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the garrets of Rome, what became of them? We know little more than that they were cast into the vast pits, the puticoli, which probably were dug in different parts of the outskirts of the city, but of which the largest, most famous — may we not say, rather, most infamous--were on the Esquiline hill
Huc priùs angustis ejecta cadavera cellis
Hor. Sat. i. 8, 8.
An accursed and infected region, where the white bones cropped out of the loose black soil!
Quò modò tristes
where the foul birds of prey, the Esquilinæ alites,' invoked by Canidia, were ever hovering, and perhaps the wolves prowling
Post, insepulta membra different lupi,
Et Esquilinæ alites.—Epod. v. 99. where Canidia herself wandered by moonlight to gather bones and poisonous herbs for her spells, and to call up the ghosts of the dead. It is well known that a large part of this district, dedicated of old to the burial of the poor, as the ancient cippus declared — was granted by Augustus to his favourite. The blooming, salubrious, and much frequented gardens of Mecænas spread, to some extent, over this unholy and unfertile region. Augustus is said to have been influenced by sanitary reasons. But what became of the rest of the poor, when they were mowed down by thousands by the scythe of Libitina, or stole out of life, unmourned, unhonoured, unknown ? This is a question which we believe that it is extremely difficult to answer fully and satisfactorily. All we know is, that intramural burial was prohibited by the laws of Rome, even by the XII. Tables, with a rigour and severity of which even Mr. Chadwick
might approve. The only exception was in favour of the Vestal Virgins (Serv. ad · Æneid.' ix.), and the families of one or two great men of old, Valerius Poplicola (Plutarch, • Vit.') and Fabricius ; but this privilege was voluntarily abandoned by their descendants, in deference, no doubt, to public feeling.
Yet vast as was the space along the Roman highways, and though many chose more quiet resting-places, like Propertius,
Di faciant, mea ne terrâ locet ossa frequenti
Qua facit assiduo tramite vulgus iter; the poet would repose under the shade of some beautiful and familiar tree. Though some had places of sepulture in their pleasure-grounds or gardens, like the Bluebeard in Martial, who had buried seven wives :
Septima jam Phileros tibi conditur uxor in agro : still, if the bodies had been generally buried entire, there might have been difficulty in finding room for the vast sepulchres and vaster monuments of the distinguished families, generation after generation; of those who inherited or claimed from wealth or honours to belong to the nobles of the Republic and of the Empire. But the practice of burning the dead made a sepulchre of moderate dimensions sufficient to receive the remains of whole families, and even of their retainers. Only a small urn, which would hold the ashes was necessary; and these urns might be arranged in the columbaria, the arched alcoves or niches, side by side, row above row, with the lachrymatories, or any other small memorials with which the pious affection of the survivors might wish to honour the departed. The practice of burning the dead was, it is well known, not universal, perhaps had hardly become general, till the later days of the Republic. Sylla, it is said, was the first of the Cornelii whose body was burned. Though the abdicated dictator thought that there was such an awe about his living person, that he might defy the cowed and timid hatred of his enemies, Sylla would secure his sacred remains from insult and
ignominy. But from that time, though the ceremonial of a funeral pyre must have been costly, this seems, by the perpetual allusions in the poets and other writers who touch on Roman manners, to have been the ordinary form of burial with the rich and the great. Nor was it indeed the especial prerogative of the wealthy. Ovid speaks of a plebeian funeral
Et dare plebeio corpus inane rogo.
The common term of the ashes (cineres) of the dead is enough to show its general usage. Indeed in the poetry of the Augustan and later period, allusions to the coffin or the interment are rare and unfrequent; those to the funeral torch, to the pyre (rogus), to the cremation of the dead, common and perpetual; and urns, not large and massive sarcophagi, crowd the monuments of these crowded cemeteries.
