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in elucidating his life and writings such as is only devoted to the great classics of a language. We believe that all his fellowlabourers will agree in assigning to Dr. Payen precedence in their joint efforts. His name, like that of Mademoiselle de Gournay, must ever be associated with that of Montaigne. But investigation is still in progress. It is far from complete. It has not arrived at that stage, nor have its results been yet sufficiently sifted to allow such a biography of Montaigne to be written as will last, and we must regard M. Grün's volume as a temporary and only partial substitute.
Art. V.- Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography. Edited
by William Smith, LL.D. Illustrated by numerous engravings on wood. Part XV. (including Roma'). London,
1856. THE part of this extensive and highly interesting compilation,
which we have adopted for the subject of this paper, contains the names of ancient geography from "Pytho' to • Salassi,' in a hundred and ninety closely printed pages in double column; but far the greater share of this space is occupied by the single article • Roma,' which reaches from page 719 to page 855 of the volume, and comprises an amount of matter fully equal to an ordinary octavo. As in almost every other important article of the collection the subject is discussed with great learning and research, together with independence and originality. The writer bas personally examined the ground of which he treats; he has investigated the remains of Roman antiquity on the spot; he has impressed a series of pictures on his eye which neither description nor maps and p.ans could adequately supply; he has studiću the works of his predecessors with the writings of the ancients in his hand; he has exercised his own judgment upon them, and submitted his mind implicitly to no teacher among them. Accordingly he has produced an essay which in manner as well as in matter deserves to rank as a substantive work of topography, and may fairly claim to be noticed as such by a journal of contemporary literature like our own. The initials which he has appended to it are those which have represented in Dr. Smith's earlier dictionaries the respectable name of Mr. Thomas Dyer, and there can be no reason why we should refuse ourselves the pleasure of giving it the prominence which is its due. Mr. Dyer's article on Rome reviews in the first place the physical history of the site of the ancient city VOL. XCIX. NO. CXCVIII.
from its foundation to its decline and ruin, and then proceeds to illustrate the features of its topography one by one, its walls and hills, its streets and buildings, with all the light which has been shed upon them, conflicting and dubious as it often is, by a long series of Italian and German antiquarians. It closes with a sketch of the sources and literature of Roman topography; and it is precisely because in this long series, with the exception of Mr. Bunbury's, no English name of any importance occurs,for Lumisden, Burton, and Burgess are mere compilers, and have added nothing of their own to our knowledge of the subject, that we are disposed to give all the publicity we can command to the treatise before us, which comes at last to redeem our English archæology from the reproach of its long and unworthy silence.
It may be allowed that the cautious and solid character of English scholarship has not found the most genial soil for its development amidst the shadows and uncertainties of Roman topography. There has been indeed no lack of theorists and triflers among our untaught antiquarians generally; but the study of Roman antiquity requires sound classical training, and our best furnished scholars have either shrunk from it altogether, or have seen little more than a treacherous mirage in many of the visions over which more sanguine sciolists have clapped their hands and cried Eureka! If we are not mistaken, Mr. Bunbury, whose contributions to our knowledge of this subject, published some years ago in the Classical Museum,' combined, as far as they went, the merit of originality and accuracy, has felt too sensibly the insecurity of the foundations on which · Roman topography' is built, to complete the work of which he has given us so many interesting sketches. Certainly the more we come to know of the subject the more we must feel how deeply ignorant we are of it; how fallacious many of our most cherished conclusions have been proved; how completely we have lost the key to its most interesting problems. The points on which we seem to be most in the dark are often those which were most clear, most familiar to the Romans themselves ; points so familiar to them that they could allow themselves to speak of them with fatal vagueness. The literary notices of antiquity have been turned in every light, and in every light they have seemed to give some new result; they have been sisted and examined by every fresh experimentalist, and each succeeding examination has seemed to bring out some contradictions to every previous conclusion. In the mean time now and then a real discovery has been made by the only sure process of excavation, which has too clearly revealed to us the insecurity of all other methods, and
taught us at last to look to excavation almost alone for the solution, which will no doubt one day be furnished, of the questions which have so long and so importunately vexed us.
Nevertheless Dr. Smith's work required an article on the city of Rome; and we may congratulate him, as well as the English public, on its having fallen into the hands of Mr. Dyer, who has shown independence equal to his learning, together with the sobriety of judgment which is essential to success in the under taking, in sifting the theories of his predecessors, and examining afresh every notice of literature and every vestige of antiquity presented by the spot. On the whole he has held the scales with fairness and good judgment between the Germans and the Italians, who represent the chief contending schools of Roman topographers; between Niebuhr, Bunsen, Becker, and Preller on one side, and Nardini, Nibby, and Canina, on the other; but the Germans, besides waging war at all points against the Italians, have unfortunately many grounds of internal dissension among themselves, and Mr. Dyer has occasion not unfrequently to enter the lists of this civil warfare also, and reconcile or separate Becker and the numerous foes he has provoked,—to adjudge the palm between Roman topography in Rome' and Roman topography in Leipsic.'
It is not our intention to enter into the merits of these controversies, or to examine generally the great questions upon which they have arisen, which we should despair of making interesting to the ordinary reader, and which would require not only an array of maps and plans, but of Greek and Latin texts also, such as would hardly be suitable to this place. We will content ourselves with noticing Mr. Dyer's views on three or four points only, which from their novelty and importance may serve to stamp the character of his work.
