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THE HISTORIANS’ 

HISTORY 
OF THE WORLD 







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HE HISTORIANS’ 
HISTORY OF THE 
WORLD . . . 


A COMPREHENSIVE NARRATIVE OF THE RISE AND 
DEVELOPMENT OF NATIONS AS RECORDED BY THE 

GREAT WRITERS OF ALL AGES 

EDITED BY HENRY SMITH WILLIAMS, LL.D. 


WITH THE COLLABORATION OF MANY SPECIALISTS 

AND WITH CONTRIBUTIONS BY 


Prof. Thoni&s IC Cheyne, Oxford Universi/j' 
Prof. Adolf Erman, University of Berlin 
Prof. Joseph Hal6vy, College of Frame 
Prof. C. W. C. Oman, Oxford University 
Prof. David H. Muller, University of Vienna 
Prof. Albert B. Hart, Harvard University 
Prof. Ulrich von Wilamowitz-Mbllendorlf, 
University of Berlin 

Oscar Browning, M.A., Cambridge University 
Prof. H. Marczali, University of Budapest 
Prof. Henry F. Pelham, Oxford University 
Prof. Alfred N. Rambaud, University of Paris 
Prof. Eduard Meyer, University of Berlin 
H. J. Mackinder, M.A., Director of the Loudon 
School of Economics 

Prof. Julius Wellhausen, University of Gottingen 
Prof. T. F. Tout, University of Manchester 
Prof. James X. Shotwell, Columbia University 
Prof. Franz X. von Krones, University of Graz 


Dr. J. Holland Rose, Cambridge University 
Prof. Adolf Hamack, University of Berlin 
Dr. James Gairdncr, C. B. , London 
Prof. I. Goldziher, University of Vienna 
Prof. Andrew C. McLaughlin, University of 
Chicago 

Prof. A. Vamb^ry, University of Budapest 
Capt Frank Brinkley, Tokio 
Prof. Otto Hirschfeld, University of Berlin 
Prof. .Wilhelm Soltau, Zabern University 
Hugh Chisholm, M.A., Editor of the ** Encyclo' 
pcedia Britannica ” 

Prof. Hermann Diels, University of Berlin 
G. F. Barwick, B.A., British Museum 
Prof. R. Koser, University of Berlin 
Dr. A. S. Rappoport, School of Oriental 
LanguageSy Paris 

Dr. Paul Bronnle, Royal Asiatic Society 
Prof. Theodor Noldeke, University of Strasburg 


IN TWENTY-FIVE VOLUMES^ VOL. VI 

LONDON 

2rtme$ 


1907 



Printed by R. & R- Ci.auk, Limiti : i>, 

Emnduroii. 


C*fyneht 1904. 1907. ty ffairy Smith mttiams. 


CONTENTS 


VOLUME VI 

THE EARLY ROMAN EMPIRE 

FAGS 

The Early Roman Empire : A Sketch, by Dr. Otto Hirschfeld 1 


INTRODUCTION 

The Scope, the Sources and the Chronology op the History of Imperial 

Rome 15 


CHAPTER XXIX 

The Empire and the Provinces (15 b.c.-14 a.d.) . . .25 

Augustus makes Egypt his private province, 43. Administration of the pro- 
vinces, 47. Army and navy under Augustus, 49. 


CHAPTER XXX 

The German People and the Empire (16 B.C.-19 a.d.) 56 

The German War of Independence against Rome, 59. The battle of Teutoburg 
Forest, 64. The campaigns of Gcrmanicus, 69. Victories of Germanicus, 71. Grue- 
some relics in Teutoburg Forest, 72. The return march, 72. Battling with Arminius, 
74. (]Jermanicus recalled to Rome, 76. End of Marboduus and Arminius, 76. 


CHAPTER XXXI 

The Age of Augustus ; Aspects op its Civiusation (30 B.C.-14 a.d.) 78 

Empire is peace, 78. Comparison between Augustus and Napoleon III, 80. 
The Roman Empire compared with modern England, 84. The Roman constitution, 
86. Augustus named imperator for life, 87. The imperator named Princeps Senatus 
and Pontifex Maximus, 88. Tightening the reins of power, 90. Panem et Circenses : 
Food and games, 91. Pauperising the masses, 92. Games : Gladiatorial contests, 
94. Races and theatricals, 96. Novum seculum : The new birth for Rome, 97. 
Literature of the Golden Age, 101. Merivale’s estimate of Livy, 107. Livy as the 
artistic limner of the Roman people, 109. The spirit of the times, 112. 



vin 


CONTENTS 


CHAPTER XXXII 


PAGE 


The Last Years of Augustus (21 b.c.-U a.d.) 



The personal characteristics of Augustus, 120. 
and influence of Augustus. 129 


A brief resume of the character 


CHAPTER XXXIII 

THE IMA.EDIATE SUCCESSORS OF AUGUSTUS : T.BERIUS, CaLIGULA. AND CLAUDIUS 

(1-1-54 A.D.) . • • • 

Tiberius (Tiberius Claudius Nero Coesar), 133. Expeditions of Gerraanicus ; 
Tiberius ( abet lus aia successful government by Tiberius, 134. 

Deltfof Germ^nrcus external Affairs, 136. Internal government, 142 . Velleius 
Lerculufeulogises Tiberius, 148. The fall of Sejanus 151. 

last days of Tiberius, 154. Suetonius characterises Tiberius 156. Meiivale s ^ 

mate of Tiberius, 157. The character of the times Tiberius 

Ctesar Caligula), 160. Suetonius describes Caligula, 163. 

Saudius Drusus Caisar), 168. The misdeeds of Messalma JJg 

The intrigues of Agrippina, 176. Tacitus describes the murdei CW>u®’ 

The character of Claudius, 179. The living Claudius eulogised by Seneca, 180. ihe 

dead Claudius satii'ised by Seneca, 181. 


CHAPTER XXXIV 


Nero ; Last Emperor of the House of C.®sar (54-68 a.d.) . . 184 

Nero (Claudius Cmsar Drusus Germanicus), 184. Corbulo and the East, 186. 
The Roman province of Britain, 188. The war with Boadicea, Queen of the Iceni, 
190. Britain again a peaceful province, 193. Burrus and Seneca, 194. Octavia put 
to death, 196. The great fire at Rome ; persecution of the Christians, 199. Con- 
spiracy met by cruelty and persecution, 202. Personal characteristics of Nero, accord- 
ing to Suetonius, 206. Merivale’s estimate of Nero and his times, 208. Nero in 
Greece, 215. Nero's return to Italy and triumphant entry into Rome, 218. Discon- 
tent in the provinces, 219. Galba is saluted imperator by his soldiei’s, 220. The 
death of Nero, 223. 


CHAPTER XXXV 

Galba, Otho, Vitellius, and the Three Flavians (68-96 a.d.) . 225 

Galba (Servius Sulpicius Galba), 225. Otho (M. Salvius Otho), 226. Vitellius 
(Aulus Vitellius), 228. Vespasian (T. Flavius Sabinus Vespasianus), 231. Vespasian 
performs miracles and sees a vision, according to Tacitus, 232. Vespasian returns 
to Rome, 233. Titus continues the Jewish war, 234. Josephus describes the return 
of Titus and the triumph, 236. The empire in peace, 240. Banishment and death 



CONTENTS 


IX 


of Helvidius, 241. Sabinusand Epponina, 242. Tlie character and end of Vespasian, 
243. A classical estimate of Vespasian, 244. Personality of Vespasian, 246. Titus 
(T. Flavius Sabin us Vespasianus II), 247. The destruction of Pompeii and Hercu- 
laneum, 250. Pliny’s account of the eruption, 253. Aj^ricola in Britain, 255. The 
death of Titus, 255. Domitian (Titus Flavius Domitianus), 257. Suetonius on the 
death and character of Domitian, 261. A retrospective glance over the government 
of the first century of Empire, 262. 


CHAPTER XXXVI 

PACE 

The Five Good Esiperors : Nerva to Marcus Aurelius (96-180 a.d.) 267 

Nerva (M. Cocceius Nerva), 267. Trajan (M. Ulpius Trajanus Crinitus), 268. 
The first Dacian war, 269. Trajan dictates terms to Decebalus, 271. The second 
Dacian war, 273. Oriental campaigns and death of Trajan, 274. The correspondence 
of Pliny and Trajan, 276. Trajan’s column, 277. Hadrian (P. ^lius Hadrianus), 
280. The varied endowments of Hadrian, 281. Hadrian’s tours, 282. Hadrian as 
builder and administrative reformer, 284. Personal traits and last days of Hadrian, 
286. Renan’s estimate of Hadrian, 288. Hadrian as patron of the arts, 289. Anto- 
ninus (Titus Aurelius Antoninus Pius). 290. Renan’s characterisation of Antoninus, 
292. Marcus Aurelius (M. .^Elius Aurelius Antoninus), 294. Tlie plague and tlie 
death of Verus, 296. Border wars, 296. The revolt of Avidius, 299. An imperial 
tour and a triumph, 300. Last campaigns and death of Aurelius, 303. Merivale 
compares Aurelius and Alfred the Great, 305. Gibbon’s estimate of Marcus Aurelius 
and of the age of the Antonines, 305. 


CHAPTER XXXVir 

The Pagan Creeds and the Rise of Christianity . . 307 

Stoicism and the Empire, 308. Christians and the Empire, 313. The Christian 
and the Jew, 315. Religious assemblies of the Christians, 317. Christianity and the 
law, 318. The infancy of the Church, 320. Persecutions under Nero, 321. Perse- 
cution under Trajan and the Antonines, 324. 


CHAPTER XXXVIII 

Aspects op Civilisation of the First Two Centuries of the Empire 329 

The spirit of the times, 329. Manners and customs, 335. Suppers and banquets, 
339. The circles, 342. Public readings, 345. Libraries and book-making, 346 The 
ceremony of a Roman marriage, 349. The status of women, 352. Paternal authority 
and adoption : The slavery of children, 356. The institution of slavery, 359. Games 
and recreations, 367. The Roman theatre and amphitheatre, 370. Sheppard’s esti- 
mate of the gladiatorial contest, 375. 



CONTENTS 


z 


CHAPTER XXXIX TAQIE 

A Half Century of Decline : Commodus to Alexander Seyekus 
^ (161-235 A.D.) . • • • ■ 

c_od„, sr., ..a a...h c 

Pertinax), 382. Julianas D>dius Aurelius Antoninus Cara- 

Severus), 385. Conquests ^ ^ 393 Elag-abalus (Narius Avibus Bas- 

calla). 391. Macrinus (M. and rei-n of Elagabalus. 396. Alexander 

period, 403. 

CHAPTER XL 

CONFUaStON WORSE CONFOUNDED : THE SECOND HaLF OF THE THIRD CENTURV^^ 

OF Empire (235-285 a.d.) . • • • • 

Maximin (C. Julius Verus Maximinus), 408. Rival emperors and the death of 

Maxirain 409 Pupienus (M. Clodius Pupien us Maximus), Balbinus p. Cselius B 

Decius (C Messius Quintus Trajanus Deems), 413. Gallus (C- ... Valp 

?aUu!) 414 ^mihanus (C. Julius ^milianus), 414. Valerian (P. Lic.mus Vale- 

rianus) and Gallienus (P. Licinius Gallienus), 415. GaUienus (P. Gal- 

lienus), 417. The thirty tyrants, 418. Claudius (M Aurelius , 

lian (L. Domitius Aurelianus), 421. Aurelian walls Rome and mvades the Ea^, 

422. Zosimus describes the defeat of Zenobia, 423. The fall of 

Aurelian quells revolts ; attempts reforms; is murdered, 426. Tacitus (M. ^lau Jus 

Tacitus), 427. Probus (M. Aurelius Probus), 428. The Isaurian robbers, 430. Carus, 

Numerianus and Carinus, 431. 


CHAPTER XLI 

New Hope for the Empire : The Age of Diocletian and Constantine 

(286-337 A.D.) 433 

Diocletian appoints Maximian Co-Regent, 433. The fourfold division of power, 
434. Diocletian persecutes the Christians, 436. Abdication of Diocletian and Max- 
imian ; the two new Caesars, 437. Strife among the rulers, 438. Constantine wars 
with Maxentius, 439. Struggle between Constantine and Licinius, 442. The long 
truce between the emperors : Reforms of Constantine, 445. Constantine and la- 
cinius again at war, 447. Constantine besieges Byzantium, 448. Constantine, sole 
ruler, founds Constantinople, 450. The old metropolis and the new : Rome and Con- 
stantinople, 453. Character of Constantine the Gi'eat, 454. Constantine and 
Crispus, 457. The heirs of Constantine, 460. The aged Constantine and the Samari- 
tans, 462. Last days of Constantine, 465. 


CHAPTER XLII 

The Successors op Constantine to the Death op Julian (337-363 a.d.) . 466 

War of the Brother Emperoi’S, 469. Constantins and Magnentius, 470. Con- 
stantins sole emperor, 472. The fate of Gallus, 476. Constantins and Julian, 477. 



COKTKNTS 


XI 


The Quadian and Sarmatian wars, 478. Sapor's invasion of Mesojjotamia, 479. 
Julian in Gaul, 481. Julian repulses the Alamanni and the Franks, 483. Expedi- 
tion beyond the Rhine, 485. Julian as civic ruler, 488. The jealousy of Constan- 
tins, 488, Julian acclaimed Augustus, 491. Constantins versus Julian, 493. The 
death of Constantins; Julian sole empei*or, 497. The religion of Julian, 498. Julian 
invades the East, 499. A battle by the Tigris, 503. The pursuit of Sapor, 505. 
Julian's death, 508. 


CHAPTER XLIII 

PAOB 

Jovian to Theodosius (363-395 a.d.) . . . .510 

Election of Jovian (Flavius Claudius Jovianus), 510. Sapor assails the Romans, 
511. The humUiation of the Romans, 512. Valentiuian and Valens, 516. Invasion 
of the Goths in the East; battle of Hadrianopolis and death of Valens, 520. Valens 
marches against the Goths, 523. Theodosius named Augustus, 525, Virtues of 
Theodosius, 528. Tumult in Antioch. 529. Tlie sedition of Thessalonica, 531. 
Theodosius and Ambrose, 532. Last days of Theodosius, 534. 


CHAPTER XLIV 

The Division op the Empire (395^08 a.d.) . . .535 

Arcadius and Honorius succeed Theodosius, 535. Alaric invades Greece, 543. 


CHAPTER XLV 

The Goths in Italy (408-423 a.d.) . . . . 550 

Alaric invades Italy, 550. Honorius retires to Ravenna ; Attains named Em- 
peror, 656. Attains deposed ; Rome sacked by Alaric, 559. Death of Alaric ; suc- 
cession of AtawUlf, 564. Constantine and Gerontius ; Constantins, 566. 


CHAPTER XLVI 

The Huns and the Vandals (423-455 a.d.) . . . .572 

The Gothic historian Jordanes on the battle of Chalons, 587. The invasion of 
Italy ; the foundation of Venice, 591. The retreat of Attila, 592. 


CHAPTER XLVII 

The Fall op Rome (430-476 a.d.) .... 598 

The Barbarian Emperor-makers, 610. A review of the Barbarian advance, 618. 

A fulfilled augury, 623. Breysig’s observations on the fall of the Roman Empire 
in the West, 623. 



CONTENTS 


• • 
XU 


appendix a 


PACK 


History in Outune of Some Lesser 


Nations of 


Asia Minor (283 B.C.-17 A.D.) 626 


appendix B 

rr^ TTAmv Christian Church. By Dr. Adolf Harnack 629 

. ■■ ■■■■ ■■ » 

A General Bibuograhy of Roman History . 



