Sidor som bilder
[ocr errors]

beautiful'. Whoever is desirous of studying architecture has therefore much need of an enlightened guide; one who is at least capable of conducting him through the labyrinths of uncertain theories ?.

It was customary for the female part of the family in Greece to occupy the most retired part of the house, absolutely excluded from the approach of man: the Roman ladies, on the contrary, usually resided in the first story

· Palais de Scaurus, cap. ii. In M. Mazois' elegant eulogium on Architecture he bestows very high praise on Percier and Fontaine, the architects who jointly directed the cexeution of the principal buildings with which Napoleon adorned Paris.

» The late James Wyatt, who sedulously examined and studied every monument of ancient Rome, on one occasion drew together a crowd of people by lying on his back, on a ladder slung horizontally immediately under the soffit of the portico of the Pantheon, measuring and drawing with the greatest accuracy parts which were almost inaccessible. Brilliant, quick, and intuitive as was his genius, this eminent architect was never remiss in investigating and making himself master of the details and practical causes by which the great effective results of his profession are produced. Hunt's Architettura Campestre, Introd. p. 14.

towards the front of the house, where they received whatever visitors they pleased'.

A suite of several rooms appropriated to the use of the ladies, and decorated with taste, led to a state room, having a ceiling supported by columns, to which draperies richly embroidered in various colours were suspended ;-a mode of embellishment seen in all the paintings of Herculaneum' representing interior views.

In imitation of the Asiatics, the Romans entrusted the care of the ladies' apartments to eunuchs; and no one was permitted to enter the Thalamus, where the matron usually sat with her maidens, without permission. The name of this room was adopted from the Greeks, and frequently occurs in Homer and other poets. Amongst the attendants were selected females endowed with talent, who in

1 Corn. Nep., Pref.

2 The general disposition of the Palace of the Odyssey accords with that of the Greek houses described by Vitruvius. Ulysses is represented as sleeping in the Prodomus; and'near this place must have been the Thalamus of Pene


adjoining chambers were employed in various polite arts, as painting, &c.

The dressing-room of a Roman lady of rank was the deposit of the most costly elegance that human ingenuity could then devise : to enumerate the endless catalogue of articles used at the toilette would be tedious and unnecessary.

Pliny acquaints us that Lollia Paulina' when at a wedding-feast, not given by one of the principal families, was covered with jewels and pearls from head to foot, which were estimated at no less a sum than forty millions of sesterces, upwards of three hundred thousand pounds English money. She had not, he tells us, received this prodigious treasure of precious stones from the Emperor her husband, but that it was the accumulated spoils of entire provinces, obtained by the Consul her grandfather'. Adjoining the dressing-room were chambers, in which was prepared and preserved the immense wardrobe termed Vestiariumi. Near the Ladies' Room was also a Penetrale, or Oratory, in which the sex delighted to place foreign divinities. To this suite likewise be

lope, for hence he hears her voice lamenting. Penelope also from her Thalamus hears what is passing in the Cænaculum. The Thalamus of the queen might therefore be on one side of the Prodomus, and the Thalamus of Ulysses on the other, like the Thalamus and Amphithalamus of a Greek house, which Vitruvius represents as situated on either side the Vestibule.-Wilkins' Civil Architecture of Vitruvius,

p. 254.

1 The wife of the Emperor Caligula.

| Pliny's Natural History, book ix. Full particulars of the toilette of a Roman lady are to be found in “Sabine, ou la Matinée d'une Dame Romaine,” by Bættiger; and in “Mundus Muliebris.” Ulpian, lib. 25.10. In the museum at Portici are a greatvariety of rings, ear-rings, combs, thimbles, mirrors of polished metal, and inventions of luxury and taste admirably executed.

2 Plautus in Epidic. act ii. has made a comical list of a Roman lady's wardrobe, which it is impossible to translate into any modern language. The Roman women at first wore togæ, afterwards tunics, commonly of wool, but of so, thin a texture that Lucian says you could see their bodies through them. Tarentum was famous for that sort of manufacture. Their outward garment was the Palla, or Amiculum, which sometimes covered the head like a veil, and was much the same with the Peplus. The Penula was

longed several large rooms of great elegance and beauty, appropriated for conversation.

THE PINACOTHECA. Another arrangement of a Roman mansion which branched from the Peristyle by a long gallery, was the Pinacotheca, or Picture-gallery, also borrowed from the Greeks, who were well acquainted with the value of pictures. Marcus Claudius Marcellus, a victorious general, not only proved to the Romans that Hannibal was not invincible, but enriched the capital with the spoils of Syracuse, having actually stripped the conquered city of all its most valuable treasures of literature, sculpture, and painting, to adorn the public buildings of Rome; chiefly, he confessed, for the purpose of introducing a taste for the fine arts and elegance of the forbidden to women except in the country, perhaps on account of its convenience for intrigue. Faustina, the wife of Marcus Aurelius, appears on medals in three or four different head-dresses; and it is certain the Roman ladies used false hair. Such was the Caliendrum mentioned by Horace: Arbuthnot's Tables, p. 145.

« FöregåendeFortsätt »