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We can but pass on, noting the principal objects of interest as we go. To our left is the Arch of Septimius Severus, built in the year A.D. 204, its bas-reliefs illustrating the victories of that Emperor in the East. Every inch of ground around here is full of associations; there is the site of the Rostrum where the head of Octavius was placed, and the head and hands of the murdered Cicero. (“The assassins cut off his head and hands," says Plutarch, "and carrying them to Rome, presented them to Anthony, who had them fixed up in the Rostra in the Forum.” Cicero was killed on the 7th December, 43 B.c.) Here, in the area of the comitium, grew the fig-tree under which Romulus and Remus were suckled by the wolf. There is the Vulcanal, where Brutus sat unmoved and saw his two sons beaten and beheaded. There are the ruins of the Temple of Concord, in which Cicero convoked the Senate, 63 B.C., and uttered his second oration against Catiline. Those three exquisite columns are all that is left of the magnificent Temple of Vespasian, erected by Titus to his deified father. That massive wall was part of the Tabularium, the “Great Record Office of Ancient Rome.” Those eight Ionic columns form part of the Temple of Saturn, where from the most ancient times the State Treasury was established. Between this temple and that of Vespasian, is the Colonnade of the Twelve Gods, a low range of columns representing the school of Xanthus, and used by the public scribes and notaries. Now, looking towards the Via Sacra, as it runs in the direction of the Arch of Titus, we have directly in front of us the Column of Phocas, erected in honour of that tyrant in A.D. 608, and called by Byron “the nameless column with a buried base.” To the right is the Basilica Julia, commenced by Julius Caesar and finished by Augustus, who dedicated it in honour of his daughter. Beyond it are three magnificent Corinthian columns of Parian marble, the remains of the Temple of Castor and Pollux, erected after the decisive victory gained at Lake Regillus. “Here costly sacrifices were always offered on the ides of July, at the anniversary of the battle of Regillus, after which the Roman knights, richly clothed, crowned with olive, and bearing their trophies, rode past it in military procession, starting from the Temple of Mars, outside the Porta Capena.” *
Passing by many square brick pedestals marking ancient foundations, and many interesting fragments which have been invaluable to archæologists in determining ancient sites and closing for ever modern controversies, we make our way to the Church of S. Lorenzo in Miranda, built into the Temple of Faustina, of which the portico, formed by ten monolith columns of Carystian marble, and a part of the marble cornice, as well as the walls of the cella, are still entire. The temple was dedicated to the Empress Faustina by Antoninus, A.D. 138, and is known to have been a collegiate church in the time of Martin V., who in 1430 gave it to the Confraternity of Apothecaries. All that remains of the once famous Temple of Vesta is an almost shapeless mass of concrete. It was founded by Numa Pompilius, and was “the abode of the vestal virgins during life and after death; the shrine in which they preserved the Palladium, veiled from sacrilegious eyes; and where, typical of the social hearth of the Roman people, they kept the sacred fire for ever burning.”+ Adjoining this was in all probability the Regia, or Royal Palace, where Julius Cæsar lived; from whence he went out to meet his death ; where his wife Calpurnia, in her frenzy of grief, rushed forward to receive his dead body; and where, in front of the Palace, his remains were burned. The Church of SS. Cosma and Damiano, two Arabian Hare, “ Walks in Rome.”
+ Wood, “New Curiosum Urbis."
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