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The step from the Porta Capena to the Alban hill, fifteen miles distant, would be too consi. derable, unless we were to believe in the wild conjecture of Vossius, who makes that gate travel from its present station, where he pretends it was during the reign of the Kings, as far as the Ari. cian grove, and then makes it recede to its old site with the shrinking city 1). The tufo, or pumice, which the poet prefers to marble, is the substance composing the bank in which the grotto is sunk.
The modern topographers 2) find in the grotto the statue of the nymph and nine niches for the Muses, and a late traveller 3) has discovered that the cave is restored to that simplicity which the poet regretted had been exchanged for injudicions ornament. But the headless statue is palpably rather a male than a nymph, and has none of the attributes ascribed to it at present visible. The nine Muses could hardly have stood in six niches; and Juvenal certainly does not allude to any individual cave 4). Nothing can be collected from the satirist but that somewhere near the Porta Capena was a spot in which it was supposed Numa held nightly consultations with his nymph, and where there was a grove and a sacred
1) De Magnit. Vet. Rom. ap. Graev. Ant. Rom. tom. iv. p. 1507. 2) Echinard, Descrizione di Roma e dell'agro Romano, corretto
dall'Abate Venuti, in Roma, 1750. They believe in the grotto and nymph. «Simulacro di questo fonte, essendovi sculpite
le acque a pie di esso.»
"Substitit ad veteres arcus, madidamque Capenam,
fountain, and fanes once consecrated to the Muses; and that from this spot there was a descent into the valley of Egeria, where were several artificial caves. It is clear that the statues of the Muses made no part of the decoration which the satirist thought misplaced in these caves; for he expressly assigns other fanes (delubra) to these divinities above the valley, and moreover tells us that they had been ejected to make room for the Jews. In fact, the little temple, now called that of Bacchus, was formerly thought to belong to the Muses, and Nardini 1) places them in a poplar grove, which was in his time above the valley.
It is probable, from the inscription and position, that the cave now shown may be one of the « artificial caverns, of which, indeed, there is another a little way higher up the valley, under a tuft of alder bushes: but a single grotto of Ege. ria is a mere modern invention, grafted upon the application of the epithet Egerian to these nyni. phea in general, and which might send us to look for the haunts of Numa upon the banks of the Thames.
Our English Juvenal was not seduced into mis. translation by his acquaintance with Pope: he carefully preserves the correct plural — “Thence slowly winding down the vale, we view The Egerian grots; oh, how unlike the true!»
The valley abounds with springs ?), and over these springs, which the Muses might haunt from their neighbouring groves, Egeria presided : hence she was said to supply them with water; and she was the nymph of the grottos through which the fountains were taught to flow.
The whole of the monuments in the vicinity of the Egerian valley have received names at will, which have been changed at will. Venuti 3) owns he can see no traces of the temples of Jove, Sa.
turn, Juno, Venus, and Diana, which Nardini found, or hoped to find. The mutatorium of Ca. racalla's circus, the temple of Honour and Vir. tue, the temple of Bacchus, and, above all, the temple of the god Rediculns, are the antiquaries' despair.
The circus of Caracalla depends on a medal of that emperor cited by Fulvius Ursinus, of which the reverse shows a circus, supposed, however, by some to represent the Circus Maximus. It gives a very good idea of that place of exercise. The soil has been but little raised, if we may judge from the small cellular structure at the end of the Spina, which was probably the chapel of the god Consus. This cell is half beneath the soil, as it must have been in the circus itself, for Diony. sius 1) could not be persuaded to believe that this divinity was the Roman Neptune, because his altar was under-ground.
Stanza cxxvii. line 1.
“At all events, says the author of the Academical Questions, «I trust, whatever may be the fate of my own speculations, that philosophy will regain that estimation which it ought to possess. The free and philosophic, spirit of our nation has been the theme of admiration to the world. This was the proud distinction of Englishmen, and the luminous source of all their glory. Shall we then forget the manly and dignified sentiments of our ancestors, to prate in the language of the mother or the nurse about our good old prejudices? This is not the way to defend the cause of truth. It was not thus that our fathers maintained it in the brilliant periods of our history. Prejudice may be trusted to guard the outworks for a short space of time while reason slumbers in the citadel : but if the latter sink into a lethargy, the former will quickly erect a standard for herself. Philosophy,
wisdom, and liberty, supports each other: he who will not reason is a bigot; he who cannot, is a fool; and he who daros not, is a slave. » Preface, p. xiv, xv. vol. i. 1805.
Great Nemesis ! Here, where the ancient paid thee homage long.
Stanza cxxxii. lines 2 and 3. We read in Suetonius, that Augustus, from a warning received in a dream :), counterfeited, once a year, the beggar, sitting before the gate of his palace with his hand hollowed and stretched out for charity. A statue formerly in the Villa Borghese, and which should be now at Paris, represents the Emperor in that posture of supplica. tion. The object of this self degradation was the appeasement of Nemesis, the perpetual attendant on good fortune, of whose power the Roman con. querors were also reminded by certain symbols attached to their cars of triumph. The symbols were the whip and the crotalo, which were discovered in the Nemesis of the Vatican. The attitude of beggary made the above statue pass for that of Belisarius: and until the criticism of Winkelmann 2) had rectified the mistake, one fiction was called in to support another. It was the same fear of the sudden termination of prosperity that made Amasis king of Egypt warn his friend Polycrates of Samos, that the gods loved those whose
1) Sueton. in Vit. Augusti, cap. 91. Casaubon, in the note,
refers to Plutarch's Lives of Camillus and Aemilius Paulus,
lives were chequered with good and evil fortunes. Nemesis was supposed to lie in wait particularly for the prudent; that is, for those whose caution rendered them accessible only to mere accidents: and her first altar was raised on the banks of the Phrygian Aesepus by Adrastus, probably the prince of that name who killed the son of Croesus by mistake. Hence the goddess was called Adrastea 1).
The Roman Nemesis was sacred and august: there was a temple to her in the Palatine under the name of Rhamnusia 2: so great indeed was the propensity of the ancients to trust to the revolution of events, and to believe in the divinity of Fortune, that in the same Palatine there was a temple to the Fortune of the day 3). This is the last superstition which retains its hold over the human heart; and from concentrating in one object the credulity so natural to man, has always appeared strongest in those unembarrassed by other articles of belief. The antiquaries have supposed this goddess to be synonymous with Fortune and with Fate 4): but it was in her vindictive quality that she was worshipped under the name of Nemesis.
Stanza cxl. line 1. Whether the wonderful statue which suggested
1) Dict. de Bayle, article Adrastea.
CORD. See Quaestiones Romanae, etc. ap. Graev. Antiq. Roman. tom. v. p. 942. See also Muratori, Nov. Thesaur. Inscript. Vet. tom. i. p. 88, 86, where there are three Latin and one Greek inscription to Nemesis, and others to Fate.