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303

(1887) [MARC] Author: Viktor Rydberg Translator: Alfred Corning Clark With: Hans Anton Westesson Lindehn
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Full resolution (JPEG) - On this page / på denna sida - Pencil Sketches in Rome - 3. The Colosseum

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PENCIL SKETCHES IN ROME. 303
About three hundred years thereafter, came the his-
torian and commander Ammianus MarcelUnus to Rome.
He is known as a conscientious writer of history ; but in
presence of the Colosseum, he could not restrain his ori-
ental imagination. He assures us that the walls are so
high, the eye grows weary in following them on their
way to storm the heavens. The truth is, that the outer
wall has a height of about two hundred feet ; and that is
a very pretty height, too—Haga church tower," for ex-
ample, does not reach a hundred and sixty.
Let us flit farther, three or four hundred years nearer
to our own day. During the time we thus fly over, bar-
barians and earthquakes had time after time visited Rome.
But while mountains yielded under volcanic shocks, the
Colosseum stood fast. And therefore our Northumbrian
kinsman, the church historian Bede, could utter this
prophecy :
" As long as the Coliseum stands, Rome shall
stand : when the Coliseum falls, Rome will fall ; when
Rome falls, the w^orld will fall."t
And here—since I happened to use the word " barba-
rians "—let me be allowed to call attention to what
Ampere long since pointed out : that our Germanic fore-
fathers and kinsmen are greatly wronged, when it is
thought that it was especially they who destroyed the
magnificent buildings and art treasures of Rome. Car-
dinal May has discovered a noteworthy document, writ-
ten by a monk, Zacharias, in the year 540, which mentions
that Rome then possessed seventeen thousand and ninety-
seven palaces, thirteen thousand and fifty-two fountains,
eighty large statues of the gods, in gilded bronze, sixty-six
* Haga—the celebrated summer palace of Gustavus III.—C.
\ Gibbon’s translation. [Quamdiu stabit Colyseus, stabit et Roma
,
quando cadet Colyseus, cadet Roma ; quando cadet Roma, cadet et mundus\—
C

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