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History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empir

Footnote 83 Praxiteles excelled in Fauns


mole or sepulchre of Hadrian

[82] was converted, for the first time, to the uses of a citadel. That venerable structure, which contained the ashes of the Antonines, was a circular turret rising from a quadrangular basis; it was covered with the white marble of Paros, and decorated by the statues of gods and heroes; and the lover of the arts must read with a sigh, that the works of Praxiteles or Lysippus were torn from their lofty pedestals, and hurled into the ditch on the heads of the besiegers. [83] To each of his lieutenants Belisarius assigned the defence of a gate, with the wise and peremptory instruction, that, whatever might be the alarm, they should steadily adhere to their respective posts, and trust their general for the safety of Rome. The formidable host of the Goths was insufficient to embrace the ample measure of the city, of the fourteen gates, seven only were invested from the Proenestine to the Flaminian way; and Vitiges divided his troops into six camps, each of which was fortified with a ditch and rampart. On the Tuscan side of the river, a seventh encampment was formed in the field or circus of the Vatican, for the important purpose of commanding the Milvian bridge and the course of the Tyber; but they approached with devotion the adjacent church of St. Peter; and the threshold of the holy apostles was respected during the siege by a Christian enemy. In the ages of victory, as often as the senate decreed some distant conquest, the consul denounced hostilities, by unbarring, in solemn pomp,
the gates of the temple of Janus. [84] Domestic war now rendered the admonition superfluous, and the ceremony was superseded by the establishment of a new religion. But the brazen temple of Janus was left standing in the forum; of a size sufficient only to contain the statue of the god, five cubits in height, of a human form, but with two faces directed to the east and west. The double gates were likewise of brass; and a fruitless effort to turn them on their rusty hinges revealed the scandalous secret that some Romans were still attached to the superstition of their ancestors.

[Footnote 81: Lipsius (Opp. tom. iii. Poliorcet, l. iii.) was ignorant of this clear and conspicuous passage of Procopius, (Goth. l. i. c. 21.) The engine was named the wild ass, a calcitrando, (Hen. Steph. Thesaur. Linguae Graec. tom. ii. p. 1340, 1341, tom. iii. p. 877.) I have seen an ingenious model, contrived and executed by General Melville, which imitates or surpasses the art of antiquity.]

[Footnote 82: The description of this mausoleum, or mole, in Procopius, (l. i. c. 25.) is the first and best. The height above the walls. On Nolli's great plan, the sides measure 260 English feet. * Note: Donatus and Nardini suppose that Hadrian's tomb was fortified by Honorius; it was united to the wall by men of old, (Procop in loc.) Gibbon has mistaken the breadth for the height above the walls Hobhouse, Illust. of Childe Harold, p. 302.--M.]

[Footnote 83: Praxiteles excelled in Fauns, and that of Athens was his own masterpiece. Rome now contains about thirty of the same character. When the ditch of St. Angelo was cleansed under Urban VIII., the workmen found the sleeping Faun of the Barberini palace; but a leg, a thigh, and the right arm, had been broken from that beautiful statue, (Winkelman, Hist. de l'Art, tom. ii. p. 52, 53, tom iii. p. 265.)]


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