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due time, and Moons will be carried before the Coach, when dark, on mornings and evenings, for the safety of the Coach in travelling.
Performed by us, William Allen, Thomas Taylor. N.B. Notice will be given in this paper, a week before the Coach will leave off performing this stage in two days."
An Essay on the Villas of the Augustan Age, their architectural disposition and
enrichments, and on the remains of Roman domestic edifices discovered in Great Britain. By Thomas MOULE 8vo. pp. 179.
Modern discoveries have furnished most satisfactory data for a work like this; and, when they are compared with incidental passages in classic writers, a doubly
reflected light both on the volume and the vestige itself must be the result. This, indeed, is the mode which has been judiciously adopted in the publication before us. “In the time of Horace, who wrote in the reign of Augustus, every man, who was rich enough, had his country seat in the charming Campania, and the district of Naples, Baiæ, Puteoli, &c. was preferred, being the most beautiful sea-coast in the world.” On this, we observe, that the love of rural retirement and relaxation was so strong with the ancients, that they considered it as the supreme happiness and the reward of spirits admitted into a blissful eternity. Hence the fabled Elysian Fields.
In this remote province of the Roman Empire, Britain, the same taste evidently prevailed; and hence the extensive remains of splendid villas which have been found from time to time at a distance from any acknowledged Roman station.
Horace dwells with delight, whenever he has an opportunity, on the pleasures of a country life, and the younger Pliny'sa elegant description of his Tuscan Villa should be referred to whenever these matters become the subject of discussion.
Although a general conformity of style and disposition of apartments may be supposed in the larger mansions of the Romans, existing remains and the authority of classic writers shew that one strictly uniform rule of design cannot be insisted on.
The Roman Villa after Vitruvius is made the immediate text for the author's illustrations (see the elegant little Plan prefixed to the volume). The principal features noticed are the Prothyrum, vestibule, or lobby; contiguous to this, was the porter's lodge, inscribed with the caution, “Cave Canem,” Beware of the Dog. The porter was a slave chained to his post. The dog was, sometimes, merely a painting of the animal on the wall, or a representation in mosaic. In the country, it is rational to suppose that a real Cerberus would guard the porch of the villa. The atrium, or covered hall; here the domestics and retainers of the family congregated. _In the centre was an open space, styled the “ Impluvium,” in which was a Tank, Compluvium, for retaining the rainwater falling from the roof. The Peristyle, or inner court, was surrounded on all sides, as its name implies, by a colonnade; in the centre was a cistern for gold and silver fish, or an ornamental fountain. A Xystus, or parterre of shrubs and flowers, filled up the remainder of the open space.b Oneither side of the Peristyle were the cubicula, or apartments of the family; the Pinacotheca, or picture gallery ; the Bibliotheca, or library; the Exhedræ, spacious parlours, or locutories. The Oeci, or saloons, of which, it is stated, there were several, are defined as banquetting rooms, and were painted with designs, from which each particular room received its name, as the Hall of the Seasons, &c. Here is a discrepancy between the text and the plan, for we do not find the position
* Plin. Epist. lib. V. epist. VI.
b The Romans frequently placed shrubs upon the roofs of their villas, thus forming a sort of hanging garden. See several examples in paintings on the walls of Pompeii.
of these oeci described upon the latter, and are left either to consider them as identical with the Triclinia or dining rooms, or distinguish them from the latter as we may. However, " asarotos oecus, the unswept room, was a name once given to a Triclinium, on account of the singularity of the design of the mosaic pavement, which, by the caprice of the artist, was made to represent all kinds of fragments of a feast.” p. 129. A pavement of this kind, it may be remarked, was lately discovered at Rome. The oecus, if not identical with the peristyle, as some have thought, may be considered to be a larger triclinium, for the purpose of entertaining company; it was, according to Vitruvius, to be made of the same proportions as to length and breadth as the triclinium, that is, twice its width in length. If it was surrounded by a simple row of columns, it was called Corinthian; but, if constructed of two orders, the upper closed with windows, it was termed Egyptian, and appeared like a Basilica. In either case the area included was left uncovered for the admission of light. There were oeci which were constructed open towards the north, with a view of the viridarium; they were made sufficiently capacious to admit of two triclinia opposite to each other, and commanded, by windows, a view of the hortus or garden. The Viridarium, or pseudo-garden itself, was occasionally used as a dining-room ; for, in that of the house of Actaon, at Pompeii, a triclinium, with its reclining stone benches, and trapezophoron, or table-foot, are visible.
We are not, ourselves, disposed to confound the oecus with the peristyle, but, we believe, it was the most important and splendid apartment of the house, and so termed Oikos, par excellence ; it had no small correspondence with the great hall of the mansions of the middle age, which was always, it will be remembered, the banqueting room. Although not the peristyle as a distinctive term, its columns ranked it in the peristyle order. The spacious room at the end of the peristyle, with a semicircular termination, and facing the garden in Mr. Moule's plan, lettered E, may, therefore, be referred to as oecus or basilica.
