- 
sion, and give up the religion of his fathers, he was equally 
free to embrace the Evangelic faith, which was considered 
by the pagans a Jewish sect, not a new belief. 

The pagans despised them both, and mixed themselves up 
with their affairs only from a fiscal point of view, because 
the Jews were subject to a tax of two drachms per head, 
and the treasury officials were obliged to keep themselves 
acquainted with the statistics of the colony. 

This state of things did not last very long, it being of 
vital importance for the Jews to separate their cause from 
that of the new-comers. The responsibility for the perse- 
cutions which took place in the first century must be at- 
tributed to them, not to the Romans, whose tolerance in 
religious matters had become almost a state rule. The first 
attempt, made under Claudius, was not a success : it ended, 
in fact, with the banishment from the capital of every Jew, 
no matter whether he believed in the Old or the New Testa- 
ment. Judceos, impulsore Chresto assidue tumultuantes, 
Claudius Romce expulit (Suetonius : Claud. 25). It was, 
however, a passing cloud. As soon as they were allowed to 

1 See Champagny : Rome et la Judee, p. 31, of the first edition. 


come back to their Transtiberine haunts, the Jews set to work 
again, exciting the feelings of the populace, and denouncing 
the Christians as conspiring against the State and the gods, 
under the protection of the law which guaranteed to the 
Jews the free exercise of their religion. The populace, im- 
pressed by the conquests made by the gospel among all 
classes of citizens, was only too ready to believe the calumny. 
The Church, repudiated by her mother the Synagogue, 
could no longer share the privileges of the Jewish com- 
munity. As for the State, it became a necessity either to 
recognize Christianity as a new legal religion, or to pro- 
scribe and condemn it. The great fire, which destroyed 
half of Rome under Nero, and which was purposely attrib- 
uted to the Christians, brought the situation to a crisis. 
The first persecution began. Had the magistrate who con- 
ducted the inquiry been able to prove the indictment of 
arson, perhaps the storm would have been short, and con- 
fined to Rome ; but as the Christians could easily exculpate 
themselves, the trial was changed from a criminal into a 
politico-religious one. The Christians were convicted not 
so much of arson (non tarn crimine incendii) as of a hatred 
of mankind (odio generis humani) ; a formula which in- 
cludes anarchism, atheism, and high treason. This mon- 
strous accusation once admitted, the persecution could not 
be limited to Rome ; it necessarily became general, and 
more violent in one place or another, according to the im- 
pulse of the magistrate who investigated this entirely un- 
precedented case. 

Was the hope of a legal existence lost forever to the 
Church ? After Nero's death, and the condemnation of his 
acts and memory, the Christians enjoyed thirty years of 
peace. Domitian broke it, first, by claiming with unprece- 
dented severity the tribute from the Jews and those " living 


a Jewish life ; " 1 secondly, by putting the " atheists," that 
is, the Christians, to the alternative of giving up their faith 
or their life. These measures were abolished shortly after 
by Nerva, who sanctioned the rule that in future no one 
should be brought to justice under the plea of impiety or 
Judaism. The answer given by Trajan to Pliny the younger, 
when governor of Bithynia, is famous in the annals of perse- 
cutions. To the inquiries made by the governor, as to the 
best way of dealing with those " adoring Christ for their 
God," Trajan replied, that the magistrate should not molest 
them at his own initiative ; but if others should bring them 
to justice, and convict them of impiety and atheism, they 
deserved punishment. 2 These words contain the solemn re- 
cognition of the illegality of Christian worship ; they make 
persecution a rule of state. The faithful were doomed to 
have no respite for the next two centuries, except what 
they could obtain at intervals from the personal kindness 
and tolerance of emperors and magistrates. Those of the 
Jewish religion continued to enjoy protection and privi- 
leges, but Christianity was either persecuted or tolerated, as 
it happened ; so that, even under emperors who abhorred 
severity and bloodshed, the faithful were at the mercy of 
the first vagrant who chanced to accuse them of impiety. 

Strange to say, more clemency was shown towards them 
by emperors whom we are accustomed to call tyrants, than 
by those who are considered models of virtue. The author 
of the " Philosophumena " (book ix., ch. 11) says that Corn- 
modus granted to Pope Victor the liberation of the Chris- 
tians who had been condemned to the mines of Sardinia by 
Marcus Aurelius. Thus that profligate emperor was really 
more merciful to the Church than the philosophic author of 

1 See Suetonius, Domitian, chap. 92 ; Dion Cassius, Ixvii. 13. 

2 See Pliny, Epistolce, x. 67. 


the " Meditations," who, in the year 174, had witnessed the 
miracle of the Thundering Legion. The reason is evident. 
The wise rulers foresaw the destructive effect of the new 
doctrines on pagan society, and indirectly on the empire 
itself; whereas those who were given over to dissipation 
were indifferent to the danger ; " after them, the deluge ! " 

At the beginning of the third century, under the rule of 
Caracalla and Elagabalus, the Church enjoyed nearly thirty 
years of peace, interrupted only by the short persecution of 
Maximus, and by occasional outbreaks of popular hostility 
here and there. 1 

In 249 the " days of terror " returned, and continued 
fiercer than ever under the rules of Decius, Gallus, and Va- 
lerianus. The last persecution, that of Diocletian and his 
colleagues, was the longest and most cruel of all. For the 
space of ten years not a day of mercy shone over the ecclesia 
Jidelium. The historian Eusebius, an eye-witness, says that 
when the persecutors became tired of bloodshed, they con- 
trived a new form of cruelty. They put out the right eyes 
of the confessors, cut the tendon of their left legs, and then 
sent them to the mines, lame, half blind, half starved, and 
flogged nearly to death. In book VIII., chapter 12, the 
historian says that the number of sufferers was so great that 
no account could be kept of them in the archives of the 
Church. The memory of this decade of horrors has never 
died out in Rome. We have still a local tradition, not 
altogether unfounded, of ten thousand Christians who were 
condemned to quarry materials for Diocletian's Baths, and 
who were put to death after the dedication of the building. 

Towards the end of 306, Maxentius stopped the persecu- 
tion, but the true era of peace did not begin before 312, 
which is the date of Constantine's famous " edict of Milan," 

1 Seo de Rossi : Bulletino di archeologia cristiana, 1868, p. 19. 


granting to the Church liberty and free possession of her 
places of worship and cemeteries forever. 

The events of which I have given a summary sketch are 
beautifully illustrated by the discoveries which have been 
made in early Christian cemeteries, from May 31, 1578, 
which is the date of the discovery of the first catacomb, to 
the present day. 

From the time of the apostles to the first persecution of 
Domitian, Christian tombs, whether above or below ground, 
were built with perfect impunity and in defiance of public 
opinion. We have been accustomed to consider the cata- 
combs of Rome as crypts plunged in total darkness, and 
penetrating the bowels of the earth at unfathomable depths. 
This is, in a certain measure, the case with those catacombs, 
or sections of catacombs, which were excavated in times of 
persecution ; but not with those belonging to the first cen- 
tury. The cemetery of these members of Domitian's family 
who had embraced the gospel such as Flavius Clemens, 
Flavia Domitilla, Plautilla, Petronilla, and others reveals 
a bold example of publicity. 

The entrance to the crypt, discovered in 1714 and again in 
1865, near the farmhouse of Tor Marancia, at the first mile- 
stone of the Via Ardeatina, is hewn out of a perpendicular 
cliff, which is conspicuous from the high road (the modern 
Via delle Sette Chiese). The crypt is approached through 
a vestibule, which was richly decorated with terra-cotta carv- 
ings, and, on the frieze, a monumental inscription enclosed by 
an elaborate frame. No pagan mausolea of the Via Appia 
or the Via Latina show a greater sense of security or are 
placed more conspicuously than this early Christian tomb. 
The frescoes on the ceiling of the vestibule, representing bib- 
lical scenes, such as Daniel in the lions' den, the history of 
Jonah, etc., were exposed to daylight, and through the 



open door could be seen by the passer. No precaution was 
taken to conceal these symbolic scenes from profane or hos- 
tile eyes. We regret the loss of the inscription above the 

Entrance to the Crypt of the Flavians. 

entrance, which, besides the name of the owner of the crypt, 
probably contained the lex monumenti, and a formula spe- 
cifying the religion of those buried within. In this very 
catacomb, a few steps from the vestibule, an inscription has 
been found, in which a Marcus Aurelius Restitutus declares 
that he has built a tomb for himself and his relatives (sibi 
et suis], provided they were believers in Christ (fidentes in 
Domino). Another tombstone, discovered in 1864, in the 
Villa Patrizi, near the catacombs of Nicomedes, states that 
none might be buried in the tomb to which it was attached 
except those who belonged to the creed (pertinentes ad re- 
ligionem) of the founder. 

The time soon came when these frank avowals of Christi- 



anity were either impossible or extremely hazardous ; . and 
although legally a tomb continued to be a locus religiosus, 
no matter what the creed of the deceased had been, a 
vague sense of anxiety was felt by the Church, lest even 
these last refuges should be violated by the mob and its 
leaders. Hence the extraordinary development which 
underground cemeteries underwent towards the end of the 
first and the beginning of the second century. These cata- 
combs were considered by the law to be the property of the 
citizen who owned the ground above, and who either exca- 
vated them at his own cost, or gave the privilege of doing 
so to the Church. This is the reason why the names of our 
oldest suburban cemeteries are derived, not from the illustri- 
ous saints buried in them, but from the owner of the prop- 
erty under which the catacomb was first excavated. Bal- 
bina, Callixtus, Domitilla were never laid to rest in the cat- 
acombs which bear their names. Prsetextatus, Apronianus, 
the Jordans, Novella, Pontianus, and Maximus, after whom 
other cemeteries were named, are all totally unknown per- 
sons. When these cemeteries became places of worship and 
pilgrimage, after the Peace of Constantine, the old names 
which had sheltered them from the violence of persecutors 
were abandoned, and replaced by those of local martyrs. 
Thus the catacomb of Domitilla became that of Nereus and 
Achilleus ; that of Balbina was named for S. Mark ; that 
of Callixtus for SS. Sixtus and Csecilia ; and that of Maxi- 
mus for S. Felicitas. 

One characteristic of Christian epigraphy shows what a 
comparatively safe place the catacombs were. Inscriptions 
belonging to them never contain those requests to the passer 
to respect the tomb, which are so frequent in sepulchral 
inscriptions from tombs above-ground, and which sometimes, 
on Christian as well as pagan graves, take the form of an 


imprecation. An epitaph discovered by Hamilton near 
Eumenia, Phrygia, contains this rather violent formula : 
" May the passer who damages my tomb bury all his chil- 
dren at the same time." In another, found near the church 
of S. Valeria, in Milan, the imprecation runs : " May the 
wrath of God and of his Christ fall on the one who dares 
to disturb the peace of our sleep." 

The safety of the catacombs was not due to the fact that 
their existence was known only to the proselytes of Christ. 
The magistrates possessed a thorough knowledge of their 
location, number, and extent ; and we have evidence of 
raids and descents by the police on extraordinary occasions, 
as, for instance, during the persecutions of Valerian and 
Diocletian. The ordinary entrances to the catacombs, which 
were known to the police, were sometimes walled up or 
otherwise concealed, and new secret outlets opened through 
abandoned pozzolana quarries (arenarice). Some of these 
outlets have been discovered, or are to be seen, in the 
cemeteries of Agnes, Thrason, Callixtus, and Castulus. In 
May, 1867, while excavating on the southern boundary line 
of the Cemetery of Callixtus, de Rossi found himself sud- 
denly confronted with sandpits, the galleries of which came 
in contact with those of the cemetery several times. The 
passage from one to the other had been most ingeniously 
disguised by the fossores, as those who dug the catacombs 
were called. 1 

The defence of these cemeteries in troubled times must 
have caused great anxiety to the Church. Tertullian tells 
how the population of Carthage, excited against the Chris- 
tians, sought to obtain from Hilarianus, governor of Africa, 
the destruction of their graves. " Let them have no burial- 
ground ! " (area eorum non sint) was the rallying cry of 
the mob. 

1 See Buttettino di archeologia cristiana, 1867, p. 76. 


The catacombs are unfit for men to live in, or to stay in 
even for a few days. The tradition that Antonio Bosio 
spent seventy or eighty consecutive hours in their depths is 
unfounded. When we hear of Popes, priests, or their fol- 
lowers seeking refuge in catacombs, we must understand 
that they repaired to the buildings connected with them, 
such as the lodgings of the keepers, undertakers, and local 
clergymen. Pope Boniface I., when molested by Symma- 
chus and Eulalius, found shelter in the house connected 
with the Cemetery of Maximus on the Via Salaria. The 
crypts themselves were sought as a refuge only in case of 
extreme emergency. Thus Barbatianus, a priest from 
Antiochia, concealed himself in the Catacombs of Callixtus 
to escape the wrath of Galla Placidia. 

Many attempts have been made to estimate the extent of 
our catacombs, the length of their galleries, and the num- 
ber of tombs which they contain. Michele Stefano de 
Rossi, brother of the archaeologist, gives the following re- 
sults for the belt of catacombs within three miles of the 
gates of Servius : * 

(A) Surface of tufa beds, capable of being excavated 
into catacombs, 67,000,000 square feet. 

(B) Surface actually excavated into catacombs, from one 
to four stories deep, 22,500,000 square feet, more than 
a square mile. 

(C) Aggregate length 'of galleries, calculated on the 
average construction of six different catacombs, 866 kilo- 
metres, equal to 587 geographical miles. 

The sides of the galleries contain several rows of loculi, 
sometimes six or eight. Some bodies are buried under the 
floor, or in the cubic uli which open right and left at short 
intervals. Assuming these galleries to be capable of con- 

1 See Atti dell' Accademia dei Nuovi Lincei, sessione 6 maggio, 1860. 


taining two bodies per metre, the number of Christians 
buried in the catacombs, within three miles from the gates 
of Servius, may be estimated at a minimum of 1,752,000. 

The construction of this prodigious labyrinth required 
the excavation and removal of 96,000,000 cubic feet of 
solid rock. 

With regard to the number of inscriptions, I quote the 
following passage from Northcote's " Epitaphs," page 3 : 
" Of Christian inscriptions in Rome, during the first six 
centuries, de Rossi has studied more than fifteen thousand, 
the immense majority of which were taken from the cata- 
combs ; and he tells us there is still an average yearly addi- 
tion of about five hundred, derived from the same source. 
This number, vast as it is, is but a poor remnant of what 
once existed. From the collections made in the eighth and 
ninth centuries it appears that there were once at least one 
hundred and seventy ancient Christian inscriptions in 
Rome, which had an historical or monumental character ; 
written generally in metre, and to be seen at that time in 
the places which they were intended to illustrate. Of these 
only twenty-six remain, either whole or in parts. In the 
Roman topographies of the seventh century, one hundred 
and forty sepulchres of famous martyrs and confessors are 
enumerated ; we have recovered only twenty inscribed 
memorials, to assist us in the identification of these. Only 
nine epitaphs have come to lighf belonging to the bishops 
of Rome during the same six centuries ; and yet, during 
that period, there were certainly buried in the suburbs 
of the city upwards of sixty. Thus, whatever facts we 
take as the basis of our calculation, it would seem that 
scarcely a seventh part of the original wealth of the Roman 
church in memorials of this kind has survived the wreck of 
ages ; and de Rossi gives it as his conviction that there 
were once more than one hundred thousand of them." 


When the catacombs began to be better known to the 
general public, and were visited by crowds of the devout or 
curious, they became one of the marvels of Rome. Trav- 
ellers who so admired the syringes or crypts of the kings 
of Thebes, callmg them ra Oavfiara (the wonders), could 
not help being struck with awe at the great work accom- 
plished by our Christian community in less than three 
centuries. An inscription found by Deville at Thebes, in 
one of the royal crypts, and published in the "Archives 
des missions scientifiques," 1866, vol. ii. p. 484, thus refers 
to the parallel wonders of Roman and Egyptian catacombs: 
" Antonius Theodorus, intendant of Egypt and Pho3nicia, 
who has spent many years in the Queen-city of Rome, has 
seen the wonders (ra 6av(j.ara) both there and here." 
The allusion to the catacombs in comparison with the 
syringes is evident. The inscription dates from the second 
half of the fourth century. 

