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Octavia, his sister, whose body was carried to the tomb by Tiberius, afterwards Emperor. Here, in A.D. 14, the body of the great Augustus was burnt on so huge a pyre that his widow, Livia, watched it for five days and nights before it was cool enough to collect the imperial ashes. Germanicus ; Drusus, son of Tiberius ; Livia, the widow of Augustus ; the Emperors Tiberius, Caligula, Claudius, Nerva—all were buried in this place, where an open-air circus amuses the young Romans of to-day. The Mausoleum was rifled by Alaric in A.D. 409; then it was turned into a fortress, and finally it fell into ruin, but in 1354 it once more became the
scene of another cremation, when the body of Rienzi, the great Tribune, was brought here, after hanging for two days in front of the Church of St. Marcellus, and was burnt in a fire of dry thistles till it was reduced to ashes.
Passing the Church of S. Carlo, the national church of the Lombards, the Via Fontanella leads to the magnificent Palazzo Borghese, containing the best private collection of pictures in Rome, and interesting as the residence of members of the Borghese family from the time of the great Borghese Pope, Paul V. Close by the Palazzo Bernini, to which we have already referred, is the Church of S. Lorenzo, containing the tomb of Nicholas Poussin and the celebrated Crucifixion, by Guido Reni, said by Robert Browning to be “second to nought observable in Rome.” At the corner of the Piazza Colonna is the magnificent Palazzo Chigi, and in the centre of the square is the fine Antonine Column, covered from base to summit with bas-reliefs representing the conquests of the Marcomanni; while at the back of the Piazza Colonna is the Piazza di Monte Citorio, wherein is situated the Chamber of Deputies to the Italian Parliament, the centre of the piazza being occupied by an obelisk brought from Heliopolis by Augustus.
Turning out from the Corso, where it has been widened, and is called the Piazza Sciarra -after the Palazzo Sciarra-Colonna, the handsomest palace in the Corso,—the Fountain of Trevi, the grandest of the many fountains in Rome, is reached. It is a mass of statuary and artificial rock, and the water, which is supplied by the Aqua Virgine, first brought into Rome by Marcus Agrippa, is the brightest and most wholesome and refreshing in the city, and comes rushing and tumbling over ledges of rock and from the mouths and nostrils of stone monsters in prodigious quantities, pouring itself into a huge marble basin—"an artificial lake, on which a boat might float and make mimic voyages.” The background of the fountain is a great palace-front with niches in which are statues of Felicity, Salubrity, and the Four Seasons, and bas-reliefs; and in the centre below, is the mammoth figure of Oceanus on a car drawn by two sea-horses and led by Tritons.
A series of churches is to be found in this neighbourhood; one, the Church of the Caravita, belonging to the Jesuits, and noted for its horrible Lenten “flagellation” services; another, the Church of S. Marcellus, on the site of the house before which the body of the Tribune, Rienzi, after his murder on the steps of the Capitol, was hung up by the feet for two days as a mark for the rabble to throw stones at. But the most interesting of all is the Church of Santa Maria in Via Lata, said to be built upon the site of “his own hired house" in which St. Paul “ dwelt two whole years. “It was here that he converted Onesimus, that he received the presents of the Philippians bought by Epaphroditus; it was here that he wrote to Philemon, to Titus, to the inhabitants of Philippi and of Colosse ; it was here that he preached devotion to the Cross with that glowing eagerness, with that startling eloquence which gained fresh power from contest and which inspiration rendered sublime.” It was here that his friends and disciples came-Onesiphorus of Ephesus, Epaphras of Colosse, Timothy, Hermas, Aristarchus, Marcus, Demas, and Luke, the beloved physician. Three rooms in the present basement of the church are shown as the actual rooms in which he taught and ministered, and it is stated that in this house also St. Luke wrote the Acts of the Apostles and painted a portrait of the Virgin Mary.
Near to this church is the Collegio Romano, formerly under the superintendence of the Jesuits, containing the Kircherian Museum, in which, among many Christian antiquities, Roman coins, and curiosities, is a piece of a wall discovered on the Palatine, in one of the chambers occupied as guard-rooms by the Prætorian troops. It is a caricature, roughly scratched, of a human figure nailed to the cross, with the head of an ass, and by the side two men in the attitude of worship, while underneath is a rude, mis-spelt and ungrammatical inscription, “ Alexamenos prays to his god.” It is just such a work as might be done to-day by streetboys in times of political or religious agitation, and there can be no doubt that this is a caricature by one of the Prætorian guard ridiculing the faith of a Christian comrade.
Passing the enormous Palazzo Doria, and the almost equally enormous Palazzo Colonna -both containing wonderful treasures of art--and only glancing at the Church of the Santi Apostoli-namely, St. Philip and St. James the Less, whose traditional graves are here-we reach the end of the Corso, known as the Ripresa dei Barberi on account of the horses which run in the races during the Carnival being caught here in large folds of drapery let down across the street to prevent their dashing themselves to pieces against the opposite wall. Here the vast Palazzo di Venezia, the residence of the Austrian Ambassador, intervenes, and in order to reach the Capitol we must make our way through unimportant side-streets.
There is one shop in the Corso which ought to set every one thinking who sees it. It is a Depôt of the Bible Society—the whole window filled with copies of the Italian version of the Scriptures, spread open, one at this page and one at another, so that he who runs may read. Here the whole of the New Testament may be purchased for less than threepence, and a separate Gospel for less than a penny. It is not many years since that a Bible was a perilous possession in Rome. Prior to the Italian occupation no assembly of heretics was permitted within the city; now there is a considerable number of Protestant places of worship, with schools attached, where children are taught from the Scriptures.
