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164

DRESS OF THE ROMANS.

exceed belief. It is said, many of the seats were of solid silver, and the floors inlaid with precious stones. The ruins of the baths of Caracalla, which still remain, surprise the modern visitor.

The twenty 'aqueducts which supplied the city with water were the most useful, and not the least wonderful specimens of Roman art. Some of these stone water-courses were supported by arches one hundred feet high, and even rocks were cut through with immense labour to afford them a passage. The common sewers were not less important, as, by their means, a rapid current of water ran underground throughout the city, carrying away every impurity and securing general cleanliness. When swelled by rains, the streams in these subterranean channels might be heard beating violently against the pavement without injuring it; and even earthquakes, which shook the foundations of the city, did not move their strong workmanship.

The multitudes that thronged the streets of this vast city wore a very different appearance to any people we have ever seen. Within doors all the Romans wore a close coat, called the Tunic, and the poor had no other ; but in the streets the upper classes wore the Toga, a loose dress of a circular form without sleeves; the head was put through a circular hole in the centre, and the garment thus hung in elegant folds round the wearer. Its common colour was the natural whiteness of the wool; but when bleached by artificial means it was more admired, and called the toga candida (white); and for mourning the toga was dyed black. The senatorial toga had a broad purple border; that of the patricians generally was rather narrower. The emperor alone wore a toga wholly of purple; hence “ to wear the purple,” meant to be emperor. The ancient Romans went bare-headed, only using the lappet of their gowns to protect them from rain or cold. The coverings for the feet were commonly sandals, only protecting the sole of the foot, and bound with red straps half-way up the leg; but the plebeians wore a kind of half-boots, made of raw hides. The common dress of the Roman women was the stola, a gará ment reaching to the ancles; and when they went out, the pallium, a long open dress, was thrown over it, which concealed the shape of the wearer by its loose and elegant folds. Their heads were adorned with ribbons, or simply a fillet bound

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round the hair, and their sandals were fastened by straps and buckles. The Roman soldiers, when fully equipped, wore a coat of mail, which was made of several folds of linen thickly quilted together, or of leather, and covered with scales of iron, silver, or gold, according to the rank of the wearer. Their arms were a sword, something like the scymetar used by the modern Turks; a shield, about four feet long, made of wood, strengthened with iron, and covered with bull's hide; the javelin, a staff with an iron head barbed and jagged at the end ; and the helmet, a head-piece of brass or iron, on the top of which was the crest, composed of feathers or horse hair. The helmets of the officers were often very splendid, and of curious workmanship, either in gold or silver.

The occasional refreshment of the Romans only consisted of a little bread and honey, or dried fruits : their only regular meal being at the ninth hour of the day, which, as they reckoned their day from six in the morning, answered to our three o'clock in the afternoon. The eating-room either contained a number of couches, or one large semi-circular couch with a table of the same shape. In the houses of the rich these couches were decorated with ivory, silver, and gold; and the cushions were of the most costly materials. When luxury was at its height in Rome, we read of a single supper for a few friends costing £250, and of a man who killed himself because he had only £250,000 left, or sufficient for a year's expences ! The preparations for receiving guests were very expensive, as it was customary to collect the sumptuous delicacies of all countries at the tables of Rome. When the company arrived they bathed with the master of the house, or at least had their feet washed; their usual dress was exchanged for a kind of light frock, and they put off their shoes that they might not soil the fine carpets or furniture of the couches. In taking their places, the first lay at the head of the couch, resting on his left elbow; the second reclined with his head in front of the feet of the first, from which he was separated by a bolster ; and the rest lay in the same manner. The most honourable place was the middle of the couch, in the centre of the room. The guests were usually crowned with garlands and presented with expensive perfumes. The several courses were brought in arranged on tables, and not in single dishes. During the entertainment musicians or dancers were hired to amuse the company.

166

MARRIAGES AND FUNERALS.

The remembrance that the manners of the Romans were much adopted in Judea will explain many of the allusions to these customs in the Gospels.

The foolish superstitions of Paganism were blended with every event in the life of the Romans. When a marriage was to be celebrated, the first care was to choose a day that was considered fortunate, and to consult the omens. The bride, probably on account of the warlike character of her people, had her long hair parted with a spear, before she was crowned with the wreath of flowers and covered with the veil provided for the occasion. If she were a noble lady, she was led to the bridegroom's house in the evening by three youths wearing the patrician toga ; torch-bearers went before her, and a distaff and spindle were carried in the procession, as emblems of the duties of her new situation. After many foolish ceremonies at the door, to preserve the house from witchcraft and sorcery, the bride was lifted over the threshold and presented with the keys. The bridegroom came forwards with two vessels, one containing fire, the other water, signifying the domestic cares that belonged to the wife. At the wedding-feast it was usual for the bridegroom to scatter about nuts, to be scrambled for by boys; thereby showing that he himself had done with all childish amusements.