ILLUSTRATIONS 


VOLUME VI 

?40B 

Theodor Mommsen Frontispiece 

Koman Trophies 1 

Roman Trophies 7 

Roman Trophies 

Roman Trophies 14 

Augustus 29 

Combat of Roman Galleys in the Flooded Arena Facing page 32 

Statue of Augustus in the Vatican 37 

Roman Emperor in the Dress of a General 41 

Roman Catapult 46 

Roman Ship with Scaling Ladder for attacking a Sea Wall 53 

A Lictor 65 

Drusus 61 

Early German Weapons 64 

Early German Weapons 65 

Arminius 66 

Roman Emperor in the Dress of a General 70 

A Roman Emperor 73 

Thusnelda at the Triumph of Germanicus Facing page 76 

A Roman Tripod 82 

Roman Matron . * 85 

Roman Door-knocker 89 

Roman Dice 92 

Roman Jackstones 93 

Roman Gladiator 95 

Statue of a Victorious Driver in the Games of the Circus 99 

Roman Compass 115 

Roman Death Mask 116 

Roman General wearing the Paludamentum 124 

Roman Gateway 133 

Tiberius 137 

Roman Empress 141 

Roman Lamp 146 

Roman Tripod 180 

Emperor in Military Tunic . . 188 

xiii 



ILLUSTRATIONS 


the 


Bells worn 


on 


XIV 


The Clauclian Aqueduct . 

Roman Soldier’s Method of fording a River, canymg h 

his Shield . - * ’ 

The Emperor Claudius 

Messallina . • * 

Ruin of the Aqueduct of Claudius 

Hadrian . » • • • • 

Seneca 

Nero 

A Centurion 

A Night Watchman of Rome, showing 

Roman Cavalryman 
Roman Bronze Kettle . 

Roman Method of Attack from Above 

A Centurion . . • ■ 

A Roman Slinger . 

The Death of Vitellius . 

Vespasian . . . • 

A Roman Empress 
Roman Tripod Candelabrum 
The Colosseum 
Interior of the Colosseum . 

Titus 

Columns of the Temple of J upiter, Rome 

Arch of Titus, Rome 
The Ruins of Pompeii . 

Trajan 

A Roman Emperor 

A Soldier 

Ruins of the Forum 
Ruins of the Temple of Venus, Rome 
Faustina, Wife of Antoninus Pius 
Marcus Aurelius .... 

Statue of Marcus Aurelius in the Capitol 
Bull prepared for Sacrifice . 

Roman Chair of State . 

The Pantheon 

Bowl used in Religious Services 
Roman Sarcophagus • 

Roman Door-keys . 

Roman Metal-worker . 

Roman Kitchen Utensils 
Roman Musical Instruments 
Roman Wrestlers . 

Roman Bath Implements 
Roman Dinner-table . • 

Roman Netting Needles . 


his Jacket 


PAOB 

. . . . 163 

• ♦ 

Arms and Clothing on 

166 
. 169 

173 
177 

Facing page 186 
. 181 
. 194 

. 199 

. 207 

. 213 

. 217 

. 221 
. 222 
. 228 

Facing page 230 

233 
. 236 

. 239 

. 241 

. 246 

. 248 

. 252 

. 256 

Facing page 264 
. 271 

. 275 

. 279 

. 283 

. 287 

. 290 

. 296 

. 299 

. 307 

. 309 

. 313 

. 316 

. 321 

. 325 

. 329 

. 330 

. 333 

. 337 

. 338 

. 340 

. 344 



ILLUSTKATIONS 


XV 


Head-Dresses 

Roman Terra-cotta Toy 
Roman Slave working in the Fields . 
Roman Fish-Hooks .... 

Roman Dolls 

Entrance to the Colosseum . 

Roman Lamp 

Roman Weights 

To the Tigers 

Peculiar Head-dress of a Standard-bearer 

Septimus Severus 

Roman General 

A Roman Matron 

Centurion in Street Costume, showing the 
The Campagna ... 

A Roman Helmet . . . . 

Weapons and Helmet of the Gauls 
Chair of State 

Portion of Roman Glass Mosaic Wall Deo 
Diocletian 

Constantine^s Defeat of Maxentius . 
Arch of Constantine, Rome . 

Roman General 

A Plebeian 

Roman Glassware 

Roman Spoons and Ladles . 

Roman Candelabrum .... 

Roman Coins 

Roman Galley 

A Roman Emperor 

Roman Knives 

A German Archer 

Roman Light Battering-ram . 

Prows of Roman War Galleys 
Sandals worn by Officers 
Prows of Roman War Galleys 

A Gothic Warrior 

The Palatine, Rome .... 

Roman Arms 

Roman Water Bottle .... 

Roman Lamp 

The Appian Way 

Gladiator's Helmet 

Roman Lamp 

Ruins of the Triumphal Arch of Drusus 
Roman Gold Bracelet .... 
Roman Chariot 


Decoration 


Way 


his 


Medals were Worn 


rAOE 

351 
. 355 

. 359 

. 362 

. 366 

. 369 

. 370 

. 374 

Facing page 374 

380 
. 386 

. 394 

. 398 

. 402 

. 410 

413 
- 415 

. 432 

. 433 

. 437 

Facing page 440 

443 
447 
451 
455 
459 
. 463 

465 
. 466 

. 469 

. 475 

. 485 

. 489 

. 492 

. 495 

. 619 

. ■ 523 
. 527 

. 630 

639 
. 542 

. 546 

. . 549 

. 553 

. 657 

. 661 
. . 572 



illustrations 

xvi 

A Hun 

Costume of a Goth Woman . • • • ^ ^ 

Ancient Spear heads • ■ • ‘ ^ 

GalUc Weapons ••••*** 

A Roman Coffer • * ‘ ’ 

Roman Terra-cotta Figures . • • ■ 

Roman Pin and Bracelet .•••*■ 

Costume of a Visigoth • • * ' 

Roman Pins and Bracelet . • • * ‘ * 

The Huns approaching Rome 
A Barbarian . ■ • ‘ ‘ * 

Roman Bracelet • • * * 

Roman Bath-scraper • • * 

— The Roman Empire 


PAOB 

674 
682 
687 
590 
693 
697 
601 
603 
616 

Farhu 

620 
625 
672 

Facing pagt 672 


Roman Trophie-; 


THE EARLY ROMAN EMPIRE: A SKETCH 


By Dr. OTTO HIRSCHFELD 

Professor of Ancient History in the University of Berlin 

The wor^ “ The Age of the Roman Empire is a period better abused 
than known,” written by Theodor Mommsen half a century ago, no longer 
contain a truth. To his own illuminative and epoch-making works we owe 
it, in the hrst instance, that this period, so long unduly neglected and depre- 
ciated, has come into the foreground of research within the last decade or 
two, and has enchained the interest of the educated world far beyond the 
narrow circle of professed scholars. Edward Gibbon, the only great histo- 
rian who had previously turned his attention to this particular field, and 
whose genius buUt up the brilliant Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire 
on the sure foundation laid ready to his hand by the vast industry of the 
French scholar Le Nain de Tillemont, chose to confine himself, as the title of 
his work declares, to giving a description of the period of its decay. By so 
doing he did much to confirm, though he did not originate, the idea that the 
whole epoch of the Roman Empire must be regarded as a period of deteriora- 
tion, and that the utmost to which it can lay claim is an interest of some- 
what pathological character, as being the connecting-link between antique 
and mediaeval times, and between the pagan and the Christian world. And 
when we look upon the picture sketched by that incomparable painter of the 
earlier days of the empire, Tacitus, where scarcely a gleam of light illumines 
tlm gloomy scene, we may well feel justified in the opinion that the only 
office of this period is to set forth to us the death-struggle of classical antiq- 

uit}’', and that no fresh fructifying seeds could spring from this process of 
corruption. 

And, as a matter of fact, it cannot be denied that even the best days of 
the Empire can hardly with truth be spoken of as the prime of Rome. There 
is a dearth of great names, such as abound in the history of Greece and the 
early history of Rome. Julius Caesar, the last truly imposing figure among 
the Romans, does not belong to it ; he laid the foundations of this new world, 
but he was not destined to finish his work, and not one of his successors came 
up to the standard of this great prototype. Individual character falls into the 

H. W. — VOL. VI. B 1 




the history of ROME 

background during emigre even the a^IccJurtTf^the^ per^d 

history becomes the history of the ^ can, in its essence, be noth- 


Christ. 


the wealth of roman inscriptions 


j 1 NTioRiibr whose enthusiastic and lifelong 
It is easy to understand brtorv of ancient Rome, should have coldly 
labours were devoted ^ial rule and cherished no desire to carry 

turned aside from the per‘O'1 Republic. Certainly it would be unjust to 

Si he concluded his lectures K®“^V“Siniug that in his heart of 
do no injustice to his por it is not possible to conjure up 

a mental picture of the tradition, tradition that is not 

scanty and century and fails us almost completely with 

sufficient even for ®® J;yith regard to the third. Nothing can 

regard to the second, and eve exhaustive study of monuments, 

make up for this deficiency ex i - Manibus literature, as he 

.„d, .„o'r. ..peci.l y, of “ pita of Ms many 

fd^Kren'rT; !!rCd,'''o’f do.opi. 

discrSted L it was by all sorts of forgeries. But when we see the 
insuperable difficulties with which a scholar of the first rank, like Barto 
lommeo Borghesi, had to contend in collecting and sifting the 
abundance of materials for the researches on the subject of the ^story o 
the empire, which he planned on so vast a scale and earried through with 
such admirable acumen ; when we see how the chief work of his life came 
to nought for lack of any firm standing-ground whatsoever, we can easily 
understand that Niebuhr should have preferred not to venture on such 

From every part of the earth where Roman feet have trod, tliese direct 
witnesses to the past arise from the grave in almost disquieting abundance : 
the inexhaustible soil of Rome and its immediate vicinity has already yielded 
more than thirty-five thousand stones; we possess more than thirty thousand 
from other parts of Italy; and the number of those bestowed upon by 
Africa, which was not opened up to research until the last century, is hardly 
smaller. Again, the Illyrian provinces, Dalmatia first and foremost, but 
Roumania, Bulgaria, and Servia, all in their degree, and even Bosnia, almost 
unkno^vn ground till a short time ago, have become rich mines of discovery 
in our own days, thanks to increased facilities of communication and to the 
civilisation which has made its way into those countries. 

There is, no doubt, much chaff that has attained to an unmerited lon- 
gevity in these stone archives, much that we would willingly let go by the 
board But one thing is certain : that only out of these materials — which 



SKETCH OF THE EARLY ROMAN EMPIRE 


3 


of late have been singularly supplemented by the masses of papyri dis- 
covered in Egypt — can a history of the Homan Empire be constructed ; and 
that any one who addresses himself to the solution of a problem of this kind 
without exact knowledge of them, though he were as great a man as 
Leoj)old von Ranke, must fall far short of the goal within reach. What 
can be done with such materials has been shown by Mommsen in the 
masterly description of the provinces from the time of Caesar to the reign of 
Diocletian, given in the fifth volume of his History of Rome^ a volume 
which not only forms a worthy sequel to those Avhich preceded it, but in 
many respects marks an advance upon them, and makes us all the more 
painfully aware of the gap which we dare scarcely hope to see filled by his 
master hand. 


THE MEANING OF IMPERIAL ROMAN HISTORY 

What is the secret of the vivid interest which the Roman Empire awakens 
even in the minds of those who feel little drawn towards the study of antiq- 
uity ? It is, in the first place, undoubtedly because this period is in many 
respects more modern in character than any other of ancient times ; far 
more so than the Byzantine Empire or the Middle Ages. It is a period of 
transition, in which vast revolutions came about in politics and religion and 
the seed of a new civilisation was sown. Its true significance is not to be 
found in the creation of a world-wide empire. Republican Rome had already 
subdued the East in her inexorable advance ; Macedonia and Greece, Syria, 
Asia, Africa, and, finally, Egypt, had fallen into her hands before the setting 
up of the imperial throne. 

In the West, again, Spain and the south of Gaul had long been Roman 
when Julius Caesar started on the campaign which decided tlie future 
of Europe, and pushed the Roman frontier forward from the Rhone to the 
Rhine. The sway of Rome already extended over all the coasts of the Medi- 
terranean, and the accessions made to her dominions during the period of 
imperial rule were comparatively insignificant. The Danubian and Alpine 
provinces were won for the Roman Empire by Augustus, Britain Avas con- 
quered by Claudius, Dacia and Arabia by Trajan, beside the conquests which 
his successor immediately relinquished. Germania and the kingdom of Parthia 
permanently withstood the Roman onset, and the construction of the Upper 
Germanic and Rsetian lAmes by Domitian Avas an official recognition of the 
invincibility of the Germanic barbarians. The counsel of resignation, given 
by Augustus to his successors out of the fulness of his own bitter experience, 
warning them to keep the empire within its natural frontiers, I'.e., the Rhine, 
Danube, and Euphrates, was practically folloAved by them, and Hadrian did 
unquestionably right in breaking altogether with his predecessor’s policy of 
expansion and refusing to expose the waning might of the empire to a con- 
tinuous struggle to which it was no longer equal. 

The great work of the empire, therefore, was not to conquer a world 
but to weld one into an organic Avhole, to foster civilisation where it existed 
and to be the instrument of Graeco-Roman civilisation amongst the almost 
absolutely uncivilised nations admitted into the Orhis Romanus : and up to 
a certain point it actually accomplished this pacific mission, Avhich proceeded 
with hardly a pause even under the worst of tyrants. Its task, however, 
varied greatly in various parts of its world-wide field. 

In^ the East, permeated with Greek culture, though by no means dena- 
tionalised, the Romans scarcely made an attempt to enter into competition 



THE HISTORY OF ROME 


part there 


t there. , . , fl^,iri<;hpd in this soil during the days of 

The art and litepture Greek in form and substance as 

empire are, with insipifican centres of culture in the East, m 

in the preceding o' /government and the Roman army have 

Antioch and Alexandria, the Koman g suppose that they pro- 
left visible traces, but Grffico-Oriental character of 

those cities. Ephesus, the or Pergamus. The only 

exception is l?«ytus, ‘ the Latm 1 ^ j colonists were Roman 

there, in the Coloma .lulia ‘f Vurisprudence, where Ulpian, the 

legionaries, grew up "ve had his twining ; a school which 

great jurist of Syrian descen , J j-, £ Codex Theodosianus, and 

ministered abundant material to tlie ® ?*i^*;'\;“no-operate with him in 

guarantee of personal safety, and the advancement of material piospeiity. 


roman influence in the west 

The case was very different in the West, where Rome was called upon to 

accomplish a great civilising mission, and where the ground 
pared for her in very few places by an indigenous^ civilisation. In the south 
of Gaul, indeed, the Greek colony of Massilia had for six ceiituiies been 
spreading the Greek language and character, Greek coinage and customs, by 
means of its factories, which extended as far as to Spam, and a home had thus 
been won for Hellenism on this favoured coast, as in southern Italy, t^sar, 
^vith the far-seeing policy that no sentimental considerations were suftered 

to confuse, was the first to break the dominion of the Greek city, which had 
so long been in close alliance with Rome, and so to point the way to the sys- 
tematic Romanisation of southern Gaul. 

The Phoenician and Iberian civilisation of Africa and Spain was even less 
capable of withstanding the irresistible advance of Rome. The names of 
cities and individuals have indeed survived there as witnesses to the past, and 
the Phoenician language held its ground in private life for centuries, but the 
Roman language and Roman customs made a conquest of both Africa 
and Spain in the course of the period of imperial rule. The same holds 
good, and in the same degree, of Dalmatia and Noricum, less decidedly of 
Rsetia and the Alpine provinces. In Moesia, where a vigorous Greek civili- 
sation had made itself at home in the trading stations on the Black Sea, the 
process of Romanisation was not completely successful, and in the north- 
eastern parts of Pannonia it was never seriously taken in hand. But even 
Dacia, though occupied at so late a date, and though the colonists settled 
there after the extermination or expulsion of its previous inhabitants were 
not Italians, but settlers from the most diverse parts of the Roman Empire, 
was permeated with Roman civilisation to an extent which is positively 
astonishing under the circumstances. 



