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THE LAKE REGILLUS.
enter-like banks, and with much lava or basalt about it, situated at some height above the plain, on the right hand of the road as you descend from the high ground under La Colonna (Labicum), to the ordinary level of the Campagna, in going to Rome."—Hist, of Rome, i. 120.
"The Battle of the Lake Regillus, as described by Livy, is not an engagement between two armies: it is a conflict of heroes, like those in the Iliad. All the leaders encounter hand to hand; and by them the victory is thrown now into one scale, now into the other; while the troops fight without any effect. The dictator Postumius wounds King Tarquinius, who at the first onset advances to meet him. T. /Ebutius, the master of the horse, wounds the Latin dictator: but he himself too is disabled, and forced to quit the field. Mamilius, only aroused by his hurt, leads the cohort of the Roman emigrants to the charge, and breaks the front lines of the enemy; this glory the Roman lays could not allow to any but fellow-citizens, under whatever banner they might be fighting. M. Valerius, surnamed Maximus, falls as he is checking their progress. Publius and Marcus, the sons of Publicola, meet their death in rescuing the body of their uncle, but the dictator with his cohort avenges them all, repulses the emigrants, and puts them to flight. In vain does Mamilius strive to retrieve the day: he is slain by T. Herminius, the comrade of Codes. Herminius again is pierced through with a javelin, while stripping the Latin general of his arms. At length the Roman knights, fighting on foot before the standards, decided the victory: then they mounted their horses, and routed the yielding foe. During the battle the dictator had vowed a temple to the Dioscuri. Two gigantic youths on white horses were seen fighting in the van: and from its being said, immediately after the mention of the vow, that the dictator promised rewards to the first two who should scale the wall of the enemy's camp, I surmise that the poem related, nobody challenged these prizes, because the way for the legions had been opened by the Tyndarids. The pursuit was not yet over, when the two deities appeared at Rome, covered with dust and blood. They washed themselves and their arms in the fountain of Juturna beside the temple of Vesta, and announced the events of the day to the people assembled in the Comitium. On the other side of the fountain the promised temple was built. The print of a horse's hoof in the basalt on the field of battle remained to attest the presence of the heavenly combatants."—Niebuhi>s Hist, of Rome, i 557.
On the right is the hill of Monte Porzio, said to have derived its name from the Porcian Villa of Cato the younger. It is crowned by a large village, built by Gregory XIII. (Buoncompagni), whose arms adorn its gateway. The church was consecrated by Cardinal York in 1766.
Beyond this, on the right, is Monte Compatri, a large village, cresting another hill, and belonging to the Borgheses. Further on is Rocca Priora, now identified with Corbio, the first place attacked by the Latin confederates in behalf of Tarquin, who, when they had expelled the garrison, hence ravaged all the surrounding country.
Rocca Priora stands high up on the Monte Algido, the second of the heights of which the Alban Hills are composed. On one of its peaks are remains which are referred to a temple of Diana mentioned by Horace.
"Quscque Aventinum tenet Algidumque,
Carm. Sac. 69.
The plain which separated the Mons Algidus from the
heights near Tusculumwas frequently a battle-field. In B.C.
458 Cincinnatus gained here his great victory over the
/Equians under Cloelius Gracchus; and here, in B.c. 428,
Postumius Tubertus conquered the combined armies of the
^fiquians and Volscians.
"Scilicet hie olim Volscos /Equosque fugatos
Ovid. Fast. vi. 721.
Horace mentions the cold climate of Algidus :—
"Gelido prominet Algido."
Carm. i. 21.
'Nivali pascitur Algido."
And its black woods :—
"Nigrae feraci frondis in Algida"
Silius Italicus, however, speaks of the pleasures of a residence here:—
". . Nec ameena retentant
On the left we now reach an insulated hill crowned by the picturesque little mediaeval town of Colonna, for seven centuries the stronghold of the great family of that name, but now belonging to Prince Rospigliosi.
Colonna occupies the site of Labicum, which, according to Virgil, existed before the foundation of Rome, for he represents its warriors as joining the army of Turnus :—
"Auruncaxme manus, Rutuli, vcteresque Sicani,
/£«. vii. 795.
Hannibal approached Rome from hence :—
"Jamque adeo est campos ingressus et arva Labici,
Sil. Ital. xii. 534.
Silius alludes to the fertility of its lands :—
". . . atque habiles ad aratra Labici."
Through the Middle Ages, Colonna was the scene of endless sieges, and consequently perhaps suffered more than any other town in the neighbourhood of Rome.
