Page:The Works of Lord Byron (ed. Coleridge, Prothero) - Volume 2.djvu/553

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
CANTO IV.]
509
CHILDE HAROLD’S PILGRIMAGE.

of Rome. Winckelmann[1] is loth to allow an heroic statue of a Roman citizen, but the Grimani Agrippa, a contemporary almost, is heroic; and naked Roman figures were only very rare, not absolutely forbidden. The face accords much better with the "hominem integrum et castum et gravem,"[2] than with any of the busts of Augustus, and is too stern for him who was beautiful, says Suetonius, at all periods of his life. The pretended likeness to Alexander the Great cannot be discerned, but the traits resemble the medal of Pompey.[3] The objectionable globe may not have been an ill-applied flattery to him who found Asia Minor the boundary, and left it the centre of the Roman empire. It seems that Winckelmann has made a mistake in thinking that no proof of the identity of this statue with that which received the bloody sacrifice can be derived from the spot where it was discovered.[4] Flaminius Vacca says sotto una cantina, and this cantina is known to have been in the Vicolo de' Leutari, near the Cancellaria; a position corresponding exactly to that of the Janus before the basilica of Pompey's theatre, to which Augustus transferred the statue after the curia was either burnt or taken down.[5] Part of the "Pompeian shade,"[6] the portico, existed in the beginning of the XVth century, and the atrium was still called Satrum. So says Blondus.[7] At all events, so imposing is the stern majesty of the statue, and so memorable is the story, that the play of the imagination leaves no room for the exercise of the judgment, and the fiction, if a fiction it is, operates on the spectator with an effect not less powerful than truth.


  1. Storia delle Arti, etc., lib. xi. cap. i. pp. 321, 322, tom. ii.
  2. Cicer., Epist. ad Atticum, xi. 6.
  3. Published by Causeus, in his Museum Romanum.
  4. Storia delle Arti, etc., lib. xi. cap. i.
  5. Sueton., in Vit. August., cap. xxxi., and in Vit. C. J. Cæsar, cap. lxxxviii. Appian says it was burnt down. See a note of Pitiscus to Suetonius, p. 224.
  6. "Tu modo Pompeia lentus spatiare sub umbra" (Ovid, Art. Am., i. 67).
  7. Flavii Blondi De Româ Instauratâ, Venice, 1511, lib. iii. p. 25.