SKETCH OF THE EARLY ROMAN EMPIRE 5 

In Britain alone the Romanising process pi'oved altogether futile, in spite 
of the exertions of Agricola, and the country remained permanently a great 
military camp, in which the development of town life never advanced beyond 
the rudimentary stage. Even in Gaul, which had been conquered by Caesar, 
it proceeded with varying success in the various parts of the country, making 
most headway in Aquitaine, though not till late, and less even in middle 
Gaul, where the Roman colony of Lugduuum, the metropolis of the three 
Gallic provinces, alone reflected the image of Rome in the north. But even 
at Augustodunum (Autun), which was a centre of learning in the early days 
of the empire no less than at the point of transition from the third century 
to the fourth, Roman civilisation reached the lower ranks of the population 
as little as in other parts of Gaul. Aloreover, in the Gallic provinces, which 
were conquered by Caesar but not organised by his far-seeing political genius, 
the old civitates and pagi were not superseded, as in the Narbonensis, by 
the Italian municipal system, and the Celtic language did not wholly die 
out in middle Gaul till the time of the Franks. 

The civilisation of western Belgica was even more meagre ; while in the 
eastern portions of the country, in the fertile valleys of the Moselle and 
Saar, thickly studded with villas, we come upon a curious mixed Gallico- 
Roman civilisation of which the graceful descriptions of Ausonius and the 
lifelike sculptures of the Igel column, and the Neumagen bas-relief afford us 
a lively picture. 

Treves, above all, bears witness to the vigour of Roman civilisation in 
these parts, though it did not attain its full development until the fourth 
century. The Romanising of Gaul would no doubt have proceeded far more 
energetically had not the country been emptied of Roman troops from the 
time it was conquered. The immense efficacy of the Roman legions as 
agents of civilisation has been demonstrated — even more clearly than on the 
Danube — on the banks of the Rhine, where the Roman civilisation which 
centred about the great camp-cities struck deep root, although it had not 
strength to survive the fierce storms of the wandering nations which have 
since raged over that region. 

The value of the Roman work of civilisation was most profoundly realised 
by those who witnessed it in their own country, and no writer has given 
more eloquent expression to this feeling than a late Gallic poet in the verses 
in which he extols the blessings of Roman rule : 

“ Fecisti patriam diversis gentibus unam: 

Profuit invitis, te dominante, capi; 

Cumque offers victis propria consortia juris, 

Urbem fecisti, quod prius Orbis erat.” 

But what Rome did for these countries was repaid her a hundred-fold. 
No country took so prominent a part in the literature of the empire as Spain. 
She gave birth to the two Senecas, to Lucan, Martial, and Quintilian (not to 
speak of lesser men) ; that is to say to the originator of modern prose and 
the champion of Ciceronian classicism. From Africa come the versatile Apu- 
leius and the pedantic Fronto, as well as the eloquent apologists of Christi- 
anity, TertuUian, C3'^prian, and Augustine. Gaul early exercised a strong 
influence on the development of rhetoric, and in the latter days of the 
empire became a seat of Roman poetic art and study. Even more striking 
is the fact that Spain and Africa gave birth to Trajan, Hadrian, and Septimius 
Seyerus, men who, widely as they differed in character and purpose, were the 
principal factors in the evolution of the empire. 



6 


the history of ROME 


CONSTUUCTIVE FORCES OF THE EMPIRE 

Had the age of the 

would not have had the strengt i ‘ ^ And as a ma,tter ot 

is practically operative in ^ ^ an assertion, witnessing as it does, 

fact, nothing can be less peHod in question. Rather must we 

to a very slight acquaintance with the peno I3 the task; a new 

say that republican Rome would no 1 . e q abroad, 

entire had to arise, «P0«/ JrolecSon and security throughout the 
assuring and guaranteein g. P mission. The Roman body politic 

world, in order to accomplish tins pacihc veign of half a century 

was in the throes of does not bear the stamp of genius, 

Augustus created it anew, ai f ^ ^ certain incompleteness, yet 

if we cannot exonerate R f o™ ^ ® ^ ij.e together for three centu- 

with slight modifications it held t'le Ro P 8 ^ longer, 

ries, and%tood the test of prac ical of hi-s great projects, he would 

had he been destined to see the le^lisatmn more homogeneous 

no doubt have built up a ^ i -i it ^vould have proved equally 

its obsequies had^been celebrated on the fields of Fharsalia and 1 hilippi. 
After the battle of Actium, which merely decided 33 tre 

o? ?re new Ipire should lie in the East or the West, the only question 
which could arise was that of the form, not of the essential cliaracter, of the 


tion 

"^'xhere'can be no doubt that Julius Ciesar would have ascended the throne 
of Rome as absolute imperator after his return from the Parthian expedition, 
and Octavian as well had it in his power to claim sovereignty without limitation 
of any kind, for the whole army and fleet were under his command ; but He 
rested content with a more modest title and took the reins of government, 
not as imperator but as princeps. He did not found a monarchy but a di- 
archy, as it has been aptly styled, in which the power was to be permanently 
divided between the emperor and the senate. It was a compromise with 
the old republic, a voluntary constitutional limitation of the sovereign pre- 
rogative by which all the rights pertaining to the people and the senate 
legislation no less than legal jurisdiction, the right of coinage no less than 
the levy of taxation, the disposal of the revenue and expenditure of the 
state, and finally (after the accession of Tiberius and ostensibly in com- 
pliance with a clause in the testamentary dispositions of Augustus), the ap- 
pointment of magistrates — were to appertain, under well-defined rules, in 
part to the princeps and in part to the senate. The empire was to he elec- 
tive, as the old Roman monarchy had been ; the nomination to the throne 
was to proceed from the senate, but on the other hand the supreme command 



SKETCH OF THE EARLY ROMAN EMPIRE 


7 


of the army and fleet was vested in the emperor in virtue of his proconsular 
authority, which extended over all parts of the empire outside the limits 
of the city of Rome. The legions were quartered in the provinces under his 
jurisdiction, while in those governed by the senate, with a few exceptions 
which soon ceased to be, all that the governors had at their disposal was a 
very moderate force of auxiliary troops. 

We have no reason to doubt the honesty of Augustus’ intentions, but it is 
obvious that all the prerogatives of the senate insured it a fair share in the 
government only so long as the sovereign chose to respect them. The reign 
of terror under his successors sufficed to set in the most glaring light the 
absolute impotence of the senate when opposed to a despot, and overturned 



Roman Trophies 


the neatly balanced system of Augustus. It is easier, we cannot but confess, 
to blame the author of this sj'stem and to demonstrate its impracticability 
than to put a better in its place. For can it be supposed that if Augustus had 
set up an absolute monai*chy such as Csesar contemplated, the Romans would 
have been spared the tyranny of a Caligula or a Nero? Again, if Augustus 
had handed over to the senate even a share in the command of the army, 
would the empire have been so much as possible, or would he not immedi- 
ately have conjured up the demon of civil war? Nor was the co-operation 
of the senate in the government altogether a failure ; it proved salutary 
under emperors such as Nerva and his successors. The history of all ages 
goes to prove that chartered rights are of no avail against despots, and what 
guarantee is there in modern monarchies for the maintenance of a constitu- 
tion confirmed by oath, except the conscience of the sovereign, and, even more, 
the steadfast will of the nation, which will endure no curtailment of its rights? 


UNFULFILLED POSSIBILITIES 

But the Roman nation existed no more, and in the senate under the empire 
a Cineas would now have seen, not a council of kings, but, like the emperor 
Tiberius, an assemblage of men prepared to brook any form of servitude. 
If it had been possible to give legal representation to the Roman citizens 
in Italy and the romanised provinces, the system devised by Augustus might 
have been destined to enjoy a longer lease of life. The emperor Claudius, 
who had some sensible ideas intermingled with his follies, would have ad- 
mitted Gauls of noble birth to the senate, as Julius Csesar had done. We 
can read in Tacitus of the vehement opposition with which this proposal was 
received by the senators, who would not hear of any diminution of their 
exclusive class privileges ; and even the Spaniard Seneca has nothing but 
^-Dgry scorn for the defunct emperor who wanted to make the whole world a 
present of the rights of Roman citizenship and “ to see all Greeks, Gauls, 
Spaniards, and Britons, in the toga.” 


the history of ROME 

' A„a yet tHs would have the o^ly sap into^ 

decaviiiff organism, to maintain the y Wis and to bind the nations 

the government of the ^qwnrd^to the empire with indissoluble ties, 

which had been subdued by le Vespasian bestowed upon the 

It is true that by the J^f^^^^lsation of the country, the magis- 

whole of Spain as a town-councillors, of such cities as did 

trates, and after the sety^nt y admitted to the ranks of Roman 

not enjoy full rights of benefit to a limited circle only, 

citizens, a very sensible m ’ society became Roman citizens, 

b, .bW. .b. be. e erne « of pro.,e«l 

hull rights ot cilizensnip , Vigiles at Rome, and the 

when they entered the onen < S’* , discharge. But from the 

soldiers of the fleet and auxiliary :,„oorUnt privilege was not accorded, 
veign of Antoninus Pius ud^ confined, with few 

inSure), R wL“no longer felt as a political privilege but as the outcome of 
a greedy financial policy. 

REFORMS OF AUGUSTUS 


The reorganisation of the government by Augustus, open to 
it is in many respects, was a blessing to the Roman Empire. Ihe viev 
which prevailed under the republic, that the provinces had been conquered 
only to be sucked dry by senators and knights, governoi*s and tax-farmers, 
in league or in rivalry of greed (we have one example out of hundreds m 
Verres, condemned to immortality by the eloquence of Cicero), this view 
was laid aside with the advent of the empire, and even if extortion did not 
wholly cease in the senatorial provinces, yet the provincial administration of 
the first two centuries a.d. is infinitely superior to the systematic spoliation 
of the republic. The governors are no longer masters armed with absolute 
authority, constrained to extort money as fast as possible from the provin- 
cials committed to their charge in order to meet debts contracted by their 
own extravagance and, more especially, by that bribery of the populace 
which was indispensable to their advancement. They are officials under strict 
control, drawing from the government salaries fully sufficient to their needs. 
It was a measure imperatively called for by the altered circumstances of the 
time and fraught with most important consequences to create, as Augustus 
did, a class of salaried imperial officials and definitively break with the high- 
minded but wrong-headed principle of the republic by which the higher 
posts were bestowed as honorary appointments, and none but subordinate 
officials were paid, thus branding the latter with the stigma of servitude. 

It is true that the cautious reformer adopted into his new system of gov- 
ernment the old names and the offices which had come down from republi- 
can times, with the exception of the censorship and the dictatorship, which 
last had long been obsolete. But these were intended from the outset to lead 
but a phantom existence and to take no part in the great task of imperial 
administration. Augustus drew his own body of officials from the knightly 



SKETCH OF THE EARLY ROMAN Em^IRE 



class, and under the unpretentious titles of procurator and praefect practi- 
cally committed the whole administration of the empire to tlieir hands, 
reserving, apart from certain distinguished sinecures in Rome and Italy for 
the senators the prsefecture of the city, all the great governorships except 
Egypt, and the highest commands in the army. The handsome salaries — 
varying in the later days of the empire from £600 sterling to £3,600 
sterling — and the great influence attached to the procuratorial career, 
which opened the way to the lofty positions of prefect of Egypt and com- 
mander of the prsetorian guards at Rome, rendered the service ver^^ desirable 
and highly esteemed. 

While the high-born magistrates of the republic entered upon their one 
year’s tenure of office without any training whatsoever, and were, of course, 
obliged to rely upon the knowledge and trustworthiness of the permanent 
staff of clerks, recorders and cashiers in their department, there grew up 
under the empire a professional class of government officials who, schooled 
by years of experience and continuance in office and supported by a numer- 
ous staff recruited from the imperial freedmen and slaves, were in a position 
to cope \vitli the requirements of a world-wide empire. Tliese procurators, 
some as governors-in-chief of the smaller imperial provinces, some as assis- 
tants to the governors of the greater, watched over the interests of the public 
exchequer and the emperor’s private property, or looked after the imperial 
buildings and aqueducts, the imperial games, the mint, the corn supply of 
Rome and the alimentary institutions, the legacies left to the emperors, 
their castles and demesnes in Italy and abroad — in short, everything that 
fell within the vast and ever widening sphere of imperial government. Mean- 
while the exchequer of the senate dwindled and dwindled, till it finally came 
to be merely the exchequer of the city of Rome. 


Taxation Reforms 

The government department which underwent the most important change 
was that of taxation. And there, again, Augustus with the co-operation of 
his loyal colleague and friend Agrippa carried out the decisive reform which 
stood the test of time till at least the middle of the second century in spite 
of mismanagement and the exactions of despots, and secured the prosperity 
of the empire during that period. While the indirect taxes, the vectigalia^ 
continued in the main to be levied on the easy but (for the state and still 
more for its subjects) unprofitable plan of farming them out to companies of 
publicans, which had. come down from republican days — though the pub- 
licans were now placed under the strict supervision of the imperial procura- 
tors — the trihuta, which was assessed according to a fixed scale partly in 
money and partly in kind, the poll-tax and the land-tax were thenceforth 
levied directly by government officials, and the extortionate tax-farmers 
were finally banished from this most important branch of the public service. 

A necessary condition of such a reform was an accurate knowledge of 
the empire and its taxable capacity. The census of the whole world did not 
take place at one and the same time, as the apostle Luke supposed, but the 
census of Palestine which he records certainly formed part of the survey of 
the Roman Empire which was gradually proceeded with in the early days of 
imperial rule, and by which the extent of the country, the nature of the soil, 
and the number and social position of its inhabitants, were ascertained as a 
basis for taxation and recruiting. In an inscription found at Berytus an 



THE HISTORY OF ROME 
officsr record! tliM by the comm.i.d of 

r„Tk‘:‘;.ttri“.i''htrrplo,^^ 0„' .his .ro»bl.so™ bo-ioee. i.. .v.ry 

'“'A^'^dbg t' V t'r^iSd“\be^oC“feotd 

those who did not possess full g burden of the former fell upon all 

as a .nark of subject.o.r in conseque. ce which was most sparingly 

land in the provinces iinless by t j Italy, which was 

conferred, it was placed on the ® ultimately lost its immunity 

■liiSSS: '-rSS-;? rsH 

nuantities of ^receipt-shards (the so-called ostraca^ recently made m poyP 
havf already tlrrown some light upon the widely extended and complic^ed 
administration of the country, and we may hope for further instruction fiom 
the land of the Ptolemies, which exercised a stronger influence than any 

other upon the administration of the Roman Empire. i • v a *■ 

We^night say much more concerning the reforms by which Augustus 

and his successors transformed the character of \ 

organisation of tlie standing army practically created by whicli in 

mLifold formations compassed about the motley population of the universal 
empire of Rome with a firm bond ; of the imperial coinage which made the 
denarius and the Roman gold piece legal tender throughout the Romp 
world and either did away with local coinage or restricted it to Private cir- 
culation in the place where it was struck (with the sole exception ot Egypt, 
which occupied a peculiar position in this as in other respects) ; of the insti- 
tution of an imperial post, which, though it served almost exclusively the 
purposes of the magistrates and was long a heavy burden on the provincials, 
is nevertheless a landmark in the history of international communication ; 
of the opening up of remote provinces by the extended network of roads, 
on the milestones of which nearly all the emperors since Augustus inscribed 
their names, especially Trajan, Hadrian, Severus, and Caracalla; of the ali- 
mentary institutions originated by Nerva (one of the few government institu- 
tions for the public welfare in ancient times), which were intended to subserve 
both the maintenance of the citizen class and the furtherance of agriculture 
in Italy. We should gladly dwell upon the further development of 
Roman law by the council of state organised by Hadrian, after Augustus 
the greatest reformer on the imperial throne, and on the redaction of the 
edictum 'perpetuum carried out at his command by Salvius Julianus, whose 
full name and career we have but recently learned from an inscription found 
in Africa, which paved the way for a common law for the whole empire and 
prepared the great age of jurisprudence at the beginning of the third cen- 
tury, when the springs of creative power in art and literature were almost 
wholly dried up. But within the narrow limits of this brief survey we must 
refrain from this, as from a description of the prosperity and decline of the 
highly developed municipal life of the period, and a sketch of the history of 



SKETCH OF THE EARLY ROMAN EMPIRE 


11 


the empire at home and abroad, and of its intellectual life. One question, 
however, cannot be left altogether without answer — the question of the atti- 
tude of the imperial government towards alien religions, and, above all, 
towards Christianity. A detailed examination of the position of Christian- 
ity in the Roman Empire by the authority best qualified to speak on the 
subject ^ will be found in another part of this work, and I can therefore con- 
fine myself in this place to a brief notice. 


