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data, and with a peculiar religious significance, the construction of the Fasti is usually long subsequent to the early facts which are recorded, we shall not be disposed to attach any very high degree of confidence to suppositions resting on such a basis. And the slight respect which subsequent Roman authors entertained for the conclusion of Fabius on this point, the slight pretensions of his work to accuracy and learned research, the looseness and negligence with which the older chronicles of Rome were compiled, will not tend to strengthen our faith in the statement of Fabius. Nor will we be disposed to rely unhesitatingly on any of the calculations with respect to the Foundation of Rome, when we regard the sole sources whence their data were drawn,- the mystical and hierological significance of certain definite numbers--the astronomical hypotheses of Etruscan prieststhe vague legends of a most uncertain origin and tradition, and the acknowledged mummeries of astrological science. There is more reason for believing in all the dynasties of the Egyptians, the tables of the Hindoos, with their successive Avatars,—the fond imaginations of the Chinese, and the whole chronology of the Mexicans, than in the deductions of Fabius, Cato and Varro on the Foundation of Rome. The discrepancies between various authors have been fully and lucidly exhibited by Niebuhr, and he has labou red with his wonted industry and learning to explain, to reconcile, or to contradict them, but we cannot assent to the inferences to which he would apparently lead us, though we must admire the ingenuity which has been expended in a task so fruitless as to the main point, but so full of fruit as to all the collateral subjects which are touched upon and elucidated.
It is scarcely necessary to animadvert any further upon the utter futility of any such process of investigation as that by which the date of the Foundation has been guessed at, rather than determined: but it may be observed, that the calculation being made backwards from the days of Cato, depends for its accuracy entirely upon the certainty of all the intermediate periods; and that even in the one period, which is best established, the succession of the Consuls -all is darkness, vaglieness, and confusion. And this must have often been felt and noticed, by any one who has examined the subject,—who recollects the numerous lacunæ in the Consular Tables --who considers the frequent interpolation
of false names, and the equally frequent recurrence, contrary to all reason, of the same ones,—who has experienced the difficulties, or been misled by the incongruities which are continually presented to him,-or has attempted to collate the Fasti Consulares of Glareanus or Sigonius with those of their successors.
The weakness and insufficiency of the data, on which the assumed date rests, are amply exhibited by this account of the process of its adoption ; but the ordinary belief is still more effectually undermined by the facts, which a close scrutiny of the early history of Italy has elicited. It is possible, perhaps probable, that, about the middle of the eighth century before the Christian era, Rome may have given the first indications of her strength, and commenced that mighty career of bloodshed, rapine, and systematic aggression, which, in the lapse of time, acquired for her the dominion of the world, and extended her empire from the Rhine and the Danube to the sands of Arabia and the deserts of Africa. But the city was standing,--the Seven Hills, one or more of them, were colonized long antecedent to this period. Pliny and Aurelius Victor both affirm, that Saturnia had been previously built on the site of Rome. In the same place, Pallantium was said to have been established by Evander ; and Adeius(?) asserts that, long before the advent of Evander, Valentia had existed on this spot. Clinious, with the inventive mendacity of a Greek, derives the name of Rome, and perhaps the city itself, from a daughter of Telemachus married to Æneas : while Antiochus of Syracuse carries back the existence of both to a mystical antiquity, where the eye of investigation loses itself in the double night of ignorance and time, and refers them to the earliest history of the Italian Peninsula.* An Etruscan and Pelasgian origin are variously assigned to the city by other writers; but a thousand scattered and incidental notices which have been preserved from the older authors, in the writings of their successors, attest that the antiquity of Rome ascends much higher than the supposed era of its Foundation. Thus, we have no need to recur to the cabala of astrological science, either for the determination or the confutation of the date to be assigned or actually assigned to the building of Rome; but we may safely assume that a town or towns did exist on one or more of the Seven Hills, long anterior to the supposed era of the Foundation, under the name or names of Saturnia, Pallantium, Septimontium, Valentia, Augerona, Flora, Remuria, Roma, Amor, etc. It is well known that Rome had a sacred and concealed name, hidden from the profane with the same scrupulous jealousy as the Palladium or Ancile, which it was forbidden, under the pains of inipiety, to divulge. This, many scholars have laboured to dis. cover, and different critics have hazarded various conjectures on the subject. We have thrown into our enumeration the several conjectural appellations, for the greater security of our assertion.
