[Footnote 42: The learned Greaves (vol. i. p. 329, 330, 331) has

found, by a diligent inquiry, that aurei of the Antonines weighed

one hundred and eighteen, and those of the fifth century only

sixty-eight, English grains. Majorian gives currency to all gold

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coin, excepting only the Gallic solidus, from its deficiency, not

in the weight, but in the standard.]

The spectator who casts a mournful view over the ruins of

ancient Rome, is tempted to accuse the memory of the Goths and

Vandals, for the mischief which they had neither leisure, nor

power, nor perhaps inclination, to perpetrate. The tempest of

war might strike some lofty turrets to the ground; but the

destruction which undermined the foundations of those massy

fabrics was prosecuted, slowly and silently, during a period of

ten centuries; and the motives of interest, that afterwards

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operated without shame or control, were severely checked by the

taste and spirit of the emperor Majorian. The decay of the city

had gradually impaired the value of the public works. The circus

and theatres might still excite, but they seldom gratified, the

desires of the people: the temples, which had escaped the zeal of

the Christians, were no longer inhabited, either by gods or men;

the diminished crowds of the Romans were lost in the immense

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space of their baths and porticos; and the stately libraries and

halls of justice became useless to an indolent generation, whose

repose was seldom disturbed, either by study or business. The

monuments of consular, or Imperial, greatness were no longer

revered, as the immortal glory of the capital: they were only

esteemed as an inexhaustible mine of materials, cheaper, and more

convenient than the distant quarry. Specious petitions were

continually addressed to the easy magistrates of Rome, which

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