THE EMPIRE AND THE PAGAN CREED 

Paganism is essentially tolerant, and the Romans always extended a 
full measure of this toleration to the religions of the nations they conquered. 
The early custom of transferring to Rome the tutelary divinity of any 
conquered city in the vicinity is a practical expression of the view that any 
addition to the Roman pantheon (which had begun to grow into a Greeco- 
Roman pantheon by the admittance of Apollo and the Sibyls and had actually 
been such since the war with Hannibal) must be regarded simply as an 
addition to the divine patrons of Rome. In the main this view was adhered 
to under the empire, although Augustus formulated more definitely the 
idea of a Roman state religion and closed the circle of gods to whom 
worship was due on the part of the state. But we have evidence of the 
spirit of tolerance and the capacity for assimilation characteristic of the age 
in the wide dissemination of the Egyptian cults of Isis and Serapis, especially 
in the upper ranks of society, and still more in the worship — deep rooted 
among the masses and spread abroad over the greatest part of the earth — of 
the Persian Mithras, whom Diocletian and his co-regents praised in the great 
Danubian camp of Caruntum as the patron of their dominion. Even the Phoe- 
nician gods of Africa and the Celtic gods of Gaul and the Danube provinces 
were allowed to survive by identification with Roman divinities of a some- 
what similar character, and in the outlandish surnames bestowed upon the 
latter; although the names of the great Celtic divinities disappear from the 
monuments — a matter in which the government undoubtedly had a hand. So 
many barbarians, says Lucian the scoffer, have made their way into Olympus 
that they have ousted the old gods from their places, and ambrosia and 
nectar have become scanty by reason of the crowd of topers ; and he makes 
Zeus resolve upon a thorough clearance, in order unrelentingly to thrust forth 
from Olympus all who could not prove their title to that divine abode, even 
though they had a great temple on earth and there enjoyed divine honours. 

In view of the lengths to which the Romans carried the principle of giv- 
ing free course to every religion within the empire so long as its professors 
did not come into conflict with the government ofiScials or tend to form hot- 
beds of political intrigue, such as were the schools of the Druids, how did it 
come to pass that the Christian religion, and to a less extent the Jewish 
religion also, were assailed as hostile and dangerous to the state ? 

It is the collision between monotheism and polytheism, between the wor- 
ship of God and — from the Jewish and Christian point of view — the 
worship of idols. The great crime which Tacitus lays to the charge of 
the Jews, that which brought upon the Christian the imputation of atheism, 
was contempt for the gods, z.e., the gods of the Roman state. And this 
denial was not only aimed at the gods of the Roman pantheon ; it applied 

[} See Professor Hamack's article on Church and State on page 629.] 



the history of ROME 

ever Other religion they professed, bound to erec^^ conjointly with 

the capitals of the provmces, and ev^^ and West, demanded that supreme 

and above all other gods, in hot < lovaltv. To refuse this was 

veneration whicli constituted t le uc ~ , malestatis, and prosecuted 

„eo.»ri.y 

as such. It is true rn.it mt. exercise their own religion on 



Kom\n Tkopiiif-s 


penalties were attached only to conversion to the Jewish 
El the case of Roman citizens. But it is evident that they very skilfully con- 
trived to avoid an open rupture with the worship of the emperor no less than 
with the national religion of Rome ; for history has no record of Jewish 
martyrs who suffered death for their faith under the empire. 


THE EMPIRE AND CHRISTIANITY 

It was otherwise with Christianity ; from the outset, and more particularly 
after the ministry of Paul, the great Apostle of the Gentiles, which deter- 
mined the whole course of its subsequent development, it had come foi'ward 
as a universal religion, circumscribed by no limitations of nationality and 
gaining proselytes throughout the whole world, an eccleaia militana, resolved 
to break down all barriers set up by human power and the rulers of this 
world in order to bear the new faith to victory. Here no lasting compromise 
was possible. After the reign of Trajan he who did not deny the faith and 
adore the pagan gods and the image of the emperor had to pay the penalty 
of an obduracy incomprehensible to the Roman magistrates, by death as a 
traitor. Singularly enough, it was this emperor, so averse to persecution 
and self-deification, who outlawed Christianity in the Roman Empire by the 
verdict that the Christians should not be hunted out, but, when informed 
against and convicted, should be punished unless they renounced their faith ; 
and most of his successors — though not without exceptions, among whom 
Hadrian, Severus Alexander, and Philip must be numbered — adopted the 
same line. It may be that even then they had a presage of the danger to 
fbe Roman state that would arise from this international religion which had 
originated in the Last, which declared all men, even slaves, to be equal before 
God, and was in its essence socialistic ; at least it is difficult to explain on 
any other grounds the profound hatred to which Tacitus, the greatest intel- 
lect of his time, gives vent in his description of the persecution of Christians 
under Nero. 

As a matter of fact the spread of Christianity in Asia had by that time 
attained considerable proportions, as is evident from the report sent by Pliny 



SKETCH OF THE EARLY ROMAN EMPIRE 


13 


to Trajan and from other records; and as early as the reign of Domitian it 
had made its way in Rome even to the steps of the throne. But there was 
certainly no man then living who would have thought it possible that tliis 
despised religion of the poor was destined to conquer the world-wide empire, 
and this disdain is the only explanation we can find for the fact that tlie first 
general persecution of the Christians — for the local outbreaks of persecution 
under Marcus Aurelius, Severus, and Maximiuus, confined as they were to a 
narrow circle, cannot be so called — did not take place until about the middle 
of the third century. Tertullian may have described too grandiloquently 
the enormous advance of Christianity throughout the empire ; it is neverthe- 
less beyond controversy that by the beginning of the third century it had 
become a power which serious-minded rulers, solicitous for the maintenance 
of a national empire, might well imagine that their duty to their country 
required them to extirpate with fire and sword. In this spirit Decius waged 
war against Christianity, and so did Diocletian, who assumed the surname of 
Jovius, after the supreme divinity of Rome, as patron of the national paganism. 
But it was a hopeless struggle ; only ten years later Constantine made his 
peace with the Christian church by the Milan edict of toleration, and shortly 
before his death he received baptism. 

With Constantine the history of ancient Rome comes to an end ; the 
transference of the capital to Byzantium was the outward visible sigji that 
the Roman Empire Avas no more. The process of dissolution had long been 
at work ; symptoms thereof come to light as early as the first century, and 
are frightfully apparent under the weak emperor Marcus, Avhose melancholy 
CoiitemplatioTis breathe the utter hopelessness of a world scourged by war 
and pestilence. The real dissolution of the Roman world, however, did not 
take place until the middle of the third century. The empire, assailed by 
barbarians and rent asunder by internal feuds, became the sport of ambitious 
generals who in Gaul, Moesia, and Pannonia, placed themselves at the head 
of their barbarian troops ; the time of the so-called Thirty Tyrants Avitnesses 
the speedy disintegration of the recently united West. 


INEVITABLE DECAY 

Nor could the strong emperors from the Danubian provinces check the 
process of decay. Poverty fell upon the cities of Italy and the provinces, 
Avhose material prosperity and patriotic devotion had been the most pleasing 
pictures offered by the good days of the Roman Empire ; seats in the town 
council and municipal offices, once passionately striven after as the goal of cIauc 
ambition, as the election placards at Pompeii testify, now found no candi- 
dates because upon their occupants rested the responsibility of raising taxes 
it Avas impossible to pay ; the way Avas paved for the compulsory hereditary 
tenure of posts and trades indispensable to the government. Agriculture 
Avas ruined, and documents dating from the third century and the end of the 
second, which have been recently brought to light in parts of the empire re- 
mote from one another, describe with affecting laments the Avant and hardships 
endured by colonists and small landholders in the vast imperial demesnes. 
The currency was debased, silver coins had depreciated to mere tokens, sala- 
ries had to be paid for the most part in kind, public credit was destroyed. 

The desolation of the land, no longer tilled in consequence of the uncer- 
tainty of possession amidst disorders Avithin and Avithout ; a steady decrease 
of the population of Italy and the provinces from the end of the second cen- 



the history of ROME 

!ly onwavds ; famine. to 

of Ufe, which It was a of thf time. Tlie army, from which 

lation of prices, are the S , liberally interspersed with barbarian 

Italians had long by any interest in the empire and in an 

elements and no longer he d to» iLg together, was no longer capable 

emperor who was ’lever the same toi & h ^ j^oman provinces 

of coping with the Goths and Alamanni wlio^^ ^ Germanicus 

in all directions ; tlie right bank U fortified with ramparts and 

and Limes Rsticus, laboriously middle of the third century. A 

castellae, fell a prey to captivity among the Parthians ; 

Roman emperor meets a firaCndoned and its inhabitants, 

IlgSSii 

Roman Empire ; but all he had to do was to bury the dead. 



Romaic Trophiks 



INTRODUCTION 


THE SCOPE, THE SOURCES, AND THE CHRONOLOGY OF THE 

HISTORY OF ROME UNDER THE EMPERORS 

Professor Hirschfeld has pointed out that there is a general miscon- 
ception as to the true meaning of later Roman history and that the time of 
the Roman Empire is, in reality, by no means exclusively a period of decline. 
In point of fact, there were long periods of imperial history when the glory of 
Rome, as measured by its seeming material prosperity, by the splendour 
of its conquests, and the wide range of its domination, was at its height. 
But two prominent factors, among others, have served to befog the view in 
considering this period. In the first place, the fact that the form of govern- 
ment is held to have changed from the republican to the monarchial system 
with the accession of Augustus, has led to a prejudice for or against the age 
on the part of a good share of writers who have considered the subject. In 
the second place the invasion of Christianity during the decline of the 
empire has introduced a feature even more prejudicial to candid discussion. 

Yet, broadly considered, neither of these elements should have had much 
weight for the historian. In the modern sense of the word the Roman com- 
monwealth was never a democracy. From first to last, a chief share of its 
population consisted of slaves and of the residents of subject states. There 
was, indeed, a semblance of representative government ; but this, it must be 
remembered, was continued under the empire. Indeed, it cannot be too 
often pointed out that the accession to power of Augustus and his immediate 
successors did not nominally imply a marked change of government. We 
shall have occasion to point out again and again that the “ emperor ” was 
not a royal ruler in the modern sense of the word. The very fact that the 
right of hereditary succession was never recognised, — such succession being 
accomplished rather by subterfuge than as a legal usage, — in itself shows a 
sharp line of demarcation between the alleged royal houses of the Roman 
Empire and the rulers of actual monarchies. In a word, the Roman Empire 
occupied an altogether anomalous position, and the power which the impera- 
tor gradually usurped, through which he came finally to have all the influence 
of a royal despot, was attained through such gradual and subtle advances that 
contemporary observers scarcely realised the transition through which they 

15 




the history of ROME 

lb 

,.r 1 11 fi.of fbo Qpnate still holds its nominal power, 

con.e, consuls are elected as the nomi- 
nal government leaders. nosterity has made no mistake in 

Nevertheless It IS common^y^^^^^^^^^ ^ turning-point in the 

fixing upon the date of the a Hnwever fully the old forms may 

iSa 'ozr. ^ ■? t 

have been held to, it is omy . aLsuch, had indeed been abolished 

<l,o.a or .n.n.og.d, under cover of 

decline in Roman power. On the Pst intirnatech t^^^^ 

influence under the early ciesars reached out to its widest intiuence 

attained its maximum importance. Certainly, the ®P°f ® ^ 
consent are known as the golden and the silver ages of Roman literature 
the time, that is to say, of Augustus and his immediate successors canno 
well be thought of as periods of great national degeneration. And again 
the time of the five good emperors has by common consent of the historians 
been looked on as among the liappiest periods of Roman history. In awoid 
the first two centuries of Roman imperial history are hy no means to be con- 
sidered as constituting an epoch of steady decline, ihat a decline set in 
after the death of Marcus Aurelius, some causes of which were operative 
much earlier, is, however, equally little in question. Looking over the whole 
sweep of later Roman history it seems dilficult to avoid the conclusion that 
the empire was doomed almost from the day of its inception, notwithstanding 
its early period of power. Hut when one attempts to point out the elements 
that were operative as causes of this seemingly predestined overthrow, one 
enters at once upon dangerous and debatable ground. At the very outset, 
as already intimated, the prejudices of the historian are enlisted pro or con 
by the question of the influence of Christianity as a factor in accelerating or 
retarding the decay of Rome's greatness. 

Critics have never tired of hurling diatribes at Gibbon, because his 
studies led him to the conclusion that Christianity was a detrimental force 
ill its bearing on the Roman Empire. Yet many more recent authorities 
have been led to the same conclusion, and it is difficult to say why this esti- 
mate need cause umbrage to anyone, whatever his religious prejudices. The 
Roman commonwealth w'as a body politic which, following the course of all 
human institutions, must sooner or later have been overthrown. In the 
broader view it does not seem greatly to matter whether or not Christianity 
contributed to this result. That the Christians were an inharmonious ele- 


ment in the state can hardly be in question. As such, they cannot well be 
supposed to have contributed to communal progress. But there were obvioxiB 
sources of disruption which seem so much more important that one may 
well be excused for doubting whether the influence of the early Christians 
in this connection was more than infinitesimal for good or evil. Without 
attempting a comprehensive view of the subject — which, indeed, would be quite 
impossible within present spacial limits — it is sufficient to point out such per- 
vading influences as the prevalence of slavery, the growing wealth of the 
few and the almost universal pauperism of the many fostered by the paternal 
government, and the decrease of population, particularly among the best 
classes, as abnormal elements in a body politic, the influence of which sooner 
or later must make themselves felt disastrously. 



SCOPE, SOURCES, AND CHRONOLOGY 


17 


Perhaps as important as any of these internal elements of dissolution was 
that ever-present and ever-developing external menace, the growing power 
of the barbarian nations. The position of any nation in tlie historical scale 
always depends largely upon the relative positions of its neiglibour states. 
Rome early subjugated the other Italian states and then in turn, Sicily, Car- 
thage, and Greece. She held a dominating influence over the nations of the 
Orient ; or, at least, if they held their ground on their own territory, she 
made it impossible for them to think of invading Europe. Meantime, at the 
north and west there were no civilised nations to enter into competition witli 
her, much less to dispute her supremacy. For some centuries the peoples of 
northern Europe could be regarded by Rome only as more or less productive 
barbarians, interesting solely in proportion as they were sufficiently produc- 
tive to be worth robbing. But as time went on these northern peoples learned 
rapidly through contact with the civilisation of Rome. They were, in fact, 
people who were far removed from barbarism in the modern acceptance of the 
term. It is possible (the question is still in doubt) that they were of com- 
mon stock with the Romans; and if their residence in a relatively inhospit- 
able clime had retarded their progress towards advanced civilisation, it had 
not taken from them the racial potentialities of rapid development under 
more favourable influences ; while, at the same time, the very harshness of 
their environment had developed in them a vigour of constitution, a tenacity 
of purpose, and a fearless audacity of mind that were to make them presently 
most dangerous rivals. It was during the later days of the commonwealth 
and the earlier days of the empire that these rugged northern peoples were 
receiving their lessons in Roman civilisation — that is to say, in the art of 
war, with its attendant sequels of pillage and plundering.^ Those were hard 
lessons which the legions of the caesars gave to the peoples of the north, but 
their recipients proved apt pupils. Even in the time of Augustus a German 
host in the Teutoberg Forest retaliated upon the hosts of Varus in a manner 
that must have brought Rome to a startling realisation of hitherto unsuspected 
possibilities of disaster. 

