Anecdotes of Painters, Engravers, Sculptors and Architects and Curiosities of Art (Vol. 3 of 3)
by S. Spooner
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Sculptors and Architects,










Reentered, G. B., 1880.


Egyptian Art, 1 Ancient Thebes, 2 The Temple of Carnac, 5 Temple of Luxor, 5 The Statues of Memnon, 6 Heliopolis, 7 Memphis, 8 Lake Moeris, 9 The Colossal Sphinx, 10 The Labyrinth of Egypt, 11 The Catacombs of Egypt, 12 The Pyramids of Egypt, 19 Perilous Ascent of the Pyramid of Cephren, 27 Egyptian Obelisks, 30 Removal of an Obelisk by Fontana, 33 Removal of an Obelisk from Thebes to Paris, 40 Carburi's Base for the Equestrian Statue of Peter the Great, 42 Comparative Skill of the Ancients and Moderns in Mechanics, 45 The Britannia Tubular Railway Bridge, 46 The Tubes, 47 Construction of the Tubes, 49 Floating the Tubes, 50 Raising the Tubes, 52 Glory of Ancient Rome, 57 The Capitol, 59 Modern Rome, 60 The Foundation of Venice, 72 Theodoric the Great, and his Love of the Fine Arts, 73 Archimedes, 77 The Trials of Genius—Filippo Brunelleschi, 80 Brunelleschi's Enthusiasm, 122 Brunelleschi and Donatello, 123 Donatello, 125 Donatello and the Merchant, 126 Donatello and his Kinsmen, 127 Death of Donatello, 128 Donatello and Michael Angelo Compared, 128 Sofonisba Anguisciola's Early Distinction, 129 Sofonisba's Visit to Rome, 130 Sofonisba's Marriages, 131 Sofonisba's Residence at Genoa, and her Intercourse with Vandyck, 132 Carriera Rosalba, 133 Rosalba's Modesty, 133 Rosalba's Knowledge of Tempers, 133 Elizabeth Sirani, 134 Death of Elizabeth Sirani, 135 Rachel Ruysch, 135 Sir Anthony Vandyck, 136 Vandyck's Visit to Italy, 138 Vandyck's Return to Antwerp, 139 Vandyck's Visit to England, 141 William van de Velde the Elder, 143 Van de Velde and Charles II., 144 William van de Velde the Younger, 145 The Younger van de Velde's Works, 146 Nicholas Poussin, 148 Poussin's first Celebrity, 149 Poussin's first Visit to Rome, 150 Poussin's Distress at Rome, 151 Poussin's Success at Rome, 152 Poussin's Invitation to Paris, 153 Poussin's Return to Rome, 154 Sir Joshua Reynolds' Critique on Poussin, 156 Poussin's Views of his Art, 157 Poussin's Works, 158 Marino and Poussin, 159 Poussin Romanized, 160 Poussin's Habits of Study, 161 Poussin's Old Age, 162 Poussin's Last Work and Death, 163 Poussin's Ideas of Painting, 164 Poussin and the Nobleman, 165 Poussin and Mengs, 165 Poussin and Domenichino, 166 Poussin and Salvator Rosa, 166 Poussin, Angelo, and Raffaelle Compared, 168 Rembrandt, 170 Rembrandt's Works, 173 Rembrandt as an Engraver, 174 Anecdote of Schwarts, 175 Jacques Callot, 176 Callot's Patriotism, 177 Ingenuity of Artists, 178 A Hint to Jewelers, 179 Curious Paintings, 180 The Oldest Oil Painting Extant, 181 Curious Representations of the Harpies, 181 Adrian Brower, 182 Brower, the Duke d'Aremberg, and Rubens, 183 Death of Brower, 184 Brower's Works, 185 Rosa da Tivoli, 185 Rosa da Tivoli's Works, 186 Rosa da Tivoli's Facility of Execution, 186 Rosa da Tivoli's Habits, 187 Luca Cambiaso's Facility in Painting, 187 Cambiaso's Works in Spain, 188 Cambiaso's Artistic Merits, 190 Rarity of Female Portraits in Spain, 191 Murillo's Pictures in Spanish America, 192 Murillo's "Virgin of the Napkin," 193 Anecdote of an Altar-Piece by Murillo, 194 Murillo and his slave Gomez, 195 An Artist's Love of Romance, 195 Esteban March's Strange Method of Study, 198 March's Adventure of the Fish, fried in Linseed Oil, 199 A Painter's Rebuke, 200 A Painter's Retort Courteous, 201 Ardemans and Bocanegra—A Trial of Skill, 201 A Painter's Artifice to "Keep up Appearances," 202 A Good Natured Criticism, 203 Alonso Cano and the Intendant of the Bishop of Malaga, 203 Cano's Love of Sculpture, 204 Castillo's Sarcasm on Alfaro, 204 Torres' Imitations of Caravaggio, 205 Pantoja and the Eagle, 205 The Painter Methodius and the King of Bulgaria, 206 John C. Vermeyen and Charles V., 206 Blas de Prado and the Emperor of Morocco, 207 Don Juan Carreno, 208 Carreno's Copy of Titian's St. Margaret, 208 Carreno's Abstraction of Mind, 209 Anecdote of Cespedes' Last Supper, 209 Zuccaro's Compliment to Cespedes, 210 Dona Barbara Maria de Hueva, 210 The Miraculous Picture of the Virgin, 211 The Chair of St. Peter, 213 The Sagro Catino, or Emerald Dish, 215 The "Painter of Florence," 217 Legend of the Painter-Friar, the Devil, and the Virgin, 220 Gerard Douw, 222 Douw's Style, 224 Douw's Method of Painting, 225 Douw's Works, 226 Albert Durer, 228 Durer's Works as a Painter, 229 Durer's Works as an Engraver, 231 Durer's Fame and Death, 233 Durer's Habits and Literary Works, 234 Ludolph Backhuysen, 235 John Baptist Weenix the Elder, 236 Weenix's Facility of Hand, 236 John Baptist Weenix the Younger, 237 Jan Steen, 238 Jan Steen's Works, 238 Kugler's Critique on the Works of Jan Steen, 240 Frolics of Mieris and Jan Steen, 241 Sir Anthony More, 242 Sir Anthony More and Philip II., 243 More's Success and Works, 243 Perilous Adventure of a Painter, 245 Anecdote of John de Mabuse, 246 Capugnano and Lionello Spada, 247 Michael Angelo Caravaggio—His Quarrelsome Disposition, 248 Jacopo Amiconi, 249 Painting the Dead, 250 Taddeo Zuccaro, 250 Zuccaro's Resentment, 251 Royal Criticism, 252 Pietro da Cortona, 253 "Know Thyself," 254 Benvenuto Cellini, 255 Fracanzani and Salvator Rosa, 256 Pope Urban VIII. and Bernini, 256 Emulation and Rivalry in the Fine Arts, 257 The Notte of Correggio, 259 The Dresden Gallery, 262 Painting among the Egyptians, 263 Painting among the Greeks, 265 Numismatics, 269 Restoring Ancient Edifices, 274 Napoleon's Love of Art, 274 Napoleon's Works at Paris, 276 The Napoleon Medals, 281 The Elephant Fountain, 286 Interesting Drawing, 287 Sevre China, 288 Dismantling of the Louvre, 289 Removal of the Venetian Horses from Paris, 296 Removal of the Statue of Napoleon from the Place Vendome, 301 The Musee Francais and the Musee Royal, 302 Boydell's Shakspeare Gallery, 305 Brief Sketch of a Plan for an American National Gallery of Art, 307





Champollion, the famous explorer of Egyptian antiquities, holds the following language at the end of his fifteenth letter, dated at Thebes. "It is evident to me, as it must be to all who have thoroughly examined Egypt or have an accurate knowledge of the Egyptian monuments existing in Europe, that the arts commenced in Greece by a servile imitation of the arts in Egypt, much more advanced than is vulgarly believed, at the period when the Egyptian colonies came in contact with the savage inhabitants of Attica or the Peloponnesus. Without Egypt, Greece would probably never have become the classical land of the fine arts. Such is my entire belief on this great problem. I write these lines almost in the presence of bas-reliefs which the Egyptians executed, with the most elegant delicacy of workmanship, seventeen hundred years before the Christian era. What were the Greeks then doing?"

The sculptures of the monument of El Asaffif are ascertained to be more than three thousand five hundred years old.


Thebes, an ancient city and capital of Egypt, and the oldest city in the world, was situated in Upper Egypt, on both sides of the Nile, about two hundred and sixty miles south of Cairo. Thebes is "the city of a hundred gates," the theme and admiration of ancient poets and historians, and the wonder of travelers—"that venerable city," in the language of Dr. Pocoke, "the date of whose destruction is older than the foundation of other cities, and the extent of whose ruins, and the immensity of whose colossal fragments still offer so many astonishing objects, that one is riveted to the spot, unable to decide whither to direct the step, or fix the attention." These ruins extend about eight miles along the Nile, from each bank to the sides of the enclosing mountains, and describe a circuit of twenty-seven miles. The most remarkable objects on the eastern side are the temples of Carnac and Luxor; and on the western side are the Memnonium or palace of Memnon, two colossal statues, the sepulchres of the kings, and the temple of Medinet Abu. The glory of Thebes belongs to a period prior to the commencement of authentic history. It is recorded only in the dim lights of poetry and tradition, which might be suspected of fable, did not such mighty witnesses remain to attest their truth. Strabo and Diodorus Siculus described Thebes under the name of Diospolis (the city of God), and gave such magnificent descriptions of its monuments as caused the fidelity of those writers to be called in question, till the observations of modern travelers proved their accounts to have fallen short of the reality. At the time of the Persian invasion under Cambyses, Memphis had supplanted Thebes; and the Ptolemys afterwards removed the seat of empire to Alexandria. At present, its site presents only a few scattered villages, consisting of miserable cottages built in the courts of the temples. The ancient structures, however, remain in a state of wonderful preservation. Almost the whole extent of eight miles along the river is covered with magnificent portals, obelisks decorated with most beautiful sculptures, forests of columns, and long avenues of sphynxes and colossal statues. The most remarkable monuments, the ruins of which remain, are the temples of Carnac, Luxor, the Memnonium or temple of Memnon, and the temple of Medinet Abu. The tomb of Osymandyas, the temple of Iris, the Labyrinth, and the Catacombs lie on the western side of the Nile. In the interior of the mountains which rise behind these monuments, are found objects less imposing and magnificent indeed, but not less interesting—the tombs of the kings of Thebes. Several of these were opened by Belzoni, and were found in great preservation, with mummies in the sarcophagi, as well as dispersed through the chambers.

