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YOUTH'S INSTRUCTER

AND

GUARDIAN.

MARCH, 1852.

THE TEMPLE OF BACCHUS,

OR CHURCH OF SAINT CONSTANCE.

(With an Engraving.) The shadows of many dark, dark ages still rest upon the monuments of Rome. Long before antiquarians first groped their uncertain way among the remains of this desolated Queen of cities, ruin had fallen upon ruin in inextricable confusion, and a thousand chances of demolition had sported among the fragments of republican and imperial grandeur. Oftentimes the geologist finds greater certainty, because he may be working by the light of a few established laws, than can be obtained by the “Old Mortalities” who glide amidst those fragments, lit only by the dim flashes of a poetical allusion, an incident of minute narrative, or the nearly obliterated remnant of some intractable inscription. The temples of the gods, like the gods themselves, were, even when in good repair, many of them of uncertain name, and in rank obscure. So the edifice before us is called, commonly, the “ Temple of Bacchus," from the circumstance that there are vine-leaves discoverable among the carvings; whereas more exact criticism, conducted since the imposition of the name, attributes the erection of the building to the Emperor Constantine the Great, not to be used as a church or temple indeed, for in his day there were temples ellow and to spare, but as a mausoleum for his family. They also suppose that a Christian lady of that family, named Constantia, who died in Asia, was buried, there ; and she is now, as it would seem,

Vol. XVI. Second Series.

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YOUTH'S INSTRUCTER

AND

GUARDIAN.

MARCH, 1852.

THE TEMPLE OF BACCHUS,

OR CHURCH OF SAINT CONSTANCE.

(With an Engraving.) The shadows of many dark, dark ages still rest upon the monuments of Rome. Long before antiquarians first groped their uncertain way among the remains of this desolated Queen of cities, ruin had fallen upon ruin in inextricable confusion, and a thousand chances of demolition had sported among the fragments of republican and imperial grandeur. Oftentimes the geologist finds greater certainty, because he may be working by the light of a few established laws, than can be obtained by the “Old Mortalities” who glide amidst those fragments, lit only by the dim flashes of a poetical allusion, an incident of minute narrative, or the nearly obliterated remnant of some intractable inscription. The temples of the gods, like the gods themselves, were, even when in good repair, many of them of uncertain name, and in rank obscure. So the edifice before us is called, commonly, the “ Temple of Bacchus," from the circumstance that there are vine-leaves discoverable among the carvings; whereas more exact criticism, conducted since the imposition of the name, attributes the erection of the building to the Emperor Constantine the Great, not to be used as a church or temple indeed, for in his day there were temples enow and to spare, but as a mausoleum for his family. They also suppose that a Christian lady of that family, named Constantia, who died in Asia, was buried, there ; and she is now, as it would seem,

VOL. XVI. Second Series.

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