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name, to the temperament and to the precepts of their mother. Cornelia has been accused of having applied too much stimulus to the fierce and kindling genius of her sons, Her frequent reproach to them, «Shall I, then, only be honoured as the mother-in-law of Scipio, when I desire the still greater title of the mother of the Graccbi1)?» was thought to imply a higher and a less justifiable ambition than that of maternal gratification. But her sons and pupils, through their short and glorious lives, amply justified the purity and the patriotism of their parent's aspirations.
These patrician liberals, from the very commencement of their public career, evinced an uncompromising ?) zeal for the rights and liberties of the people of Rome. Rising above the prejudices of class and station, they struggled hard in the cause of truth and honesty, against the increasing despotism and sordid avarice of their own corrupted order 3).
Tiberius Gracchus, on his return out of Spain, had felt his sympathies roused by a spectacle of desolation and misery, presented in the country now called the Campagna, and in Etruria; and he boldly called for the appropriate remedy, an Agrarian law, to recover for the people their right and property in public lands, which had been gradually wrenched from them by the patricians, through a system of legal chicanery and barefaced tyranny, all but 4) unequalled in the history of nations. To feel the political importance, or to understand the justice of this measure, requires a profound knowledge of the condition of the Roman state, and of the working of its institutions; but examples may be found nearer to our own age and country of the violence ever provoked in high quarters, by any, the lightest attacks on exclusive privileges and usurpations, when they assume a pecuniary shape, which will render the boldness of Tiberius, and his danger in attempting it, readily intelligible.
In the struggle that ensued, Tiberius was successful; and the senate was compelled to yield that to fear, which they had long and obstinately denied to justice: but the patricians, incapable of forgiveness, turned the virtues which sought to serve the republic, into accusations of an intention to destroy it.
Taking upon himself the office of executor to Attalus, king of Pergamus, Tiberius again provoked the anger of the patricians, by rescuing, from the plunder of a faction, the treasures bequeathed to the people. These traits of a prompt and generous sympathy bear ample testimony to the probity of his early education, developed and nurtured by maternal sensibility. But virtues, at variance 5) with the spirit of the age in which they are exhibited, receive their reward in calumny and misrepresentation; and it was not difficult among a rude and ignorant people to find a colourable pretext, to justify the destruction of a political rival, ás a public enemy. Tiberius Gracchus perished by assassination, a sacrifice to a reforming spirit, for which the society in which he acted was not prepared.
Caius Gracchus was of another character and temper. Roused, and not crushed by the murder of his brother, he was brought to the task of vengeance, powers and energies capable of the highest efforts for the public good. Vast in his designs, petulant, though deviceful in their execution, he sought to overleap the obstacles to reformation, with which he disdained all compromise.
For some time after his brother's death, indeed, he remained silent, and abstracted from public affairs; not improbably, with the view to make his subsequent interference in the popular behalf more desired; but when
length he was aroused by the call of pris friendship, and threw himself with all his energies into the public cause, he beat down, in a long
1) (102). 2) Unerschütterlich. 3) Stand. 4) Fast. ") Widersprudy.
suite of successful legislation, the sources of aristocratic power, by controlling 1) ils plunder. Justice and utility were the joint objects of his innovations; and from the overthrow of the patrician monopoly of the administration of the law, down to the establishment of mile-stones to measure the roads, all his efforts were worthy of a better age.
Meantime, the senate, incapable of opposing him, sought to defeat bis measures by exaggerated parody, by outbidding him in the market of popular favour, and at the same time casting a ridicule on reform itself. In the beight of his power and popularity, he evinced the purity of his motives by the modicity of his demands; and, when foiled by his enemies, and driven into a sort of honourable exile, he justified himself, by a prompt and noble obedience, from the imputation of factious opposition and contempt for law.
The patricians, however, unable to prevail against him by constitutional means, as usual, had recourse to violence; and a second murder and a second martyrdom deprived Rome of the possibility of an equal and durable constitution. Power became again centred in the few, oppression was again the lot of the many. An aristocracy, incapable of submitting to the government of the people, or of governing its own passions, was reinstated in its original dominion; and the liberty of Rome sank in the tomb of the last of its champions.
After the death of both her sons, Cornelia, the devoted mother, remaiñed alone in her sublime desolation, a more magnificent monument of moral grandeur, than that splendid trophy, raised in her own lifetime to her glory, and inscribed by reverential contemporaries with the simple
CORNELIA MATER GRACCHORUM. This great woman long survived her afflicting losses: immediately on the murder of Caius, she wilhdrew from the shores of the Tiber. (to whose waters the bleeding bodies of both her children had been contemptuously committed), and fixed her melancholy retreat near to Misenum, where the greatest and most eminent personages both of Greece and Italy resorted, to make their offerings of esteem, to invoke the lessons of her experience, and to revere in her person the lost virtues of ancient Rome. To their interrogations concerning the past she is said to have replied with perspicacity and eloquence, and with a thorough knowledge of events; and travellers from distant climes retraced their homeward steps in pride, to relate at their own hearths, that they had seen and conversed with the mother of the Gracchi.
