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(1887) [MARC] Author: Viktor Rydberg Translator: Alfred Corning Clark With: Hans Anton Westesson Lindehn
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ROMAN TRADITIONS OF PETER AND PAUL. 265
divides the vestibule from the inner part ; and I saw its
darkness, on one soHtary occasion, if not dissipated, at
least diminished, by the light of some wax candles burn-
ing upon the altar, as a still mass was there being cele-
brated. This is the upper prison vault, the Mamertine.
From the vestibule, a ladder leads down to the lower
vault, the Tullian. At the place of descent, is a Latin in-
scription from the time of the emperor Augustus. The
vaults are built of immense blocks of travertine, with
mortar ; and especially the way in which the Tullian is
built, with horizontal stones, projecting one above an-
other, bears witness of very great age. Antiquaries be-
lieve that the Tullianum was once a reservoir, or well,
connected with the most ancient fortifications of Rome,
intended to assure fresh drinking-water to the Capitoline
quarter. The spring below, then, should be much older
than the time of the apostles. But it is with the pious
tradition, incorporated into the belief of the church, we
have to do, not with the investigations of the learned.
Once a year, immediately after midsummer, namely,
when the great eight days’ festival in honor of Peter and
Paul, is held in the leading churches of Rome, this old-
time dungeon, too, resounds with beautiful song. A
mass by Palestrina is performed there by the papal choir,
in the presence of a great number of prelates, in holiday
vestments ; and to the faithful, water from the holy
spring in the Tullian vault is dealt out, to drink.
Peter, the man of faith firm as a rock, had, as we all
know, moments when his spiritual courage entirely for-
sook him. It happened to him in the presence of Jewish
friends, that he was ashamed to sit at table with Greek
brethren in the faith : nay, he even denied his own Mas-

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