Observations upon the Antiquities of the Town of Herculaneum  

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Observations sur les antiquités de la ville d'Herculanum (Observations upon the Antiquities of the Town of Herculaneum) is the first illustrated account of the discoveries of the excavations at Herculaneum.


In 1750-1751, Charles-Nicolas Cochin, with Jérôme-Charles Bellicard, accompanied Marigny on a visit to the excavations at Herculaneum. In 1753, Cochin and Bellicard published their Observations upon the Antiquities of the Town of Herculaneum, the first illustrated account of the discoveries there, which largely caused the frescoes of Herculaneum to be disregarded. Editions of the work in English were published in 1753, 1756, and 1758, and in French in 1754, 1755 and 1757.

Full text


I^HIS colleEiion af obfervations was at Jirjl made with a view folely to my own private inJlrtiSiionj aud I Jhould never have ventured to commit them to the puhlick^ had not I been induced to hazard that ftep by Perfons of conjideration^ as well as an earneji dejire to prefent them to Mon- Jieur de Vaudieres, whom J had the ho7iour to accompafiy in his jour72ey to Italy. This is the leajl acknowledge ment I owe to this illuftrious protec- tor of the liberal arts^ Jor the fingu- Jar pare of his favour which I en- joyed^ a?2d the advantages I have reaped from a journey fo necejfary to A 2 render

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refid^r me perfeSl in the Jludy of ar- chiteSlure.

'The principrd defign in this little work is to refreJlD the memory of thofe who have vifited Italy, and feen the mofi remarkable antiquities in the neighbourhood of Naples ; as well as to communicate a flight idea of the77t to others^ who have not made that tour J and of confequence camiot fudge for tbemfelves. I fhall only obferve^ that^ among the different deftgns ex- hibited in this volume^ there are fome plans of the principal edifices m the city of Herculaneum, the dirnenfions of which it was not poffble for me to take\ for the infpe&ors of the works ^ and thofe who conduSied the diggings had fo fevere orders on that fubjcEi^ that they would never iftdulge me with an opportunity.



/ have divided this colleBio?t into three parts^ which form as many lit^ tie feparate treat ifes^ in the jirfi of which I defcrihe every inter efling par- ticular which I chferved in Hercula- neum, including publick and private edifices^ to?nhs^ ute?tjilsy and ether curiojities found in that fuht err anean _ city^ where the leafl trifles become matters of confequence to the lovers of antiquity.

  • The fecond feBion is compofed of a

dijfertation upon the paintings and fcidpture found in Herculaneum ; and as this part was not fo much my pro- vince^ I would not rely upon my own knowledge^ hut had recourfe to Mon- feur Cochin, who had the honour to he chofen by his majefiy^ as a proper perfon to accompany Mon feur de Vau-


( vi ) dieres ift the fame jourftej^ and whg employed eveiy leifure moment that "was at his difpofal^ in making obfer- ^ationsy touching an art in which he excels.— ^This differtation^ therefore^ is e7ttirely the wo7'k of that celebrated defgner^ who hath been pleafed to communicate to rae every thiitg that he had colkEied upon thefubject.

"The third fection contains a defcrip- tion of the antiquities in the neigh- bourhood of Naples ; 7ia7nely^ Baia?, Puzzoli a7td Capua. 1 hiow very well that feveral authors have given defcriptio7ts of what is 772 ofl re7n ark- able in thefe differ e7tt places. But as I Itkewife 77iade ohfervatio7ts up07i the fa7ne antiquities^ which I accurately deli7ieated upon the /pot^ I thought it was a duty I owed to 7ny profejfofi 3 to

( vii )

to infert them after thofe of Hercu- laneum, with which^ indeed they feem naturally connected.

Should the puhlick relifb this little performance^ I may hereafter com- municate my reflections upon the mo- numents of antiquity in Rome, and $ther parts of Italy.


Page 200. Line 19. for «j, read his, Pr 206. for Marca^ r. Maria.




Of the City of


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Of the Edifices, Tombs, and Curio- sities found at HERCULANEUM,

DISSERTATION upon the Eruptions of , Mount Vesuvius.

EFORE we enter into a detail of the edifices and other curio- fities which have been difcovered in the fubterranean town of Hercula- neum, it will not be improper to give a fuperficial fketch of Mount Vefuvius, which was the caufe of that city's deftrudion. The prodi- gious effedls of this vulcano are the more difficult to defcribe, as the mountain from which it rifes, is fub- jed to great alterations, occafioned by B 2 the


the earthquakes which produce the eruptions. The following remarks I made upon thefe phenomena in the year 1749. They have been con- firmed by a repeated furvey, which I took in i7505,.as vyell as by the ob- fervations of Monfieur Souflot, the king's architect, who favoured me with the dimenfions as he himfelf had taken them that fame year.

Plate I. The firfl: plate reprefents Mount Vefuvius^", as it appeared in 1750; the circumference of the fummit be- ing eight hundred and fifty toifes, and the diameter two hundred and eighty two.

, * Thofe who are curious to fee this vulcano reprefented more at large, may have recourfe to the plate which Monfieur Chedel hath en- graved, after a defign made upon the fpot in 1750. by Monfieur Cochin, jun.


rl Zf^^


_^=— '



1 ., - __ ij

' ]



- ' <a/^

. '/ - ■ ,


[5 ]

We arrived at the fpot A. from whence we could perceive the mouths B. C. D. E* before we defcended by the path which leads to the bottom. The road to the fummit was very difEcult, the laft two miles being partly through cinders, and partly over ftones, which had been very unequally diffufed by the late erup- tion. Thefe ftones were of different natures, both in confiftence and co- lour, fome of them being very hard, and heavy, and others light, and extremely porous, compofed of ful- phur and minerals. In 1749, at the bottom of this vulcano were fe- veral mouths, E. G. which threw up the matter in fuch abundance, as to raife the earth to the level, C. D. E. w^hich in 1750 formed the new in- terior furface of this mountain* The fummit A. from the line C. D.E. is B 3 not


not more than from thirty to thirty two toifes in heighth, which is not quite one half of what it was in the preceding year. We defcended over crufts of fulphur, which covered a boiling matter, hke metal in a ftate of fufion. We found a fpace of about eighteen or twenty feet, in which thefe crufts being broke, dif- covered a kind of a lake, formed of different inflammable fubftances, the fcum of which being thrown out upon the fides, was cooled and ac- cumulated into new heaps, the form of which, I can compare to nothing fo aptly, as to the cffed produced in a river by fheets of ice : they were about eight or nine feet thick, and bore up by a liquid fubftance ; feve- ral flakes were piled one over ano- ther, and all the bottom gaping in different parts, being full of chinks



through which the fire was perceiv- able.

The mountain B. was fituated at about one third of the diftance from this bottom, and partly covered with its vaults the great mouth, from whence, every five minutes, iffued a fheet of fire, mixed with fiones, liquid fulphur, and laver, which be- ing cooled in falling down, increafed the mountain, which, in the year 1750, might be from twelve to fif- teen toifes in heighth, and the fheet of fire rofe about eighteen or twenty toifes above the fummit.

This mountain was furrounded by a quantity of other fmall openings, B, C. D. and K. called chimneys, which never threw out flames, ex- cept when the flieet, in its different periods, finding difficulty in iffjing B 4 through

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through the great opening, and ftrik- ing violently againft the fides of the vaults, v^as determined downwards into the interior part of that gulf, where it feemed to receive new force, which enabled it to efcape through thefe fmall openings. Thefe effefts were obferved diftindly, and at diffe- rent times, as well as a pretty vio- lent wind, which ifiued from the little mouths, and feemed likewife to have a vent at the great opening. Thefe occafional alterations are plain- ly proved, by the fmall elevation of the fheet of flame in 1749, when I w^ent thither for the firfl: time ; for, about a month before that period, the abbe Nollet had (ccn it iffue with as great violence, as we afterwards obfervxd in the month of November, 1750. But thofe who want to be perfectly informed of the different eiieds of this vulcano, its variations,



and phaenoinena, will find their cu- riofity fatisfied in the relation with which that great philofopher pro- pofes to oblige the publick.

For feme years, the increafe and fury of this vulcano gave reafon to apprehend a new eruption; frequent earthquakes were felt in the neigh- bourhood of Naples, and all the dreadful iy mptoms which ufed to precede thefe evacuations, were aug- mented. Accordingly, the terrible effects were foon produced, for in the month of Odober, J 751. the mountain opening, vomited up a prodigious quantity of laver, which had been amalTed in its bov/els. Lucki'y, this torrent of burning mat- ter dircded its courfe towards the river Sarno, v/here it ftopt ; fo that the country was faved from the over- flowing of its ftreams, which would


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certainly have, othervvife, done infi- nite damage.

About fix and twenty eruptions hav^e been reckoned fince that in the firft year of the reign of Titus, in which the city of Herculaneum was engulphed ; and the laver and cin- ders of all thefe eruptions, being fuc- cefiively fpread on the fame place, have formed over that city a foHd cruft, about fifty or fixty feet thick.

Some authors pretend, that this vulcano hath difcharged water mix- ed with fhells, and feveral Latin in- fcriptions feem to confirm the ftrange phssnomenon. Among others, that which is upon the road to Naples at Pcrtici ; beginning with thefe words, '^ PoPceri, Poiieri, vejPlra Res agitur." (Vide MiiTon Tom. 2. p. 59.) and that near the Torre del Greco, which


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begins with ^^ Viam a Neapoli ad <^ Rhegiam, &g." (Vid. id. Tom. 3.

P- 354-)

I do not think it is my bufinefs to expatiate further upon the hiftory of mount Vefuvius ; as the detail may be found in feveral authors, who have treated of it, as philofophers and naturaHfts. Befides, fuch ac- counts being foreign to my defign, I fhould be afraid of having been al- ready too diffufe on this fubjed:, were I not perfuaded that thofe who read this little performance, will be glad to find the origin of the antiquities, which I prefent to their view.




OF 1^ H E


IT is a iong time iiiice the fpct, where Herculaneum was £tuated, hath hcGTi difcovered by means of a well, dug by a peafant of that neigh- bourhood, who found feveral pieces of marble under-ground. In 1706, the workmen employed in building a country- houfe at Portici, for the Prince d'Eibuf, in digging for a foundation, arrived at a vault, un- der which they found different fta- tues of brafs and marble, which were fent to prince Eugene ; and fince that tiaie, no meafures have been taken to forward the difcovery, un- til the prefent king of Naples and


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Sicily ordered new refearches to be fet on foot. In efFedl, at the depth of fixty feet from the furface, they found an ancient city, over which are built the fmall contiguous towns of Portici and Refini, Situated be- tween mount Vefuvius and the fea. For a long time, the world was du- bious about the real name of this fub- terraneous city ; but thefe doubts are now difpelled by the various infcrip- tions, and the principal buildings which have been difcovered, particu- larly the infcription, engraved upon that fine equeftrian ftatue of Nonius Balbus, of which we fhall have oc- cafion to /peak in the fequel. On the pedeftal we read thefe words,


P. R


2 and

[ H j

and another found in the quarter of the theatre beginning thus,

L. Annius L E Mammianus Rufus. xj. vir &c.


Plate 11^






1"^ HE plan of the theatre which?iate ii, I here exhibit, is not abfo- lutely exadl, the places being dug, and the difcoveries made at different times ; fo that we are obliged to guefs at its form by the pedeftals, walls, columns, flairs, 8cc. which we include in the plan of this edi- fice, according to the places in which they were difcovered. In 1750 they were at work upon the orcheftra E ; but it is impoffible to examine the whole theatre at once, becaufe there is a neceffity of leaving here and there, piles of earth H, to fupport the confiderable mafs, with which the town


[ ^6]

is entirely overwhelmed. The trenches^ which the workmen cut at random, in this fubterranean city, are no more than from four to fix feet in heighth, and three or four in width ; and when they meet with any ftatue, they dig it out very often in pieces ; for almoft all of them are mutilated, being either broke by the weight of the earth above them, or melted by the heat of the laver with which they were furrounded. In the apartments of the king of the two Sicilies, there are feveral pieces of excellent work- manfhip, which have met with this misfortune.

The plan which I here reprefent, ip, that which I received in the country, for I would not too much depend up- on my own original fketch. But I fcrupuloufly examined all that was dif- eovered of it, going through all the


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paths that were then formed at ran- dom, in the extent of the Theatre, Indeed, at that time no more than the three pillars F, were difcovered in the Profcenium. I afcended fe- veral fmall ftair-cafes C, by which all the fteps D communicated, one with another, and I perceived in the fteps above, feveral pedeftals B, which feemed nearer one another, than is reprefented in the plan which was taken. It is more likely, that thefe pedeftals fupported pillars that form- ed a gallery, fuch as the ancients were ufed to make in their theatres. In other refpeds, they were well proportioned, and covered with very fair marble. The four ftair-cafes C, have already been difcovered, and the piles of earth are left ftanding upon the great fteps, eighteen of which rife fuccefllvely to the circular C landing-

[ IS 1

landing-place, that feparates them from three other higher fteps. The form of this landing-place, and the fteps which it environs, is a circum- ference defcribed round three diffe- rent centers, according to this defign, copied from that which was given to me upon the fpot. The width of the Orcheftra is taken from the third ftep, reckoned from below to that on the oppofite fide, and the Theatre feemed terminated by a fa- cade of architedure ; at Icaft, fo I judged from the bafes of the columns F, which I faw upon the Profceni- um, of very fine marble. As for the wooden -work found in the parts G, it was all reduced to charcoal

This theatre was not only adorn- ed with the fineft marble, decorated with ftatues, and enriched with co- lumns.

[ ^9]

lumns, but great part of its outfide A, was painted in frcfco. As it had been dug piece-meal^ it was gradu- ally ftript of its ornaments, and now nothing remains but bricks and ftones, which were formerly covered with marble or plaifter, upon which the painting was performed. But the condudl prefcribed to the workmen in digging, obliges them to replace the earth in thofe parts which they have vilited, that they may have room to penetrate another way ; by which means, fuch confiderable changes are made in the appearance of things, that thofe, who may hereafter examine the place, will not perhaps find it in the fame fituation as it occurred to me. This confide- ration induced me to mention the moft eflential things, which I my- felf obfcrved, as this plan feems to C 2 me

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mc neither exad nor faithful, and makes me conjedure, that the author has erred confiderably in his deHnea- tion of the Theatre.


[21] THE




Compared with that of March llus at ROME.

IN order to fupport my opinion upon fome certain foundation, I will compare the theatre of Hercula- neum with that qf Marcellus, of which there are ftill fome curious remains at Rome : Not only the form of the firft is difagreeable, but it is encum- bered with parts, which in my opi- nion, cannot belong to it. Such are the columns placed in the an- gles of the wall A F, which muft C 3 have

[ 22]

have hindered the fpedators upon the high fteps, from feeing what paffed upon the ftage. If the defign, there- fore, gives a juft idea of this Theatre, it is very remarkable, that the an- cients fhould in this place, have abandoned the form of a femicircle, which hath been always deemed the befl: and moft commodious for thofe forts of buildings, and to which they feemed to be always conftantly at- tached. It is alfo a melancholy cir- cumftance, that a monument fo well preferved as this of Herculaneum cannot be fo cleared from the earth which furrounds it, as to permit peo- ple to afcertain the form of it, by exadl dimenfions ; but the difficul- ties are altogether infurmountable. I have been therefore obliged to fup- ply thefe defeds by my own conjec- tures, affifted by thofe of other peo- ple,

[23 ]

pie, and the comparifons which my knowledge enables me to make of this edifice, with fome others of the fame kind* According to the re^ port of certain curious people, who from time to time have carefully ob- ferved the progrefs of the digging, and every new difcovery as it was made, the remains of brazen ftatues melt- ed by the heat, were found upon the tops of the Vomitories or principal entries ; a circumftance that feems to denote the extraordinary magnifi- cence of this Theatre. Every thing which I myfelf obferved upon a mod diligent examination, confpired to give me the idea of an edifice, ele- gant in conftruftion, and very rich in ornaments. In a word, the ge- neral dimenfions which I have been able to take, altho' it was not pofli- ble to meafure every particular with C 4 the

[ 24 ] the rule and compafs, have Induced me to compare it rather to the Thea- tre of Marcellus, than to the plan which I received as the true mo- del.


J_I!BH_L_ HI ^i_

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THIS Theatre, which was builtPiatciii. in the reign of Auguftus, is externally adorned with two orders of architedlure ; namely the Dorick, furmounted by the lonick. The Orcheftra A, is inclofed in a femi- circle, on the outfide of which, and upon the fame circumference, are raifed the walls and galleries F, ne- ceffary for the communication of the ftair- cafes G, the partition walls of which correfpond with the fame cen- tre. The Profcenium B, ocupies the fpace between the Walking-places D,


[/6 ]

which communicate with the porti- cos of the fcene C, in the middle of which ufually flood the Pulpi- tum, and at E, is a Veftibule^ open- ing towards the flair-cafes which lead to the other different parts of the edifice. It is probable, that could we make an intire difcovery of the Theatre of Herculaneum, it would be found to have a ftrong affinity with this of Marcellus, as the anci- ents always employed the femicircle in the form of thefe edifices, as is plainly proved not only by the Thea- tre of Marcellus, but likewife by that of Pola in Iftria.


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V I C E N Z A;

Built by P A L L A D I o.

THE fourth plate exhibits thePiateiv. defign of the Olympic thea- tre built at Vicenza, by Palladio. — That celebrated archited, who by his uncommon merit, which I ft ill revere, acquired immortal fame in a vaft number of fine edifices with which he adorned his native country, is ne- verthelefs chargeable with the fame defecft which is attributed to the theatre of Herculaneum, and in which he hath deviated from the ex- amples I have quoted. The incon- venience

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venience refulting from his plan is, that in the whole fpace comprehend- ed in the triangle formed by the wall that feparates the fteps from the Prof- cenium, and the line C. D. the fpec- tator could not obferve what paffed upon the fcene, particularly the ac- tors who entered by the porticos C. C, Indeed thefe porticos ferved only for the leaft important actions of the performance ; but neverthe- lefs it muft be owned that one half of thofe triangles was fo much pure lofs to the fpedators, becaufe from the point A. which is the centre of the fcene, the line A. E. B. defcribes a fpace from which the Theatre could not be feen.