To the edict of Milan, and to the peace which it gave to 
the Church, we must attribute the origin of the decadence 
of underground cemeteries. Burial in open-air cemeteries 
having become secure once more, there was no reason why 
the faithful should give preference to the unhealthy and 
overcrowded crypts below. The example of desertion was 
set by the Popes themselves. Melchiades (311-314), who 
was the first to occupy the Lateran palace after the victory of 
the Church, was the last Pope buried near his predecessors 
in ccemeteris Callisti in cripta. Sylvester, his successor, 
was buried in a chapel built expressly, above the crypt of 
Priscilla, Mark above the crypts of Balbina, Julius above 
those of Calepodius, and so on. Still, the desire of secur- 
ing a grave in proximity to the shrine of a martyr was so 
intense that the use of the catacombs lasted for a century 
longer, although in diminishing proportions. When a 



gallery is discovered which contains more graves than 
usual, and has been excavated even in the narrow ledges of 
rock which separated the original loculi, or else at the 
corners of the crossings, which were usually left untouched, 
as protection against the caving-in of the earth, we may be 
sure we are approaching a martyr's altar-tomb. Sometimes 
the paintings which decorate a martyr's cubiculum have 
been disfigured and their inscriptions effaced by an over- 
zealous devotee. The accompanying cut shows the damage 
inflicted on a picture of the Good Shepherd in the cubi- 
culum of S. Januarius, in the Catacombs of PraBtextatus, by 
an unscrupulous disciple who wished to be buried as near 
as possible to his patron-saint. 

Cubiculum of Januarius. 

By the end of the fourth century burials in catacombs 
became rare, and still more between 400 and 410. They 
were apparently given up altogether after 410. The devel- 
opment of open-air cemeteries increased in proportion, those 


of S. Lorenzo and S. Paolo fuori le Mura being among the 
most popular. In 1863, when the entrance-gate to the 
modern Camposanto adjoining S. Lorenzo was built, fifty 
tombs, mostly unopened, were found in a space ninety feet 
long by forty feet wide. Since that time five hundred 
tombstones have been gathered in the neighborhood of 
that favorite church. As regards S. Paul's cemetery, more 
than one thousand inscriptions, whole or in fragments, were 
found in rebuilding the basilica and its portico, after the fire 
of 1823 ; l two hundred in the excavations of S. Valentine's 
basilica, outside the Porta del Popolo. These last excava- 
tions are the only ones illustrating a Christian cemetery 
which are left visible ; but their importance is limited. 
The cemeteries of Aries and Pola, alluded to by Dante, 
have disappeared ; and so has the magnificent one of the 
officers and men employed in the Roman arsenal at Con- 
cordia Sagittaria, which was discovered in 1873, near Porto- 
gruaro, by Perulli and Bartolini. This cemetery, which 
contains, in the section already explored, nearly two hun- 
dred sarcophagi, cut in limestone, in the shape of Petrarch's 
coffin, at Arqua, or Antenor's at Padua, was wrecked by 
Attila in 452, and buried soon after by an inundation of 
the river Tagliamento, which spread masses of mud and 
sand over the district, and raised its level five feet. The 
accompanying plate is from a photograph taken at the time 
of the discovery. 

I have just stated that burial in catacombs seems to have 
been abandoned in 410, because no inscription of a later 
date has yet been found. The reader will easily perceive 
the reason for the abandonment. On August 10, 410, 
Rome was stormed by Alaric, and the suburbs devastated. 
This fatal year marks the end of a great and glorious era 

1 Bullettino di archeologia cristiana, 1863, p. 75. 


in Christian epigraphy, and in the history of catacombs 
the end of the work of thefossores. More fatal still was 
the barbaric invasion of 457. The actual destruction be- 
gan in 537, during the siege of Rome by Vitiges. The 
biographer of Pope Silverius expressly says : " Churches 
and tombs of martyrs have been destroyed by the Goths " 
(ecclesice et corpora sanctorum martyrum exterminata 
sunt a Gothis}. It is difficult to explain why the Goths, 
confessed and even bigoted Christians (Arians) as they 
were, and full of respect for the basilicas of S. Peter and 
S. Paul, as Procopius declares, should have ransacked the 
catacombs, violated the tombs of martyrs, and broken their 
historical inscriptions. Perhaps it was because none of the 
barbarians could read Latin or Greek epitaphs, and make 
the distinction between pagan and Christian cemeteries ; or 
perhaps they were moved by the desire of finding hidden 
treasures, or securing relics of saints. Whatever may have 
been the reason of their behavior, we must remember that 
two encampments, at least, of the Goths were just over 
catacombs and around their entrances; one on the Via 
Salaria, over those of Thrason ; the other on the Via Labi- 
cana, above those of Peter and Marcellinus. The bar- 
barians could not resist the temptation of exploring those 
subterranean wonders ; indeed they were obliged to do so 
by the most elementary rules of precaution in order to 
insure the safety of their intrenchments against surprises. 
Here I have to record a remarkable coincidence. In each 
of these two catacombs the following memorial tablet has 
been seen or found, written in distichs by Pope Virgilius : 

" When the Goths pitched their camps under the walls of Rome, they declared 
an impious war against the Saints : 

" And destroyed in their sacrilegious attack the tombs dedicated to the mem- 
ory of martyrs : 

"Whose epitaphs, composed by Pope Damasus, have been destroyed. 


" Pope Virgilius, having witnessed the destruction, has repaired the tombs, the 
inscriptions, and the underground sanctuaries after the retreat of the 

The repairs must have been made in haste, between 
March, 537, the date of the flight of Vitiges, and the fol- 
lowing November, the date of the journey of Virgilius to 
Constantinople, from which he never returned. Traces of 
this Pope's restorations have been found in other catacombs. 
In those of Callixtus the fragments of a tablet, dedicated by 
Damasus to S. Eusebius, have been found, dispersed over 
a large area, and also a copy set up by Virgilius in the place 
of the original. In those of Hippolytus, on the Via Tibur- 
tina, an inscription was discovered in 1881, which stated 
that the " sacred caverns " had been restored prcesule Vir- 
gilio. The example of Virgilius and his successors in the 
See of Eome was followed by private individuals. The 
tomb of Crysanthus and Daria on the Via Salaria was re- 
stored, after the retreat of the barbarians, pauperis ex 
censu, that is to say, with the modest means of a devotee. 

Nibby has attributed the origin of cemeteries within the 
walls to the invasion of Vitiges, burial within the city limits 
having been strictly forbidden by the laws of Rome. But 
the law seems to have been practically disregarded even be- 
fore the Gothic wars. Christians were buried in the Praeto- 
rian camp, and in the gardens of MaBcenas, during the reign 
of Theodoric (493-526). I have mentioned this particular 
because it marks another step towards the abandonment of 
suburban cemeteries. The country around Rome having 
become insecure and deserted, it was deemed necessary to 
place within the protection of the city walls the bodies of 
martyrs who had been buried at a great distance from the 
gates. The first translation took place in 648 : the second 
in 682, when the bodies of Primus and Felicianus were 


removed from Nomentum, and those of Viatrix, Faustinus 
and Simplicius from the IMCUS Arvalium (Monte delle Piche, 
by la Magliana). The last blow to the catacombs was given 
by Paschal I. (817-824). Contemporary documents men- 
tion innumerable transferences of bodies. The mosaic 
legend of the apse of S. Prassede says that Pope Paschal 
buried the bodies of many saints within its walls. 1 

The official catalogue of the remains removed on July 20, 
817, which was compiled by the Pope's notary and engraved 
on marble, has come down to us. It speaks of the transla- 
tion of twenty-three hundred bodies, most of which were 
buried under the chapel of S. Zeno, which Paschal I. had 
built as a memorial to his mother, Theodora Episcopa. The 
legend in the apse of S. Csecilia speaks, likewise, of the 
transference to her church of bodies " which had formerly 
reposed in crypts" (quce primum in cryptis pausdbant): 
among them those of Csecilia herself, Valerianus, Tiburtius, 
and Maximus. The finding and removal of Caecilia's re- 
mains from the Catacombs of CaUixtus is one of the most 
graceful episodes in the life of Paschal I. He describes it at 
length in a letter addressed to the people of Rome. 

After many unsuccessful attempts to discover the coffin 
of the saint, he had come to the conclusion that it must 
have been stolen by the Lombards, when they were be- 
sieging the city in 755. S. Cecilia, however, told him in a 
vision where her grave was ; and hurrying to the catacombs 
of the Appian Way he at last discovered her crypt and 
coffin, together with those of fourteen Popes, from Zephy- 
rinus to Melchiades. It is only fair to say that the dis- 
coveries made in this very crypt, between 1850 and 1853, 
confirm the account of Paschal in its minutest details. 

1 ... passim corpora condens 
Plurima sanctorum subter hsec rucenia ponit. 


The first half of the ninth century thus marks the final 
abandonment of the catacombs, and the cessation of divine 
worship in their historical crypts. In later. times we find 
little or no mention of them in Church annals. When we 
read of Nicholas I. (858-867) and of Paschal II. (1099- 
1118) visiting the cemeteries, we must believe that their 
visits were to the basilicas erected over the catacombs, and 
to their special crypts, not to the catacombs themselves. In 
the chronicle of the monastery of S. Michael ad Mosam we 
read of a pilgrim of the eleventh century who obtained 
relics of saints " from the keeper of a certain cemetery, in 
which lamps are always burning." He refers to the ba- 
silica of S. Valentine and the small hypogaeum attached to 
it (discovered in 1887), not to catacombs in the true sense 
of the word. The very last account referring directly to 
them dates from the time of Pope Nicolas I. (858-867) 
who is said to have restored the crypt of Mark on the Via 
Ardeatina, and of Felix, Abdon, and Sennen on the Via 
Portuensis. At this time also the visits of pilgrims, to 
whose itineraries, or guidebooks, we are indebted for so 
much knowledge of the topography of suburban cemeteries, 
come to an end. The best itineraries are those of Einsiedeln, 
Salzburg, Wurzburg, and William of Malmesbury ; and 
the list of the oils from the lamps burning before the tombs 
of martyrs, which were collected by John, abbot of Monza, 
at the request of queen Theodolinda. The pilgrims left 
many records of their visits scratched on the walls of the 
sanctuaries ; and to these graffiti also we are indebted for 
much information, since they contain formulas of devotion 
addressed to the saint of the place. They are very interest- 
ing in their simplicity of thought and diction, as are gen- 
erally the memoirs of early pilgrims and pilgrimages. I 
shall mention one, discovered not many years ago in the 


cemetery of Mustiola at Chiusi. It is a plain tombstone, 
inscribed with the words : 


"Here is buried a pilgrim from Thrace, whose name is 
known only to God." The tale is simple and touching. A 
pilgrim on his way to Rome, or back to his country, was 
overtaken by death at Chiusi, before he could make himself 
known to those who had come to his help. They could 
only suppose he had come from Thrace, the country of 
the Cicones, possibly from the language he spoke, or from 
the costume he wore. 

On May 31, 1578, a workman, while digging a sandpit 
in the vineyard of Bartolomeo Sanchez at the second mile- 
stone of the Via Salaria, came upon a Christian cemetery 
containing frescoes, sarcophagi, and inscriptions. This un- 
expected discovery created a great sensation, 1 and the re- 
port was circulated that an underground city had been found. 
The leading men of the age hastened to the spot ; among 
them Baronius, who speaks of these wondrous crypts three 
or four times in his annals. 2 It seems that the network of 
galleries, crossing one another at various angles, the sky- 
lights, the wells, the symmetry of the cubiculi and arcosolia, 
the number of loculi with which the sides of the galleries 
were honeycombed, affected the imagination of visitors even 
more than the pictures, the sarcophagi, and the epitaphs. 
The subjects of the frescoes were so varied as to contain 
almost the whole cycle of early Christian symbolism. There 
were the Good Shepherd and the Praying Soul, Noah and the 

1 The attention of learned men had been directed towards Christian under- 
ground Rome just ten years before this event, by the publication of Panvinio's 
pamphlet De coemeteriis urbis R&mce, 1566. 

a Ad arm. 575; 130, 226. 


ark, Daniel and the lions, Moses striking the rock, the story 
of Jonah, the sacrifice of Isaac, the three men in the fiery 
furnace, the resurrection of Lazarus, etc. The bas-reliefs of 
the marble coffins represented Christian love-feasts and pas- 
toral scenes. The epitaphs contained simply names, except 
one, which was raised by a girl " to her sweet nurse Paulina, 
who dwells in Christ among the blessed." These pious 
memorials of the primitive church led the learned visitors to 
investigate their meaning and value, as well as the history 
and name of those mysterious labyrinths. The origin of 
Christian archaeology, therefore, really dates from May 1, 
1578. Antonio Bosio, the Columbus of subterranean Rome, 
was but three years old at that time, but he seems to have 
developed his marvellous instinct on the strength of what 
he saw in the Vigna Sanchez in his boyhood. The crypts, 
however, had but a short life : the quarry-men damaged and 
robbed them to such an extent that, when Bosio began his 
career in 1593, every trace of them had disappeared. They 
have never been found since. We can only point out 
to the lover of these studies the site of the Vigna Sanchez. 
It is marked by a monumental gate, on the right side of the 
Via Salaria, crowned by the well-known coat-of-arms of the 
della Rovere family, to whom the property was sold towards 
the end of the sixteenth century. The gate is a little more 
than a mile from the Porta Salaria. 

From that time to the first quarter of the present century, 
we have to tell the same long tale of destruction. And who 
were responsible for this wholesale pillage ? The very men 
Aringhi, Boldetti, Marangoni, Bottari who devoted 
their lives, energies and talents to the study of the cata- 
combs, and to whom we are indebted for many standard 
works on Christian archaeology. Such was the spirit of the 
age. Whether an historical inscription came out of one 


cemetery or another did not matter to them ; the topograph- 
ical importance of discoveries was not appreciated. Written 
or engraved memorials were sought, not for the sake of the 
history of the place to which they belonged, but to orna- 
ment houses, museums, villas, churches and monasteries. In 
1863, de Rossi found a portion of the Cemetery of Callixtus, 
near the tombs of the Popes, in incredible confusion and 
disorder : loculi ransacked, their contents stolen, their in- 
scriptions broken and scattered far and wide, and the bones 
themselves taken out of their graves. The perpetrators of 
the outrage had taken care to leave their names written in 
charcoal or with the smoke of tallow candles ; they were 
men employed by Boldetti in his explorations of the cata- 
combs, between 1713 and 1717. Some of the tombstones 
were removed by him to S. Maria in Trastevere, and inserted 
in the floor of the nave. Benedict XIV. took away the 
best, and placed them in the Vatican Library. They have 
now migrated again to the Museo Epigrafico of the Lateran 
Palace. Those left in the floor of S. Maria in Trastevere 
were removed to the vestibule of the church in 1865. 

In 1714, some beautiful paintings of the first century 
were discovered in the crypt of the Flavian family (Domitilla) 
at Torre Marancia. They were examined by well-known 
archa3ologists and churchmen, whose names are scratched 
or written on the walls : Boldetti, Marangoni, Bottari, Leo- 
nardo da Porto Maurizio, and G. B. de Rossi (the last two 
since canonized by the Church), and by hundreds of priests, 
nuns, missionaries, and pilgrims. No mention is made of 
this beautiful discovery in contemporary books ; but an at- 
tempt was made to steal the frescoes, which resulted, as 
usual, in their total destruction. 1 The catacombs owe their 
sad fate to the riches which they contained. In times of 

1 See Bullettino di archeologia cristiana, 1865, p. 36. 


persecution, when the fossores were pressed by too much 
work and memorial tablets could not be secured in time, it was 
customary for the survivors to mark the graves of the dear 
ones either with a symbol, a word, or a date scratched in 
the fresh cement; or with some object of identification, 
such as glass cups, medallions, cameos, intaglios, objects cut 
in rock crystal, coral, etc. If the work of exploration has 
been carried on actively in the last three centuries, it is on 
account of the rich harvest which searching parties were 
sure to reap whenever they chanced to come across a cata- 
comb or part of a catacomb, yet unexplored, with these 
signs of recognition untouched. 

The best works of the glyptic art, the rarest gems, coins, 
and medallions of European cabinets have come to light in 
this way. Pietro Sante Bartoli, who chronicled the dis- 
coveries made in Rome in the second half of the seventeenth 
century, speaks several times of treasure-trove in catacombs : 1 

"In a Christian cemetery discovered outside the Porta 
Portese, in the vineyard of a priest named degli Effetti, 
many relics of martyrs have been found, a beautiful set of 
the rarest medallions (beUissima serie di medaglioni raris- 
simi\ works in metal and crystal, engraved stones, jewels, 
and other curios and interesting objects, many of which 
were sold by the workmen at low prices." And again : 
" The opening of a catacomb was discovered by accident 
under the Casaletto of Pius V., outside the Porta S. Pan- 
crazio. Although the crypt had never been entered, and 
promised to be very rich, no excavations were attempted, 
owing to the dangerous condition of the rock. One object 
only was extracted from the ruinous cavern ; a polychrome 
cameo of marvellous beauty (di meravigliosa beUezza) rep- 
resenting a Bacchanalian. The stone measured sixteen 

1 See Fea : Miscellanea, vol. i., pp. 238, 245, etc. 


inches in bngth by ten in width. It was given to car- 
dinal Massimi." 

The number of catacombs has been greatly exaggerated. 
Panvinius and Baronius stated it as forty-three; Aringhi 
and his followers raised this number to sixty. De Rossi, 
however, in vol. i., p. 206, of the " Roma sotterranea " proves 
that the number of catacombs excavated during the first 
three centuries, within a radius of three miles from the 
walls of Servius Tullius, is but twenty-six ; besides eleven 
of much less importance, and five which were excavated 
after the Peace of Constantine. 

