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Goddess expurgated the Eternal City, and cleansed her foul bosom of that "perilous stuff” which now “weighs upon her heart," and offends the delicate senses of her foreign visitors !
With the fortunes of Rome, CLOACINA also departed. She scaled the Alps, and halted in southern Gaul ;- but there, no one would erect to her a temple. Then, as now, the Gallic votaries of Cloacina preferred the open air for offering up incense at her shrine—and, to this day, the worship of the Goddess is performed, sans ceremonie, in high-ways and by-ways, under the canopy of Heaven !*
Driven from the banks of the Tiber, and finding no place of retirement on the Continent—the Goddess crossed the Channel, -fixed her residence on the banks of the Thames—and has now, in modern Babylon, five hundred thousand temples erected to her worship! The oracles of her high priests may be consulted in Greek Street, Soho.
But to drop metaphorical language :—the CLOACA MAXIMA, with its former ramifications, which penetrated under some of the principal streets of ancient Rome, has induced inconsiderate observers to form too high an estimate of the cleanliness (as they have done of many other virtues) of the old Romans. If the arms of the CLOACA MAXIMA extended to many, or even all the streets of the Eternal City, the purification of Rome, by means of common sewers, can bear no comparison with that of London. Neither in ancient nor in modern times did the sewer of the street communicate with the houses, except in very few instances. Hence the dirt and filth of the latter were, when thrown out, collected by scavengers, and precipitated into the channels of the street. We may form some idea of the noisome
but FILTERS, like those denominated DOLPHINs on the shores (sewers) of Old Thames—filters which ingurgitate the quintescences of filth, and myriads of living creatures, without compunction, but fastidiously reject sharks, whales, or alligators, as rather too large for the swallows of modern Babylonians !
* Whoever has travelled through the South of France, will understand what I mean, and bear witness to what I assert.
and deleterious exhalations which were generated by this mode of expurgation, in an Italian climate, and amidst the dense population of the metropolis of the world, by the present practice of purification in Rome, which consists, as in the olden time, in the extrusion from the houses into the streets, of all the filth which the inhabitants are unable or unwilling to retain at home. The only difference between ancient and modern Rome, in this respect, is, that the detruded dirt was swept into the common-sewers by the ancients, and is now carried off in carts, Heaven knows where--and not till after it has perfumed the air-for days and weeks, in some places—and till it is almost entirely evaporated or withered away in many others !
The great improvement in British cleanliness and health, was not known to the ancient Romans, and is not practised by the modern inhabitants of the Eternal City, except on a very contracted scale-I mean the private conduits from the houses leading to the common-sewers in the streets. If drains permeated all the streets of Rome, (and they are only to be found, I believe, under some of the principal ones,) the benefit would be nothing, compared with that resulting from the individual conduits from each house, as in London. This is the grand source of cleanliness, comfort, and salubrity.
Descending into this ancient and subterranean Temple of CLOACINA, we find ourselves on an angle, where two streams, of very different qualities, unite-one, a brisk and gurgling current of translucent and delicious water--the other a foul and sluggish sewer, fraught with all the impurities which modern Rome takes the trouble to consign to the Tiber. If the former, be (as classic authors assert) the virgin JUTURNA, condemned, after being ruined by the gay seducer of the skies, to mingle with the dregs of the Eternal City, the moral is not the least impressive which ancient and modern times present to the contemplative mind !
I do not despise, though I cannot admire, professed antiquarians. I only pity them for spending so much of the short span of existence, in useless research and fruitless speculation,
which bewilder without instructing, and fatigue without amusing us. I am wrong, however, in the last expression. They do sometimes amuse us. Thus, one party insinuates that the CLOACA MAXIMA must have been the Colossal drain of some ancient, perhaps antediluvian city, which had vanished from the surface of the earth, and even from the records of history, thousands of years before Romulus and Remus were bornwhile another party insists that the said Cloaca is a comparatively modern work, constructed, not in the time of the Tarquins, but of the Cæsars ! Common sense and common reason might suggest that the Tarquins drained the marsh of the Forumand that the same power and spirit which afterwards erected the aqueducts, enlarged the drains of the Tarquins. But what has common sense, or plain reason, to do with antiquarian research?