It has been pointed out that the one hope for the regeneration of Rome 
under these conditions lay in the possibility of incorporating the various 
ethnic elements of its wide territories into one harmonious whole. In other 
words, could Rome in the early day have seen the desirability — as here and 
there a far-sighted statesman did perhaps see — of granting Roman citizen- 
ship to the large-bodied and fertile-minded races of the north, removing thus 
a prominent barrier to racial intermingling, the result might have been some- 
thing quite different. We have noted again and again that it is the mixed 
races that build the great civilisations and crowd forward on the road of 
human progress. The Roman of the early day had the blood of many races 
in his veins, but twenty-five or thirty generations of rather close inbreeding 
had produced a race which eminently needed new blood from without. Yet 
the whole theory of Roman citizenship set its face against the introduction 
of this revivifying element. The new blood made itself felt presently, to 
be sure, and the armies came to be recruited from the provinces. After a 
time it came to pass that the leaders — the emperors even — were no longer 
Romans in the old sense of the word. They came from Spain, from Illyri- 
cum, and from Asia Minor, Finally the tide of influence swept so strongly 
in the direction of Illyricum that the seat of Roman influence was transferred 
to the East, and the Roman Empire entered a new phase of existence. The 

^ ^ This must not he construed as implying that such were the only lessons of Roman civili- 
sation. See p. 4 et seq. 

II. W. — VOL. VI. C 



the history of ROME 

18 

northern barbarians, grown j masters^ of Italy, including Rome 

“«r WiKlii“ » "Sr C.„,«e..s th. hi«=„ Ol .Id Ron., 

sweep of events of the A^ustXT the 

Augustus the first emperor , , present volume. Let us consider 

!“1 r: \L'f ir ;-erCrie rec„,d ., thl. in.e,- 

esting sec^uence of events. 



THE SOURCES OF IMPERIAL HISTORY 

Reference has already been made to the importance of the monumental 
inscriptions. For the imperial history these assumed proportions not at all 
matched by the earlier periods. It was customary for the emperors to issue 
edicts that were widely copied throughout the provinces, and, owing to 
the relative recency of these inscriptions a great number of them have been 

preserved. . . , , . * 2.\ r 

As a rule, these inscriptions have only incidental importance in the way oi 

fixing dates or establishing details as to the economic history. On the other 
liand, such a tablet as the Monumentum Ancyranum gives important infor- 
mation as to the life of Augustus, and such pictorial presentations as occur 
on the columns of Trajan and Marcus Aurelius are of the utmost impor- 
tance in reproducing the life-history of the period. For mere matters of 
chronology — having also wider implications on occasion — the large series of 
coins and medals is of inestimable importance. Without these various in- 
scriptions, as has been said, many details of imperial history now perfectly 
established must have remained insoluble. 

Nevertheless, after giving full credit to the inscriptions as sources of 
history, the fact remains that for most of the important incidents that go to 
make up the story, and for practically all the picturesque details of political 
history, the manuscripts are still our chief sources. The authors whose works 
have come down to us are relatively few in number, and may be briefly listed 
here in a few words. For the earliest imperial period we have the master 
historian Tacitus, the biographer Suetonius, the courtier Velleius Paterculus, 
and the statesman Dion Cassius. As auxiliary sources the writings of 
Martial, Valerius Maximus, Pliny, and Jewish WdTS of Josephus are to be 
mentioned. For the middle period of imperial history Dion Cassius and 
Herodian, supplemented by Aurelius Victor and the other epitomators, and by 
the so-called Augustan histories or biographies, are our chief sources. After 
they fail us, Zosimus and Ammianus Marcellinus have the field practically 



SCOPE, SOURCES, AlTD CHRONOLOGY 


19 


to themselves, gaps in their work being supplied, as before, by the outline 
histories. Details as to these writers will be furnished, as usual, in our 
general bibliography. 



THE FIRST CENTURY OF EMPIRE: AUGUSTUS TO NERO 

(30 B.C.-68 A.D.) 

29. Temple of Janus closed for the third time. 28. Senate reduced in 
numbers. 27. Octavian lays down his powers; is given the proconsular im- 
perium for ten years, and made commander-in-chief of all the forces with the 
right of levying troops, and making war and peace. He receives the title 
of Augustus. Provinces divided into senatorial (where no army was re- 
quired) and imperial where troops were maintained. 23. Proconsular im- 
perium conferred on Augustus with possession of the tribunicia potestas. 
20. War against the Parthian king, Phraates. Tigranes reinstated in his 
kingdom of Armenia. 19. Cantabri and Astures (in Spain) subdued. 

15. Rsetia and Noricum subjugated by Drusus and Tiberius and included 
among the Roman provinces. 12-9. Campaigns of Drusus in Germany and 
subjugation of Pannonia by Tiberius. 4 B.c. Birth of Jesus. 4 a.d. Augus- 
tus adopts his step-son Tiberius. 9. Illyricum, having rebelled, is reduced 
by Tiberius. Arminius, the chief of the Cherusci, a German tribe, anni- 
hilates a Roman army under Quintilius Varus. 14. Tiberius, emperor. Ger- 
manicus, nephew of Tiberius, quells the revolted legions on the Rhine and 
makes war on the German tribe of the Marsi. 15. Germanicus invades 
Germany a second time and captures the wife of Arminius (Hermann). 

16. Battle of the Campus Idistavisus. Arminius defeated by (Germanicus. 

17. Recall and death of Germanicus. 23. Praetorian cohorts collected into 
one camp outside Rome on the suggestion of Sejanus, who now exercises 
great influence over Tiberius. 31. Sejanus put to death with many of 
his friends. 37. Calig;ula succeeds Tiberius. 41. Murder of Caligula. Clau- 
dius succeeds. 42. Mauretania becomes a Roman province. 43-47. Britain 
subdued by Plautius and Vespasian. 43. Lycia becomes a province. 44. Judea 
becomes a province. 54. Claudius poisoned by his wife Agrippina and suc- 
ceeded by her son Nero. 55. Nero poisons his step-brother Britannicus. 
58. Domitius Corbulo sent against the Parthians and Armenians. 59. Agrip- 
pina murdered by Nero’s orders. 61. Suetonius Paulinus represses the 
revolt of Boadicea in Britain. 62. Nero murders his wife Octavia. 63. Par- 
thians and Armenians renew the war. The Parthians finally sue for peace. 
The king of Armenia acknowledges his vassalage to Rome. 64. Destruction 
of great part of Rome by fire, said to have been started by Nero’s command, 
but attributed by him to the Jews and Christians. First persecution of 
the Christians. 65. Piso conspires against Nero. The plot is discovered. 
66. First Jewish War. Vespasian sent to conduct it. 68. Gaul and Spain 
revolt against Nero, who commits suicide. 



20 


THE HISTORY OF ROME 



THF SECOND CENTURY OF EMPIRE: GAERA TO MARCUS AURELIUS 

(68-180 A.D.) 

68. Galba. Otho, and Vitellius succeed each Other as emperors. 69. Vea- 
paaian, the first Flavian emperor, proclaimed by the soldiers. Vitellius put 
to death. The aristocratic body purified and replenished. Official worship 
restored. Public works executed. Reforms in the army mid the finances, 
and the administration generally. Batavian revolt mider Claudius Civilis. 
70 Fall of Jerusalem. Batavian revolt quelled by Cerealis. 71. Cerealis 
becomes governor of Britain. 78. Agricola begins his campaigns in Britain. 
79. Titua, the second Flavian emperor. Pompeii and Herculaneum destroyed 
by an eruption of Vesuvius* 80. Agricola reaches the Solway rirtli. 
81. Domitian, the third Flavian emperor. 83. War with the Chatti. 84. Cale- 
donians under Galgacus defeated by Agricola, who completes the coiicj^uest of 
Britain. 86. Dacian invasion of Moesia. 87. Dacians defeat a Roman army. 
90. Peace witli the Dacians. 93. Antonius Saturninus, governor of upper 
Germany, revolts. The rebellion is put down and his papers are destroyed. 
Domitian executes the supposed accomplices of Saturninus and begins a series 
of cruelties. Philosophers expelled from Rome. Persecutions of Jews and 
Christians. 96. Nerva succeeds on the murder of Domitian, and introduces a 
policy of mildness. 98. Trajan, emperor. 101-102. Dacians attacked and over- 
thrown by Trajan, 106. Dacians finally subdued by Trajan. Their country 
becomes a Roman province. 114. Parthian War undertaken to prevent the 
Parthian king from securing the Armenian crown to his family. 116. Par- 
thian War ends with the incorporation of Armenia, Mesopotamia, and Assyria 
amongst the Roman provinces. Trajan dies on his return. Many public 
works were executed in this reign. 117. Hadrian, emperor. He abandons 
Trajan’s recent conquests. 118. Mcesia invaded by the Sarmatians and 
Roxolani. Hadrian concludes peace with the Roxolani. The Sarmatian 
War continues for a long time. 120-127. Hadrian makes a tour through 
the provinces. 121. Hadrian’s wall built in Britain. 132. Sdictum per- 
petuum^ or compilation of the edictal laws of the praetors. 132-135. Second 
Jewish War, beginning with the revolt of Simon Bar Kosiba. Many 
buildings were erected in Hadrian’s reign. 138. Antoninus Pius, emperor. 
He promotes the internal prosperity of the empire, and protects it against 
foreign attacks. 139. British revolt suppressed by Lollius Urbicus. Wall 

Antoninus (Graham s Dyke) built. 161. Marcus Aurelius and Iiuoius 
Verus, joint emperors. 162—165. Parthian War, It terminates in the resto- 
ration of Armenia to its lawful sovereign and the cession of Mesopotamia to 
Rome. 163. Christian persecution, 166. A barbarian coalition of the 

1 1 , j * t 1 1 4 A empire. Both emperors take 

Hie field apinst them. 169. Lucius Verus dies. 174. Victory over the 

Quadi. Miracle of the Thundering Legion. 175. Avidius Cassius proclaims 

lumself emperor, and makes himself master of all Asia witliin Mount Taurus. 
He is assassinated. 178. War with the Marcomanni renewed. 



SCOPE, SOURCES, AKD CHRONOLOGY 


21 



THE THIRD CENTURY OF EMPIRE; COMMODUS TO CLAUDIUS 11 

(180-270 A.D.) 

180. CommoduB. Peace concluded with the barbarians. 183. Lucilla. 
Commodus’ sister, conspires against him. In punishing this conspiracy he 
begins his career of cruelty. 193. Pertinax made emperor on the murder 
of Commodus. He attempts to restore discipline and is murdered in his 
turn. Didius Julianus buys the empire of the pr^torians. The legions in 
Syria, Illyricum, and Britain each proclaim a rival emperor. L. Septimius 
Severus marches on Rome. Murder of Julianus. Severus recognised in 
Rome. 194. Battle of Issus, Severus defeats his rival Pescennius Ni^i^er. 
196. Byzantium taken by Severus. Clodius Albinus made emperor by*\he 
army in Gaul. 197. Battle of Lugduuum. Clodius defeated. 198. Par- 
thiarQ War# 202# Christian persecution# 208. Caledonia overrun by Severus 
who loses many of his men. 210. Wall of Severus in Britain completed.’ 
211. CaracaUa, emperor. Alexandrians massacred. 212. Geta, co-ruler and 
brother of Caracalla, murdered by him. Wars in Dacia and on the Rhine, 
v”' emperor. 218. lUagabalua (Heliogabalus) made emperor by 

the soldiers. Defeat and execution of Macrinus. Julia Ma-sa and Julia 
Soaemias, grandmother and mother of Elagabalus, rule. 222. Severus Alex- 
.^der, emperor. 231. Persian War. 235. Maxunlnus Thrax, emperor. 

. 237. Gordiauus I and II proclaimed emperors 

in Africa. Defeat and death of the Gordiani. 238. Pupienus Maximus, 
CaeUus B^biuus, and Gordiauus m. Maximinus Thrax, Pupienus, and Bal- 
bmus killed. 242. Sapor, king of Persia, defeated by Gordianus III. 
244. PhiUp, the Arabian, murders and succeeds Gordianus. 249. Deoius 
made emperor by the Mcesian and Pannonian legions. Battle of Verona. 
Philip defeated and slain. 250. Christian persecution. Bishops of Rome, 
Antioch, and Jerusalem martyred. Battle of Abricium. Decius defeated 
and slam by the Goths. 251, Gallus and Hostiiianus, emperors. 252. Pesti- 
lence throughout the greater part of the empire. This lasted fifteen years. 
253. .fflmUianufl, emperor. 254. Valerianus, emperor. The Goths and Bur- 
gundians invade Moesia and Pannonia. The Franks appear in Gaul. 

59. bapor invades Syria and takes Antioch. Valerian drives him back 
but IS captured and enslaved. 260. Gallienna, Valerian’s son and co-ruler, 
sole emperor. Ingenuus and Regalianus proclaimed emperors. Ode- 
nathus of Palmyra drives the Persians back. 261. Macrianus, Valens, 
and Calpurn^ Piso proclaimed emperors. 262. Aureolus proclaimed em- 

Persians capture Antioch. 264. Odenatlius declared Augustus. 
u u* repels the Gauls. 267. Death of Odenatlius, succeeded 

y his wife Zenobia. Death of Postumus. Tetricus assumes the empire 
in Gaul. Age of the Thirty Tyrants. 268. Gallienus slain by the machi- 
nations of Aureol^. Claudius n, emperor. 269. Battle of Naissus in 

Uardam^ Claudius defeats the Goths with great slaughter. Zenobia 
invades Egypt. ^ 



22 


THE HISTORY OF ROME 



THE FOUKTII CENTURY OF EMPIRE: AURELIAN TO THEODOSIUS 

(270-ii95 A.D.) 

970 AureUan called Eestitutor Orbis, becomes emperor. He defeats the 

Goths and makes peace with them, 

defeated by Aurelian in three engagements. 2(3. 

Lnobia taken by Aurelian. Egypt revolts and is subdued. 274. ^et , 
who had maintained himself as emperor m G.iuh Britain, ® 

feated at ChMons. 275. Tacitus, emperor. 2 ( b. Probus and Florian, emper 
ors. They clear Gaul of its German invaders and pursue them across the 
Rhine 282. Carus, emperor. Sarmatians defeated. Persian expedition. 