It would be impossible to give even a summary descrip- 
tion of these forty-two cemeteries, within the limits of the 
present chapter. De Rossi's account of Lucina's crypts in 
the Cemetery of Callixtus occupies one hundred and thirty- 
two folio pages, and has required thirty-five plates of illus- 
tration. I must confine myself to the mention of the few 
discoveries, connected with the history and topography of 
underground Rome, which have come within my personal 
experience, or which I have had occasion to study. 

THE CATACOMBS OF GENEROSA. In 1867, while watch- 
ing with my friend commendatore Visconti (the present 
director of the Vatican Museum) the excavations of the 
Sacred Grove of the Arvales, on the Via Campana, five 
miles outside the Porta Portese, I witnessed for the first 
time the discovery of a catacomb. The experience could 
not have been more pleasant, nor the history of the first 
occupants of these crypts more interesting. 

In the persecution of Diocletian two brothers, Simplicius 
and Faustinus, were tortured and put to death for their 

1 It is now in the Vatican Library. A good engraving is to be found in 
Buonarroti's Osservazioni sui medaglioni, p. 497. 


faith, and their bodies were thrown into the Tiber from the 
bridge of ^Emilias Lepidus. The stream carried them to a 
considerable distance, and their young sister Beatrix, who 
was anxiously watching the banks of the river for the re- 
covery of their dear remains, discovered them lying in the 
shallows of la Magliana, near the grove of the Arvales. She 
buried them in a small Christian cemeterv which a certain 


Generosa had excavated close by, under the boundary line 
of the grove itself. Beatrix, left alone in the world, found 
shelter in the house of one of the Lucinas ; but the perse- 
cutors, to whom her pious action had evidently been re- 
ported, discovered her retreat, and killed her by suffocation, 
seven months after the execution of Sirnplicius and Faus- 
tinus. Lucina laid her to rest in the same cemetery of 
Generosa; by the side of her brothers. This touching story 
is related in contemporary documents. 

Pope Damasus, who in his younger days had been notary 
and stenographer of the church of Rome, and was ac- 
quainted with every detail of the last persecution, raised a 
small oratory to the memory of the three martyrs, and 
sanctified the ground which for eleven centuries had been 
the seat of the worship of the Dea Dia. The chapel lasted 
until the pontificate of Leo II., when it became evident that 
the only way of saving the remains of Beatrix, Simplicius, 
and Faustinus from profanation and robbery, was to remove 
them from a place so conspicuous for many miles around, 
and directly in the path of pirates and invaders from the 
sea, and to place them under the protection of the city 
walls. The translation took place in 682 ; the bodies were 
removed to the church of Santa Biviana, or the Bibiana, on 
the Esquiline, and placed in a sarcophagus, with the record : 
"Here lie in peace Simplicius and Faustinus, martyrs, 
drowned in the Tiber and buried in the cemetery of Gene- 



rosa, above the landing-place called ad Sextum Philippi." 
Sarcophagus and inscription are still in existence. The 
discovery of the oratory of Pope Damasus and the ceme- 
tery of Generosa took place, as already stated, in the 
spring of 1867, when a fragment of the architrave of 
the altar was found in front of the apse, inscribed with the 

names, STINO VIATRICI, engraved in the best 

Damasian calligraphy. The spelling of the second name 
deserves attention, because it is certainly intentional, as 
Damasus and his engraver Furius Dionysius Philocalus are 

distinguished for absolute epi- 
graphic correctness. Viatrix, 
the feminine of Viator, is al- 
together different from Bea- 
trix, and has its own Christian 
meaning, as an allusion to the 
eventful journey of human 
life. Must we take the word 
Beatrix as a new form, more 
or less connected with the ad- 
jective beatus, or as a corrup- 
tion of the genuine name ? 
No doubt it is a corruption, 
as the oldest martyrologies 
and liturgies have the gen- 
uine spelling. The substitu- 
tion of the B instead of the 
V took place in the eighth or 
ninth century, and appears 
Sancta Viatrix. for the first time in the Codex 

of Berne. The grammarian 

who wrote it was evidently of the opinion that Viatrix 
was not the right spelling ; and so the true and beautiful 


name of the sister of Faustinus and Simplicius became 

The accompanying illustration represents the portrait of 
Viatrix discovered in the Catacomb of Geiierosa in the 
spring of 1868. 

Marancia, at the crossing of the Via Ardeatina and the 

* o 

Via delle Sette Chiese, is familiar to archaeologists on ac- 
count of the successful excavations which the duchess of 
Chablais made there in the spring of the years 1817 and 
1822. Bartolomeo Borghesi, who first visited them in 
April, 1817, describes the remains of a noble villa of the 
first century, with mosaic pavements, fountains, statuary, 
candelabra, and frescos. The pictures of Pasiphae, Canace, 
Phaedra, Myrrha, and Scylla, which are now in the Cabinet 
of the Aldobrandini Marriage, in the Vatican Library, were 
discovered in one of the bedrooms of the villa. Other 
works of art, now exhibited in the third compartment of 
the Galleria dei Candelabri, were found in the peristyle. 
An exact description of these discoveries, with maps and 
illustrations, is given by Marchese Biondi in a volume 
called "Monumenti Amaranziani," published in Rome in 

The Villa Amaranthiana, from which the modern name 
of Torre Marancia is derived, belonged to two ladies, one 
of imperial descent, Flavia Domitilla, a relative of Domitian 
and Titus, the other of patrician birth, Munatia Procula, the 
daughter of Marcus. Domitilla's name appears twice in docu- 
ments attesting her ownership of the ground ; the first is 
tHe grant of a sepulchral area, measuring thirty-five feet by 
forty, to Sergius Cornelius Julianus ex indulyentia Flavice 
Domitillce ; the other mentions the construction of another 


tomb, Flavice Domitlllce dim Vespasiani neptis beneficio. 1 
These concessions refer to burial-plots above ground, on the 
Via Ardeatina. Much more important was the permission 
given by Domitilla for the excavation of a catacomb in the 
service of the Church, which had just been established in 
Rome by the apostles. The catacomb consisted originally 
of two sections ; one for the use of those members of the 
imperial Flavian family who had been converted to the gos- 
pel, and one for common use. I have already given a 
brief account of the first (see p. 10). The entrance to the 
crypts was built in a conspicuous place, under the safeguard 
of the law which guaranteed the inviolability of private 
tombs. The place can still be visited. On each side of 
the entrance are apartments for the celebration of anni- 
versary banquets, the d/aTtcu or love-feasts of the early 
Church. Those on the left are decorated in the so-called 
Pompeian style, with birds and festoons on a red ground. 
Here is the well, the drinking-fountain, the washing-trough, 
and the wardrobe. On the opposite side is the schola, or 
banqueting-room, with benches on three sides. There is 
no doubt that the builders and owners of these crypts were 
Christians ; because the graves within were arranged for 
the interment of bodies, not for cremation ; that is, for 
sarcophagi and coffins, not for cinerary urns; and, as I 
stated at the beginning of the previous chapter, the pagans 
of the first century, and of the first half of the second, were 
never interred. The Domitilla after whom the catacombs 
were named was a niece of Vespasian, Divi Vespasiani 
neptis. The reader will remember that in chapter i. I 
quoted Xiphilinus as saying that in the year 95 some mem- 
bers of the imperial family were condemned by Domitian 
on the charge of atheism, together with other leading per- 

1 Historiar., iii. 65. 


sonages, who had adopted " the customs and persuasion of 
the Jews," an expression which means the Christian faith. 
Among those condemned he mentions Clemens and Domi- 
tilla, whose genealogy is still subject to some uncertainty. 

A tombstone discovered in 1741, by Marangoni, in these 
very catacombs, mentions two names, Flavius Sabinus and 
Flavia Titiana. They are descendants, perhaps grandchil- 
dren, of Flavius Sabinus, the brother of Vespasian. Sabi- 
nus was prefect of Rome during the persecution of Nero ; 
but Tacitus 1 describes him as a gentle man, who hated 
violence (mitem virum abhorrentem a sanguine et ccedibus). 
His second son, Titus Flavius Clemens, consul A. D. 82, 
was executed in 95 on account of his Christian faith ; and 
Flavia Domitilla, his daughter-in-law, was banished for the 
same cause to the island Pandataria. There is a record of 
the banishment of another Flavia Domitilla to the island of 
Pontia ; but her genealogy and relationship with the former 
have not been yet clearly established. Some writers, how- 
ever, have identified her with the niece of Vespasian, men- 
tioned in the inscription referred to above, as owner of the 
villa of Torre Marancia and founder of the catacombs. 
The small island, where she spent many years in solitary 
confinement, is described by S. Jerome as one of the lead- 
ing places of pilgrimage in the fourth century of our era. 

The " Acta Martyrum " state that Flavia Domitilla, niece 
of Flavius Clemens, was buried at Terracina, with her at- 
tendants, Theodora and Euphrosyne; and that her body- 
servants, or cubicularii, Nereus and Achilleus, who were 
executed for the same reason, were laid to rest in the crypts 
of the Villa Amaranthiana, half a mile from Rome, near 
the tomb of Petronilla, the so-called daughter of S. Peter. 
In the early itineraries the place is also indicated as the 

1 Histories, iii. 65. 



" cemetery of Domitilla, Nereus, and Achilleus, near Santa 
Petronilla." Bosio discovered it towards the end of the six- 
teenth century, and mistook it for the Cemetery of Callixtus. 
The discoveries made in 1873 leave no doubt as to its iden- 
tification with the famous burial-place of the Flavians ; they 
brought to light, not a crypt of ordinary dimensions, but a 
basilica equal in size to the one dedicated to S. Lorenzo by 

Basilica of Nereus, Achilleus and Petrouilla. 

The pavement of the basilica is sunk to the level of the 
second floor of the catacombs, in order that the graves of 
Nereus, Achilleus, and Petronilla could be enclosed in the 
altar, without being raised, or touched at all. The body of 

the church is divided into nave and aisles by two rows of 


columns, mostly of cipollino, some of which were stolen in 
1871 by the farmer ; the others were found in 1876 lying 
on the floor, in parallel lines from northeast to southwest, 
as if they had been overthrown by an earthquake. 



A fragment of one of the four columns which supported 
the ciborium above the high altar has been found in the 
apse. This fragment contains a bas-relief representing the 
execution of a martyr. The young man is tied to a stake, 
which is surmounted by a cross-beam, like a T, the true 
shape of the patibulum cruciforme. A soldier, dressed in 
a tunic and mantle, seizes 
the prisoner with the right 
hand, and stabs him in the 
neck with the left. The 
weapon used is not a lictor's 
axe, nor the sword of a 
legionary, but a sort of cut- 
lass, which would be more 
likely to cut the throat than 
to sever the head from the 
body. The cross is crowned 
by a triumphal wreath, as a 
symbol of the immortal re- 
compense which awaits the 
confessor of the Faith. The 
historical value of this rare 
sculpture is determined by 
the name, ACILLEVS, en- 
graved above it. 

The character of the let- ^ ^^ of Adlleus 

ters and the style of the 

bas-relief are those of the second half of the fourth cen- 
tury. Of the sister column, with the name and martyrdom 
of NEREVS, only a small bit has been found. Another 
monument of equal value is a broken slab containing, in 
the first line, the letters RVM ; in the second, the let- 
ters ORVM; and below these, the cross-shaped anchor, 



the mysterious but certain emblem of Christian hope. As 
the position of the symbol determines the middle point of 
the inscription, it is easy to reconstruct the whole text, by 
a careful calculation of the size of each letter : 




" the tomb of the Flavian family," namely, of those relatives 
of Domitilla who had embraced the Christian faith. 

Under the pavement of the nave, aisles, and presbytery, 
are numberless graves, some of which belong to the orig- 
inal catacombs, before they were cut and disarranged by 
the building of the basilica; others are built in accord- 
ance with the architectural lines of the basilica itself. A 
grave belonging to the first series, that is, to a gallery of 
the catacombs which had been blocked by the foundations 
of the left aisle, bears the date of the year 390 ; while a 
sarcophagus placed at the foot of the altar is dated Mon- 
day, May 12, 395. It is evident, therefore, that the basilica 
was built between 390 and 395, during the pontificate of 

No memorial of Petronilla, the third saint for whom the 
building was named, has been found within the sacred en- 
closure, a fact not wholly unexpected, because the coffin in 
which her remains were placed is known to have been re- 
moved to the Vatican by Paul I. (755-756), at the request 
of the king of France. In November, 1875, a cubiculuni 
was found at the back of the apse, connected with it by a 
corridor which opens near the episcopal chair. The walls 



of this passage are covered with graffiti and other records of 
pilgrims. The cubiculum contains two graves : one empty, 
in the arcosolium, the place of honor ; the other, in front of 
it, of a much later date. The front of the arcosolium is 

Petronilla and Veneranda. 

closed by a wall, on the surface of which is an interesting 
fresco, which is here reproduced. 

The younger figure, on the right, is Petronilla Martyr ; 
the elder is a matron named Veneranda, buried January 7 



(DEPosita VI. IDVS. IANV ARIAS), in the sarcophagus 
below the picture. There is no doubt that Petronilla was 
buried in close proximity to this cubiculum. The story of 
her relationship to S. Peter has no foundation whatever ; it 
rests on an etymological mistake, by which the name Petro- 
nilla is treated as a diminutive of Petrus, as is Plautilla of 
Plautius or Plautia, and Domitilla of Domitius or Domitia. 
Petrus is not a Latin name; it came into use with the 
spreading of the gospel, and only in rare and exceptional 
cases. The young martyr was named after a member of 
the same Flavian family to which this cemetery belonged, 
Titus Flavius Petron, an uncle of Vespasian. Her kinship 
with the apostle must consequently be taken in a spiritual 

Towards the end of 1881 another remarkable discovery 
took place in these catacombs : that of a cubiculum which 
in style of decoration is unique. It looks more like the 
room of a Pompeian house than a Christian crypt. Its 
architectural paintings with groups of frail columns sup- 
porting fantastic friezes, and enclosing pastoral landscapes, 
might be compared to the frescoes of the Golden House of 
Nero, or those of the house of Germanicus on the Palatine ; 
but they find no parallel in " subterranean Rome." 

The name of the owner of this conspicuous tomb is en- 
graved above the arcosolium : AMPLIATI. The size and 
the beauty of the letters, the peculiarity of a single cogno- 
men in a possessive case, the fact that a man of inferior con- 
dition l should own such a tomb ; that at a later period, a 
staircase had been cut through the rock, to provide a' direct 
communication between the Via Ardeatina and the tomb, 
for the accommodation of pilgrims ; the care used to keep 

1 The name Ampliatus belongs to servants and freedmen ; it was never used 
by men of rank, whether pagans or Christians. 


the tomb in good order, as shown by later restorations, 
all these circumstances make us believe that Ampliatus was 
a prominent leader of our early Christian community. 

Such being the case, the mind runs at once to the para- 
graph of S. Paul's Epistle to the Romans (xvi. 8) : " Salute 
Ampliatus my beloved in the Lord," and one feels inclined 
to kneel before the tomb of the dear friend of the apostle. 
However, when discoveries of this kind happen, it is wise to 
proceed with caution, and examine every detail from a scep- 
tical point of view. Doubtless the cubiculum of Ampliatus 
was made and painted in the first century of our era. The 
type of the letters engraved above the tomb is peculiar to 
painted or written inscriptions of the beginning of the sec- 
ond century. It is possible, therefore, that the name was 
at first painted on the white plaster, and engraved on mar- 
ble many years after the deposition of Ampliatus. As re- 
gards Ampliatus himself, it is true that according to Greek 
tradition he died when Bishop of Mcesia, 1 but the tradition 
is derived from an apocryphal source. There are those 
who doubt whether all the salutations contained in S. Paul's 
epistle are really addressed to the faithful residing in Rome 
and belonging to the Roman community. 2 Another diffi- 
culty arises from the fact that in the same cubiculum a 
tombstone has been found, inserted in the wall above 
the arcosolium, between two painted peacocks, with this 
inscription : " Aurelius Ampliatus and his son Gordianus 
have placed this memorial to Aurelia Bonifatia, wife and 
mother incomparable, and truly chaste, who lived 25 years, 
2 months, 4 days, and 2 hours." Although the name 
Aurelius is not uncommon on tombstones of the first cen- 
tury in this very Cemetery of Domitilla, there is no doubt 

1 Baronius ad Martyr. 31 October. 

2 See Kenan's St. Paul, Ixvii. 


that the tablet of Aurelia Bonifatia belongs to a later 
period. The name Bonif atius derived from bonum fatum, 
not from bonum facer e as commonly believed did not 
come into use before the middle of the second century. 
At all events, Ampliatus, husband of Bonifatia and father 
of Gordianus, may be the son, grandson, or even a later 
descendant of the man in whose memory the cubiculum was 
originally built. 

