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Campo di Annibale from an absurd tradition that Hannibal encamped there when marching against Rome, but in reality because the mediaeval Annibaldi, a Baronial clan, fortified it. In spring it is covered with snowdrops, pan di neve the Italians call them. Hence we enter the forest, and under the green boughs and gnarled stems of the overarching trees, in the hollow way lined with violet and butchers-broom, we may trace to the summit by the lava blocks (selce), still entire with its margines, the ancient Via Triumphalis (2 m. 58 cm. in width).
'Quaque iter est Latiis ad summam fascibus Albam:
—Lucan, ' Phars.' ill. SV.
Pope Alexander VII. (1667) was the last person who enjoyed a triumph here in the footsteps of Julius Caesar, and he was drawn up in a carriage. The stones are frequently marked V.N., in bad late characters, which, according to Gell, signify Numinis Via (?).
'Up this same Alban Mount, to the temple of Jupiter Latiaris, which was for Alba what the Capitol was for Rome, the dictators of Alba and Latium undoubtedly led their legions when they returned in triumph. This solemnity, in which the triumphant generals appeared in royal robes, was unquestionably derived from the period of the monarchy: nor would the Latin commanders deem themselves inferior to the Romans, or bear themselves less proudly, when they were not subject to the imperium of the latter, or show less gratitude to the gods. Indeed, their triumph was preserved in that which the Roman generals solemnised on the Alban Mount: for that the first who assumed this honour (C. Papirius Maso) was renewing an earlier usage is at least far more probable than that .he should have ventured to assume a distinction of his own devising. He triumphed here, not properly as a Roman consul, but as commander of the Latin cohorts, belonging partly to the towns of ancient Latium, partly to the colonies which sprang out of that state after it was broken up, and which represented it. At this distance from Rome he was secured from interruption by his imperium: and the honour was bestowed on him by the acclamation of the Latins, seconded by that of the Italian allies, and perhaps expressing itself by the otherwise inexplicable salutation of imperator, given to generals after a victory : a salutation which, at least after the Latins and their allies had all received the freedom of the city, was used by the Roman legions, as they may have joined in it previously, when its origin was forgotten. In early times, if fortune was propitious, Latin triumphs might be celebrated for wars conducted by Latin generals under their own auspices, and even, by virtue of their equality in the league, with Latin legions under their command.'— Niebuhr, ' History of Rome,' ii. 36.
The top of the mount is a grassy platform, girdled with a wall of large tufo blocks inclosing a garden and surrounded by trees. In it stands a Passionist Convent, built in 1788 by Cardinal York, Bishop of Frascati, who destroyed the ruins of the renowned temple, for his purpose. The only remains are some massive fragments of wall and the squared blocks of masonry which surround a venerable beech tree in front of the convent. The Latin Feriae had been always celebrated on the Alban Mount; and there Tarquin erected the temple of Jupiter Latiaris, the protecting divinity of the Latin confederation:
'Et residens celsa Latiaris Jupiter Alba.'
—Lucan,' Phars.' i. 198.
Piranesi says that the temple was 240 feet long and 120 wide—
having the width half of the length, according to Etruscan style. It was partly surrounded with small shrines and adorned with statues of great men.
Instead of sacrificing bulls, as was done by a Triumphator, upon the Capitol, on the summit of the Alban Mount, it was usual for him to sacrifice a sheer)—ovis—hence ' ovatio-'
The consular processions on these occasions started from Ariccia. On the Alban Mount, Juno, in the Aeneid, stood to contemplate the majestic country:—
'At Juno, e summo, qui nunc Albanus habetur,
—Aen. xii. 134.
And truly the view is worthy the eyes of a Goddess, although the heights of Monte Pila close it out toward the dreamy south.
'From the summit of the Alban Mount, by the light of the setting sun, the eye can reacli Corsica and Sardinia; and the hill which still bears the name of Circe looks like an island beneath the first rays of her heavenly sire. The line of the long street of Alba, stretching between the mountain and the lake, may still be made out distinctly. Monte Cavo was the Capitoline hill of Alba; its summits required to be fortified, to secure the town from above.'— Niebuhr, 'Uistory of Rome,'i. 199.
