"The Forum is a plain in the middle of Rome, a kind of desert full of heaps of stone pits & though so near the habitations of men, it the most desolate place you can conceive. The ruins of temples stand & and around it, shattered columns & ranges of others complete, supporting cornices of exquisite workmanship, & vast vaults of shattered domes (laquearis) distinct with the regular compartments once filled with sculptures of ivory or brass. The temple of Jupiter & Concord, & Peace, & the Sun & the Moon, & Vesta are all within a short distance of this spot. Behold the wrecks of what a great nation once dedicated to the abstractions of the mind."
Percy Bysshe Shelly, Letter (December 1818)