Shall we recognize in this man the friend of S. Paul ? I 
do not think the question can as yet be answered with cer- 
tainty. Further excavations in the galleries radiating from 
the crypt may disclose fresh particulars, and supply more 
conclusive evidence. 

The discoveries of which a summary description has here 
been given deserve a place of honor in the comments to 
Suetonius' " Lives of the Emperors." The exploration of 
underground Rome must be greeted with pleasure, not only 
by the pious believers in Christ and his martyrs, but also 
by agnostic students of classical history. A tombstone, 
which on one side is inscribed with the records of the vic- 
tories gained by the imperial legions, on the other with the 
simple and humble name of a Christian who has given his 
life for his faith, is a monument worthy the consideration 
of all thoughtful men. Christian archaeology has an inti- 
mate and indissoluble connection with classical studies, and 
there is no discovery referring to the first century of Chris- 
tianity which does not throw new and often unexpected 
light on general history, art, and science. Those made at 
Torre Marancia in 1875 illustrate the history of Rome and 
the Campagna, after the fall of the empire. In the niche 
where the episcopal chair was placed, behind the high 
altar, in the middle of the apse, a rough hand has 
sketched the figure of a priest, dressed in a casula, in the 


act of preaching from his seat. This sketch reminds us of 
Gregory the Great, when in this very cemetery of Nereus 
and Achilleus, in this very apse, he read one of his homilies 
from this episcopal chair, deploring to the panic-stricken 
congregation the state of the city, the queen of the world, 
desolated by famine, by pestilence, and by the Lombards, 
who at that very , moment were burning and plundering 
the villas and farms of the surrounding Campagna. 

CEMETERY AD CATACUMBAS. 1 The cemetery near the 
church of S. Sebastiano was originally called in an indefinite 
way cimiterium ad catacumbas. The etymology of the 
name is uncertain. De Rossi suggests the roots cata, a 
Graeco-Latin preposition of the decadence, signifying 
"near," and cumba, a resting-place. The word would 
therefore mean apud accubitoria, " near the resting-places," 
an allusion to the many tombs which surrounded the old 
crypt above and below ground. This crypt dates from 
apostolic times, or, at all events, from a period much earlier 
than the martyrdom of Sebastian, the Christian officer 
whose name it now bears. 

The great interest of the cemetery is derived from the 
shelter which the bodies of the apostles are said to have had 
in its recesses during the fiercest times of persecution. The 
temporary transferment of the remains of SS. Peter and 
Paul, from their graves on the Via Cornelia and the Via 

1 Orazio Marucchi : Di un ipogeo scoperto nel cimitero di S. Sebastiano. Roma, 
1879 ; Un antico busto del Salvatore, etc., in the Melanges de I'Ecole francaise, 
1888, p. 403. Pietro d' Achille : 11 sepolcro di S. Pietro. Roma, 1867. Gio- 
vanni B. Lugari : Le catacombe ossia il sepolcro apostolico dell' Appia. Roma, 
1888. De Rossi : Roma sotterranea crisliana, vol. iii., p. 427 ; // sepolcro degli 
Uranii cristiani a S. Sebastiano, in the Bulle.ttino di archeologia cristiana, 1886, 
p. 24. Pietro Marchi : Monumenti primitivi dette arti cristiane, p. 212, tav. 


Ostiensis, to the catacombs, is not a mere tradition. It is 
described by Pope Damasus in a metric inscription published 
by de Rossi, 1 and by Pope Gregory in an epistle to the 
empress Constantina, no. 30 of book iv. A curious entry 
in the calendar called Bucherianum, from its first editor, 
seems to point to a double transferment. The entry is dated 
June 29, A. D. 258 : 

Tertio Kalendas Julias, Tusco et Basso consulibus, 
Petri in Vaticano, Pauli in via Ostiensis utriusque in 

Since, in early calendars, the date is only appended in 
case of transferment of remains, archaeologists have sug- 
gested the theory that the bodies of the apostles may pos- 
sibly have found shelter in the catacombs of the Appian 
Way a second time, during the persecution of Valerian 
(A. D. 258). Marchi asserts that the evidences of a double 
concealment are still to be found in the frescoes of the crypt, 
some of which belong to the first, others to the third, cen- 
tury ; but this hardly seems to be the case. I lowered my- 
self into the hiding-place on February 23 of the present 
year, and, after careful examination, have come to the con- 
clusion that its paintings are by one hand and of one epoch, 
the epoch of Damasus. However, whether they were laid 
there once or twice, its temporary connection with the apos- 
tles made the " locus ad catacumbas " one of the great sub- 
urban sanctuaries. The cubic ulum, called Platonia, was 
decorated by Damasus with marble incrustations. Accord- 
ing to the Acts of S. Sebastian (January 20) he expressed 
the wish to be buried " ad catacumbas, at the entrance of 
the crypt, near the memorial of the apostles." These events 
were represented in the frescoes of the old portico of S. 
Peter's, destroyed in 1606-1607 by Paul V. One of them 

1 Inscriptiones Christiance, vol. ii. 32, 77. 


showed the bodies of the apostles, bandaged like mummies, 
being lowered into the place of concealment ; the other, 
Lucina and Cornelius bringing back the bodies to their 
original graves in the Via Cornelia and the Via Ostiensis. 

A remarkable monument was discovered in the crypt four 
years ago. It is a marble bust, or rather the fragment of a 
bust, of the Redeemer, with locks of hair descending on each 
shoulder, 1 a work of the fourth century. 

It is well known that the oldest representations of the 
Redeemer are purely ideal. He appears as a young man, 
with no beard, his hair arranged in the Roman style, wear- 
ing a short tunic, and showing the amiable countenance of 
the Good Shepherd. I give here a characteristic specimen of 
this type, a statue of the first quarter of the third century, 
now in the Lateran Museum. 2 Whether performing one of 
the miracles which prove his divinity, or teaching the new 
doctrine to the disciples, the type never varies. It is evident 
that the Christian painters or sculptors of the first three cen- 
turies, in drawing or modelling the head of Jesus, had no 
intention of making a likeness, but only a conventional type, 
noble and classic, and suggestive of the eternal youth of the 
Word. A new tendency appears in Christian art towards 
the middle of the fourth century, the attempt to reproduce 
the genuine portrait of Christ, or what was regarded as such 
by the Orientals. The change was a consequence of the 
peace and freedom given to the Church, and of the cessation 
of that overbearing contempt in which the Gentiles had held 

1 Represented in plate ix. of the Melanges de VEcole franfaise de Rcnne, 

2 This is also illustrated by Martigny : Dictionnaire, 2d ed. p. 586. Kraus : 
Realencyclopadie, ii. p. 580. Northcote and Brownlow : Roma Sotterranea. 
London, 1879. (ii. p. 29.) Roller : Catacombes, planche i., xl. n. 2. Gar- 
rucci : Arte cristiana, tav. 428, 5. Duchesne : Bullettino critique, De'eembre, 
1882, p. 288. De Rossi : Bullettino comunale, 1889, p. 131, tav. v., vi. 



a religion which they believed to be that of the vile follow- 
ers of a crucified Jew. It had been considered prudent, at 
the outset, to present the Redeemer to the neophytes, who 
were not yet entirely free from pagan ideas, in a type which 
was familiar and pleasing to the Roman eye, rather than 
with the characteristics of a despised race. The triumph 
of the Church made these precautions unnecessary, and 
then arose the desire of exhibiting a truer portraiture of 
Christ. The first addition to the conventional type was that 
of the beard, and probably of the hair parted in the middle. 
Ancient writers have left but little information about the 
personal appearance of the Saviour ; and the vagueness of 
their accounts proves the absence of a type which was uni- 
versally recognized as authentic. Many documents concern- 
ing this subject must be rejected as forgeries of a later age. 
Such is the pretended letter of Lentulus, governor of Juda3a, 
to the Senate, describing the appearance of Jesus. In the 

same way we should regard the 
images attributed to Nicodemus 
and Luke, and those called achei- 
ropitce (not painted by human 
hands), like the famous one of 
the chapel of the Sancta Sancto- 
rum, 1 the first historical mention 
of which dates from A. D. 752, 
when Pope Stephen II. carried it 
in a procession from the Lateran 
to S. Maria Maggiore, to obtain divine protection against 

1 See : Giovanni Marangoni : Istoria dell' oratorio appellate Sancta Sancto- 
rum. Roma, 1747. Gaspare Bauibi : Memorie sacre della cappella di Sancta 
Sanctorum. Roma, 1775. Giuseppe Soresini : Dell' immagine del SS. Salvatore 
ad Sancta Sanctorum. Roma, 1675. Benedetto Millini : Oratorio di S. Lorenzo 
ad Sancta Sanctorum. Roma, 1616. Raffaele Garrucci : Storia delV arte cm- 
tiana, vol. i. p. 408. Robault de Fleury : Le Latran. 

The portrait head of Jesus in the 
Sancta Sanctorum. 



Aistulphus. Garrucci questions whether it may not be 
that of Camulianus, described by Gregory of Nyssa ; or a 
copy of the image alleged to have been sent by the Saviour 
himself to Abgar, king of Edessa, 1 with an autograph let- 
ter. Must we consider these and other portraits, like the 
" Volto Santo " in the Vatican, as fanciful as the old youth- 
ful Roman type of the Good Shepherd ? There can be no 
doubt that in some provinces of the East, like Palestine, 
Syria, and Phoenicia, the oral traditions about the personal 
appearance of the Saviour were kept for many generations. 
It is also probable that the tradition was confirmed by some 
work of art, like the celebrated group of Paneas (Banias). 
With regard to this, Eusebius says that the woman with the 
issue of blood, grateful to the Saviour for her cure (Mark v., 
25-34), caused a statue, representing Him in the act of 
performing the miracle, to be set up in front of her house ; 
that it still existed when he wrote, and was held in great 
veneration throughout Palestine and the whole East. Sozo- 
menos adds that Julian the Apostate substituted his own 
statue for it, but that the imperial image was struck by 
lightning. This excited the wrath of the pagans to such 
an extent that they destroyed the group of Christ and the 
Woman, which Julian had caused to be removed. Cassio- 
dorus, Rufinus, Kedrenos, and Malala, assert that the head 
was saved from destruction. It has been suggested that 
the group did not represent the woman at the feet of the 
Saviour, but a conquered province kneeling before the Ro- 
man emperor and addressing him as her Saviour (SflTHPI). 
But this explanation seems more ingenious than probable, 
because it implies that Christians, Eusebius included, had 
mistaken the portrait of a Roman conqueror for that of 

1 A pious but unfounded tradition identifies this picture of Edessa with the 
one preserved in Genoa, in the church of S. Bartolomeo degli Armeni. 


Christ, which would have been so different in type, dress, 
and attitude. At all events, the belief that the group of 
Banias was a genuine likeness was general in the fourth 
century. Eusebius contributed to make it known in the 
Western world ; and to this diffusion we probably owe the 
second type of the Saviour's physiognomy, the bearded face, 
the large impressive eyes, the hair parted in the middle, and 
falling in locks on the shoulders. 1 

To this type belongs the bust discovered four years ago 
in the " locus ad catacumbas." According to an ingenious 
hypothesis of Bottari, adopted by de Rossi, the Paneas 
group is represented on the Lateran sarcophagus, engraved 
by Roller in the second volume of his " Catacombs," plate 

THE CEMETERY OF CYRIACA. This, the principal ceme- 
tery of the Via Tiburtina, was excavated in the hill above 
the basilica of S. Lorenzo fuori le Mura. It is the one with 
which I have had most to do, because the building of the 
new Camposanto, together with the sinking of the foun- 
dations of the new tombs, has been the occasion of frequent 
discoveries. One of the characteristic features of Cyriaca's 
cemetery is the large number of military inscriptions from 
the praetorian camp which were used to close the graves, the 
name of the deceased Christian being engraved on the blank 
side of the slab. On December 23, 1876, a landslide of 
considerable extent took place along the southern face of the 

1 On the subject of the Paneas group see : Andre" Berate" : Note sur le 
groupe de Paneas, in Melanges de VEcole franfaise de Rome, 1885, p. 302. 
Raoul-Rochette : Discours sur les types imitqtifs qui constituent I'art du Christian- 
isme, 1834. Bayet : Recherches pour servir a Vhistoire de la peinture en Orient, 
p. 29. Orazio Marucchi : Di un busto del Salvatore, etc., in the Melanges, 
1888, p. 403. Eusebius: H. E. VII., 185, edition Teubner, p. 315. Gri- 
mouard de St. Laurent : Guide de Vart Chretien, ii. p. 215. 



rock in which the catacombs are excavated, in consequence of 
which many loculi, arcosolia, and painted cubicula were laid 
open. I happened to witness the accident, and was able to 
direct the exploration of the graves. Among the objects 
discovered, I remember a pair of silver earrings, a necklace 
of gold and emeralds, sixteen inches long, clay objects of va- 
rious kinds, gladiatorial and theatrical lamps, and nine Chris- 
tian tombstones. One of them was engraved on the back 

Landslip in the Cemetery of Cyriaca. 

of a slab from the praetorian camp, containing the roster of 
one hundred and fifty soldiers from the twelfth and four- 
teenth city cohorts (cohortes urbance}. Each individual has 
his praenomen, nomen, and cognomen, carefully indicated, 
together with the names of his father, tribe, and country. 
The men are grouped in companies, which are indicated by 
the name of their captains, such as the " company of Mar- 
cellus " or the " company of Tranquillinus," with the con- 
sular date of the year in which Marcellus and Tranquillinus 


were in command of that company. Another part of the 
same roster, engraved on a slab of the same marble and size, 
and containing many more names, was found a century and 
a half ago in the same place, and removed to the Vatican 

One of the tombs, discovered during the following 
January, seems to have belonged to a lady of rank. A 
gold necklace and a pair of opal earrings were found in the 
earth which filled the grave. Relatives or friends of the 
occupants of the cubiculum had written on the plaster 
words of affection and devotion, such as " Gaianus, live in 
Christ with Procula ; " " Semplicius, live in Christ." 

It is to be regretted that, in order to make room for the 
daily victims of death, the municipality of Rome should be 
obliged to turn out of their graves the faithful of the third 
and fourth centuries who were buried in the neighborhood 
of S. Lorenzo. In 1876 I witnessed the discovery of a 
section of the old cemetery at the foot of the hill of 
Cyriaca. The tombs were mostly sarcophagi, with reliefs, 
the subjects of which are taken from the Bible. One of 
them, carve,d in the rude but pathetic style of the fifth 
century, represents the crossing of the Red Sea, and the 
Egyptian hosts, led by Pharaoh, following closely on the 
Jews. The waves are closing over the persecutors, just as 
the last of the fugitives emerges safely on the land. The 
" column of fire " is represented, according to the Vitruvian 
rules, with base and capital; and the costumes of the 
warriors of the Nile are those of Roman gregarii, or 
privates, under Constantine. Another sarcophagus shows 
the Virgin Mary, with the infant Saviour in her arms, 
receiving the offering of the Eastern kings. A third repre- 
sents a sort of pageant of court dignitaries of one of the 
Valentinians. Besides these and many other pieces of 



sculpture seventy-two 
inscriptions or frag- 
ments of inscriptions 
were dug up, mostly 
from the pavement 
of a ruined chapel, 
one of the seven by 
which the basilica of 
S. Lorenzo was sur- 
rounded in ancient 

Another inscrip- 
tion discovered in Inscription from the tombstone of a dentist. 

1864, deserves attention on account of the instruments which 

are engraved upon it. It is 

ALEXANDER a f ra g ment f rom the **>*& of 

a dentist named Victorinus, 
or Celerinus, with the repre- 
sentation of the instruments 
he used in extracting teeth. 
Such representations are by 

no means rare on gravestones. The other two specimens 

reproduced here are also from 

the catacombs. Alexander was 

a dentist ; the unknown owner 

of the other slab was a general 

surgeon, yet the symbol of den- 
tistry occupies the prominent 

place in his display of tools. In 

my experience of Roman or 

Latin excavations, in which 

thousands of tombs have been 

brought to light, I have hardly ever met with a skull the 

Inscription from the grave of Alexander, 
a dentist. 

Surgeon's instruments ; relief on a 


teeth of which showed symptoms of. decay, or evidence of 
having been operated upon by a professional hand. Speci- 
mens of filling are even more rare than those of gold plat- 
ing. Of this latter process we have now a beautiful sample 
in a skull discovered in the excavations of Faleria, and ex- 
hibited in the Faliscan Museum at the Villa Giulia, outside 
the Porta del Popolo. The gold socket or plating of three 
molar teeth is still in excellent condition. And here I may 
recall the ancient law, mentioned by Cicero (De Leg. ii. 
24), which made it illegal to bury a body with gold, except 
such as had been used in fastening the teeth. 

