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UNIVERSAL HISTORY-THE ANCIENT WORLD.

divide it into three naves. This impressive part of the building, however, is far

surpassed in majesty by the vast cella within. This is the part surmounted by the

great dome, which has been the pride and wonder of nineteen centuries. The

Pantheon, though it has suffered several restorations and alterations- though the

old gods have been expelled from their places to make room for the statues of

mediaeval saints-is still regarded as the best preserved monument of antiquity.

It was not only in the Imperial City, but throughout all the larger cities and

towns of the Empire that the grandeur of Roman architecture was exhibited. Nor

should the splendors of the great works of the architects of Rome be judged by

the single structures which they produced, but rather by groups of many so placed

in juxtaposition as to heighten the effect of all. The plan of the Roman cities

was especially favorable for the display of architectural grandeur. No town was

complete without a forum. This was generally placed in some of the lower areas so

that the edifices, which were grouped about it or crowned the neighboring

heights, looked down upon the open space with an aspect peculiarly majestic. Such

was the situation of the great Forum of Rome. It extended through a valley,

running in a south-easterly direction from the foot of the Capitoline Hill. From

this, the observer ascending, by the Via Sacra to the Capitol, had a view of the

noblest monuments of the city. On the left, at the foot of the Palatine was the

temple of Vesta; then came that of Castor and Pollux; then the Julian Basilica;

then the temple of Saturn; then that of Vespasian and Concord, and finally the

massive structures which crowned the Capitoline.

It was in the construction of this magnificent architecture that the ambition of

the Roman emperors, fed no longer with the conquest of a world which had been

already subdued, found opportunity for its unexpended energies. Even such coarse

and brutal sovereigns as Claudius, Nero, Domitian, and Caracalla engaged eagerly

in building, anxious, perhaps, thus to immortalize themselves with posterity.

Their example was followed by all the great and noble of Rome. Wealthy citizens

vied with each other in the embellishment of their private villas, and in

promoting the public improvement of the city. Rome became a mass of marble -

forums, theaters, temples, basilicas, aqueducts, and canals-for the like of which

for number and magnificence the world could furnish no parallel.

Such was the constitution of Roman political society at the time of which we

speak as to subject all private monuments and memorials to the severest

treatment. The emperors for the most part perished in some popular fury. The

local revolution which sent the dagger to the heart of the sovereign applied the

hammer and club with equal passion to all mementos of his reign. His statues were

broken to pieces, and every thing which served to recall his hated memory was

mercilessly destroyed. The private monuments of Rome thus perished by

destruction, while the public