Such was ancient Thebes—a city so populous that, according to ancient writers, in times of war 10,000 soldiers issued from each of her hundred gates, forming an army of 1,000,000 men. That these magnificent ruins are the remains of "the city of an hundred gates,"—"the earliest capital in the world," cannot be doubted. According to the measurements made by the French, their distance from the sea on the north, is 680,000 metres (850 miles), and from Elephantine on the south, 180,000 metres (225 miles)—corresponding exactly with the 6,800 and 1,800 stadia of Herodotus. The circumference of the ruins is about 15,000 metres (171/2 miles), agreeing with the 140 stadia given by Diodorus as the circumference of Thebes. The origin of the name of this celebrated city, as well as the date of its foundation, is unknown. According to Champollion, who deciphered many of the inscriptions on these ruins, the Egyptian name was Thbaki-antepi-Amoun (City of the Most High), of which the No-Ammon of the Hebrews and Diospolis of the Greeks are mere translations; Thebae, of the Greeks is also perhaps derived from the Egyptian Thbaki (the city).


The largest of the temples of Thebes, and of any in Egypt, is that of Carnac, on the site of the ancient Diospolis. Diodorus describes it as thirteen stadia, or about a mile and a half in circumference, which nearly agrees with the admeasurements of Denon. It has twelve principal entrances; and the body of the temple, which is preceded by a large court, consists of a prodigious hall or portico, the roof of which is supported by one hundred and thirty-four columns, some twenty-six, and others thirty feet in circumference; four beautiful obelisks then mark the entrance to the shrine, which consists of three apartments, built entirely of granite.


The temple of Luxor is about one and a fourth mile above that of Carnac, and though it is of smaller dimensions it is in a superior style of architecture, and in more complete preservation. The entrance is thought to surpass everything else that Egypt presents. In front are the two finest obelisks in the world, formed of rose-colored granite, and rising, as Denon supposes, after allowing for the portion buried in the ground, to the height of one hundred feet. But the objects which most attract attention, are the sculptures which cover the east wing of the northern front. They represent on a grand scale, a victory gained by one of the ancient kings of Egypt over their Asiatic enemies, consisting of multitudes of figures, horses, and chariots, executed in the best style of Egyptian art; the number of human figures introduced exceeds fifteen hundred, five hundred of which are on foot, and the rest in chariots.


There were many colossal statues of Memnon in Egypt, but the most remarkable were the two in the Memnonium or palace of Memnon, at Thebes. The largest is of rose-colored granite, and stood in the centre of the principal court; its height was sixty-four feet, and its remains are scattered forty feet around it. Rigaud, one of the French savans, says, "the excavations are still visible where the wedges were placed which divided the monument when it was thrown down by Cambyses." The trunk is broke off at the waist, and the upper part lies prostrate on the back; it measures six feet ten inches over the front of the head, and sixty-two feet round the shoulders. At the entrance of the gate which leads from the second court to the palace, is the famous colossal sounding statue, which, according to Herodotus, Strabo, and Pausanias, uttered a joyful sound when the sun rose, and a mournful one when it set. It is also related that it shed tears, and gave out oracular responses in seven verses, and that these sounds were heard till the fourth century after Christ. These phenomena, attested by many ancient and modern writers, are variously accounted for by the learned, as priestcraft, peculiar construction, escape of rarified air, &c. This statue is in excellent preservation. The head is of rose-colored granite, and the rest of a kind of black stone. Two other colossal statues, about fifty feet high, are seated on the plain.


The name of Heliopolis, or City of the Sun, was given by the Greeks to the Egyptian City of On. It was situated a little to the north of Memphis, was one of the largest cities of Egypt during the reign of the Pharaohs, and so adorned with statues as to be esteemed one of the first sacred cities in the kingdom. The temple dedicated to Re, was a magnificent building, having in front an avenue of sphynxes, celebrated in history, and adorned with several obelisks, raised by Sethosis Rameses, B.C. 1900. By means of lakes and canals, the town, though built on an artificial eminence, communicated with the Nile, and during the flourishing ages of the Egyptian monarchy, the priests and scholars acquired and taught the elements of learning within the precincts of its temples. At the time of Strabo who visited this town about A. D. 45, the apartments were still shown in which, four centuries before, Eudoxus and Plato had labored to learn the philosophy of Egypt. Here Joseph and Mary are said to have rested with our Saviour. A miserable village, called Metarea, now stands on the site of this once magnificent city. Near the village is the Pillar of On, a famous obelisk, supposed to be the oldest monument of the kind existing. Its height is 671/2 feet, and its breadth at the base 6 feet. It is one single shaft of reddish granite (Sienite), and hieroglyphical characters are rudely sculptured upon it.


The very situation of this famous ancient city of Egypt had long been a subject of learned dispute, till it was accurately ascertained by the French expedition to Egypt. Numerous heaps of rubbish, of blocks of granite covered with hieroglyphics and sculptures, of colossal fragments, scattered over a space three or four leagues in circumference, marks its site, a few miles south of Metarea or Heliopolis, at a village called Moniet-Rahinet. According to Herodotus, the foundation of Memphis was ascribed to Menes, the first king of Egypt. It was a large, rich, and splendid city, and the second capital of Egypt. Among its buildings were several magnificent temples, as those of Phtha, Osiris, Serapis, etc.; its palaces were also remarkable. In Strabo's time, it was next to Alexandria in size and population. Edrisi, who visited Memphis in the 12th century, thus describes its remains then existing: "Notwithstanding the vast extent of this city, the remote period at which it was built, the attempts made by various nations to destroy it and to obliterate every trace of it, by removing the materials of which it was constructed, combined with the decay of 4,000 years, there are yet in it works so wonderful as to confound the reflecting, and such as the most eloquent could not adequately describe." Among the works specified by him, are a monolithic temple of granite, thirteen and a half feet high, twelve long, and seven broad, entirely covered, within and without, with inscriptions; and colossal statues of great beauty, one of which was forty-five feet high, carved out of a single block of red granite. These ruins then extended about nine miles in every direction.


This famous lake, according to Herodotus, with whose account Diodorus Siculus and Mela agree, was entirely an artificial excavation, made by king Moeris, to carry off the overflowing waters of the Nile, and reserve them for the purposes of irrigation. It was, in the time of Herodotus, 3,600 stadia or 450 miles in circumference, and 300 feet deep, with innumerable canals and reservoirs. Denon, Belzoni, and other modern travelers, describe it at the present time as a natural basin, thirty or forty miles long, and six broad. The works, therefore, which Herodotus attributes to King Moeris, must have been the mounds, dams, canals, and sluices which rendered it subservient to the purposes of irrigation. These, also, would give it the appearance of being entirely the product of human industry.


The Egyptian Sphinx is represented by a human head on the body of a lion; it is always in a recumbent position with the fore paws stretched forward, and a head dress resembling an old-fashioned wig. The features are like those of the ancient Egyptians, as represented on their monuments. The colossal Sphinx, near the group of pyramids at Jizeh, which lay half buried in the sand, was uncovered and measured by Caviglia. It is about 150 feet long, and 63 feet high. The body is made out of a single stone; but the paws, which are thrown out about fifty feet in front, are constructed of masonry. The Sphinx of Sais, formed of a block of red granite, twenty-two feet long, is now in the Egyptian Museum in the Louvre. There has been much speculation among the learned, concerning the signification of these figures. Winckelmann observes that they have the head of a female, and the body of a male, which has led to the conjecture that they are intended as emblems of the generative powers of nature, which the old mythologies are accustomed to indicate by the mystical union of the two sexes in one individual; they were doubtless of a sacred character, as they guarded the entrance of temples, and often formed long avenues leading up to them.


A labyrinth, with the ancients, was a building containing a great number of chambers and galleries, running into one another in such a manner as to make it very difficult to find the way through the edifice. The most famous was the Egyptian labyrinth, situated in Central Egypt, above Lake Moeris, not far from Crocodilopolis, in the country now called Fejoom. Herodotus, who visited and examined this edifice with great attention, affirms that it far surpassed everything he had conceived of it. It is very uncertain when, by whom, and for what purpose it was built, though in all probability it was for a royal sepulchre. The building, half above and half below the ground, was one of the finest in the world, and is said to have contained 3,000 apartments. The arrangements of the work and the distribution of the parts were remarkable. It was divided into sixteen principal regions, each containing a number of spacious buildings, which taken together, might be defined an assemblage of palaces. There were also as many temples as there were gods in Egypt, the number of which was prodigious, besides various other sacred edifices, and four lofty pyramids at the angles of the walls. The entrance was by vast halls, followed by saloons, which conducted to grand porticos, the ascent to which was by a flight of ninety steps. The interior was decorated with columns of porphyry and colossal statues of Egyptian gods. The whole was surrounded by a wall, but the passages were so intricate that no stranger could find the way without a guide. The substructions of this famous labyrinth still exist, and Milizia says, "as they were not arched, it is wonderful that they should have been so long preserved, with so many stupendous edifices above them." The Cretan labyrinth was built by Daedalus on the model of the Egyptian, but it was only a hundredth part the size; yet, according to Diodorus Siculus, it was a spacious and magnificent edifice, divided into a great number of apartments, and surrounded entirely by a wall. What would the ancients say, could they see our modern imitations of their labyrinths?


