Sidor som bilder

partments, or caissons, were called Laquearia!

The colour generally used for the whole of the surbase continued beneath the decorations of the Peristyle was Pontii sinopis, a dull red: a very brilliant tint was also produced by the use of a richer material, the cinnabar of Ephesus; but to protect this very delicate and precious colour from the injurious action of the air, the greatest precaution in its application was necessary


The Romans rose at day-break, quitted their houses early, to make visits, and attend to their affairs; they next paid their adoration to the

1 The sunk panels of various geometrical forms symmetrically disposed in flat or vaulted ceilings, or in soffits. The beams which extended from the walls to the entablature, were intersected by others ranged longitudinally; the square spaces made by these intersecting beams were contracted towards the top, and were also called Lacunaria. The suburban villa at Pompeii contained two examples of this kind of ceiling.


gods in the temples, whence they proceeded to the Forum, where the Prætor held his court of justice', and beneath the porticos of the Basilica discussed all public transactions, seldom returning home before the hour of the principal meal”, towards the evening,

When day declines, and feasts renew the night 3. It may indeed be said that the Romans really lived out of doors, for the rooms that were appropriated to their personal use were

i Hence it was sometimes called Conventus as well as Forum. The Forum generally bore the name of the founder, as Forum Appi, Forum Trajani, Cornelii, Livi, Pompilii, &c. There were also Fora Civilia et Judicialia.

? The Prandium was a refreshment at noon, but the Cæna agrees best with the modern dinner; the various kinds of meals are amply described by Ciaconius, a learned critic. His book “De Triclinio Romano,” together with the treatises of Fulvius Ursinus and Mercurialis upon the same subject was published at Amsterdam in 1689, with plates to illustrate the descriptions. There is also an appendix to Ciaconius, on the Feasts of the Ancients, by J. W. Stuck, a celebrated antiquary, which is very curious, and was published with his other works, long after his death, at Leyden, in 1695.

3 Dryden's Virgil, Æneis, book 4.

generally of very small dimensions, although they abounded with every refinement of voluptuous convenience, and were enriched with ornaments of such exquisite taste, as to have become proverbial in modern times by the term classical. “Considering the magnificence of the Roman houses,” says Arbuthnot, a learned writer on the value of ancient money, “ I should be apt to think that both the materials and workmanship were cheap.” M. Lepidus the consul's house had door-cases of Numidian marble; it was the earliest that was so enriched'; but afterwards they had them gilded, or rather plated with gold: houses also were cased with Carystian marble. Mamurra, Cæsar's architect in Gaul, is recorded to have built the first mansion of this kind on the Cælian hill in Rome. Within the houses were costly hangings of Tyrian dye, and marble pillars with gilded capitals; the very walls, indeed, were gilded. The Villa Gordiana had a Peristyle of no less than two hundred columns; and fountains of variegated marble were introduced in the courts, of houses, which in the progress of luxury at length occupied as much ground as their ancestors were allowed for estates ?.

| Pliny's Nat. Hist. book xxxvi. chap. 6.

A Bed-chamber adapted to each of the seasons had its Ante-chamber, called the Procoton, attached, besides rooms for different servants. The Romans took repose in the daytime like the modern Turks, &c. but then it was not in the Bed-chamber, or Cubiculum, as may be inferred from the description which the younger Pliny has given of his villas at Laurentum, and on the lake of Como, in several of his letters”. In the epistle addressed

| viz. Four jugera, or two English acres and a half. See Arbuthnot's Tables of Ancient Coins, page 150, &c.

2 Plinius the younger, nephew of the elder Pliny, was a distinguished orator, and ranked with Tacitus in his profession; he was the author of many works, which have all perished, excepting a panegyric on the Emperor Trajan, and ten books of letters, which he himself collected and prepared for the public. The best edition of his letters is

to Gallus ' he particularly describes a chamber so contrived that neither sun nor noise of any kind could reach it. The mosaic pavements of these rooms bore such inscriptions as BENE. DORMIO. &c. In others, the walls were painted in Opera Topiaria, resembling bowers composed of green branches with birds perched, or on the wing. One chamber also had windows so situated, as to receive the rays of both the rising and the setting sun.

The Hibernaculum, or small winter apartment, was circular in its plan, and had the

acknowledged to be that published at Leipsic in 1806; but there are English translations by Lord Orrery and by W. Melmoth, the last said to be one of the best versions of a Latin author which has appeared in the language.

i Book ii. epist. 17.

2 On a part of a curiously carved bedstead of the time of King Henry the Eighth, preserved in the collection of an antiquary in London, was a flowing scroll bearing the words COM. TO. BEAD. and over the doors of the richly carved screen in the old hall at Halnaker, in Sussex, are labels inscribed LE. BIEN. VENVE.-COME. IN. AND. DRINCE. Inscriptions, it is needless to say, have been applied to internal decoration

[merged small][ocr errors]
« FöregåendeFortsätt »