« ForrigeFortsett »
forgot the arms and factions of their ancestors, and insensibly became the servants of luxury and government. Instead of maintaining a crowd of tenants and followers, the produce of their estates was consumed in the private expenses which multiply the pleasures and diminish the power of the lord. The Colonna and Ursini vied with each other in the decoration of their palaces and chapels; and their antique splendour was rivalled or surpassed by the sudden opulence of the papal families. In Rome the voice of freedom and discord is no longer heard; and, instead of the foaming torrent, a smooth and stagnant lake reflects the image of idleness and servitude. A Christian, a philosopher, 93 and a patriot, will be equally scanda
lised by the temporal kingdoin of the clergy; and the local ecclesiastical majesty of Rome, the remembrance of her consuls and
triumphs, may seem to embitter the sense and aggravate the shame of her slavery. If we calmly weigh the merits and defects of the ecclesiastical government, it may be praised in its present state as a mild, decent, and tranquil system, exempt from the dangers of a minority, the sallies of youth, the expenses of luxury, and the calamities of war. But these advantages are overbalanced by a frequent, perhaps a septennial, election of a sovereign, who is seldom a native of the country: the reign of a young statesman of threescore, in the decline of his life and abilities, without hope to accomplish, and without children to inherit, the labours of his transitory reign. The successful candidate is drawn from the church, and even the convent,—from the mode of education and life the most adverse to reason, humanity, and freedom. In the trammels of servile faith he has learned to believe because it is absurd, to revere all that is contemptible, and to despise whatever might deserve the esteem of a rational being; to punish error as a crime, to reward mortification and celibacy as the first of virtues; to place the saints of the calendar" above the heroes of Rome and the sages of Athens; and to consider the missal, or the crucifix, as more useful instruments than the plough or the loom. In the office of nuncio, or the rank of cardinal, he may acquire some knowledge of the world; but the primitive stain will adhere to his
* This gradual change of manners and expense is admirably explained by Dr. Adam Smith (Wealth of Nations, vol. i. p. 495–504), who proves, perhaps too beverely, that the most salutary effects have flowed from the meanest and most selfish
93 Mr. Humo (Hist. of England, vol. i. p. 389) too hastily concludes that, if tho civil and ecclesiastical powers be united in the same person, it is of little moment whether he be styled prince or prelato, since the temporal character will always predominate.
94 A Protestant may disdain the unworlay preference of St. Francis or St. Dominic, but he will not rashly condemn the zeal or judgment of Sixtus V., who placed the statues of the apostles St Peter and St. Paul on the vacant columns of Trajan and Antonine.
mind and manners: from study and experience he may suspect the mystery of his profession; but the sacerdotal artist will imbibe some portion of the bigotry which he inculcates. The genius of Sixtus the Fifth os burst from the gloom of a Franciscan cloister. In a reign of five years he exterminated the outlaws and banditti, abolished the profane sanctuaries of Rome, 96 formed a naval and military force, restored and emulated the monuments of antiquity, and, after a liberal use and large increase of the revenue, left five millions of crowns in the castle of St. Angelo. But his justice was sullied with cruelty, his activity was prompted by the ambition of conquest : after his decease the abuses revived; the treasure was dissipated; he entailed on posterity thirty-five new taxes and the venality of offices; and, after his death, his statue was demolished by an ungrateful or an injured people. The wild and original character of Sixtus the Fifth stands alone in the series of the pontiffs: the maxims and effects of their temporal government may be collected from the positive and comparative view of the arts and philosophy, the agriculture and trade, the wealth and population, of the ecclesiastical state. For myself, it is my wish to depart in charity with all mankind, nor am I willing, in these last moments, to offend even the pope and clergy of Rome."
» A wandering Italian, Gregorio Leti, has given the Vita di Sisto Quinto (Amstel. 1721, 3 vols. in 12mo.), a copious and amusing work, but which does not command our absolute confidence. Yet the character of the man, and the principal facts, are supported by the annals of Spondanus and Muratori (A.D. 1585-1590) and the contemporary history of the great Thuanus (1. lxxxii. c. 1, 2; 1. lxxxiv. c. 10; 1. c. c. 8)."
* These privileged places, the quartieri or franchises, were adopted from the Roman nobles by the foreign ministers, Julius II. had once abolished the abominandum et detestandum franchitiarum hujusmodi nomen; and after Sixtus V. they again revived. I cannot discern either the justice or magnanimity of Louis XIV., who, in 1687, sent his ambassador, the marquis de Lavardin, to Rome, with an armed force of a thousand officers, guards, and domestics, to maintain this iniquitous claim, and insult Pope Innocent XI. in the heart of his capital (Vita di Sisto V. tom. iii. p. 260-278; Muratori, Annali d'Italia, tom. xv. p. 494-496; and Voltaire, Siècle de Louis XIV. tom. ii. c. 14, p. 58, 59).
m This outrage produced a decree, which was inscribed on marble, and placed in the Capitol. It is expressed in a style of manly simplicity and freedom: Si quis, sive privatus, sive magistratum gerens de collocandă vivo pontifici statuâ mentionem facere ausit, legitimo S. P. Q. R. decreto in perpetuum infamis et publicorum munerum expers esto. MDXC. mense Augusto (Vita di Sisto V. tom. iii. p. 469). I believe that this decree is still observed, and I know that every monarch who deserves a statue should himself impose the probibition.
