ANCIENT RELICS SCATTERED.

Although the opportunities of travel in olden times re few, the wars in which the Romans were engaged, and the development of the lands they had conquered, are responsible for the widely scattered treasures of plate and other antiquities. Some of these were purely Greek in type, others were made by Greek artists under Roman control, and yet again there were those made by Roman artists, settled in colonies, who were not only influenced by the familiar forms of Greek objects but also by the / local surroundings amidst which they were situated. These objects are found in every country in which the Romans were settled, and also in countries in which there i is no evidence of any lengthy Roman occupation. Such treasures were no doubt carried by merchants and others who sometimes buried them for safety, or sold them to j those who in times of danger secreted them. Thus for the time being many treasures were lost, to be afterwards discovered. These things have been turned up by the plough and during excavations quite unexpectedly, and they have also been found when organised search has been made in likely places. The sites of known Roman stations and towns have, of course, been the most prolific in their yield, but not always so. Sometimes the discoveries have been made by workmen when digging drains and putting in foundations ; in times gone by the antiquarian was not so alert, and builders and their foremen were not so fully alive to the value of such finds as they are now, and many rare pieces perished or were sold for old metal value. Some were broken or damaged by careless handling ; some persons, t however, without knowing the real value of antiques kept them as curiosities and thus preserved them for a more appreciative generation. Military necessities have brought old antiquities to light in wars, old and new, on the Continent of Europe. It was when German soldiers were digging trenches in 1869 that the famous Hildesheimer plate, already referred to, was discovered. Mr. Pollen, in his book, " Gold and Silver Smiths' Work," in describing the replicas of the Hildesheimer treasure made by Cristafle, of Paris, for the South Kensington Museum, says that the treasure, which consisted of " dishes, ladles, fragments of tripods or table stands, and handles of cups and vases " was made in the first century of the Christian era. These wonderful vessels are indeed fine examples of the Roman silver and gold appointments then in use, the forms of which were evidently borrowed from the Greek, and some portions show traces of earlier inspirations. Although many of the discoveries of plate and its preservation is due to burial in times of trouble and war, some of the burials were made with the avowed intent of preventing anyone from ever obtaining them or making use of the possessions some great warrior or chieftain had gathered together. One of the most remarkable attempts to defeat the researches of the antiquarian of the future recorded in history is that of Alaric the Goth, who, according to legend, was buried with all his vast treasures, the result of robbery and plunder, in the place where the Tiber now flows. The funeral of the barbarian chieftain took place with pomp and ceremony, and his gold and silver was buried with him with all the superstitious dread of those barbarian hosts ; and then with immense labour the river close by was diverted, and if legend tells true the waters of the Tiber still flow over the rare ancient plate of Alaric the Goth-it may be recovered, who can tell ? for engineering science and skill grows apace. There must have been much buried treasure in the tombs of the Ancient Egyptians, and notwithstanding the discovery of many historic cities and the temples and palaces of kings the sands of Egypt still cover vast possessions. The discoveries at Memphis which formed the subject of so many interesting lectures by Professor

Petrie some years ago, brought to light many valuable relics of ancient silverwork. One of these was a royal palaquin of solid silver, some portion being of gold, notably a representation of the goddess Hathor, wrought in gold, wearing a head-dress of bronze, inlaid with gold and blue enamel in emblematic design. In Roman times silver was commonly used in Italy to overlay large objects-indeed the metal was frequently employed for enriching and even covering furniture made of wood, thus mention is made by writers of "silver couches and chairs." Of these articles the most important works of early times have been attributed to the silver-smiths of the island of Delos. As already indicated, there are few examples of very early silver plate to be found outside museums, and even in the national collections authentic pieces of Greek and Roman silver are very few indeed. There are some few pieces of ancient Greek silver and gold plate in the British Museum, and several good examples of Roman silver. The Victoria and Albert Museum is rich in replicas of historic plate, the originals of which are to be found in the different Continental Museums of note ; and it has on view some beautiful electrotypes, representative of ancient Greek and Roman metal work, which have been found during excavations in Italy and other places of Roman occupation. A beautiful bowl, Gallo-Roman, shown there, is an electrotype ; the original, found at Chavurse, near Montcomet (Aisne) is in the British Museum. There is also an electrotype in the Victoria and Albert Museum of a jug of Roman workmanship, the original being in the Louvre, in Paris.