Marcellinus). 1 To the left of the second milestone of the 
Via Labicana there was an imperial villa, named ad Ducts 
Lauros (the two laurels), where the empress Helena 
was buried by Constantine, and Valentinian III. was mur- 
dered when playing with other youths, in 455. Adjoining 
the tomb of the empress, which was described in chapter 
iv., pp. 197 sq., were two cemeteries, one above ground, 
belonging to the " Equites Singulares," or body guards ; 
the other, below. The latter was the largest of the Via 
Labicana, and was known in early Church annals under the 
same name as the imperial villa. In 188082 a third and 
deeper network of galleries was excavated for the sake of 
extracting the pozzolana, the beds of which support the 
tufa and the catacombs excavated in it. Some damage was 
done to the tombs, but the Italian proverb Non tutto il 
male viene per nuocere proved true once more on this occa- 
sion. The excavation of the catacombs,, which is generally 

1 See : Bossio : Roma sotterranea, p. 591, D. Bruder : Die heiligen Mar- 
tyren Marcellinus und Petrus. Mainz, 1878. De Rossi : Bullettino di archeo- 
logia cristiana. 1882, p. 111. Wilpert : Ein Cydus christologischer Gemalde 
aus der Katacombe der heiligen Petrus und Marcellinus. Freiburg, 1891. 


a difficult and costly work, and sometimes impossible, when 
the owner of the ground above them objects to this form 
of trespassing on his estate, here became an easy matter, 
the earth being simply thrown into the sandpits from the 
catacombs above. The discoveries made on this occasion, 
added to the descriptions and drawings left by former ex- 
plorers, give us a thorough knowledge of these labyrinths. 
The impression which they make at first is rather poor ; 
but this is due chiefly to the ravages committed by early 

The inscriptions are few and not particularly interesting, 
excepting one, which was discovered in 1873, and is written 
in excellent style : " Aurelius Theophilus, a citizen of Carrhae, 
a man of pure mind and great innocence, at the age of 
twenty-three has rendered his soul to God, his body to the 
earth." His native city, the Haran, or Charan of the Bible, 
where Abraham lived, is known in Church annals as one of 
the strongholds of paganism in Mesopotamia. When Julian 
the Apostate led the Roman armies against the Persians, in 
362, he halted for some time at Carrhae, to perform impious 
and cruel sacrifices in the sanctuary of Luno. A descrip- 
tion of the crime is given by Theodoretus in Book III. ch. 
xxvi. At that time Carrhse, in spite of its devotion to the 
old religion, had a bishop named Vitus, who died in 381, 
and was succeeded by Protogenes. According to Theodo- 
retus, he succeeded in " cultivating that wild field which 
had been covered with idolatrous thorns." Aurelius Theo- 
philus was probably a contemporary of these events, as the 
inscription on his tombstone belongs undoubtedly to the 
end of the fourth century. There are also a few inscriptions 
scratched on plaster, by pilgrims who visited the three his- 
torical crypts of Marcellinus and Peter, Gorgonius, and 
Tiburtius. To save devout visitors the trouble and danger 


of crossing the labyrinths, each of these crypts was made 
accessible directly from the ground above by means of a 
staircase. The graffiti are found mostly on the sides or 
at the foot of these staircases, or else on the door-posts of 
the crypts themselves. 

The historical and religious associations of this catacomb 
are summed up and illustrated in a beautiful picture repre- 
senting the Saviour with S. Paul on his right and S. Peter 
on his left : and, on a line below, the four martyrs who 
were buried in the cemetery, Gorgonius, Peter, Marcellinus, 
and Tiburtius, pointing with their right hands to the Divine 
Lamb on the mountain. The heads of the two apostles are 
particularly fine, and the shape of their beards most char- 
acteristic. This well-known fresco, preserved in cubiculum 
no. 25 of Bosio's plan, was discovered in 1851 by de Rossi, 
in a curious manner. Having obtained from padre Marchi 
permission to carry the excavations towards the cubiculum, 
and finding that the work proceeded too slowly for his im- 
patience, he crept on his hands and feet for fifty yards 
along the narrow gap between the ceiling of the galleries 
and the earth with which they were filled, and reached the 
cubiculum nearly suffocated. Here, by means of a skylight 
which was not obstructed by rubbish, he found that the 
place was used as a deposit for carrion, as the half-putrefied 
carcass of a bull was lying under the famous fresco. 

Many cubiculi were painted by one artist, whose power of 
invention was rather restricted. He has but two subjects : 
the story of Jonah, and the Symbolic Supper. Of this last 
there are four representations, all reproduced from the same 
pattern, of which I give an example. A family consisting 
of father, mother, and children, are sitting around a table, 
upon which the ?0r$ or fish is served ; the banquet is pre- 
sided over by two mystic figures, Irene or Peace on the left, 



Agape or Love on the right. The head of the family 
addresses Peace with these words : " Irene, da calda ! " and 
Love, " Agape, misce mi ! " The last words are easily under- 
stood : " Give me to drink," the verb mescere being still 
used in the same sense in Tuscany, where a wine-shop is 
sometimes called a mescita di vino. The meaning of the 

The Symbolic Supper. 

word calda is not certain. There is no doubt, as Botti- 
cher says, that the ancients had something to correspond to 
our tea : but the calda seems to have been more than an 
infusion ; apparently it was a mixture of hot water, wine, 
and drugs, that is, a sort of punch, which was drunk mostly 
in winter. 1 The names written in charcoal above the prin- 
cipal inscriptions in this illustration are those of Pomponio 
Leto and his academicians. 2 

Another artist distinguished himself in these catacombs, 

1 See Becker : Gallus, p. 4. 2 See Ancient Rome, p. 10. 


not from skill in design and color, but from the beautiful 
subjects chosen by him for the decoration of the walls and 
ceilings of three cubiculi, compositions which may be 
called " The Gospel Illustrated." They have been admi- 
rably described and reproduced by photographs and in out- 
line by monsignore Joseph Wilpert, in his book referred to 
in the note on page 354. The intuition of this learned 
man in detecting paintings which have been effaced by age, 
dampness, and smoke is fully appreciated by students of 
Christian archaeology : but on this occasion he accomplished 
a real tour de force. When, on December 19, I entered 
the cubiculum no. 54, in which the paintings are, and he 
began to point out to me outlines of figures and objects, I 
thought he was laboring under an optical delusion ; I could 
see nothing beyond a blackened and mouldy plaster surface. 
My eyes, however, soon became initiated to the new ex- 
perience, and able to read the lines of this curious palimp- 
sest. The dark spots soon grew into shape, and lovely 
groups, inspired by the purest Christian symbolism, appeared 
on the walls. There are thirteen pictures, representing the 
following-named subjects : the annunciation, the three magi 
following the star, (which is shaped like the monogram ^), 
their adoration at Bethlehem, the baptism of our Lord, the 
last judgment, the healing of the blind, the crippled, and 
the woman with the issue of blood, the woman of Samaria, 
the Good Shepherd (twice), the Orantes (twice). 

The catacombs of SS. Peter and MarceUinus have another 
attraction for students. Poor as they are in epitaphs and 
works of art, they contain hundreds of names of celebrated 
humanists, archaeologists, and artists who explored these 
depths in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, and made 
record of their visits. When one walks between two lines 
of graves, in the almost oppressive stillness of the cemetery, 


with no other company than one's thoughts, the names of 
Pomponius Letus and his academicians, of Bosio, Panvinio, 
Avanzini, Severano, Maraugoni, Marchi, and d'Agincourt, 
written in bold letters, give the lonely wanderer the im- 
pression of meeting living and dear friends ; and one won- 
ders at the great love which these pioneers of " humanism " 
must have had for antiquities, to have spent days and days, 
and to have held their conferences and banquets, in places 
like these. 

In chapter i., page 10, of " Ancient Rome," I mentioned 
Pomponio's Academy, and its visits to the crypts of Callix- 
tus. Since the publication of my book, the subject has 
been investigated again and illustrated by Giacomo Lom- 
broso l and de Rossi. 2 It appears that after the trial which 
the Academicians underwent at the time of Paul II., and 
their unexpected liberation from the Castle of S. Angelo, 
they decided to turn over a new leaf. From a fraternity 
which was pagan in manners and instincts, which had made 
itself conspicuous by the use of profane language, and by 
the celebration of profane meetings over the tombs of the 
martyrs, they became the " Societas literatorum S. Victoris 
et sociorum in Esquiliis," a literary society under the pat- 
ronage of S. Victor and his companion saints, namely, For- 
tunatus and Genesius. Their pontifex maximus became a 
president ; their sacerdos a priest, whose duty it was to say 
mass on certain anniversaries. The most important cele- 
bration fell, as before, on April 21, the birthday of Rome. 
We have a description by an eye-witness, Jacopo Volater- 
rano, of that which took place in 1483 : " On the Esqui- 

1 Giacomo Lombroso : GK aecademici nette catacombe, in the Archivio della 
societa romana di storia patria, 1889, p. 219. 

8 BuLlettino di archeologia cristiana, 1890, p. 81. See also : de Nolla : 
Melanges de VEcolefranfaise de Rome, 1866, p. 165. 



line, 1 near the house of Pornponius, the society of literary 
men has celebrated the birthday of Rome. Divine service 
was performed by Peter Demetrius of Lucca ; Paul Mars us 
delivered the oration. The dinner was served in the hall 
adjoining the chapel of S. Salvatore de Cornutis," etc. In 
1501, after the death of Pomponius, the anniversary meet- 
ings were held on the Capitol; the solemn mass was sung 
in the church of the Aracceli, while the banquet took place 
in the Palazzo dei Conservatori. The convivial feast of 
1501 was not a success. Burckhardt describes it as satis 
feriale et sine bono vino (commonplace and with no good 

* Was the conversion of the Academicians a sincere one ? 
We believe it was not ; they manifested under Sixtus V. the 
same feelings which had brought them to justice under 
Paul II. 

In the calendars of the Church of Rome only one name 
is registered on April 21, that of Pope Victor. His al- 
leged companions, Fortunatus and Genesius, were singled 
out of old, disused calendars of the church of Africa, un- 
known to the Latins. Why did the academicians select such 
enigmatic and obscure protectors ? The reason is evident. 
Genesius was chosen because his name suggested an allu- 
sion to the genesis (natalis) or birthday of Rome ; Victor 
and Fortunatus, likewise, were considered names of good 
omen, with a suggestion of the Victory and Fortune who 
presided over the destinies of ancient Rome. 

1 The house of Pomponius and the seat of the Academy was not on the Es- 
quiline, but on the Quirinal, on the area of the Baths of Constantine, opposite 
the gate of the Colonna Gardens. The mistake in the name of the hill must 
be attributed to Pomponius himself, who had written on the door of the 
the reform of the statutes, another sign, less classic in style, was put up : 


Under the protection of these alleged saints, Pomponius 
and his friends worshipped, and celebrated the birthday of 
Rome, and the goddesses connected with the city. 1 

This state of things did not wholly escape the attention 
of contemporary observers. One of them, Raffaele Vola- 
terrano, expressly says: "Pomponius Lsetus worshipped 
Romulus and kept the birthday of Rome ; the beginning of 
a campaign against religion (initium abolendcejidei)" 

The Roman academy found the means of keeping faith- 
ful to its traditions, and to the spirit of its institutions, in 
spite of the reform of its statutes. Victor, Fortunatus, 
Genesius, in whose honor divine service was performed on 
April 20, did not represent to the initiated the saints of the 
Church, but the fortunes of ancient Rome, its founder, the 
Palilice. Still, we are not yet able to discover whether all 
this was done simply out of love and admiration for the 
ancient world, under the influence of the Renaissance of 
classical studies ; or from hatred and contempt of Christian 
faith : initium abolendce fidei. 

1 The Temple of Fortune in Rome was dedicated on this very day. See 
Mommsen, in the Corprts inscriptionum latinarum, vol. i. p. 392. 




(See Chapter II., pp. 78-82 ) 










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For the names of individual arches, basilicas, catacombs, churches, forums, palaces, piazzas, 
statues, streets, temples, tombs, and villas, see the headings, Arch, Basilica, Catacombs, Churches, 

ACADEMY of Pomponio, 359. 

Achilleus, martyr, bas-relief representing 
his execution, 339 (cut). 

Acilii Glabriones. See Glabriones. 

.iErarium Saturni, 163. 

Agapas, 42, 336. 

Ager Fonteianus, 270. 

Agrippa, M., 79, 82, 99 ; edifices due to, 

Agrippina, fate of her pedestal once in the 
ustrinum, 183, 184 (cut) ; her death, 183. 

Aius Locutius, 72. 

Albanum, amphitheatre of, 6. 

Alexamenos, 12. 

Alexander VII., Pope, 36. 

Altars, ancient, 33 ; their usual form, 67. 
See also Arce. 

of Aius Locutius, 71, 72 (cut) ; of 

Dis and Proserpina, 73 ; its foundation, 
74 ; its discovery, 76 (cut) ; its shape and 
surroundings, 77 ; of Hercules, 59 ; 
Incendii Neroniani, 83 ; Maxima Her- 
culis, 69 ; of Mercurius Sobrius, 34 
(cut) ; Pacis Augustse, 82,83 (cut) ; 
Roma Quadrata, 70 ; of Vedjovis, at 
Bovillae, 68 ; of Verminus, 68. 

Amasis, King, sphinx of, 94 (cut). 

Ambrose, S., 43. 

Amphitheatre at Albanum, 6. 

Ampliatus, his tomb, 342 ; possibly the 
friend of S. Paul, 343. 

Anagni, basilica of, 25. 

Anastasius IV., Pope, his sarcophagus, 

Ancyra, Augusteum at, 173. 

Anisson, Charles d', 36. 

Annius, a maker of lamps, in Ostia, 17. 

Annona, 27. 

Antinous, statue of, 240, 241 (cut). 

Apollo, in Christian art, 25. 

Appian Way. See Via Appia. 

Aqueduct of Damasus, 121. 

Aquila and Prisca, 110 ; their house and 
oratory, 111, 126. 

Arae compitales, 33. See Altars. 

Arch of Claudius, 99; of Constantine, 
101 ; testimony of its inscription to the 
position of Christianity, 20 (plate) ; of 
Marcus Aurelius, panel, 90 (plate). 

Arco di S. Lazaro, 181. 

Argeorum sacraria, 33. 

Artemisium Nemorense, 59. 

Arx, 85. 

Athens, Acropolis, probable origin of the 
gold found here by Herodes Atticus, 

Atrium sutorium, 275. 

Atticus, Herodes, bibliography, 288 n. ; 
his father's discovery of riches, 288 ; 
his liberality and public spirit, 289 ; the 
buildings erected in memory of his 
wife, 290. 

Atticus, Pomponius, house of, 191. 

Atys, 27. 

Augustea, 173. 

Augustine, S., his pupil Licentins, 14 ; 
on eating and drinking in honor of 
martyrs, 43 ; on the celebration of S. 
Peter's day. 44. 

Augustus, Emperor, strenae calendaring 
offered to, 34 ; offerings in the temple 
of Concord, 54 ; his house, 71 n. ; cele- 
brates the Secular games, 79 ; dedicates 
an altar to Peace on the Campus Mar- 
tins, 82 ; death and funeral, 1(58 ; reso- 
lutions in the senate, 169 ; mausoleum, 
172 ; his Res gestce, 172 ; his army, 174 ; 
his liberalities, 175 ; public improve- 
ments in his time, 176 ; his mausoleum 
destroyed, 179 ; other members of the 
imperial family buried here, 182. 

Banqueting-halls, 42. 

Basilica, origin of its plan in that of the 
private house, 114 (cut) ; its form de- 
rived from the schola, 118. 

of Constantine, 162 ; Julia, 163 ; of 

Junius Bassus, 28 ; of Nereus, Achil- 
leus and Petronilla, 338 (cut). 

Bassus, Juuius, basilica of, 28. 



s. Pomponius, 192. 

Baths, in connection with Christian 
churches, 37 ; of Diocletian, 38, 48, 

Bayazid, his gift of the holy lance, 243. 

Beatrix, martyr, 333 ; the name corrupted 
from Viatrix, 334 (cut). 

Belloni, Paolo, 151. 

Benedict VII., Pope, tomb, 234. 

Benedict XII., Pope, 138. 

Benedict XIV., Pope, 37. 

Bernini, influence of his school, 250. 

Bideutalia, 106. 

Biga, in the Vatican. 27. 

Bologna, monumental crosses, 35. 

Boniface I., Pope, 319. 

Bonifatius, origin of the name, 344. 

Bosio, Ant., investigator of the Cata- 
combs, 329. 

Bovillse, altar to Vedjovis, 68. 

Bridge of Caligula, 101. 

Bruttius Prsesens, 10. 

Burial, rights of, accorded the Christians, 
119; more common than cremation in 
prehistoric times, 253 ; early burial in 
the trunks of trees, 254 ; clay coffins in 
the same form, 254 ; difficulties en- 
countered by the Christians, 308 : with- 
in the city walls, 325. 

Burial companies, 258. 

Byzantine princes, their images in Rome, 

Caecilia, S. , her tomb discovered by Pope 

Paschal I., 326. 