We return to our Appian Way. It is to the credit of the present Pope, it has been said, that the opening of this imposing scene may fairly be ascribed. Whether his Holiness has consulted wise counsellors on religious, ecclesiastical, or political matters, we presume not, we are not called upon to judge; but we must do him the justice to say, that in his antiquarian advisers he has been singularly fortunate. No one who visits Rome will speak with anything but respect of the Cavaliere Canina, of Rosa, of Visconti, and the Cavaliere de Rossi. The Appian Way has been the province of Canina ; the works have been conducted throughout by his industry, sagacity, and judgement; and, though he is now lost to Rome and to the world, he has left behind him, among other writings of very high value, the volumes, of which the title appears at the head of our article, the first part of the Appian Way from the Capenian Gate to Bovillæ. This work is a model of antiquarian research ; inquiring, but not too speculative; profound, but not too abstruse ; with imaginary restorations of some of the more remarkable monuments, checked and controlled by good engravings of the ruins as they actually appear. Under
Canina's guidance we seem to walk again on the majestic Appian Way.
Had we space, we should have been delighted—reversing Canina's order—to conduct (shall we say?) some consul on the road from Brundusium, Capua, or Naples, to a triumph ; or some prætor, loaded with the plunder and the curses of some Eastern province; some tributary king on his humiliating pilgrimage to the feet of the Mistress of the World; or, shall we rather say, St. Paul, escorted by his Jewish brethren from his lodging at Appii Forum over the Pomptine Marshes, and bearing the first rays of Christian light to the capital of Heathendom, through the stately throngs of monuments, by the temples, unconscious of their doom, and the luxurious villas, to the Capenian Gate? We must not, however, linger—we fain would linger—but rather proceed with unavoidable celerity, and with only brief remarks on the objects which arrest our attention.
Canina ends, we begin, at Bovillæ.8 Not that Bovilla was the first stage from Rome; that stage, of sixteen miles, reached as far as Aricia :
Egressum magnâ me excepit Aricia Româ; and to Aricia extended the monuments :
Dalla porta Capena alle adjacenze dell'Aricia, per circa sedici miglia di estensione, i monumenti sepolcrali si congiungevano l' uno all'altro senza lasciare alcuno spazio intermedio vuoto, ed anzi spesso nelle posizioni migliori, in vicinanza della città, stavano collocati anchè in doppia fila per ciascun lato.
Old Varro, it should be observed, gives the religious motive for this usage, the admonitory lesson of the monuments :
Sic monimenta quæ in sepulchris, et ideo secundum viam, quo prætereunteis admoneant, et se fuisse, et illos esse mortaleis.
We shall not delay at Bovillæ, even to examine her circus ; nor even before the vast circular nameless tomb on the left between the tenth and eleventh (Roman) mile; or that of still more imposing dimensions, between the tenth and ninth. If indeed the monuments on the whole did read, and were intended to read, a solemn lesson on our common mortality, these two huge mounds are not less eloquent on the nothingness of human pomp and fame. These vast tombs must have been raised, to the memory, doubtless it was hoped and believed, the sempiternal, undying memory, of the great men deposited within them, perhaps with the long procession and all the striking rites which attended the public, or even the private, funerals of the rich and noble. Their size, one measured 120 feet on each side of the square, the diameter of the circle was 100 feet — their splendid ornamentation (whether Canina approaches more or less nearly to their original grandeur in his fanciful restorations) may seem to imply Lucullean luxury, Crassean wealth, Pompeian magnatism, or Cæsarean glory; or it may be, after all, no more than the fond vanity of an admiring or loving family. But not only are these two tombs utterly nameless, without vestige of the rank, station, even the age at which their inmates lived (though Canina, from certain reasons, especially from the materials employed, conjectures that they belong to the later days of the Republic); on one only are three or four disjointed letters, before which even antiquarian boldness of conjecture is baffled, and holds its peace.
* From near Bovillæ the modern road branches off to the right.
As we advance towards Rome the tombs must have been not less vast and imposing; but the obscurity which hangs over the tenants of those tombs is hardly dispersed. Near the ninth milestone stood the stately monument of the Emperor Gallienus, in which, according to Aurelius Victor, at a late period, were deposited the remains of the Cæsar Severus, 4 slain at the Three
The very able writer in Murray's Guide, who describes from Canina the whole line of the Appian Way with its monuments, has fallen, or rather has been misled, into a curious mistake. He has supposed this to refer to Alexander Severus, who, by a singular coincidence, was slain by the connivance, if not by the order, of his successor the Thracian Maximin. But Alexander Severus had been dead and buried thirty years before ; and what should he do in the sepulchre of Gallienus ? The passage in the Epitome of Aurelius Victor, on which the whole rests, is perfectly clear.