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curiosity to examine its contents, and being thus led to suspect that all was not right, she informed the police, who secreted themselves in her house, and when the villains came for their spoil, seized them. They were soon after tried and executed. The practice of erecting a cross by the wayside, wherever a murder has been committed, is, I believe, universal in Catholic countries, and, from the number of them which you see, especially in Spain, one forms no very favorable idea of the morals of the people, and the system of religious faith which prevails there. Sometimes a large smooth stone is inserted in a wall, and the cross is painted or cut on that. In other cases it is made of iron, and the foot of it rests in a socket, made for the purpose, in the top of the wall, or of a stone monument erected for the purpose. But by far the most common way, is to erect a cross of wood, painted black. These decay in a few years, and thus one is actually apprized of only a small proportion of the whole number of murders committed in a given region, during a long period of years. Still, he may see enough to make him shudder, and fill his soul with sadness, at the thought that there should be so many against whom the blood of their brethren cries from the ground, to God, for vengeance. Such is the state of society and morals in Spain, that many crimes are never brought to trial. Still, in 1826, there were 1,233 men convicted of murder; 1,773 of attempts to murder, and 1,620 of robbery. This was in a population less than that of the United States. Still, if I mistake not, fifty or one hundred murders in a single year, would excite great interest in our country, as showing a change in our morals and a prevalence of crime truly deplorable.
But let us return from this visit to Spain, to the point from which we took our flight. The ancient name of Pæstum was Posidonia, or Neptunia. It was founded at a very early period, by a colony of Dorians, and is spoken of by Homer, and other ancient writers, as having been visited by Jason, Ulysses, Phyrrhus, and Hercules. The Romans conquered it, and
gave it its present name, about three hundred years before the Christian era. After suffering from the invasions of the Romans, it was finally destroyed by the Saracens, in the tenth century.
The circumference of the town, as marked out by the ruins of the walls, was two miles and a half. There were four gates, opening towards the four points of the compass, the arch of only one of which is now entire. The walls were twenty feet broad, fifty feet in height, and fortified by eight towers, twenty-four feet square within. Just without the walls are some ancient tombs, each of which is covered with two large slabs of stone, meeting at the top, like the roof of a house. These abodes of the dead, like all others of an early date, which one meets with in Europe, have been opened and plundered. They were lined with stucco, and painted, and in them were found Grecian armor, and beautiful vases, with Greek inscriptions. But the objects of the highest interest, at Pæstum, are the temples of Ceres and Neptune, and the Basilica. The situation of these is such that they do not meet the eye until you are quite near them. Then, at once, they open to the view, in all their stern and solitary grandeur, ancient, and time-worn, indeed, but still firm and durable, and teaching man alike his frailty and his folly, by showing him how less than nothing is his own existence here, when compared with the duration of these works of his hands ; and how vain are his efforts to transmit to distant generations his name and his glory, by means of the proud and imposing structures which he rears. For, alas ! these venerable relics of the olden time have left far behind them, in the mystic darkness of remote antiquity, all sure and certain proof of the age and race to which they owe their origin, as well as of the deities to whose worship they were consecrated.
The ends of these structures, in which is the main entrance, are in a range, and front towards the East. They are thirty or forty rods from each other, and were probably on the main street of the town. I noticed, parallel to them, the foundations and divisions of a compact row of houses, extending along for some distance. And here, without entering into those minute scientific details, which would be understood only by the architect, suffice it to say, that these buildings are all of the old rude Doric order, such as it was before it attained its highest perfection and finish. The stone of which they are made, was probably formed in the immediate vicinity, by the water of the river Salso, acting on vegetable earth, roots, and plants, for their petrified tubes and leaves can now be easily distinguished. Pliny speaks of this effect of the river, as known in his own time. This stone is somewhat porons, or rather cellular, yet adamant itself is scarcely harder or more durable. The long rows of columns have stood there for thousands of years, and still the channelings first made by the hand of the artist who wrought them, and even the projecting lines which divide these channelings, are almost as perfect and distinct as when the temples were first reared.
There is no certainty as to which of the gods these temples were respectively dedicated. That called the temple of Neptune, is about two hundred feet in length, and eighty in breadth. Three large steps lead up to the platform on which it stands. Each end has six immense fluted columns, and there are twelve of the same size on each side, making thirty-six in all. They are about seven feet in diameter at the base, slightly tapering towards the top, and twenty-seven feet high. The space between one column and that next to it, is eight feet, and the cornices, friezes, architraves, and pediments, or, to speak in common language, the plates, eaves, and gables, or gable ends, are all entire.
It has no roof, and the walls between the columns have been removed, thus you take in the whole structure at a single view, and its effect is far more striking and impressive than it would be if the walls were entire. Within the temple are fourteen columns, in a double row, which rest upon a base three feet higher than the outer columns. They are about five feet in diameter, and sixteen feet high, and support an immense architrave, on which rests another row of pillars, eleven feet high. Traces of the high altar, and also of the green and dark blue mosaics, which adorned the temple in the days of its splendor, still remain. Along the summits of the outer parts of all these buildings, wild plants and flowers have sprung up in the crevices, which, waving in the wind, add another feature of wildness and of beauty to these imposing and venerable ruins.