284. Diocletian, emperor. He makes Nicoinedia B^t^nia his capRal. 

285. Maximian, joint emperor for administration of tlm West. -93. Con 
Btantius ChloruB and Galerius named cjesar^ 296. Constantins ^coveis 
Britain. Revolt of Egypt suppressed by Diocletian. Battle of Carih®. 
Galerius defeated by the Persians. 297. Galerius defeats the Persians and 
makes a treaty securing Mesopotamia to the Romans. 298. Constantius 
defeats the Alamanni at Langres. 303. Christian persecution. 305. Abdi- 
cation of Diocletian and Maxiniian. ConstantduB and Galerius, emperors. 
306. Constantine the Great succeeds his father Constantius in the rule of 
Spain, Gaul, and Britain. Maxentiua emperor at Rome. Maximian resumes 
the purple. Licinius mn.de emperor. 310. Maximian executed by Constdn- 
tine. 312. Defeat and death of Maxentius. 313. Edict of Milan issued by 
Licinius and Constantine, inaugurating religious toleration. 314. War be- 
tween Licinius and Constantine. 323. Battles of Hadrianopolis and Chalce- 
don. Defeat of Licinius. 324. Licinius executed. Constantine sole ruler. 
325. First general council at Nicaea. 330. Byzantium, or Constantinople, 
becomes the capital of the empire. 337. Constantine n, Constans, and Con- 
stantins II divide the empire. 340. Battle of Aquileia between Constantine 
II and Constans. Death of Constantine 11. His dominions fall to Con- 
stans. 350. Death of Constans. Revolt of Magnentius. 353. Constan- 
tius II sole emperor. 357. Battle of Argentoratum (Strasburg); Julian 
defeats the Alamanni. 361. Julian, “the Apostate,” emperor. 362. Edict 
granting general toleration. 363. Persian War. Julian is victorious at 
Ctesiphon, and in other battles, but is at last obliged to retreat and is killed. 
Jovian emperor. He makes peace with the Persians, resigning five dis- 
tricts beyond the Tigris. He places Christianity on an equality with other 
religions. 364. Valentlnianus I and Valens, emperors. 367. Gratianus emperor 
for the West. 374. War with the Quadi. 376. Valentdnian n reigns con- 
jointly with Gratian on the death of Valentinian I. 376. Huns and Alans 
attack the eastern Goths. Valens permits the Goths to settle in Thrace. 
378. Goths threaten Constantinople. Battle of Hadrianopolis. Goths de- 
feat the Romans with great slaughter. Death of Valens. 379. TheodoaiuB 
the Great, emperor of the East. 380. Theodosius becomes a Christian. He 
successfully continues the war against the Goths and makes a treaty with 



SCOPE, SOURCES, AED CHRONOLOGY 


23 


them which is followed by their establishment in Thrace, Phrygia, and 
Lydia, and the enrolment of large numbers in the army of the Eastern Em- 
pire. 383. ciemena Maximus revolts against Gratian, who is captured and 
put to death. 387. Maximus makes himself master of Italy. Theodosius 
restores Valentinian II, and puts Maximus to death. 390. Massacre of the 
inhabitants of Thessalonica by order of Theodosius in revenge for the murder 

on?™ II murdered. Eugenius emperor of the West. 
394. iheodosius defeats Eugenius and becomes the last emperor of the whole 

Ron^n world. 395. Death of Theodosius. Arcadius becomes emperor of 
the East and Honorius of the West. 



THE WESTERN DOMINIONS IN THE FIFTH CENTURY OF EMPIRE 

(395-476 A.D.) 

395. At death of Theodosius the division of the empire becomes perma- 
nent. Houoiius, aged eleven, rules over the western portion, with Stilicho 

as regent. Alaric ravages Thrace. Stilicho proceeds against him. 396. Sec- 
ond expedi^on of Stilicho. Alaric escapes into Epirus, and Stilicho returns 
to Italy ^7. Revolt of Gildo in Africa, causing scarcity of food in Rome. 
He IS defeated, and kills himself the following year. 403. Battle of Pollentia 

Italy by Alarm, begun the previous year. Retreat of Alaric. 
405. Radagmsus with an army of 200,000, composed of Celts, Germans, Sar- 
matians, and Gauls, invades Italy. Successfully opposed by Stilicho. Capture 
and death of Radagaisus. His army destroyed. 406. The Vandals enter Gaul. 
407. Revolt of the army m Britain. Constantine declared emperor; makes 
himself master of the whole of Gaul as far as the Alps. 408. Murder of 
btilicho. Alarm besieges Rome, but retires on payment of money. 409. Ala- 
rm, besieging Rome, has Attains proclaimed emperor. Revolt of Gerontius 
in Spam; he proclaims Maximus emperor. Vandals invade Spain. 410 Ala- 
ric takes Rome and plunders it. Death of Alaric. Succeeded by Atawulf 
411 War between the usurpers, Constantine and Gerontius. (5onstantius 
lea^ the imperial forces against the two rebels. Death of Constantine 
and Gerontius. 412. Jovinus proclaimed emperor in Gaul. Peace be- 
tween Honorius and Atawulf. 413. Atawulf slays Jovinus. Heraclianus 
invades Italy, but is slain. 415. Death of Atawulf in Spain. Suc- 
ceeded by Walha, who, the following year, makes peace with Honorius. 
nrii- Spam by the Goths after two years’ war. Death of 

41 Q by Theodoric I. Aquitania ceded to the Goths. 

419. The Suevi and Vandals war in Spain. 421. Constantius declared 
augustus, but he is not accepted. 423. Death of Honorius. 424. John 
OT Joannes seizes the western division. 425. Valentinian in, nephew of 
Honorius, declared augustus. Defeat and death of the usurper Joannes. 
Attack on the Goths in Gaul. 428. War in Gaul continued. The Vandal 
King, Gunderie, dies, and Genseric succeeds. 429. Genseric crosses into 



24 THE HISTORY OF ITALY 

Vandals are masters of a large pa 434 ‘ Attila becomes king of the 

M “»||r 

439 Theodoric defeats Litorius at Tolosa. Peace with the Goths. 440. Gen 
seric invades Sicily. 444. Attila murders his brother, Bleda, and succeeds to 
the fun authority 446. The Vandals devastate Roman dominions m Spam. 
'I'lio Rritons ask aid a<Tainst the Saxons. 448. The Suevi ravage Roman 
dominions in Spain. 451. Attila invades Gaul. He is defeated at Chalons 
bv Aetius and Theodoric. Death of Theodoric, who is succeeded by his son, 
'iorismond. 452. Attila invades Italy. Siege and capture of Aquileia. 

Attila retires to Gaul. Death of Torismond succeeded ”■ 

Leo, bishop of Rome, goes as ambassador to Attila. 453. Death of Attila. 
His army is scattered. 455. Murder of Valentmiaii by Petrouius Maximus. 
Maximus declared emperor. He marries the widow of Valentmian, who caUs 
Genseric to her aid. Murder of Maximus as he is preparing to fly from the 
Vandal. Avitua proclaimed emperor in Gaul by Theodoric II. He is r^og- 
nised by iNlarcian at Constantinople. 457. Majorian made emperor by Rici- 
mer, who, the previous year, has deposed Avitus. 468. Majorian proceeds 
a^rainst the Vandals and Gauls. 459. Peace between Majorian and Theodoric 
II, who has been defeated. 460. Roman fleet destroyed by Genseric at Car- 
thagena. Peace between Majorian and Genseric. 461. Deposition and 
murder of Majorian by Ricimer. Elevation of Severua. 462. Vandals 
ravage Italy. 463. Theodoric II attempts to gain possession of Gaul. Is 
defeated, but rules over a large portion of Spain. 465. Death of Severus. 
No emperor is appointed, Ricimer keeping power in his own hands. 466. Mur- 
der of Theodoric II by his brother, Euric, who succeeds him. 467. Anthemius 
appointed emperor by Leo of Constantinople, at Ricimer’s request. 470. Euric 
takes Arelate and Massilia, and defeats the Britons. Execution of the patri- 
cian Romanus, who aspires to the empire. 472. War between Ricimer and 
Anthemius. Ricimer declares Olybrius emperor, and puts Anthemius to death. 
Death of Ricimer. Death of Olybrius. 473. Glyceriua proclaimed emperor. 
The Ostrogoths prepare to invade the empire. 474. Leo sends Julius Nepos 
to reign in the West. Glycerius deposed. Euric occupies Arverna. Peace 
between Euric and Nepos. 475. Orestes drives out Nepos and proclaims 
his own son, Romulus Augustuius, emperor. 476. Odoacer invades Italy. 
Romulus Augustuius deposed, and Odoacer acknowledged king of Italy. 

The Byzantine Emperor Zeno confers the title of patrician upon Odo- 
acer, who rules a nominal vicar. “ There was thus,” says Br3'ce, “ legally no 

extinction of the Western Empire at all, but only a reunion of East and 
West.” 



CHAPTER XXIX. THE EMPIRE AND THE PROVINCES 

¥3 • 1 1 1 1 upon secure possession of absolute power, the 

Koman Empire included the fairest and most famous lands on the face of 

the globe and all the civilised peoples of the ancient world found a place in 

its arnple bosom. It extended from the ocean on the west to the Euphrates, 

f Rhine to the cataracts of tlie Nile and the deserts 

ot Africa and Arabia. And although, in the first decades of imperial rule, a 

few tribes within its huge circumference had not completely assimilated the 

system of Roman civilisation and law; although in the Alps and Pyrenees, 

on the lower Danube and iu the inaccessible gorges of the Taurus some 

waihke races retained their savage freedom and did not stoop their necks to 

the rods and axes of Rome, the mighty mistress of the world — they offered 

but a futile defiance, better fitted to assert and exercise the martial vigour 

inspire the masters of the world with dread or set 
bounds to their dominion. 

'vhich Augustus or his legates waged in the Cantabrian Moun- 

wooded hills of Dalmatia, 
meiely served to consolidate the empire and strengthen its frontiers, and gave 

of tlm renuhlic renewing the martial feats and triumphs 

01 tiie republic. The Spanish mountaineers were transplanted to the plains 

to conduct themselves peaceably. Deprived of their savage 
nbeity, they accustomed themselves to agriculture and social life; and the 

privileges and connected by highroads, soon 
became seats of Roman culture and spheres of active influence in trade and 
commerce. The products of the soil, the largess of the sea, the fruits of 

in fish — were exported 

irniuP the ports of Spain and filled the seaboard cities with 

Piedrnmit^o®! 1 ®'“® Predatory tribes of the Alpine range, from Savoy and 

m Smitten with the edge of the sword 

? A n ^ to submit ; the newly founded military colony of Augusta Praitoria 

(Aosta), in the country of the Salassians and at the junctionof the Sn 
and Pennine Alps served thenceforward as a bulwark to the Roman misses” 

had hppnT t"'®t Stubbornness of the hardy mountaineers 

irl m 1 . the carrying off of such men as were capable of bearing 

arms to the slave market at Eporedia (Ivrea). ^ 

cononplnyr' 15 B.c. the free races of Rsetia, Vindelicia, and Noricum were 

Adrlaf^?^’ Constance and the Valley of the Inn to the 

therp legions from Gaul to the sources of the Rhine, 

tnere to join hands with Drusus, the vigorous youth for whom was reserved 

and the liberty of the mountains,” 

ana who was then advancing from the south. A single campaign sufficed to 

25 



26 THE HISTORY OF ROME 1,5b.c.-7 a.d.] 

destroy forevermore the 

national ties to u.nte L posterity thit under the leader- 

slope of the mountain r« P ^ four-and-forty nations, all mentioned by 
ship and auspices of Aug , i - by the sword of Rome. Ihe trans- 
name, had been vanquished population to foreign parte, 

portation of the most ^ fortresses and castella, and the 

the construction of ,vhich Augusta Vindelicorum, the pres- 

founding of military colonies £ .modern Ratisbon, quickly took the first 

:rfnkrdSt'"e^v‘rr 

,:src ss 9?^ 

been the raaritirae PJ®''*"®® ° lapvdes (lapodes) and Dalmatians, but a 

charge of six legions prepared the way for the acquisition of fresh provinces, 

and warded off the raids of the northern barbarians. 

The Thracian principalities south of the Hajmus sank into a more and 

more dependent position. In the reign of 'Tiberius, Cotys, 
able prince, was murdered by his cruel uncle Rhescupons. The widow 
appealed to Rome, whereupon the perpetrator of the crime was a 

decree of the senate, and the country divided between tlm sons of the two 
kines. Under these circumstances the sovereignty of Rome struck ever 
deeper root, till at length the last shadow of liberty and independence van- 
ished and the whole of Thrace was gathered into the ample bosom ot the 


world-empire. . , , i.* • 4.1 

The attempts at revolt made by the Pannonians and Dalmatians m the 

years 12 and 11 b.c. were savagely suppressed by Agrippa, and after his 

death by his successor Tiberius. The deportation of the men capable of 

bearing arms into slavery and the disarmament of the remainder re-estab- 

lished quiet and submission for a long while. But the love of liberty was 

not quelled in this warlike race. Infuriated by the extortions of Rome, 

who — in the words of one of their leaders — sent “ not shepherds and dogs, 

but wolves, to tend the flocks,” and at the enlistment of their gallant sons 

for service in foreign parts, the Dalmatians and Pannonians again d.rew the 

sword in the year 6 A.D. to free themselves from the burdens of taxation 

and military service. 

The rebellion spread rapidly through the whole country; enterprising 
leaders, two of whom bore the name of Bato, marched upon the Roman for- 
tresses of Sirmium and Salona, ravaging the land as they went, while others 
harassed Macedonia with a large army. A bold troop of armed men threat- 
ened to invade Italy by way of Tergeste (Trieste); a disquieting agitation 
was abroad among the fierce Dalmatian and Sarmatian horsemen of the 



THE EMPIRE AND THE PROVINCES 


27 


[30 B.C.-i4 A.D.] 

grassy steppes beyond the Danube ; Roman traders were robbed and mur- 
dered. The alarm which took possession of the capital at these woeful 
tidings, and the military activity aroused throughout all Italy, sulliciently 
prove that Rome did not underestimate the danger that menaced lier from 
the East. Discharged veterans were again enrolled in the legions, a slave 
tax was imposed to defray the cost of the war, peace was concluded with 
Marboduus, the prince of the Marcomanni, whom the Romans were on the 
point of attacking. 

This devastating war, according to Suetonius the most terrible since 

the Punic Wars, lasted for three years [7-9 a.d.]. Tiberius and his nephew 

Germanicus, the son of Drusus, marched through the length and breadtli of 

Dalmatia and Pannonia — now tempting the fortune of war, now treading 

the paths of treachery, and fostering discord by negotiations. After many 

sanguinary battles Bato came to terms with the Romans for the surrender 

of the impregnable mountain stronghold of Anderium, not far from Salona, 

and went with his family to Ravenna, where Tiberius granted him a liberal 

allowance to the end of his days, in recompense for his desertion of his 
country’s cause. 

The fortress of Arduba, built on a steep height and protected by a tur- 
bulent river, held out longer ; the most determined of the insurgents had 
thrown themselves into it, together with a large number of deserters. But 
Its hour at length drew nigh. After the flower of the garrison, having made 
a sortie, had fallen in a sanguinary fight at close quarters, the survivors set 
fire to their homes and, with their wives and children, sought death in the 
flames or in the foaming torrent. The other towns then surrendered at dis- 
cretion, and mute obedience settled once more on all the land between the 
Adriatic and the lower Danube. But the country was waste and inhabit- 
ants were few in the blood-sodden fields. The great river from source to 
mouth soon formed the northern boundary of the empire. The Thracian 
principalities were merged into the province of Moesia. 