As we have had frequent occasion to refer to funeral honours, and the importance attached to them, a short account of the ceremonies used on such occasions may be added here.

When a person was dying, it was usual for the nearest relatives or friends to embrace him ; and as soon as he expired the same persons did the last offices. The body was washed and anointed, and dressed in the most valuable garments that belonged to the deceased; and if he had obtained any crowns of honour* they were placed on the head. The corpse was laid at the entrance of the house on a couch, and exclamations of grief were uttered at intervals by persons stationed there on purpose, and cypress branches were placed in the front of the house as emblems of mourning.

The funeral procession began with musicians playing flutes * A crown of oak-leaves, given to a soldier who had saved the life of any Roman citizen in battle, was considered the most honourable : but there were other crowns of laurel, and of gold, given as rewards for different acts of service.

ADMINISTRATION OF JUSTICE.

167

and trumpets, mourning women singing the praises of the deceased, and dancers. At the funerals of distinguished persons couches were carried, bearing the images of their ancestors, or the statues of other celebrated men : it is said, a thousand of these were borne before the corpse of Sylla. The funeral couch, on which the body of the deceased was laid, was carried by the nearest relations, and followed by a train of mourners, who beat their breasts or tore their hair as signs of excessive grief. When the procession reached the appointed place, an orator made a speech in praise of the deceased; and the body, laid on its couch, was then placed upon the funeral pile, a large heap of wood, to which the nearest relation set fire. Slaughtered beasts, rich garments, and perfumes were thrown on the pile, according to the rank or wealth of the deceased ; and when the whole was consumed, the last embers were quenched with wine, and the remaining ashes placed in the funeral urn and carried to the sepulchre. At imperial funerals, an eagle was let fly from the top of the pile to carry, as it was said, the emperor's soul to heaven.

The manner of administering justice among the Romans was similar to that in use in this country, as our customs were borrowed from theirs. It was usual, however, with them, for the accused person to wear a mourning robe during his trial, and to exhibit every mark of sorrow; and when the jury wrote their opinions on small tablets, and threw them into a box kept for the purpose, he was permitted to cast himself at their feet in order to move their compassion.

The punishments allowed by law were of several degrees, according to the nature of the offence : 1. Fine. 2. Imprisonment and fetters. 3. Stripes gently given with rods. 4. Return of the same injury that the criminal had done. 5. Exposure to public shame. 6. Banishment. 7. Selling into slavery.

Death was inflicted in various ways : 1. Beheading; considered the easiest and most honourable mode of capital punishment. 2. Strangling, which was usually practised in the prison. 3. Throwing headlong from a precipice. 4. Crucifixion, which was the punishment of slaves, or of the meanest persons. 5. In cases of parricide, the criminal was scourged, and then sown up in a leather sack with a serpent, an ape, a cock, and a dog (probably signifying he was to be counted among the lowest of 168

THE SONS OF SEVERUS.

the brutes), and thus thrown into the water. The modes of death, and horrible tortures invented by men who held power only to abuse it, we have frequent occasion to mention in the course of our history.

In closing this account of imperial Rome, it will be proper to mention the public ways which led from the capital to the other great cities of Italy. The most noble of these, the Via Appia, was carried to a distance of 350 miles. It was made of huge stones, generally a foot and a half square; and though it was constructed more than 1800 years since, many parts of it are as perfect now as when it was newly made.

CHAP. XXIX.

CARACALLA AND GETA.-MURDER OF GETA.-CRUELTY OF CARA

CALLA.-MURDER OF CARACALLA.-MACRINUS AND HIS SON. -HELIOGABALUS. -HIS FOLLIES AND VIOLENT DEATH.-PROTECTION OF THE CHRISTIANS.

The dying advice of Septimus Severus never touched the hearts of his sons : and during their rapid journey from York to Rome, they would never eat at the same table or sleep in the same house. The army, however, proclaimed them joint emperors according to their father's desire; and the senate received them with equal honours, A.D. 208. Caracalla and Geta showed their discord as decidedly in the capital as in the provinces : the imperial palace was soon divided, and the doors and passages between the apartments of the two emperors were fortified and carefully guarded day and night, as in a besieged place. When they met in public they were surrounded by their respective guards, and ill-concealed their hatred, even in the presence of their afflicted mother. At length, some prudent counsellors advised the brothers to divide the empire; and proposed that Geta should make Alexandria or Antioch his capital, and leave Caracalla to reign at Rome.

The tears and entreaties of Julia, and the pride of the Romans, prevented this arrangement; and it would probably only have led to civil war, as many dreaded. After a little time Caracalla consented to meet Geta in their mother's apartment: but it was not, as she fondly expected, with any

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