Rome, 1868: the Arch of Drusus, defended by Bourbon soldiers!

Occasionally you see something online that really makes your eyes open.  This happened to me some time back, when I came across the following photographs on the excellent Roma Ieri Oggi website.  They depict the so-called Arch of Drusus, which stands just inside the massive Porto San Sebastiano in Rome.

This is simply amazing.  We see the modern street scene, but mingled with it the figures of little French-looking soldiers, all of them long dead, all belonging to an army which is forgotten.

History is famously written by the winners.  Well, these are the losers; the soldiers whom nobody wants to remember.  It is tremendously moving to see them.  They stand here, defending the papal state against the advancing forces of the northerners, soon to annex Rome to their new “Kingdom of Italy”.

The original photograph is this: