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THE bas-relief from which the vignette in the title-page is taken, is a fragment of lapis lazuli, on which is represented the upper part of the figure of Bonus Eventus. This deity presided over agriculture,(1) and it was upon his favour (as the name imports) that the abundance of the harvest was supposed to depend. He is therefore very appropriately represented holding the emblems of plenty, namely, corn and poppies in one hand, and in the other hand a patera, filled probably with the juice of the grape. A statue of him, executed by Euphranor, and preserved at Rome in the time of Pliny, held the same emblems, (2) and there can be very little doubt that the bas-relief we are now describing has been copied from this statue. According to Pliny there was also at Rome another statue of Bonus Eventus, which was the work of Praxiteles, (3) but no description of it has descended to us. This deity was particularly worshipped at Rome, and his figure is frequently seen on the coins of the emperors. P. Victor mentions a temple dedicated to Bonus Eventus, which stood in the ninth region at Rome, near the baths of Agrippa:(4) it was this temple which Ammianus Marcellinus informs us was restored in the reign of Valentinian and Valens, by a prefect of the name of Claudius. (5)
It is probable that this bas-relief, when perfect, was one of the three figures sculptured on the triangular base of a superb candela
'Nec non etiam precor Lympham, ac Bonum Eventum, quoniam sine aqua omnis arida ac misera agricultura, sine successu ac bono eventu, frustratio est, non cultura. Varro de Re Rusticâ, lib. 1. c. 1. § 6.
Hujus est [Euphranoris] et simulachrum Boni Eventus, dextrâ pateram, sinistrâ spicam ac papaver tenens. Plin. Nat. Hist. lib. xxiv. c. 19. § 16.
3 Romæ Praxitelis opera sunt, Flora, Triptolemus, Ceres in hortis Servilii: Boni Eventus, et Bonæ Fortunæ simulachra in Capitolio. Ibid. lib. xxxvi. c. 4. § 5.
+ Thermæ Agrippa.
Templum Boni Eventus.
P. Victor de regionibus urbis.
5 Instauravit vetera plurima, inter quæ porticum excitavit ingentem, lavacro Agrippa contiguam, Eventus Boni cognominatam, eâ re quòd hujus nominis prope visitur templum. Amm. Marcel. lib. xxix. c. vi.
brum. The words BONO EVENTVI, indicating that the figure is dedicated to the deity whose name is inscribed, appear to us to have been added by a modern hand.
The substance on which this bas-relief is engraved, is an argillaceous stone of a rich blue colour, sprinkled with whitish spots, and sometimes with grains of pyrites. (6) It was known to the ancients by the name of sapphirus, and also by that of cyanus; they frequently used this substance to engrave upon, (though from its softness it is ill adapted for the purpose,) and in general their engravings on this stone are of a very inferior degree of excellence. The present specimen is by far the best, as well as the largest piece of sculpture, on lapis lazuli, with which we are acquainted.
Dimensions, 7 inches by 7 inches.
"In sapphiris enim aurum punctis collucet cæruleis. Sapphirorum, quæ cum purpurâ, optimæ apud Medos: nusquam tamen perlucidæ. Præterea inutiles scalpturæ, intervenientibus crystallinis centris. Plin, N. 11. lib. xXLVIL O
In the Title-page is an engraving of a bas-relief representing a figure of Bonus
After the Table of Contents are two plates, one representing the west view of the
VI. An unknown head, supposed to be that of Arminius.
VII. A bronze statue of Apollo.
The drawings for these two plates were made by Mr. Henry Corbould, although by a mistake
of the letter-engraver they bear the initials of Mr. Alexander's name.