"The private story of the Colonna and Ursini is an essential part of the annals of modern Rome. The name and arms of Colonna have been the theme of much doubtful etymology; nor have the orators and antiquarians overlooked either Trajan's Pillar, or the columns of Hercules, or the pillar of Christ's flagellation, or the luminous column that guided the Israelites in the desert. Their first historical appearance in the year 1104, attests the power and antiquity, while it explains the simple meaning, of the name. By the usurpation of Cavi, the Colonna provoked the arms of Paschal II.; but they lawfully held, in the Campagna of Rome, the hereditary fiefs of Zagarolo and Colonna; and the latter of these towns was probably adorned with some lofty pillar, the relic of a villa or temple. They likewise possessed one moiety of the neighbouring city of Tusculum; a strong presumption of their descent from the counts of Tusculum, who in the loth century were the tyrants of the apostolic see. According to their own and the public opinion, the primitive and remote source was derived from the banks of the Rhine; and the sovereigns of Germany were not ashamed of a real or fabulous affinity with a noble race, which in the revolutions of seven hundred years has been often illustrated by merit, and always by fortune. About the end of the 13th century, the most powerful branch was composed of an uncle and six brothers, all conspicuous in arms, or in the honours of the Church. Of these, Peter was elected senator of Rome, introduced to the Capitol in a triumphant car, and hailed in some vain acclamations with the title of Caisar; while John and Stephen were declared Marquis of Ancona and Count of Romagna by Nicholas IV., a patron so partial to their family, that he has been delineated, in satirical portraits, imprisoned as it were in a hollow pillar. After his decease, their haughty behaviour provoked the displeasure of the most implacable of mankind. The two cardinals, the uncle and the nephew, denied the election of Boniface VIII. ; and the Colonna were oppressed for a moment by his temporal and spiritual arms. He proclaimed a crusade against his personal enemies; their estates were confiscated; their fortresses on either side of the Tiber were besieged by the troops of S. Peter, and those of the rival nobles; and after the ruin of Palestrina or Prameste, their principal seat, the ground was marked with a plough-share, the emblem of perpetual desolation. Degraded, banished, proscribed, the six brothers, in disguise and danger, wandered over Europe without renouncing the hope of deliverance and revenge. In this double hope, the French court was their surest asylum; they prompted and directed the enterprise of Philip; and I should praise their magnanimity, had they respected the misfortune and courage of the captive tyrant. His civil acts were annulled by the Roman people, who restored the honours and possessions of the Colonna; and some estimate may be formed of their wealth by their losses, of their losses by the damages of one hundred thousand gold florins, which were granted them against the accomplices and heirs of the deceased pope. All the spiritual censures and disqualifications were abolished by his prudent successors; and the fortune of the house was more firmly established by this transient hurricane. The boldness of Sciarra Colonna was signalized in the captivity of Boniace, and long afterwards in the coronation of Lewis of Bavaria; and Vf FROM FRASCATI TO PALESTRINA. 121
the gratitude of the Emperor the pillar in their arms was encircled with a royal crown. But the first of the family in fame and merit was the elder Stephen, whom Petrarch loved and esteemed as a hero superior to his own times, and not unworthy of ancient Rome. Persecution and exile displayed to the nations his abilities in peace and war; in his distress, he was an object, not of pity, but of reverence; the aspect of danger provoked him to avow his name and country: and 1 hen he was asked,' Where is now your fortress?' he laid his hand on his heart, and answered, ' Here.' He supported with the same virtue the return of prosperity: and, till the ruin of his declining age, the ancestors, the character, and the children of Stephen Colonna, exalted his dignity in the Roman republic and at the court of Avignon."—Gibbon's Roman Empire, ch. lxix.
The ancient Via Labicana, now the high road to Naples by Valmontone, runs at the foot of the hill upon which Colonna is situated.
An excellent new road leads from Frascati to Palestrina, passing for the most part through the remains of the fine old chestnut forest, with which these mountain slopes were once covered. The road ascends first to Monte Porzio, which most picturesquely crowns an olive-clad hill with its gaily painted houses. Hence, by a beautiful terrace, with glorious views through the vineyards into the Sabina, we climb up to Monte Compatri, above which stands the great Convent of S. Silvestro. We are now high above Colonna, and Monte Porzio becomes very effective rising against the faint distances of the vast plain in which Rome is asleep. From Monte Compatri the new road descends, and falls into the high road from Rome before reaching the Villa Doria at S. Cesareo. On the left, Zagarolo is seen, in a striking position at the end of a ravine. We pass some Roman tombs hewn in the rocks of the hollow way; the