I will not pause here to dwell on the fact, that the period of Imperial rule in Rome bears, in its whole aspect, a stronger resemblance to the XIXth century than perhaps any other epoch before the Reformation; for, without reference to this internal affinity, we should be justified in using it for the purpose of Romance simply by the fact, that hardly another period has ever been equally full of the stirring conflict of purely human interest, and of dramatic contrasts in thought, feeling and purpose.
I must be permitted to add a word as to the notes.
I purposely avoided disturbing the reader of the story by references in the text, and indeed the narrative is perfectly intelligible without any explanation. The notes, in short, are not intended as explanatory, but merely to instruct the reader, and complete the picture; they also supply the sources, and give the evidence on which I have drawn. From this point of view they may have some interest for the general public, unfamiliar with the authorities.