Mean while, it muft be obferved, that Palladio might have avoided this inconvenience, by railing the wall of

feparation 6

[/9 ]

reparation no higher than the fteps ; fo that the fpedlators who fate on that part, which I have mentioned, would have {qcu. all that paffed on the Pro- fcenium. However, I do not here pretend to criticife that great man, who, doubtlefs, had good reafons for ailing in this manner, and per- haps, purpofely facrificed this little fpace to the decoration of his Theatre. But it is furprizing that, in his plan, he fhould prefer the ellipfis to the femicircle, contrary to the authority and example of the ancients, whom he exprefly propofed to imitate in this modern theatre; for they con- ftantly made ufe of this laft figure. Certain it is, that the circular plan would have furnifhed a greater num~ ber of places, from which the fpec- tators could have feen the perfpec- tive F, the decorations of which are


[30 ]

permanent and invariable. In a word, if the third and fourth plates, which fhew the difference between the two forms, be duly conlideredj I believe nobody will hefitate in giving the preference to that of the femicircle, from which as I have already obferv- ed, the ancients never deviated, ex- cept in the Theatre of Herculaneum, that is, fuppofing the author of the plan hath taken its juft dimenfions.



[ 3x ]



Suppofed to be the

FORUM of the CITY,

And of two Temples contiguous to it.

IN the courfe of digging, theypiatc v found, at fome diftance from the Theatre, a ftreet from five to fix toifes in breadth, furnifhed on each fide with the piazzas P, for the conveni- ence of foot-paffengers. Thefe pi- azzas led to two temples I M, and I N, feparated by a ftreet, at the extremity of which was the pedeftal O, and thefe temples were in the neighourhood of a great edifice, about the name of which, antiquarians are not yet agreed.


[ 32 ]

Some people pretend to call it a Chalcidica.^ Others confider the plan as that of a forum. If we may believe Vitruvius, thofe Chal- cidicae were always adjoining to the


  • Authors are divided in their opinion, con-

cerning the word Chalddica. Philander believes that this word, which comes from the Greek, fig- siines the place where they decided caules relat- ing to the coin, or rather the mint where the jKioney was coined, alledging, in behalf of this eonje£^ure, the etymology of the word, which \s compofed of X^^^Jto^, Brafs ; and liv^v^^ Juflice. Others think, that inftead of Chnkidica we ought to read Chakidkon^ which fignifies a Hall of Uro.jS- XeoBaptifta Alberci pretends that we fhould read Caufidka \ that is, an Auditory or court of juflice v/here caufes are pleaded. Feftus gives us to un- derftand that Cbakidka was a fort of edifice firii .built in the town of Chalcis. Arnobius calls Chiikidka the hall where the pagan gods were iiippofed to hold their feilivais. Barbaro and Balbus think that it is the proper nanie of a par- ticular edifice, which, according to Dion, was built by Julius Caefar in honour of his father. — Palladio following the opinion of Barbaro, formed fuch an edifice upon the m.odel of a tribu- nal defcribed by Vitruvius in the temple of Au- guftus, adjoining to the Bafilicon or palace of Fano.

[ 33 ]

Bafilica or palaces : which was not the cafe here,— -on the contrary, this edi- fice was fliut up with walls and fur- rounded with private houfes, H, ex- cept at the porticos B, which were common to three buildings. Be that as it will, the plan is an oblong lpace> within which are the porticos C, clofed on one fide by columns in the wall F, and feparated by niches, and on the other fide by detached pillars, forming a periftyle, round the great court A, which was four fteps lower than the landing-place of the porti- cos.— Near the entry of thefe por- ticos, were found two kinds of great pedeftals, G G, fupported againft the detached pillars.

At the extremity of this edifice,

they had made a kind of fanduary,

D, afcended by three fleps. It in-

D clofed

C 34 }

clofed a continued pcdeftal, which occupied its whole width, and upon which wxre placed three marble jfta- tues, that in the middle reprefenting the emperor Vefpafian. The two others that are feated in curule chairs, are not known, becaufe their heads could not be found. On one fide were two circular niches, before which were found two pedeftals. They fuftained the ftatues of Nero and Germanicus in brafs. The other three were nine feet in height^, and may be {cQn in the cabinet of the king at Portici, together with many others, feveral of which are of mar- ble, They are finely proportioned, and the draperies of the greatefl part of them, wrought with great tafte and delicacy. The back part of the two niches, which we have mention- ed, was adorned with painting in


[ 35 3

frefco, and from thefe were taken the central pidures of Thefeus and Hercules, of which we fhall fpeak in the fequel. Upon the walls that formed the -bottom of the portico, in the upper intercolumnation F, fta- tues of marble and brafs were placed alternately. But nothing, except the wreck of the laft, could be found, becaufe they had been melted by the heat of the laver. The portico of the entry B, was divided into five equal parts, thofe of the extremity leading to the interior porticos, and each vault of this entry was deco- rated with an equeftrian ftatue ; but two only of marble could be found, one of which was that of M. Non- niusBalbuSjreprefented in plates XVI. and XVII. and counted one of the finefl pieces of antiquity. The pil- lars of the porticos were not crufted D 2 with

[ 36 ]

with marble, though the pavement at that place was intirely fo,

I did not perceive any thing fin- gular or remarkable in thefe temples, the plan of which was formed upon an oblong fquare. In the largeft the fan6tuary was placed at the extremity, in the other, it was in the middle, and inclofed by a wall with only one opening, oppofite to which was pla- ced the divinity. This little temple had but one entry, and on each fide of the door, were two corners NN, for holding the utenlils neceffary for the facrifices. The largeft, on the contrary, had two doors, betweeri whigh was a pedeftal that fuftained a car of brafs, of which nothing but the fragments could be found. They were both vaulted, and the infide adorned with columns, between which



[37] Were found fome paintings, and in-- fcriptions on brafs,

Thefe temples v/tte furrounded by houles more or lefs enriched with painting : fome of them were paved with marble of different co- lours, and in fome was found mofaic work, which is the mere imperfed:, as the ancients were ig- norant of the compoiition of this fort of work, in which they em-* ployed no more than four or five kinds of natural ftones. Befides, it was without tafte or corrednefs^ and fconfequently very much inferior to that of the moderns^ w^hich is im- proved to the lafl: degree of perfec- tion. Scarce any thing is to be (ccn of the private houfes, the greateft: J)art of which have been buried again by the earth which was thrown into D 3 them 3

[ 38 3

them, to make room for digging in other places. I could examine but a very fmall number of them, and the few columns which I faw, were overthrown, and very much defaced. But they were all of brick, covered with ftucco, in the fame manner that ftill prevails throughout all Italy.

The plan of thefe buildings was communicated to me, together with that of the Theatre, of which I have already fpoken, but the dimenfions feemed to me to be fo uncertain, that I Will no longer infift upon the fub- je6l.— -This is not the cafe with the tombs defigned in Plate XVIII. The principal dimenlions I took with great exadnefs ; and indeed, I have omitted nothing of what I faw, be- ing refolved to communicate this




a tl o B u tl II


a ft I




g b


I 39 ]

monument to the publick, there- by conveying a juft idea of an anti- quityj which perhaps no longer exifts.

D 4 OF

[ 40 ]

<D F T H E




AFTER having made the dif- coveries which I have already- mentioned, the workmen w^ith a great deal of difficulty arrived at a very thick wall, decorated in different places by the pedeftals B. Then the progrefs of their work conduded them by the path A to the wall C, which formed a right angle with the wall B. Tired with their fruitlefs endea- vours, by which they could not find an entry either in the one, or in the other ; they made an opening, which led them into tlie vault D. After having cleared it of all the rubbifh,


C 41 ]

they difcovered the little banks E, decorated with niches, in each of which was a vafe, H, dontaining afhes | and above every niche, the name of the perfon was flovenly painted m red colour ; the vault was twelve feet by nine, not decorated with painting, nor faced with marble, the joining of the bricks being apparent, and the banks raifed three feet from the ground. In all probability, this vault had been particularly built, for the fepulture of one family. Between the niches was found the little flair- cafe E, which afcended to the great edifice adjoining to the tomb: but the workmen had not cleared away the earth with which that great building was covered. In the XVIIIth plate is reprefented the path A, dug thro' the thicknefs of the earth and lavcr


[ 42 ]

G, tliat ftiU covered part of the lit-> tie ftair-cafe.

The grandeur of the architedure that appears in the exterior parts of this great edifice, and the beauty of its profile, as far as can be judged from the pedeflals that were difco- vered, declare it to be an edifice of fome importance, and I do not at all doubt that by this time, they have found the interior parts fuitable to its external beauties. Some parts in the diiFerent edifices appear to have fuffered, the walls inclining to one fide, either from the weight of the matter, the crazinefs of the building, or the earthquakes which are frequent in this neighbourhood ; though in other edifices we are furprized to find every thing entire and unfliaken. Sometimes the moft delicate movea- bles

[43 ]

Lies are found not at all difordered : the vafes H, which are here exhibit- ed, are a proof of what I advance ; for even the little tiles which co- vered them were found in their places.

At fome diftance we were fhewn a well, the diameter of which was extremely narrow, fo as juft to ad- mit an ordinary bucket. — It contain- ed water, which from the furface might be from forty to forty-five feet deep. It is the more furprizing that this well is not filled up, as in all the other parts that have been dug, they have not found a fingle fathom of fpace, in which the laver has not been introduced, either in the inftant of the city's misfortune, or by the compreilion of the matter which hath been fince accumulated, and


[ 44 ] ^hich now forms a folid cruft Cixtf feet thick. At the time I fpeak of^ that is, in the year 1750, one could eafily examine thofe places which I have mentioned ; but I v/ill not an- fwer for their being in the fame iitua- tion at prefent; for as I have already obferved, they clear one place, and fill up another : fo that every fix months it puts on a new appear- ance.

In the coiirfe of this fubterranean excurfion, we defcended into feveral houfes, fome of ordinary conftruc- tion, and others more confiderable. When the workmen find the entry, they make fmall paths within the houfe, leaving in the middle, here and there, piles of earth to fupport the weight above. Several of thefe houfes we found paved in compart- 7 ment&,

[ 45 ]

meats, as reprefented in the defign A, at the top of plate XIX. The filets, pi^texix, together with the great and little bands were of marble of different colours. Some of them were form- ed in triangles, black and white, the fummits of which united in the fame point. The middle of the compart- ment was of bricks very nicely join- ed. Some of thefe bricks being meafured, we found three feet long, fix inches thick, and broad in pro- portion. The fame kind are to be feen in the temple, which hath been difcovered at Puzzoli ; and thofe of the admirable Pifcina, of v/hich we fiiall treat in the fequel, being of the fame magnitude, prove that thefe di- menfions Vv^ere ufually obferved by the ancients in brick-making. In the fame fame plate, at the figure B, is the defign of a compartment, paint- ed


ed in frefco, with which the walls of the Theatre, and moft of the pri- vate houfes of Herculaneum were de- corated in the infide ; the ground being black, and the bands yellow.

I have reprefented, in the bottom of Plate XV, a piece of plaifler, on which is a compartment painted with three colours ; the lozenges being red, the bands grey, and the circles of a darker grey, raifed with a ftronger tint, in order to deepen the fhades. Divers other walls v/erc likewife paint- ed grey, with garlands carried by birds. Every thing of this fort worth no- tice had been ftript off the walls, and depofited in the cabinet of the king of the Two Sicilies, where there is a confiderable coUedion of all curiofi- ties which deferve the attention of connoifTeurs.



J^ellicard. Fee








IN the colledion of obfervations which I prefent to the publick, I have net limited myfclf to my re- marks upon architedlure, which is more immediately my profeffion, be- caufe I thought it my duty at the fame time to communicate all the 4ifcoveries which I could colled; at Herculaneum. The Abbe le Blanc, who accompanied us in this journey,


[48 J

and who is much better qualified than me to fatisfy the curiofity of the learned upon the antiquities of this city, will doubtlefs, oblige the publick with his profound meditati- ons upon every thing that can inter- eft the world of letters. In the mean time, I will mention thofe curiofi- ties which may have an affinity with the arts, and juft name the reft, that nothing remarkable may be omitted.

The temples which have been dif^ covered adjoining to the Forum, as well as feveral private houfes, have enriched the cabinet of the king of the Two Sicilies at Portici, with di- vers moveables, effects, and utenfils, deftined for domeftick purpofes, an infinite number of thefe being equal- ly curious both for their rarity and vfe. On the following plates are re-


Pi >o



prefented fome vafes and lamps, of which a great number were found. Plate XX. exhibits the defign of an earthen lamp, A B, reprcfenting a fubjeft very different from thofe which are on the copper lamps taken from the fame place ; the indecent figures of which give reafon to believe, that the city was under the protection of Venus or Priapus, and that a parti- cular fort of worfhip was paid to one or other of thefe divinities. The baflb relievo upon this lamp A, re- prefents a dog feizing a hare, the or- nament of the periphery is a vine. The profil B, is adorned with chan- nellings toward the focket of the lamp, and with other little defigns, pretty much in the fame tafte.

They found at Herculaneum corn

very well preferved, and a loaf which

E is

[ 5o]

is confidered as one of the greateft curiofities of that unfortunate city ; for, although blackened, it hath not loft its fliape, nor the impreffion of the letters upon its top. It is repre- fented at C, on the bottom of plate XX. Bat what is ftill more furpriz- ing, we faw fifhing-nets, which were found in the' fame place, extremely well preferved ; and were fliewn a cafe of furgeon's inftruments, every one of which had a brafs handle, ^ adorned with very curious workman- fhip.

p:;itcxxi. Plate XXL reprefents two fmall Lachrymatories, A, B, the firft being of glafs ; a great number of this form have been found, as well as feveral bottles and veffels of the fame matter. The fecond, B, is of earth, and differs in fhape from the firft :


B eUicard. Fee .

t ■' »> 8I'. mi , W I > .K.y»y


lielliccird^ ec ' .


a great many of this fort are found in the catacombs at Rome. The figure C is a vafe of brafs, a vaft number of which are at Portici : one among the reft has a double bottom, and is fuppofed to be a fire-ftove ; for it is furniftied with three branches, which feem to be funnels, or litde chimneys for the conveyance of the fmoke. In the king's cabinet, there is another vafe of brafs, the neck of which is adorned with httJe orna- ments, very well executed. The XXIId plate reprefents a ci/lern of ^^:^ marble, x4, raifed upon a foot, in form of a baluftrade, with fpiral channel- ings : the ornaments and mouldings are of a good tafte and fine work- manfhip ; as well as thofe of another trough, or little vafe, in form of an oblong fquare, fupported upon two feet. The figure B exhibits a kind E 2 of

[ 52 1

of tripod ufed hy the ancients in fa- crificing to tluir houfhold gods. It is bruifed and half melted, and al- moft all the veffels of brafs, and other fufible metal, which they have found in this fubterranean city, are pretty much in the fame condition. The tripod C, is in the king s apart- ments ; and its ornaments are finifli- cd with great delicacy. The cif- tern is fupported by three wing'd fphinxes, which are extremely well chizzelled.

Plate Plate XXIII. reprefents two chan- deliers, A, the ornaments of which are as well executed as thofe of the other utenlils which I have already mentioned. They are four feet and a half in heighth ; one of them being turned in a fpiral line, and the other furrounded by a kind of reed.



Among the fragments of brafs, are found a good many other vafes in the fame tafte with that reprefented by the figure B.

If I had been allowed to copy af- ter nature all the curiofities of Her- culaneum, which are now in the ca- binet of the king of the Two Sicilies, I could have furnifhed the lovers of antiquity with many defigns of dif- ferent things, which I could not re- tain fo faithfully as to publifh, not- withftanding the repeated vifi^s I made to examine them. Neverthe- lefs, I fhall, upon the two following plates, exhibit fome vafes, the fingu- lar figure of which made a deep im- preffion upon my memory.

Figure A, in plate XXIV. repre- piate fents an earthen vafe ufed in facri- E 3 fices:

[ 54 ]

fices ; the vafes B and C are of brafs, and there is a great number of the fame proportion. The figure D is the handle cf a vafe, in the fame tafte with that in the preceding plate.

The vafes marked by the letters A and B, in plate XXV. are likewife of brafs. The fir ft, which was pro- bably ufed in libations, could not ftand upright. The figures C and D reprefent the pictures of two fmall vafes, the colour being red, and the tranfparent part well expreifed. There is like^^nfe a great number of other fmall pidures very well executed. The utenfils A, F, G, feeir.ed to have ferved for fome domeftick ufes iri private families.






Jielkca.rd.F-er. ;

I 55)

Over and above this infinite quan- tity of va/es of diiFerent forms, which I have mentioned, fome of Hetruf- can earth were found, of a fine fliape> like thofe which are in the library of the Vatican at Rome?. They have likewife difcovered at Herculaneum, feveral feet of folding-chairs, execut- ed in brafs, and made in the fhape of an S. Finally, all the utcnfils which I have feen, were either of earth or brafs ; and it is very furpriz- ing, that in the multitude of curiofi- ties contained in the king's cabinet, there is nothing of iron but a grid- iron, fuch as we make ufe of at thi$ day. It would miilead me from my fubjed. to v^enturc refledlions upon this head, as well as upon many others that furprized me notalittle; for in furveying all thofe objeds, I have limited myfelf intirely to the E 4 tafk

t 56 ]

taik of reprefenting them faithfully in the engravings which I have made, leaving to others thofe learned dif- fertations of w^hich they are fufcep- tibk.






Of the City of



Of the Paintings and Pieces of

Sculpture found in HERCULANEUM.

