Ancient Rome in the Light of Recent Discoveries

Ancient Rome in the Light of Recent Discoveries

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Ancient Rome in the Light of Recent Discoveries

Ancient Rome in the Light of Recent Discoveries

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Excerpt

Very few persons who have not seen Italy and its capital since 1870 are acquainted with the revolution which is being accomplished in Rome in the department of public works. From the official statistics which have been kindly supplied to me, it appears that between January 1, 1872, and December 31, 1885, 82 miles of new streets have been opened, paved, drained, and built; new quarters have sprung up which cover an area of 1,158 acres; 3,094 houses have been built or enlarged, with an addition of 95,260 rooms; 135 million lire (27 million dollars) have been spent in works of public utility and general improvement; and the population, which fourteen years ago numbered 244,000 souls, exceeds now the considerable figure of 379,000.

I have not quoted these statistics with the desire to create a sensation amongst those who still believe Rome to be the "city of death," and Italy a "mere geographical expression." I quote them simply on account of their connection with the progress of Roman archæology, because, since it is impossible to turn up in Rome a handful of earth without coming upon some unexpected find, it is easy to understand what an amount of discoveries must have been made by turning up two hundred and seventy million cubic feet of that land of promise.

I have not been able to ascertain the exact number of works of art and of antiquities brought to light by the gov-

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