In glancing thus roughly at only a few of the many objects of interest in a walk along the Corso, it will be obvious that they crowd upon us in a manner which renders description in detail quite impossible. And not the Corso alone, but almost every street in Rome has churches, galleries, and public buildings which are full of interest to artist, archæologist, historian, and general student.
Five minutes' walk from the Corso—the gayest street of modern Rome—we stand on the threshold of ancient Rome, among the ruins and reminiscences of classical antiquity.
Three approaches lead to the Capitoline Hill: to the right, a winding road ; to the left, the flight of one hundred and twenty-five steps leading to the Church of the Ara Cæli; and in the middle, asphalte stairs. Ascending these, some water-spouting lions are passed ; statues of the sons of Constantine adorn the balustrade; the first ancient milestone of the Appian Way is seen, and at the summit are the celebrated groups of Castor and Pollux. The piazza at the head of this stairway is the Piazza del Campidoglio—the Intermontium, where Brutus addressed the populace after the murder of Julius Cæsar. In the centre is the famous bronze statue of Marcus Aurelius-once standing in the Forum near the Arch of Septimius Severus—the “most majestic representation of the kingly character the world has ever seen,” according to Hawthorne, and the only perfect ancient equestrian statue in existence. Beyond this statue is the Palace of the Senators, with handsome flights of steps on either side designed by Michael Angelo, and in the centre a fountain with river gods and a sitting statue of Minerva as Rome. In the Campanile is the great bell of Viterbo, which is only rung to convoke the Senators, and to announce the opening of the Carnival and the death of a Pope. This Palace occupies one side of the piazza, and the other two sides are filled by the Palazzo dei Conservatori on the left, or west, and the Capitoline Museum of Sculpture on the right, or east. It is in the latter that the world-famed “Dying Gladiator," the Venus of the Capitol, the “Boy extracting a Thorn from his Foot;" the bronze Wolf, said to be the wolf described by Cicero as having been struck by lightning; the Antinous of the Capitol; the Faun of Praxiteles, on which the story of “Transformation ” by Hawthorne is founded, and many other celebrated works of art are to be found; while in the Palace of the Conservatori are the Protomoteca—a suite of eight rooms filled with busts of eminent Italians—and the picture gallery.
Standing on the height of the Capitol, we have on one hand the Tarpeian Rock, and on the other the Church of Ara Cæli, believed to be the site of the famous Temple of Jupiter Capitolinus. The Tarpeian Rock, from whence traitors were hurled, taking the famous leap that “cured all ambition," is not so horrible a precipice now as it was in the brave days of old, the bottom having been filled up with buildings and débris, but it is still steep enough to inspire dread, even though it is approached through a pleasant garden, with wild flowers growing in profusion on the fatal edge, and ferns and forget-me-nots peeping out from crannies in the cliff. The Church of Ara Cæli-so named from a legend that Augustus erected an altar here to Christ with the inscription, “ Ara Primogeniti Dei”-is in many respects one of the most curious and interesting in Rome, and certainly the interior is one of the most picturesque. It is made up of any number of styles of architecture, and is as much a museum of curiosities as a church. The floor is of the ancient mosaic known as Opus Alexandrinum, broken up by monumental slabs with worn-out inscriptions and effigies almost obliterated; the nave is separated from the aisles by twenty-two columns of varying size and material, taken from ancient edifices; the walls of the chapels are covered with rare frescoes; and the transepts are full of curious monuments. In the Holy Chapel is the altar marking the spot where it is said the altar of Augustus was erected to the First-born of God; in the chapel dedicated to Saint Anthony of Padua, a quaint variety of ex-votos adorn the walls, placed there by pious people who have escaped every deadly peril conceivable to life and limb through the good offices of the saint. In the chapel of the Presepio, only open at Christmas time, there is a set-scene which is then exhibited, of the Nativity, all the figures being life-size, and then the celebrated Bambino forms part of the show. At other times it is only to be seen upon application to the authorities of the church. Il Santissimo Bambino (the Most Holy Child) is a wooden doll, about two feet high, said to have been carved from olive-wood from the Mount of Olives, crowned with a gold crown resplendent with emeralds, rubies, and diamonds, and robed in swaddling clothes literally covered with precious stones. The Bambino is alleged to have worked many miracles, and is still employed for that purpose when all human aid is failing or has failed. It is taken in a state-carriage to see patients, and the people in the streets, if they be decently devout, uncover their heads and kneel as it passes. The great festival of the Bambino is celebrated annually in the presence of a vast assembly, when the priests take the doll to the head of the great stair-way leading up to the church, and, amid the crash of music, the waving of censers, and the hum of voices, the Bambino is raised above the head of the priest, when every head is uncovered, every knee is bent, the soldiers on duty present arms, and the Bambino is worshipped, as Mr. Hobart Seymour says, "as if the Eternal Jehovah were visibly present in the image," and "with idolatry as gross as any that was ever found in Pagan Rome.”
Numberless associations crowd on the memory and imagination while standing in this Church of Ara Cæli. “It was here that Romulus, in the grey dawning of Rome, built the temple of Jupiter Feretrius. Here the spolia opima were deposited. Here the triumphal processions of the emperors and generals ended. Here the victors paused before making their vows, until from the Mamertine prisons below the message came to announce that their noblest prisoner and victim—while the clang of their triumph and his defeat rose ringing in his ears, as the procession ascended the steps—had expiated with death the crime of being the enemy of Rome. On the steps of Ara Cæli, nineteen centuries ago, the first great Cæsar