* Dr. Boyd. App. A. Adams' Rom. Antiq. Ed. 1839. Servius ad Virg. Æn. i., v. 277, and Niebuhr, Hist. Rom. i., pp. 115–20. Dr. Boyd's Essay is a feeble and deficient performance. The passage of Servius is corrupt and mutilated, but it is replete with very curious information. “De origine et conditore urbis diversa a diversis traduntur. Clinias refert Telemachi filiam, Romen nomine, Eneæ nuptam fuisse, ex cujus vocabulo Romam appellatam dicit Latinum, ex Ulixe et Circe editum, de nomine sororis suæ mortuæ, Romen civitatem appellasse. Adeius (? vide Niebuhr, Hist. Rom. n. 595) adserit Romam ante adventum Evandri diu Valentiam vocitatam. Sed post Græco nomine Romen vocitatam. Alii a filia Evandri ita dictam. Alii a fatidica quæ prædixisset Evandro his eum locis oportere considere. Heraclides ait Romen nobilem captivam Trojanam huc appulisse, et tædio maris suasisse sedem, ex cujus nomine urbem vocatam. Eratosthenes,
This multiplicity of names, together with the legends respectively appertaining to them, indicate not merely that prior existence which is thus established by the concurrent testimony derived from the vague traditions of the earlier ages, but also the assemblage in one spot of many diverse tribes. Several of the legends which are given, and the names which have been handed down, resolve themselves into each other: many of them link together distinct traditions into a new mythical table, but the plain inference, to be drawn from the aggregate of this testimony, assures us of the gradual amalgamation of different races within the limits of Rome, thus still more strongly repelling the presumption of any truth in the usual fable of the Foundation. The Siculi, the Osci, the Latini, the Sabini, the Pelasgi, the Tyrrheni, the Etrusci, etc., whether some of these were identical, or all different,--entered into the composition of the Roman people, and must have existed on the Seven Hills before the age of Romulus, if we do not reject as utterly fabulous the whole body of Roman story before the reign of Ascanii Æneæ filii Romulum parentern urbis refert. Nævius et Ennius, Ænea ex filia nepotem Romulum conditorem urbis tradunt. Sybilla ita dicit, Ρωμαιοι Ρωμου παιδες"
Servius, or the coming of the elder Tarquin and Vibenna, The only mode in which the amalgamation of these races could have taken place, in the then condition of manners and society, must have been by successive conquests, or the necessity of conjoint resistance to the hostility of neighbouring tribes. The latter of these suppositions is by no means probable, for the union would have been temporary and transient, and as soon as the apprehended danger had been repelled, they would have manifested their love of individual independence by dissensions and constant struggles, which would have resulted in the gradual subjection of the weaker tribes by the most powerful. Thus, in the end, both hypotheses would be merged in the theory of gradual conquest. This pre-supposes a settlement on the Roman hills long anterior to Romulus, for those accretions and fusions which take place gradually in all stages of civilization, require a much longer time among races only half civilized. Thus, we are brought by this, as by every other consideration, to regard the actual settlement of Rome as much earlier than the date usually attributed to its origin. If we adopt the reasonable theory of Niebuhr, that on each of the Seven Hills, or at least on three of them, colonies, at first hostile to each other, were settled at a very remote period, and that Rome slowly acquired a limited ascendancy over the other two, we are enabled to account satisfactorily for the peculiar phenomena exhibited in the early history of Rome, and may readily admit, that at the time of the supposed foundation it first appeared as a united state, and that the alleged date marks the real commencement of its greatness. If we refuse this reasonable hypothesis, then we must declare the fable of the Foundation to be a mere chimera which haunted the dreams of Cato and of Varro, and has been rashly received at their hands by the credulity of subsequent generations.
But if Rome existed before the time when her connected, though long fabulous, history commenced, if the poetic legend of Romulus and Remus, of the Vestal and the Wolf, cannot be received as a sufficient authority for assigning the era of her commencement,-if the story of her colonization from Alba must consequently be rejected either wholly or in part,—and the exclusive Latin origin of the city be renounced,-if we must believe her to be the product of many tribes progressively consolidated into one body politic, what peoples were united within her borders ? and what effect had they respectively in determining the nature of her institutions? The inquiry is a peculiarly difficult one; and so glimmering is the feeble light thrown over these dark periods of history, that the result of the most diligent investigation must be necessarily imperfect, and in a great measure unsatisfactory. The examination of the Roman language, polity, religion, etc., discloses to us the fact that the Oscans, Sabines, Pelasgians, Latins and Etruscans met in Rome, and became thoroughly intermingled with each other. These were the most important races, but there were many more besides, whom it will be necessary to notice cursorily as we pass.
In entering upon the thorny path of inquiry now presented to us, wc have neither hope nor confidence of our ability to wind our way successfully through the inextricable labyrinths of a forest, so matted up as this is with briars and brambles, and the other weeds of that luxuriant growth, which has sprung up in the dense shade, and been fostered by the early and long-continued neglect to explore or to cultivate. Impenetrable mists hang over the whole domain; here and there a gleam of light comes streaming through the darkness, but it falls at different angles and in diverse directions, forming strange cross-lights amidst the shadows, which dazzle rather than inform, and weaving with the occasional brilliancy a strange mosaic upon the masses of heavy shade, which almost defies the utmost ingenuity to interpret. This is eminently the case with the majority of those early vations of whom we can glean but few and conflicting accounts,more may be discovered with respect to those who seem to have exercised the most marked influence upon the character, the institutions, the fortunes, and the destinies of the Roman people,-and it is for the sake of these that we venture upon the hazardous experiment of even a hasty examination,
In the same spirit in which Sir Matthew Hale boasts that the Common Law of England has its sources hidden as those of the Nile, Niebuhr remarks that "it well became the eternal city that its roots should be lost in infinity," * and it would appear as if every attempt to list the sacred veil of cloud which hangs over the races which poured the juices of life into her veins, was to prove fruitless, that her dignity and greatness might not be violated by being deprived of the họnour of an origin unknown from the very remoteness of
* Niebuhr. Hist. Rome, vol. i , p. 115