In Asiatic countries, too, there were many conflicts to be endured, many 
complications to be unravelled, before the states and nations west of the 
Euphrates bowed in awe and submission to the supremacy of Rome. The 
order of things established by Pompey had indeed remained valid in law 
down to the days of Augustus, but great changes had taken place in 
the various states in consequence of the civil wars. The republicans Brutus 
and C^sius, no less than the triumvirs Antony and Octavian, had requited 
the friendly or hostile sentiments of princes, towns, and provinces with re- 
wards or penalties, had given or taken away privileges and dominion, had 
bestowed or withdrawn their countenance according to merit or likinir 
When Augustus appeared in the East, ten years after the battle of Actium, 
native kingdoms, temporal principalities and hierarchies, free cities, and 
other territorial divisions, occupying a more or less dependent position 
towards Rome and bound to render her military service, still existed, as in 
former times, side side with the four Roman provinces of Asia, Bithynia, 
Dilicia, and Syria. Many of these were deprived of their previous status on 
various pretexts, and swaUowed up in the congeries of Roman provinces. 

ihus, after the death of that able factionary Amyntas, the general and sue- 
cessor of Deiotarus, Augustus created the province of Galatia out of the major 

^ po^essions, adding to it first Lycaonia, and later, after the death 
of Deiotarus Philadelphus, the grandson of the famous Galatian king, the 
inland re^on of Paphlagonia. The Pontic kingdom, together with Lesser 
Armenia, Colchis, and the seaboard towns of Pharnacia and Trapezus, were 



28 


THE HISTORY OF ROME [30 b.c.-u a.d.] 

ruled under favour of Ant^y and Octavian b^^ 

e.non as the “ fr.end “"d a F of tbe Ro the hedtage of his wife Dynamis. 
he added the kingdom of ^ pXodoris bestowed her hand upon King 

orSnic^Ta °ih owed his kingdom to the favour of 

An“tmn' and "‘‘Vkinjdom^^ excellent 

barr^e\ agLTt die eadern w^ province 

tilled to last. eien of after Archelaus had died at 

Rome of fear at the eliarges the hieratic principality of 

j)eror, whose displeasme ‘ .^vinr'p Under the rule of Rome the ancient 

Comana was added to the ^ce especially Nicomedia in Bithynia 

cities rose to great wealth and > ^/tir-haunted region about 

t Sti; .1 . 1-r 

rit rf preir-sr 

“ a===3iii 

\Tf7i rHe decades Toi ger a^a “ ruin of antique times,” and Antony 

to the best of their ability to stanch the 

wounT which Hrutus had inflicted. But the confederacy, its prosperity 
shattered and its bonds loosened by internal discords, was so far past re- 
covery that its conversion into a Roman province in the reign of Claudius 
seemed a boon. The province of Cilicia was augmented by the addition of 
Pisidia and the island of Cyprus. A Roman garrison lyas set to guard the 
“Cilician Gates” leading to Syria, and Augustus committed to some native 
dependent princes the work of conquering the robber tribes which dwelt m 
savage freedom in the mountains and gorges of the Taurus and Amanus. 
These were not incorporated into the actual dominions of Rome till the reign 


of Vespasian. , ,, . .1 

After the battle of Actium, Syria with her subordinate provinces reverted 

to her old position, which had been temporarily disturbed by the Parthian 
invasions and the donations of Antony to Cleopatra and her children. P our 
legions provided for internal tranquillity and security against the neighbour 
races to the south and east. The northern mountain region of Commagene, 
with the town of Samosata, the last relic of the Seleucid empire, remained in 
possession of an independent prince for some time longer, and at his death it 
was annexed to the province of Syria. A like fate befell tlie district of 
Judea, which the Romans had long treated with peculiar favour, for the Jul- 
ian family was at all times well disposed towards the Jews. After the death 
of King Herod, who had contrived to gain and retain the favour and 
confidence of the emperor and Agrippa, his son-in-law and general, by 
flatteries, presents, and services, the kingdom of Judea, convulsed by party 
hatreds and dissensions, was also merged, as we have seen, into the Roman 
world-empire. As a Roman province it was put under the rule of a pro- 
curator, who, though nominally under the control of the governor of Syria 
at Antioch, exercised most of the prerogatives that pertained to proconsuls 
and propraetors in other countries, in particular the power of inflicting capital 
punishment. Judea was nevertheless for a long while the “spoiled darling 



THE EMPIRE AND THE PROVINCES 


29 


[30 B.C.-14 A.D.] 

of Rome”; the people of God remained in possession of their faith, their 
laws, and their nationality ; they were exempted from military service and 
enjoyed many rights and privileges in all countries. 

Tj fpr Judea resided at Ciesarea, the new port whicli 

Herod had founded, and which rose rapidly to commercial prosperity under 
Roman rule. Many foreigners settled there under the protection of the 
Roman garrison, which had its headquarters in the seat of government, 
ihe governor was subject in all military matters to tlie proconsul of Syria, 
in so tar that the latter was bound to come to his assistance in war if 
appealed to. The inconsiderable garrison at Caesarea and the small force 

encamped at Jerusalem were only just sufficient to maintain tranquillitv and 
order m time of peace. At festivals, 

when great crowds gathered together in 
Jerusalem, the governor himself went to 
the Holy City with an army, and “prob- 
ably disposed of a good deal of business 
in the supreme judicature and other 
matters which had been deferred till 
then.” He then resided in the praj- 
torium, near the Antonia. He gave 
judgment from a lofty judgment seat 
set up in a portico adorned with beau- 
tiful marble. The trials took place in 
an inner court. The army had another 
camp in Samaria. 

Though the Jewish nation had more 
liberty to manage its domestic concerns 
under Roman rule than under the 
Herods, it found small relief from the 
burden of taxes and customs. The Ro- 
mans exacted a property tax (a poll tax 
and ground rate), a duty on houses, 
market produce, and many other im- 
posts. The temple tax, on the other 
hand (assessed at two drachmse), was 
regarded as a voluntary rate and col- 
lected by priestly officials, the Romans 
not concerning themselves about it. A 
general census which Augustus caused 
to be made by P, Sulpicius Quirinus, 
knight and proconsul, after he had taken 
possession of the country(about 10 A.D.), 

with a view to finding out how much the country could annually yield to 

the revenue in proportion to its population, the acreage under cultivation, 

and other circumstances, was the first thing that gave deep offence to the 
orthodox among the Jews. ^ t' 

The smaU dominioM which Augustus and his family left to be adminis- 

northeastern dis- 

toct with the old town of Paneas, first ruled by the upright and able Herod 
Philip, who expanded Paneas into the great city of Caesarea (Philippi) ; and 

heritage of the subtle and greedy tetrarch Anti pas, 
the fulsome fiatterer of tlie Romans, and founder 
of the eities of Sepphoris (Diocaesarea) and Tiberias — were merged into 



Auoustus 

(From a cameo) 



30 


THE HISTORY OF ROME [30 «.c.-i4 a.d.J 

the Roman world-empire some decades^late^ the ^ ti 

S“:. & £ o', 

- - > 9 ”’^ 

^ -Tins criminal marriage bore e"i ^ ^ ^ ^ on to make war 

fled to her father, the Arab to^ be led in all things by 

upon her faithless i, „ disaffection of his people as little as the 

open rebukes of the f \os kingdom on the indictment oi his 

of Caligula, Antipas ''j Acrrinpa, and banished with his wife, Hero- 

cousin and brother-iii-la\ Upd” Under the emperor Claudius, however, 

dias, to Gaul, where tl'ey both died tlirG^eat, who had been brought up at 
Herod A grippa, grandson .of H^ro ^ Samaria, and maintained his 

Rome, again gamed do"”"'"" adventurer and soldier of fortune, 

pnded misevablv. The glare of the sun and the penis of the climate soon 
sSed ihe away and protected the natives from the Roman swords. 

The general of the Nabatean prince, who had conducted the deseit campaig , 
paid to his supposed treason with his life ; but the disloyalty of the servant 

was not laid to his master s chaige. . . rio-^r 

Rome had still an affair of honour to settle with the 1 arthians ; f’*'® d^Y 

of Carrhm was not yet requited and the blood of Crassus and his conira 
cried for vengeance. Augustus nevertheless cherished no desire to expose 
himself and his legions to the darts of the iron horsenien. In this instate 
fortune again proved his ally. Parthia and Armenia, which at that time 
stood in intimate relations with one another, were distracted with 
over the succession. Tigranes, son of the unhappy Artavasdes, applied for 
Roman aid against Artaxias, the nominee of the Parthian king, iiberius 
invaded Armenia with an army, and bestowed the throne on the protege of 
Rome, Artaxias having been slain by the natives at the general s coming 
(20 B.C.). This catastrophe filled the Parthian king with apprehensions that 
the Romans might declare for the pretender Tiridates, and procure for 
self a like fate with Artaxias. He therefore complied with the demands of 
Augustus and restored the Roman ensigns and the prisoners who had been 
detained in the far East ever since the disaster of Carrhse. The emperor 
celebrated the restoration of the eagles by a sacrificial feast, as if it had been 
a victory, and dedicated a temple to Mars the Avenger. 

But Armenia attained to no lasting tranquillity *, at one time it was dom- 
inated by Roman influence, at another the Parthians gained the upper hand ; 
kings were installed and exiled, quarrels for the throne and party feuds 



THE EMPIRE AND THE PROVINCES 


•^1 

[30 b.c-14 A.D.] 

filled the land. Under Nero, the Parthian king Vologeses I set his brother 
Tiridates on the throne of Armenia, and thus fanned the embers of war be- 
tween the Romans and Parthians to a blaze. 

The perfidious Armenians themselves supplied occasions of strife by invok- 
ing the aid of Rome on the one hand to save themselves from falling com- 
pletely under the sway of their eastern neighbour, and favouring the Parthians 
on the other, lest they should be oppressed by Rome. In local situation and 
similarity of manners they were, as Tacitus observes, more closely akin 
to the Parthians, with whom they intermarried freely; and were inclined to 
^rvitude by reason of their ignorance of liberty. At this time Domitius 
Corbulo won great renown and revived the terror of the Roman arms, even 
under the vilest of the emperors. Having restored discipline among the 
legions, he victoriously invaded the mountain country, took its principal 
tmyns, Artaxata and Tigranocerta, and set up a certain Tigranes as a Roman 
cmimaDt to the throne and a rival to the Parthian pretender (58 n.c.V 
Tigranes and his successor, a scion of the Herod family, held their ground 
for five years by the aid of Rome ; then the Parthians regained the ascen- 
dency and again bestowed the throne on their o^vn candidate Tiridates, 
Cassennius Pmtus, Corbulo’s successor, being powerless to prevent this revo- 
lution. Hut when Corbulo himself advanced once more into Armenia with 
his army the Parthians despaired of being able to hold their own in defiance 
of Rome* They therefore effected a compromise. In an interview with 
Corbulo, Tiridates consented to lay down his royal fillet before the emperor’s 
image and to receive it back from his hand at Rome. Krom that time for- 
ward the peace of the Eastern provinces long remained undisturbed. 

In the province of Asia little alteration was made in the existing state 
of things, the privileges of certain cities were increased or curtailed accord- 
ing to the position they had taken up during the civil wars, and restrictions 
were imposed on the right of sanctuary of the Ephesian Diana, which had 
made the city a harbourage for criminals. The fresh vigour which Augustus 
infused into the disordered commonwealth produced a splendid aftermath 
of prosperity in the ancient seats of civilisation. Under the sway of order, 
that bounteous daughter of heaven,” the peaceful arts rose to fresh glory, 
and in the first century of the empire the province of Asia contained five 
hundred populous cities. Lrom the Greek islands the Romans imported 
articles of luxury and sensuous enjoyment; Parian and Phrygian marbles 
for their gorgeous buildings; the wine of Chios, the sea fish of Rhodes, and 
the game of Asia Minor for their epicurean banquets. Ephesus and Apamea 
were the marts and emporiums for the produce and artistic productions of 
the East. Thence the Roman merchant brought his fine Babylonian tissues, 
Ins Arabian and Persian incense and ointments, his robes of Tyrian purple, 
island of Cos were made the fine female garments which displayed 

rather than concealed the limbs, the “ Coan robes ” against which Seneca so 
vehemently inveighs. 

The provinces of Achaia and Macedonia underwent no great change ; 
they had both long since grown accustomed to the Roman rule, and though 
the former (which embraced the territory of ancient Greece up to the Cam- 
bunian and Ceraunian mountains and the islands of the jEgean Sea) had 
not, like the latter, renounced all interest in political life, but had sided 
with one party or the other in the wars of tlie Roman despots, the Romans 
of those days were too ardent admirers of Greek culture to visit the trans- 
gressions of individuals upon the mother of humane studies as Sulla had 
done. Caesar, Antony, and Augustus forgot with equal magnanimity the 



support which Porapey and 

S' a“£Vtf A-""» L“ VdTvS’ tE 

™.,“..ini: .!« »'“A i tS™: r„ SSed io Hell... l.» pff 

wi broken; she had lost the his adoptive father’s Celtic 

Augustus devoted the closest a region of Gaul, 

conquests and his Us first stable provincial organisation at 

on the far side of the Alps, receiv consoli- 

his hands. Caisar, its ^ ^^rnent or^ the old system 

<late wliat his sword had on by XXation „„equal and X^^ary. 

of local divisions "f f J \ 'lax condition of things; in an assembly of the 
mLT’SsUnSsl'cd}l‘i«g uSook a censJs'o'rthe inhabitants 

the public burdens. , ^ provincial territory, which last 

ihree new P-^X^rbrnamr^f Nartn^ian Gaul. They were Aquita- 

bore from tliat time foith tbe . . xi.p i oire • Gallia Lugclunensxs, between 

nia,fromthePyreneesandCevennes to^ 

the Loire, Seine, and "if the Sequani and Helvetii were 

Belgica, the great northern tract. Liigdnnum, Augus- 

also included. The new to'vns o the Rhone^^ Vmmi^^, 

lodunum (Autun), and Biiidiga. ( , (ture with Massilia, Nemau- 

rl" ”» L . ».Uo1..1 holiday, ovi.h ».«sio«l ..d 

(Troves) b.c.n .0 the entro of ^n,a„ 
civilisation • under the benediction of peace agriculture, industry, and pros 
pe “ose on all sides. The country on the left bank of the K^XSa^ 
Ued for the most part by German tribes, was placed under a 
administration under the name of Upper and Lower Germania To guard 
the Rhenish frontier from the warlike Germans, strong permanent camps 

and bulwarks were erected along the river, and the army of oeXefon 
was gradually raised to eight legions. Then began the building of « on 
the 4nks of the beautiful frontier river. Cologne was specially favoured by 


THK history of ROME 


[30 B.C.“i4 A.D-l 


exemption from taxes and other privileges. ^ . . v a ' r* 

Augustus devoted the same care and circumspection to the oraermg oi 
his possessions beyond the Mediterranean. The territory of Carthage ana 
the kingdom of Numidia, formerly divided into two proconsulates, w^e now 
united to form the province of “ Africa.” This was bordered on the west 
by the independent kingdom of Mauretania, which Augustus after some 
hesitation bestowed upon Juba, a loyal and devoted subject prince, till the 
time came for its incorporation into the world-empire in the reign of 
dius. To the east of the great Syrtis the fertile region of Gyrene stretched 
right to the borders of Egypt, and was combined with Crete to form a sec- 
ond province. 

If Augustus left these two provinces to be administered by the senate, 
he kept his own grasp all the more firmly upon the province of Egypt, which 




COMBAT OF ROMAN GALLEYS IX THE FLOODED ARENA 

(From thf^ i^ainting by CIi^^ch) 



S. P. Collie 'Librar 


SRINAGAR. 

'i. 

, DATE LOANED 

A fine of olie anna will be charged 
each day the book is' kept overtime. 




THE EMPIRE AND THE PROVINCES 'ri 

[30 B.C.-14 A.D.] 

extended from the oasis of the desert to tlie Arabian Gulf, and from the river 
delta to the rocky mountains of Syene. A military advanced post in Ethi- 
opia was wi hdrawn at a later time, for it was no plrt of Augustus’ sc erne 
to enlarge the borders of the empire. The emperor regarded Egypt as his 
own special domain and watched over it jealously. No senator wis fallowed 
to travel through the country without his express permission ; the adminis- 
tration and the supreme command of a very considerable army of occupation 
were in the hands of a trustworthy man who possessed his Dili confidence 
e care which Augustus bestowed upon agriculture, irrigation, and trade 

tZ Y the country and its advantageous .S' 

tion. In the first period of Roman dominion Egyjit attained a height of 

^ ® Pliaraohs <and Ptolemies into the 

became the granary of the hungry populace of the capital, 

eVpntcrt® Pi'i^ed commodities, 

even as they had been in the remote past; while the passion for scribbling 

which possessed the Romans made the papyrus leaf an important article of 

export. Moreover Alexandria was the emporium and mart for both Indian 

and Arabian wares, for delieate fabrics of cotton, from the ordinary calico to 

the most valuable tissues which constituted the costliest dress of Roman 

women and were even the chosen wear of effeminate men. These last were 

called bene robes, and were made from a product of the silkworm, the 

genesis and local habitation of which was shrouded in mysterious obscurity 
all through antique times. 

