Why Americans travel to Europe for what?

Why Americans travel to Europe for what?

Americans go to London for social triumph, to Rome for art’s sake, and to Berlin to study music and to economize; but they go to Paris to enjoy themselves. And there are no young men of any nation who enter into the accomplishment of this so heartily and so completely as does the young American.

Paris determined to see all that any one else has ever seen, and to outdo all that any one else has ever done, and to stir that city to its suburbs. He saves his time, his money, and his superfluous energy for this visit, and the most amusing part of it is that he always leaves Paris fully assured that he has enjoyed himself while there more thoroughly than any one else has ever done, and that the city will require two or three months’ rest before it can read just itself after the shock and wonder due to his meteoric flight through its limits. Paris, he tells you, ecstatically, when he meets you on the boulevards is “the greatest place on earth,” and he adds, as evidence of the truth of this, that he has not slept in three weeks. He is unsurpassed in his omnivorous capacity for sight-seeing, and in his ability to make himself immediately and contentedly at home.

The American visitor is not only undaunted by the strange language, but unimpressed by the signs of years of vivid history about him. He sandwiches a glimpse at the tomb of Napoleon, and a trip on a penny steamer up the Seine, and back again to the Morgue, with a rush through the Cathedral of Notre Dame, between the hours of his breakfast and the race-meeting at Longchamps the same afternoon. Nothing of present interest escapes him, and nothing bores him. He assimilates and grasps the method of Parisian existence with a rapidity that leaves you wondering in the rear, and at the end of a week can tell you that you should go to one side of the Grand Hôtel for cigars, and to the other to have your hat blocked. He knows at what hour Yvette Guilbert comes on at the Ambassadeurs’, and on which mornings of the week the flower-market is held around the Madeleine.

While you are still hunting for apartments he has visited the sewers under the earth, and the Eiffel Tower over the earth, and eaten his dinner in a tree at Robinson’s, and driven a coach to Versailles over the same road upon which the mob tramped to bring Marie Antoinette back to Paris, without being the least impressed by the contrast which this offers to his own progress. He develops also a daring and reckless spirit of adventure, which would never have found vent in his native city or town, or in any other foreign city or town. It is in the air, and he enters into the childish goodnature of the place and of the people after the same mariner that the head of a family grows young again at his class reunion.

The Château Rouge was originally the house of some stately family in the time of Louis XIV. They will tell you there that it was one of the mistresses of this monarch who occupied it, and will point to the frescos of one room to show how magnificent her abode then was. This tradition may or may not be true, but it adds an interest to the house, and furnishes the dramatic contrast to its present wretchedness.

The Seven Wonders of the Antique World and Middle Ages

The Seven Wonders of the Antque World and Middle Ages

The Seven Wonders of the World Of Antiquity:

(1) The Pyramids of Egypt.
(2) The Gardens of Semiramis at Babylon.
(3) The statue of Zeus at Olympia, the work of Phidias.
(4) The Temple of Diana at Ephesus.
(5) The Mausoleum at Halicarnassus.
(6) The Colossus at Rhodes.
(7) The Pharos of Egypt, the Walls of Babylon or the Palace of Cyrus.

The Seven Wonders of the World Of the Middle Ages:

(1) The Coliseum of Rome.
(2) The Catacombs of Alexandria.
(3) The Great Wall of China.
(4) Stonehenge.
(5) The Leaning Tower of Pisa.
(6) The Porcelain Tower of Nankin.
(7) The Mosque of St. Sophia at Constantinople.

The palace of the Escurial has sometimes been called the eighth wonder, a name which has also been given to a number of works of great mechanical ingenuity, such as the dome of Chosroes in Madain, St. Peter’s of Rome, the Menai suspension bridge, the Eddystone lighthouse, the Suez Canal, the railway over Mont Cenis, the Atlantic cable, etc.

