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were the inheritance of far greater races, to whom the Romans belonged, or from whom they borrowed these peculiarities, till from the union of these manifold parts, a new form arose, unlike to any individual Italian tribe. The primitive nations disappeared in the light of the city; and the commonwealth of citizens spread itself throughout Italy. As the republic sank, there were only Romans in the Italian peninsula; and all the historians, whose works are preserved, have uniformly represented the ancient Italic nations, not only as wholly distinct from the Romans, but as insignificant in comparison with them. It is some time since a different judgment began to be entertained; and although it is impossible to sketch a perfect picture of the nations, which attained to greatness in Italy before the Romans, the accounts of some of which are wholly wanting, and of all highly defective, it is nevertheless universally thought necessary, as far as may be, to attempt a survey and a discrimination of the ancient races and tribes, and a collection of the historical traditions and accounts, that concern them.'

We are deceived, if even in these few observations the hand of the master be not visible. Though there be nothing original in the suggestion, that Livy and the other historians erroneously represent the Romans as a peculiar and distinct race, and exaggerate their importance at the expense of the well ascertained though almost forgotten greatness of the Umbri, the Etruscans, and other great Italian nations; yet no one had before deduced from this observation a new view of Roman antiquities, and a new method of studying them. If the Romans are not a race sui generis, but formed from other Italian tribes, and if these other tribes not only preceded the Romans in time, but were far more powerful, cultivated, and civilized, than Rome in her earlier stages, then we ought to begin our inquiries into Roman history, not with the fictions of Romulus and Remus, or the still grosser fables, which Virgil has immortalized, but we ought to begin with the oldest tribes, which history, tradition, analogy of language and institutions, and existing monuments enable us to trace on the Italian soil. This is accordingly done by our author in the most masterly manner, in the following order, viz. the Enotrii, the Ausonians, the Sabellians, the Tyrrenhians, Tuscans or Etruscans, the Umbri, Iapygia, the Greeks in Italy, the Ligurians and Veneti, and the inhabitants of the three Islands. All that the ancient authors teach relative to these different tribes and names is collected, weighed, and sifted; and if we are ready to com

plain, on the one hand, of the scanty traditions, which survive, of numerous and powerful races, we cannot but be surprised, on the other, at the great amount of information, which it is still in the power of industry and sagacity to extract out of the chronicles and fragments of chronicles. After the pure Italian tribes, which we have enumerated, our author treats of the Latins, the tradition of Æneas and the Trojans in Italy, and the city of Alba, and then passes to the great topic of Rome.

Among all the primitive tribes of Italy, none is treated by Mr von Niebuhr more at length, than the Etruscans, as none certainly is so well worthy the notice of the classical antiquary. His theory of the origin of Rome, as we shall presently see, attaches peculiar importance to this people; which on their own account also are well entitled to commemoration. In the etymological and philological controversy with respect to the language of the Etruscans, which has been agitated with such zeal from the discovery of the Eugubine tables in 1440 to the present day, our author takes no part, and he evidently looks with some sense of weariness upon it. His subject is equally remote from the consideration of their arts, in which as the reputed makers of the Etruscan vases, so called, (which are found almost exclusively in Campania, and are now universally admitted to be of Greek workmanship,) they have so proverbially enjoyed a reputation belonging to another people, and given a name to a fabric, which they did not possess. It is purely in a civil and historical light, that Mr von Niebuhr treats the Etruscans; and those, who may feel a degree of scepticism at the magnificent figure which they are made to play in Dempster's Etruria Regale, in the English Universal History, and in the work of Micale, will nevertheless feel safe in following our author, who has none of the partialities of a modern Italian, none of the Etrusco-mania of the present day. Few ancient nations are in truth a more curious topic of investigation. If our curiosity is excited to study the history of those few great political communities, Roman, Grecian, Egyptian, Persian, which gained a distinct name in the ancient world, it is scarcely less awakened to the fate of a people, like the Etruscans, who are all but entitled to a place in the great procession of nations, and who for centuries bid much fairer, than the Romans, to be the leading empire in the West. There was not a hut on one of the seven hills of Rome, at the time

that the Etruscans governed nearly the whole of Italy, on each side of the Apennines, and closed a long struggle with the Umbri, by taking three hundred of their cities. Nor were the Etruscans less powerful at sea, than at land. The Adriatic was so called from the Etruscan colony Adria; and therefore was known to the Greeks as the Tyrrhene or Tuscan sea. The Romans, on the other hand, gave this name to the Mediterranean; and as either sea was called by their name, both were traversed by their vessels of commerce and war. This widely extended power on land and at sea was swayed by a confederacy in some degree resembling our own. Twelve powerful cities-though the accounts are not constant in this numbersituated chiefly between the Apennines and the Mediterranean sea, were united into a confederation, by which the other portions of Italy were governed as colonies and provinces. This confederation had its annual assembly in the city of Volturna in the temple of one of the national divinities, where sacrifices were performed in the name of the whole Etruscan nation. The main law of the confederacy was, that no single state should declare war or make peace without the general consent; and had this law been adhered to, it admits scarce a doubt, that the name of Romans would never have been heard of in the world. Each separate state of the confederacy was governed by a magistrate called Lucumo, who combined the offices of civil, military, and religious chief, giving to the government the sternest form of theocracy. The genius of their internal political organization may be seen in that of ancient Rome, which was imitated from it. The mass of the people was in subjection to an aristocracy, that claimed to be the depositary of the civil power and religious privileges. Notwithstanding this unhappy feature in their policy, which finally proved fatal to their independence and national existence, they had attained at the time the foundations of Rome were laid, a very high degree of cultivation and power. They were the masters of the Romans to a very late period in institutions, arts, and religious rites. The Roman youth, down to the sixth century of the city, were sent up into the cities of Etruria, to be initiated into their refinements; and plays in the Etruscan language were acted at Rome as late as the Augustan age. Before their power was broken by the conquests of the Romans, the Etruscans, from their two great emporiums, Adria, on the gulf that

