« السابقةمتابعة »
the field of Mars, to practise such feats of activity, as were most proper to fit them for the discipline and fatigues of war.
As the riches, and consequently the luxury, of the Romans increased, they had their public walks, as likewise private gardens of great magnificence; and in time, marble cloisters and galleries of an incredible length. In these cool places did the persons, who loved sedate amusements, pass two or three hours of the afternoon, in discoursing gravely or pleasantly, according to their different humours. The poets took this favourable opportunity to come thither to recite their verses to such as were inclinable to hear them.
From these several recreations, they flocked to the public baths, which were opened at a stated time ; in the winter at the eighth, in the summer at the ninth hour of the day; which was signified by the sound of a bell. Those who had private baths, made use of them earlier, or later, as they pleased : but Alexander Severus first permitted the public baths to be kept open all the night, in the intense heats of the summer. The poets likewise came to the baths to repeat their compositions, where they never failed of a numerous audience.
After bathing, was 'the time of using oils and
sweet ointments, with which they suppled their limbs ; and then succeeded the time of
supper, which began the ninth or tenth hour of the day. This was their principal meal; and (in process of time), from a short, moderate repast, grew to the excess of being prolonged till after midnight.
My readers will see by this account, that the Romans divided the actions of every day into two distinct scenes; the one for studies or business, the other for exercises and amusements; the proper means for preserving the mind and the body in full vigour. As it was not reputable to waste any portion of the forenoon in pleasures, so likewise it was not customary to let any affairs break in
the leisure of the afternoon.
Nevertheless, so severe was the application of some men of note, that they gave their minds no relaxation before the tenth hour. Thus Seneca says, “ We remember the great orator, Asinius Pollio, who would not attend to the least business, nor so much as read a letter, after the tenth hour, lest the contents of it should oblige him to some new care ; and in the two remaining hours, he refreshed himself, and threw off the fatigue of the whole day.” But this severity was not required in a person of the most serious character. Plutarch says, that Cato went regularly after dinner to exercise himself at ball, in the Campus Martius; and that he diverted himself as usual with this exercise, that very day the people had refused to choose him consul,
After what has been said, let us a little consider a London day; and see what account we can give of our hours, for the information of future ages, when we may be no longer a free people,
Be it known then to my readers in futurity (if they happen to understand English), that formerly our day, as in other ancient nations, began with the rising of the sun: but, about the latter end of the sixteenth century, the wise men observed a visible change in our time, which has ever since gone on for the worse ; insomuch, that of late years we have altered our manner of computing so far, that our morning begins precisely at the noon of our ancestors; and our noon corresponds with the evening of those plain folks, who lived by the light of nature, and saved fire and candle. In other words, let us suppose an hour-kalendar, and then our new style will be found to differ just six hours from the old.
We perform our exercises (such as they are) mostly by candle-light : sedentary sports are most fashionable ; such as enfeeble the body, and render it listless and delicate in all its motions. We have indeed a few' robust, clownish gentlemen; but in general they are thoughtdisqualified for any considerable posts, whether civil or military; and they are seldom or never promoted to any titles of honour above knighthood. The only exercise now practised, that seems to require some force of arm, and a lively spring in the wrist, is the violent rattling of two little square bones, in a small cylindrical box, about five inches deep, and two and a half diameter.
Non illa loco, neque origine gentis
She was illustrious neither for her rank nor family, but for her learning and accomplishments.
When the Emperor Theodosius (the younger) had resolved upon making choice of a consort, he would often advise with his sister Pulcheria Augusta concerning a proper person. Pulcheria gave up her whole time and attention to inquire out a worthy partner of her brother's bed, amongst the number of young ladies of noble, or of royal blood, whom she (in this view) educated within the palace, under her own inspection. Theodosius had declared to his sister, that his desire was to have a virgin of such extraordinary beauty as might eclipse the lustre of all the bright damsels of Constantinople; and if, besides, she was of a royal lineage, that he should be the better pleased; but that, in his estimation, neither nobleness of birth, nor royal descent, nor the addition of wealth, should come in competition with beauty ; for that, upon the whole, let her family be never so obscure, the virgin of the most finished charms should