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have grudged to include under the name of Magna Græcia, the Apulian Brundusium that once. divided the commerce of Italy with Tarentum, as well as Agryppa and Canusium, that boasted of having been founded by Diomed. The former town has been proved by modern discoveries to have had walls of sixteen miles in circumference ; and antiquaries dwell with rapture on the beauty of the Greek vases that have been found in its ruins, and that in size, numbers, and decoration, surpass those discovered in any other city.
Tarentum, after a certain period, stood at the head of those states which, as Mannert will have it, in the strictest sense of the word, constituted Magna Græcia. The first enemies of the Tarentines were naturally the surrounding Italians from whom the soil had been forced ; but the victories of the colonists over those foes were often attested by splendid offerings at the shrine of Delphi. Their navy was at one time the best in Italy, and their soldiers were numerous and formidable. Plato was their guest; they cherished the Pythagoreans; and their sculptors and painters were of the first celebrity. But as Tarentum and her sister cities proceeded in refinement, the hardy Italians advanced in the art of warfare ; and shattered by them, Magna Græcia easily yielded to Rome.
All the states on the Enotrian coast already mentioned, sprang up during the short interval between the 15th and 24th Olympiad, or somewhat before and after the 720th year preceding our æra; consequently coeval with the first Roman kings. Tarentum was of Spartan ; Sybaris, Croton, Metapontum, and their filial cities, were of Achæan origin; and these were long united in a league, like that of the Achæans at home. Elea, that might be proud of its philosophers and long-preserved independence, was built by Phocæans, who fled from Cyrus. “Those Grecian colonists,” says Niebuhr,“ were mostly unmarried freebooters, who won themselves wives with their swords ; so that their posterity were a mixed race, like the descendants of the Spanish conquerors in America.” The late preservation of their Greek language, however, looks as if many of them had taken their families along with them.
The earliest bead of the Achæan states, and earlier indeed in greatness than Tarentum, was Sybaris ; the proverbial luxury and population of which, though it might be wonderful, has to all appearance been exaggerated. It fell at last by the power of its once allied Croton. A deal of mystery hangs over the history of the Crotonian government, and its connexion with the sect of Pythagoras. Thither came that great man when he brought philosophy to the western world ; and Croton, though great before, continued to increase in fame for her arts and arms, the skill of her physicians, and the strength of her wrestlers ; whilst by embracing Pythagoras's religion, morals, and politics, her people are represented as having become more virtuous, and the Pythagorean sect, for a time, are said to have been the rulers of Southern Italy. But a doubt may be entertained whether some aristocratic tyranny was not sanctified under this sectarian government. The popular reaction that overthrew it was, however, like the most of popular revolutions, vindictive and terrible. Other evils afflicted Magna Græcia-- Lucanians, Bruttians, and Syracusans by turns beleaguered
her; and her other states, like Croton, had been exhausted by other barbarians, before they fell beneath the Romans.
From this imagined excursion over Italy I return with you to Rome. The traveller, I have heard, is at first apt to be so struck by the present grandeur of the Eternal City, as to be detained for a while from tracing its ruins, or figuring to himself its ancient aspect. He goes to St. Peter's, and luxuriates amid the rich marble pavements of that holy place—the paintings of its cupolas-the gorgeous bronze of its altars-the gildings of its panelled vaults—the mosaics of its domes -its naves, its aisles, its transepts, and expanding vistas—and the harmony of its whole colossal proportions. He hears the anthem of the Sistine Chapel roll its ocean of music,
*<« Till visions crowd the rapt enthusiast's glance,
And all the scene becomes a waking trance ;”. or he beholds the ceremony of the illuminated cross, that throws its light over prostrated thousands, yet leaves the distant statues and monuments like phantoms half obscured under its feebler
Genius and Religion never built such a place as St. Peter's. Even the giants of Agrigentum left a temple inferior in dimensions.
Yet, even after this enchantment has possessed the traveller, the Vatican itself must recall to him ideas of antiquity. Its temples are lined with the busts or statues of all demigods and inspired personages, real or imagined, in history; and the visitant recollects that under the soil which he treads lies Imperial Rome. Deeply interred under the accumulated deposit of fifteen centuries, it now serves for the foundation and the quarry of another city, which, though the fairest in the world, reflects only the tarnished glory of its ancestress.
