Abbildungen der Seite



Campagna di Roma.—The district now known as the Campegno di Roma extends along the shore of the Mediterranean for sixty miles southward from the mouth of the Tiber, and inland as far as the first slopes of the Apennines, a distance of from twenty-five to thirty-five miles from the sea. This region presents a very peculiar aspect. In the immediate vicinity of the coast the land is low and swampy, and as we ascend the streams, the meadows which border their banks partake of the same character. But the remainder of the country is a vast expanse of table land, rolling in long swells, broken and furrowed by deep ravines and watercourses, the sides of which are frequently rocky and precipitous. The surface of the table land is, for the most part, perfectly dry, the general elevation above the level of the sea is seldom less than one hundred feet, while in the midst of the plain the bold, picturesque, isolated mass of the Alban hills (Mons Albanus) divides the Campagna proper from the deadly level of the Pomptine marshes (Paludes Pomptinae).

Site of Rome.The Seven Hills.—About eighteen miles from the mouth of the Tiber, the stream, whose course is south by west, makes a very sudden bend nearly due west; and, as it gradually sweeps back to its former direction, forms an acute angle, in which lies an alluvial meadow, containing upwards of three hundred English acres. This is the celebrated Campus Martius, and on this flat a great portion of the modern city has been built. The southern extremity of the Campus Martius was known by the name of the Prata Flaminia.

A steep bank rises abruptly from the edge of the Campus Martius, and then slopes gradually into the table land. This bank presents a very irregular and rugged outline towards the river, the continuous ridge being broken by numerous projecting bluffs, which jut out into the low ground, and, of these, the four which approach most nearly to the river, at the southern extremity of the Campus Martius, being cut off from the main ridge, and from each other, by intersecting hollows, stand as small isolated hills, with steep rocky escarpments. The smallest of the four, that which lies farthest to the north, is the Mons CAPITOLINUS ; next in size, to the



south of the Capitoline, is the PALATIUM or MoNS PALATINUS; to the south of the Palatine, larger than either of the preceding, and almost touching the river, is the Mons AVENTINUS ; to the south-east of the Palatine, and separated both from it and from the Aventine by a deep hollow, is the Mons COELIUS, originally called, we are told, MoNS QUERQUETULANUS.

Another deep hollow to the north of the Coelian divides it from a long continuous ridge, which, on the east, slopes gradually into the Campagna, while on the west, or side next the river, it is broken into four tongues, separated from each other by narrow dells. These tongues, taken in succession, are, ESQUILIAE or Mons ESQUILINUS, which comprehends two projections, severally distinguished in ancient times as the Mons Oppius anil the Mons Cispius, names, however, which in the Augustan age were known to the learned only—beyond the Mons Cispius, the ('OLLIS VIMINALIS—beyond the Viminal, the COLLIS QUIRINALIS—beyond the Quirinal, the COLLIS HORTULORUM, called at a late period Mons Pincius.

The Mons Capitolinus, Mons Palatinus, Mons Aventinus, Mons Coelius, Mons Esquilinus, Collis Viminalis, Collis Quirinalis, are the far-famed Seven Hills of Rome. The Mons Capitolinus, the Mons Palatinus, the Mons Aventinus, and the Mons Coelius can alone be regarded as hills, in the ordinary acceptation of the term, the remainder being mere irregular projections in the table land which constitutes the Campagna. The broad slope of the Mons Oppius, towards the Palatine, was the Carinae; the low ridge which runs from the Palatine towards the Carinae was the Velia; the lower slope of the Palatine, towards the Capitoline and the Tiber, was the Cermalus or Germalus; one of the branches of the Coelian, whose outline on the eastern side is not very sharply defined, was the Coeliolus, or Minor Coelius.

The hills of Rome do not now present the same aspect which they bore during the earlier ages. Their summits have been levelled to adapt them for the foundations of edifices, their steep rocky sides have been sloped away to afford more easy access, and the enormous accumulation of rubbish around their bases has materially diminished their apparent elevation.

On the right bank of the Tiber, a long continuous ridge extends from the bend of the river, as far as the Aventine, this is the IANICULUM. To the north-west of the Janiculum is the Mons VATICANUS. The meadow between the Vatican and the Tiber was the Ager Vaticanus, and the slope between the Janiculum and the Tiber was designated the Regio Transtiberina.

The narrow valley between the Palatine and the Aventine was the Vallis Murcia: it was traversed by a small rivulet, the Aqua Crabra, and here was laid out the Circus Maximus, the great race

« ZurückWeiter »