There are numerous catacombs in Egypt, the principal of which are at Alexandria; at Sakkara, near Cairo; at Siut, near the ancient Lycopolis or City of the Wolf; at Gebel Silsilis, on the banks of the Nile between Etfu and Ombos, the site of one of the principal quarries of ancient Egypt; and at Thebes. Many of these are of vast extent, and were doubtless formed by quarrying the rocks and mountains for building materials. They consist of grottos, galleries, and chambers, penetrating often to a considerable distance, the superincumbent mass being supported by huge pillars of rock; or the galleries running parallel, with masses of solid rock intervening for supports. Many of these chambers and grottos contained multitudes of mummies, probably the bodies of the less wealthy; many were evidently private family tombs of wealthy individuals, some of which are of great magnificence, adorned with sculptures, paintings, and hieroglyphics. The Arabs for centuries have been plundering these abodes of the dead, and great numbers of the mummies have been destroyed for fuel, and for the linen, rosin, and asphaltum they contain, which is sold to advantage at Cairo. An immense number of them have been found in the plain of Sakkara, near Memphis, consisting not only of human bodies, but of various sacred animals, as bulls, crocodiles, apes, ibises, fish, &c.; hence it is called The Plain of the Mummies. Numerous caves or grottos, with contents of the same kind, are found in the two mountainous ridges which run nearly parallel with the Nile, from Cairo to Syene. Many of these tombs and mummies are two or three thousand years old, and some of them perhaps older.

Among all the wonderful subterranean monuments of Egypt, the Catacombs of Thebes are the most extraordinary and magnificent. These consist of the Necropolis, or city of the dead, on the west bank of the Nile (which was the common burial-place of the people), and the Tombs of the Kings. The latter lie to the northwest of the city, at some distance in the Desert. Having passed the Necropolis, the traveler enters a narrow and rugged valley, flanked with perpendicular rocks, and ascending a narrow, steep passage about ten feet high, which seems to have been broken down through the rock, the ancient passage being from the Memnonium under the hills, he comes to a kind of amphitheatre about 100 yards wide, which is called Bab-il-Meluke—that is, the gate or court of the kings—being the sepulchres of the kings of Thebes. In this court there are signs of about eighteen excavations; but only nine can be entered. The hills on each side are high, steep rocks, and the whole plain is covered with rough stones that seem to have rolled down from them.

The grottos present externally no other ornaments than a door in a simple square frame, with an oval in the centre of the upper part, on which are inscribed the hieroglyphical figures of a beetle, a man with a hawk's head, and beyond the circle two figures on their knees, in the act of adoration. Having passed the first gate, long arched galleries are discovered, about twelve feet wide and twenty feet high, cased with stucco, sculptured and painted; the vaults, of an elegant elliptical figure, are covered with innumerable hieroglyphics, disposed with so much taste, that notwithstanding the singular grotesqueness of the forms, and the total absence of demi-tint or aerial perspective, the ceilings make an agreeable whole, a rich and harmonious association of colors. Four of five of these galleries, one within the other, generally lead to a spacious room, containing the sarcophagus of the king, composed of a single block of granite, about twelve feet long by eight in breadth, ornamented with hieroglyphics, both within and without; they are square at one end, and rounded at the other, like the splendid sarcophagus deposited in the British Museum, and supposed by Dr. Clarke to have contained the body of Alexander. They are covered with a lid of the same material, and of enormous thickness, shutting with a groove; but neither this precaution, nor these vast blocks of stone, brought from such a distance with immense labor, have been able to preserve the relics of the sovereigns from the attempts of avarice; all these tombs have been violated. The figure of the king appears to have been sculptured and painted at full length on the lid of each sarcophagus.

The paintings found in these sepulchres are among the most curious and interesting remains of Egyptian art; and they are in wonderful preservation, the colors being as fresh as when first executed. Some of these figures were copied by Bruce; and Denon, a member of the French Commission sent by Napoleon to examine the antiquities of Egypt, has published a most valuable collection which have all the appearance of spirited and characteristic resemblances. "I discovered," says he, "some little chambers, on the walls of which were represented all kinds of arms, such as panoplies, coats of mail, tigers' skins, bows, arrows, quivers, pikes, javelins, sabres, helmets, and whips: in another was a collection of household utensils, such as caskets, chests of drawers, chairs, sofas, and beds, all of exquisite forms, and such as might well grace the apartments of modern luxury. As these were probably accurate representations of the objects themselves, it is almost a proof that the ancient Egyptians employed for their furniture Indian wood, carved and gilt, which they covered with embroidery. Besides these, were represented various smaller articles, as vases, coffee-pots, ewers with their basins, a tea-pot and basket. Another chamber was consecrated to agriculture, in which were represented all its various instruments—a sledge similar to those in use at present, a man sowing grain by the side of a canal, from the borders of which the inundation is beginning to retire, a field of corn reaped with a sickle, and fields of rice with men watching them. In a fourth chamber was a figure clothed in white, playing on a richly ornamented harp, with eleven strings."

Denon observed everything with the eye of an artist. Speaking of the Necropolis, which consists of numerous double galleries of grottos, excavated in the solid rock for nearly a mile and a half square, he observes, "I was convinced by the magnificence both of the paintings and sculptures, that I was among the tombs of great men and heros. The sculpture in all is incomparably more labored and higher finished than any I had seen in the temples; and I stood in astonishment at the high perfection of the art, and its singular destiny to be devoted to places of such silence and obscurity. In working these galleries, beds of a very fine calcareous clay have occasionally been crossed, and here the lines of the hieroglyphics have been cut with a firmness of touch and a precision, of which marble offers but few examples. The figures have elegance and correctness of contour, of which I never thought Egyptian sculpture susceptible. Here, too, I could judge of the style of this people in subjects which had neither hieroglyphic, nor historical, nor scientific; for there were representations of small scenes taken from nature, in which the stiff profile outlines, so common with Egyptian artists, were exchanged for supple and natural attitudes; groups of persons were given in perspective, and cut in deeper relief than I should have supposed anything but metal could have been worked."

The Sepulchres of the Kings of Thebes are mentioned by Diodorus Siculus as wonderful works, and such as could never be exceeded by anything afterwards executed in this kind. He says that forty-seven of them were mentioned in their history; that only seventeen of them remained to the time of Ptolemy Lagus; adding that most of them were destroyed in his time. Strabo says, that above the Memnonium, the precise locality of Denon's description, were the sepulchres of the kings of Thebes, in grottos cut out of the rock, being about forty in number, wonderfully executed and worthy to be seen. In these, he says, were obelisks with inscriptions on them, setting forth the riches, power, and empire of these kings, as far as Scythia, Bactria, India, and Ionia, their great revenues, and their immense armies, consisting of one million of men.

In Egypt, the honors paid to the dead partook of the nature of a religious homage. By the process of embalming, they endeavored to preserve the body from the common laws of nature; and they provided those magnificent and durable habitations for the dead—sublime monuments of human folly—which have not preserved but buried the memory of their founders. By a singular fatality, the well-adapted punishment of pride, the extraordinary precautions by which it seemed in a manner to triumph over death, have only led to a more humiliating disappointment. The splendor of the tomb has but attracted the violence of rapine; the sarcophagus has been violated; and while other bodies have quietly returned to their native dust in the bosom of their mother earth, the Egyptian, converted into a mummy, has been preserved only to the insults of curiosity, or avarice, or barbarism.


The pyramids of Egypt, especially the two largest of the group of Jizeh or Gize, are the most stupendous masses of buildings in stone that human labor has ever been known to accomplish, and have been the wonder of ancient and modern times.—The number of the Egyptian pyramids, large and small, is very considerable; they are situated on the west bank of the Nile, and extend in an irregular line, and in groups at some distance from each other, from the neighborhood of Jizeh, in 30 deg. N. Latitude, as far as sixty or seventy miles south of that place. The pyramids of Jizeh are nearly opposite Cairo. They stand on a plateau or terrace of limestone, which is a projection of the Lybian mountain-chain. The surface of the terrace is barren and irregular, and is covered with sand and small fragments of rock; its height, at the base of the great pyramid, is one hundred and sixty four feet above the ordinary level of the Nile, from which it is distant about five miles. There are in this group three large pyramids, and several small ones. Herodotus, who was born B.C. 484, visited these pyramids. He was informed by the priests of Memphis, that the great pyramid was built by Cheops, king of Egypt, about B.C. 900, and that one hundred thousand workmen were employed twenty years in building it, and that the body of Cheops was placed in a room beneath the bottom, surrounded by a vault, to which the waters of the Nile were conveyed through a subterranean tunnel. A chamber has been discovered under the centre of the pyramid, but it is about fifty-six feet above the low-water mark of the Nile. The second pyramid, Herodotus says, was built by Cephren or Cephrenes, the brother and successor of Cheops, and the third by Mycerinus, the son of Cheops. Herodotus also says that the two largest pyramids are wholly covered with white marble; Diodorus and Pliny, that they are built of this costly material. The account of Herodotus is confirmed by present appearances. Denon, who accompanied the French expedition to Egypt, was commissioned by Buonaparte to examine the great pyramid of Jizeh; three hundred persons were appointed to this duty. They approached the borders of the desert in boats, to within half a league of the pyramid, by means of the canals from the Nile. Denon says, "the first impression made on me by the sight of the pyramids, did not equal my expectations, for I had no object with which to compare them; but on approaching them, and seeing men at their base, their gigantic size became evident." When Savary first visited these pyramids, he left Jizeh at one o'clock in the morning, and soon reached them. The full moon illuminated their summits, and they appeared to him "like rough, craggy peaks piercing the clouds." Herodotus gives 800 feet as the height of the great pyramid, and says this is likewise the length of its base, on each side; Strabo makes it 625, and Diodorus 600. Modern measurements agree most nearly with the latter.