Rome Low Cost Sightseeings

Rome Low Cost Sightseeings

The Colosseum, of course, which charges no admission for entrance to its ground floor, and no admission at all to visit any part of the ruins on Sundays… Following that, drive out as far as you have time to go along the ancient Appian Way… It’s here that you’ll pass the several largest Christian Catacombs. Most interesting and significant of these are the Catacombs of Saint Sebastiano (once the burial place of both St. Peter and St. Paul), which are the second catacombs you’ll pass as you proceed along the Appian route.

The Vatican Museum and the Sistine Chapel are also musts. Remember that they are at the rear of the Vatican, a long walk from the front of St. Peter’s… Downstairs in St. Peter’s a number of glass-sided coffins containing bodies of the Popes, are on view… The figures inlaid on the floor of St. Peter’s show the lengths of other famous cathedrals, thus giving you an indication of the enormous size of St. Peter’s. In the Borghese Gardens, you won’t want to miss the fabulous Villa Borghese (sometimes called the “Galleria Borghese“), with its treasures of paintings, sculpture and furnishings. On the first floor, there are works by the great sculptor Bernini (his famous Rape of Persephone is here); on the second floor is Raphael’s “Descent from the Cross,” together with several Botticelli’s and a whole array of paintings by my own favorite, the master Caravaggio.

Finally, the grandest sight in Rome, to my mind, is the “Campidoglio” (Capitoline Hill), the sight of which has caused many a tourist actually to weep over its sheer beauty. The steps and approaches were designed by Michelangelo; the plaza holds one of the few classic bronze statues in existence-the Emperor Marcus Aurelius on horseback-which was discovered several centuries ago on the bottom of the Tiber, where it had been thrown by Roman-hating barbarians. When Michelangelo was asked to design a pedestal for the statue, he answered, “I am not worthy.”

Rome: The Roman Forum

Rome: The Roman Forum

‘I need no ivory temple for my delight,’ wrote Propertius in Augustus’ day, ‘enough that I can see the Roman Forum.’ Here, from immemorial times, had been the meeting place of a civilization that was always positive. This Forum, so quiet in its ruins now, was filled with activity from the dawn of recorded history. Around its edges butchers, fruit-sellers, and money-lenders had their stands; in its centre were held public meetings and religious ceremonies closely bound up with the city’s practical life. If the past haunts the Forum, it is a past filled with less sinister figures than those which linger in the shadows of the Palatine above.

Nowhere in Rome has more human drama been crowded into so little space. Here, according to tradition, the men of Romulus had snatched as brides the maidens of the Sabine tribes. Here, too, was set the tragic, stirring tale of the centurion Virginius, and his daughter, Virginia, whom he stabbed with a knife from a nearby butcher’s shop to save her from a tyrant’s claim.

Here legend placed the ancient story of Marcus Curtius’ leap into the unfathomable gulf yawning below the Capitol. Here Antony showed the Romans the body of the murdered Caesar and read them his will. Here, too, roused to fury by this sight and by the dead Caesar’s generosity, the people burned his body in their most honoured spot as a final tribute to his memory. And along the Forum’s Sacred Way, from the Arch of Titus up the Capitol hill, passed the triumphal processions of emperors and generals, returning victorious from the wars.

The Forum’s activities probably took place at first entirely in the open air. Later shops and temples were built and the great basilicas along the edges, which combined halls for courts and assemblies with space for shops. Throngs too large for these basilicas were addressed from the rostra, special platforms built for this purpose, or from the steps of the Forum’s temples. The Senate met in these temples, as well as in others throughout Rome, but its special home was in the Forum, in the Senate House, consecrated to Victory.

Julius Caesar, city planner as well as warrior and statesman, gave the Forum the general shape it preserves today. One of the most arresting spots in its whole area is the altar before the temple dedicated there by the Senate to mark the place where his body was burned in 44 B.C.

As power grew more and more concentrated in the hands of the emperors and their officials, public activities in the Forum became less important. But the place remained as unique in Roman memory as when Cicero had called it ‘the Forum in which all justice is preserved’. The emperors built larger and more elaborate forums for business and amusement, but this remained ‘the Forum’ or ‘the Forum of the Romans’, by virtue of its age and associations.