Caepio, Aulus Crispinius, his tomb, 267. 
Caesar, Caius, beloved by Augustus, 

Caesar, Julius, his offerings in the temple 

of Concord, 54. 
Caffarella, Valle della, 286. 
Calda, 357. 
Caligarii, 274. 
Caligula, his bridge, so-called, 101 ; places 

his mother's ashes in the mausoleum, 

Callixtus, death, 220. 

, Catacombs of. See Catacombs. 

Calpurnii, their tomb, 276 ; their history, 


Cambyses, conquest of Egypt, 94. 
Camillus, capture of Veii, 64. 
Campagna, 286 (plate). 
Campo dell' Augusta, 179. 
Campus Esquilinus, 256. 
Campus Martius, 74 ; early excavations 

in, 98. 
Candelabrum, in church of SS. Nereo ed 

Achilleo, 26 (cut); in Church of S. 

Paolo, 239 (cut). 
Canevari, Ant., 159. 
C/anova, his tomb of Clement XIII., 250. 

Capitoline games, 281. 

Capitoline Hill, 85 ; the western sum- 
mit, 86 (plate). 

Capitoline museum, 15, 42, 59, 70, 93, 
106, 190, 255, 290 n. See, also, dei Con- 
servatori, under Palaces. 

Capitolium. See Temple of Jupiter Opti- 
mus Maximus. 

Caracalla, 12. 

Carrhae, 355. 

Carthage, excitement against the Chris- 
tians in, 318. 

Castel S. Angelo, 234. 

Catacombs. Crypt of the Acilii Glabri- 
ones, 4 ; its devastation in the 17th 
cent. , 8 ; burial of Christian martyrs, 
119 ; injury occasioned by the build- 
ing of churches over the tombs of mar- 
tyrs, 122 ; preferred by the early 
Christians to open-air cemeteries, 308 ; 
their development in the 2d century, 
317 ; the names given them, 317 ; 
their secret entrances, 318; not habi- 
table, 319 ; their extent, 319 ; compared 
to the tombs of the kings at Thebes, 
321 ; their use declined in the 4th cen- 
tury, 321 ; pillaged by the Goths, 324 ; 
restored by Pope Vigilius, 325 ; un- 
mentioned by later Church annals, 327 ; 
discovered in 1578, 328 ; their whole- 
sale pillage, 329 ; the treasures found 
in them, 331 ; the number of the 
Catacombs, 332. 

of Callixtus, 50, 117, 216, 219, 330; 

ad Catacumbas or of S. Sebastiano, 
345 ; the bodies of SS. Peter and Paul 
concealed here, 346 ; of Cyriaca, 350 ; 

of Domitilla, 335 ; the Flavian crypt, 
316 (cut), 330, 336 ; the basilica of 
Nereus and Achilleus, 338; the tomb 
of Ampliatus, 342 ; ad Duas Lauros, 
or of SS. Peter and Marcellinus, 354 ; a 
fresco of the Saviour with SS. Paul 
and Peter, 356 ; relics of Renaissance 
humanists, 358 ; of Generosa, 332 ; 
of Pontianus, 221; of Praetextatus, 
the cubiculum of S. Januarius, 322 
(cut); of Priscilla (map), 7, 23, 42, 
111, 221 ; of the Via Salaria, 285. 

Catacumba, derivation of the word, 345. 

Caves for burial on the Viminal and 
Esquiline, 255. 

Ceadwalla, King, baptism and death, 231 ; 
tomb, 232. 

Celibacy discouraged, 80. 

Cell*, 42. 

Cellini, Benvenuto, the cause of his im- 
prisonment, 247. 

Cemeteries, pagan, 253-305 ; prehistoric 
cemeteries of the Viminal and the 
Esquiline, 254, 255 ; extensive ceme- 
teries along the high roads, 260 ; on 



the Via Aurelia, 262 ; on the Via Tri- 
umphalis, 270; on the Via Salaria, 
275 ; buried under twenty-five feet of 
earth, 284 ; on the Via Appia, 286 ; 
Christian cemeteries, 306-361 ; under 
the authority of the pontiffs, 307; 
underground cemeteries preferred by the 
early Christians, 308 ; their use revives 
after Constantino, 321, 323 ; at Con- 
cordia Sagittaria, 323, 324 (plate) ; sub- 
urban cemeteries abandoned on ac- 
count of insecurity, 325. See also, 
Catacombs; Columbaria; Tombs; Us- 

Chartres, cathedral, labyrinth, 31. 

Christ, type of the early representations 
of, 347, 348 (cut and plate) ; early tra- 
ditions of his appearance, 349. 

Christian archaeology, dates from the dis- 
covery of the Catacombs, 329. 

Christian art, adoption of pagan symbol- 
ism, 23. 

Christianity, early patrician converts in 
Rome, 2 ; attitude of the government 
toward, 11 ; evidence of the graffiti on, 
12 ; difficulties and inconstancy of 
Christian converts, 14 ; mixed mar- 
riages, 15 ; friendly relations between 
pagans and Christians, 16 ; military 
service under the Empire, 18; the 
gradual change under Constantine, 20 ; 
spread of Christianity under Gregory 
the Great, 228 ; the persecutions under 
Nero and later emperors, 312. See 
also Church; Churches; Martyrs. 

Christians, at first identified with the Jews 
by the Romans, 310. 

Church, adoption of pagan rites and cus- 
toms, 23 ; love-feasts, 42 ; public gran- 
aries, 44 ; flower festivals, 49 ; its 
simple origin, 109 ; adopted the institu- 
tion of funeral colleges from the pagans, 

Churches, objects of pagan art preserved 
in, 23, 26 ; pagan decorations not de- 
stroyed, 28 ; private contributions to 
the decoration of churches, 30 ; laby- 
rinths in the pavements, 31 ; bathing 
accommodations, 37 ; sets of weights 
and measures in, 39, 41 ; the great num- 
ber and variety of churches, 108; the 
names of churches, 109 ; private ora- 
tories, 109 ; the steps of the transition 
from private halls to regular churches, 
114; the schola as a predecessor of the 
Christian church, 116; churches built 
over the tombs of martyrs and confes- 
sors, 119 ; frequently sunk in the 
ground, 120 ; those connected with the 
houses of confessors and martyrs, 158 ; 
those formed from pagan monuments, 


S. Adriano, 48. 

S. Andrea, decorations, 28 (cut). 

S. Andrea del Noviziato, 83. 

S. Andrea al Quirinale, 84. 

S. Antonio, 30. 

S. Antonio all' Esquilino, 36. 

SS. Apostoli, 38. 

Aracffili, 85, 360 ; figures of Augus- 
tus and the Sibyl, 24 ; altar previ- 
ously dedicated to Isis, 27. 

S. Biviana, 333. 

S. Caecilia, kantharos in its court, 38, 
39 (cut) ; bodies of martyrs trans- 
ferred to it, 326. 

S. Cesareo, 36. 

S. Cesareus de Palatio, 162. 

Chapel of the Crucifixion, 127. 

S. Clemente, fresco, 32 (plate). 

S Cosimato in Trastevere, 38. 

SS. Cosma e Damiano, 28 (cut), 162. 

S. Croce in Gerusalemme, 234. 

S. Croce a Monte Mario, 166. 

Demetrias, 116. 
S. Felicitas, 221. 

S. Francesca Romana, discovery of 
the body of a girl, 299. 

S. Francesco a Ripa, 36. 

S. Giovanni dei Fiorentini, 81. 

S. Giovanni in Laterano, 109, 236; 
the cloisters as now restored, 238 

SS. Giovanni e Paolo, 158 ; the tomb 
of Card. Luke, 159; the garden, 

S. Hermes, 120. 

Lateran basilica, 109. 

S. Lorenzo in Lucina, 164. 

S. Lorenzo fuori le Mura, 32, 36, 121, 
135 (cut), 221 ; sarcophagus of 
Licentius, 14 ; chapel of SS. Abun- 
dius and Irenteus. 41 ; the large 
number of tombs, 323, 350. 

S. Marcello, 180. 

S. Maria Autiqua, 3. 

S. Maria in Cosmedin, 32. 

S. Maria de Foro, 163. 

S. Maria Liberatrice, 92, 102. 

S. Maria Maggiore, 32, 36, 136. 

S. Maria Nova, 161 ; discovery of the 
body of a girl, 295. 

S. Maria della Pace, 25, 89. 

S*. Maria del Popolo, 189. 

S. Maria de Porticu, 32. 

S. Maria in Trastevere, 27, 31, 330; 
ponderaria, 41. 

S. Martina, bas-relief, 30 (plate), 4& 

S. Martino, 38. 

S. Menna, 156. 

S. Michele in Borgp, 27. 

SS. Nereo ed Achilleo, 36 ; candela- 
brum, 26 (cut). 




S. Nicola in Carcere, 5. 

Oratorium Sanctae Cnicis, 163; a 
new chapel built in 1470, 166. 

S. Pancrazio, 36, 37. 

S. Paolo f uori le Mura, 27, 38 ; the 
plans of the original and later 
structures compared, 150 (plate) ; 
its size and plan limited by its posi- 
tion, 151 ; its destruction in 1823, 

152 (cut) ; its exposed situation, 

153 ; fortified by John VIII., 154 ; 
the quadri-portico, 155 ; the grave 
of S. Paul, 157 ; the portraits of 
the Popes, 210 ; a candelabrum, 
239 (cut) ; the large number of 
tombs about it, 323. 

S. Paolo alle Tre Fontane, 156; mo- 
saics, 25 (cut). 

S. Peter's, 25, 84, 103, 271 ; its early 
system of drainage, 121 ; the abun- 
dant literature of the subject, 122 ; 
plan of the old church, 128 (plate) ; 
Constantino's basilica, 132 ; plan of 
the graves of Peter and others, 132 
(plate) ; the Colonna Santa, 133 
(cut) ; the nave in 1588, 134 (cut), 
146 (plate) ; the doors of the atrium, 
134 ; the fountain in the atrium, 
135, 136 (cut) ; the tomb of Otho 
II., 136 ; the doors of the church, 
137 ; the interior and roof, 138 ; the 
triumphal arch, 139; the baptis- 
tery, 139 ; the chair of S. Peter, 
140 (cut) ; the bronze statue of 
Peter, 141, 142 (cut) ; the destruc- 
tion of the old church and its re- 
building, 143 ; Grimaldi's account 
of its progress, 145 ; the building of 
the dome, 146 (plate) ; statistics and 
measurements, 147 ; the illumina- 
tion, 148 ; the body of S. Peter 
probably still here, 148 ; Constan- 
tino's cross seen in 1594, 149 ; the 
imperial mausoleum on its site, 200 
(cut), 202 (plate) ; excavations in, 
in 15th and 16th centuries, 202, 
203 ; atrium of the old church, 
222 (cut) ; the tomb of Ceadwalla, 
231 ; the Porticus Pontificum, 233 ; 
the tomb of Innocent -VIII., 242 ; 
of Paul III., 245 ; panel from the 
bronze door, 272 (cut). 

S. Pietro in Montorio, 128. 

S. Prassede, bodies of martyrs trans- 
ferred to it, 326. 

S. Prisca, 111. 

S. Pudentiana, 109, 112 ; restored in 
1588, 113. 

SS. Quattro Coronati, 27. 

S. Saba, 32. 

S. Salvatore in ^Erario, 163. 


Sancta Sanctorum chapel, portrait 

head of Jesus, 348 (cut). 
S. Sebastiano, 36. 
S. Sebastiano, in Pallara, 32. 
Sistine Chapel, 25. 
S. Stefano, 41, 178. 
S. Stefano del Cacco, 97. 
S. Stefano del Trullo, 99. 
S. Sylvester, 38. 
SS. Syxtus and Csecilia, 118. 
S. Teodoro, altar, 27. 
S. Tommaso a' Cenci, 180. 
S. Urbano alia Caffarella, 32, 292, 

294 (cut). 
S. Valentine, 164, 327 ; the tombs in 

its cemetery, 323. 
Ciborio della santa lancia, 243. 
Cippus of Agrippina the Elder, 184 (cut). 
Circus of Nero and Caligula, 127. 
Clemens, Flavius, martyr, 3, 6, 7. 
Clement VIII., 150. 
Clement IX., 37. 
Clement XI., 48. 

Clement XIII., 48 ; his tomb by Canova, 
249, 250 (plate) ; and the suppression 
of the Jesuits, 252. 
Clivus Rutarius, 270. 
Cocumelle, 172. 
Coliseum, Christian churches on the site 

of, 161. 

Colonnas, banished from Rome, 179. 
Columbaria, 256 ; the cost of loculi, 257 ; 
the three kinds of columbaria, 257 ; 
that on the Via Latina owned by share- 
holders, 258; the loculi drawn by lot, 
259 ; interior, 260 (plate). 
Columbus, Christopher, birthplace of, 

245 n. 
Column of Antoninus, bas-reliefs, 170, 

171 (cuts). 
Commodus, 313. 

Concordia Sagittaria, its cemetery, 323. 
Constantia, S., her mausoleum, 199. 
Constantino, Emperor, 50 ; date of his 
profession of Christianity, 21 ; relation 
to his pagan subjects, 22 ; builds a 
basilica over the tomb of Peter, 132 ; 
his cross on S. Peter's tomb seen in 
1594, 149 ; the memorial chapel of his 
victory over Maxentius, 163 ; the battle 
(front.) ; statue of, 164 (cut) ; discovery 
of his sarcophagus in 1458, 202 ; the 
edict of Milan, 314. 
Consul suffectus, 10 n. 
Convent of the Visitation, 71 n. 
Cornelii, their family vaults, 218. 
Cornelius, Pope, his tomb, 215 (cut), 218 

(plate) ; portrait, 219 (cut). 
Cortile di S. Damaso, 121. 
Crassus Frugi, M. Licinius, 277. 
Cremation, introduced in the 5th century 



of Rome, 255 ; the ustrinum on the 

Appiau Way, 256. 
Cresceutius de Theodora, 234. 
Crispina, Bruttia, Empress, 10. 
Cross of Henry IV. of France, 36. 
Crosses, monumental, 35. 
Crows, a platform dedicated to, 268. 
Cups, 43. 
Cybele, 27. 

Cyprian, bishop of Carthage, 217. 
Cyril, S., fresco showing the translation 

of his remains, 32 (plate). 

Damasus, Pope, 139, 217, 219; his aque- 
duct, 121 ; built an oratory to the mem- 
ory of Simplicius and Faustinus, 333. 

Decnrsiones, 171. 

Demetrius, 116. 

Dentists, inscriptions from the tombs of, 
353 (cuts). 

Destruction of Roman monuments in the 
Middle Ages, 8, 53, 66, 87, 90, 98, 103, 
113, 136, 137, 143, 155, 156, 177, 182, 
185, 195, 202, 233, 237, 256, 269, 286, 
301, 320, 324, 329. 

Diocletian, persecution of the Christians, 

Diplomata, 91. 

Discoveries. See Excavations and dis- 

Doll, found in the sarcophagus of Crepe- 
reia Tryphaena, 305. 

Domitian, 5, 6, 281 ; dedicates the Ara 
Incendii Neroniani, 84 ; his birthplace, 
193 ; his death, 193. 

Domitilla Flavia, 10 ; her villa, 335 ; the 
catacombs on her estate, 336 ; her fam- 
ily and relationship, 337. 

Domitillae, 3. 

Donatists, 21. 

Donnus I., Pope, 271. 

Drinking cups, 43. 

Egeria, grotto of, 293. 

Egyptian art, specimens found near the 
Iseum, 92 ; its influence in Rome, 239. 

Elagabalns, included Christ among the 
other gods, 13; his extravagances, 131. 

Episcopus, a municipal officer, 12. 

Epitaphs, 261, 262 ; on the tombs of the 
Popes in S. Peter's, 222 ; on Pope Syl- 
vester II., 237 ; imprecations expressed 
in, 262, 317 ; of Pompeius Magnus Crassi 
f ., 279 ; of Q. Sulpicius Maxiraus, 282 ; 
of Julia Prisca, 300 ; of a pilgrim from 
Thrace, 328; of Aurelius Theophilus, 

Eugenius IV., Pope, 92, 138. 

Eupor, Fabius, 310. 