The pyramid of Cheops consists of a series of platforms, each of which is smaller than the one on which it rests, and consequently presents the appearance of steps which diminish in length from the bottom to the top. There are 203 of these steps, and the height of them decreases, but not regularly, the greatest height being about four feet eight inches, and the least about one foot eight inches. The horizontal lines of the platforms are perfectly straight, the stones are cut and fitted to each other with the greatest accuracy, and joined with a cement of lime, with little or no sand in it. It has been ascertained that a bed has been cut in the solid rock, eight inches deep, to receive the lowest external course of stones. The vertical height, measured from this base in the rock to the top of the highest platform now remaining, is 456 feet. This last platform is thirty two feet eight inches square, and if to this were added what is necessary to complete the pyramid, the total height would be 479 feet. Each side of the base, measured round the stones let into the rock, is 763 feet 5 inches, and the perimeter of the base is about 3,053 feet. The measurements of travelers differ somewhat, but the above are very nearly correct. The area of the base is 64,753 square yards, or about 13-1/3 acres. The surface of each face, not including the base, is 25,493 square yards; and that of the four faces is consequently 101,972 square yards, or more than 21 acres. The solid contents of the pyramid, without making deductions for the small interior chambers, is 3,394,307 cubic yards. Reckoning the total height at 479 feet, the pyramid would be 15 feet higher than St. Peter's at Rome, and 119 higher than St. Paul's, London. The entrance to the great pyramid is on the north face, 471/2 feet above the base, and on the level of the fifteenth step from the foundation. The entrance is easily reached by the mass of rubbish which has fallen or been thrown down from the top. The passage to which this opening leads is 3 feet 71/2 inches square, with a downward inclination of about 26 deg.. It is lined with slabs of limestone, accurately joined together. This passage leads to another, which has an ascending inclination of 27 deg.. The descending passage is 73 feet long, to the place where it meets the ascending one, which is 109 feet long; at the top of this is a platform, where is the opening of a well or shaft, which goes down into the body of the pyramid, and the commencement of a horizontal gallery 127 feet long which leads to the Queen's chamber, an apartment 17 feet long, 14 wide, and 12 high. Another gallery, 132 feet long, 261/2 high, and 7 wide, commences also at this platform, and is continued in the same line as the former ascending passage, till it reaches a landing place, from which a short passage leads to a small chamber or vestibule, whence another short passage leads to the King's chamber, which as well as the vestibule and intermediate passage, is lined with large blocks of granite, well worked. The king's chamber is 341/2 feet long, 17 wide, and 193/4 high. The roof is formed of nine slabs of granite, reaching from side to side; the slabs are therefore more than 17 feet long by 3 feet 91/2 inches wide. This chamber contains a sarcophagus of red granite; the cover is gone, having probably been broken and carried away. The sarcophagus is 7 feet 61/2 inches long, 3 feet 3 inches wide, 3 feet 81/2 inches high on the outside, the bottom being 71/2 inches thick. There are no hieroglyphics upon it. Several other chambers have been discovered above the king's chamber, but as they are not more than three or four feet high, they were probably intended to lessen and break the weight of the mass above, which would otherwise fall on the King's chamber.

In 1816, Captain Caviglia discovered that the entrance passage did not terminate at the bottom of the ascending passage, but was continued downwards in the same inclined plane of 26 deg., 200 feet further, and by a short horizontal passage, opened on what appeared to be the bottom of the well. The passage, however, continued in the same direction 23 feet farther; then became narrower, and was continued horizontally 28 feet more, where it opened into a large chamber cut out of the rock below and under the centre of the pyramid. This chamber is about 26 by 27 feet. Another passage leads from this chamber 55 feet, where it appears to terminate abruptly.

The well, which appeared to Mr. Davidson and Capt. Caviglia to descend no lower than where it was intersected by the descending passage, its depth there being 155 feet, was afterwards cleared out by the French to the depth of near 208 feet, of which 145 feet are in the solid rock; so that the base of the pyramid being 164 feet above the low water level of the Nile, the present bottom of the well is 19 feet above the Nile; but the actual bottom does not appear to have been reached. The temperature within the body of the pyramid was found to be 81 deg. 5', Farenheit, and in the well it was still higher. Herodotus was informed that the chambers cut in the solid rock, were made before the building of the pyramid was commenced. It is evident it was intended that the pyramid should not be entered after the body or bodies were deposited in it, as blocks of granite were fixed in the entrances to the principal passages, in such a manner as not only to close them, but to conceal them.—There are evidences, however, that this pyramid was entered both by the Roman and Arab conquerors of Egypt.

The materials of all the pyramids are limestone, and, according to Herodotus, were brought from the mountains near Cairo, where there are ancient quarries of vast extent; but Belzoni is of opinion that a part of them, for the second pyramid at least, was procured immediately on the spot; others think that the greatest part of the materials came from the west side of the Nile. The granite which forms the roofing of the chambers, etc., was brought down the Nile from Syene. The stones of which it is built, rarely exceed 9 feet in length, and 61/2 in breadth; the thickness has already been stated.

The ascent to the great pyramid, though not without difficulty and danger, is frequently accomplished, even by females.

The pyramid of Cephren, the second in size, according to Belzoni, has the following dimensions:

Side of the base, 684 feet. Vertical height, 456 " Perpendicular, bisecting the face of the pyramid, 568 " Coating from the top, to where it ends, 140 "

Belzoni, after great exertion, succeeded in opening the second pyramid, and after traversing passages similar to those already described in the great pyramid, reached the main chamber, which is cut in the solid rock, and is 46 feet 3 inches long, 16 feet 3 inches wide, and 23 feet 6 inches high. The covering is made of blocks of limestone, which meet in an angular point, forming a roof, of the same slope as the pyramid. The chamber contained a sarcophagus, formed of granite, 8 feet long, 3 feet 6 inches wide, and 2 feet 3 inches deep, on the inside. There were no hieroglyphics on it. Some bones were found in it, which were sent to London, and proved to be those of a bull or an ox. From an Arabic inscription on the wall of the chamber, it appears that some of the Arab rulers of Egypt had entered the pyramid, and closed it again. Belzoni also discovered another chamber in this pyramid.

The pyramid of Mycernius, the third in size of the Jizeh group, is about 330 feet square at the base, and 174 feet high. This pyramid has never been opened.

There are some large pyramids at Sakkarah, one of which is next in dimensions to the pyramid of Cheops, each side of the base being 656 feet, and the height 339 feet. At Dashour there are also some large pyramids, one of which has a base of 700 feet on each side, and a perpendicular height of 343 feet; and it has 154 steps or platforms. Another pyramid, almost as large at the base as the preceding, is remarkable. It rises to the height of 184 feet at an angle of 70 deg., when the plane of the side is changed, to one of less inclination, which completes the pyramid. At Thebes, there are some small pyramids of sun dried bricks. Herodotus says, "About the middle of Lake Moeris, there are two pyramids, each rising about 300 feet above the water. The part that is under the water is just the same height." It is probable that these pyramids were built on an island in the lake, and that Herodotus was misinformed as to the depth of the water. There are numerous pyramids in Nubia—eighty or more—but they are generally small.

The object of the Egyptians in building these pyramids, is not known. Some writers maintain that they were as memorials, pillars, or altars consecrated to the sun; others, that they served as a kind of gnomon for astronomical observations; that they were built to gratify the vanity and tyranny of kings, or for the celebration of religious mysteries; according to Diderot, for the transmission and preservation of historical information; and to others, for sepulchres for the kings,—which last was the common opinion of the ancients. Some suppose that they were intended as places for secret meetings, magazines for corn, or lighthouses; but their structure, and great distance from the sea, are sufficient refutations of these absurd hypotheses.


The upper part of this pyramid is still covered with the original polished coating of marble, to the distance of 140 feet from the top towards the base, which makes the ascent extremely difficult and dangerous. Mr. Wilde, in his "Narrative of a Voyage to Madeira, Teneriffe, and along the shore of the Mediterranean," published in 1840, made the ascent to the top, and thus describes the adventure:

"I engaged two Arabs to conduct me to the summit of the pyramid—one an old man, and the other about forty, both of a mould, which for combination of strength and agility, I never saw surpassed. We soon turned to the north, and finally reached the outer casing on the west side. All this was very laborious to be sure, though not very dangerous; but here was an obstacle that I knew not how the Arabs themselves could surmount, much less how I could possibly master—for above our heads jutted out, like an eave or coping, the lower stones of the coating, which still remain and retain a smooth, polished surface. As considerable precaution was necessary, the men made me take off my hat, coat, and shoes at this place; the younger then placed his raised and extended hands against the projecting edge of the lower stone, which reached above his chin; and the elder, taking me up in his arms as I would a child, placed my feet on the other's shoulders, and my body flat on the smooth surface of the stone. In this position, we formed an angle with each other; and here I remained for upwards of two minutes, till the older man went round, and by some other means, contrived to get over the projection, when, creeping along the line of junction of the casing, he took my hands, drew me up to where he was above me, and then letting down his girdle, assisted to mount up the younger, but less daring and less active of the two. We then proceeded much as follows. One of them got on the shoulders of the other, and so gained the joining of the stone above. The upper man then helped me in a similar action, while the lower pushed me up by the feet. Having gained this row, we had after to creep to some distance along the joining, to where another opportunity of ascending was offered. In this way we proceeded to the summit; and some idea may be formed of my feelings, when it is recollected that all of these stones of such a span are highly polished, are set on an angle of little less than 45 deg., and that the places we had to grip with our hands and feet were often not more than two inches wide, and their height above the ground more than 400 feet. A single slip of the foot, and we all three must have been dashed to atoms long before we reached the bottom. (This actually happened to an English traveler in 1850.) On gaining the top, my guides gave vent to sundry demonstrations of satisfaction, clapping me on the back, patting me on the head, and kissing my hands. From this I began to suspect that something wonderful had been achieved; and some idea of my perilous situation broke upon me, when I saw some of my friends beneath, waving their handkerchiefs and looking up with astonishment, as we sat perched upon the top, which is not more than six feet square. The apex stone is off, and it now consists of four outer slabs, and one in the centre, which is raised up on the end and leans to the eastward. I do not think human hands could have raised it from its bed, on account of its size, and the confined space they would have to work in. I am inclined to think the top was struck by lightning, and the position of the stone thus altered by it. The three of us had just room to sit upon the place. The descent, as might be expected, was much more dangerous, though not so difficult. The guides tied a long sash under my arms, and so let me slide down from course to course of these coverings of stones, which are of a yellowish limestone, somewhat different from the material of which the steps are composed, and totally distinct from the rock at the base, or the coating of the passages."