THE paintings of different kinds found at Herculaneum, hav- ing excited the curiofity of antiqua- rians, efpecially of the lovers of that art, I have reafon to beHeve they will be pleafed with a detail of them,


[ 58 ]

how fuperficial foever it may be : but as this fubjcft is not fo much in my province as that which I have al- ready treated of, I would not pub- lifh my own ideas ; and therefore, for what I am going to fay, I have had recourfe to fome letters of a French artift, who was at Naples while I remained in that city : and that thefe extrads may be the more eafilv underdood, I fhall add fome plates, which have already appeared, and fallen into my hands. Though they are engraved after defigns made from the memory, they pretty ex- actly reprefent the compofition of the fubjeds, and even the principal de- feats for which the originals are blamed. With regard to the defign, I have likewife added others, which Imyfelf drev^ from my remembrance; and I am perfuaded, that notwith-


C 59 ]

ftanding the defedls in point of ex-- f aftnefs that may be found in thenl, they will engage the imagination much more ftrongly than could pof- fibly be done by fimple defcription.

The criticifm may perhaps appear fevere, but I was unwiHing to weaken it, becaufe it feemed intirely free from prejudice ; and befides, I fee no reafon for fparing fuch an- cient painters. It is not therefore, my opinion, which I here offer, but that of an accurate connoiffeur wha gives an account of the impreflion which thofe pieces have made upon l^im.




THE moft important pidures which have been found in the fubterranean city of Herculaneum, are upon fome hiftorical fubjeds, and the figures as large, or nearly as large, as the life,

Plate vr. The firft pidure reprefents The- feus vidorious over the Minotaur. Thefeus ftands upright, and naked, except on the flioulder and left arm, which are covered with a piece of drapery. Young children of Athens are reprefented kiffing his hands and feet. The Minotaur exhibited under the figure of a man with the head of a bull, appears overthrown at his feet. On a cloud is reprefented the 3 figure

VI. 6

[6i ]

figure of a woman, who has a qui- ver at her back, and a great affinity with the ufual defcription of Diana. The compofition of this picture is very cold : the principal figures (ef- pecially that of Thefeus) feem to be copied from ftatues. The two chil- dren who embrace his right and left

arm, appear in attitudes which are very common in the baflb relievo of

the ancients. The others are not fo much in this tafte, particularly the Minotaur, who appears fore-fhortned. Thefeus is tolerably drawn, though without art or underfcanding, yet there is a very good charader in the head. Nor are the other figures de- figned with better tafte. — We may neverthelefs affirm, that the manner in thefe pidures is generally grand and the pencil eafy, Otherwife this



performance is unfiniftied, and can- not be conlidered in any other light than that of a forward fketch^


PiateViL The figures of this pidure are as big as the life : it reprefents a Woman fitting and leaning upon the right arm, and holding a ftaff in her other hand. She is crowned with flowers and leaves, intermixed V/ith fome ears of corn, and at her right fide appears a bafket of flowers, from which ihe is fuppofed to repre- fent the goddefs Flora. Behind her is a fawn, holding a flute compofed of (even pipes, and a ftaff* bent in form of a crofier. A man ftanding upright with his back towards the fpcdlator is placed before her, and is



fuppofed to be Hercules, on account of the lion's {kin that covers his qui- ver. He is looking at a child, who in the lower part of the pidure, is reprefented fucking a hind, which carefTes him, and lifts up her hind leg that he he may fuck with more eafe. Between Hercules and this child is an eagle with his wings half difplay'd. On the other lide of Hercules, is a lion afleep ; and above in a cloud, the figure of a woman reprefenting a divinity. This pic- ture feems to be nothing more than a Camaieu of red colour, the drape- ries of which are nearly of the fame tint with the flelli ; yet this lafl: has a variety of tones, and feems to ap- proach the true colouring of nature. The picture is poorly defigned, and fhews very little knowledge in draw- ing and expreflion. The heads are



middling, the hand ill executed, and the feet altogether as incorred. The child is lame, opens his thighs to an unnatural width, and his loins are a great deal too large. The woman has great eyes, which are neither fel- lows, nor oppofite to each other : the whites of them are too much funk and ill-rounded. The head of the fawn is well enough drawn, and has charafter in it : as for the ani- mals, they are very ill exprefled, ef- pecially the eagle and the lion. In a word, this pifture feems to be painted by the very fame hand that produced the other ; for it has the fame cafe, the fame boldnefs of touches, and is altogether as unfinifhed.


PL 8,


[65 ]


Reprefents the centaur Chiron p'="=

\ 1I1« 

teaching Achilles. The centaur fits upon his buttocks, embracing the young man. He is tuning the lyre, which Achilles touches at the fame time, and which is hung round bis neck. Behind thefe figures, in the back ground, is a plan of archi-^ teSure, the mouldings of the cor-- niilies of which are very ill exe-- cuted, and painted with red, fo as to l*efemble a piece of fluff. The manner of this pidure is pretty much the fame with thofe I have al- " ready mentioned, and altogether as poorly defigned. The mufcles of the ftomach, and legs of the cen-^ taur, are neither jufl, nor well ex- F prefled.


prefled. Befides, the arms are ill drawn, with regard to the outlines, and the hind legs, w^hich are bent under him are ill cbofen, confequent- ly have an ill effect. The figure of Achilles has more fymmetry, and the outlines are more flowing ; becaufe, without doubt, copied from fome good ftatue ; for the attitude gives us reafon to fuppofe that was the cafe. However, the figure is not ill- painted ; the femi-tints make a pretty foft gradation from the light to the fhade ; and though of a very grey tone, have a good deal of truth and nature.


Plate IX. Is that which is faid at Naples to reprefent the Judgment of Appius Claudius. The Decemvir is feated,





and touches his forehead with his finger. Behind him appears a wo- man, who embraces him with ,her right arm; and feems to hold him with her left hand. In the middle of the piftiire forwards is a man feat- ed with his back to the fpedators, and holding a paper in his left hand. At his right, you fee an old woman with her finger on her mouth; and behind her, at fome diftance, a yoimg man, whofe countenance gives indication of grief, though the ex- predion is but faints By his fide, is another figure ot a woman ; and laftly, on the back ground, appears another placed hke a fiatue, which feems to be Diana ; yet the figure is coloured, and the drapery is green. All the female heads are drefied in a veil, that does not cover the roots of the hair, and have two buckles, F 2 which

[ 68 J

which hang down along the eheeks, T[^e Decemvir has fhort hair, and btickles too, though not fo long as the others. This picture feems to be painted in another manner, tho' not fo good as that of the preceding. The compofoion is heavy and cold, and the colouring much worfe; the back is not covered with any drapery, but ap- pears of the colour of blacki£h brick, even amidft the lights. It is, be- fides, altogether wretchedly drawn, the hips being as broad q^ the fhoul- ders. In a word, there is no digni- ty in the figures ; and though fom^e of the heads may be a little more boldly touched, they are abfolutely void^of true character and expreffign.


There are fbme other pidures, the

figures of which are nearly as big as

4 the

. Fl.


C 69 ]

the life. Such is that reprefenting three half length figures of women upon the fore-ground, and in the back-ground a man ftanding in the water up to his cheft, and holding a bent or crooked ftafF in his left hand. This is fuppofed to be the Judgment of Paris.

Another piece exhibits, as it is be- lieved, Chiron inftruding Achilles : here Chiron is not a centaur but an old man ; and Achilles, or the figure taken for him, is a youth about fifteen years of age, holding two flutes.

There is a third, which is faid to reprefent Hercules in his infancy, ftrangling two ferpents. On the floor or ground, appears a child, exe- crably defigned, with a ferpent in F 3 each

[ 70 ] each haad. A man apparelled fits on the right hand lide of the pic- ture, a woman behind him, and on his left hand, an old man holding a child in his arms.

In a pidure, the figures of which are about a foot and an half high,, we fee Hercules in his childhood wreftHng with one hand againft a fatyr. But, both wreftlers are of fuch fmall proportion, in comparifon v/ith the other figures, as to be wholly ri- diculous- There is befides, a number of other pictures which I do not recol- lect, though the figures are pretty much of the fame fize ; but thofe I have mentioned are the moft impor- tant, and what the moil folid judg-

nient may be founded upon.


C 71 ]

Their colouring in general, has neither art^ beauty nor variety : the great lights are well enough colour- ed ; but the femi-tints being nearly the fame from head to foot, are of a yellovvifh grey or olive colour, with- out grace or variety. The red pre- dominates in the fliadcs, the tone of v^hich is of a dufKiili hue. Nor is there any ftrength in the fnadows of the drapery, an inconvenience that ufually attends painting in frefco and diftemper. Another fault w^hich is vifible in a great number of frefco's, even by the beft Italian mafters, is, that the colour of the fhades is not broken down, but continues nearly the fariie with that of the lights, there beingr no other difference th:^n that the colour of the (Lades, has a

little lefs white in it. 1 do not

think the weaknefs of the colouring F 4 in

[ 72 ]

in thofe pidures, can be attributed to the effect of time ; at lead they feem perfedly freih and wcli pre- ferved in that refpedti The man- ner of painting is generally by hatch- ings, and fometimes melted : almofl: all the pieces are unfiniflied, and painted pretty much like our deco- rations of the theatre. The man- ner is grand enough and the touches eafy, but on the whole denote more boldnefs than fkilL

After having defcribed thofe pic- tures which are the mofl: confider- able for the largenefs of the figures, and the fubjeds which they reprefent; I will now take notice of thofe which are of an inferior kind and propor- tion ; and without iniifting on their manner^ content myfelf with com- municating

C 73 ]

municating an idea of fuch as ap- peared to me the moft diftinguifhed in point of compofition and exe- cution.

P I C-

[ 74]



FIGURES of a middling Size.

^1 ^HERE are fcveral pidures ^ compofed of figures of half the natural fize, or lefs; the greateft part of which are indifferent : though the heads are generally the beft parts of them, and difcover fomething of a greater charader, which favours of what we call the antique. The touches in thefe are bolder, and fuf- tained by a more vivid colouring than that which we find in the reft. The fubjedl of the moft and beft of thefe pieces, is a woman feized by a fatyr.




[ 75 ] There is befides, a pidure of Ariadne forfaken. The figures, which are about a foot high, are well coloured, cor- reftly drawn, and have a good ef-

Among other pieces found at Herculaneum, were two pidures, curious on account of the fub- jed they reprefent ; namely, -ffigyp- tian facrifices, the figures being about . a foot in proportion. On the fore-^p^g. aI^ ground of one of thefe is an altar, at the fide of which appear two birds which can be no other than Ibes: an old man is employed in placing on the altar fomething which cannot be diftinguifhed. At a diftance are two groupes of figures, ranged in pa- rallel lines ; and in the middle of thefe two groupes is the figure of a man arrayed in v/hite, with a fword



Plate Xr.

[ 76]

in his hand, at leafl: fo it is judged from its appearance. In the back- ground appear three figures^ with their hands refting on thtir relpedive breafts, and concealed under a large white robe that defcends to their feet, and the profped terminates behind, in an arcade drawn fymmetrically : there being on each fide a fphinx and a palm tree.

The other picture reprefents near- ly the fame fubjcct ; only inftead of one there are two men by the altar, bending downwards ; though I could not diftinguifh their adion : for the pidures are no more than very rude Sketches : in this laft, we fee neither the man with the fvvord, nor the three figures or kind of Acolyths in the back ground : but, in their room we diftinguifh the figure of a black-



[ 77 ]

a-moor, dancing with gefticulations. Thefe two pieces are miferably exe- cuted ; the perfpedlive is falfe when viewed from above and without di- minution, nearly in the fame tafte with that which we call military perfpedive.

P I C-




A N I M A L S.

t I ^HEY have like wife difcover- i ed at Herculaneum, a great number of pictures of animals, birds, fiflies, fruits, &c. of the natural fize. Thefe pieces are the beft of any yet found, being executed with tafte and eafe ; yet they are for the moft part unfinifhed, and have not always the neceffary rounding and exadlnefs. I will mention fome that feem to be pretty true in colour and effed, though they want ftrength in both.

pirtexiv. One of thefe reprefents an earthen '^" ^' bottle, on the neck of which is a


p/.Jf. '


[ 79]

glafs reverfed, of the fame form with our goblets, but fhorter.

In another appears a glafs with two pi^^^ handles half filled with white wine, and a glafs bottle holding fome water, which cannot be better exprefied.

In a third we find a book, com- pofed of two rolls, and another uten- fil, which appears to be a Portefeuille, refembling thofe which are now in ufe. Thefe are three very good pieces.

Some pidures reprefent game ; and among others is a wild duck extreme- ly natural, together with fruits, and a loaf of the fame fhape with that which was adually found, &c.

There are alfo fmall pieces reprc- fenting animals, and among the reft,

elephants ;

[ 8o j

elephants ; but that which is the moft diftinguiflied for the dehcacy of execution, is a tyger about five or fix inches long.

piateXiiL There is another pidure which has nothing worth notice, but the fingularity of the fubjed: ; reprefent^ ing a bird like a perroquet, yoked to a little car, upon the forepart of which fits a grafhopper, holding the reins in the capacity of driver : this, how- ever, is none of the beft executed.



Hc/licuxrJ Fee

[ 8i ]


Compofed of very fmall


^TT^HE bell of thefe pieces arepj^^^xn, X fuch as confift of figures from ^'^*^' four to feven or eight inches high ; and there is a great number of that fort. They are compofed in the tafte of bafib relievoj and Vv^ithout any fhortening, for the mofl: part confining of one figure only ; fome- times a woman in the air, fometimes a child, or a centaur bearing a wo- man on his back, &c.

Thefe figures are painted on a flat

ground, of fome fingle colour, fuch

as red ; but touched with great fpi-

G rit


rit and tafte, and fometimes extreme- ly vvell coloured. Some of them are very curious, becaufe they exhibit figures cloathed in the fafhion of thofe times, working at fome trade, as a miller, fhoe-maker, &c. with the uteiifils of their different profef- lions, exadly reprefented. There are alfo many rope-dancers among them.

In general, the children painted in thofe pieces, are juft enough in point of drawing, but deficient in thofe natural graces which Pietro Tefto haih difplayed in his picluresj and Francis Flamand in his models.

Plate In feveral of thofe pidures, are

e grotefque Mafcarons, reprefenting old

men, or difi^erent ma{ks, efpecially

thofe that were ufed in the theatre.



In fome others we find galleys, which at firft feeni to have two banks of oars, the firft not parallel with the fecondi but, when confidered with attention, the truth is eafily diftin- guifhed.

Some of thofe pidures reprefent chimera's and imaginary figures of men and women, terminating in a bird's tail : a great number of thele little figures bein^g painted with pure red, while the ground is covered with another fimple colour.


[ ^4]




THERE is a very confiderable number of thefe piftures of architedlure or ruins j but they fcarce deferve notice : for, they are alto- gether out of the proportion of the Grecian architedure. Generally Ipeaking, the pillars are double or triple the length of the natural di- menfions : the proiil of the mould- ings of the cornifhes, chapiters and bafes, is of a wretched Gothic tafte ; and moft of the Arabic mixture in the architediure, is as ridiculous as any of the Chinefe deiigns. Never- thelefs, we muft except two or three


[ 85 ]

pieces which are agreeably coloured, though not trucj and in which the landflcip is touched with eafe : we may allow the fame advantage to fome other pieces of ornament twin- ed with vine leaves or ivy. Jn ge- neral, what they have taken from nature, is good : but, we cannot fay fo much for their works of ima^ gination. There is gradation and diftance in thefe piftures, and the architefture is reprefented in a kind of perfpediivc, which plainly proves, however, that the authors of thefe compofitions did not underftand the rules of that art. The receding figures do not tend towards the points, where they ought to unite. Some objeds are feen above, and fome below ; fo that feveral diftant horizons are required to arrange them. G 3 In

[ 86 1

In a word, we perceive fome notion of the diminution of objefe, but without any knowledge of the in- variable rules, to which it ought to be fubjecl; or a right underftand- ing of the effeds of light.

On the fifteenth plate is exhibited a picture of architefture, which I defigned, to fliew how much infe- rior it is to the tafte which prevails in all the buildings of this city. The comoofition is wretched, the order extravagantly lengthened, fupported by pedefials that lock like arbour- work, between Vv^hich is an hollowed table, adorned wdth a garland, the chapiter of the pillars is of the lon-^ ick order, compofed with double aftragals. The great intercolumnia- tion is decorated with a garland, on


[ 87 ] which a bird perches: but what fa- vours more of the Arabic compofi- tion, each of the little intercolum- niations is alfo accompanied with a garland. The cornifh of this order is architravedj and the ornaments are good. On one fide, the columns are detached, and on the other, feem to be fupported upon a kind of ar- bour work : the perfpediv^e of the fore-ground, has a point of view dif- ferent from that of the back-ground, which is very much of the fame com- pofition, namely, birds perching upon garlands betv/een the pillars, which are of a very bad proportion. In fhort, this picture is raifed from a pavement of different colours ; and it muft be owned, that with regard to the diftance of the objeds, the cffed is tolerable.

G 4. The

C 88]

The cabinet of PorticI, as we have already faidj contains a good many pictures of this kind, in which the fame defefts, and others ftill more coniiderable, may be obferved : but I thoi ght the defcription of one fuf- iicient to convey an idea of that fort of painting.

P A I N T=

[ 89]




I Thought it would not be amifs to take notice of fonie Camay- eux upon white marble, about eigh- teen inches in proportion, which have been covered with glafs, in or- der to preferve them. Thefe pieces exadly refemble the dravi^ings with red Crayon, and like them are hatch- ed in feveral places. One of them feems to reprefent Flercules and the centaur Neffus. Another exhibits three comic figures, one of which feems to wear a peruke or hair flow- ing down to his breaft ; the head- drefs refembling that of the Marquis in the time of Moliere. Thefe two



defigns on marble are of a good antique tafte, with regard to the drefs and flowing of the drapery ; but they are very incorredt, and be- fides, the colours are harfh, and a great deal too ftrongly marked. There is a third Camay eu which feems much better than the reft, but unhappily it is aim oft quite effaced ; the figures however which are obfervable, though very imperfeft, feem to be well form- ed and of correft compofition.






F © U N D I N

H E R C U L A N E U M.

THE fculpture found in this phte fubterranean city, is much fu- xvii!" perior to the painting.

