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After this sample, short as it is, and the notice which we have given of the leading principle of the book, our readers will scarcely expect us to enter into an elaborate discussion of the author's tenets.
We have heard it said that reviewers are apt to be out of humour with a defective table of contents: but we are here presented with one that is sufficiently explicit to pacify the most querulous of our fraternity. The greater divisions of the book (to say nothing of its minor partitions,) amount to the number of sixty; and in the table des matieres, one or more explanatory lines are allotted to the contents of each page. The author appears to have formed no slight estimate of the interest of his book to the political and literary world. He presents his readers with two commendatory epistles from Vienna and Oxford; and he concludes his labours with a warn ing of the danger that would attend the publication of any surreptitious edition: an attempt of which, in our humble opinion, he needs not feel any dread. On the score of erudition and of perspicuity of style, he is intitled to a degree of favourable testimony, which we can by no means bestow on his arguments and conclusions.
ART. XI. L'Intérieur de l'Ancienne Rome, &c.; i. e. The Interior of Antient Rome; or a Notice of the principal Monuments of that City, and of the Customs observed among the Romans, &c. By A. F. PORNIN, Ex-Director of the Secondary School. Svo. pp. 190. Paris. 1809. London, Deconchy. Price 6s. sewed.
HE best book extant on the antiquities of any nation is perhaps Potter's Archeologia Græca. It is not only accurate and copious in information, but pleasant in style, and may be perused as well as consulted. Kennett's "Roman Antiquities" also possessed this latter quality: but Kennett was either unable, or not diligent enough, to give. a full and exact account of his subject. Dr. Adam, on the contrary, (in his "Roman Antiquities,") is correctness itself, and minute even to tediousness, as far as he examines Roman customs: but his frequent and dry references to page, chapter, and verse, and the total want of the agrémens of quotation throughout his learned volume, render the book a mere student's vade-mecum, and induce the lover of Roman literature to adopt the more superficial but more entertaining work of Kennett, in preference to its duller and deeper companion.
In general, the French excel us in compositions of this na ture. Their abstracts, their epitomes, their books, in a word, for learners,- are more attractive than our own. The "Private Life of the Romans" (our translation of which has become, we believe, a scarce book,) was a charming little composition,
from which no reader could rise without improvement: in so popular and intelligible a manner did it lay before us the daily habits, customs, occupations, and amusements of the masters of the world. The present volume is by no means deficient in utility, nor in entertainment: but it is merely a book of reference (as the author confesses) for school-boys; and as such, with some particular exceptions in regard to its accuracy, and with a general objection to its incomplete view of the subject. proposed, (namely the antiquities of Rome,) we shall venture to recommend it to the use of French academies.
The quotations are well-chosen, and given at length; a practice which we highly approve. A number of barren figures, and abbreviated names, may or may not shew learning in the writer: but short and apposite extracts from classical books must convey instruction in an engaging manner to the youthful scholar, and exercise his memory at the same time that they add to his knowlege and improve his taste. To the end of the volume is subjoined a short alphabetical index; which should always accompany works of this nature.
As no very favourable specimen of the author's accuracy in the execution of this humble but generally useful little book, we extract a passage from the brief account of the Gladiators:
"When a Gladiator was wounded, the people cried out, bac habet; "he has it." This custom induced Virgil to put these words into the mouth of Messapus, when he wounds Aulestes with his spear,
"Hac habet: hæc melior magnis data Victima Divis." Æn.xii. v. 296. It depended on the people, and sometimes upon the person who bore the expence of the exhibition, to grant or to refuse life to the wounded Gladiator. They had only to press down the thumb to save this unfortunate wretch, or to turn it up, to ordain his death."
The writer has here confounded the two customs. Juvenal would have reminded him,
"PRESSO pollice vulgi
Quemlibet OCCIDUNT populariter :”
but perhaps here is some mistake of the press, since we observe at page 35 a Scazon iambic attributed to a writer of hexameters, and yet in such a way as to shew that Martial was intended though Juvenal is mentioned; and several obvious false prints occur in the volume.
Considerable trouble has been taken by M. PORNIN with the Roman Calendar; and altogether, though the book by no means fulfils the promise of the title-page, we think that it may be placed in the hands of the school-boy with considerable advantage. Its chief merit, indeed, lies in counting a hundred with tolerable precision.
To the REMARKABLE PASSAGES in this Volume.
ACADEMY, of Plato, state of
under his different succes-
-, French, historical
particulars of, 518.
Acid, Uric, See Brande.
Alkaline metals, experiments in,
Allthochte, Scotch, or Although,
ture, remarks on, 77-83.
Balance, See Money-balance.
payments in cash,and on Country-
Directors of, their com-
Bankers, customs of, See Charge,
Bank stock, rise of dividends on,
Bar, and its derivatives, etymo-
Barlow, Sir George, his differ-
ences with Mr. Petrie, at Ma-
count of the custom of, 28.
Bible, Polish, account of, 5.
--, E. V., his Cambridge
Bonfire, See Baylefire.
Bossuet's Exposition, &c. anec.
dotes relative to that work,
Bullion, observations on the high
Committee, their Report
Burrell, Mr., on a rare insect, and
Butler, Samuel, his prize poem on
communication with the Black-
Castile, old and new, account of
Caves, remarkable, at Honduras,
Caxton, Wm., the early printer,
Charge the), technical term for the
Christianity and Platonism, the
Cicero de Naturâ Deorum com-
Clovis, character of the Franks in
Coercion, See Government-
of Great Britain, and sugges-
Collyer, Dr., strictures on his
Colophon, city of, etymology of
its name, 241.
See Bank of
bute to his memory, 95.
etymology of that name, 239.
Earth, formation of, hypotheses
Equations, various modes of solv-
Eschke, Professor, account of his
Estremadura, statistical account
Eugene, Prince, view of the prin-