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T. G. Tucker

With such an unsatisfactory equipment of science, and with such a vague and morally inoperative religion, it was no wonder that the higher minds of the contemporary world turned to the study of philosophy. Of such studies there had been many schools or sects, but at this date we have chiefly to reckon with two - the Stoics and Epicureans. There were, it is true, the Academics, who disputed everything, and held no doctrine to be more true than its contrary. There were Eclectics, who picked and chose.

We are now brought to the consideration of the methods by which this huge empire was organised and governed.

It would be a more than agreeable task to deal at some length with the art of the Roman world of this period, but the subject is vast, and demands a treatise to itself. How general was the love of art - or at least the recognition of its place in life - must be obvious to those who have seen the great collections in Rome, gathered partly from the city itself and partly from the towns and country "villas" of Italy, and those in the National Museum at Naples, acquired mainly from the buried cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum.

In the year 64 the capital of the Roman Empire was, it is true, a large and splendid city and an "epitome of the world," but it had not yet reached either its zenith of splendour or its maximum, of size. Many of the largest and most sumptuous structures of which we possess the records, and in most cases the ruins, were not yet built or even contemplated. There was no Colosseum; there were no Baths of Trajan, Caracalla, or Diocletian. The Column of Trajan, still soaring in the Foro Traiano, and of Marcus Aurelius, now so conspicuous in the Piazza Colonna, are of a later date.

Whatever conceptions may have been entertained as to existence beyond the grave, there was no doubt in the Roman mind as to the claim of the dead to a proper burial and a worthy monument. It had once on a time been a matter of universal belief that the spirit which had departed from an unburied corpse could find no admittance to the company in the realms of Hades. It could not join "the majority" below. Originally no doubt the notion was simply that, as the body had not been consigned to the earth, the spirit also remained homeless above ground.

After this rapid walk through the more interesting parts of the capital, we may consider one or two connected topics of natural interest.

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