Obelisks belong to the oldest and most simple monuments of Egyptian architecture, and are high four-sided pillars, diminishing as they ascend, and terminating in a small pyramid. Herodotus speaks of them, and Pliny gives a particular account of them. The latter mentions king Mesphres, or Mestres, of Thebes, as the first builder of obelisks, but does not give the time; nor is this king noticed either by Herodotus or Diodorus. It is probable that these monuments were first built before the time of Moses, at least two centuries before the Trojan war. There are still several obelisks in Egypt; there is one erect, and another fallen at Alexandria, between the new city and the light-house; one at Matarea, among the ruins of old Heliopolis; one in the territory of Fayoum, near ancient Arsinoe; eight or ten among the ruins of Thebes; the two finest at Luxor, at the entrance of the temple, &c. These obelisks, exclusively of the pedestals, are mostly from 50 to 100 feet high, and of a red polished granite (sienite); a few of the later ones are of white marble and other kinds of stone. At their base, they commonly occupy a space of from 41/2 to 12 feet square, and often more. Some are adorned on all sides, and some on fewer, with hieroglyphics cut in them, sometimes to the depth of two inches, divided into little squares and sections, and filled with paint: sometimes they are striped with various colors. Some are entirely plain and without hieroglyphics. The foot of the obelisk stands upon a quadrangular base, commonly two or three feet broader than the obelisk, with a socket, in which it rests. They were commonly hewn out of a single stone, in the quarries of Upper Egypt, and brought on canals, fed by the Nile, to the place of their erection.

The Romans carried many of them from Egypt to Rome, Arles, and Constantinople, most of which were afterwards overturned, but have been put together and replaced in modern times. Augustus, for instance, had two large obelisks brought from Heliopolis to Rome, one of which he placed in the Campus Martius. The other stood upon the Spina, in the Circus Maximus, and is said to have been the same which king Semneserteus (according to Pliny) erected. At the sack of Rome by the barbarians, it was thrown down, and remained, broken in three pieces, amidst the rubbish, until, in 1589, Sixtus V. had it restored by the architect Domenico Fontana, and placed near the church Madonna del Popolo. Under Caligula, another large obelisk was brought from Heliopolis to Rome, and placed in the Circus Vaticanus. It has stood, since 1586, before St. Peter's church: it is without hieroglyphics; and, with the cross and pedestal, measures 126 feet in height. It is the only one in Rome which has remained entire. Its weight is estimated at 10,000 cwt. Claudius had two obelisks brought from Egypt, which stood before the entrance of the Mausoleum of Augustus, and one of which was restored in 1567, and placed near the church of Santa Maria Maggiore. Caracalla also procured an Egyptian obelisk for his circus, and for the Appian Way. The largest obelisk (probably erected by Rameses) was placed by Constantius II., in the Circus Maximus at Rome. In the fifth century, it was thrown down by the barbarians, and lay in pieces upon the ground, until Sixtus V., in 1588, had it raised upon the square, before St. John's church of the Lateran, thence called the Lateran obelisk. It is beautifully adorned with sculpture; its weight is 13,000 cwt.; its height, exclusive of the pedestal, 140 feet; with the pedestal, 179 feet. Several others have been erected by succeeding popes.


The following curious account of the removal of the obelisk in the Circus Vaticanus to the centre of St. Peter's square, by Domenico Fontana, is extracted from Milizia's life of that famous architect. It shows plainly that the Egyptians must have attained great skill and perfection in mechanics and engineering, to have been able to quarry out obelisks at least a third larger, and convey them often several hundred miles, to the places where they erected them.

"Sixtus V. was now desirous of raising in the centre of the square of St. Peter's the only obelisk which remained standing, but partly interred, near the wall of the Sacristy, where was formerly the Circus of Nero. Other pontiffs had had the same wish, but the difficulty of the enterprise had prevented the execution.

"This obelisk, or pyramid, is of red granite, called by the ancient Romans, Marmor Thebanum (Theban marble), on account of having been worked near Thebes, in Egypt, whence it was transported to Rome in the time of Caesar. Of the immense number in Rome, this is the only one remaining entire; it is without hieroglyphics, 84 feet high, 8 feet 6 inches wide at the base, and 5 feet 6 inches at the top. One cubic foot of this granite weighs about 160 pounds; so that the whole weight of the obelisk must be somewhat less than 759,000 lbs. Of the manner in which the Egyptians and Romans moved these enormous masses we have no idea, and so many centuries having elapsed since such a thing had been done, this proposition of Sixtus V. was considered so novel, that a general assembly was called of all the mathematicians, engineers, and learned men from various parts of Europe; and, in a congress held by the pope, more than 500 persons presented themselves, bringing with them their inventions; some with drawings, some with models, others with writings or arguments.

"The greater number were for removing it by means of an iron carriage and thirty-two levers. Others invented a half wheel, on which the obelisk was to be raised by degrees. Some proposed screws, and others thought of carrying it upon slings.

"Bartolomeo Ammanati, a Florentine architect and sculptor, sent expressly by the grand duke, presented himself before the pope, without either models or designs, and requested a year to consider it; for this he was most severely reprimanded by the pontiff. Fontana exhibited his wooden model, with a leaden pyramid, which, by means of a windlass and crane, was raised and lowered with the greatest facility; he explained the nature of these machines and movements, and gave a practical proof of their capability by raising a small pyramid in the mausoleum of Augustus, which was in a ruinous condition. After many disputes, Fontana's invention was approved; but, as he had not yet acquired a name of sufficient importance, the execution of it was committed to two architects of renown, Giacomo della Porta and Bartolomeo Ammanati.—These immediately commenced a scaffold in the centre of the square where the obelisk was to stand.

"Fontana being justly displeased that his own discovery should not be entrusted to his execution, went to the pope, and respectfully represented to him, that no one could so properly execute a design as the inventor. Sixtus was persuaded, and committed the entire direction of it to him. The architect then commenced his work with the utmost celerity. He dug a square hole of 44 feet, in the piazza, 24 feet deep, and finding the soil watery and chalky, he made it firm by strong and massive piles. At the same time he had ropes made, three inches in diameter, 1500 feet long, an immense quantity of cords, large iron rods to strengthen the obelisk, and other pieces of iron for the cases of the cranes, pins, circles, pivots, and instruments of every kind. The iron to secure the obelisk alone amounted to 40,000 lbs., and was made in the manufactories of Rome, Ronciglione, and Subbiaco. The beams, taken from the woods of Nettuno, were of such a prodigious size, that each was drawn by seven pair of buffalos. From Terracina, elm was brought, for the caseing, and Holm oak for the shafts of windlass; and to prevent the ground from giving way, it being soft and marshy, in consequence of the great weight, he made a bed with two layers of timber, crossing each other in a contrary direction. On this foundation he placed the castle or carriage, which had eight columns: each of these columns was composed of so many thick planks, that they measured 13 feet in circumference. These were united together by thick cords, without screws, in order to be done and undone with greater quickness. The height of the beams was required to be 90 feet; and not any being of that length, they were placed one on the other, and united by iron bands. These columns were strengthened by forty-eight braces, and tied together on all sides. The obelisk was entirely covered with double mats, to prevent its being injured; it was then surrounded by planks, over which were placed large rods of iron, and these embracing the thick part underneath, came directly over the four faces of the mass, which thus became totally encircled with these coverings. The whole pyramid thus weighed one million and a half pounds. Fontana calculated that every windlass, with good ropes and cranes, would be able to move 20,000 lbs. weight; and consequently forty would move 800,000, and he gained the rest by five levers of thick beams 52 feet long.

"So novel an apparatus excited the curiosity of all Rome, and of foreigners also, who came from distant countries to see what effect would be produced by this mass of beams, mingled with ropes, windlasses, levers, and pulleys. In order to prevent confusion, Sixtus V. issued one of his mandates, that on the day of its being worked, no one, except the workmen, should enter the enclosure, on pain of death, and that no one should make the least noise, nor even speak loud. Accordingly, on the 30th of April, 1586, the first to enter the barrier was the chief justice and his officers, and the executioner to plant the gibbet, not merely as a matter of ceremony. Fontana went to receive the benediction of the pope, who, after having bestowed it, told him to be cautious of what he did, for a failure would certainly cost him his head. On this occasion, Sixtus felt the difference between his regard for his own glory, and his affection for the architect. Fontana, in terror, secretly placed horses at every gate, ready to convey him from the papal anger, in case of an accident. At the dawn of day, two masses of the Holy Ghost were celebrated; all the artificers made their communion, and received the papal benediction, and before the rising of the sun all entered the barrier. The concourse of spectators was such, that the tops of the houses were covered, and the streets crowded. The nobility and prelates were at the barriers, between the Swiss guards and the cavalry: all were fixed and attentive to the proceedings; and, terrified at the sight of the inexorable gibbet, every one was silent.