1. In the first place, if we may judge from the map he has given us of ancient Rome, Mr. Dyer has departed from the common opinion regarding the direction of the Via Flaminia, or more properly the Via Lata, which led from the Porta Ratumena at the north foot of the Capitoline to the Porta Flaminia in the Aurelian walls. This street has generally been supposed to have followed precisely the line of the Strada del Corso, the principal avenue of the modern city, at least through the greater part of its course, but before reaching the walls to have turned with a small angle to the right, so as to make its exit, not by the present Porta del Popolo, but more immediately under the Pincian Hill, or even upon its slope. There is indeed only one reason for supposing this irregularity, so unusual in the lines of Roman road (and the Via Lata was originally the beginning of the military high2 e 2
way way of Flaminius), namely, a passage of Procopius, who informs us that the Goths abstained from attacking the Flaminian Gate because it stood on a declivitous spot, whereas the present termination of the Corso is in the level between the Pincian Hill and the Tiber. It may indeed be questioned whether any stress need be laid upon this statement of Procopius, who may have meant ng more than that the Flaminian Gate, from its proximity to the heights of the Pincian, was more defensible than others; nor is Procopius accurate in other respects in his Roman topography. Certainly a writer of two centuries later speaks of the gate as being liable to inundations of the Tiber, and therefore undoubteally at that time in the same locality it occupies at the present day. But however this may be, that the Via Lata ran for a considerable distance from the Capitoline precisely in the direction of the Corso seems to be ascertained from the portions of its pavement discovered beneath the modern street, and from the remains, which inay still be traced in the same line, of the arches of Claudius, Aurelius, and Diocletian. The column of Antoninus stands also by its side. On the whole topographers will be perhaps most safe in identifying the Via Lata with the Corso throughout, and the outlet of the Porta del Popolo with that of the Flaminian Gate. But Mr. Dyer has gone the extreme length in the other direction. In his map, though he says nothing about it in his text, he draws the Via Lata or Flaminia from the Porta Ratumena to the foot of the Pincian, precisely parallel the whole way to the Corso, at a distance of thirty or forty yards to the right. If this is to be considered as his deliberate judgment upon the subject, so important a deviation from established opinions ought not to be made without statement and defence. As at present advised, we must think it doubly erroneous.
2. Mr. Dyer's views with regard to the position of the Comitium are bold and novel, but we think they have much to recominend them, and that those which have hitherto obtained currency are based on very uncertain grounds. The fact is that the importance which this spot once possessed as the sacred precincts of the Curia, on which the patricians met for their own special assemblies, was lost long before the fall of the Republic. It was Caius Gracclius, according to the common account, who first turned his back upon the Comitium, and fronted the tribes in the Forum in his popular harangues; and from this time at least the distinction between Comitium and Forum was practically abolished. We need not wonder that our authorities, who all lived under the Imperial era, should have spoken with great indistinctness about a locality of which the tradition alone existed in their time. The view, however, of the German topographers, of Niebuhr, Bunsen, Huschke, and Becker, that the Comitium occupied the eastern or upper extremity of the Forum, extending to the slope of the Velia, has obtained very general acceptation from its simplicity, and from the picturesque character it gives to the spot, which has been well brought out in a passage of Arnold's History.
• From the foot of the Capitoline Hill,' he says, vol. ii. p. 459,' to that of the Palatine’ [more correctly to that of the Velia] · there was an open space of unequal breadth, narrowing as it approached the Palatine' (the Velia], and inclosed on both sides between two branches of the Sacred Way. The narrower end was occupied by the Comitium, the place of meeting for the populus or great council of the burghers in the earliest times of the Republic, while its wider extremity was the Forum, in the stricter sense, the market-place of the Romans, and therefore the natural place of meeting for the Commons, who formed the majority of the Roman nation. The Comitium was raised a little above the level of the Forum, like the dais or upper part of our old castle and college halls' [Becker denies, however, that there is any ground for this supposition], . and at its extremity nearest the Forum stood the Rostra, facing at this period towards the Comitium ; so that the speakers addressed, not indeed the patrician multitude, as of old, but the senators, who had in a manner succeeded to their places, and who were accustomed to stand in this part of the assembly, immediately in front of the Senate-house, which looked out upon the Comitium from the northern side of the Via Sacra.'
But from this description it would appear that the Rostra, placed between the Comitium and the Forum, and turned at one time east to face the former, at another west to front the latter, must in either case have stood at right angles to the Curia, which unquestionably looked south. Thus the whole force and value of Arnold's illustration is lost; nor can we recognise any appropriateness in the arrangement as thus described. It may be added, that considering the very confined space in which the primitive dwellers on the Seven Hills were content to transact their affairs, the space thus assigned to the Comitium is far larger than would seem to be requisite,-a space, be it remembered, which even at the time of the Hannibalian war was sometimes covered with an awning for the convenience of the assembled senators. The Italian school of topographers, who have persisted in extending the Forum southwards between the Capitoline and Palatine, have found a place for the Comitium in this southern recess ; but this arrangement, again, is subject to other invincible difficulties. We are obliged to Mr. Dyer for the careful examination of the authorities which he has brought to bear upon the question, and for the specious grounds he has advanced for