Giacomo Lauro, Antiquae urbis splendor (Rome, 1612-28).

Below is an image of Biblical prophecy included at the beginning of a pictorial work on Roman antiquities. It portrays a sequence of four monsters seen in a vision by the prophet Daniel, described thus:

In my vision at night ... four great beasts ... came up out of the sea. The first was like a lion, and it had the wings of an eagle ... . And there before me was a second beast which looked like a bear. It was raised up on one of its sides, and it had three ribs in its mouth between its teeth ... . After that, I looked, and there before me was another beast, one that looked like a leopard. And on its back it had four wings like those of a bird. This beast had four heads ... . After that ... I looked, and there before me was a fourth beast ... It had large iron teeth ... and it had ten horns. (Daniel VII, 2-8).

In the ensuing interpretation Daniel is informed that each beast represents one of four kingdoms on the earth, and that after the passing of the fourth and most terrible, an everlasting kingdom of saints will be established. The Roman civilization, whose ruins are portrayed in this volume, was located in this millenarian scheme as the last of the four beasts.