7 SEPTEMBER 1907, Page 27

The Lakes of Northern Italy. By Richard Bagot. (Methuen and

Co. 5s. net.)—Mr. Begot tells us that his book "is in no way intended to be a guide-book." The details about routes, hotels, &c., can easily be found elsewhere. Here the traveller may find some excellent suggestions as to what he should look for and how he should look. The author brings knowledge of classical and mediaeval history to the fulfilment of his task, and he has a keen appreciation of scenery, a sufficient knowledge of art ; in short, he has the qualifications of a traveller's friend. The book is a mutt urn in parvo, of a most convenient size, and full of well-chosen matter. Mr. Bagot maintains, we see, the thesis that philanthropic effort was more frequent in the Roman world in Imperial times than is commonly supposed. We have no wish to play the part of advocatus diabo/i in such a matter, and allow that there is something to be said for this contention. But the general tone of the literature of the age is adverse to the supposition of anything like a prevalent philanthropic temper. It is a little odd, by the way, to find Pliny's grant of a diploma to his wife Calpurnia, when she wished to go back to Italy, given as an instance of his care and thoughtfulness for others." A diploma was a free pass ; quite possibly it was the only way in which Calpurnia could have got back speedily, but it saved money, and Pliny felt that he ought to apologise. Mr. Bagot could hardly have read Pliny's famous letter to Trajan about the Christians when he says that "he proceeds to bear tribute to their good works and general harmlessness as a body." He speaks of fiagitia cohaerentia nomini ; says that he sent off to execution those who persisted in avowing their religion ; speaks of their obstinacy and madness ; tells Trajan that he had tortured two deaconesses ; but had found nothing but superstitioneni pravam et immodicam. Thera is absolutely not a word about good works.