Titus, supposed to have been poisoned; Domi-tian, murdered; Lucilla, daughter of Marcus Aurelius, put to death at Capri; Commodus and his wife, both murdered; Pertinax, assassinated; Julianus, stabbed to death; and, finally, Caracalla, Geta his brother, and Macrinus his successor, all murdered; Elagabalus, Alexander Severus, Maximinus, and Maximus Tyrannus, all killed; besides twelve others, all of whom died a violent death ! A more appalling commentary on the vices of the Roman Empire it would be hard to find than that afforded by this portrait-gallery of its rulers. Halting before a gross and sensual face, I read beneath it the name "Vitellius," and knew that I was looking on the portrait of the most disgusting of the wearers of the purple. How swinish must his actual appearance have been if this, his bust, which was no doubt made as flattering as possible, depicts him as a drunken glutton! Small wonder is it that he reigned but a few months, and that when the opposing party found him on the Palatine, stupefied by debauchery, short work was made of his assassination, and that after his head had been carried joyfully through the streets of Rome, the body was thrown into the Tiber. It is appropriate, therefore, that this hill, so haunted with suggestive, melancholy memories, should have inspired the historian Gibbon, as he sat one evening amid its ruins, to write the "Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire".
On the following day, I left the city by the St. Paul gate and drove beyond the Roman walls along the ancient road which formerly led to Rome's great harbor, Ostia, at the terminus of the Tiber. A sharply pointed pyramid of marble, one hundred and fourteen feet in height, attracted my attention, not only as a work of art, but as a proof that the pyramidal form is best adapted to resist the ravages of Time; for, though surrounded by the wrecks of centuries, this structure is still perfectly preserved, and since St. Paul was led along this road to martyrdom, it no doubt looked to him almost exactly as it appears to-day. It is older than Christianity, having been erected here, as a grand funeral monument to Caius Cestius, a generation before the Christian era.
The St. Paul Gate.
A Hall In The Palazzo Colonna.
We drove along the ancient thoroughfare until we reached the noble church erected to the memory of the great Apostle, and called "St. Paul's without the walls".
I paused in admiration on the threshold. Before me stretched away in dazzling perspective a glorious nave, four hundred feet in length, surmounted by a roof of gold, and paved with blocks of variegated marble, which glittered like the surface of a sunlit lake. To right and left, like stately trees, from out this beautiful expanse arose a multitude of granite columns, each of which was a single block of stone, polished as smooth as glass, and crowned with an elaborate capital. Above these was a row of circular mosaic portraits of the Popes, apparently gazing down with pride upon the splendid scene. The reverence felt by Christians for this church is principally due, however, not to its lavish ornamentation or even to its great antiquity, but to the fact that under the High Altar, of jasper, malachite, and alabaster, is a sarcophagus which, according to the traditions of the Church from earliest times, contains the body of St. Paul.
The Pyramid Of Cestius.
"st. Paul's without the walls".
"How is it possible," I asked of my companion, church, erected here in the fourth century after Christ; but you would never guess how recent is the origin of the four columns which support the altar canopy. They are of tinted alabaster, and were presented to the Pope by Mehemet Ali, the bloodthirsty Khedive of Egypt, and a devotee of Islam".
"that this grand edifice can be so old, and yet so marvelously fresh and beautiful?" "In one sense it is modern," was the answer; "the ancient church was terribly injured by a conflagration seventy years ago, and much that you admire has been placed here since that time. It is true, the mighty arch above the altar is a part of the original