As Christianity gradually conquered paganism, the temples of the Forum were closed by imperial edicts, though these edicts were disregarded from time to time. For a while some of the temples were safeguarded as public monuments or kept for various uses. But the Gothic wars of the sixth century so drained the city’s resources that it would have been impossible to keep the old buildings in good repair, even had any considerable group wanted to preserve the remnants of paganism. The temples which survived did so largely because they were transformed into churches or because they were too massive to be pulled down easily for building material. The earthquake of 847, which damaged the Colosseum, probably hastened their destruction.

During the centuries of slow decay and active pillage, the ground-level of the Forum rose with the debris of fallen structures and the washing down of earth and ruin from the surrounding hills, until traffic was almost completely blocked, and papal processions had to find other ways than the old triumphal road. The few remaining columns of the ancient temples were buried, sometimes half their height; the crumbling ruins were robbed of stone and brick to be burnt for lime or re-used in humbler buildings.

Such was the Forum’s state in the first years of the fifteenth century, when interest in antiquity was reviving with the early Renaissance. Some time before 1431 Poggio Bracciolini the humanist, wrote wistfully: ‘The Roman Forum, the most celebrated place in the city, where the people assembled and laws were made, and the nearby Comitium, where magistrates were chosen, are now deserted through the malignance of Fortune. The one is given over to swine and cattle; the other is enclosed as a vegetable garden.’

In 1536 the Forum was partially cleared to provide a triumphal way for the Hapsburg Emperor, Charles V, in celebration of his victory over the Turks in Tunisia the year before. Unfortunately, the preparation of this triumphal road gave a fresh impetus to the plundering of the ruins, against which Raphael had already protested. After this clearing, the Forum, once more passable for traffic, was drawn again into the active life of Rome. When the excavators of the sixteenth century had finished their search for antiques, quiet settled once more about the Forum, but it was no longer a quiet of death. The lowing of cattle and the shouts of drovers now filled the air, for the Forum was again used as a market.

Indeed, its classic name was almost forgotten and it was known then, and for long afterward, as the Campo Vaccino, or Cow Pasture, from the animals herded and sold there. Its very site, questioned by Ligorio in the sixteenth century, long remained a subject of antiquarian argument. Fortunately there were always men of plain common sense who, refusing to be drawn into fine-spun argument, kept to the old site while accepting the new name, and said with the seventeenth-century Englishman, John Raymond: ‘The Campo Vaccino was heretofore the Forum Romanum.’

The eighteenth century saw a revival of interest in antiquity unequalled since the early Renaissance, which stimulated the desire for scholarly excavations. Late in the century such excavations were begun in the Forum, and for a hundred and fifty years its ruins were laid bare, down even to graves of the eighth century B.C. or earlier, below its ancient paving stones. During the last century and a half more has been learned of the Forum’s buildings than was known during the thousand years before; yet even today scholars feel certain of less than many a Roman boy of ancient times.

Throughout the centuries three groups of columns and one lone shaft have been landmarks of the Forum. Most of these, at the western end, close below the Capitol, mark the sites of the temples of Saturn and of Vespasian. The eight grey and red granite columns of the portico of Saturn’s temple stand almost at right angles to the Senator’s Palace. This was one of the Forum’s oldest temples, although the columns which stand today are late.

An inscription above them states that the temple was restored by vote of the Senate after a fire, probably that of A.D. 284, which swept the Forum. The Senate had a special interest in this temple, where the steep Clivus Capitolinus wound up the Capitol, for it had its treasury here. The writer of the Mirabilia had these facts clearly in mind when he referred to the ‘public Treasury, that was the temple of Saturn’, beside the ‘Triumphal Arch, whence was the ascent into the Capitol’. Later generations which had lost the tradition called it by many names, such as the ‘Temple of Concord’ and the ‘Temple of Fortune.’

Close by the Temple of Saturn stand the three corner columns of the Temple of Vespasian. Called for centuries ‘Temple of Jupiter Tonans’, this temple’s columns, with their sharp flutings, their rich Corinthian capitals, and their elaborately carved frieze above, were the delight of artists. Titus and Domitian built the temple late in the first century A.D. and dedicated it to Vespasian, their father. Titus died and was deified before it was completed; he may have shared the dedication.