"The architect gave an order that, at the sound of the trumpet, each should begin working, and at that of the bell, placed in the castle of wood, each should desist; there were more than 900 workmen, and 75 horses. The trumpet sounded, and in an instant, men, horses, windlasses, cranes, and levers were all in motion. The ground trembled, the castle cracked, all the planks bent from the enormous weight, and the pyramid, which inclined a foot towards the choir of St. Peter, was raised perpendicularly. The commencement having prospered so well, the bell sounded a rest. In twelve more movements the pyramid was raised almost two feet from the ground, in such a situation that it could be placed on the rollers, and it remained firmly fixed by means of wedges of iron and wood. At this happy event the castle of St. Angelo discharged all its artillery, and a universal joy pervaded the whole city.

"Fontana was now convinced that the ropes were better than iron bands, these being most broken or distorted, or expanded by the weight. On the 7th of May the pyramid was placed on the sledge—a more difficult and tedious operation than that of raising it, it being necessary to convey it over the piazza to the situation intended for it, which was 115 rods from where it then stood. The level of the piazza being about 30 feet lower, it was necessary to throw up an earthen embankment from one place to the other, well secured by piles, &c. This being done, on the 13th of June, by means of four windlasses, the pyramid was removed with the greatest facility on the rollers, to the place of its destination. The pope deferred its erection to the next autumn, lest the summer heats should injure the workmen and spectators.

"In the meantime the pedestal, which was interred 30 feet, was removed: it was composed of two parts, the ogee and basement being of the same mass, and the plinth of white marble. All the preparations were made for this last operation on the 10th of September, with the same solemnities; 140 horses and 800 men were employed. The pope selected this day for the solemn entrance of the duke of Luxembourg, ambassador of ceremony from Henry III. of France, and caused the procession to enter by the Porta Angelica, instead of the Porta del Popolo. When this nobleman crossed the Piazza of St. Peter's, he stopped to observe the concourse of workmen in the midst of a forest of machines, and saw, admiring, Rome rising again by the hand of Sixtus V. In fifty-two movements the pyramid was raised, and at the setting of the sun it was placed firm upon its pedestal. The castle disappeared, and the artificers, intoxicated with joy, carried Fontana on their shoulders in triumph to his own house, amidst the sound of drums and trumpets, and the plaudits of an immense crowd.

"In placing it upright on the pedestal, Fontana considered the method adopted by the ancients as the least difficult; which was to rest one end on two globes, then draw the point round, raising it at the same time, afterwards letting it fall perpendicularly on the pedestal. It is conjectured that this was the practice adopted by the ancients, because two dies alone were always covered with lead for a foot or more, and were moreover crushed at the extremities. Sixtus V. placed a cross 7 feet high at the top of the obelisk, which was carried in procession, and which made the whole height 132 feet.

"For this undertaking, Fontana was created a knight of the Golden Spur, and a Roman nobleman; he had a pension of 2000 crowns, transferable to his heirs, ten knighthoods, 5000 crowns of gold in ready money, and every description of material used in the work, which was valued at more than 20,000 crowns. Two bronze medals of him were struck; and the following inscription was placed on the base of the pyramid by order of the pope:—"

Dominicvs Fontana, Ex. Pago. Agri. Novocomensis. Transtvlit. Et. Erexit.


In 1833, the French removed the smallest of the two obelisks which stood before the propylon of the temple of Luxor to Paris, and elevated it in the Place de la Concorde. The shaft is 76 feet high, and eight feet wide on the broadest side of the base; the pedestal is 10 feet square by 16 feet high. Permission for the removal of both the obelisks having been granted to the French government by the Viceroy of Egypt, a vessel constructed for the purpose was sent out in March, 1831, under M. Lebas, an eminent engineer, to whom the undertaking was confided, it being previously determined to bring away only one, and M. Lebas found it sufficiently difficult to bring away the smallest of the two. After three months' labor with 800 men, the obelisk was removed on an inclined plane into the vessel, through a hole made in the end for the purpose. It arrived safely up the Seine to Paris, Dec. 23d, 1833. An inclined plane of solid masonry was then constructed, leading from the river up to a platform, also of rough masonry, level with the top of the pedestal. The obelisk, having been placed on a kind of timber car or sledge, was drawn up by means of ropes and capstans. One edge of the base having been brought to its place on the pedestal, it was raised to a perpendicular position by ropes and pulleys attached to the heads of ten masts, five on each side. When all was ready, the obelisk was elevated to its place under the direction of M. Lebas, in three hours, without the least accident, Oct. 25th, 1836. It is said that Lebas had provided himself with loaded pistols, in the firm determination to blow out his brains in case of an accident!

In 1820, the Viceroy of Egypt presented to the English government the monolith lying on the ground at Alexandria, one of the two obelisks called Cleopatra's Needles; the other is still standing. The project of removing it to London and erecting it in Waterloo Square, was entertained for some time by the English government, but seems to have been long abandoned; recently, however, an expedition is being fitted out for the purpose.


Milizia gives the following interesting account of the removal of the immense mass of granite, which forms the pedestal or base of the equestrian statue of Peter the Great, from the bogs of the Neva to St. Petersburg, a distance of about fourteen miles. He also cites it as an instance of extraordinary ingenuity and skill in mechanics. It is, however, a much easier task to move a ponderous mass of rough, unhewn rock, than a brittle obelisk, an hundred feet or so in length, requiring the greatest care to preserve it from injury. It is also worthy of mention, that in widening streets in New York, it is no uncommon thing to see a three-story brick house set back ten or fifteen feet, and even moved across the street, and raised an extra story into the bargain—the story being added to the bottom instead of the top of the building. Thus the large free stone and brick school-house in the First Ward, an edifice of four lofty stories, 50 by 70 feet, and basement walls 21/2 feet thick, has been raised six feet, to make it correspond with the new grade in the lower part of Greenwich-street. It is also no uncommon thing to see a ship of a thousand tons, with her cargo on board, raised out of the water at the Hydraulic Dock, to stop a leak, or make some unexpected but necessary repairs.

"In 1769, the Count Marino Carburi, of Cephalonia, moved a mass of granite, weighing three million pounds, to St. Petersburg, to serve as a base for the equestrian statue of Peter the Great, to be erected in the square of that city, after the design of M. Falconet, who discarded the common mode of placing an equestrian statue on a pedestal, where, properly speaking, it never could be; and suggested a rock, on which the hero was to have the appearance of galloping, but suddenly be arrested at the sight of an enormous serpent, which, with other obstacles, he overcomes for the happiness of the Muscovites. None but a Catherine II., who so gloriously accomplished all the great ideas of that hero, could have brought to perfection this extraordinary one of the artist. An immense mass was accidentally found buried 15 feet in a bog, four miles and a half from the river Neva and fourteen from St. Petersburg. It was also casually that Carburi was at the city to undertake the removal of it. Nature alone sometimes forms a mechanic, as she does a sovereign, a general, a painter, a philosopher. The expense of this removal was only 70,000 rubles and the materials left after the operation were worth two-thirds of that sum. The obstacles surmounted do honor to the human understanding. The rock was 37 feet long, 22 high, and 21 broad, in the form of a parallelopipedon. It was cleft by a blast, the middle part taken away, and in the cavity was constructed a forge for the wants of the journey. Carburi did not use cylindrical rollers for his undertaking, these causing an attrition sufficient to break the strongest cables. Instead of rollers he used balls composed of brass, tin, and calamina, which rolled with their burden under a species of boat 180 feet long, and 66 wide. This extraordinary spectacle was witnessed by the whole court, and by Prince Henry of Prussia, a branch from the great Frederick. Two drums at the top sounded the march; forty stone-cutters were continually at work on the mass during the journey, to give it the proposed form—a singularly ingenious idea. The forge was always at work: a number of other men were also in attendance to keep the balls at proper distances, of which there were thirty, of the diameter of five inches. The mountain was moved by four windlasses, and sometimes by two; each required thirty-two men: it was raised and lowered by screws, to remove the balls and put them on the other side. When the road was even, the machine moved 60 feet in the hour. The mechanic, although continually ill from the dampness of the air, was still indefatigable in regulating the arrangements; and in six weeks the whole arrived at the river. It was embarked, and safely landed. Carburi then placed the mass in the square of St. Peter's, to the honor of Peter, Falconet, Carburi, and of Catherine, who may always, from her actions, be classed among illustrious men. It is to be observed, that in this operation the moss and straw that was placed underneath the rock, became by compression so compact, that it almost equalled in hardness the ball of a musket. Similar mechanical operations of the ancients have been wonderfully exaggerated by their poets."


Many persons suppose, and maintain, that the grandeur of the monuments of the ancients, and the great size of the stones they employed for building purposes, prove that they understood mechanics better than the moderns. The least knowledge in mechanics, however, will show this opinion to be erroneous. The moderns possess powers which were unknown to the ancients, as the screw, and the hydraulic press, the power of which last is only limited by the strength of the machinery. The works of the ancients show that they expended a vast deal of power and labor to gratify the pride and ambition of kings; but the moderns can do all these things much easier, and in far less time, whenever they deem it proper. There was nothing in ancient times to be compared with that daring, ingenious, and stupendous monument of engineering skill—the Britannia Tubular Bridge, across the Menai straits—projected, designed, and built by Robert Stephenson, the famous English engineer. He had previously built a similar but smaller structure—the Conway Tubular Bridge.


Had this stupendous fabric existed in ancient times, it would have been regarded as the first of the seven wonders of the world. Greater and more expensive structures have been raised, but none displaying more science, skill, and ingenuity, and none requiring such tremendous mechanical power to execute.

The Britannia Tubular Bridge was built to conduct the Chester and Holyhead Railway across the Menai Straits, to the island of Anglesea, in the Irish Sea.