bears its name, and Luni, on the Mediterranean sea, carried on a commerce of a very extensive character, and exchanged the arts and the fruits of their own country for the luxuries of the east. These were brought to Etruria; and thence, by a sacred road across the Alps, which it was made sacrilege to violate, the staples of Asiatic and Libyan commerce were circulated by the Etruscans, as far as Spain and Portugal. The Romans had cause to rue the establishment of this commerce. The Etruscans had commercial treaties with the Carthagenians, and the same road, which carried the Etruscan caravans across the Alps to Celtiberia, brought the armies of Hannibal by the opposite course into Italy.

It would afford us pleasure to lay before our readers a translation of the concluding pages of Mr von Niebuhr's remarks on this extraordinary people, did the brevity we are bound to study permit us. We shall venture only on the following ex


6 • A fruitful soil, abounding in natural richness, gave full aliment to the commercial spirit in Etruria; and there was a period when this country formed the depôt for the trade between the sea, the rest of Italy, and the remotest barbarous nations, to which there led a sacred and safe commercial road across the Alps.* Enormous works, equal to those of the Egyptians, and which, wherever found, are of melancholy aspect, as they can be erected only under the tyranny of castes and priestcraft and by the slavery of the people, were erected among the Etruscans, over whom this tyranny bore sway. In the same style the Romans built under their kings; in the period of freedom it was impossible. The walls of Volterra, and many other of the chief Etruscan cities, which escaped being laboriously destroyed by the Romans, are still for the most part entire, consisting of gigantic masses of masonry. The views of them confer an indisputable worth on the work of Micale. The Etruscans were the teachers of the Romans in architecture; though possibly only like the Tyrians at Jerusalem, as artists in their employ. This was certainly the case with works of foundery and relief. Some of the ancient Etruscan buildings remind us, in a striking manner, of the monuments of the Aztecs. The mausoleum of the mythological Porsenna, of which Varro derived so fantastical a description from the domestic annals of the Etruscans, but of which also he must himself

*As far as the Celtiberi. See the author περὶ θαυμ. ἄκουσμ. in Opp. Aristotel. p. 724, ed. Duval.' The present may serve as an example of the sagacity and happiness of our author's citations.

have seen the ruins of all that ever really existed of it, contains the chief characteristics of the Mexican temple-pyramids. The monument of the Horatii, as it is called, still in existence, is also not unlike that of Porsenna, as Varro describes it: Pyramids upon a cube, or upon a pyramid highly truncated.'

Such of our readers, as may be curious to inquire farther into this famous but questionable work, may see the original description of Varro in the thirty-sixth book of Pliny's natural history, in the nineteenth chapter. A translation and commentary on the passage is given by the president du Brosses, in the thirty-fifth volume of the Academy of Inscriptions, and Mr Graves, in his Pyramidographia, has attempted a coarse drawing of it. Though writers seem disposed, with one consent, to pronounce the accounts of this monument to be fabulous, we confess we see nothing in them, which surpasses belief. The people, who were in the habit of building their common sewers in the style of the Cloaca Maxima, (for which work Livy informs us, that Tarquin sent for artists to all parts of Etruria,) may perhaps be believed to have erected the mausoleum of their most powerful and famous prince, in a style of magnificence like that which Varro has ascribed to the monument of Porsenna.

The tradition, if it deserve that name, of the arrival of Æneas and his Trojans in Italy, is the most popular of the common notions in regard to the origin of Rome. Every body reads Virgil, and that at a period before the mind is fortified with any other reading, or has acquired the principles of intellectual perspective, which enable it to distinguish what may be true from what must be fabulous. Our author thus expresses himself on this subject :

This tradition is in itself intimately and inseparably woven into the whole mythical portion of the Roman history, which we are to separate indeed, but not to reject. It were an arrogant and indolent want of judgment, to leave this tradition unexamined, under pretence of its essential improbability, however great that might seem; as on the other hand it would be equally against the principles of historical investigation, to expect to attain to matterof-fact certainty or high probability on the subject of such a tradition, while more than five hundred years elapse from its date before the twilight dawns on the Roman annals. The true subject of investigation is this:-Is the Trojan tradition ancient and native in Italy, or of Grecian origin, subsequently adopted by the Latins and Romans?"

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