WHEN I stand before such monuments as the Tower of London, or the walls of Chester, I cannot help mentally expressing a wish that the stones might become vocal, and echo some of the phases and incidents that have occurred since the day they left theMoreWHEN I stand before such monuments as the Tower of London, or the walls of Chester, I cannot help mentally expressing a wish that the stones might become vocal, and echo some of the phases and incidents that have occurred since the day they left the quarry to become mute witnesses of history.
So I felt when I watched the demolition of the Ghetto, or Jews quarter, in Rome. With the carting away of the debris there is an end to a district in the City of the Seven Hills full of classic and archaeological interest. It represents an unbroken history and tradition of upwards of two thousand years.
Whilst the present Roman citizens are only Romans from the fact of having been born, or being descended from those who for some generations have lived, in the metropolis of Italy, ethnologically they are so mixed up with Neapolitan, Longobardic, Vandal, Hun, and Gothic, as well as Spanish, Austro-German, and French infusions, that it would require a very powerful microscope to detect any original blood of the Roman of the republic or of the C sars.
The Roman Jews are the same family unchanged, and identically the same in race, as those that lived on the shores of the Tiber at the period of the 9 RECORDS OF THE JEIVS IN PIONE, Consuls. They still repeat their Hosanna, Selah, Amen, and dlleluia as they did when they first settled there more than two thousand years ago. If anyone mould have dared to tell a Patrician of ancient time that in subsequent ages his descendants would repeat with religious unction what they then called the unmeaning jargon of these tribal Jews, his predictions might have been subjected to the keenest ridicule.
The Roman aristocrats may have looked upon these early Palestiniansettlers in their city very much as now a resident in Hyde Park or Belgravia might upon a few Parsees who, though white men, have spiritual traditions differing altogether from those of the commonwealth.
Yet the Roman Jew has outlivecl the Consulate, the Empire, the Vandal and Gothic invasions, the supremacy of Charlemagne, the temporal power of the Popes has seen the rise of a Rienzi, the Avignon and Roman schism, the Napoleonic kingdom of Rome, the ephemeral Republic of 1848, the Austrian and French occupation, a Garibaldi and a Victor Emmanuel, with Rome once more the metropolis of Italy, -the final result of these changes and vicissitudes being that the political Roman world has to-day approached him, and extended him the hand of political equality, brotherhood, and citizenship.
Xotwithstanding the vear and tear, persecutions and sufferings of later centuries, the Roman Jews are certainly to-day as vigorous physically as ally other community in the capital, and according to reliable statistics their hygienic condition and longevity is undoubtedly higher, and they have a remarkable immunity from the distempers of a malarial climate and although in later centuries they were compelled to inhabit exclusively the most insalubrious and insanitary portion of the city, they have enjoyed average good health, have robust and vigorous AND THEIR INSCRIPTIONS FROM ANCIENT CATBCOJIBS.
3 progeny, and are proud, like our Anglo-Normans, of dating back to an ancient period of their history. I propose to sketch some of the phases and incidents in the life of this interesting colony in the Roman metropolis, not only from the traditional, congregational, and synagogal records, but from the epitaphs ofthe necrological inscriptions found in the Catacombs of Rome. Some of these, discovered lately, abound in historical and archzological interest...