The principal and fineft piece hi- therto difcovered, is the equeftrian ftatue of white marble, reprefenting Nonnius Balbus. This is a young man, armed with a cuirafs, which fcarce defcends to his loins : Under this cuirafs, is a fort of fhirt without fleeves, that covers his fhoulders ; fhen paffing under the cuirafs, comes


[92 3

down as far as one third of his thighs. A cloak which he wears upon the fhoulder and left arm, does not con- ceal the hand with which he holds the horfe's bridle, which is very fhort. His thighs and legs are naked, ex- cept fo much as is covered with the bufkins, that fcarce reach above the inftep, over which they are tied with firings.

This figure is extremely beautiful, on account of the fimplicity with which it hath been defigned ; it is not fo ftriking or fair at fir ft fight, as it will appear after an attentive examination. The head is admira- ble, the figure furprizingly corred, the contour juft and delicate, and the compofition equally grand 'and fim- ple. Although the horfe be likev/ife


C 93 1

very beautiful, and his head full of fire and fpirit, it is nevei thelefs infe- rior to the figure of the nian, and the work performed in a peculiar manner ; indeed that manner is beau- tiful and grand : yet the canons of the forelegs, together with the hoof and joint of the foot, feem to be too long in proportion. Another equeftrian ftatue of marble was alfo difcovered, but I could not fee it, as they were at work in repair- ing it.

Herculaneum hath furnifhed ele- ven or twelve figures of white mar-


ble, as big, or rather bigger than the life. Thefe pieces, though not of the firft order, arc not without their beauties : their draperies are executed with great tafte and delicacy, and in a manner that favours lefs of wet

linnen, 2

[ 94 i linnen, than that of feveral othef antique Roman pieces of fculpture ; but almoft all the heads are very indijSerent.


[ 95]


IN the fame place that contains thefe treafures, are feven or eight figures in brafs, one of which is much bigger than the life, and fuppofed to leprefent Jupiter. The head and body have been flattened by the weight of the laver, and though that misfortune hath injured thefe parts, the beauties of them are ftill obferv- able : the legs are better preferved, and extremely beautiful, of a grand charadler, and in a gout like that of the antique fawn which holds Bac- chus in his infancy.

One of thofe figures reprefents a conful ; another feems to have had eyes of a different metal, for the



holes In which they were incruftedj are fliil perceivable ; a circumftance which has a difagreeable effed, and never could produce a good one, though frequently pradifed among the ancients.

They have alfo found feveral frag-> ments of an equeftrian ftatue of brafs, which has either been cruflied to pieces, or melted : the head of the horfe, and the legs of the man, which are the mioft perfed of the parts that remain, make us regret the Icfs of it, by giving us reafon to believe, that it is a very good piece. There are like wife forne heads of marble, and of brafs, which have fome degree of merit.

In the apartments of the king of the Two Sicilies, we fee fome little



antique jftatues, of about one foot and a half in proportion, which are pretty ; in particular, a (mall Venus, like that which we diftinguifh un- der the name of the Venus of Me- dicis; and another very good figure of the fame divinity, cloathed from the middle to the feet ; together with a figure fuppofed to reprefent Bac- chus, in a grand manner, and learn- edly defigned.





f»iatexiv/ I ^HEY have likevvife found fome J[ bas reliefs in white marble, the beft of which reprefents an old man making libations upon an altar. In the middle is a woman feated and veiled, and another behind her, (land- ing upright.

There is another fmall bas relief, the jfigures of which are about ten inches in heighth : It is not fo beau- tiful as the former, with regard to the work, but much more curious ; for the fubjefit is a comic fcene, and the adors appear in their mafks. I could


[ 99 3

not comprehend the back-ground, which probably reprefents the decora- tion of the theatre. There likewife we fee a third baflb relievo, with figures of about two feet in proportion : there is nothing in it worthy of notice.

Thefe are all the pieces I have been able to preferve in my memory, but it is poffible I may not only have forgot things of more importance than thofe I have defcribed ; but I may have alfo erred in fome circumftances, though I do not believe my miftakes are very confiderable ; for I have mentioned nothing but what prefent- ed itfelf diflindlly to my remem- brance, and all that I have faid was written immediately after I had ex- amined, and admired an infinite number of curiofities at three difFe- H 2 rent

[ 100 ]

rent vlfits. The king of the Two SiciUes, who takes pleafure in indulg- ing the pubhck with a detail of that important difeovery, will not fujffer any Frenchman to make drawings ; though they are freely allowed to fee and examine. I thought, however, I might communicate to thepublickthe impreffion they made upon me, in or- der to augment the defire which all the virtuofi of Europe fee], to be more particularly acquainted with them ; and to be mafters of a de- fcription, in which the artifts are em- ployed by his Sicilian majefty ; and which will doubtlefs, anfwer their expeftations.

R E F L E C-

C ^01 ]






ONE would imagine, that fuch a numerous colledion of an- tique paintings would alcertain the degree of perfedlion to which the ancients carried the different parts of that art ; neverthelefs, I do not be- lieve, that they convey a diftind: idea of the excellence of ancient painting. And indeed it is probable that thefe pieces were not painted by the beft mafters of thofe days. For hov/ can v/e fuppofe, that in fuch an age, H 3 abound-

[ 1^2 ]

abounding with excellent fculptors, any confideration could be had to painters fo weak in point of defign. It ie lis probable therefore, that thefe are the works of painters belong- ing to this ancient city, which in it- felf was but very inconfiderable. They are painted upon the walls of a theatre, and other publick places, and doubtlefs, were at that time re- garded only as fimple embellifh- ments, for which they were unwilling to be at fuch an expence as would attend the choice of abler artifts.

Be that as it will, the Thefeus and other pidlures as big as the life, are too feeble in point of colour and de- iign. There is very little genius in the cornpofition ; and all the parts of the art are expreffed in an equal de- gree pf poverty and v/eaknefs. The


[ 1^3 ] colouring has no variety of tones, and fhews no knowledge of the clair obfcur ; that is, the change which the colours undergo from the diftance of the objeds ; the reflec- tion of the contiguous bodies, and the privation of light. In a word, thefe works difplay none of the graces of the art of compoflng the lights and fliades ; fo as that being aflem- bled and aggrouped, they become more grand, and produce a more fen- fible effcdl. Every figure has its own light and fhade, and I have not ob- ferved one overfhadowing another ; nor is there one that does not look like the firft elements of a compofi- tion. The fhades are either not at all refleded, or they are refleded equal- ly from head to foot. The colours are too glaring, without being broken down, as they ought to be, by a pri-

H 4 vation

[ 104 ] vation of light : and they do not partake of the refledion of the ad- jacent objeds. In fine, we obferve nothing which can prove, that the ancients had carried the knowledge of light to that degree which it hath attained in thefe latter ages. As to the crmpoliti^n of the figures, it is cold J and feems to be rather treated in thf^ tafte of fculpture than with that heat of imagination of which painting i'; f jfceptible. Yet as fome of the figures are a little fore-fhorten- ed, we may f jppofc that art was car- ried farther by the able painters of thofe days. But nothing has been difcovered which determines, whe- ther the ancients knew the fine effed v/hich the richnefs and va- riety of ftufTs have in painting. We c^.n^ however, perceive that the manner of painting drapery in fmall


[ ^o5 ]

folds, as pradifed in ilatuary, was not general among them, and that they had another manner more large and full. Indeed of this circum- ftance we were already fully affured by feveral pieces of antique fculp- ture ; the draperies of which were of coarfer fluffs, and folded in larger maffes.

Notwithftanding the mediocrity of the large pieces, they plainly fhew a grand manner of defigning, and an eafy pencil ; which plainly proves, that the painters learned the elements of the art in a good fchool, and un- der matters who worked with eafe, and if there was very little variety in the tones of the colouring, it was probably the fault of young begin- ners; for the beft manner of paint- ing figures for hiftory, is that, in


[ io6 ]

tvhich the degrees of light and fha- dow are delicately marked ; fo as that the variety of the tones may not be fo perceptible as to interrupt the greatnefs of the maffes. The raw beginners not perceiving the know- ledge concealed by this artifice, at- tempted to imitate with two or three tones, this almoft imperceptible va- riety, which the able artift knows how to effed in the tranfitions from light to (bade. The fame thing hap- pens, in defigning from nature, and very often the pupils fall into the fame miftake. A good drawer treats his objed in fuch a manner, as that at firfi: view it prefent: nothmg but great parts and a grand contour, yet an intelligent eye foon difcovers the mofl: minute variety. In my opi- nion, therefore, the authors of thofe pidures may be juftly accufed of


[ 107 1 great ignorance in point of defign ; for it muft be owned, that although the forms are, in genera], good, there is neither juftnefs nor ingenuity in the detail.

The pieces taken from nature, fuch as vafes, fruit, game, &c. are paint- ed with a good deal of truth ; but thefe performances copied after im- moveable bodies, are eafily executed* Yet even in thefe pidlures, we do not find that degree of illufion, to which imitation has been carried in our days ; and all of them have confiderable faults in point of per- fpedive.

The pieces compofed of very fmall figures are certainly the beft of thofe that have been found at Herculane-


[ io8 ]

um. They are not only touched with a great deal of fpirit, but the manner is excellent; they are altoge- ther in the taPce of the antique has reliefs, and the colouring is exceed- ing good. At Rome, and other places, there were feveral fmall pic- tures, but not fufficient to eftablifh a certain judgment of the painting of the ancients ; for, in order to con- ftitute good performances of this kind, the defign mufi: be fpirited and the touches light Few tones are fufficient for the colouring, becaufe there is hardly room for a variety in the femi-tints ; efpecially, in fuch unfiniflied pieces.

If the pidures of architedure were more fupportable, we might derive from them fome knowledge of the

2 manner

[ 109 ]

manner in which the antients prac- tifed lineal, or aerial perfpedtive ; but they are fo rude in all refpedls, that the painters feem to have had no acquaintance with beautiful archi- te6lure, and their produftions look like the effeds of profound ignorance and extravagant delirium. However, as the king of the Two Sicilies ftill continues his refearches, we ought not to defpair of finding fome pieces of painting worthy of being com- pared with the fine ftatues which have been already difcovered. Be- fides, how fmall foever the value of thefe paintings may be, they fervc plainly to demonftrate the certainty of one kind of painting, which might have been carried in thofe days to a degree of excellence that deferved all thofe elogiums lavifhed by authors


upon ancient pidures, of which we are deprived by the tyranny of time. If I may be allowed to hazard fome conjedures on this fubjed, I am of opinion, that the idea of thofe pieces may be found in fome of the excel- lent pidures of Guido, which, tho' their compofition is cold, lymmetri- cal, and deftitute of thofe grand ef- feds of light, fo ftriking in other Hiafters, and even in many of his own pieces, are yet extremely beau- tiful in the perfedion of defign, the exadnefs of truth, and delicacy of colouring. The antique paintings give room to doubt, whether the an- cients were equal to feveral Italian, Flemifli and French mafters, in the fire of genius, and force of imagi- nation, either in compofition, or the effed of light; and if we may judge of them by their architedure, they


[ III ]

feem to have been afraid of giving way to the fuggeftions of fancy ; but like the moderns, efpecially thofe of Italy, generally chofe to imitate one another. We ought not for that reafon to tax them with want of ge- nius : on the contrary, all the in- ventions which are really good, and confequently ufed in the modern ar- chitedure, have been derived from the remains of the antique. But the defiire of ftriking out fomething new does not feem to have been their pre- vailing pailion ; as they probably he- flowed all their attention in perfefting what was already received with ap- probation. The beautiful in each kind being once found, they rarely ven- tured to fearch for it in another path. The antique temples are almofl: all compofed in the fame idea, which is likewife the cafe with a great many


[ 1^2 J

things both in architediure and paint- ing. Perhaps, then, there was a general tafte in painting, followed by almoft all the mafters of thofe times; and it is probable, that this prevail- ing tafte was that of bafib relievo, as fculpture was then very much in fa- fhion. There is even reafon to be- lieve, that if compofition, or the heat of the imagination, had predo- minated among them, and the ma- gic of colouring, and the clair ob- fcur, been found out, their feducing charms would have hinder'd them from being neglecbed and loft, becaufe this part of the art, although very diiB- cult to bring to perfedlion, admits of a mediocrity, which furnifties more eafy refources for feducing thofe who are not perfedly well acquainted with painting. And indeed, if we may judge by what happens in our own


times, in all probability, when the arts fhall have loft that degree of perfedioD, to which they are now arrived, there will remain a fort of harmony, which though no other than a falfe, and ill-underftood imitation, will ferve to prove, that this fo ftriking part of painting muft have been known, and carried to a greater length by thofe who firfl: praftifed it. Some traces of this degeneracy we perceive in the paint- ing's of Herculaneum, which are mo- dern, in comparifon of thofe fo much extolled by the ancients. ^ However, it is probable, that thofe painters had ftill in their eye a great many line pieces^ which now no longer fubfiil; from which they vvould have drawn thefe leffons, if all the parts of the art had been affembled in a degree fapable to infpire a tafle for them.

I S E C-





Neighbourhood of NAPLES, be- low PAUSYLIPO, upon the Gulf of POUZZUOLI, and at BAIiE.

IN giving my remarks upon the antiquities lately difcovered in the town of Herculaneum ; I think the publick would not be forry, fhould I join fome of thofe that ftill exift in the neighbourhood of Naples. Thefe laft have been mentioned by feveral authors ; and therefore I fhall not much expatiate upon them, but on-

I z ly

[ "^ ]

ly premife, that no perfon has def- cribed them fo exadly as myfelf, and I hope it will be agreeable to find them added to this little performancej with which they have an intimi^te connexion. Therefore, fo far as I have obfervcd them, they fhall be repref^nted in the following plates.


■[ 1^7 ]




P A U S Y L I P O.

^ I ^HIS grotto, or fubterranean piate

j[ paflage, through which the high road is carried from Naples to Puzzoli, is fo ancient, that the epo- cha of its origin is altogether obfcure^ and has produced difputes among authors that are well known. For my own part, I am contented with believing that the ancient inhabitants of Naples, for their own conveniedcy, having opened quarries in this moun- tain, which is formed of fand and

1 3 foft


jfoft ftone proper for building, and ufed for that purpofe to this day, in- ftead of conducing their trenches at random, carried them on in a ftraight line through the mountain ; induced perhaps by the defire of doing fome- thing extraordinary while they were employed on this occafion. For the mountain being entirely formed of fandy ftone, it muft have been a matter of indifference to them on which fide the excavations were con- ducted. Very limple motives have produced a thoufand things, which are every day the fubjeds of aftoniilv ment and difpute. Be that as it will, this fubterranean paffage is in length about an Italian mile, and about twenty feet broad. As for the height, it varies conliderably ; for the two openings made to admit a volume of light to enlighten the paiTage, are at


C ^'9]

leaft fixty feet high ; they defcend Hoping infenlibly to a dormer win- dow in the middle, pierced from the fummit of the mountain down to the interior parts of the grotto ; con- veying thither ftill more light, though it contends with that which arrives weakened from the entry, and if I may be allowed the expreflion, con- founds the paiTengers. This grotto had been for a great while, very much neglefted. Time, the deftroyer of all things, had made confiderable havock in it : the earth and ftone tumbling down, had blocked up the paflage ; fo that it ferved no other purpofe than that of a den for ban- ditti, who chofe it for their retreat, and from thence very much infefted the neighbourhood, when Philip II. ordered it to be repaired, as appears 1 4 by

[ ^2o ]

by an infcription decorated with a piece of architecture at the entry ; '^ Pliilippo 11. Catol. regnante loca

  • ' invia Ibicibus paria, &c. Vid. Le

<^ nouveau Guide de PouzzoIe'\ From that time it hath continued, as it is at prefent, in very good con- dition. A chapel cut out in the middle of it, where a lamp continu- ally burns, ferves as a place of de- votion for thofe who pafs through it* 1 will, however, take upon me to affirm, that the advantage of this opening, which faves the trouble of afcending the mountain, is dearly bought by the dreadful duft, which at all times ftifles the paflengers, and when the weather is dark, ob- fcures the middle of it to fuch a degree, that they are obliged to cry aloud, for fear of ftumbling againll


[ ^21 ]

one another. On the top of this mountain is an old tomb, faid to be that of Virgil, but it is without in- fcription, and too ruinous to be de- fcribed.




[ 122 ]



pjate^ ^TT^HE territory in the neighbour- j[ hood of Naples, abounding, as it does, with fire, and bituminous or fulphureous exhalations ; it is not furprifing to find places which are not to be approached without dan- ger. Such is the grotto called Del Cane, becaufe the experiment, I am going to mention, is always tried up- on a dog. This grotto being five feet in heighth, four in width, and from feven to eight in depth, is kept fbut by a wife precaution, in order to avoid the danger which might refult to any fatigued traveller, who fliould unfortunately repofe himfelf in that place. The keeper of a hot bath in the neighbourhood, keeps



Bellicard Fee.

[^23 ]

the key of this perfidious cavern, to which he condudls travellers, and lliews them that a dog ftretched in the bottom of this grotto, even at the diftance of a foot from the eartJi, inhales fuch mortal vapours, that in a few minutes he falls into convul- fions, of which he v/ould die, if he was not taken out immediately into the frefh air, or thrown into the lake of Agnano, which is about twenty paces from the cave. The fame man likewife fhews, that a lighted torch prefented to this vapour, is immedi- ately extinguifhed, without the leaft trace of fmoke remaining; ; and this experiment is tried with fuccefs upoa feveral other animals aquatic, as well as terreftrial.


t ^24 ]



Plate ^nr^HE Solfatara feems to be an» A other exhaufted vulcano, form- ing a large oval plain, about fifteen hundred feet in length, and a mile in breadth, environ'd with feveral little hills, the pores of which every inftant exhale vapours of a fulphu- rous odour. The earth itfelf of thefe mountains, and efpecially that of the plain, is yellowifh, and feems to be very much loaded with this mineraL In 1750, there were at the bottom of this plain feveral mouths, from which iffued a very fubtile flame. Thefe they covered with pieces of earthen pots and tiles ; to which borax was found flicking. They have likewife


VL. iS .

Bclhcara. Tc


  • i> :








-llicard Fcr

, [ '^5 ] built huts, in which caldrons are fixed for purifying fulphur, vitriol and allum ; the fire that iflucs from the earth ferving to make the cal- drons boil, and to refine the mine- rals.