The anonymous monk of the eighth century who copied the inscriptions preserved at Einsiedeln left the clue which finally solved the temple’s identity. Much more of the temple was evidently standing then, for the inscription stated clearly that the building had been dedicated to Vespasian and restored by the emperors Severus and Caracalla.

Between Vespasian’s temple and the Arch of Severus rises the Column of Phocas which has stood erect ever since it was set up in A.D. 608, the last monument erected in the Forum in what might still be considered ancient times. Its identity was completely lost until the excavations of the early nineteenth century uncovered its base with a dedication to ‘… our lord, Phocas, the eternal emperor’. It was a sign of the fallen fortunes of Rome that the citizens set up no new column to honour this upstart Byzantine Emperor of the East, but one carved long before and put to a new use.

By one of the world’s pleasant ironies this column is best known throughout the English-speaking world through two lines of poetry far from accurate. Its base had been uncovered and the inscription read in 1813; Charlotte Eaton referred to its identity in 1817 as common knowledge among visitors. But Byron, who was in Rome the same year as Mrs. Eaton, was not noted for close attention to specific facts; even when he knew them, he often preferred the suggestion of mystery. The sober facts are cold beside his apostrophe:

‘Tully was not so eloquent as thou,
Thou nameless column with the buried base!’

The third group of columns is midway between the Capitol and the Arch of Titus. These three parallel fluted shafts of the Temple of Castor which appear in the foreground of Marten van Heemskerck’s drawing, in that of Claude Lorrain, and in Canaletto’s painting, are perhaps the most outstanding of the three groups. They rise in comparative isolation near the end of the old Republican Forum, and the richness of their Corinthian capitals and carved entablature has made them, like the three of Vespasian’s temple, a favourite subject for artists. These columns do not belong to the first temple there, or even to the one Cicero called ‘that famous and glorious memorial of the past… which stands where the nation may see it daily’.

Destination Rome

Destination Rome

A League of Latine cities is said to have been founded in the eighth century, and Rome under her kings gradually attained in it a leading position. The expulsion of the kings and the introduction of an Aristocratic government, with two consuls and a governing assembly, the Senate, caused internal dissensions which brought the Romans again under the rule of the Etruscans, until, after a long period of strife, the conditions were reversed and Rome with the Latines and Sabines conquered all round.

This development was interrupted by the Keltic invasion, which in the beginning of the fourth century descended on Italy from over the Alps. Rome was overwhelmed but soon recovered herself and drove back the Kelts, who then settled permanently in the Plain of the Po. No energetic attempts were made to Latinize them till after the Second Punic War. The powerful mountain tribes gave the Romans much trouble, as we learn from the accounts of the Samnite wars, the more so as these nations had just before destroyed the Etruscan rule in Campania and had laid hands on several of the Greek colonies.

After the overthrow of the Samnites, Lucanians, and other nations of Southern Italy, the Greek towns on the coast necessarily became subject to Rome. Tarentum held out the last by inviting over Pyrrhus, the warlike but unstable King of Epirus, and made a successful stand during a series of years until it fell in 270 B.C., and Rome was acknowledged as the predominant power from the Apennines to the Straits of Messina.

This war with Tarentum had forced Rome, owing to the expedition of Pyrrhus to Sicily, to interfere in the politics and trade of the island. Since the overthrow of the Etruscans the dominion of the Tyrrhenian Sea had fallen into the hands of Rome. Thus she became a rival of Carthage, who had treated the Western Mediterranean from Africa and Sicily onwards as her own domain and had made the utmost of it.

Assistance given to the Greeks of Sicily and an alliance with the Mamertines of Messina brought about a conflict with Carthage, leading to the First Punic War and a delimitation of the respective spheres of influence. Carthage surrendered the island but compensated herself richly in Spain. Sicily was shared between Rome and Hiero of Syracuse, and became the first Roman Province.