The difficulties which the engineer had to overcome, were greatly augmented by the peculiar form and situation of the straits. Sir Francis Head says, "The point of the straits which it was desired to cross, although broader than that about a mile distant; preoccupied by Mr. Telford's suspension bridge—was of course one of the narrowest that could be selected, in consequence of which the ebbing and flowing torrent rushes through it with such violence, that, except where there is back water, it is often impossible for a small boat to pull against it; besides which, the gusts of wind which come over the tops, down the ravines, and round the sides of the neighboring mountains, are so sudden, and occasionally so violent, that it is as dangerous to sail as it is difficult to row; in short, the wind and the water, sometimes playfully and sometimes angrily, seem to vie with each other—like some of Shakspeare's fairies—in exhibiting before the stranger the utmost variety of fantastic changes which it is in the power of each to assume." The Menai Straits are about twelve miles long, through which, imprisoned between the precipitous shores, the waters of the Irish Sea and St. George's Channel are not only everlastingly vibrating, backwards and forwards, but at the same time and from the same causes, are progressively rising and falling 20 to 25 feet, with each successive tide, which, varying its period of high water, every day forms altogether an endless succession of aqueous changes.


The tubes forming the viaducts, rest upon two abutments and three piers, called respectively the Anglesea abutment and pier, the Carnarvon abutment and pier, and the Britannia or central pier, built upon the Britannia rock in the middle of the straits, which gives name to the bridge. The Anglesea abutment is 143 feet 6 inches high, 55 feet wide, and 175 feet long to the end of the wings, which terminate in pedestals, supporting colossal lions on either side, 25 feet 6 inches in length, 12 feet 6 inches high, and 8 feet broad, carved out of a single block of Anglesea marble. The space between the Anglesea abutment and pier is 230 feet. This pier is 196 feet high, 55 feet wide, and 32 feet long. The Carnarvon abutment and pier are of the same dimensions as those above described, on the opposite shore. The Britannia pier is 240 feet high, 55 feet wide, and 45 feet long. This pier is 460 feet clear of each of the two side piers. The bottom of the tubes are 124 feet above low water mark, so that large ships can pass under them, under full sail.

There are two tubes, to accommodate a double track (one would have done in this country, but in England they do nothing by halves), and each is 1513 feet long. The total length of the bridge is 1841 feet. These tubes are not round or oval, but nearly square at the termini; the bridge being constructed on the principle of the arch. A section of one of the tubes at the Britannia pier is in the form of a parallelogram, where it is 30 feet high, gradually diminishing towards each end to 20 feet. The tubes are riveted together into continuous hollow beams; they are of the uniform width of 14 feet 8 inches throughout; they are constructed entirely of iron, and weigh about 12,000 tons, each tube containing 5000 tons of wrought iron, and about 1000 tons of cast iron. The tubes were constructed each in four sections; the sections extending from the abutments to their corresponding piers, each 250 feet long, were built in situ, on immense scaffolding, made of heavy timbers for the purpose, even with the railway; but the middle sections, each 470 feet long, were built on piers on the Carnarvonshire shore, then floated into the stream, and elevated to their position; each of these sections weighed 1800 tons.


The sides, bottom, and top of these gigantic tubes are formed of oblong wrought iron plates, varying in length, width, and thickness, according to circumstances, but of amazing size and weight. They are so arranged as to obtain the greatest possible strength, the whole being riveted together in the strongest manner. In addition to the 1600 tons of wrought iron in each of the four large pieces, an additional 200 tons was used to form lifting frames, and cast iron beams for the purpose of attaching the tube to those huge chains by which they were elevated. The construction of the tubes is thus described in the London Illustrated News, from which this account is derived:

"In order to carry out this vast work (the construction of the tubes), eighty houses have been erected for the accommodation of the workmen, which, being whitewashed, have a peculiarly neat and picturesque appearance; among them are seen butcher's, grocer's, and tobacconist's shops, supplying the wants of a numerous population. A day school, Sunday school, and meeting-house also conspicuously figure. Workshops, steam-engines, store-houses, offices, and other buildings meet the eye at every turn; one is led to conclude that a considerable time has elapsed since the works were commenced, yet it is little more than two years ago. A stranger, on coming to the ground, is struck with wonder when for the first time he obtains a near view of the vast piles of masonry towering majestically above all the surrounding objects—strong as the pillars of Hercules, and apparently as endurable—his eyes wander instinctively to the ponderous tubes, those masterpieces of engineering constructiveness and mathematical adjustment; he shrinks into himself as he gazes, and is astonished when he thinks that the whole is the developed idea of one man, and carried out, too, in the face of difficulties which few would have dared to encounter."


The tubes were floated to the places whence they were elevated to their positions on eight huge pontoons, fitted with valves and pumps to exhaust the water from them, when all was ready to float the prodigious iron beams. These pontoons or boxes were each 90 feet long, 25 feet wide, and 15 feet deep. The pontoons having been placed under one of the tubes (sections), the floating was easily effected, and the operation is thus described by the "Assistant Engineer."

"The operation of floating the tubes (the four sections, and one only at a time), will be commenced by closing the valves in the pontoons at low water; as the tide rises, the pontoons will begin to float, and shortly afterwards to bear the weight of the tube, which will at last be raised by them entirely off its temporary supporting piers; about an hour and a half before high water, the current running about four miles an hour, it will be dragged out into the middle of the stream, by powerful capstans and hawsers, reaching from the pontoons at each end, to the opposite shore. In order to guide it into its place with the greatest possible certainty, three large hawsers will be laid down the stream, one end of two of them being made fast to the towers (piers) between which the tube is intended to rest, and the other to strong fixed points on the two shores, near to and opposite the further end of the tube platforms; in their course, they will pass over and rest upon the pontoons, being taken through 'cable-stoppers' which are contrivances for embracing and gripping the hawser extended across the stream, and thereby retarding, or if necessary entirely destroying, the speed induced by the current."


The tubes of the Britannia bridge were raised by means of three hydraulic presses of the most prodigious size, strength, weight, and power; two of which were placed in the Britannia pier, above the points where the tubes rest, and the other alternately on the Anglesea and Carnarvon piers.

In order that all who read these pages may understand this curious operation, it is necessary to describe the principle of the hydraulic press. If a tube be screwed into a cask or vessel filled with water, and then water poured into the tube, the pressure on the bottom and sides of the vessel will not be the contents of the vessel and tube, but that of a column of water equal to the length of the tube and the depth of the vessel. This law of pressure in fluids is rendered very striking in the experiment of bursting a strong cask by the action of a few ounces of water. This law, so extraordinary and startling of belief to those who do not understand the reasoning upon which it is founded, has been called the Hydrostatic paradox, though there is nothing in reality more paradoxical in it, than that one pound at the long end of a lever, should balance ten pounds at the short end. This principle has been applied to the construction of the Hydrostatic or Hydraulic press, whose power is only limited by the strength of the materials of which it is made. Thus, with a hydraulic press no larger than a common tea-pot, a bar of iron may be cut as easily as a slip of pasteboard. The exertion of a single man, with a short lever, will produce a pressure of 1500 atmospheres, or 22,500 pounds on every square inch of surface inside the cylinder. By means of hydraulic presses, ships of a thousand tons burthen, with cargo on board, are lifted out of the water for repairs, and the heaviest bodies raised and moved, without any other expense of human labor beyond the management of the engine.

The tubes on the Anglesea side were raised first. The presses in the Britannia tower were each capable of raising a weight of 1250 tons; that in the Anglesea tower, larger than the others, 1800 tons, or the whole weight of the tube. These presses were worked by two steam engines of 40 horse power each, which forced the water into the cylinders, through a tube half an inch in diameter. These steam engines were placed in the Britannia and Anglesea piers. The press in the Anglesea pier is thus described, the others being constructed in the same manner. The hydraulic press stands on massive beams of wrought iron plates constructed on the principle of the arch, placed in the tower above the points where the tubes rest. The press consists of a huge cylinder, 9 feet 2 inches in length, 3 feet 6 inches outside diameter, and the ram 1 foot 8 inches in diameter, making the sides and bottom of the cylinder 11 inches thick; it was calculated that it would resist a pressure of 8000 or 9000 pounds to the square inch. The ram or piston was attached to an exceedingly thick and heavy beam of cast iron, called the cross-head, strengthened with bars of wrought iron. To the cross-head were attached the huge chains that descended to the tubes far below, to which they were secured, so that, as the ram was forced up 6 feet at each stroke, the tube was raised the same distance. "The power of the press is exerted on the tube by aid of chains, the links of which are 6 feet in length, bolted together in sets of eight or nine links alternately.—The ram raises the cross-head 6 feet at each stroke, and with it the tube, when that height is attained, a lower set of chains on the beams grip the next set of links, and thus prevent them from slipping down, whilst the clamps on the cross-heads are unscrewed, the upper links taken off, and the ram and cross-head lowered to take another stroke." To guard against all chances of injury to the tubes in case of accident to the machinery, a contrivance was adopted by which the tubes were followed up with wedges. The importance of this precaution was fully proved on the very first attempt to raise the tube on the Anglesea side, when the huge cylinder broke, almost at the commencement of the operations. The following is the engineer's interesting report of the accident:

"On Friday last (August 17, 1849), at a quarter to twelve o'clock, we commenced lifting the tube at the Anglesea end, intending to raise it six feet, and afterwards to have raised the opposite end the same height.

"The tube rose steadily to the height of two feet six inches, being closely followed up by inch wooden boards packed beneath it, when suddenly, and without any warning, the bottom of the hydraulic press gave way, separating completely from the body of the press.

"The ram, cross-head, and chains descended violently on the press, with a tremendous noise, the tube sinking down upon the wooden packing beneath it. The bottom of the press, weighing nearly two tons and a half, fell on the top of the tube, a depth of eighty feet.