The star of Cornelia's genius long left its luminous track behind it; the mothers of Rome were wont to cite her sayings as moral precepts; and Quintilian quotes her epistles, as among the purest specimens of the style extant in his time.
4. Origin of the materials of writing.
(By J. D’Israeli.) It is curious to observe the various substitutes for paper before its discovery
Ere the invention of recording events by writing, trees were planted, rude altars were erected, or heaps of stone, to serve as memorials of past events. Hercules probably could not write when he fixed his famous pillars.
The most ancient mode of writing was on bricks, tiles, and oyster
1) Beschränkend. II. Vierte Auflage.
shells, and on tables of stone; afterwards on plates of various materials, on ivory, on barks of trees, on leaves of trees ').
Engraving memorable events on hard substances was giving, as it were, speech to rocks and metals. In the book of Job mention is made of writing on stone, on rocks, and on sheets of lead. On tables of stone Moses received the law written by the finger of God. Hesiod's works were written on leaden tables: lead was used for writing, and rolled up like a cylinder, as Pliny states. Montfaucon notices a very ancient book of eight leaden leaves, which on the back had rings fastened by a small leaden rod to keep them together. They afterwards engraved on bronze: the laws of the Cretans were on bronze tables; the Romans etched their public records on brass. The speech of Claudius, engraved on plates of bronze, is yet preserved in the town - hall of Lyons, in France. Several bronze tables, with Etruscan characters, have been dug up in Tuscany. The treaties between the Romans, Spartans, and the Jews, were written on brass; and estates, for better security, were made over on this enduring metal. In many cabinets may be found the discharges of soldiers, written on copper - plates. This custom bas been discovered in India: a bill of feoffment ) on copper has been dug up near Bengal, dated a century before the birth of Christ.
Among these early inventions many were singularly rude, and miserable substitutes for a better material. In the shepherd state they wrote their songs with thorns and awls on straps of leather, which they wound round their crooks. The Icelanders appear to have scratched their runes, a kind of hieroglyphics, on walls; and Olof, according to one of the Sagas, built a large house, on the bulks and spars of which he had engraved the history of his own and more ancient times; while another northern hero appears to have had nothing better than his own chair and bed to perpetuale his own heroic acts on. At the town-hall, in Hanover, are kept twelve wooden boards, overlaid with bees' wax, on which are written the names of owners of houses, but not the names of streets. These wooden manuscripts must have existed before 1423, when Hanover was first divided into streets. Such manuscripts may be found in public collections. These are an evidence of a rude state of society. The same event occurred among the ancient Arabs, who, according to the history of Mahomet, seem to have carved on the shoulder-bones of sheep remarkable events with a knife, and tying them with a string hung up these sheep-bone chronicles.
The laws of the twelve tables which the Romans chiefly copied from the Grecian code were, after they had been approved by the people, engraven on brass: they were melted by lightning, which struck the Capitol; a loss highly regretted by Augustus. This manner of writing we still retain, for inscriptions, epitaphs, and other memorials designed reach posterity.
1) Specimens of most of these modes of writing may be seen at the British Museum. No. 3478, in the Sloanian library, is a Nabob's letter, on a piece of bark, about two yards long, and richly ornamented with gold. No. 3207 is a book of Mexican hieroglyphics, painted on bark. In the same collection are various species, many from the Malabar coast and the East. The latter writings are chiefly on leaves. There are several copies of Bibles written on palm leaves. The ancients doubtless,
wrote on any leaves they found adapted for the purpose. Hence the leaf of a book, alluding to that of a tree, seems to be derived. At the British Museum we have also Babylonian tiles, or broken pots, which the people used, and made their contracts of business on; a custom mentioned in the ScriptuB. These early inventions led to the discovery of tables of wood; and as cedar has an antiseptic ?) quality from its bitterness, they chose this wood for cases or chests to preserve their most important writings. This well known expression of the ancients, when they meant to give the highest eulogium of an excellent work, et cedro digna locuti, that it was worthy to be written on cedar, alludes to the oil of cedar, with which valuable MSS. of parchment were anointed, to preserve them from corruption and moths. Persius illustrates this:
« Who would not leave posterity such rhymes,
As cedar oil might keep to latest times !» They stained materials for writing upon, with purple, and rubbed them with exudations from the cedar. The laws of the emperors were published on wooden tables, painted with ceruse; to which custom Horace alludes. Leges incidere ligno. Such tables, the term now softened into tablets, are still used, but in general are made of other materials than wood. The same reason for which they preferred the cedar to other wood induced to write on wax, as being incorruptible. Men generally used it to write their testaments on, the belter to preserve them; thus Juvenal says, Ceras implere capaces. This thin pasle of wax was also used on tablets of wood, that it might more easily admit of erasure, for daily use.