The bituminous vapours that con- p'^;« 

•^ XX iX.

tinually exhale from this ground and the neighbourhood, corrupt the v/a- ters as vi^ell as the air : yet notwith- ftanding this inconvenience, there is upon the mountain a convent of Ca- puchins, the church of w^hich is de- dicated to St. Januarius, the patron of Naples. True it is, they ftay here only during the winter j (ov^ be- fides the fujfFocating fmoke, it is im- poflible to live there in tiie fummer, on account of the extreme heat. TjThere is nothing remarkable in this ]:}oufe bi^t a buft of St. Januarius,


[ 126 3

which is in great veneration in that country ; and a ciftern of very fin- gular contrivance for preferving the i^ain v^ater from corruption. The vafe B, vi^hich contains the water, does not touch the earth, in which is founded the cage C, furrounding the vafe B, v/hich is detached from every part of it, except the pillar A, upon which it refts. This refervoir raay be from fifteen to eighteen feet in diameter, built of brick lined with ftucco, and fecured with fome bands of iron.


j^'i . 3c

RelUzard- ±e<


8 ^Llicar-i. r^c.

[ '27 ] *



THIS city has been defcribed Plates XXX by fo many authors, that af-andxx;xr.

ter all that has been faid, I fhall not tarry long upon the fubjedt. It is very ancient, and ftill remarkable for the ruins of feveral grand edifices, which formerly compofed one of the fuperb cities of the Roman power. This place and the neighbourhood is full of temples, theatres, and cir- cus's, which denote its ancient mag- nificence. Almoft at the entrance of the new Pouzzoli, appear the re- mains of an amphitheatre, called by the inhabitants Colifeum, like that of Rome. I perceived fome of the galleries penetrating as far as the


[ ^2^ ]

Arena, which is now converted into a garden ; but it was fo ruinous, that I could not form any probable con- jecture touching the different orders of the architedture. From what re-? mains of it, I only concluded, that it was altogether built of hewn ftone. The cathedral of this city is faid to be built upon the foundations of a temple of Jupiter, which formerly perifhed in an earthquake. Neay the amphitheatre are ftill to be feen the remains of a refervoir, refembling the Pifcena at Bai^, but fcarce to be diftinguifhed, the place is fo ruinous. The pedeflal, which is in the mid- dle of the market-place of Pouzzoli, reprefented by the figures A and B, though beautiful, hath fuffered by time. It is of white marble, adorn- ed with fourteen figures jutting out^ and an infcription ; having been found




[ 129 ]

in digging the foundation of a pri- vate houfe. The fide of the infcrip- tion is adorned with two figures and a child : the oppoiite with fix, and the others with three figures each; all very much mutilated ; but never- thelefs beautiful in thofe parts that remain.

In my laft journey in 1 749, I had Plate obferved in this city, three pillars, of about five feet in diameter, the fhafts of which were half buried. Since that time the place having been dug, they have difcovered their bafes B, which are of marble, and the profil is very beautiful. The king of the Two Sicilies having ordered the work to be continued, they found a tem- ple, fuppofed by the idol, and fome other circumftances, to have been dedicated to Serapis. Accordingly, K when

[ UO ] when I returned in 1750, I made a defign of the profils, as reprefented in this plate. They had already found in thefe ruins, vafes and fta- tues of excellent workmanfhip. The portals of this edifice were of a very good contour, and one may judge from their centre A, that this curve was not of the invention of modern architedlure. I have met in my tra- vels with feveral of this kind, which induced me to believe, that the an- cients fometimes deviated from the full centre. This temple was very magnificent, every part of it being covered with marble, even to the very jakes, C D E, together with their feats and fewers. It is to be hoped, that in continuing to dig in thefe places, they will find a great many other curious particulars. Peo- ple ufually embark at Pouzzoli for

Baiae ;

[ 131 3

Bai^ ; and in this paflage, which is no more than the breadth of the gulf, they fail along the arches of a mole, vulgarly called at Baia^, Cali- gula's bridge. I fhall not follow the opinion of thofe authors, who be- lieve it was really a bridge acrofs the gulf, from one place to the other; a conjedure altogether void of truth or probability, for the diftance between thefe two cities, is too confiderable to admit of any fuch expedient : I believe then, and I am not fingular in my opinion, that this mole was made with a view to render the port of Pouzzoli, more fafe for the veiG^els that rode in it, and to rejfifl the force of the fea, which fpends that fury on its pillars, that otherwife would do mifchief by beating upon the beach of the town. It was cer- tainly a great and ufeful enterprize ; K 2 the

[ 132 ] the arches and pillars were compofed of ftone and brick, and are of a noble magnitude ; while their duration, and the good condition in which they ftill appear, are plain proofs of the folid manner with which the ancients carried on their buildings.



-Belli ccirdlec

C 133 ]



Commonly calFcI the


N our arrival at Baiae we pro-^^j,^jJ^j ceed to Cape Mifenum, among ^^xiv an infinite number of fine ruins, which demonftrate the ancient Deli- cias of thefe places. Amongft others is to be feen a great refervoir, very well preferved, the plan of which is an oblong fquare formed of thirteen arches by five, with the canal A, in the middle. We find the remains of a flair B, ferving for a defcent into it. The path leading to the re- fervoir, is on a level with the upper- moft ftep ; fo that it is funk the whole depth of the fquare. The K 3 length

[ ^34 ]

length of the arches is from eleven to twelve feetj and their height in proportion: thofe that are on the two fides, which confliture the breadth are the highefl ; thofe that make the length fcarce reaching to their cen- tre. In a word, the vault is fup- ported upon forty-eight pied-droits, compofed of four pilafters each, as reprefented in the figure A, plate XXXIV. This refervoir is Hned with a fort of madic, the compofition of which is the fubjed: of difpute among the moft of thofe who have examin- ed it ; fome pretending that it is a kind of maftic, mixed with whites of eggs, while others fuppofe that it is fimply a cruft which the waters have made upon the wall. For my own part, I have always fuppofed, j that it was a maftic com.pofed of marble powder, and the fand of the 2 country.

[ '35 1

country, with fome mixture, which, like a great many other fecrets of the ancients, is now no longer known. Be that as it may, this maftic, which is but two lines thick, and compofed, as we plainly perceive, of different layers, is fo extremely hard, that an iron tool can fcarce make an impref- fion upon it. The mafon-work is fo good, that the pavement is ftill very well preferved, the ftones well joined, and the walls very little damaged. The pillars B, in plate XXXIV. together with the walls, are of brick-work bound ; there- in differing from thofe in ano- ther refervoir, called the Hundred chambers of Nero, the pillars of which C, in plate XXXIV. are likewife of bricks, though differently laid. As to the Pifcina, the middle is laid in lozenges, which Vitruvius calls Opus K 4 reticu-

[ 136 ]

reticulatum, and the angles with large bricks bound ; this manner of building having been very much ufed by the ancients, as we perceive by the ruins which are ftill extant at Rome, and in the neighbourhood of that city.


i-l . 3.'



[ '37 ]






OMING out of the Pifcina, piate

we afcend to the top of Cape Mifenum, at the foot of which we fee the MareMortuum, fo called, be- caufe it was crofled by thofe who carried the afhes of the ancients to the tombs, which are on the fide of this mountain, formed in vaults, the greateft part of which are decorated with little circular niches, both in the plan and elevation. Thofe in the middle are diftinguiflied with or- naments, or by being larger than the reft. Some are adorned with pedi- 6 ments


[ '38 ]

ments on their door-cafes, and fup- ported as drawn in this plate. Thefe tombs were formerly richly ornament- ed, and I found fome trifling remains of painting in them ; but could fee none of the vafes that contained the aflaes of the dead. Though there is a great number of thefe tombs com- municating one with the other, I thought it w^ould be fufficient to dehneate a couple, which are built of brick laid in the manner we have already mentioned, and accord- ing to the reprefentation at the bot- tom of this plate. They are for the mod part half buried in the place, and their entrances almoft fhut up.


■t-«^9!3«V*i'^» fTJ

VI o6

[ 139 ]



UPON the road that leads from Plate the tombs I have mentioned/' to Baia3, we find a vault of a femi- circular arch detached, which our condudors affure us is the tomb of Agrippina, that unfortunate mother of Nero. This vault, which is bu- ried in the earth up to the beginning of the arch, may be about five feet in breadth, and fix in heighth. It is is internally covered with ftucco, of which they have formed compart- ments of fculpture, in an excellent tafte and cxquifite workmanfhip. The bas reliefs, which are in the mid- dle of the arch, are equally beautiful, though very much damaged, and


[ ^40 ] blackened by the fmoke of the torches, which people are obliged to ufe in going down into thefe fubter- ranean places. At leaft, that is the notion I conceived from the little of what remains. Thefe has reliefs are all inclofed in borders, the ornaments of which are beautifully finifbed, in the true antique tafte. Although the lide pofts of this vault are al- moft intirely buried, and the place otherwife greatly damaged, we, ne- verthelefs, fee fome remains cf paint- ings though they are in very bad condition, and fo much effaced, that no judgment can be formed of them. All that I could difcover, is, that they agree with the decoration of the vault in variety of ornaments; among which I found fome of thofe chim.e- rical animals, compcfed of a lion's body, with tlie head and wings of


an eagle. The ancients often repre- fented this monfter called a griffin, in their ornaments, as may be feen in the frize of the temple of Faufti- na, in the Campo Vaccino at Rome. This vault is faid to lead into feveral adjacent chambers, which, however, contain nothing remarkable, and are for the moft part filled up with ruins.


[ 142 ]



Vulgarly called the

T E M P L E of N E P T U N E.

XXXVI. A FTER having quitted Agrip- x\. pina's tomb, and pafled be- low the fort of Bai^e^ we were land- ed at the foot of a temple, the de- dication of which is ftill a fubjed of difpute ; and as it is a thing really very obfcure, I fhall adhere to the opinion of the country ; although in this refpedi-, the vulgar efpecially is often apt to lead us aftray. This temple, however, which fome be- lieve to have been dedicated to Ve- nus, and others to Neptune, is ex- ternally formed upon an ocSogonal plan, four {ides of which are flanked


PI. 3'

H^cUicarcL Fee >

C ^4-3 1

with grouped pilafttrs, placed up- on high pedeflals, which are almoft intirely funk in the marfhy ground where the edifice is built. As to the chapiters, they are fo totally ruined by time, that not the leaft veftige of them remains. The gate is of a fe- micircular arch, but the crofs-work A, above, is formed of the fame curve, which I mentioned above in the article of the temple of Serapis, lately difcovered at Pozzuoli. In- ternally, this temple is circular, tho' I have defigned it as an odagon* The arches are totally ruined, fo that j I could not judge of their decorati- I ons. But by the appearance of the I naked bricks, one is dilpofed to be- I lieve, that this edifice, as well as a I great many others, was crufted with i marble. I had almoft f3rgot to ob-- \ ferve, that the pilafters jut out from


[ M4 J the wall, about two thirds of their breadth. There is nothing prcferved in the infide worthy of notice, and it is fo difficult of accefs, that one is obliged to be carried thither acrofs the morafs ; fo that I can afiure the reader, there is nothing to be feen that v/ill make amends for that trou- ble. But this is not the cafe with what I am going to mention in the following chapter.


Pi . -58.

Jiellic^-^ Tec.

[ ^45 ]



TH^ temple of Mercury, as "^dl^^^^^^ as the preceding, is partly funk in the mariLes, and you muft be carried thither before you fee the infide, which, however, yields much more fatisfadlion than the laft. It is a kind of rotundo, with an opening in the arch, which ferves to enligh- ten the whole temple, in the fame manner as that of the Pantheon at Rome. The furface of the walls is covered with fmall pieces of marble, placed here and there, without any order ; a circumftance from which I fuppofed it was no more than a pre- paration for receiving fome plaifter, L of

[ 146 ]

of which, however, there are no re- mains. Adjoining to the temple are other vaults, which contain nothing remarkable. I entered by the door A, which is the ufual entrance ; though it is not in a line with the door B. This is likewife the cafe with the others, C and D. I could not conceive the meaning of this ir- regularity, unlefs they were fo dif- pofed, for communicating with fome other edifices contiguous to the tem- ple ; and indeed this alone feems to have been the caufe of fuch fingular conftruftion. The coridor E, is ftill decorated with fome paintings in frefco, very well preferved j though they are not remarkable for their beauty. I obferved that this tem- ple, as well as all that remains of the ancient edifices in thefe places, is built of bricks, of the fize I have I already

C H7 i

already mentioned ; although fione is very common in the country : fo that the ancients feem to have pre- ferred the firft to the laft*

L 2 OF

[ 148 ]





ON the fame fide, and almofl in the bottom of the gulf of Pozzuoli, we go down by a gradual defcent, through a path hollowed in the rock, wliich is a diminutive of the famous grotto of Paufilipo, to thefe baths. At the end of this fub- terranean place, where no kind of carriage but horfes only can pafs, we find the flair A, at which feveral roads leading to different places of the mountain, reunite. Here we find fe- veral chambers or fubterranean grottos, B, cut in the rock, that condud us to the corridor C, of the fame kind of workmanfhip, by which we go down


lielhcard Tec .

C H9 ]

by a gradual defcent, to the baths of hot water which are faid to have been made in this fubterranean ca- vity for the ufe of Nero. The v/a- ter is fo hot, that the men who go to fetch it, not only find it infup- portable to the touch, but when they return, they are quite covered over with fweat, by the heat of the va- pours which exhale. I had a mind to enter them, but I found the heat infupportable. We have many ex- amples of fuch water, heated, with- out doubt, by mines of kindled bi- tumen, through w^iich they pafs, but few fo hot as this. The inhabi- tants of the country make ufe of them for feveral diflempers, as well as of the ftoves or hot baths, built near the grotto Del Cane, as I have mentioned in their proper place. In thefe grottos, B, are a kind of beds L 3 or

[ '5^ 1 or banks, D, made of ftucco, for the fick perfon to lie upon in that pofition which his malady demands. All about this place, is found abun- dance of ruins, which give reafon to believe, that the baths were in- clofed in fome confiderable palace ; but in fuch bad condition that it is impoflible to fay any thing pofitive upon the fubje6t.

The little part of the vault F, is what remains of a temple formerly dedicated to Diana, in which I could find neither painting, nor bas reliefs ; and there is fo little remarkable in the remains of this edifice, that I jfhali content myfelf with the bare men^ tion of it.



BeLUcci7^d Tc.

[ '51 ]



THE chambers of Venus, as^iateXL. well as thofe temples I have mentioned, are very ruinous pieces of antiquity, and of very difficult accefs, on account of the heaps of rubbifh all round them. In entring this place, we find the firft chamber, A, the plan of which is fquare, and the arch decorated with compart- ments, in each of which, there are bas reliefs, and though well execut- ed, they do not approach to the beauty of thofe which contribute to the decoration of the chamber B, built in a plan half circular and half fquare. Under the arcade D, we find a petrified tree, and in the mid- L 4 die

[ ^52 ]

die of the vault an opening, Q which in all probability, furni/hed it Vvith light. Among the fine bas reliefs which ornament it, there is a gladia- tor, exadly in the attitude of that figure which is in the Villa Borg- hefe, from whence, as well as other circumftances, we may conclude there were plagiaries among the ancients as well as among the moderns. I have in this plate given feme idea of the bas reliefs E, which are all includ- ed in a border, being gilded, and of exquifite workmanfhip ; and in point of delign, refembling thofe of Agrip- pina's tomb, which I have already mentioned. The greatefl: part of thefe bas reliefs, are compofed of fubjefts relative to the divinity of the place, and are at leaft as obfcene as thofe reprefented on the lamps found at Herculaneum, From this laft


[ ^53 ]

piece of antiquity, the condudora ufually carry the curious to a very deep vault, pierced under the moun- tain, where formerly flood the anci- ent city of Cumas. At the end of this fubterranean cavern, are feveral chambers and baths, communicating one with another, but I found no- thing in them worth defcribing. All that I can fay, therefore, is, that this is vulgarly believed to be the cave, where the famous Sibyl of Cumse de- livered her oracles, and I refer the reader to MifTon, for the hiftorical difcuflion of this fubjedl.


[ '54]



PlateXLT.jr Was unwiUing to conclude this K performance without giving the curious fome notion of that kind of caverns, called in Italy Catacombs ; which I have accordingly reprefent- ed in this plate. It appears, that this fort of fubterranean and publick tombs, was very much in ufe among the ancients ; for, befides thefe at Rome and Naples, which I have ex- amined ; Mr. Bernard, who has made the tour of Sicily, faw fome as con- fiderable as thefe, at Syracufe and Malta ; and aflures me they are in the manner of their diftribution ex- aftly the fame. We may likewife judge of the whole by thofe of Na- ples,

T>1. 41.

-B allicard Fee

C '55 ]

pies, which I am going to defcribe, Thofe called the catacombs of St. Januarius, from which I took this defign, are like all others, pierced at random in a mountain, where we find conliderable banks of ftone, ftill more foft than that of St. Leu, which mufl: have been very eafily cut. In all the frontsofthefefubterranean caverns, are houfes of different fizes, made without order or arrangement, as may be feen by that reprefented in the defign. There are different cor- ners, which by their diftinftion and decoration, feem as well as the tombs D, where we find fome remains of painting to have belonged to fome particular families. They and the avenues B, are full of niches of dif- ferent fize^ for the fepulchre of the large as well as the little bodies be- longing to thefe diftinguifhed fami-


[ '56 ]

lies. The entrance A, of thefe fijb- terraneous caverns, is cut pretty ftraight^ but when we penetrate far- ther, we find a number of windings cut, as I fuppofe, altogether at ran- dom ; fo that the whole looks like a fubterraneancity, with ftreets, fquares, alleys, and corners, and the extent of it is fo confiderable, that fome paf- fages are fuppofed to go as far as Pouzzoli. Here too, as well as at Ronie, they have had the precaution to fhut up feveral avenues, that none of the number of people, v/hom cu- riofity induces to vifit thofe places, may be in danger of lofmg them- felves. In thofe places where the excavation is large, they have left here and there the pillar C, to fup- port the vault. Here, likewife, there are ufually two ftories. I thought my defign, by fpeaking to the eyes,


[ ^57 ] would aflift the imagination, in form- ing a diftind idea of this fort of fepultures. To this, therefore, I confine myfelf, without engaging in thofe difputes which they have oc- cafioned among a great many authors, to whofe works, fuch as are defirous of being farther informed, may have recourfe.