Hence, by the green lanes of the Mdcchia della Fajola, once notorious for brigands, and by winding pathlets through woods, and narrow ways between green meadows, passing a farm of the Corsini, we descend upon the second lake of our pilgrimage.
'Lo, Nemi! navelled in the woody hills
—Byron, 'Childe Harold.'
The village of Nemi (more worth visiting than Genzano) is beautifully situated on the edge of a steep gray cliff overlooking the lake, and is crowned by an old castle which, after passing through the hands of the Colonna, Borgia, Piccolomini, Cenci, Frangipani, and Braschi, is now the property of a Ruspoli.
'The water is surrounded in parts by rocks of the hardest basaltic lava, in others by conglomerated cinders and scoriae, and in some places by banks of tufa. Its circumference is about five miles, and the level of the water higher than that of the Alban lake. The story of the ship discovered at the bottom of this lake, and said by some authors to have belonged to the time of Tiberius, by others to that of Trajan, is well known. Biondi, Leon Battista Alberti, and particularly Francesco Marchi, a celebrated architect and military engineer of the sixteenth ceutuvy, who went down into the lake himself, have spoken of it. Fresh investigations have been carried on of late (1828), at which I was present, and I assert that the pretended ship was nothing more than the wooden piles and timbers used in the foundations of a building. The beams were of fir and larch, and were joined by metal nails of various sizes. The pavement, or at least the lowest stratum of the remains, was formed of large tiles placed upon a kind of grating ol iron, on which the name ' Caisar' in ancient letters was marked.
'The name 'Caisar' seems to explain the history of the building. For Suetonius, in his 'Life of Julius Caesar,' as an illustration of the Dictator's extravagance, asserts, that after having built a villa on the lake of Nemi at an enormous expense, he had the whole destroyed because it did not quite suit his taste. It is my belief that the pretended ship was nothing else than the piles and wooden framework upon which this villa was supported, and that after the upper part was destroyed the foundation under the water still remained, partly covered by fragments of the demolished building above.'— Nibby.
In October 1895 divers were again employed to discover the submerged objects, and although the depth at which they were found to be lying was 118 feet below the surface of the lake, it was possible to recognise that two great house-boats are lying there at right angles to one another, and also something resembling a long pier, which has been adorned with mosaic pavement, fountains, &c. They attached a number of strings with corks to these so as to render their locality and design apparent on the surface above. They also contrived to bring up seventeen very beautiful bronze ornaments, including heads of lions and wolves, having rings in their mouths and portions of lead conduit - pipes bearing the epigraph of Caius Caligula, who is known to have built two similar galleys with ten banks of oars, in which he enjoyed the Campanian coast. A number of the timbers of these floating villas until quite recently lay out along the shore near Casa del Pescatore.
Nothing in the entire environs of Rome can surpass the effect of the first glimpse afforded from above, of the lake of Nemi, between dark ilex and cypress boughs; with lofty Monte Cavo looking down upon it, and splendid shadows of clouds gliding up the purple woodland flanks ; and then the lake itself. It takes its name from Nemus, the sacred grove.
'Albanus lacus, et socia Nemorensis ab unda.'
—Propert. 'El.' iii. 22.
'Nemus . . . glaciale Dianae.'
—Stat. 'SUv. ' iv. 4.
Tauric Diana had her grove, temple, and porticus here, the remains of which, explored in 1885 by the late Lord Savile, lie not far from the northern shore of the lake, facing it from a spacious platform, at a spot called Giardino del Lago. This terrace measures 30 ft. in height and 721 ft. in length, and is held up by triangular buttresses. The temple was probably prostyle-Hexastyle, was entered from the S. side, and measured 80 ft. (length) by 50 ft. (width). The spring, now called 'Tempesta,' into which she is supposed to have changed the nymph Egeria after the death of Numa, gushes out of the cliffs below Nemi.
'Non tamen Egeriae luctus aliena levare
—Oytti, 'Metam.' xv. 547,