Other details are the Sacrarium or domestic chapel, a little private court, in the midst of which stood an altar for sacrifice; and, on the opposite side, a little temple dedicated to the Bona Dea. The Lararium, in which the Penates were lodged; of these there were four classes, the celestial, marine, and infernal gods, and all demi-gods or heroes who had received divine honours; these last, comparable in some sort with the saints of Romish worship, to whom supplications are idolatrously made. The Culina or Kitchen
“ The extent of the Roman kitchen was enormous, being sometimes no less than 148 feet in length.—The decoration appropriated to a kitchen was a representation of the Fornicalia, or festival in honour of the goddess Fornax, who expressly presided
This favourite subject was surrounded by abundance of fish, flesh, and fowl; with all the various kinds of food required in grand entertainments. Here was found painted on the wall fish ready for dressing, hams, wild boars prepared for the spit, birds, hares, and, in short, every edible thing-not unlike the celebrated Flemish pictures of dead game. The pavement of the Culina was a fine black composition, possessing the peculiar property of imbibing water, so that the floor was always dry."--p. 89.
The Hortus and Viridarium cannot have been placed as synonymous epithets; for the Viridarium was a conservatory, the walls of which were painted in imitation of a garden; at least, this was the case in town residences of the Romans, where there might, sometimes, be no open Hortus.
The old style of gardening was strictly Roman, for they clipped their shrubs into forms of animals, pillars, &c. The box, Pliny tells us, “was cut into a thousand different forms; sometimes into letters expressing the name of the master, sometimes that of the artificer, whilst here and there little obelisks rise intermixed alternately with fruit trees.”
< See it described in Gent. Mag. vol. ciii. pt. ii. p. 63. # Pompeiana, vol. 1. p. 148.
• Ibid. p. 177. Melmoth's Pliny, book 5, letter VI.
The Hippodrome of the Hortus was no place for horse exercise, as the name would seem to imply, but an extensive ambulatory formed like a race course, “A covered road surrounded by plane trees, bound with creeping ivy, and wild vines ranging from branch to branch, which, clinging to their trunks, convected the trees together in the same manner that garlands were formed or wreaths of laurel disposed for a festival.” p. 102. An inscription in a Roman garden, informed the walker, that when he had made five turns of the deambulatory he had completed a mile.
IN . HOC POMARIO GESTATIONIS.
PER. CIRCUITUM . ITUM.
PASSUS MILLE. Of the hydraulics of the Hortus, Pliny gives us a pleasant account, when he tells us he often took his supper by the side of a polished marble basin, full of limpid water, but which never overflowed ; that this fountain served him for a table, the larger dishes were placed round the margin, and smaller ones swam about, in the form of little vessels and water fowl.
In the Spheristerium, the Romans prepared themselves for dinner or principal meal by violent exercise, which was succeeded by a bath.-p. 104. "The exercises were tennis or quoits. Balnea, our author affirms, was applicable to private baths; Thermæ to the public.-p. 164.
Mr. Moule closes his well-digested and entertaining little volume with some apposite remarks on Roman buildings in Britain.
"A colony so fertile and abounding in beautiful situations, (he says) it can hardly be doubted, was, in course of time, inhabited by many Roman adventurers, who migrated hither with their families, and built villas or country seats, where they lived in some degree of elegance. The Romanized Britons also built houses, temples, courts, market places in their towns, and adorned them with porticos and baths, with mosaic pavements, and with every Roman improvement ... but, as it is known that the form of the houses frequently varied to adapt them to the climate of the country in which they were built, the plans of the Roman villas in Britain can hardly be expected to agree in every particular with those in the immediate vicinity of the city of Rome."-p. 164.
Mr. Moule notices the often cited assertion of Tacitus, that Agricola, having subdued the Britons in order that he might "by a taste of pleasures reconcile them to inactivity and repose, he first privately exhorted them, then publicly assisted them, to build temples, houses, and places of assembling."h
A remarkable proof has presented itself to our observation of the wild state of the country when these disciples of the Roman builders began to adopt their art. Tiles have frequently been discovered marked with what have been considered the impressions of dog's feet,' and antiquaries have been derided for the mention of so trivial a circumstance, proving little more than that the Romans kept dogs, and that they ran like modern dogs upon four legs. We have seen, however, some specimens of tiles impressed, not with the feet of dogs but of wolves, shewing that, while the RomanoBritons were busied in forming their bricks, the savage prowlers of the wild had passed over them yet unbaked, in their nightly rambles for their prey. Here, in an apparently insignificant circumstance, is matter on which the reflecting mind may amplify. She pictures to herself the Romans instructing the barbarous Celts in the useful arts, and circumscribing the limits of ferocious animals ; thus asserting the charter of dominion granted to man over the animal creation in the beginning of all things.k
& Quinquiens, as we read in Mr. Moule's volume, is, doubtless, a typographical error.
Tacit. in vit. Agric.