C 158]




Of the Ancient


IN the number of the antiquities of Naples, methinks I may men- tion thole of the ancient city of Ca- pua, This place, which is but ten leagues diftant from the other, and about two miles from modern Ca- pua, we find upon the road to Rome, and by the great number of ruins, it feems to have been very confider- able. Befides, ancient authors have fo extolled its Delicis, that we can- not poffibly entertain any other idea of it. Yet I found nothing in it worth mentioning, but an amphi- theatre,

pI .f


C ^59 ]

theatre, and that too greatly da- maged, the plan of which, by the form of its curve, refembles the Co- lifeum at Rome, I think it will be proper to obferve, that it was com- pofed, at moft, of three orders, the firft of which, by the profil of its entablature, feems to be of the Do- rick. Yet the frize is not adorned with any triglyph, and the cornifh is without brackets. The cornifli of this order may be about one fourth more than the frize. The coping is very fmall, and crowned with a wave, C, very heavy, which is employed with the fame defed in the chapiter and impoft. I obferved, in this am- phitheatre, five galleries, D, three of which ferve for communication to all the ftairs that open on the fteps. The middle, A, which was the are- na, is now a corn-field ; each pillar


[ i6o ]

B, "Was decorated with an inlerted column, the bafes of which are new funk in the earth. The walls and external decoration of this edi- fice, were built of excellent ftone, and all the brick-work very folid, as being compofed of bricks that are very large and thick, I reckon- ed in the whole circumference of this theatre fixty four arcades, three- fcore of which were each thirteen feet wide, as well as the galleries D, which are arched. The other four arcades are ftill larger, and ferve for the principal entries. The keys of thefe arcades are of the firft order, ornamented with colofTal heads, one .of which reprefents Diana, and the j other exhibit other deities ; fome of ;" them are ftill to be feen in New Ca- u pua, where they have alfo prefervcd ! : feveral altars and infcriptions. Among ' !

the i


C ^6r ]

the faults that are vilible in the pro- wls of this theatre, the fmallnefs of the Coping, put me in mind that the ancients have the fame defed: in fe- veral of their edifices, as may be ob- ferved in the entablature of the Pan- theon and the temple of Mars, now the Cuftom-houfe at Rome. The largenefs of the Coping, as defcrib- ed in feveral modern authors, feems to me the more reafonable ; becaufe this profil crowning the other mould- ings, ought to difpute with them in proportion, and yet yield by its fim- plicity to the ornaments with which it is charged in elegant buildings. This is all I had to fay of the Am- phitheatre of Capua ; an antiquity which I thought I might join to thofe of Naples, efpecially as there is fuch an intimate connexion between them. What I have faid of thefe laft, which

M have

[ I62 ]

have been a long time known, may feem to engage me to fpeak alfo of thofe at Rome, which would have furnifhed me with matter at leaft as ample and abundant ; but as my in- tention at fir ft was folely to com- ply with the defire of fome patrons of the arts, for whom I have the moft profound regard, and who re- quefted me to publifh the remarks I had made upon thofe things which have been lately difcovered in the territory of Naples, I was willing to confine myfelf entirely to the fatis- faclion of their defire ; being, be- fides, uncertain of the reception thefc my firft effays would meet with from the public, 1 thought I could not ufe too much circumfpedion in run- ins: the career of authors. How- ever I will premife, that having all the necefiary materials for the fequel, - if


if this firft volume £hall be favour- ably received, I fhall be encouraged to gratify the public with regard to the reft.

M 2

[ i64 ]




Gentleman at N A P L E Sj Giving a Short Account of



HErculaneum was a city of vaft antiquity, dedicated to Her- cules, who was h-eld in great efteem all over the then known world. Temples and altars were every where ereded to him ; witnefs the famous temple of Cadiz, extra Herculis co- lumnas in Gadibus. The Carthagi- nians offered him human facrifices ; and the Ron:ians made vows to, and


[ '65 ]

confulted him in their greatefl: enter- prifes. This city flood where now ftands the royal village of Portici, waflied by the fea, four miles from Naples, and two from the top of Vefuvius. It feems, as likewife Pom- pea, to have been buried in the firil great eruption of that mountain, in which Pliny the elder was fufFo- cated.

The city is about feventy feet be- low the prefent furface of the ground. The matter with which it is covered is not every where the fame. In fome places it is a fort of lime, and hard cement ; in others, a fort of burnt dry earth, like afhes; and elfc- where, what the NeapoHtans call lava, that is, a fubftance like melt- ed glafs, compofed of fulphur and ftone, which Vefuvius throws out in M 3 its

[ ,66]

its eruptions. This lava, whilft it preferved its heat, ran like a river into the fea ; but as foon as it cool- ed, it fubfided, and became a folid fubftance, like a dark blue marble ; of which I have feen tables. It is therefore no wonder that this river fhould have penetrated into every cavity it met with in its courfe ; fo we iind that part of the city over which it ran, full of it.

Nothing is more difficult than to explain this furprizing effeft. The learned are much divided in their opinions concerning it. The mofl general opinion is, that the moun- tain iirft threw out fuch a quantity of cinders as covered the city ; and then the fc;a penetrating into the bot- tom of the volcano, was afterwards vomited out, and in its courfe, pufl:i-


[ i67 ]

ed the cinders, earth, &c. into the houfes. Many authors affert, that Vefuvius in its eruptions throws out more water than fire. In the erup- tion December lo, 16313 it is faid that the harbour of Naples for a moment was quite emptied, and that all forts of fhell-fifh were mixed with the lava that came from the moun- tain. Pliny the younger, giving Tacitus an account of the death of his uncle, fays the fea feemed to go back. The water entering the vol- cano, probably gave rife to this ob- fervation. Perhaps too the eruption was attended by an earthquake, which may have affifted to fwallow up the city. But I fhall fay no more on a fubjed fo far above my ken.

Herculaneum lay thus buried from

the year 79 to the year 1739. The

M 4 prince

[ ,58 1 prince of Elbeuf indeed, in the 171 1, building a little houfe near to Por- tici, and digging for a well found fome pieces of wrought marble ; and afterwards difcovered a temple, of a round figure, built to Bacchus, adorned with pillars of yellow mar- ble, and fome fine ftatues, viz. one of Hercules, and another thought to be Cleopatra, which he fent to Vi- enna as a prefent to prince Eugene. But the difcovery went no further ; nor did they fufped: that this was part of Herculaneum,

It was in the beginning of the 1739, that digging for another well, they found fome more marble ; and being ordered by the king to dig to • wards the grotto formerly difcovered by Elbeuf, they found two confular ftatues of marble, one of which


[ 169 ]

was Auguftus ; afterwards fome brick pillars, painted with different co- lours ; and continuing the fearch, they fell on the theatre, which con- fifted of eighteen feats for the fpec- tators. It was incrufled with mar- ble, and beautified with pillars, fta- tues, and paintings.

I fhall not wafte time in defcrib- ing the many fine ftatues already found : I cannot however omit men«  tioning an equeftrian one of marble, with the following infcription on the pedefkal,





The connoiffeurs fay, that this fta- tue is preferable to the fo much ce- lebrated

[ 170 ]

lebrated one at the capitol of M. Au- relius Antoninus, of Corinthian brafs. It is indeed more ancient, and per- haps the work of a more eminent mafter j but,

Non noftrum inter vos tantas com- ponere lites.

This fiatue of Balbns, and another of his father, which is now broke, were placed before the door of the theatre that fronted to the ftreet.

Satisfied that they had at laft dif- covered Herculaneum, they conti- nued to work on ; and near the the- atre they found another temple, de- dicated to Hercules. It has been difputed, if the ancients ufed to build temples fo near their theatres. The one here is a proof of the af- firmative j

[ I7X ]

hrmative ; and indeed altars have been erefted within theatres them- felves. Sacrifices preceded their games and plays, which were con- nected with, and made up part of their religious ceremonies. Here were got idols of feveral deities, par- ticularly one of Hercules of brafs, and all the inftruments proper for facri- fice.

The walls of this temple were painted in different compartments, reprefenting combats of wild beads, real and imaginary a>nimals, heads of Medufa, landfkips, views of houfes, and architedlure of various kinds. But what furprife every one, and are of infinite value in themfelves, are the hiftorical paintings. — One repre- fents a naked Thefeus, with a club in his


[ 172 ]

hand, a ring on his finger, and a fort of fcarf hanging at his fhoulder. Between his legs Jies the Minotaur naked, his body of a human figure, but his head horned Hke a bull. The head is entirely feen ; but the body goes back in a ftraight hne, and is finely fcre-fhortened. The hero is furrounded with three boys'; two of them kifs his hands, and the third gently embraces his left arm. A vir- gin modeftly touches the club ; which perhaps is Ariadne, or Phaedra. In the air is feen another figure, which denotes Vidtory ; and you can alfo obferve the volutes of the pillars that adorn the labyrinth. In a fecond w^e fee a woman fitting crowned with flowers. At her left fide is a bafket of fruits, and at her right a young Faunus playing on a pipe. Oppofite to the woman is a naked man with

[ X73 ]

a black beard, with a bow, quiver, and club ; behind him is another woman, who feems to fpeak to the firft ; and below, a child fucking a deer. The fubjedl of this pifture is probably the birth of Telephus, the fon of Hercules and Augea ; the lit- ing woman reprefenting Augea, the naked man Hercules, and the child Telephus, who was faid to be mira- culoufly nurfed by a deer. — A third reprefents Chiron, under the figure of the centaur, teaching young A- chilles mufic. A fourth is Mercury

giving Bacchus to the nurfe. But

it w®uld be tedious to defcribe all the pidures.

I do not pretend that all the paint- ings here found are equally good. Some df them are very bad. But furely the ones I have mentionecl,


[ ^74 1 and feveral others, cannot be over-va- lued, whether you confider the judici- ous compoGtioDj the accurate contour, or fine colouring. They will be fuf- ficient to demonftrate, that the an-^ cients excelled the moderns in paint- ing, as much as in fculpture and the other fine arts. And if fuch is the value of thefe pictures, what mufl: have been the works of Apelles, and the other m afters of Greece, fo re- nowned in ftory ? Though buried near lyco years, the colouring is as frefh as if painted a few years ago. But perhaps this is partly owing to the external air being fo effedually excluded. The king has caufed cut them off the walls, and put them in framiCs.

The moderns generally imagine, that the ancients ufed only four co- lours, viz. white, black, yellov/ and



red. But here they will fee both blue and green. The miftake has arifen from too ftridlly interpreting a paffage of Pliny (lib. 35. c. 7.) He fays indeed, that the painters in his time ufed thefe four colours ; but he does not fay, that they ufed thefe, and only thefe. It has been faid too, that the ancients did not underftand perfpedive. But the above paintings are clear evidence of the contrary. Vitruvius and Pliny ufe the word menfura for what we call perfpedive. For what elfe can mean that paflage of Pliny, when, meniioning Apelles, he fays, Non cedebat Amphioni de difpofitione, Afclepiodoro de men- furis ; hoc eft, quantum quid aequo diftare deberet ?

Proceeding with the work, they entered a ftreet with houfes on both


' [ 176 ]

fides. Some of them were incrufted with marble, and richly ornamented, the floors being generally pav^d with mofaic. Within the houfes they found dead bodies, m^edals, furniture, and things of all kinds. I was told that the bodicsjnouldered away when expofed to the air, I faw the whole utenfils of a kitchen, pots, pans, glafs bottles, fhapes for making pies, &c. In an oven they found a loaf ftill entire, and in earthen pots corn quite frefh*

It is impoflible for me to give you a catalogue of this vafi: treafure, which is daily increafing, and will ferve to clear up many difficulties concerning the hiftory, cuftoms, arts, and religious rites of the ancients. The king, proud of his colledion, has built a palace at Portici, where


[ 177 ] every thing found in Herculaneunl is preferved. A bold attempt, yoii will fay, to build a city where one formerly met with fuch a cataftro^ phe. But the philofophers of this country think, that the eruptions of Vefuvius will never again be fo confiderable, as it is fo wore out with daily belching up quantities of matter^ I was really aftonifhed to fee what Vollies of ftdnes and ful- phur it threw up, attended with a noife like that of many cannon,

I cantiot help regrettiilg the me- thod they have taken to clean out this city. Had they laid it operl from the top, we would have had the pleafure of feeing it as it former- ly flood • we v/ould have feen the difpofition of the flreets, temples, N &e.

[ 178 ] £cc. we would have feen the interior of the houfesj and a thoufand curio- fities we are now deprived of. But as the city Hes fo far belov/ ground, it would have been an im- menfe cxpence to have wrought in this manner. They have therefore falisfi^d themfelves with cleaning it out like a mine, by leaving a num- ber of pillars to fupport the roofj which is in danger of falling ; and in many places they have filled up the houfes they had once cleaned out, with the rubbifh they took from the adjacent ones. After v/anderlng fome hours with torches, I cannot fay I was able to form a diftind: no- tion of the (ituation of the houfesj ftreets, or any thing ; fuch v/as the confudon that reigned every where.


[ ^79 ]




XI PHI onus's epitome of DION, which makes particular mention of an earthquake that happened under the reign of Titus, attend- ed with a violent eruption of mount Vesuvius, by which the cities of Herculaneum and Pompeja were overwhelmed.

IN theautumnalfeafon,fomeftrange and frightful things happened in Campania, for all of a fudden there broke out a great jfire from Vefuvius. This mountain, which is near the fea-fliore of Naples, contains an un- exhauftible quantity of combuftible N 2 matter.

[ i8o ]

matter. At the time when the iire broke out, from the middle of it, the top was all of an equal height. On the outfide it did not burn, and there it continues entire ftill, the fummit retaining its ancient height ; but where the fire iffues forth it gra- dually becomes hollow^ as it fubfides, fo as to refemble an amphitheatre, if we may liken fmall things to great. Its fummit produces plenty of trees and vines. This circle enlarges daily by the fire which fmoaks in the day- time and burns clear in the night, as if they were offering up every kind of facrifice within the mountain, and it does fo continually, more or lefs. When any thing falls into it, it throws up afhes, and ftones too, if the wind blows hard. It likewife echoes and makes a lowing noife, as if it


C i8i ]

came through rifts and fecret air- vents, and was not pent up.

Such then is Vefuvius, and fuch its yearly appearances ; and although in comparifon with what has paft, they may feetn extraordinary to thefe people who are conftant fpedators, yet they will be looked on as trifling, compared with the prefent which we fhall now defcribe.

There appeared many great men exceeding the common fize of man- kind, and fuch as giants are defcrib- ed to be. They were fcen in the mountains and neighbouring coun- tries, and wandering up and down in the towns adjacent, and likewife in the air. After this there happen- ed a great drought from the extraor- dinary heat and violent earthquake, N 3 fo

[ i82 ] fo that the whole plains were dried up, and the tops of the hills fubfided. The noife under ground was like thunder, and on the furface of the earth it was like the lowing of cat- tle. The fea raged, the heavens re- founded, and an unufual noife was heard, as if mountains claflied to- gether. Then, for the firfl: time, ftones of an extraordinary fize were thrown out at the top, attended with fire and fmoak, fo that the air was darkened thereby, and the fun was hidden, as in the time of an eclipfe. Night fprung from day, and light from darknefs, and people imagined that the giants had rebell- ed, as images of them were feen in the fmoke, and the founding of trumpets was heard. Others thought that Chaos was come again, and that fhe general conflagration was at hand.


[ ^83 J

Thefe things made people run out of their houfes into the ftreets, and thofe who were in the ftreets go within doors. Thofe who were on fliip- board went afliore, and thefe on land went aboard, ei^ery one thinking that any fituation was better than their prefent one. And along with ail this, there were fuch quantities of afiies as poffeffcd all fpace, earth, fea, and air ; and wherever it hap- pened, it did hurt both to men, the cattle, and the grounds, and the fifhes, and all the birds were deftroy- ed. The two cities of Herciilaneum and Pompeja were entirely over- whelmed, while the people were lit- ing in the theatre. Such quantities of afhes were thrown out as to reach Africa, Syria, Egypt, and Rome ; and filled the air in tliis laPc place fo as. to darken the fun, and ftruck N 4 the

[ ^84]

the people with a panic for many days: Not being able to conjedure what all this meant, they imagined that nature was turned upfide down ; that the fun was loft in the earth ; and that the earth was gone up to Heaven. Although thefe afhes did little damage at that time to the Ro- man people, yet afterwards they brought on a direful peftilence*.

  • See Xiphilinus's epitome of Dion in Tito.


C ^85 ]


T A C I T U S\

YOUR requeft that I would fend you an account of my uncle's death, in order to tranfmit a more exad relation of it to pofterity, deferves my acknowledgments; for if this adion fhall be celebrated by your pen, the glory of it, I am well affured, will be rendered for ever il- luftrious. And notwithftanding he periflied by a misfortune, which, as it involved at the fame time a moft beautiful country in ruins, and de- ftroyed fo many populous cities, feems to promife him an everlafting remembrance ; notwithftanding he


  • See Pliny's letters, lib. vi. lett. 16.

