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tues, I met with in two antique pieces of Mosaic, which are in the possession of a cardinal. The Retiarius is engaged with the Samnite, and has had so lucky a throw, that his net covers the whole body of his ad. versary from head to foot, yet his antagonist recovered himself out of the toils, and was conqueror, according to the inscription. In another piece is represented the combat of the Pinnirapus, who is armed like the Samnite, and not like the Retiarius, as some learned men have supposed : on the helmet of his antagonist are seen the two Pinnæ, that stand up on either side like the wings in the petasus' of a Mercury, but rise much higher, and are more pointed.
There is no part of the Roman antiquities that we are better acquainted with, than what relates to their sacrifices. For as the old Romans were very much devoted to their religion, we see several parts of it entering their ancient basso relievos, statues, and medals, not to mention their altars, tombs, monuments, and those particular ornaments of architecture which were borrowed from it. An heathen ritual could not instruct a man better than these several pieces of antiquity, in the particular ceremonies and punctilios that attended the different kinds of sacrifices. Yet there is much greater variety in the make of the sacrificing instruments, than one finds in those who have treated of them, or have given us their pictures. For not to insist too long on such a subject, I saw in Signior Antonio Polito's collection, a patera without any rising in the middle, as it is generally engraven, and another with a handle to it, as Macrobius describes it, though it is quite contrary to any that I have ever seen cut in marble; and I have observed, perhaps, several hundreds. I might here enlarge on the shape of the triumphal chariot, which is different in some pieces of sculpture from what it appears in others; and on the figure of the discus, that is to be seen in the hand of the celebrated Castor at Don Livio's, which is perfectly round, and not oblong, as some antiquaries have represented it, nor has it any thing like a sling fastened to it, to add force to the toss.
Protinus imprudens, actusque cupidine lusus
De Hyacinthi disco. Ov. Met. lib. 10.
Went to snatch up the rolling orb in haste. Notwithstanding, there are so great a multitude of cloathed statues at Rome, I could never discover the several different Roman garments, for 'tis very difficult to trace out the figure of a vest, through all the plaits and foldings of the drapery; besides that, the Roman garments did not differ from each other, so much by the shape as by the embroidery and colour, the one of which was too nice for the statuary's observation, as the other does not lie within the expression of the chissel. I observed, in abundance of bas reliefs, that the cinctus gabinus is nothing else but a long garment, not unlike a surplice, which would have trailed on the ground had it hung loose, and was therefore gathered about the middle with a girdle. After this it is worth while to read the laborious description that Ferrarius has made of it. Cinctus gabinus non aliud fuit quàm cum togæ lacinia lævo brachio sudducta in tergum ita rejiciebatur, ut contracta retraheretur ad pectus, atque ita in nodum necteretur ; qui nodus sive cinctus togam contrahebat, brevioremque et strictiorem reddidit. De re Vestiar. L. 1. c. 14. Lipsius's description of the Samnite armour, seems drawn out of the very words of Livy; yet not long ago a statue, which was dug up at Rome, dressed in this kind of armour, gives a much different explication of Livy from what Lipsius has done. This figure was superscribed BA. TO. NI. from whence Fabretti concludes, that it was a monument erected to the gladiator Bato, who, after having succeeded in two combats, was killed in the third, and honourably interred by order of the Emperor Caracalla. The manner of punctuation after each
· Vid. Fabr. de Columnâ Trajani.
syllable is to be met with in other antique inscriptions. I confess I could never learn where this figure is now to be seen, but I think it may serve as an instance of the great uncertainty of this science of antiquities.
In a palace of Prince Cesarini, I saw busts of all the Antonine family, which were dug up about two years since, not far from Albano, in a place where is supposed to have stood a villa of Marcus Aurelius. There are the heads of Antoninus Pius, the Faustinas, Marcus Aurelius, Lucius Verus, a young Commodus, and Annius Verus, all incomparably well cut.
Though the statues that have been found among the ruins of old Rome are already very numerous, there is no question but posterity will have the pleasure of seeing many noble pieces of sculpture which are still undiscovered, for, doubtless, there are greater treasures of this nature under ground, than what are yet brought to light. They have often dug into lands that are described in old authors, as the places where such particular statues or obelisks stood, and have seldom failed of success in their pursuits. There are still many such promising spots of ground that have never been searched into. A great part of the Palatine mountain, for example, lies untouched, which was formerly the seat of the imperial palace, and may be presumed to abound with more treasures of this nature than any other part of Rome,
Ecce Palatino crevit reverentia monti,
CLAUD. de Sexto Consulat. Honorii.
This sure the pompous mansion was design'd
And lodg'd amidst her guardian gods appears. But whether it be that the richest of these discoveries fall into the pope's hands, or for some other reason, it is said that the prince Farnese, who is the present owner of this seat, will keep it from being turned up 'till he sees one of his own family in the chair. There are undertakers in Rome who often purchase the digging of fields, gardens, or vineyards, where they find any
likelihood of succeeding, and some have been known to arrive at great estates by it. They pay according to the dimensions of the surface they are to break up, and after having made essays into it, as they do for coal in England, they rake into the most promising parts of it. though they often find, to their disappointment, that others have been beforehand with them. However, they generally gain enough by the rubbish and bricks, which the present architects value much beyond those of a modern make, to defray the charges of their search. I was shown two spaces of ground, where part of Nero's golden house stood, for which the owner has been offered an extraordinary sum of money. What encouraged the undertakers, are several very ancient trees, which grow upon the spot, from whence they conclude that these particular tracts of ground must have lain untouched for some ages. 'Tis pity there is not something like a public register, to preserve the memory of such statues as have been found from time to time, and to mark the particular places where they have been taken up, which would not only prevent many fruitless searches for the future, but might often give a considerable light into the quality of the place, or the design of the statue.
But the great magazine for all kinds of treasure, is supposed to be the bed of the Tiber. We may be sure, when the Romans lay under the apprehensions of seeing their city sacked by a barbarous enemy, as they
have done more than once, that they would take care to bestow such of their riches this way as could best bear the water : besides, what the insolence of a brutish conqueror may be supposed to have contributed, who had an ambition to waste and destroy all the beauties of so celebrated a city. I need not mention the old common-shore of Rome, which ran from all parts of the town with the current and violence of an ordinary river, nor the frequent inundations of the Tiber, which may have swept away many of the ornaments of its banks, nor the several statues that the Romans themselves flung into it, when they would revenge themselves on the memory of an ill citizen, a dead tyrant, or a discarded favourite. At Rome they have so general an opinion of the riches of this river, that the Jews have formerly proffered the pope to cleanse it, so they might have for their pains, what they found in the bosom of it. I have seen the valley near Ponte Molle, which they proposed to fashion into a new channel for it, 'till they had cleared the old for its reception. The pope, however, would not comply with the proposal, as fearing the heats might advance too far before they had finished their work, and produce a pestilence among his people; though I do not see why such a design might not be executed now with as little danger as in Augustus's time, were there as many hands employed upon it. The city of Rome would receive a great advantage from the undertaking, as it would raise the banks and deepen the bed of the Tiber, and by consequence free them from those frequent inundations to which they are so subject at present; for the channel of the river is observed to be narrower within the walls, than either below or above them.
Before I quit this subject of the statues, I think it very observable, that among those which are already found there should be so many not only of the same persons, but made after the same design. One would not indeed wonder to see several figures of particular deities and emperors, who had a multitude of temples erected to them, and had their several sets of worshipVOL. II.