"A sailor, named Owen Parry, was ascending a rope ladder at the time, from the top of the tube into the tower; the broken piece of press in its descent struck the ladder and shook him off; he fell on to the tube, a height of fifty feet, receiving a contusion of the skull, and other injuries, of so serious a nature that he died the same evening. He was not engaged in the raising, and had only chosen to cross the tube, as being the nearest road from one tower to the other. An inquest was held on the following day, and a verdict of accidental death returned. No one actually engaged in the operation was injured, although Mr. Edwin Clark, who was superintending the operation, on the top of the cross-head, and his brother, Mr. L. Clark, who was standing beneath it, had both a very narrow escape.

"The tube is not at all injured, but some portions of the cast iron lifting frames are broken, and require repairing; some weeks must elapse before a new cylinder is made, and the operation continued."

Sir Francis Head, when he saw one of the tubes raised, and in its place, observed, "It seemed surprising to us that by any arrangement of materials, it could possibly be made strong enough to support even itself,—much less heavily laden trains of passengers and goods, flying through it, and actually passing each other in the air at railway speed. And the more we called reason and reflection to our assistance, the more incomprehensible did the mystery practically appear; for the plate iron of which the aerial gallery is composed is literally not so thick as the lid, sides, and bottom which, by heartless contract, are required for an elm coffin 61/2 feet long, 21/4 wide, and 2 deep, of strength merely sufficient to carry the corpse of an emaciated pauper from the workhouse to his grave! The covering of this iron passage, 1841 feet in length, is literally not thicker than the hide of an elephant; lastly, it is scarcely thicker than the bark of the good old English oak,—and if this noble sovereign, notwithstanding 'the heart' and interior substance of which it boasts, is, even in the well-protected park in which it has been born and bred, often prostrated by the storm, how difficult is it to conceive that an attenuated aerial hollow beam, no thicker than its mere rind, should, by human science, be constructed strong enough to withstand, besides the weights rushing through it, the natural gales and artificial squalls of wind to which, throughout its entire length, and at its fearful height, it is permanently to be exposed."

Notwithstanding these "incomprehensible" speculations, the tubes are abundantly strong to sustain the pressure of the heaviest trains, even were they to stand still in the middle of the bridge. It is calculated that each tube, in its weakest part, would sustain a pressure of four or five thousand tons, "support a line of battle ship, with all her munitions and stores on board," and "bear a line of locomotives covering the entire bridge." The bridge was completed, and the first train passed through it March 5th, 1850. The total cost of this gigantic structure was only L601,865.


Ancient Rome was built upon seven hills, which are now scarcely discoverable on account of the vast quantities of rubbish with which the valleys are filled. Pliny estimates the circumference of the city in his time at 13,000 paces (which nearly agrees with modern measurements), and the population at 3,000,000. Rome was filled with magnificent public edifices, temples, theatres, amphitheatres, circuses, naumachiae, porticos, basilicae, baths, gardens, triumphal arches, columns, sewers, aqueducts, sepulchres, public and private palaces, etc.

In the time of the Caesars, fourteen magnificent aqueducts, supported by immense arches, conducted whole rivers into Rome, from a distance of many miles, and supplied one hundred and fifty public fountains, one hundred and eighteen large public baths, the artificial seas in which naval combats were represented in the Colosseum, and the golden palace of Nero, besides the water necessary to supply the daily use of the inhabitants. One hundred thousand marble and bronze statues ornamented the public squares, the temples, the streets, and the houses of the nobility: ninety colossal statues raised on pedestals; and forty-eight Egyptian obelisks of red granite, some of the largest size, also adorned the city.

Such was ancient Rome, "the Eternal City." Although visited for more than a thousand years by various calamities, she is still the most majestic of cities; the charm of beauty, dignity, and grandeur still lingers around the ruins of ancient, as well as the splendid structures of modern Rome, and brilliant recollections of every age are connected with the monuments which the passing traveler meets at every step.


The Capitol or Citadel of ancient Rome stood on the Capitoline hill, the smallest of the seven hills of Rome, called the Saturnine and Tarpeian rock. It was begun B.C. 614, by Tarquinius Priscus, but was not completed till after the expulsion of the kings. After being thrice destroyed by fire and civil commotion, it was rebuilt by Domitian, who instituted there the Capitoline games. Dionysius says the temple, with the exterior palaces, was 200 feet long, and 185 broad. The whole building consisted of three temples, which were dedicated to Jupiter, Juno, and Minerva, and separated from one another by walls. In the wide portico, triumphal banquets were given to the people. The statue of Jupiter, in the Capitol, represented the god sitting on a throne of ivory and gold, and consisted in the earliest times of clay painted red; under Trajan, it was formed of gold. The roof of the temple was made of bronze; it was gilded by Q. Catulus. The doors were of the same metal. Splendor and expense were profusely lavished upon the whole edifice. The gilding alone cost 12,000 talents (about $12,000,000), for which reason the Romans called it the Golden Capitol. On the pediment stood a chariot drawn by four horses, at first of clay, and afterwards of brass gilded. The temple itself contained an immense quantity of the most magnificent presents. The most important state papers, and particularly the Sibylline books were preserved in it. A few pillars and some ruins are all that now remain of the magnificent temple of Jupiter Capitolinus. Its site is mostly occupied by the church of the Franciscans, and partly by the modern capitol called the Campidoglio, which was erected after the design of Michael Angelo, consisting of three buildings. From the summit of the middle one, the spectator has a splendid view of one of the most remarkable regions in the world—the Campagna, up to the mountains. For a description of the Colosseum, see vol ii, page 29, of this work.


Modern Rome is about thirteen miles in circuit, and is divided by the Tiber into two parts. In 1830, Rome contained 144,542 inhabitants, 35,900 houses, 346 churches, 30 monasteries, and upwards of 120 palaces. The view of the majestic ruins; the solemn grandeur of the churches and palaces; the recollections of the past; the religious customs; the magic and almost melancholy tranquillity which pervades the city; the enjoyment of the endless treasures of art—all conspire to raise the mind of the traveler to a high state of excitement. The churches, palaces, villas, squares, streets, fountains, aqueducts, antiquities, ruins—in short, everything proclaims the ancient majesty and the present greatness of Rome. Almost every church, palace, and villa is a treasury of art. Among the churches, St. Peter's is the most conspicuous, and is, perhaps, the most beautiful building in the world. Bramante began it; Sangallo and Peruzzi succeeded him; but Michael Angelo, who erected its immense dome, which is four hundred and fifty feet high to the top of the cross, designed the greatest part. Many other architects were often employed upon it; Maderno finished the front and the two towers. The erection of this edifice, from 1506 to 1614, cost 45,000,000 Roman crowns. Before we arrive at this grand temple, the eye is attracted by the beautiful square in front of it, surrounded by a magnificent colonnade by Bernini, and ornamented by an Egyptian obelisk, together with two splendid fountains. Upon entering the vestibule, Giotto's mosaic, la Navicella, is seen. Under the portico, opposite the great door, is Bernini's great bas relief representing Christ commanding Peter to feed his sheep; and at the ends of the portico are the equestrian statues of Constantine by Bernini, and of Charlemagne by Cornachini. The union of these masterpieces has an indescribable effect. The harmony and proportion which prevail in the interior of this august temple are such, that, immense as it is, the eye distinguishes all the parts without confusion or difficulty. When each object is minutely examined, we are astonished at its magnitude, so much more considerable than appears at first sight. The immense canopy of the high altar, supported by four bronze pillars of 120 feet in height, particularly attracts the attention. The dome is the boldest work of modern architecture. The cross thereon is 450 feet above the pavement. The lantern affords the most beautiful prospect of the city and the surrounding country. The splendid mosaics, tombs, paintings, frescos, works in marble, gilded bronze and stucco, the new sacristy—a beautiful piece of architecture, but not in unison with the rest—deserve separate consideration. The two most beautiful churches in Rome next to St. Peter's are the St. John's of the Lateran, and the Santa Maria Maggiore. The former, built by Constantine the Great, is the parochial church of the pope; it therefore takes precedence of all others, and is called Omnium urbis el orbis ecclesiarum mater et caput (the head and mother of all churches of the city and the world). In it is celebrated the coronation of the popes. It contains several pillars of granite, verde antico, and gilt bronze; the twelve apostles by Rusconi and Legros; and the beautiful chapel of Corsini, which is unequalled in its proportions, built by Alexander Galilei. The altar-piece is a mosaic from a painting by Guido, and the beautiful porphyry sarcophagus, which is under the statue of Clement XII., was found in the Pantheon, and is supposed to have contained the ashes of M. Agrippa. The nave of the church of Santa Maria Maggiore is supported by forty Ionic pillars of Grecian marble, which were taken from a temple of Juno Lucina: the ceiling was gilded with the first gold brought from Peru. We are here struck with admiration at the mosaics; the high altar, consisting of an antique porphyry sarcophagus; the chapel of Sixtus V., built from the designs of Fontana, and richly ornamented; the chapel of Paul V., adorned with marble and precious stones; the chapel of Sforza, by Michael Angelo; and the sepulchres of Guglielmo della Porta and Algardi. In the square before the front is a Corinthian column, which is considered a masterpiece of its kind. The largest church in Rome next to St. Peter's was the Basilica di San Paolo fuori delle Mura, on the road to Ostia, burnt a few years since. The church of S. Lorenzo, without the city, possesses some rare monuments of antiquity. The church of San Pietro in Vincola contains the celebrated statue of Moses, by Michael Angelo. The church of St. Agnes, in the place Navona, begun by Rainaldi and completed by Borromini, is one of the most highly ornamented, particularly with modern sculpture. Here is the admirable relief of Algardi, representing St. Agnes deprived of her clothes, and covered only with her hair. The Basilica of St. Sebastian, before the Porta Capena, contains the statue of the dying saint, by Giorgetti, a pupil of Algardi, and the master of Bernini. Under these churches are the catacombs, which formerly served as places of burial. In the church of St. Agnes, before the Porta Pia, among many other beautiful columns are four of porphyry, belonging to the high altar, and considered the most beautiful in Rome. In a small chapel is a bust of the Savior by Michael Angelo—a masterpiece. In the church

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