Excavations and discoveries, in the Cam- 
pus Martius, 98 ; in 1374, obelisk of the 
Piazza della Rotonda, 92; in 1435, 

Egyptian lions, 92 ; in 1440, figure of a 
river-god, 93 ; in 1458, sarcophagus of 
Constantine, 202 ; cir. 1480, temple of 
Hercules, 69 ; in 1485, the long-buried 
body of a woman near the Casale Ro- 
tondo, 295, 298 (cut) ; in 1519, in S. 
Peter's, 202; in 15^7, the mausoleum 
of Augustus, 182 ; in 1544, the tomb 
of Maria in S. Peter's, 203; in 1546, 
the Baths of Caracalla, 249 ; in 1549, 
the temple of Augustus, 103 ; in 1554, 
the Ara Pacis Augustas, 82 ; in 1556, 
statue of Oceanus, 93 ; in 1555, 
house of Pomponius Atticus, 191 ; in 
1578, in the Catacombs, 328 ; in 1588, 
fragments of a Laocoon under S. Pu- 
dentiana, 113 ; in 1594, the grave of S. 
Peter, 150 ; in 1599, on the Via Lati- 
na, 258 ; in 1614-16, in S. Peter's, 129 ; 
in 1600. on the site of the Villa Pam- 
fili-Doria, 269; in 1695-1741, in the 
Naro vineyard, 276 ; in 1713-17, in the 
Catacombs. 330; in 1719, an Isiac al- 
tar, 93 ; Egyptian antiquities, 96 ; in 
1776, near church of S. Prisca, 111 ; 
in 1777, the ustrinum under the Corso, 
182 ; in 1780, remains of the temple of 
Jupiter Maximus, 89 ; in 1793, in the 
Via di S. Lucia in Selci. 206 ; in 1810, 
silver near Civita Castellana, 207 ; in 
1817, the temple of Concord, 53 ; in 
1817-22, remains of the villa Amaran- 
thiana. by the Duchess of Chablais, 
335 ; in 1820, altar of Aius Locutius, 
71 ; in 1821, at Parma, 207; in 1849- 
52, near the Appian Way, 215 ; in 1851, 
the fresco of the Saviour in the Cata- 
comb ad Duas Lauros, 356; in 1858, 
Egyptian sculptures, 93 ; in 1859, the 
Ara Pacis Augustas, 82 ; five capitals in 
the Via di S. Ignazio, 93 ; in 1862, sar- 
cophagus of Licentius, 14 ; temple of 
Hercules, 59 ; in 1864, a schola of the 
citizens of Serrse, 41 ; in 1867, founda- 
tions of a memorial chapel to S. Paul, 
156 ; in the cemetery of Callixtus, 
318 ; in the cemetery of Generosa, 332 ; 
in 1869, the altar of Roma Quadrata, 
71 ; in 1871, inventory of gifts in the 
temple of Diana Nemorensis, 54 ; in 
1875, temple of Jupiter Maximus, 85 ; 
coins of Nero, under the abbey of the 
Tre Fontane, 157 ; in 1876, favissae of 
the temple of Hercules, 59 ; in 1877, 
coins at Belinzago, 208 ; in 1878, re- 
mains of the temple of Neptune, 99 ; 
in 1879, fragments of a bedstead (?) on 
the Esquiline, 208 ; in 1880-82, ii the 
Catacombs ad Duas Lauros, 354 ; in 
1881, shrine of Semo Sancus, 105 ; in 
the catacombs of Domitilla, 342 ; in 
1883, mensae ponderariae, at Tivoli, 40 ; 



Egyptian remains from the temple of 
Isis, 92, 94; in 1884, house of Vege- 
tus, 192 ; in the Via di Porta Salaria, 
276 ; in 1885, temple of Diana Nemo- 
rensis, by Lord Savile, 59 ; in the 
Villa Bertone, 283; in 1886, a stone- 
cutter's house, under the Palazzo della 
Banca Naz., 240 ; in 1886-87, altar of 
Dis and Proserpina, 75 ; in 1887, on 
the Corso d' Italia, 276; in 1888, 
crypt of the Acilii Glahriones, 4, 8 ; in 
1889, ex-votos at Veii, by the Empress 
of Brazil, 65 ; under the new Halls of 
Justice, 301 ; in 1890, inscriptions de- 
scribing the Secular games, 73. 

Exedra-), 42. 

Ex-votos, found on the sites of temples, 
58 ; anatomical specimens, 62 ; shops 
for the sale of, 62 ; deposits found near 
the Tiber, 62. 

Faliscan Museum, 354. 

Farnesma gardens, house discovered in, 

263, 264 (plate). 
Favissa, 58. 
Flavians, the members of the family who 

became Christians, 337 ; their crypt in 

the Catacombs of Domitilla, 316 (cut), 

330, 336. 

Flowers, feasts of, in ancient times, 49. 
Fortunatus, S., 360. 
Forum Julium, 54 ; Romanum, Caligula's 

bridge, 101 ; Olitorium, 5 ; Trajanum, 

the earth taken from it placed over the 

cemetery of the Via Salaria, 284. 
Foundation of a city, ceremonies of, 70. 
Fountain, in the atrium of S. Peter's, 135, 

136 (cut) ; in front of S. Paolo, 155. 
Frescos. See Paintings. 
Funeral ceremonies and memorial feasts, 

117, 171. See also Burial. 
Funerary banquets, 42. 
Funeraticia collegia, 116. 
Furnilla, Marcia, wife of Titus, 267; 

statue (plate). 

Gauls, their invasion foretold by a myste- 
rious voice, 72. 
Genesius, S., 360. 
Germane, Padre, 158. 
Geta, remains of his mausoleum, 196 


Giardino delle Tre Pile, 101. 
Glabrio, Manius Acilius, consul A. D. 91, 

5 ; his martyrdom, 6. 
Glabriones, Acilii, disco-very of their 

burial place, 4 ; history of the family, 

Gods, the name and sex of those little 

known, seldom mentioned, 72. 
Goths, their pillage of the Catacombs, 


Grsecina, Pomponia, a Christian convert, 

Graffiti, evidence on the position of the 

church, 12 ; in the catacombs, 42, 219, 

327, 356. 
Granaries, 44 ; belonging to the church, 

46 ; the grain sold by Pope Sabinianus, 

47 ; the institution long survived, 48 ; 

the granary at Ostia, 47 (cut). 
Great litany, 165. 

Greek language used by the church, 216. 
Gregorian chant, 229. 
Gregorovius, Ferdinand, 213. 
Gregory I. (the Great), 47 ; his tomb, 

221, 223 ; statue of, 225 (cut) ; bis 

work, 228 ; the monastery founded by 

him, 229, 230 (cut) ; in the basilica of 

Nereus and Achilleus, 345. 
Gregory XIII., Pope, 48. 
Grimaldi, 122. 

Hadrian, Emperor, 49, 99 ; attitude to- 
ward Christianity, 11. 

Hadrian's Mole, and apartments built by 
Paul III., 247. 

Hair, restoration of, ascribed to Minerva, 

Haran, or Charan, 355. 

Helena, tomb of, 197 (cut), 198 (plate). 

Henry IV. of France, column of, 36. 

Hercules, 104 ; labors of, 25 ; bronze 
statue of, 69. 

Hermes Trismegistos, 25. 

Hermione, Claudia, her tomb, 129. 

Herod, King, profaned the tomb of Da- 
vid, 205. 

Herodes Atticus. See Atticus. 

Hierones, 67. 

Hippolytus, statue of, 141, 143 (cut). 

Hispellum, temple dedicated to Constan- 
tine, 22. 

Honorius I. , Pope, 137. 

Horace, the Carmen Saeculare, 78, 81. 

Horrea publica, 44 ; advertisement for 
leasing and regulations for use found, 

House of a patrician, discovered in the 
Farnesina gardens, 263 (cut). 

Improvvisatori, 281, 283. 

Innocent VIII., Pope, his tomb, 145, 242 

Inscription, to Acilius Glabrio (cut), 4 ; 
to Pomponius, 9 ; found near Porta del 
Popolo in 1877, 15 (cut) ; to M. An- 
neus Paulus Petrus, 16 (cut) ; to Pub- 
lia Mlia, Proba, 19; to Petro Lilluti 
Paulo, 18 n; on arch of Constantino, 
20 ; on the pyramid of Louis XIV., 
36 ; on the column of Henry IV., 37 n ; 
in baths of the churches of SS. Sylvester 
and Martin, 38 ; in temple of Her- 



cules Tivoli, 40; on pagan tombs re- 
lating to libations, 42 ; inventory of 
works of art in the temple of Diana 
Nemorensis, 55 ; tariff for sacrifices, 
57 ; mentioning the Roma Quadrat a. 
71 ; altar of Ams Locutius, 72 ; to the 
Genius of Rome, 72 ; descriptive of the 
Ludi Saeculares, 73, 79 (text in ap- 
pendix) ; of the Ara Incendii Neroniani, 
84; on the foundation walls of the 
temple of Jupiter, 88 ; pedestal of 
statue of Semo Sane us, 106 ; on the 
label of a dog's collar, 153 ; S. Paul's 
tombstone, 157 (cat) ; spurious inscrip- 
tions, 301 ; the immense number that 
have been lost, 320; military inscrip- 
tions, from the Praetorian camp, 51. 
See, also, Epitaphs ; Graffiti. 

Iseum. See Temple of Isis. 

Isis, altar to, in church pf Aracceli, 27; 
statue of, 55. 

Italians, tolerant in matters of religion, 

Januarius, S., his grave in the Catacombs, 
322 (cut). 

Jerome, S., on the celebration of S. Pe- 
ter's day, 44. 

Jesuits, expelled from Portugal, Spain, 
and France, 251. 

Jews, position in the Roman Empire, 12 ; 
toleration enjoyed in Rome, 16, 309; 
responsible for the first Christian per- 
secution, 311. 

Johannipolis, 153. 

John III., Pope, 38. 

John VIII., Pope, builds the defences of 
S. Paolo, 154 ; defeats the Saracens off 
Cape Cerceo, 154. 

John X., Pope, death and burial, 235. 

Jubilee of 1350, 166. 

Julian the Apostate. 355. 

Jupiter, statue of, in Constantiue, Algeria, 

Labyrinths, in church pavements, 31. 
Lamps, ornamented with figure of the 

Good Shepherd, 18 (cut) ; found in the 

Catacombs, 218. 
Lance, Holy, story of, 243. 
Laocoon, fragments found under the 

church of S. Pudentiana, 113. 
Lateran museum, 141. 
Lateran palace, its early occupation by 

the Church, 21. 

Leo I. (the Great), 155 ; his tomb, 223. 
Leo IV., Pope, 137. 
Leo X., Pope, 93. 
Leto, Pomponio, his academy, 359. 
Liceutius, a pupil of S. Augustine, his 

career, 14 ; his tomb discovered, 14. 
Liciniauus, Calpurnius, 278. 

Licinii Calpurnii, their tomb, 276 ; their 

history, 277. 
Linus, the successor of Peter and Paul, 

125 ; his tomb discovered, 130. 
Lipsanotheca, 166. 
Locanda della Gaiffa, 181. 
Loretto, Santa Casa. 25. 
Louis XIV., pyramid of, in Rome, 36. 
Love-feasts, 42. 
Lucca, Cathedral, 31. 
Lucina, a Christian matron, 9. 
Ludi sit eulares. See Secular games. 
Ludi Tarentini, 75. 
Luke, cardinal, his tomb, 159. 

Mamertine prison, 163. 

Map of Rome, the author's, 163 n. 

Marius, pillages the ruins of the Temple 
of Jupiter, 87. 

Mark, Pope, 50. 

Marriages, mixed, in pagan Rome, 15 ; 
Tertullian on, 15. 

Martial, Valerius, house of, 192. 

Martyrs, early, 3; their alleged stupid- 
ity, 7; stones said to be tied to the 
necks of, 39, 41 ; love-feasts celebrated 
near their tombs, 42 ; their tombs deco- 
rated with flowers, 49 ; their burial and 
tombs, 119 ; scene of the first martyr- 
doms, 127 ; churches connected with 
their houses, 158 ; their tombs in the 
Catacombs, 322; their bodies trans- 
lated from suburban cemeteries to the 
city, 325 ; bas-relief representing an 
execution, 339 (cut). 

Mausolea. See Tombs. 

Mellini, Pietro and Mario, 166. 

Memoriae, 42. 

Messalina, 277. 

Meta, its signification lost, 128. 

Meta di Borgo, 27. 

Michael, archangel, summits of hills con- 
secrated to, 226 ; the statue on the 
mausoleum of Hadrian, 227, 228 (cut). 

Michelangelo, his first design for S. Pe- 
ter's, 146. 

Military inscriptions from the Praetorian 
camp, 351. 

Military service of Christians under the 
Roman Empire, 18. 

Minerva in Christian art, 25 ; honored as 
a restorer of hair, 63. 

Monastery of S. Alessio, 235 ; of S. An- 
drew, 229, 230 (cut). 

Monte Mario, 165. 

Monte Testaccio, 181. 

Mosaics, in church of S. Paolo alle Tre 
Fontane, 25 ; in church of S. Andrea, 
29 (cut) ; in church of S. Pudentiaua, 
113; inS. Peter's, 139. 

Mundus muliebris, 204. 

Museo delle Terme, 268. 



Museums. See Capitoline, Lateran, Vati- 
can ; also dei Conservator!, under Palaces. 

Music, religious, school of, established by 
Gregory, 229. 

Naples, church of the Olivetans, 25. 
Nemi, the site of a temple of Diana, 60 


Neptunium. See Temple of Neptune, 99. 
Nereus and Achilleus, martyrs, 337. 
Nero, 127, 287 ; relation to Christianity, 

11 ; deserted by the legions, 185 ; head 

of, 186 (cut) ; his flight and death, 187 ; 

his funeral, 189 ; his tomb, 189. 
Nerva, 177. 
Nicomachus Flavianus, attempt to restore 

paganism, 97. 

Oaths, 105. 

Obelisks, discovered in Rome, 92, 97, 172 ; 

of Rameses the Great, discovered in 

1883, 95. 
Oils, 218. 
Oratories, private, of the early Christians, 


Orientation of churches, 120, 152. 
Orpheus, in Christian art, 23 (cut). 
Ossaria, 256. 
Ostia, imperial palace at, 25 ; granary at, 

47 (cut). 
Otho II., his tomb, 136. 

Pacuvius, 69. 

Paetus, Lucilius, tomb of, 283. 

Pagan rites and customs adopted by the 
Church, 23. 

Paintings, fresco in S. Clemente, transla- 
tion of Cyril's remains, 32 (plate) ; in a 
patrician house in the Farnesina gar- 
dens, 263, 264 (plate), 265 (cut) ; in the 
Catacombs, discovered in 1714, 330 ; in 
the Villa Amaranthiana, 335 ; of the 
Saviour with SS. Paul and Peter in the 
Catacomb ad Duas LauroS, 356 ; of 
the story of Jonah and the Symbolic 
Supper, 356, 357 (cut) ; illustrations of 
the Gospel in the Catacombs, 358 ; bat- 
tle between Constantino and Maxentius, 

Palaces : Albani del Drago, 30 ; Altieri, 
101 ; Caffarelli, 85 ; dei Conservator!, 
30, 53, 77, 100, 185 (see also Capitoline 
museum) ; Farnese, 100 ; Fiano, 82 ; 
Lateran (see Lateran ) ; Maraini, 280 ; 
Moroni, 88 ; Odescalchi, 100. 

Pammachius, 158. 

Pantheon, 56. 

Parenzo, Dalmatia, basilica of, 30. 

Paschal L, Pope, 326. 

Passion-plays in Rome, 181. 

Paul, the apostle, his friendship with 
Seneca, 17 ; silver-gilt statue of, 26 ; 

proofs of his death in Rome, 123 ; posi- 
tion of his tomb, 151 ; place of his exe- 
cution, 156 ; his grave and tombstone, 
157 (cut) ; portrait head, 212 (cut) ; his 
liberty to preach in Rome, 311 ; his 
friend Ampliatus, 343 ; his body trans- 
ferred temporarily to the Catacombs, 

Paul, S., basilica of. See /S. Paolo fuori 
le Mura, under Churches. 

Paul and Peter, names on a pagan tomb. 

Paul III. , tomb, 245 ; character, 246 ; his 
patronage of art, 247 ; his apartments 
on Hadrian's Mole, 247 ; and Cellini, 
247 ; excavates the Baths of Caracalla, 

Paul V., Pope, 48, 136, 144. 

Paulinus of Nola, 43 ; his epistles to 
Lie-rut ins. 14. 

Pavements, basilica of Parenzo, 30. 

Pavia, Church of S. Michele Maggiore, 

Pelagius II., Pope, 121. 

Pentecost, celebration of, 50. 

Perpetua, Acts of, 49. 

Persecution under Claudius, 310; under 
Nero, 312 ; under later emperors, 313 ; 
under Diocletian, 314. 

Peter, S., celebration of the feast of, 43 ; 
his presence in Rome proved by docu- 
ments, 123 ; by monumental evidence, 
125 ; the exact place of his execution 
determined, 127 ; his tomb, 129 ; his 
chair, 140 (cut) ; the bronze statue. 141, 
142 (cut) ; his body probably still under 
the altar in his church, 148 ; portrait 
head, 212 (cut) ; his body transferred 
temporarily to the Catacombs, 345. 

Peter and Paul, houses connected with 
their stay in Rome, 110, 112. 

Petronilla, 3, 200 ; her burial-place, 340 ; 
represented in a fresco, 341 (cut) ; not 
a daughter of S. Peter, 342. 

Phaon, Nero's flight to villa of, 186 ; re- 
mains of villa of, 188 (map). 

Philip the Arab, Emperor, a Christiar 

Philip the Younger, son of Philip the 
Arab, bust, 13 (cut). 

