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the produce of some vintage rare, When rough and bearded consuls fill’d the chair. Above the cellars were granaries, likewise receiving light from the north, an exposure to the sun being apt to breed insects destructive to the grain'.
Behind the kitchen, and facing the south, stood another very essential building, the Pistrinum, or bakehouse, which from its liability to take fire was quite insulated, and was separated from all other parts of the house by a Mesaulon, or small court.
visit my wine-press, taste my new wine out of the vessels, and interrupt my domestics, whom I brought from Rome to preside over my rural affairs." Book ix. Epist. 20. The goat, usually carved or engraved on drinking-cups, was the great enemy to vines, and the sacrifice of the animal to Bacchus was made in allusion to it as a vine-destroyer.
1 Vitruvius, lib. vi. cap. 9.
2 Details of the oven, &c. are given in Mazois’ Ruines de Pompeii, tom. ii. Pliny enumerates four sorts of bread: Ostrearii, or loaves baked with oysters; Artolagani, pancakes, a species of cakes; Speustici, hasty bread, so named from the rapid mode of preparation; and Artopticii, loaves baked in ovens, which derived their name from the furnace, Lib. xvii. cap. 11. The Romans had also a great variety of cakes, each of which, says Arbuthnot, might make a subject of dissertation for an antiquary:-Tables of Ancient Coins, p. 136. Rome was generally well provided with corn by the care of the magistrates, and it was often given to the public, or sold at a very moderate price. The Curatores Annonæ distributed small tickets of wood or lead, which were intended as a receipt for a specific portion of grain. These granary tokens were a frequent largess from the Emperors, and some of the Tesseræ are preserved in the Museum at Portici.
THE SOLARIUM AND SCALE.
Stairs leading to apartments on the first and second stories of Roman mansions were distributed in different parts of the house as necessity required. There never existed any principal staircase, because all the chief public and private rooms were disposed on the ground floor'. Vitruvius is altogether silent upon the use to which the apartments on the upper floor were destined. It is generally allowed that they were almost wholly appropriated to sleeping-rooms and store-chambers. He mentions staircases, but does not point out their situations'. The Roman Scalæ were generally of wood, and were not all equally convenient. It has been observed in the course of the discoveries at Pompeii, at Herculaneum, and particularly in the remains of the Temple of Serapis at Puzzuoli, that the first steps were made of stone; the others being of wood was one of the causes of the many destructive fires in the city of Rome”. The stairs found at Pompeii are of the most inconvenient and hazardous steepness.
i It was not till towards the middle of Elizabeth's reign that staircases formed prominent features in English build ings: before that time they were generally placed in small towers; the steps of solid oak winding round a large newel; the hand-rail wrought in the material of the wall and recessed. These staircases were called turnpikes; the remains of one may be seen at Eastbury in Essex, an untouched model of a Tudor house.--Hunt's Tudor Architecture, p. 27.
i Wilkins's Vitruvius, p. 246, dissertation On the Plan of a Roman House, plate 2.
2 Gibbon records from Tacitus a memorable conflagration, the guilt or misfortune of Nero's reign, which continued, though with unequal fury, either six or nine days. Innumerable buildings supplied perpetual fuel for the flames; and when they ceased, four only of the fourteen regions of the city were left entire; these were totally destroyed, and more were deformed by the relics of smoking and lacerated edifices.-Chap. lxxi.
A staircase in a Roman mansion led to the Solarium, a terrace on the top of the house, where towards evening the family generally assembled, to enjoy the perfume of the flowers and the freshness of the breeze, as well as to admire the beauty of the prospect, Rome from all elevated points, but especially from the Capitol, the Pincian Hill, and Mount Janiculum, presenting a most imposing appearance'.
In the earlier periods of Roman history the practice of raising a terrace on the buildings was certainly not in use; the walls were then weak, and the houses consequently low, capable only of bearing the weight of their roofs: but as soon as they began to build walls of hewn stone, the architects gave greater height to the mansions, and surmounted them with a terrace. Very great care was necessarily re
· Williams's Italy, vol. i. p. 292. Three fourths of ancient Rome are now occupied by ruins and vineyards. This desert portion, which includes five of the seven hills, is nearest to the Neapolitan road.
2 Vitruvius, lib. ii. cap. 8; and Pliny, Nat. Hist. lib. xxxv.
quired in the formation of this flat roof, particularly in the selection of timber for the purpose: over the framed work, on a bed of plaster, was arranged the pavement, either of brick, marble, or mosaic, which constituted the floor. Deep cases filled with earth were then placed upon the walls, containing curious shrubs, flowers desirable for beauty of form or colours, and young vines which being tastefully entwined formed agreeable bowers, presenting amidst the luxuriance of foliage all the sweetness of perfume derived from the variety of the plants. The trellis-work which shaded these lofty terraces was termed Pergula; and as repasts were occasionally served in the arbours, Conaculum was a name sometimes given to this spot; but the more general appellation was the Solarium, as it was exposed to the air and sun',
1 The Solarium was also an arrangement of the monastery. The abbot of Easby is represented to have had a pleasant garden open to the morning sun, with a beautiful Solarium highly adorned in the north-eastern angle of it.--Whitaker's Richmondshire.