They wrote with an iron bodkin, as they did on the other substances we have noticed. The stylus was made sharp at one end to write with, and blunt and broad at the other, to deface and correct easily; hence the phrase vertere stylum, to turn the stylus, was used to express blotting out. But the Romans forbad the use of this sharp instrument, from the circumstance of many persons having used them as daggers. A school - master was killed by Pugillares or table - books, and the styles of his own scholars. They substituted a stylus made of the bone af a ird, or other ani- mal; so that their writings resembled engravings. When they wrote on softer materials, they employed reeds and canes split like our pens at the points, which the orientalists still use to lay their colour or ink neater on
Naudé observes, that when he was in Italy, about 1642, he saw some of those waxen tablets, called Pugillares, so called because they were held in one hand; and others composed of the barks of trees, which the ancients employed in lieu of paper.
On these tablets, or table - books, Mr. Astle observes, that the Greeks and Romans continued the use of waxen table - books long after the use of the papyrus, leaves, and skins became common; because they were convenient for correcting extemporaneous compositions; from these tablebooks they transcribed their performances correctly into parchment books, if for their own private use; but if for sale, or for the library, the Librarii, or Scribes, performed the office. The writing of table-books is particularly recommended by Quintilian in the third chapter of the tenth book of his Institutions; because the wax is readily effaced for any corrections : he confesses weak eyes do not see so well on paper, and observes that the frequent necessity of dipping the pen in the inkstand retards the hand, and is but ill - suited to the celerity of the mind. Some of these tablebooks are conjectured to have been large, and perhaps heavy, for in Plautus, a school-boy is represented breaking his master's head with his tablebook. The critics, according to Cicero, were accustomed in reading their wax manuscripts to notice obscure or vicious phrases by joining a pieca of red wax, as we should underline such by red ink.
1) Gegen Fäulniß.
Table-books written upon with styles were not entirely laid aside in Chaucer's time, who describes them in his Sompner's tale:
« His fellow had a staffe tipp'd with horne,
of all folke, that gave hem any good.” By the word pen in the translation of the Bible, we must understand an iron style. Table-books of ivory are still used for memoranda, written with black – lead pencils. The Romans used ivory to write the edicts of the senate on, with a black colour; and the expression of libris elephantinis, which some authors imagine alludes to books that for their size were called elephantine, were most probably composed of ivory, the tusk of the elephant: among the Romans they were undoubtedly scarce.
The pumice stone was a writing-material of the ancients; they used it to smooth the roughness of the parchment, or to sharpen their reeds.
In the progress of time the art of writing consisted in painting with different kinds of ink. This novel mode of writing occasioned them to invent other materials proper to receive their writing; the thin bark of certajn trees and plants, or linen; and at length, when this was found apt to become mouldy, they prepared the skins of animals. Those of asses are still in use; and on the dried skins of serpents were once written the Iliad and Odyssey. The first place where they began to dress these skins was Peryamus, in Asia; whence the Latin name is derived of Pergamenae or parchment. These skins are, however, better known amongst the authors of the purest Latin under the name of membrana; so called from the membranes of various animals of which they were composed. The ancients had parchments of three different colours, white, yellow, and purple. At Rome white parchment was disliked, because it was more subject to be soiled than the others, and dazzled the eye. They generally wrote in letters of gold and silver on purple or violet parchment. This custom continued in the early ages of the church; and copies of the evangelists of this kind are preserved in the British Museum.
When the Egyptians employed for writing the bark of a plant or reed, called papyrus, or paper - rush, it superseded all former modes, for its convenience. Formerly it grew in great quantities on the sides of the Nile. This plant has given its name to our paper, although the latter is now composed of linen and rags, and formerly had been of cotton - wool, which was but brittle and yellow; and improved by using cotton rags, which they glazed. After the eighth century the papyrus was superseded by parchment. The Chinese make their paper with silk. The use of paper is of great antiquity. It is what the ancient Latinists call charta or chartae. Before the use of parchment and paper passed to the Romans, they used the thin peel found between the wood and the bark of trees. This skinny substance they called liber, from whence the Latin word liber, a book, and library and librarian in the European languages, and the French livre for book; but we of northern origin derive our book from the Danish bog, the beech-tree, because that being the most plentiful in Denmark was used to engrave on. Anciently, instead of folding this bark, this parchment or paper, as we fold ours, they rolled it according as they wrote on it; and the Latin name which they gave these rolls has passed into our language as the others. We say a volum or volumes, ugh our books are composed of leaves bound together. The books of the ancients on the shelves of their libraries were rolled up on a pin and placed erect, titled on the outside in red letters, or rubrics, and appeared like a number of small pillars on the shelves.