98 The histories of the church, Italy, and Christendom, have contributed to the chapter which I now conclude. In the original Lives of the Popes we often discover the city and republic of Rome; and the events of the sivth and xvth centuries are preserved in the rude and domestio chronicles which I have carefully inspected, and shall recapitulate in the order of time.
* The industry of M. Ranke has dis- See also M. Ranke's Observations on the covered the document, a kind of scan. Life of Sixtus by Tempati, b. iii. p. 317, dalous chronicle of the time, from which 324.-M. Leti wrought up his amusing romances.
1. Monaldeschi (Ludovici Boncomitis) Fragmenta Annalium Roman. A.D. 1328, in the
Scriptores Rerum Italicarum of Muratori, tom. xii. p. 525. N.B. The credit of this fragment is somewhat hurt by a singular interpolation, in which the author relates
his own death at the age of 115 years. 2. Fragmenta Historiæ Romanæ (vulgo Thomas Fortifioccæ), in Romana Dialecto
vulgari (A.D. 1327-1354, in Muratori, Antiquitat. medii Ævi Italiæ, tom. iü. p. 247.
548); the authentic groundwork of the history of Rienzi. 3. Delphini (Gentilis) Diarium Romanum (A.D. 1370-1410), in the Rerum Italicarum,
tom. iii. P. ii. p. 846. 4. Antonii (Petri) Diarium Rom. (A.D. 1404-1417), tom. xxiv. p. 969. 5. Petroni (Pauli) Miscellanea Historica Romana (A.D. 1433-1446), tom. xxiv. p.
1101. 6. Volaterrani (Jacob.) Diariom Rom. (A.D. 1472-1484), tom. xxñi. p. 81. 7. Anonymi Diarium Urbis Rumæ (A.D. 1481-1492), tom. iii. P. ii. p. 1069. 8. Infessuræ (Stephani) Diarium Romanum (A.D. 1294, or 1378-1494), tom. ii. P. ü.
p. 1109. 9. Historia Arcana Alexandri VI. sive Excerpta ex Diario Job. Burcardi (A.D. 1492
1503), edita a Godefr. Gulielm. Leibnizio, Hanover, 1697, in 4to. The large and valuable Journal of Burcard might be completed from the MSS. in different libraries of Italy and France (M. de Foncemagne, in the Mémoires de l'Acad. des Inscrip. tom. xvii. p. 597-606).
Except the last, all these fragments and diaries are inserted in the Collections of Muratori, my guide and master in the history of Italy. His country, and the public, are indebted to him for the following works on that subject:-1. Rerum Italicarum Scriptores (A.D. 500-1500), quorum potissima pars nunc primum in lucem prodit, &c., xxviii vols in folio, Milan, 1723-1738, 1751. A volume of chronological and alphabetical tables is still wanting as a key to this great work, which is yet in a disorderly and defective state. 2. Antiquitates Italiæ medii Ævi, vi vols, in folio, Milan, 1738-1743, in lxxv curious dissertations, on the manners, government, religion, &c., of the Italians of the darker ages, with a large supplement of charters, chronicles, &c. 3. Dissertazioni sopra le Antiquità Italiane, iii vols, in 4to. Milano, 1751, a free version by the author, which may be quoted with the same confidence as the Latin text of the Antiquities. 4. Annali d'Italia, xviii vols. in octavo, Milan, 1753-1756, a dry, though accurate aud useful, abridgment of the history of Italy, from the birth of Christ to the middle of the xviiith century. 5. Dell'Antichità Estense ed Italiane, ii vols. in folio, Modena, 1717, 1740. In the history of this illustrious race, the parent of our Brunswick kings, the critic is not seduced by the loyalty or gratitude of the subject. In all his works Muratori approves himself a diligent and laborious writer, who aspires above the prejudices of a Catholic priest. He was born in the year 1672, and died in the year 1750, after passing near sixty years in the libraries of Milan and Modena (Vita del Proposto Ludovico Antonio Muratori, by his nephew and successor Gian. Francesco Soli Muratori, Venezia, 1756, in 4to.).
PROSPECT OF THE RUINS OF ROME IN THE FIFTEENTH CENTURY. Fous
CAUSES OF DECAY AND DESTRUCTION. - EXAMPLE OF THE COLISEUM. RENOVATION OF THE CITY. - CONCLUSION OF THE WHOLE WORK.