The temple of Ceres and the Basilica, or Court of Justice, bear a general resemblance to the temple of Neptune, except that their size is somewhat less, and the style of their architecture lighter and more graceful. There are also the remains of a theatre and amphitheatre, made in the old Grecian mode, by an excavation in the ground, and circular rows of seats rising one above another, to the surface. Many fragments have been found here, showing a high degree of improvement in the art of sculpture. The amphitheatre was of an oval form, one hundred and seventy feet long, and one hundred and twenty wide.
The only houses that remain at Pæstum, are two or three old dilapidated buildings, around which linger a few of the most wretched, squalid, deformed, and woe-begone beings that I ever beheld. They look like the haggard and shriv. elled mummies of some former generation; and wan and ghost-like, the scanty pittance which they obtain in the way of charity, from those who visit the place, scarce serves to keep soul and body together. Yet even these poor wretches, little as they have to lose, still cling to life, and during part of the summer and fall, retire to the mountains to escape the deadly poison of the Malaria.
Such, now, is Piestum. Those massive temples, which, more than eighteen centuries ago, were visited by Augustus Cæsar, as venerable relics of antiquity, still remain, and bid fair to do so, as long as the earth shall stand. For thousands of years they have survived the shock of earthquakes, and the beating of the tempest, and there are still those massive columns, as firm and unshaken, and almost as undecayed, as when they were first erected. Standing thus before those grand and massive structures which had sternly bid defiance to the ravages of time, and which, although the oldest in the world, might yet remain until that grand convulsion when the heavens shall be rolled together as a scroll, the elements melt with fervent eat, and the earth and its works be consumed, — standing thus, it were scarce idolatry to feel that the ground beneath one's feet is holy, and that, for a time, the soul should wholly give itself up to those impressive and sublime emotions of awe and reverence which such a scene is fitted to inspire. And yet what are these structures, reared by the puny arm of man, when compared with the works of Him, who, by the word of His power, spake into being the earth and the mighty deep, — who fixed the barriers of the sea, which its raging waves should not pass, and reared the rock-ribbed mountains, and the everlasting hills. Such art Thou, O God, Most High, as seen in Thy works below; and we need not behold Thee, as Thou shinest in the heavens, to exclaim, “ What is man that thou art mindful of him, or the son of man, that thou visitest bim?"
On our return from Pæstum, we spent some hours at Pompeii. Before reaching there, however, we left the main road, and turned to the right, for the purpose of visiting a village which was buried by lava from Vesuvius, during the last autumn. It lay near the foot of the mountain, on the side opposite Naples, and the black and broken mass which flowed from the crater down a dark chasm, had covered a large extent of surface below, to the depth of from eight or ten, to thirty or forty feet. In one place, a house, standing just at the edge of the stream of lava, was enclosed on two sides, up to the eaves, while the others were left open. The whole space presented loose, broken masses of every shape and size, and at a distance it resembled a field of rich, black mould, turned up by a deep ploughing. This had been exposed to the weather, and was the mere froth or foam of what was once a mass of liquid fire. All below was firm and solid rock. It gave us a better idea of the nature and immediate effects of an eruption, than we could have had in any other way, except by seeing one.
But let us proceed to Pompeii. This city, and Herculaneum, are supposed to have been founded 1342 years before Christ, so that when destroyed they had stood 1400 years. They were much injured by an earthquake A. D. 63; and on the twenty-fourth of August, in the year 79, were entirely buried by an eruption of Vesuvius. Dion Cassius thus describes their destruction. “An incredible quantity of ashes carried by the wind, filled air, earth, and sea; suffocating men, cattle, birds, and fishes, and burying two entire cities, namely, Herculaneum and Pompeii, while their inhabitants were seated in the theatres." Very few skeletons, however, have been found in the theatres, and hence it is supposed, that most of the people took timely warning and escaped. The Coliseum at Rome, and other places where public shows were held in ancient times, were so constructed, and had so many outlets, that they could be emptied almost instantly. The Amphitheatre at Pompeii has ninety-seven places of egress, and so judiciously are they arranged, that 20,000 persons might safely pass out through them in two minutes and a half. It is probable, therefore, that the people, being warned of what was coming, fled for safety to the adjoining river and seacoast, and hastily embarked in such vessels as they could find. Pliny the elder, while approaching Vesuvius, observed an immense number of boats which fed from the coast ; yet, impelled by fatal curiosity, and the hope of relieving the sufferers, advanced and landed. There he spent the night, admiring the grandeur and sublimity of the scene; and the next day, when he would have returned to the Roman fleet, at Misenum, of which he was then commander-in-chief, an opposite wind prevented him. Thus, unable to escape, he