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somewhere about the twelfth century. Events and institutions which arose then, and which seem to belong to the later period of social progress in Europe, have, therefore, received no notice in the following pages.
The author has been careful in consulting authorities, though he has abstained from loading his pages with references. The quotations are taken immediately, not second-hand, from the works cited at the foot of the
page ; and in referring to books as authorities, the author has generally chosen such as are best known, easiest of access, and most adapted to furnish additional interesting information on the topics in question.
The city of Rome had sustained little diminution in her architectural splendour, when the setting sun shed his parting beams, as if with prophetic significance, upon the gilded roof of the venerable capitol, on the evening of the 24th of August, A.D. 410. The temple of Jupiter, though shorn of some of the dazzling ornaments with which the emperor Domitian had adorned its portals and pediments, still remained an imposing monument of the ancient paganism of the Imperial City. Other costly temples and public buildings, clustered around that seat of Roman pride and greatness, and met and charmed the eye of the citizen, as he ascended the slope of the Capitoline Hill. With a lordly air, these noble structures threw their long shadows over the spacious forum, where, of old, the sons of the
republic had been accustomed to gather in crowds around the rostrum, to listen to the speeches of their orators; and where still the degenerate Roman was reminded of the deeds of his fathers, by the monuments of patriotism and victory which were strewn around him. On that evening, might be seen many a citizen and foreigner passing to and fro, along its stately colonnades, or reclining at his ease upon the ble seats; and in whatever direction he went, on leaving that far-famed spot, he passed through squares and streets which were adorned with temples, palaces, and baths, such as could have been erected in no city but one that had enriched itself with the spoils of the whole world. In short, Rome had undergone but little alteration since the eastern emperor Constantius, fifty years before, on visiting the city of his fathers, had been overwhelmed with astonishment at its surpassing magnificence. An historian of that period, * describing the visit in that inflated style which is so characteristic of the age, observes; “ As Constantius viewed the sevenhilled city, with its valleys and suburban districts, every object around him seemed to shine with transcendent splendour :- the temple of Tarpeian Jove exceeding everything he had beheld, as much as a Divine production could exceed the works of man; the spacious baths spreading around like provinces ; the Amphitheatre with its solid walls of Tiburtine marble, and so lofty, that the eye is fatigued in looking
* Ammianus Marcellinus, lib. xvi. c. 10.