Modern Rome counts 130,000 inhabitants--the ancient city contained several millions; so that the former now exhibits farms, pastures, and cattle markets, within the circuit of the ancient walls. If modern Rome be then an object of wonder, what must have been the majesty of that which preceded it! Strabo, a Greek, and partial to Greece, describes Rome as an object transcending all human expectation and competition. Even the cold and unfeeling Emperor Constantius-familiar with Ephesus, Magnesia, and Athens, and with all the pride of the known world—as he proceeded in triumph through the Roman streets, burst into exclamations of enthusiasm when he entered the Forum of Trajan.
It would be absurd for me to attempt giving you any account of the ruins of Rome. Yet I cannot help calling you to look over its historic panorama, as it is described by modern travellers. As you contemplate the surrounding landscapes of Rome, on the East, Latium is marked by its circle of snow-covered mountains, the dazzling outline of which, under the climate of Italy, is strongly contrasted with the azure sky. A striking point in this circumference is the Alban mountain, forming an insulated group of hills to the South. Farther on you discover Præneste, for the conquest of which Cincinnatus left his plough. Near that place you see the seat of the Gabii, the Athens of Latium ; and beyond it, though hid by the Alban mountain, lie the abodes of the Æqui, and Volsci, and Samnites, the bardiest enemies of Rome. Turning back to the North, and leaving, on the skirts of the horizon, the snowy crest of the Apennines, you recross the Tiber, and, on the
plains of Etruria, observe the insulated Mount Soracte, from whence, by continuing the view westward, over the Lake Sabatinus, the eye fulfils a semicircular prospect of an hundred and fifty miles.
Yet how obscure is the origin of a city that has been twice the mistress of the world! I need not tell you how many doubts respecting the early history of Rome, as it is related in our school-books--doubts surmised in the last age, by the French Academician Beaufort, have been since bronght into much more formidable shape and array by the learning of Niebuhr. The descent of Romulus from Æneas, and the derivation of Rome as a colony from Alba Longa, are points no longer held tenable. Indeed, the Romans of the Augustan age believed not one half of the traditions that have been since gravely delivered as facts. Cicero, in a letter to Atticus, ridicules the history of Romulus. From Tacitus and Pliny, it might have been learnt that Scævola burnt his hand to very little purpose, since Porsenna continued the siege of Rome, took it, and reduced it to the most humiliating submission. Polybius, too, attests the whole of Camillus's imagined deliverance of Rome to have been a fable; and, unless we reject that most credible historian, the defeat of Brennus must be about as true as the story of Cinderella.
“When Rome was founded, and from what people it originally arose, is precisely," says Niebuhr, "what we do not know.” On some of the most important questions that relate to this subject, he adds—“If any one pretends peremptorily to decide on them, let none listen to him.” Such language from such an inquirer shows how much easier it is to shake off the husks of fable from history, than to pick up the kernels of its truth.
Thus much, however, is assumed as indubitable by Niebuhr himself; namely, that the Romans arose from the combination of several nations who were strangers to one another; and that each of these transmitted its inheritance in language, institutions, and religion, to the new people. The Greek name of the city—though the sacred books had another more mysterious name for it, which it was unlawful to pronounce-betokens some people, whether Pelasgic, or Hellenic, to have entered into the elements of her population. The very name of her language also, not to speak of her position, gives Latium a share in her ancestry. It is allowed that the Sabines coalesced with Rome during her infancy, and that her religion was in many respects Sabine; and though there are no proofs that she was an Etruscan colony, yet there are manifest signs of Etruria having impressed a strong influence both on her religious and civil institutions, and of having at one time absolutely governed her.
All legends agree in recognising the Palatine Hill as the original site of Rome. Another hill, inhabited by the Quirites, and from them named the Quirinal, was certainly a Sabine hill. Roma and Quirium, originally separated by an intervening marsh, were at one time two completely distinct cities-- like the old and new town of Dantzic, in the middle ages, or the independent cities of Königsberg, that made war whilst their walls met. The story of the Sabine rape has nothing in it intrinsically incredible, yet it may be believed without assuring us that it led to the amalgamation of the cities exactly in the manner described by Livy. The traces of this union have not been entirely effaced. A
tradition was preserved, that each city had its King and its Senate, and that they met between the Palatine and Capitoline hills. The union becaine firmer, most probably, from external danger, from intermarriages, and from the community of religion ; and the two towns agreed to have only one Senate, one popular assembly, and one King, who was to be chosen alternately by the one people out of the other. Here the Romans, however, seem to have tricked their allies. Lastly, it appears
from no mean historical document,* that Servius Tullius brought with him a whole army of Etruscans, whom he settled on the Cælian Mount, so named from Cæles Vivenna, its former commander, under whom Servius himself had served—an army apparently composed of soldiers of fortune, like the Condottieri of the middle ages.
