Capitoline Hill (Campidoglio) Rome Italy about 1892

THE CAPITOL, ROME — In the very heart of the Eternal City is a majestic flight of steps crowned at the summit by colossal statues of old Roman Gods found in the baths of Diocletian. It was down the steps which these have now replaced that Rienzi, “last of the Roman Tribunes,” fled in his last moments, to fall at their base, bleeding from twenty wounds; while from a window in their palace burning on the hill, his beautiful young wife looked down and saw his tragic death. In the square at the summit of this staircase is the place where Brutus harangued the unwilling populace after the murder of Caesar. There stands to-day the famous bronze equestrian statue of the Emperor Marcus Aurelius, the only perfect equestrian figure which has come down to us of all that once adorned Imperial Rome. Hawthorne, as all will recollect, describes this beautifully in his romance of the “Marble Faun.” That statue, (the Faun of Praxitiles), is one of the treasures of the Art Museum of the Capitol, which contains also the “Dying Gladiator,” the “Capitoline Venus,” and many other celebrated statues of antiquity. There too are many busts and statues of the Roman Emperors and their families; and perhaps no part of Rome is better adapted to contain the portrait-gallery of its ancient rulers than this Capitoline hill, the scene of many of its earliest glories and its latest crimes. (from John L. Stoddard, Glimpses of the world; a portfolio of photographs of the marvelous works of God and man – 1892)

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