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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 - 4. La Campagna di Roma

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PENCIL SKETCHES IN ROME. 319
SO to Speak, to every molehill, had of itself been able to
to check and repress the marsh fever ; but when the tiller
of the soil was thrown into chains, the malaria could shake
off its own, and it throve well in the wide-stretching, shady
pleasure grounds and deer parks, into which the former
arable land had been transformed, and in the undrained
pastures, that spread in the same measure that the in-
creased importation of grain from Africa, and the impe-
rial distributions of corn, made Italian agriculture super-
fluous and attended with loss. Many emperors tried
to combat this change. They saw that Italy languished
for want of blood, since the peasant class had gone its
way ; that slavery corrupted master and slave, that the
proud castles in the country, formed wastes around them,
and that the fever let loose upon the villages was ever
making greater havoc among the once so flourishing cities ;
but all their statutes could accomplish nothing, since the
evil was not attacked at its root. Roman statesmen in
the days of the republic had foreseen it, nevertheless ; and
the law proposed by Licinius in the fourth century after
the foundation of the city, decreed that no one should
own more than five hundred (Swedish) acres of land, or
hold more than one hundred large cattle or five hundred
small cattle. But the law was not respected, even by
its own authors. In Cicero’s orations, much testimony
is to be found, that Latium in his day was growing
poorer and poorer in men and in hands to cultivate
the earth, and already the writers of the Roman em-
pire speak of the pestilential and deadly air that during
the summer months made Rome a dangerous place of
sojourn.
Thus we find that the causes which created the lonely
Campagna lie far back in time, and stand in relation to

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