To resume and conclude our remarks on this ingenious essay. It bears the stamp of classical reading, judgment, and good taste. The quotations from Latin writers are numerous and apposite. The unlearned reader will thank Mr. Moule that he has rejected all pedantic display, and cited the English translation ; the learned would, perhaps, have been better satisfied, as the words of an original writer are a sort of oral testimony, if he had quoted them also. However, this would have considerably swelled the size of this elegant little manual of the economy of Roman Villas. The frontispiece, of a Roman room and furniture, is a pleasing composition, in which the frontispiece to the Pompeiana has been chiefly followed, with the exception of the heavy chair placed in the foreground, for the form of which, is there be authority, there is none we think for the perspective into which it is thrown.
MINOR CORRESPONDENCE. The Omnibus.–Our neighbours the French have the credit of introducing these convenient and economical vehicles into our streets; but, when minutely traced, their claim to the invention, as in many other cases of supposed invention, may admit of dispute. The following paragraph extracted from the Public Advertiser newspaper, January 18th, 1772, would imply that the idea at least originated in England. The vehicle alluded to was to carry the same number of persons, and at the same price, as at present. Hackney-coaches were then thought, it seems, a kind of nuisance in the streets ; at present that objection is applied to the Omnibus ; both are most useful in their way, and in the occasional annoyance which either may give us, we should not forget their benefits :
"We hear that, in order to preserve the pavements, and prevent the multiplicity of Hackney-coaches crowding up the streets, a new-contrived coach will be built, to carry fourteen passengers from Charing Cross to the Royal Exchange at sixpence each. 'Tis to be built on Mr. Jacobs' new principle, the hind-wheels seven feet high, the front six. This carriage will turn a corner with as much ease as any Hackneycoach can at present. The Commissioners, knowing the utility of such a machine, will immediately grant it a licence. 'Tis to set off at a minute at regulated hours."
Archery.--A Gloucestershire Toxophilite, signing himself “ One of the Sceptics," calls upon us to decide a dispute relative to the assertion, that when an Archer looses an arrow from a bow of 50lbs. he exerts a power equal to 100lbs. He disputes this point, and maintains that the draught exerted is uivalent to 50lbs. only. For the uninitiated to comprehend this query, it must be explained that the power of the bow is tried by an ingenious method, invented by the late Mr. Waring, viz. the bow being fixed on a certain point, suspending a weight to the string sufficient to draw an arrow of 27 inches length to its head. According to the weight necessary for this purpose the power of the bow is said to be, and the greater the power of course the further its cast. Now it will be evident on reflection, and is mathematically demonstrable, that the mere drawing power is not the only power exerted to bring the arrow's head up to : the bow-there must be a power of equal resistance to keep the bow in its place during the act of drawing. This may be proved by fixing the bow itself to a weight, which, to hold it in one place, must be equal to the weight used for drawing the string. Thus, therefore, in shooting in a 50lbs. bow, the right hand draws 50lbs. and the left hand resists or supports the draught of 50lbs. or the arrow would never be drawn to the head. The aggregate power exerted is therefore 100lbs., divided, however, between the two arms, as has been said.-We refer the querist for confirmation of this opinion to the note at the foot of page 104 of that excellent work The English Bowman ; and with every wish for the extended revival of the noble science of Archery (to which our pages have perhaps in some degree contributed), and for his own pleasure and proficiency therein, are forced to decide against him.
Tottenham Cross.-ANTIQUARIUS, who inquires for the true history of Tottenham Cross, is referred to Robinson's History of Tottenham, 1818, p. 20. The current surmise, that it was one of Queen Eleanor's Crosses (which Dr. Robinson mentions) has evidently been suggested by the neighbouring Cross of Waltham, in the minds of some innocent cockneys who never saw any other Crosses save those two ; although the near vicinity of Waltham Cross ought to have been a sufficient refutation of that idea to any reflecting person.
A Correspondent will feel obliged to any of our Readers who can point out where the Lady's Magazine for 1761-2 (published by Wilkie), may be seen or purchased.-Also, the Public Ledger for the year 1761.
The Correspondent who signs DE LICHENSCRIDAN is informed that, in the case of the early Bishops he mentions, Lawrence is their Christian and not their surname.
The Tragedy of Antigore, the Theban Princess. By Thomas May. 1631. 4to.
Tuis Play is not distinguished by any felicitous arrangement of incidents, any passages of sublimity, or any noble inventions of genius; but it is the work of a scholar; and, like the other productions of the same author, has a plain, temperate, and manly style, not devoid of poetical ornament, or classical conceptions. The soliloquy of Æmon reminds us of a passage in the Comus of Milton.
How well this sad and solitary place
To wait on her, and bear her company. The reason, however, for which we have called attention to this Play (whick is not of common occurrence), was to point out the manner in which May, in common with other well-known poets, as Jonson and Middleton, has imitated the incantation of the Witches in Macbeth.
Creon. What things are these ?
On these dead bodies that bestrew the field
And things to come.
I'H follow them, Ianthus,
Hags. We come too late ; nor can this field
To us a speaking prophet yield.
The hid decrees of Death and Fate.