The ideas of Rome and of Liberty are apt to be conjoined in our boyish days by the reading of Livy. Yet from that historian himself it may be gathered that few nations were ever more mercilessly ground down by an aristocracy than the Romans were, for centuries after the expulsion of their kings. A vestal spark of the principle of popular rights certainly lingered somewhere in the Constitution, yet it is difficult to see how it was preserved. The formation of such an aristocracy could not have been the work of Romulus. It is not by the will of a prince that men are moulded into an aristocratical government. But the victorious occupants of the Palatine Mount in the age of Romulus must have created that Government, by receiving new comers only on the footing of unequal rights; and the patricians by their valour, superior armour, and monopoly of religious offices, kept themselves exalted above the vulgar, like a race descended from the gods.
Servius Tullius strengthened the popular interests, though an opposite and absurd opinion has been often propagated. He called in the richest class of plebeians to serve as cavalry; and he obliged the richer plebeians to clothe themselves in a panoply of metal, as well as to fight in phalanx and use the long spear. It was exactly this conversion of the rich plebeian infantry into men-at-arms and disciplined pikemen, that made the commons of modern Europe an overmatch for the feudal chivalry. Servius Tullius evidently encouraged the rich commoners of Rome; but, unhappily, Roman industry was all domestic, and there was no trade to create a numerous and opulent middle class. There is every reason to presume that the tyrant Tarquin, and the no less tyrannical aristocracy after him, had discouraged the discipline of Tullius, and reduced the Roman plebs to a light-armed infantry; since it is manifest, from the whole account of the secession to the Sacred Mount, and of the insurrection against the Decemviri, that nothing like a plebeian heavy-armed infantry could have then existed at Rome. At that time, we find the commons complaining that their cruel patricians seemed to think themselves a race sent down from Heaven. Even long after the institution of Tribunes, a special law was required to proscribe the unfair flogging of vulgar backs. The mutineers of refractory legions were at their peril executed by com
* Viz. the speech made by the Emperor Claudius on the admission of some of the Lugdonese Gauls into the Senate, which has come down to us on two tables preserved at Lyons in the 16th century, and which, since Lipsius, has been often printed with the works of Tacitus, but has probably seldom met with a reader,— Niebuhr's History of Rome,
panies at a time, and their relations were warned neither to cry for them nor bury them.
The assertions of Livy as to the real liberty of the Roman people in those dreadful ages, when, in spite of some appearances of popular political weight, all power, civil, military, and sacerdotal, was in reality in the hands of the nobles, appear extremely suspicious. The rights of property itself must have left the Roman plebeian often more miserable than the West Indian negro; for it allowed him to contract debts, and for these debts his creditors could chain him, scourge him, starve him, and finally sell him, after sixty days, if their sensibility revolted at cutting his body into pieces. The popular right to sanction laws, elect magistrates, and declare peace or war, were also, for a long time, more showy than substantial ; for when the sovereign people had passed a decree, the Augur was at hand, and the Augur was a patrician; and if he chose to see unfavourable omens, the popular decision was null and void.
The people of Rome, it is true, at last extorted political power from the patricians; but for want of that inmost and most essential soul of all free government, REPRESENTATION, they could not enjoy it. The admission of foreigners to Roman citizenship, however abstractedly just in its principle, aggravated the evil of Roman democracy. The people of Rome became a populace-sensible indeed to the charms of eloquence and the splendour of talent, but mercenary, unstable, and with no ascendant delegated power to act over them, like a brain on an organized body. The natural result was their becoming a military government. That event was the consequence of circumstances, which Cæsar himself, if he had felt like Brutus, could not have prevented, and which, therefore, rendered his murder an unnecessary crime.
From other shades hath wean'd my wandring mind;
So calm, so cool, as no where else i find,
The Shepherd's Calendar.