[ i86 ]

has himfelf compofed many and laft- ing works, yet I am perfuaded, the mentioning of him in your immor- tal writings, wil! greatly contribute to eternize his name. Happy I ef- teem thofe to be, whom Providence has diftinguifhed with the abihties either of doing fuch adions as are worthy of being related, or of re- lating them in a manner worthy of being read; but doubly happy are they who are bleffed with both thefe uncommon talents : In the number of which my uncle, as his own writ- ings, and your hiftory will evidently prove, may juftly be ranked. It is with extreme willingnefs, therefore, I execute your commands ; and fhould indeed have claimed the tafk if you had not enjoined it. He was at that time with the fleet under his command at Mifenum. On the



24th of Augufl, about one in the afternoon J my mother defired him to obferve a cloud which appeared of a very unufual fize and fliape. He had juft returned from taking the beneiit of the fun, and after bathing himfelf in cold water, and taking a flight repaft, was retired to his ftudy : He immediately arofe, and went Qut upon an eminence from whence he might more diftinflly view this very uncommon appearance. It was not at that diftance difcerni- ble from what mountain this cloud iffuedj but it was found afterv/ards to afcend from mount Vefuvius.' I cannot give you a more exaft de- fcription of its figure, than by re- fembling it to that of a pine-tree, for it fhot up a great height in the forna of a trunk^ v/hich extended it-


t '88 }

felf at the top into fort of branchcSj,

occafioned, I imagine, either by a fudden guft of air that impelled it; the force of which decreafed as it ad- vanced upwards, or the cloud itfelf being preffed back again by its own weight, expanded in this manner: It appeared fometimes bright, and fometimes dark and fpotted, as it was either more or lefs impregnated with earth and cinders. This extra- ordinary phenomenon excited my uncle's philofophical curiofity to take a nearer view of it. He ordered a light veflel to be got ready, and gave me the liberty, if I thought proper, to attend him. I rather chofe to continue my ftudies ; for, as it hap- pened, he had given me an employ- ment of that kind. As he was com- ing out of the houfe he received a note from Recftina the w^ife of Baf-


[ '89 3

fus, who was in the utmoft alarm at the imminent danger which threaten- ed her ; for her Villa being fituated at the foot of mount Vefuvius, there was no way to efcape but by fea ; fhe earneftly intreated him therefore to come to her affiftance. He ac- cordingly changed his firft defign, and what he began with a philofo- phical, he purfued with an heroical turn of mind. He ordered the gal- lies to put to fea, and went himfelf on board with an intention of affift- ing not only Recftina, but feveral others ; for the villas ftand extreme- ly thick upon that beautiful coaft. When haftening to the place from whence others iled with the utmofl terror, he fleered his dire£t courfe to the point of danger, and with fo much calmnefs and prefenceof mind, as to be able to make and didate


[ 190 ] his obfervation^ upon the motion and figure of that dreadful fcene. He was now fo nigh the mountain, that the cinders, which grew thicker and hotter the nearer he approached, fell into the fhips, together with pumice- ftones, and black pieces of burning rock : They were iikewife in danger not only of being a-ground by the fudden retreat of the fea, but alfo from the vaft fragments w^hich rolled down from the mountain, and ob- ftruded all the fhore. Here he ftop- €d to confider whether he fhould re- turn back again ; to which the pilot adviiing him, ' Fortune', faid he, ' befriends the brave ; Carry me to ^ Pomponianus.' Pomponianus w^as then at Stabias, feparated by a gulf^ which the fea, after feveral infenfible windings, forms upon the fhore* He had already feut his baggage on

7 board j

[ ^9x 3

board ; for though he was not at that time in actual danger, yet be- ing within the view of it, and in- deed extremely near, if it fhould in the leaft encreafe, he was determin- ed to put to fea as foon as the wind fhould change. It was favourable, however, for carrying my uncle to Pomponianus, whom he found in the greateft confternation : He em- braced him with tendernefs, encou- raged and exhorted him to keep up his fpirits, and the more to diflipate his fears, he ordered, with an air of unconcern, the baths to be got ready; when after having bathed, he fat down to fupper with great chearful- nefs, or at leaft (what is equally he- roic) with all the appearance of it. In the mean while the eruption from mount Vefuvius flamed out in feve- ral places with much violence, which


[ 192 ]

the darknefs of the night contri- buted to render ftill more vifible and dreadful. But my uncle, in order to footh the apprehenfions of his friend, affured him it was only the burning of the villages, which the country people had abandoned to the flames : after this he retired to reft, and it is moft certain he was fo little difcompofed as to fall into a deep fleep ; for being pretty fat, and breathing hard, thofe who attended without adtually heard him fnorCi The court which led to his apart- ment being now almoft filled with ftones and afhes, if he had conti- nued there any time longer, it would have been impofUble for him to have made his way out ; it was thought proper therefore to awaken him. He got up, and went to Pomponianus and the reft of his company, who were


t 193 ]

tinconcerned enough to think of go- ing to bed. They confulted toge- ther whether it would be moil: pru- dent to truft to the houfes, v/hich now fhook from iide to lide with frequent and violent concufiions ; or fly to the open fields^ where the calr» cined ftones and cinders, though light indeed, yet fell in large fhow- ers, and threatened deftruclion. In this diftrefs they refolved for the fields, as the lefs dangerous fituatlon of the tv/o : A refolution which, while the reft of the company were hurried into by their fears, my un-^ cle embraced upon cool and delibe- rate confideration. They went out then, having pillows tied upon their heads with napkins ; and this was their whole defence againft the ftorm of ftones that fell round them. It was now day every where elfe, but O there

[ ^94 ] there a deeper darknefs prevailed than in the moft obfcure night; which however vv^as in feme degree difTipat- ed bv torches and other Hghts of va- rious kinds. They thought proper to go down farther upon the fhore, to obferve if they might fafely put out to fea, but they found the waves ftill run extremely high and boifte- rous. There my uncle having drank a draught or two of cold water, threw himfelf down upon a cloth which was fpread for him, when im- mediately the flames, and a ftrong fmell of fulphur, which was the fore-runner of them, difperfed the reft of the company, and obliged him to arife. He raifcd himfelf up with the afliftance of two of his fer- vants, amd inftantly fell down dead; fuffocated, as I conjecture, by fome grofs and noxious vapor, having al- ways

C -95]

\v^ays had weak lungs, and frequently fubjed to a difficulty of breathing. As foon as it was light again, which was not till the third day after this ilielancholy accident, his body was found entire, and without any marks of violence upon it, exadlly in the fame pofture that he fell, and look- ing more like a man afleep than dead. During all this time my mo- ther and i who were at Mifenum •

But as this has no connexion with your hiftory, fo your enquiry went no farther than concerning my un- cle's death ; with that therefore I will put an end to my letter : Suffer ihe only to add, that I have faith- fully related to you what I was either an eye-witnefs of myfelf, or received immediately after the accident hap- pened, and before there was time to vary the truth. You will chufe out

O 2 of

[ 196 ]

of this narrative fuch circumftances as iliall be moft fuitable to your pur- pofe : for there is a great difference betweeen what is proper for a letter, and an hiftory ; between writing to a friend, and writing to the pubHc. Farewel.

To Cornelius Tacitus*.

^TpHE letter which, in compliance -■- with your requeft, I v/rote to you concerning the death of my un- cle, has raifed, it feem?, your curio- fity to know what terrors and dan- gers attended me while I continued at Mifenum ; for there, I think, the account in my former broke off:

Though my fhock'd foul recoils, my tongue fhall tell.

  • Piiny*s Letters^ book vi. lett. 20.


[ 197 ]

My uncle having left us, I purfued the ftudies which prevented my go- ing with him, till it v/as time to bathe. After which I went to fup- per, and from thence to bed, where my fleep was greatly broken and dif- turbed. There had been for many days before fome fliocks of an earth- quake, which the lefs furprized us as they are extreriily frequent in Cam- pania ; but they were fo particular- ly violent that night, that they not only fhook every thing about us, but feemed indeed to threaten total de- ftrudion. My mother flew to my chamber, where flie found me riflng, in order to awaken her. Vv'e went out into a fmall court belonging to the houfe, which feparated the fea from the buildings. As I was at that time but eighteen years of age, I know not whether I fliould call O 3 my

[ 198 ]

my behaviour in this dangerous junc- ture, courage or rafhnefs ; but I took up Livy, and amufed myfelf with turning over that author, and even making extracts from him, as if all about me had been in full fe- curity. While we were in this pof- ture, a friend of my uncle's, who was juft come from Spain to pay him a vifit, joined us, and obferving me fitting by my mother with a book in my hand, greatly condemned her calmnefs, at the fame time that he reproved me for my carelefs fecurity: Neverthelefs I ftiil went on with my authon Though it was now morn- ing, the light was exceedingly faint and languid ; the buildings all around us tottered, and though we flood upon open ground, yet as the place was narrow and conjSned, there was 110 remaining there v/ithout certain


f J99

and great danger : We therefore re- folved to quit the town The peo- ple followed us in the utmoft con- llernationj and (as to a mind dif- trafled with terror, every fuggeftion feems more prudent than its own) preffed in great crouds about us in our way out. Being got at a con- venient difliance from the houfcs, we flood ftill, in the midfl; of a moft dangerous and dreadful fcene. The chariots vvhich we had ordered to be drawn out, were fo agitated back- wards and forwards though upon the moft level ground, that we could not keep them fteady, even by fupporting them with large ftones. The fea feemed to roll back upon itfelfj and to be driven from its banks by the convullive motion of the earth ; it is certain at leaft the fhore was confiderably enlarged, and O 4 fevtral

[ 200 ]

feveral fea animals were left upon It. On the other fide, a black and drcad-^ ful cloud burfting with an igneous Terpentine vapour, darted our a long train of fire, refembling flafhes of lightening, but much larger. Up- on this our Spanifh friend, whom I mentioned above, addreffing himfelf to my mother and me with greater warmth and earneftnefs : ^ If your ^ brother and your uncle,' faid he, ^ is fafe, he certainly wifhes you

  • may be fo too ; but if he perifhedj

^ it was his defire, no doubt, that ^ you might both furvive him : Why ^ therefore do you delay your efcape ^ a moment ?' We could never think of our own fafety, we faid, while we were uncertain o{ us. Hereupon our friend left us, and withdrew from the danger v/ith the utmoll: precipi- tatioOo Soon afterwards the cloud


[ 2^1 ]

feemed to defcend, and cover the whole ocean ; as indeed it entirely hid the iiland of Caprea, and the promontory of Mifenum. My mo- ther ftrongly conjured me to make my efcape at any rate, which as I was young, I might eafily do ; as for herfelfj (he faid, her age and corpulency rendered all attempts of that fort impoffible ; however fhe fliould willingly meet death, if flie could have the fatisfadion of feeing that fhe was not the occasion of mine. But I abfolutely refufed to leave her, and taking her by the hand, I led her on : fhe complied with great rc- ludance, and not without many re- proaches to herfelf for retarding my flight. The aflies now began to fall upon us, though in no great quan- tity. I turned my head, and oh- ferved behind us a thick fmoak, which


[ 202 ]

came rolling after us like a torrent I propofed while we had yet any light, to turn out of the high road, left fhe fhould be preffed to death in the dark, by the croud that fol- lowed us. We had fcarce ftepped out of the path, when a darknefs overfDread us, not like that of a cloudy night, or when there is no moon, but of a room when it is fliut up, and all the lights extind. No- thing then was to be heard but the fhrieks of women, the fcreams of children, and the cries of men ; fome calling for their children, others for their parents, others for their hufbands, and only diftinguifhing each other by their voices ; one la- menting his own fate, another that of his family ; fome wifhing to die, from the very fear of dying, fome lifting up thdr hands to the gods ;


[ 203 ]

but the greater part imagining that the laft and eternal night was come, which was to deftroy both the gods and the world together. Among thefe there are fome who augment- ed the real terrors by imaginary ones, and made the frighted multitude falfely believe that Mifenum was ac- tually in flames. At length a glim- mering light appeared, which we imagined to be rather the fore-run- ner of an approaching burft of flames, (as in truth it was) tlian the return of day : however, the flre fell at a diftance from us ; then again we were immerfed in thick darknefs, and a heavy fliower of aflies rained upon us, which we were obliged every now and then to fliake off, othcrwife we fhould have been cruflied and buried in the heap. 1 might boaft, that during ^11 thisfcene of horror, not a flgh or ex- 7 preflion

[ 204 ]

preflion of fear efcaped from me, had not my fupport been founded in that miferable^ though flrong confo- lation, that all mankind were in- volved in the fame calamity, and that I imagined I was periihing with the world itfelf At laft this dread- ful darknefs v/as diilipated by de- grees, like a cloud or fmoak ; tie real day returned, and even the Tun appeared, though very faintly, and as when an eclipfe is coming on. Every objed that prefented it: elf to cur eyes (which were extremely weakened) feemed changed, being covered over with whice afhes, as with a deep fnow. We returned to Mifenum, where we refrefhed our- felves as well as we could, and paf- fed an anxious night between hope and fear ; though indeed with a much larger fhare of the latter j for


[ 205 ] the earthquake ftill continued, while feveral enthufiaftic people ran up and down heightening their own and their friends calamities, by terrible predidions. However, my mother and I, notwithftanding the danger we had paffed, and that which ftill threatened us, had no thoughts of leaving the place, till we fhould re- ceive fome account of my uncle.

And now you will read this nar- rative without any view of inferting it in your hiftory, of which it is by no means worthy ; and indeed you muft impute it to your own requeft, if it fhall appear fcarce to deferve even the trouble of a letter. Fare-- weL





That ifTued from


In the Year 1751 ;

By Father D. J. Marca de la Torre, Correfpondent of the Academy of Sciences.

WE cannot too much com- mend thofe who take care to obferve the furprifing events in nature, and to tranfmit all the cir- cumftances of them to pofteri- ty. But, I have never approved of the practice of thofe v/ho join their own refledlions on the fubjed:, being


[ 207 ] perfuaded that it is not at all the bufinefs of an obferver to attempt to explain the effeds of which he has been eye-witnefs ; his duty is to de- fcribe faithfully what he hath feen, without adopting any fyftem or par- ticular opinion ; otherwife he may impofe upon the learned as well as the ignorant. In order to avoid this fault, I will exadly recount, as in a journal, all that I have obferved touching the laft torrent of fluid matter, which iiTued from one fide of mount Vefuvius.

Having gone to pafs the holidays with the marquis de Genzano, at Poggio-marino, fome miles from Ve- fuvius, I thought of viliting that ce- lebrated mountain, and communi- cated my delign to the marquis, who not only approved of my refolution,


[ 2o8 ]

but alfo provided me with all the means for putting it in execution, and ordered feveral of his domefticks to accompany me in the excurfion. Accordingly, I fet out on the 19th of Oftober, refolved to fatisfy my curiofity to the full. Having af- cended about half way to the fum- mit, I repofed myfelf in the very place, from whence, eight days af- ter, iffued the torrent of fire known by the name of Lava, without per- ceiving the leaft fymptom of fach an eruption. Continuing our route, we arrived at the fummit of the mountain, where we found a pit about a mile in circumference, and an hundred and twenty feet deep. There feemed to be nothing remark- able in this pit, but t!:e fmoke which was throwTi up from feme openings. A little lower I perceived fuch ano- ther

t 209 ]

thef pit, and towards the north, an hill fixty feet high quite hollow with- in, from whence iffued a continual fmoke. This is the fmoke which is every day feen to rife from the top of mount Vefuvius, when it is view- ed at a diftance. In the fpot from whence the fmoke arofe, I from time to time heard a violent hifling like that produced from melted metal when it palTes through a moift place.

At length, on Saturday Odober 23, about half an hour after five in the evening, fome fhocks of an earth- quake v/ere felt at Naples and Mafla de Somma, which is an hijl in the neighbourhood of Vefuvius. The preceding day, about half an hour after ten, the people of Ottajano, had heard a dreadful noife from the fide of Vefuvius ; which noife was P renewed

[ ^lo ]

renewed on Monday the 25t!]j about nine in the evening, and heard in feveral places ; then was feen to if- fue from the middle of Vefuvius, half a mile below its fummit, at a place that fronts the eaft, called Atrio del Cavallo, a fluid matter^ like melted glafs or metal, which de- fcending the mountain, towards the Tour du Greo, ran through a valley, and direded its courfe towards Le Maure, a piece of ground covered with wood, which belongs to the prince d'Ottajano. This matter roll- ed with fuch force, that on the 2,6th at noon, it had run four miles, the computed diftance between the place from whence it iflued, and the val- ley of Flufcio. That morning the weather was ferene, and a pretty cold north- eaft wind blew, whereas on the preceding days, the wind



was fontherly with rain. The tor«  rei>t being arrived at a place where the valley is 102 palms* in width, it ran iixty palms of ground in five minutes, and was two palms and a quarter high in front, and a little lower the height was augmented by half a palm ; then the torrent ran I J 5 palms of ground in nine mi- nutes. As this matter is of a thick conliflence, it does not run like wa- ter, which is extremely low in its an- terior part, but ail of a piece, hav- ing always a confiderable height in front, as 1 have obferved above. The furface of thefe forts of matter, is entirely covered with pumJce-flone, of the colour of iron dvoQ^ which

  • The Nejipolltan palm contains about ten

inches of France, fo that fubfiradllng the fixth part of a number of feet, they becom.e palms : For example, fixty palm.s make fifty feet.

p 2 -fall

[ 212 ]

fall to the bottom as the Lava ad- vances, and are infenfiibly kept un- derneath. They are of diiFerent fizes, and often followed by other larger ftones, fome of which are not yet calcined, while others are wholly fo, together with flints and a great quantity of earth or fand calcined. Sometimes likewife they are mixed with branches of trees, pieces of oak, See. which are carried along by the Lava. I do not believe that thefe foreign bodies are produced by the defpumation of the matter, as is the fcum of iron with which the Lava is covered ; I rather think they are pieces of rocks and other bodies, which the torrent hurries away, and which being light, fwim upon the furface. When the Lava meets with any obfcacle in its way, fuch as a rock or any other faxed body, it turns

aflde I

[ 213 1 afide and takes another courfe : wherefore, meeting with trees, it makes a compafs round, flops for a moment, rifes and at length runs away on one fide. Thefe trees fub- fift for fome time, without feeming to have received any apparent damage ; but, being foon reduced to charcoal in that part of the trunk which the matter had furrounded, they fall and float upon the furface, until being thoroughly dried, they kindle and are confumed. Care is generally taken to cut the trees in all places through which it is fuppofed the torrent will pafs, in order to fave them from its fury ; but as the trunks remain ftanding, it fets them on fire in its paflage ; fo that a flame is fcen to ifliie from among the pumice- ftpnes, though it is not violent, and P 3 the

[ 214 ]

the fame phenomenon is obferved in feveral parrs of the furface.

