« 上一頁繼續 »
the reign of Leo IV. (a.d. 847—856). Procopius in the sixth century wrote of Ostia as "a city nearly overthrown." The present town is but a fortified hamlet, built by Gregory IV., and originally called by him Gregoriopolis. It was strengthened by Nicholas I. in 858. In the fifteenth century Cardinal d'Estouteville employed Sangallo, who lived here for two years, in building the castle, and Giuliano della Rovere, afterwards Pope Julius II. and then cardinal bishop of Ostia, continued the work. Here he took refuge
for two years from the persecution of Alexander VI. Afterwards he imprisoned Cfesar Borgia here in 1513, whose escape was connived at by Cardinal Carbajal, to whose care he was intrusted. Nothing remains of the internal decorations but some mouldering frescoes executed by Baldassare Peruzzi and Cesare da Sesto for Cardinal della Rovere, but the outer walls are so covered with the escutcheons of their different papal owners as "to form a veritable chapter of pontifical heraldry." Conspicuous amongst these grand coats of arms are the oak-tree (Robur) of the Della Rovere, and the wreathed column of the
Colonna. On the battlements above, masses of the bluegreen wormwood, which is a lover of salt air and scanty soil, wave in the wind. Artists will all regret the destruction of the tall pine, so well known till lately in pictures of Ostia, which stood beside the tower, till it died in 1870.
The tiny town, huddled into the narrow fortified space, which forms as it were an outer bastion of the castle, contains the small semi-Gothic cathedral, a work of Baccio Pintelli, with a rose-window, but scarcely larger than a chapel, and seeming out of keeping with the historical recollections wliich we have of many mighty cardinal bishops. Some accounts state that this most ancient see was founded by the apostles themselves; others consider that Pope Urban I. (a.d. 222) was its founder, and announce St. Ciriacus as its first bishop. It is the bishop of Ostia who has always been called upon to ordain a pope who has not been in priests' orders at the time of his election, and he bears the title of "Dean of the Sacred College."* _-,
A quarter of a mile beyond the mediaeval town we enter upon the ancient city. It is like Pompeii. The long entrance street, now quite unearthed, is paved with great blocks of lava closely dovetailed into one another, and is lined with the low ruins of small houses and shops, chiefly built of brick, set in opus reticulatum. Here and there a tall grey sarcophagus stands erect; but no building remains perfect in the whole of the great town, which once contained eighty thousand inhabitants. Thistles flourish everywhere, and snakes and lizards abound, and glide in and out of the hot unshaded stones. After a time we turn into other and
• The towns of Ostia, Portus, Silva Candida, Sabina, Prseneste, Tuscuium, and Albanian, were the sees of seven suffragan bishops, afterwards called cardinal bishops, of whom the Bishop of Rome was in a special sense the Metropolitan.
smaller streets, in some of which there are evident remains of pillared porticoes. \ A temple of Mithras, supposed to be of the date of the Antonines, has been identified by the inscription on its pavement, " Soli Invict. Mit. D. D. L. Agrius Calendio." Three statues of Mithraic priests were found near its altar. I Baths, richly decorated with mosaics, have also been discovered.
In the streets, the marks, the deep ruts of the chariotwheels—obliged by the narrow space to run always in the same groove, remain in the pavement. The ground is littered with pieces of coloured marble, and of ancient glass tinted with all the hues of a peacock's tail by its long interment. The banks are filled with fragments of pottery, and here and there of human bones. The whole scene is melancholy and strange beyond description. Emerging from the narrow, almost oppressive confinement of the ruined streets, upon higher ground still unexcavated, which stretches away in ashy reaches to the mouths of the Tiber and the sea, we find a massive quadrangular building of brick, which is more stately and perfect than anything else, and is supposed to have been a temple of Jupiter. It contains its ancient altar.
Ancus Martius was the original founder of Ostia, which then stood upon the sea-shore, and for hundreds of years it was the place where the great Roman expeditions were embarked for the subjugation of the provinces. Chief among these were the expedition of Scipio Africanus to Spain, and that of Claudius to Britain. It was in the time of Claudius that the town obtained its chief importance. He dearly loved his sea-port, often stayed here, and it was from hence that he was summoned to Rome by the news of the S. AUGUSTINE AT OSTIA. 45
iniquities which led to the death of Messalina. f In his time the sand was already beginning to accumulate at the mouth of the Tiber, and Ostia was soon after ruined, paling before the prosperity of Porto.y In consequence of the changes in the mouth of the Tiber, which has no longer the graceful course and the woody banks described by Virgil, it is diffi cult to ascertain the site of the ancient harbour. It is even disputed through how many channels the river entered the sea; Dionysius, in his "Periegesis," declares that it had only one; Ovid alludes to two.
"Ostia contigerat, qua se Tiberinus in altum
Dividit, et campo liberiore natat."—Fast. iv. 291.
"Fluminis ad flexum veniunt ; Tiberina priores
Ostia dixerunt, unde sinister abit."—Fast, iv. 329.
But from these classical recollections the Christian pilgrim will turn with enthusiasm to later memories, as precious and beautiful as any that the Campagna of Rome can afford, and he will see Augustine, with his holy mother, Monica, sitting, as in Ary Scheffer's picture, at "a curtain window," dis coursing alone, together, very sweetly, and, "forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forth to those things which are before," inquiring in the presence of the Truth of what sort the eternal life of the saints was to be, and "gasping with the mouths of their hearts" after the heavenly streams of the fountain of life. Then, as the world and all its delights become contemptible in the nearness into which their converse draws them to the unseen, he will hear the calm voice of Monica in the twilight telling her son that her earthly hopes and mission are fulfilled, and that she is only waiting to depart, "since that is accomplished for which she had desired to linger awhile in this life, that she might see him a Catholic Christian before she died." He will remember that five days after this conversation, Monica lay in Ostia upon her death-bed, and waking from a long swoon, and looking fixedly on her two sons standing by her, "with grief amazed," said to Augustine, "Here thou shalt bury thy mother;" and that to those who asked whether she was not afraid to leave her body so far from her own city, she replied, " Nothing is far to God; nor is it to be feared lest at the end of the world He should not recognize whence to raise me up." And here "on the ninth day of her sickness, and the fifty-sixth year of her age, was that religious and holy soul freed from the body." The bones of Monica were moved afterwards to Rome, to the church which was dedicated to her son's memory; but it is Ostia which will always be connected with the last scenes of that most holy life, and at Ostia that Augustine describes the "mighty sorrow which flowed into his heart," the tears and outcries of " the boy Adeodatus,"* as the beloved mother sank into her last sleep; how Euodius calmed their grief by taking up the Psalter, and how all the mourning household sang the psalm, "I will sing of mercy and judgment to thee, O Lord," around the silent corpse ; and lastly, how the body was carried to the burial, and they " went and returned without tears—for the bitterness of sorrow could not exude out of the heart."
With these recollections in our minds, let us leave Ostia. It is a curious and deeply interesting, but not a beautiful place, and it is a strange contrast, when we have returned once more to the old fortress, and, turning sharply round its walls, traversed the two miles of desolate campagna between
1 The son of Augustine.