Piacenza, church of S. Sevino, 31 ; votive 
tablet to Minerva found at, 63. 

Piazza di S. Maria Maggiore, 172,182; 
di Santa Maria in Trastevere. 220 ; della 
Minerva, 95, 97 ; del Pantheon, 95 ; di 
Pietra, 99; del Quirinale, 172; della 
Rotonda, 92, 97 ; della Stazione, 97 ; 
di Termini, 48. 

Pilate, house of, 180. 

Pincian Hill, palace of the Acilii Gla- 
briones, 5. 

Piso Frugi Liciuianus, L. Calpurnius, '2~~. 



Platorinus, C. Sulpicius, his tomb, 265, 

268 (plate). 

Poetical contests on the Capitol, 282. 
Polla, Lucilia, tomb of, 283. 
Polla, Minasia, 267 (plate). 
Pompeius Magnus, son of Licinius Cras- 

sus, 277 ; his epitaph, 279. 
Pomponins Laetus, 246 ; his academy, 359. 
Ponderaria, in churches, 39. 
Pons Vaticanus, 126. 
Ponte Nomentano, 187 (cut). 
Pontius, Bishop, 167. 
Popes, their portraits in the basilicas of 

Rome, 209 ; their tombs, 213. 
Porta Sanqualis, 104. 
Portico of the Argonauts, 99 ; of church 

of S. Paolo, 156 ; of the Danaids, 71, 


Poseidonion. See Temple of Neptune. 
Praesens, Bruttius, 10. 
" Preaching of Peter," 124. 
Priscilla, wife of Abascantus, tomb of, 

Pudens, 110; his house, 112, 114 (cut), 

115 (cut). 

Pudens, L. Valerius, 282. 
Pyramids on the Via Triumphalis, 271. 

Quadragesima Sunday, 50. 
Quietus, Postumius, 9. 
Quindecemviri, call for the celebration of 
the Secular games, 75. 

Ravenna, church of S. Vitale, 31. 

Regilla, Annia, wife of Herodes Atticus, 
290 ; her supposed tomb, 291 (cut). 

Renaissance, the interest in archaeology, 

Renzo di Maitano, 32. 

Rhodismos, 49. 

Ricci, Lorenzo, 252. 

Rienzi, 155 ; his funeral pyre, 179 ; his 
birthplace, 180. 

Robigalia, 165. 

Roma Quadrata, 70. 

Rome, its transformation to a Christian 
city, 1 ; early Christian buildings, 3 ; 
the freedom enjoyed by the church, 11 ; 
the change gradual, 19; evidences of 
it, 20 ; artistic feeling among the lower 
classes, 32 ; substitution of chapels and 
shrines for the arae compitales, 33 ; 
monumental crosses, 35 ; warehouses, 
44 ; the calamities of the year 605, 46 ; 
pagan shrines and temples, 51 ; capture 
by the Gauls, B. C. 390, 73 ; the confla- 
gration under Nero, 83 ; occupation by 
the Saracens in 846, 149 ; the author's 
archaeological map of, 163 n. ; popula- 
tion under Augustus, 175 ; public im- 
provements in his time, 176 ; the city 
in the time of Gregory the Great, 226 ; 

the charming surroundings of the city, 
286 ; the invasions of the Goths in the 
5th and 6th centuries, 324 ; the itinera- 
ries of pilgrims, 327. 

Rosaria, 48. 

Rosationes, 49. 

Rose, symbolism of, 49 ; the golden rose 
of Quadragesima Sunday, 50. 

Rossi, De, discovers the crypt of the 
Acilii Glabriones, 4 ; discovers tomb of 
Cornelius, 215 ; discovers a fresco in tb.3 
Catacomb ad Duas Lauros, 356. 

Rousalia, 49. 

Rues de Jerusalem, 31. 

Rusalky, 49. 

Rusticus, Junius, 40. 

Sabinianus, Pope, sold the grain in the 

church's granaries, 47. 
Sabinus, Flavins, 337. 
Sacellum Sauci, 104. 
Sacrifices, right to perform, granted to 

civilians, 57 ; tariff for, 57. 
Saint-Omer, church at, labyrinth, 31. 
Sallust, gardens of, 276. 
Sancus, worship of, 104. 
Sannazzaro, tomb of, 25. 
Saracens in Rome, in 846, 149 ; defeated 

off Cape Circeo, by John VIII., 154. 
Sarcophagi of the Calpurnii, 279, 280 
(cut) ; from the cemetery of Cyriaca, 
Sarcophagus, of the empress Helena, 

198 (plate) ; of S. Constantia, 198. 
Saturus, martyr, 49. 

Scholae, 42, 116 ; that of the citizens of 
Serree, 41 ; that above the Catacombs 
of Callixtus, 117, 118 (plan); trans- 
formation of the schola to the church, 

Scirtus. charioteer, 260. 
Seasons, the four, in Christian art, 25. 
Secular games, the inscription describing 
them found in 1890, 73 (cut) ; origin of 
the games, 74 ; their celebration under 
Augustus, 78-82. 
Semo Sancus, worship of, 104; statue, 

105 (cut). 
Senate, resolutions relating to the Secular 

games, 80. 
Senate house, 163. 
Seneca, his friendship for Paul, 17. 
Septimius Severus, 12. 
Sergius II. , Pope, 149. 
Serrse, citizens of, their banqneting-hall, 


Severus Alexander, relation to Christian- 
ity, 11, 13. 
Shoemakers, 274. 
Shrines, in Rome, 33; of Semo Sancus, 

104. See also Altars. 
Sibyls in Christian art, 24. 



Siena, Duorao, 25, 32. 

Silvio Antoniano, an improvvisatore, 283. 

Simon the Magician, confused with Semo 

Sancus, 104, 161. 
Siraplicius and Faustinas, martyrs, 332 ; 

their bodies translated to S. Biviana, 


Siricius, Pope, 112, 152. 
Sixtus II., Pope, 117. 
Sixtus V., Pope, the dome of St. Peter's, 


Skeletons found in tombs, 273, 286. 
Solomon, Judgment of, represented in a 

Roman tomb, 270, 271 (cut). 
Sponges, found in tombs, 303 n. 
Statues, their immense number in ancient 

Rome, 52 ; those of gods commonly 

loaded with ornaments, 55 ; Egyptian 

statues, found in Rome, 93. 
to Acilius Glabrio, 5 ; of Antinous, 

240,. 241 (cut); of Constantine, 164 

(cut) ; of Gregory the Great, 225 (cut) ; 

of Hercules, 69 ; of Hippolytus, 141, 

143 (cut) ; of Isis, 55 ; of Jupiter, 56 ; 

of Marcia Furnilla, 267 ; of S. Paul, 26 ; 

of S. Peter, 141, 142 (cut) ; of Semo 

Sancus, 105 (cut) ; the sphinx of 

Amasis, 94 (cut); of Tiberius, 268; 

of Vortumnus, 104. 
Stephen III., Pope, 48. 
Street-shrines in Rome, 33. 
Streets (ancient) : Alta Semita, 190, 191 

(cut) ; Clivus Suburanus, 35 ; Vicus 

Apollinis, 82 ; Vicus Sobrius, 35. See 

also Via. 
Streets (modern): Bocca della Verita, 181 ; 

Borgo Nuovo, 271 ; Coronari, 35 ; Corso, 

180, 182; Corso d' Italia, 276; Corso 

Vittorio Emanuele, 75, 78 ; Ferratella, 

293 ; SS. Giovanni e Paolo, 229 ; S. Ig- 
' nazio, 92, 94 ; S. Lucia in Selci. 35 ; 

Marmorata, 181; Minerva Medica, 62; 
. Porta S. Paolo, 181 ; Quattro Cantoni, 

35 ; Quirinale-Venti Settembre, 190 ; 

Salara, 181 ; Strada di Monte Mario, 

127 ; Vigne Nuove, 188. 
Sublician bridge, 33. 
Sulla, reconstructed the Capitolium, 87 ; 

his body burned, 253. 
Sulpicius Maximus, Q., his tomb, 280, 

282 (plate) ; his story, 281. 
Sutores, 274. 
Sylvester I., 221. 
-Sylvester II., his tomb, 236. 
Symmachus, Pope, 37, 135. 
Syringes, 321. 

Tablinum, 114. 

Tabularium, 53. 

Tarpeian Rock, 89. 

Tempietto del Bramante, 128. 

Temples, standards of weights and meas- 

ures kept in. 40, 51 ; the art treasures 
collected in them, 52 ; commonly orna- 
mented with hangings, etc., 56 ; evi- 
dence obtained from their vaults or 
favissce, 58 ; invariably turned into 
Christian churches, 160. 

of ./Esculapius, 62 ; the stern of the 
ship, 61 (cut). 

of Antoninus and Faustina, 163. 

of Apollo, 56, 71 ; its treasures of 
art, 52. 

Augusteum at Ancyra, 173. 

of Augustus, 101, 163 ; its position 
determined, 102 ; plan and sketch, 
103 (cut). 

of Bacchus (so called), 199 (cut). 

of Ceres and Faustina, 292, 294 (cut). 

of Claudius, 160. 

of Concord, 53 (cut), 163. 

of Diana, 70. 

of Diana Nemorensis, 59 ; an inven- 
tory of its works of art discovered, 

of the God Rediculus, 291 (cut). 

of Health, 69. 

of Hercules, 69. 

of Hercules, near Porta S. Lorenzo, 

of Isis and Serapis, 92 ; excavations 
in 1883, 96 ; history and extent of 
the temple, 96 ; its final destruc- 
tion, 98. 

of Janus Quadrifrons, 163. 

of Juno, at Veil, 64 ; enormous num- 
ber of ex-votos, 64, 67 ; excava- 
tions by Cardinal Chigi, 65 ; by 
the Empress of Brazil, 66. 

of Jupiter Optimus Maximus, 56, 80, 
84 ; literature, 84 n ; architecture of 
the old temple, 86 ; destroyed by 
fire, 86 ; its restorations, 87 ; its 
platform and foundation walls, 87, 
88 (cut) ; plan, 86 (plate) ; early 
notices of its remains, 89 ; plun- 
dered by the Vandals, 90 ; repre- 
sented in pictorial reliefs, 90 
(plate) ; public acts, etc., posted 
here, 91. 

of Jupiter Tonans, 80. 

of Malakbelos, 57. 

of Minerva Medica, 62. 

of Neptune, 99, 161 ; its bas- reliefs, 
100 (cut). 

of Peace, 56. 

of Piety, 5. 

Sacra? Urbis, 28 (cut), 162. 

of the Sibyl at Tivoli, 161. 

of Venus, 161. 

of Venus and Rome, 56. 
Terebinth of Nero, 27. 
Terentum, the pool, 74. 
Thebes, the tombs of the kings, 321. 



Theresa, Empress of Brazil, excavations 
at Veil, 65, 66. 

Tiber, ex-votos probably to be found in, 

Tiberius, Emp., 11, 96 ; statue, 268. 

Tiles of the roof of S. Peter's, 139. 

Tivoli, mensae ponderariae found at, 40 ; 
temple of the Sibyl, 161. 

Toilet-box, in the sarcophagus of Crepe- 
reia Tryphaena, 303. 

Tombs of Christians of high rank in 
Rome, 10 ; of Christian praetorians, 
18 ; inscriptions on, 42, 261 ; the word 
meta applied to, 128 ; discovered in 
1614-16, in the vicinity of S. Peter's, 
129 ; occasion of their destruction, 131 ; 
in S. Peter's, 145 ; of Christian empe- 
rors, 196,200 (cut) ; of the popes, 213 ; 
the pontifical crypt, 269 ; cost, 257 ; 
the immense number surrounding the 
city, 260 ; on the Via Aurelia, 262 ; 
near the Villa Pamfili-Doria, 269 ; on 
the Via Triumphalis, 270 ; on the Via 
Salaria, 275 ; their inviolability un- 
der Roman law, 307 ; the early Chris- 
tian tombs not concealed, 315. See 
also, Burial ; Catacombs ; Cemeteries ; 

of Ampliatus, 342 ; of M. Anneus 

Paulus Petrus, 16 ; of Annia Regilla, 
291 (cut) ; of Augustus, 172, 177, 179, 
181 ; of Benedict VII., 234 ; of Cead- 
walla, 232; of Claudia Ecloge, 190; 
of Clement XIII., 249, 250 (plate) ; of 
S. Constantia, 198, 199 (cut) ; of Pope 
Cornelius, 215 (cut), 218 (plate); 
of Crepereia Tryphaena, 302 (plate) ; 
of the Flavians, 190. 316 (cut), 338 ; of 
Geta, 196 (cut) ; of Gregory the Great, 
221, 223 ; of Hadrian, 227, 228 (cut) ; 
of Helena, mother of Constantino, at 
Torre Pignattara, 197 (cut) ; of Helius, 
the shoemaker, 273, 274 (cut) ; of other 
shoemakers, 275 ; of the horse of Lu- 
cius Verus, 272 ; of Innocent VIH., 
242 (plate) ; of Leo the Great, 223 ; of 
Licentius, 14; of the Licinii Calpur- 
nii, 276; of Linus, 130; of Lucilia 
Polla, 283; its vicissitudes, 284; of 
Luke, card, of SS. Giovanni e Paolo, 
159 ; of Maria, wife of Honorius, 203 ; 
of Nero, 189; of kings Offa of Essex 
and Coenred of Mercia, 233 ; of Otho 
II., 136 ; of S. Paul, 157 ; of Paul III., 
245, 246 (plate); of S. Peter, 129; of 
Sannazzaro, 25 ; of Q. Sulpicius Maxi- 
mus, 280, 282 (plate) ; of Sulpicius 
Platorinus, 265, 268 (plate) ; of Silves- 
ter II., 236 ; of Urban VI., 146. 

Torre Marancia, 335. 

Torre Pignattara, 197 (cut). 

Totila, siege of, A. D. 546, 46. 

Trajan, instructions in regard to the per- 
secution of Christians, 313. 

Triopium, 290. 

Tryphaena, Crepereia, her tomb discov- 
ered in 1889, 302 ; objects found in the 
sarcophagus, 303 (plate). 

Tubilustrium, 275. 

Tulliola, daughter of Cicero, 300. 

Tuscnlum, Roman expedition against, 

Urania, daughter of Herodes Atticus, 9. 
Urban VI., Pope, desecration of his tomb, 


Urbino, Sphaeristerion, 97. 
Urns, cinerary, 266. 
Ustrinum of the imperial family, 170 ; 

unearthed in 1777, 182 ; cippi in, 184 ; 

on the Appian Way, 255. 

Val d' Inferno. 287. 

Valle della Caffarella, 286. 

Valle dei Morti, 178. 

Vases, found in the tomb of Maria, 205. 

Vassalectus, an inscription of, 238 (cut) ; 
candelabrum and other works, 239 

Vatican district, its early topography, 

Vatican museum, 26, 93, 105, 106, 182, 
185, 198. 

Vedjovis, shrine of. 85. 

Vegetus, Valerius, house of, 192. 

Veii, its capture by Camillus, 64 ; site of 
a temple of Juno. 65 (cut). 

Verus, Lucius, tomb of his horse, 272. 

Vestal virgins, 33, 81. 

Via Appia, 172, 215; its tombs, 286 
(plate) ; the bodv of a girl discovered 
in 1485,295, 298 (cut) ; Ardeatina, 
315 ; Aurelia. tombs on, 262 ; Clodia, 
127; Cornelia, 127, 128 ; Labicana. 
172. &54 ; Latina, 116. 178 ; Meru- 
lana, 62; Nomentana. 188, 197 ; Os-* 
tiensis, 150, 151 ; Sacra, 82, 161; 
Salaria, 4 (map), 7, 172, 221 ; tombs on, 
275 ; Triumphalis, 127 ; tombs on, 270. 

Via Dolorosa of Jerusalem, imitated at 
Rome. 181. 

Viatrix, S., 334 (cut). 

Victor, S., Pomponio's academy placed 
under his patronage, 359. 

Vigilius, Pope, 46 ; repaired the damages 
done by the Goths in the Catacombs. 

Vigna Barberini, 162. 

Vigne Nuove, 287. 

Villa Amaranthiana, 335 ; Aniciana. 116 ; 
Fouseca, 293 ; Madama. 165 ; Mattei 
von Hoffman, 92, 97, 293 ; Medici, 83, 
89 ; Pamfili-Doria, 269 ; di Papa 
Guilio, 254 ; of Phaon, 188 (map). 



Virgin, immagine di Ponte, 35. 

Volesus, founds the Ludi Tarentini, 74. 

Volkanalia, 84. 

Vortumnus, 104. 

Votive head, to Minerva, 63 (cut). 

Votive offerings. See Ex-votos. 

Warehouses, 44. 

Wedding presents, of Maria, wife of Ho- 
norius, 204 ; of Projecta, wife of Tur- 
cius Asterius Secundus, 206. 

Weights and measures, standards of, 39. 

Wilpert, Joseph, his skill in tracing old 
paintings, 358. 

Xerxes and the battle of Salamis, 289.