In the last days of Pope Eugenius the Fourth," two of his servants, the learned Poggius' and a friend, ascended the Capitoline hill, reposed themselves among the ruins of columns and discourse of temples, and viewed from that commanding spot the wide from the and various prospect of desolation. The place and the bill, object gave ample scope for moralising on the vicissitudes of fortune, which spares neither man nor the proudest of his works, which buries empires and cities in a common grave; and it was agreed that, in proportion to her former greatness, the fall of Rome was the more awful and deplorable. “Her primeval state, such as she might appear “ in a remote age, when Evander entertained the stranger of Troy, “ has been delineated by the fancy of Virgil. This Tarpeian rock “ was then a savage and solitary thicket : in the time of the poet it
was crowned with the golden roofs of a temple; the temple is over“thrown, the gold has been pillaged, the wheel of fortune hag
accomplished her revolution, and the sacred ground is again disfigured with thorns and brambles. The hill of the Capitol, on which
we sit, was formerly the head of the Roman empire, the citadel of “ the earth, the terror of kings; illustrated by the footsteps of so
many triumphs, enriched with the spoils and tributes of so many “ nations. This spectacle of the world, how is it fallen! how changed ! “how defaced ! the path of victory is obliterated by vines, and the “ benches of the senators are concealed by a dunghill
. Cast your
I have already (notes 50, 51, on chap. lxv.) mentioned the age, character, and writings of Poggius; and particularly noticed the date of this elegant moral lecture on the varieties of fortune.
• Consedimus in ipsis Tarpeiæ arcis ruinis, pone ingens portæ cujusdam, ut puto, templi, marmoreum limen, plurimasque passim confractas columnas, unde magnâ ex parte prospectus urbis patet (p. 5).
• Æneid viii. 97-369. This ancient picture, so artfully introduced, and no exqui. sitely finished, must have been highly interesting to an inhabitant of Rome; and our early studies allow us to sympathise in the feelings of a Roman.
It should be Pope Martin the Fifth. and Hobhouse, Ilustrations of Childe Sue Gibbon's own note, ch. lxv. note 51; Harold, p. 155.-M.
Hls description of the ruins.
“ eyes on the Palatine hill, and seek among the shapeless and enor“ mous fragments the marble theatre, the obelisks, the colossal "statues, the porticoes of Nero's palace : survey the other hills of the
city, the vacant space is interrupted only by ruins and gardens. “ The forum of the Roman people, where they assembled to enact “ their laws and elect their magistrates, is now enclosed for the culti“ vation of pot-herbs, or thrown open for the reception of swine and “ buffaloes. The public and private edifices, that were founded for “ eternity, lie prostrate, naked, and broken, like the limbs of a mighty “ giant; and the ruin is the more visible, from the stupendous relics " that have survived the injuries of time and fortune." 4 These relics are minutely described by Poggius, one of the first who
raised his eyes from the monuments of legendary to those of classic superstition. 1. Besides a bridge, an arch, a
sepulchre, and the pyramid of Cestius, he could discern, of the age of the republic, a double row of vaults in the salt-office of the Capitol, which were inscribed with the name and munificence of Catulus. 2. Eleven temples were visible in some degree, from the perfect form of the Pantheon to the three arches and a marble column of the temple of Peace, which Vespasian erected after the civil wars and the Jewish triumph. 3. Of the number, which he rashly defines, of seven thermo, or public baths, none were sufficiently entire to represent the use and distribution of the several parts; but those of Diocletian and Antoninus Caracalla still retained the titles of the founders, and astonished the curious spectator, who, in observing their solidity and extent, the variety of marbles, the size and multitude of the columns, compared the labour and expense with the use and importance. Of the baths of Constantine, of Alexander, of Domitian, or rather of Titus, some vestige might yet be found. 4. The triumphal arches of Titus, Severus, and Constantine, were entire, both the structure and the inscriptions: a falling fragment was honoured with the name of Trajan; and two arches, then extant, in the Flaminian
way, have been ascribed to the baser memory of Faustina and Gallienus. 5. After the wonder of the Coliseum, Poggius might
• Capitolium adeo .... immutatum ut vineæ in senatorum subsellia successerint, stercorum ac purgamentorum receptaculum factum. Respice ad Palatinum montem .... vasta rudera .... cæteros colles perlustra omnia vacua ædificiis, ruinis vineisque oppleta conspicies (Poggius de Varietat. Fortunæ, p. 21).
See Poggius, p. 8-22.
• One was in the Via Nomentana; est tions the building which Gibbon ambigu. alter præterea Gallieno principi dicatus, ously says he “ might have overlooked." ut superscriptio indicat, Via Nomentuná. --M. Hobhouse p. 151, Poggio likewise men.