And now having carried the eye round the circuit of the Roman Forum, and philosophized in a hurried manner on some of the most prominent remains of its fallen grandeur, I shall trespass but a few minutes longer on the patience of the reader, by a rapid glance over some other fragments of antiquity that arrest the attention of the spectator while taking the soUTHERN view from the Tower of the CAPITOL.
Balnea vina Venus corrumpunt corpora nostra :-
At some distance to the left, and also at some distance to the right of the Coliseum, stand the most stupendous ruins of Rome
-the Baths of Titus on one side—those of CARACALLA on the other, as viewed from the Tower of the Capitol. Though infinitely more extensive, they are much less imposing than the
COLISEUM from this point of view, on account of the unity and altitude of the Flavian Amphitheatre. They are formidable rivals of the Coliseum, however, in the honorable contest of which shall afford the most striking proof of RoMAN DEGENERACY? Whenever, in a warm climate-perhaps in any
climate -public hoT-BATHS are erected for the accommodation, or, more properly speaking, the luxury, of the citizens at large that nation, state, or city is hastening rapidly to irretrievable decay. As a REMEDY for ill-health-or even as a PREVENTIVE of disease, the WARM-BATH is
and beneficial in numerous instances. As a LUXURY for people in health—and more especially as a PUBLIC LUXURY for all ranks in a metropolis, it is eminently injurious to mind and body. The senses are given to man and other animals for enjoyment; but whenever that enjoyment is carried beyond the limit of moderation, the whole machine, intellectual and physical, suffers the penalty of intemperance.
I have endeavoured to shew that the horrible exhibitions of the Coliseum, evinced a dreadful degeneracy, and awful perversion of the feelings and tastes of the Roman people. The public baths of Rome were not less indicative of degeneracy than the cruel conflicts of the amphitheatre. If history did not shew the effeminacy of the Romans in the days of Caracalla, Titus, and Commodus, as compared with those of the early republicans, when the Tiber was the only public bath; the stupendous THERMÆ, whose ruins we are now contemplating, would afford unequivocal proofs that personal, and, indeed, national hardihood, had been exchanged for voluptuousness—bravery for licentiousness—and patriotism for pleasure !
That any man, and least of all a clergyman, should be so dazzled by the classical and historical images of Roman greatness, as to bewail the want of public baths in Britain-baths to which thousands and tens of thousands, of both sexes, rushed daily, to mingle promiscuously in immense reservoirs of hot water, dark as Erebus, is most astonishing !
I must observe, (says the Rev. Mr. Eustace) that it is to
be regretted that we have deviated so widely from the ancients in this particular, and that the use of baths, both hot and cold, so wholesome and sometimes so necessary, should not be rendered more easily attainable to those who stand most in need of them, the poor and labouring classes of mankind. It must, indeed, be acknowledged that, in cleanliness, the moderns are far inferior to the ancients, or rather to the Romans, who seem to have carried this semi-virtue to a degree of refinement almost incredible.”
This seMI-VIRTUE—this daily and promiscuous congregation of both sexes in Stygean hot-baths—this scene of indecencythis sink of sensuality, against which the edicts of Adrian and Aurelian were issued in vain-scenes which so scandalized (or rather mortified) the incestuous, murderous, meretricious AGRIPPINA, that she could not bear the idea of the Roman fair sex being on a par with herself in licentiousness-and, therefore, constructed FEMALE BATHs on the Viminal Hill, which, we may well believe, were little frequented :—Such are the semi-virtuous establishments which the simple, and, I have no doubt, pious EUSTACE bewailed the want of in his native land !
In truth, EustacE appears to have known but little of the world, or of human nature, except what he drew from his classical library ;---and, therefore, his judgment, unaided by experimental knowledge, was easily warped by his imagination. Who eould suppose that a clergyman would set up a ROMAN DANDY, as described by Lucilius 2000 years ago, (and evidently stigmatized by the Father of Roman satire) as a pattern for the DANDIES of our own days?
Seabor, suppelor, desquamor, pumicor, ornor,
Such was the routine of self-decoration which
Roman dandy went through daily before he finished, or rather before he began his toilet !! Can it be wondered at, that, when such personal refinements prevailed among the upper classes of society, the ancient hardihood and martial fortitude of the Roman armies