The Lava, in running, makes a conMniial noife; its courfe is not fo ra- pid, but that one may go before it at the dififirce of one or two fathoms : fo t' Rt he has an opportunity of mak- ing Lveral obfervations, and it ex- tends or contracts itfelf according to the width or narrownefs of the road.

But, to return to the obfervations which I made in the valley of Fluf- cio, thro' which the Lava paffed in a road 150 palms in length, its front, which was but 2 \ palms in height, encreafed to 3 | a little after ; it rofe to the height of four, on account of the great quantity of matter which was continually flowing from Vefu-


C 215 ]

vius, and in twelve minutes ran 115 palms of ground. Its height augmented fucceffively to 7 ^ palms, and having met with a fpace extend- ing 182 feet in width, it ran 117 palms in 1 6 minutes. The valley of Flufcio, in this place, ftretches to the left, into a road that leads to the country-houfe of M. Anthony Buonincontro, oppofite to le Maure, and from thence to a Fifh-pond of the territory of Bofco Regale ; and on the right, to a valley eighty palms deep, and upwards of fifty wide, called the valley of M. Anthony Bu- onincontro, becaufe it is in the neigh- bourhood of his houfe and le Maure. The Lava beino; come to the end of the valley of Flufcio, did not take the road to Buonincontro, or the Fifivpond, on account of an emi- P 4 nence

[ 2^6 ]

nence that was in its way, but about half an hour after eight in the even-- ing, precipitated itfeif into the val- ley on the right, having run half a mile of ground, fince noon. It di4 not fall in form of water, but like a foft pafte, being detached in diffe-? rent pieces ; nor did it make a great noife in its fall, although it was more loud than in its courfe through th^ valley of Flufcio.

Having filled the whole valley, at the diftance of feveral paces, it con- tinued its courfe. As this valley ends at the road which the Lava quitted, and ftretches out anew, under the country-houfe of Buon- incontro, forming with it a road that leads to the fifh-pond, the Lava, about nine in the evening, had ar- rived at the place where the two


[ 217 ]

roads meet, Inftead of taking that which goes to the fifli-pcnd, it turn- ed to the left, towards a fmall vil- lage, and directed its courfe through thefe lands, namely the territory of St. Maria Salone, and that of the ba- ron de Mafia, having run from nine in the evening till midnight, the third part of a mile. It afterward? pafled through the grounds of the baron de MafiTa, extending itfelf more and more till towards midnight ; then it began to contract itfelf and run flower, having made but 400 paces, from the village where it turned afide, to the road of Poggio-Marino, yhere it ftopt.

On the 27th, the wind being flili northerly, the Lava flackened in it% courfe ; fo that towards half an hour ^fter ii?f in the evening, it was op^



pofite to the Inn du Chene, com-^ monly called ]a Cercola a Babzani, upon the ground which leads to the Fifli-pond, which is between the vil- lage where it had turned afide, and Santa Maria Salome.

- Two caufcs contributed to mode- rate its impetuofity ; firft, it met with a plain where it had liberty to fink and extend itfelf; then the ftones that floated upon the furface, falling continually from its anterior part, and rifing feveral palms above its le- vel, greatly retarded its courfe : then it cooled by degrees, loft its fluidity, acquired a more folid confiftence, and confequently made Icfs way. The ground which it occupied in this place, was in w^idth, 900 common paces, or 1900 Neapolitan palms* Its height taken in fronts was in fome


[ 219 ]

places, nine palms, in fome ten, and in others twelve, according as the ground was more or lefs elevated. It was not only in the front, and at this place, that it cooled, but alfo upon the fides, and in the valley where it had precipitated itfelf the evening before. It likewife cooled from the front to the width of i8o palms, which was the extent of the ground that it occupied before it fell into the valley of Buon-incontro. It formed in that whole fpace, com- prehending that of the valley, a hill of pumice and other ftones, as high as the poplars that grew on the fpot.

As the Lava ftill received new matter from Vefuvius, it filled the whole valley of Flufcio to the place where it ftopt, continuing to drive before it, the hili of pumice-ftones,


[ 2 20 ]

which was feen from time to time, to tumble among the flames, advanc- ing towards the iheepfold of Buon- incontro, the houfe and road that leads to the Fifh-pond. A great part of this melted matter had opened a pafTage through the ftones in the val- ley of Buon-incontro, where it con- tinued to run v/ith great velocity, forming a continued rivulet to the bottom of the Lava, which had ftopt upon the lands of the baron de Mafia, about {cvQti a clock the preceding night. Having, about four in the af- ternoon, meafured the velocity of the current, in the middle of the Lava, at that part through which it difcharged itfelf into the valley of Buon-incontro, I found it ran 28 palms in one minute, on a front of 16 palms. The fame current meafurpd near the Inn du Chene^


[ 221 ]

where the defcent is much lefs, made' lo palms in a minute. The front of the Lava, on the baron de Mafia's grounds, which was 900 feet wide, diminifhed about three in the after- noon ; but being pufhed by the tor- rent that continued to defcend from Vefuvius, it lenthened out 94 paces, and made 50 paces on the baron*& ground, from three o'clock in the afternoon till nine in the evening. This current in the middle, extend- ing to right and left, began to pufh the matter which had ftopt near the Inn du Chene ; fo that in the fpace of three hours, it approached the road leading to the Fifh-pond, hav- ing run twenty common paces in that interval.

On the 28th, the wind being foutherly, the Lava advanced on the


[ 222 ]

fide towards the church of Santa Maria Salome, which is below the inn, without damaging the grounds belonging to it, and enlarged itfelf loo paces. The middle part, which, the day before, was 94 paces in width, lengthened out this day, and occupied 150 paces of ground. The part that was above the inn, ftopt, but that which was below, took the road to the FifL-pond : its courfe was afterwards interrupted, and, about four in the afternoon, the torrent continued its route through the val-- ley of Buon-incontro, running in the valley at the rate of 2 1 palms of ground, and near the inn, 10 palms and an half, in the Jpace of a minute. Then its froi}t advancing fcveral pacp in the valley, it pene- trated into the fheepfold, whiih is oppofite to the houfe, and took the 4 road

[ 223 J

road leading to the fifh-pond, and lodging that belongs to it ; it alfo made its way into two valleys which arc on the fide of the fheepfold, advanced feveral paces, and then Hopped.

The rain which fell upon the 29th, having hindered me from con- tinuing my route, I contented my- felf with obferving through a telef- cope, the Lava which dcfcended from the fteepeft part of the mountain, at fome diftance from its fource, I faw iffuing from it, a great quan- tity of ftones, which rolled amidft the torrent, with incredible impetuo- iity, and as they were of a black colour, I perfedlly diftinguifhed their motion in the midft of the flames.


[ 224 ]

On the 30th, the wind /Lifting to the north-eaft, the weather was ex- tremely cold and fairj the Lava leaving on the right the baron de Mafia's houfe, which is on the road from Bofco-Reale to Poggio-Marino, gained ground anew, after having ilopt for the fpace of twelve hours*

On the 31^5 the wind continuing north eafterly, the Lava flackened confiderably in the valley of Buon- incontro, running no more than eight palms in a minute ; it had taken the road to the fifh-pond^ and penetrated into an houfe next to the Inn. Having left the houfe of the baron de Maffa on the right, it con- tinued its courfe as far as the road that goes from Bofco-Reale to Pog- gio-Marino, after having over-turn- ed a fmall houfe in its v/ay ; it made


[ 225 ]

a compafs round two others, enter- ed one of them by the door, ad- vanced feme paces farther, and then ftopt.

The wind falling on the firfi: day of November, the current which had thrown itfeif into the valley of Buon-incontro, cooled externally and fkopt, although there was ftill fire underneath. It likewife ftopt on the road of Bofco-Reale, having run fo far from the valley of Flufcio, being 120 paces: I went to exa- mine its furface, faw fmoke iflue from feveral parts of it, and the whole covered with white flints ex- tremely acrid. I found feveral of them covered wdth fill ammoniacum, the fmell of which I had evidently perceived during the whole time of my obfervations, though it was mix-

[ 226 ]

ed with that cf the trees, which the Lava had burned in its courfe. We Hkevvife obferved, in the night, a flame like that of fuiphur, iffue from the furface of the Lava, but it was of fhort duration.

I did not examine the degree of heat in this matter, becaufe I v/as perfuaded that it is the fame with that of meked mptal, being no other than a compofition of the earthy, metalUne and mineral parts that form mount Vefuvius, which fermienting gradually by the aflifiance of fulphur, have melted and refined. When this matter ferments to fuch a degree, that it can no longer remain under the ftony cruft that forms the inte- rior plan of the mountain, it makes an effort, forces a paffage through the fides, and takes its courfe by


[ 227 ]

the deiccnt of the mountain. After it is entirely cooled it forms a ftone of a black colour, like that which is taken from the old Lava, in order to pave the flreets of Naples.

I fliall not pretend to defcribe the figure, quality, or fize, of the dif- ferent kinds of matter with which the furface of the Lava was covered; be- caufe that is morally impoffible. Any one may eafily conceive that this mat- ter is compofed of all the mineral and metalline parts that form Vefuvius^ and are of a difpofition to melt ; and that the mountain containing befides a great quantity of fulphur, the fur- face muft be covered with different kinds of bodies, fome of which re- femble iron-fcum, others an extreme- ly hard crufl ; and a third fort are of different fize and figure. For the 0^2 . fame

[ 228 ]

fame reafon I have omitted fpeaking of the lateral falls or ftreams that the principal current formed in the differ- ent parts of the country which it de- luged, together with the height to which the pumice-ftones and flints were thrown from the front and fides. Let is fuffice to obferve, that the Lava having occupied, the fecond day, a great extent of ground, that the in- flammable matter having diminiflied in heighth, and lofl part of its fluidi- ty, without ceaiing, however, to car- ry along with it abundance of cal- cined ftones and other bodies, it was fome time before it could continue its courfe ; and, during this interval, divers heaps of pumice-ftones and flints, raifed to a considerable height, were formed in. fcveral parts of the front and fides. At length, howr per^ frefl] matter arriving, had force


[ 229 ]

enough to drive from the front and fide, although with an unequal motion, the bodies which oppofed its paiTage.

When the Lava advanced in front, or to one fide, we faw the heaps of ftones fall, and the lire underneath appear ; fure figns that it began to put itfelf again in motion. In precipi- tating itfelf from thefe heaps of pu- mice-ilone, it made a noife like that which is heard when pieces of copper or glafs are jingled together. Thefe pumice-ftones, though full of pores, had a considerable weight, propor- tioned to their magnitude.

What attracted my chief attention w^ere two kindled torrents, formed by the matter of the firft Lava. One of thefe took its courfe on the other iide of that which I have mentioned,


[ 230 ] towards the wood of Ottajano, on the firft day of November, in the even- ing ; and the other, a few days af- ter, about the fixth, on this fide, in relpeft to thofe who were at Naples, above the Bofco-Trecafe, which is on the fame line with the Fifli-pond and Bofco-Reale. We have feen above, that the Lava of Bofco-Reale depo- fited in its courfe, ftones, calcined earth, and other bodies that floated on its furface ; and the fame thing happened when it quitted the fpot called Atrio del Cavallo. Forfeven days it threw up fuch a vaft quantity of matter, or pumice-ftones like the drofs of iron, that the whole ground was filled with them ; fo that the mat- ter ftill flowing from Vefuvius, was obliged to turn aflde in the evening of the fiift day of November towards Ottajano, and on the fixth towards 6 Bof^

[ 231 ] Bofco-Trecafe. It appears, therefore, that thcfe two torrents were no other than conliderable branches of the firft which took its courfe towards the Fiflh-pond and Bofco-Reale. I could not learn whether or not the matter which began to run on the firft day of November, iffued from the open- ing that was made on the twenty-fifth at night. I fhall, therefore, content myfelf with relating the obfervations communicated to me by thofe whom I fent to vifit the place from whence iffued the torrent that took its courfe towards Bofco-Trecafe. They found its fource feme fathoms lower than the firft opening ; but they perceived that the Lava iffued from that place. It w^as impoffible for them to difcover its firfl: fource, becaufe it was covered with an hard, continued vault, feve- ral fathoms in length, which refound-


[ 232 ]

ed when ftruck with a ftaff. The matter ran above like a river, ifTued through an opening v^hich it had made, and took its courfe towards Bofco Trecaie, tending towards the Fifh-pond, as well as the firfl: Lava» The mountain in this place was pierced by feveral holes. It follows from this obfervation, compared with the firft, that the matter not being able to iflue all at once, through the opening which it had made on the twenty-lifth of Oclober, efFeded an- other below, that it might have free room to difcharge itfelf

On the 2d day of November the wind fhifted to the fouth, with rain, and this weather continued 'till the i6th: but, the north w^ind return- ing, Vefuvius and the other m.oun- tains in the neighbourhood of Napjes,


[ 233 ]

were in the morning wholly covered with fnow.

After having gone about two miles in Bofco-Trecafe, I found the Lava about half a mile from its origin, or the vault of which I have fpoke above. It was partly cooled, but ran like that which I faw upon the eft ate of the Baron de Mafia. It was then upon the grounds of Caefar Vitelli. Hav- ing advanced fome paces, I perceived on one fide, among the pumice-ftones and other bodies that were already cooled, two openings, one of three palms and the other of four ; from each of which ififued aftream of melt- ed matter, covered with an hard, tranfparent cruft, which I attributed to the rain which then fell. About half an hour after five o' clock in the evening, having meafured the velo- city of the firft branch that was near- R eft

[ 234 ]

eft me, I found it ran eight palms in a minute. As thefe two branches joined at the diftance of fome palms from their origin, and formed a ftream of liquid matter four and twenty palms broad, that ran in the middle of the cooled Lava, and flackened in its courfe towards the grounds of Caefar Vitelli, I thought proper to meafure the velocity of this matter, as I could not meafure that of the other branch, on account of its diftance ; and I found that it made 15 palms of ground in a minute.

This torrent continued its courfe on the following days towards Bofco Trecafe, from whence it was but a mile diftant on the ninth day of No- vember*

That which ran towards Ottajano is not yet quite extinguiflied, and


[ 235 ] Continues to burn the trees of the for- refL This circum fiance proves that the mountain has not yet vomited up all the matter v/hich hath been amaiT- ed in its bowels for feveral years. The torrent which took its courfe towards Bofco-Trecafe did not flop 'till the 2 oth day of November. Dur- ing the whole courfe of my obferva- tions, Vefuvius threw up nothing but fome clouds of fmcke of different degrees of thicknefs, as is commonly the cafe every year.

On the 15th day of November I fent the people who had attended me to the fummit of Vefuvius, to fee if its interior plan had undergone any alteration ; and they reported, that they could not find the fummit which they had feen on the 19th of Odo- ber, but, in lieu of it, a profound R 2 gulph

[ 236 ] gulph or pit, throwing out fmokein- CefTantly ; at one fide of which was a deep canal feveral palms in breadth, which croffcd the furface, ftretching towards the place where Vefuvius was open. Defcending from the fummit of the mountain into the internal fur- face, they found the fame kind of matter as Lava, but open in feveral places, and filled with fulphur of different colours, as we have already obferved on the 19th of Odober, which was the day of the eruption. They found it warm in feveral places ; but, approaching the great gulph and canal to fee if they could difcover fire, they were prevented fromaccomplifh- ing their aim by the great clouds of fmoke.




DISSERTATION upon the Eruptions of Mount Vefuvius, p. 3

Difcovery of the City of Herculaneum, 1 2 Of the Theatre of Herculaneum, 15

The Theatre of Herculaneum compared with that of Marcellus at Rome, 21

Of the Theatre of Marcellus, 25

Of the Theatre at Vicenza, built by Pal- ladio, 27

Of a Public Edifice, fuppofed to be the Fo- rum of the City, and of two Temples contiguous to it, 3 1

Of the Tombs found at Herculaneum, 40 Of the Utenfils and other Curiofities found in the City of Herculaneum, 47


Of the Paintings and Pieces of Sculpture found in Herculaneum, sy



Hiftorical Pidures, p. 60

Pidures containing Figures of a middling

Size, 74

Pidures of Animals, 78

Pidtures compofed of very fmall Figures, 81 Paintings of Architedlure, 84

Painting in Brooch or Camayeux, 89

Marble Statues found in Hercuianeum, ' 91 Bronzes, 95

Bas Reliefs in Marble, 98

Reflcftions upon the State of Painting at

Herculaneum, 10 1


Of the Antiquities in the neighbourhood of

Naples, below Paufylipo, upon the Gulf

of Pouzzuoli, and at Bais, 115

"Of the Grotto of Paufylipo, iiy

Of the Grotto Del Cane, j 22

Of the Solfatara, '124

Of Pouzzoli, 127

Of Agrippa's Refervoir, commonly call'd the

Wonderful Fifli-pond, 133

Of the Tombs in the Elyfian Fields, 137

Of Agrippina's Tomb, 139

Of the Temple of Venus, vulgarly called

the Temple of Neptune, 142



Of the Temple of Mercury, P- H5

Of the Baths of Nero, and the Temple of Diana, 148

Of the Chambers of Venus, 151

Of the Catacombs of Naples, 1^4

Of the Amphitheatre of the ancient City of Capua, i^S

A Letter from a Gentleman at Naples, giv- ing a fhort Account of Herculaneum, 164 An Extradb from Xiphilinus's epitome of Dion, which makes particular mention of an earthquake that happened under the reign of Titus, attended with a violent eruption of mount Vefuvius, by which the cities of Herculaneum and Pompeja were overwhelmed, 179

Pliny *s Letters to Tacitus, 185 — 196

Defcription of a Torrent of Fire that iffued from Mount Vefuvius in the Year 1751,


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