UNIVERSAL HISTORY-THE ANCIENT WORLD.
places by daybreak. Among the earliest abroad in the streets were the clients,
who hurried back and forth in the hope of promoting their interests by early
visits. The street dealers and auctioneers were astir as soon as it was light.
The taverns and wine-shops were thrown open, and the goods in the shops exposed
for customers. The markets were crowded with noisy people, eager to buy and be
gone. So great a confusion presently prevailed as to make further repose
impossible, and the Quirites in full toga began to show themselves abroad,
proceeding with dignity to the Forum or the halls of justice to hear causes.
As the Republic of Rome assumed imperial proportions, there were estimated to be
within the city half a million of idlers. These represented all classes of
society-from the Patrician fop to the ragged loafer, from the granddaughter and
nieces of the Emperor to the courtesans of poverty. This vast throng hurried from
end to end of the city, seeking for something that should amuse or, perhaps,
satisfy the unappeasable hunger of the idle. Perhaps no other city of the world
has ever presented so vast a throng of profitless humanity-such a sea with its
tides and storms.
This great mass of human beings was truly cosmopolitan. Here were met the gray
bearded philosopher of Greece; the florid Teuton with his yellow hair; the
African, black as night; the tattooed Celt of Britain; the Gaul from beyond the
Alps; the Arab from the desert, and the Asiatic nomad from the steppes of
Sarmatia. Through the midst of this human sea there passed at intervals the high-
born lords and ladies of Rome, borne on litters by brawny slaves gathered from
the ends of the earth.
Nature, in ancient as in modern times, occasionally brought forth monsters. Nor
was the curiosity of such miserable beings to be seen, or of others to see them,
less in the world that was than in the world that is. It was a common sight in
the streets of Rome to witness a crowd of excited people gathered in a circle and
craning their necks to catch a glance at some deformity on exhibition-some giant,
dwarf, or monster inviting the gaze of the rabble in public.
The sentiments of Rome found free expression on the walls. All kinds of
preferences, jokes, spites, and purposes were here written, as if to give vent to
what might not otherwise be said. In these inscriptions the average candidate for
public office saw himself as he was, rather than as he ought to be. On one of the
walls of Pompeii we read, "I beg you to make Vettius aedile." It is merely an
electioneering speech, preserved by the ashes of Vesuvius. Another notice runs
thus: "On the 28th of August there will be a show of wild beasts, and Felix will
fight with bears." A certain Cornelius, although about to die of consumption, is
advised to go and hang himself! One hungry loafer produces this sentiment: "Who
invites me not to his table, him I hold as a barbarian." Even the girls have
their little idyll. In one place we find, "Methe loves Christus," and in another,
"Auge loves Amoenius." And the Latin is generally as bad as the sentiment is
One of the marked aspects of the civilization of the city was the thermae, or
baths. Some of these are among the finest works of Roman architecture. The
people, even the primitive Latins, were specially fond of bathing. With the
coming of wealth and luxury, nature's plan of a naked plunge into the mountain
stream gave place to elegant structures for the accommodation and delight of the
bather. The baths thus provided were the frigidarium, or cold; the tepidarium, or
tepid; and the calidarium, or hot. These were generally taken in succession.
After the bather had been raised to a sweating heat, cold water was poured upon
him and he then entered the frigidarium.
For the swimmers, great marble basins, supplied by conduits with abundance of
pure water, were provided. To these bathing establishments great attention was
given by the public authorities. The emperors vied with each other in the
erection of sumptuous thermae. Agrippa sought the favor of the people by the
building of fine baths near the Pantheon; while the thermae of Titus, Caracalla,
and Diocletian, even in their present ruined condition, have excited the wonder
and admiration of posterity.
The Romans were not slow to discover the