The Idler in France eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 285 pages of information about The Idler in France.

which he asserts to mean,—­Sextus, in honour of his Father and Mother, buried in this place, and represented by the two statues surrounded by columns in the upper part of the mausoleum.

Monsieur P. Malosse, to whose work on the antiquities of St.-Remy I am indebted for the superficial knowledge I have attained of these interesting objects, explains the inscription to mean,—­

     SEXTVS .  LVCIVS .  MARCVS .  JVLIEI .  CVRAV . 
     ERUNT .  FIERE .  SUEIS;

which he translates into Sextus, Lucius, Marcus (all three), of the race of Julius, elevated this monument to the glory of their relations.

M. Malosse believes that the mausoleum was erected to Julius, and the arch to Augustus Caesar—­the first being dead, and the second then living; and that the statues in the former, in the Roman togas, were intended to represent the two.

He imagines that the subjects of the bassi-relievi on the four fronts of the mausoleum bear out this hypothesis.  That of the east, he says, represents the combat of the Romans with the Germans on the bank of the Rhine (of which river the one on the basso-relievo is the emblem), and the triumph of Caesar over Ariovistus, whoso women were taken prisoners.

The basso-relievo on the south front represents Caesar’s conquest of the Allobroges, and the capture of the daughter of Orgetorix, one of the most powerful men of the country, and instigator of the war.  The basso-relievo on the north front, representing a combat of cavalry, refers to the victory over the Britons; and that of the west front, to the battle gained by the Romans over the Gauls, in which the general of the latter was killed in the midst of his soldiers, who endeavoured to prevent his being seized by the enemy.

Passages from the Commentaries of Caesar, favour this ingenious interpretation of M.P.  Malosse; but the abbreviations adopted in the inscription, while well calculated to give rise to innumerable hypotheses, will for ever leave in doubt, by whom, and in honour of whom, these edifices were erected, as well as the epoch at which they were built.

Who could look on these monuments without reflecting on the vanity of mortals in thus offering up testimonials of their respect for persons of whose very names posterity is ignorant?  For the identity of those in whose honour the Arch of Triumph and Mausoleum of St.-Remy were raised puzzles antiquaries as much as does that of the individual for whom the pyramid of Egypt was built.  Vain effort, originating in the weakness of our nature, to preserve the memory of that which was dear to us, and which we would fain believe will insure the reverence of ages unborn for that which we venerated!

     ON THE TRIUMPHAL ARCH AND MAUSOLEUM AT ST.-REMY.

1.

Yon stately tomb that seeks the sky,
  Erected to the glorious dead,
Through whose high arches sweeps, the sigh
  The night winds heave when day has fled;

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The Idler in France from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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