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(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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mantled Rome like vultures for a corpse. In the Co-
losseum, the Frangipanian birds of prey had their lurking-
place. All around them was a desert. Robert Guiscard’s
Saracens had at the appeal of pope Gregory VII stormed
Rome and ravaged it with lance, the edge of the sword,
and tire. Then were the Aventine and the quarters be-
tween the Lateran and Esquiline, seen to form one im-
mense pyre. But the walls of the Colosseum had with-
stood even the flames.
But—there came a power that they were powerless
to defy : the power that had given them existence, the
hand of man. Three hundred years again, and the Co-
losseum had become a stone-quarry. Now Rome again
began to be adorned with splendid palaces, for which the
old amphitheatre must give a great part of the building
material. The fortress-like Palazzo di Venezia that
lies at the opening of the Corso, the mighty Cancelleria,
Bramante’s stately work, and the noble Palazzo Farnese,
adorned with Michael Angelo’s renowned frieze, descend
both in the body and the spirit from the Colosseum, for
not only the latters blocks of travertine, but even some-
thing of its Roman style did they appropriate to them-
selves. We have therefore no right to unmingled com-
plaint of the vandalism that befell the giant work of the
Flavians—the less so, that chance has so strangely guided
the hand of devastation that the two-thirds still remain-
ing of the structure, give us a complete picture of the
appearance of the whole, and at the same time some-
thing more: something romantic and seductive to the
pencil, that the amphitheatre in its pristine splendor and
magnificence never possessed. It is as though devasta-
tion would not seize upon the amphitheatre itself, but on
its grim recollections ; as if the punishment that had

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