More than a hundred Roman merehantmen sailed yearly from the Red 
tsea to the west coast of India and the Persian Gulf, to proeure in their 
native places the treasures of the tropics and the costly wares of eastern 
ands and ^as — spices and drugs, incense and myrrh, odorous ointments 
ana ayestuffs, ivory, precious stones, pearls, and other articles of luxury — 
to sell at a peat profit in Rome and Bai® and the splendid seats of the 

(Chinese), Indian, and Arabian commodities which 
annually found their way through Alexandria to Italy are said to have 
amounted in value to over £1,440,000 sterling. But this great pros- 
perity redounded less to the advantage of the natives than of the ruling 


The oppressive system of taxation introduced by the Ptolemies was still 
m force, and became so intolerable in course of time that the people re- 
peatedly had desperate recourse to violent remedies, thus merely increasing 
their own misery and helping the province forward on the road to poverty, 
decay, and desolation. The succeeding emperors were constantly under the 

of carrying on campaigns in the Nile region, on account of the mis- 
V u bucoles or cattle-herds, those numerous robber bands 

which dwelt in the impenetrable reed-swamps on the middle arm of the Nile, 
keeping their women and children safe on small barges and themselves 

undertaking hostile raids on the neighbouring districts, in defiance of all 
forms of civil order. 

In all this regulation and organisation we can plainly trace the plan of a 
*'uler, who intended to put an end to the lax conditions that pre- 
■V ailed under the republic, with its exactions and arbitrary dealings, to check 
ottences against property, and to mould the state into a durable monarchic 
cal form. What Caesar had begun in times of violent agitation and party 
^nie, his more fortunate successor accomplished on a magnificent scale under 
more peaceful circumstances. Protected from oppression and ill treatment 

H. W.— VOL. VI. D 



the histoky of home 


[30 B.C.-14 A.T>1 


upon a'To'iticlii.and^ivilised ex^ of the^r former 

weakness tlicy had '^■■o’Jght i p O ^ j^j^^ory was played out, 

supremacy by their suicuh inflicted by their own hands. I 

and they slowly perished of the th and ereative energy of 

was beyond the power of 1^°™® ^pjoiok, “but what she had to ^ 

intellect in the Greek laces, UacK f ll,„g 


.t in the Greek races,” says fates, that of falling 

gave. She preserved Anterior Asia ^1^^^ aftermath of Hellenic culture, 

a prey to the eastern baibarians , ^ ^ nleasant private life in the 


-T;ilcSunS:flatiSr 

healed the wounds winch th^^ f^®® ®®^^^ by when the right of the victor 
subject countries. The time u as g y capital and when Rome took 
brought an endless tram of ^l'®J^"^"f®forei£rn art, the ereations of a nobler age 

for h?r own the most g brious woHrs of ^ i 

property tax, the poll tax °^|r® , xrarium or state treasury, in the 

exchequer^ Under the /';‘^®[,e^''overCent. And the ohliga- 

port and frontier duties were burdensome. Yet all these draw- 

tion of military service was J state of order and equity 

backs were far more than , i • i parts. The proconsuls and 

which Augustus ® u„ tbe absolute authority of the emperor 

procurators were ®PP°“A®‘l.®^^ ® responsible to the former for 

r/X™ces 10. o,.ip™nt 

“■^Ttoidef “CTs, aep».toents opposed . barrier 

de^n of military^service and taxation was mitigated by means of the 
accorded to particular districts and communities, by security from devastat- 
ing wars and hostile incursions, and by the fact that the leading posi 

and military honours were open to all. . . t nnn 

Augustus laid the foundation of the great system of r^ds, ’"^^ich con 

nected the provinces with one another and mt h imperial ^0^®;. 
roads, the construetion and extent of which fill us with admiration to this 
day, gave facilities for traffic in all directions. They were adorned with 
milestones, all of which took their start from the golden milestone which 
Augustus himself had set up in the midst of the Forum, and provided with 
stations (mutationes) and hostelries (mansiones), the former for changes ot 
couriers or horses and conveyances, — for the military roads were also use 
for the state post organised by the emperor, — the latter for accommoaa- 
tion at night. Means of transit by water were also increased, and distance 



THE EMPIRE AND THE PROVINCES 30 

[30 B.C.-14 A.D.] 

ceased to form a gulf of separation. Armies could move with great rapidity 
from any part of the empire to any destination, and the emperor’s commands 
could be transmitted to the remotest regions. Daily journals carried the 
news of what occurred at Rome in the briefest possible time to all quarters 

of the world ; Rome was the centre of the empire and the heart of the 
body politic. 

The careful scheme of colonisation which Augustus undertook after tlie 
example of Csesar and carried out on an immense scale, and which was also 
pursued by succeeding emperors, contributed above all things to disseminate 
Roman culture, speech, and jurisprudence, and to impress a uniform cliar- 
acter upon the whole of the great empire. The results of imperial colonisa- 
tion were in the highest degree beneficial. For while in barbarous lands 
they sowed in virgin soil the seeds of a noble civilisation and a workable 
system of law and political organisation, they infused fresh vigour into old 
and moribund civilisations and furnished them with stable political and 
judicial institutions j thus supplying the men of the toga who were dis- 
persed all over the whole empire with a centre and fulcrum for their com- 
mercial and industrial activity. At the same time they offered the emperor 
the most satisfactory means of providing for his discharged legionaries and 
establishing settlements of impoverished Romans and Italians. 

To add a greater attraction to this emigration beyond sea the colonies 
were as a rule endowed with the full rights of Roman citizenship, and ren- 
dered capable of a free and dignified political existence. They were ex- 
empted from the jurisdiction of the local governor, they elected their own 
town council and magistrates in common assembly, their suits were decided 
according to Roman law, and in short the colony was a Rome in miniature, 
a daughter plantation, where the language, religion, customs, and social 
habits of the mother city grew up in wholesome soil, and the various ele- 
ments of the population united under the aegis of equality of political and 
civil rights to form a single municipal community. 

If the foreign element preponderated in any provincial town, or if, for 
other reasons, it was undesirable or impracticable to rank it among Roman 
colonial cities, it was admitted to the status of a municipium. These latter 
possessed the rights of Roman citizenship and were assigned to a tribus like 
the colonies, but they differed from them in their municipal and magisterial 
system and sought justice according to their local laws and legal formula 
and not according to Roman institutions. They were free cities in which 
few Romans lived, if any. As a rule their constitution was based on that 
of the Italian municipal organisation. In every province there were muni- 
cipia of this character, and in organising them local tradition was treated 
with the utmost consideration. They promoted the civilisation of the na- 
tives, disposed them favourably towards Roman institutions, and familiarised 
them with Roman life. 

Everywhere imperial Rome was sedulous to transmit to the provinces 
the organisation, constitution, and legal system which had been perfected in 
Italy through the course of centuries, and to gain over the various com- 
munities by granting them a privileged position before the law, exempting 
them from the jurisdiction of the local governor, or lightening the burden 
of taxation. In Spain, Gaul, and other less civilised countries she endeav- 
oured to bind the several communities to their allegiance to Rome by en- 
roUing them among the municipia, or exempting them from the land tax by 
the bestowal^ of the jus Italicum^ or by admitting them under the “ Latin 
law which insured to the communal magistrates the honorary freedom of 



the history of ROiME [3o b.c.-i4 a.d.] 

the dominant city and 

Sion. On the other ’^d iree 

eome empty sounds, Sr national vanity, whieh P-vi eged 

11,““' to ,na«g. their otvn Tu««l pro=o<l»re. flji'? “ 

trates, and to maintain their garrisons and having soldiers 

1 -SLd ujr tl^m aS^s^cured to tiiem the right of coinage and the owne - 

^'■'^i^';S-the p^tu^es 

conditions, tvhieh the bottom of this diversity of legal 

status, better conditions being ‘ attaching the influen- 

and service to the supreme f yet this provincial organisation 

:^fs a ligT<:^?Some S'the political and juridical system developed under 

ir tn... gevernment dhl hot .in. ». 

Augustus and his immediate I i bv the senate for the races and 

dominions the ty'pical organisa g various communities with 

communities of Italy, and the f "J g“® ,3 contracts and 

Rome were ordered according to eir from the full 

concessions. Every giade of i . , municipia to the Italian and 

rights of Roman citizenship m the of the subject cities, 

Latin law of the emancipated governor in all public 

which last were under the yunsdictio n of the i g . ^ shadow 

affairs, whether -d™imstraHve or 3 ndim^^ 

of self-government and independe ^ unhindered continuance 

StllJS ”^oo‘n.“ u^raVoeUio,,.. .U the ownership ol municip.l 

■’TiS; in » WrU’' ISTStaiT -S? 

public halls, theatres and amphitheatres, baths and aqueducts, bear wi 

'"It rs""thetirin the capital and in Italy. Here also, the monarchy 
succeeded to the heritage of the republic, but found a 

disorder past remedy. Agrarian distress and conflict, which been at 
work since the days of the Gracchi, consumed the vigour, prosperity, an 
i^tal spirits of the^ races of middle and lower Italy. The civil ^th 

their proscriptions and confiscations; the settlement of brutalised soldie, 
unfit for agriculture and the labours of peace, in the most beautiful and 
fertile regions, the cnltivation of the fields by hordes of slaves, and the 
absorption of large districts into private estates or latifundia, had almost anni- 
hilated the free peasant class of earlier times and had filled the peninsula 
with an alien population, bound to the soil by no ties of affection or ^socia- 
tion, linked by no natural piety to the paternal roof or the inherited acres. 
The honest, industrious, and thrifty peasantry of primitive times had 
vanished, the ownership of the soil had passed, in part, into the bands of the 



THE EMPIRE AND THE PROVINCES 


37 


[30 B.C.-14 A.D.] 

rich, who transformed the arable land into parks and gardens, groves and 
fish-ponds, for the adornment of their country-seats, or who, from greed of 
gain, used them as pasture for their flocks and herds, or as vineyards and 
olive gardens, with a view to the trade in wool, wine, or oil ; in part, they 
had been assigned to veterans as a recompence for military service. In the 
places where free peasant families had led a quiet life in numerous villages 
and homesteads, and had cultivated their cornfields with assiduous industry, 
might now be seen the dungeon-like lodgings of purchased slaves or the half- 
ruinous dwellings of foreign legionaries, who reluctantly and sullenly 
applied themselves to unfamiliar labours and cares. 

To add to the general wretchedness, numerous robber bands infested the 
country, and constituted a danger to liberty, life, and property. In the fair 
and fruitful valley of the Po alone, but recently incorporated into the Roman 
body politic, prosperity and security prevailed 
amidst settled conditions, and trade and industry 
flourished in populous cities. 

Patavium, Cremona, Placentia, 
and Parma provided Italy with 
woollen cloth and carpets, and sup- 
plied the army with salt meat. 

The state of things in the capital was 
no more satisfactory. More than half of 
the inhabitants — estimated at this time at about 
two millions — belonged to the slave class, and were 
dispersed in the houses and villas of the wealthy, 
where they performed the various offices indispen- 
sable in a great household. These included not 
merely the tasks and services which fall to the 
share of domestics and menials among ourselves, 
but such functions as in modern times are left to 
artisans ; such as the making of clothes, the prep- 
aration of food-stuffs, building, and the manu- 
facture of household utensils. This multitude of 
slaves ministered to the luxury and ease of the 
senatorial or knightly families. The number of 
the latter can at no time have amounted to more 
than ten thousand, and many of them, in all likeli- 
hood, did not possess much more than the fortune 
required by law — 1,200,000 sesterces [or £6,912 
sterling] for a senator, and the third part of this 
sum for a member of the knightly class. 

The whole body of the population then re- 
maining (some 1,200,000 souls) consisted of the 
free inhabitants of the metropolis, most of whom 

lived from hand to mouth without any definite means of support. Of these 
a large proportion were aliens and freedmen. Almost the only occupations 
open to them were retail trading and traffic in the necessaries of daily life, 
or posts as subordinate clerks and officials; for most trades and manufac- 
tures were carried on by slaves for their masters’ profit, while wholesale 
trade and financial affairs were almost entirely in the hands of knights and 
revenue farmers, who frequently took up their abode in the large provin- 
cial cities for this purpose. Consequently, great as were the riches which 
poured into the metropolis every year from all quarters under heaven, there 



Status of Augustus in thk 
Vatican 



38 


the history of ROME 


[30 B.C.-14 A.D.] 


„„ c,^=. ts S'SiSS 

society ; the influx of ^l^etween the senatorial and knightly no- 

of the aristocratic ^ass, the^ gu nowhere bridged over, nor wa, 

bility and tbe popula 
there any transition c 

rronnandising luxury 

masses. , =nffered under this incongruity, and -whatever 

Tlie dying republic had surieie deep-seated to 

efforts Augustus might make ^yho liad to be maintained by 

be radically cured. Tlie public storehouses and by chan- 

table gifts amounted to t Viifted^to receive it were in no better 

the next minute, whose cares dl l ^ ^^ost 

The distress was the less capable ^meay neca consciousness 

galling circumstances the u'as withheld by his innate 

that he was a membci of the ru b humble tasks which 

pride of nationality and heiedita > P 1 . , tolerable livelihood 

iuriiished the alien the ^ \'‘®li^dirgrLf ul to starve or live 
and occasionally with wealth. b-mds * he scorned the physical 

upon alms and gifts than to abour ‘\“cXc’o servhig another ; but 

toils of agriculture and the distribu- 

he had no scruples about begging foj “S’ ^’,,0 more than his due. 

» =d £ &“ 0 

be.irf®EL‘To tpikrto d«iSd 

methods of emigration to the colonies and established settlements on pi op- 
erty purchased out of the public funds ; he restricted the number of recii 
euts of corn by a careful scrutiny of the material circumstances of the 
applicants and by the exclusion of all aliens, non-citizens, and abusers of 
the public bounty. But all these restrictions were palliatives merely , the 
sources of misery^ were not stopped. The provisioning of the capital wnth 
cheap corn was one of the most onerous duties of the government, t hat ne 

might more directly control the regular supply from the “ gram provinces 
of Sicily, Africa, and Egypt, Augustus caused the office of “ cereal pretect, 
which Pompey had once held, to be conferred upon himself, and then 
appointed a permanent bureau to manage and superintend tlie importation oi 
corn, the markets, and the public storehouses from which the indigent popu- 
lace monthly drew their fixed allowance on presentation of a counter. In 
times of scarcity and want, such as not unfrequently occurred, the distribu- 
tions were made on a larger scale, and every joyful or propitious event was 
a welcome opportunity for the emperor to purchase the favour of the popu- 
lace with gifts and pecuniary donations. 

Augustus devoted the same attention to other parts of the Italian 
peninsula. He endeavoured to recover waste districts for agriculture and 


THE EMPIRE AND THE PROVINCES 


39 


[30b.c.-14a.d.] 

industiy by establishing settlements, and made use of rewards and privi- 
leges as inducements and incitements to energy. He cleared tlie country of 
robber bands by squadrons and armed watchmen, protected the coast towns 
from pirates, and by a careful examination of slave-tenements {ergastula') 
set at liberty all free-born persons who had been kidnapped and sold into 
slavery by these roving gangs. With the establishment of the monarchy, 
Italy, like the provinces, entered upon a new life, and there also the restora- 
tion of security and order brought vigour and prosperity into being. The 
twenty-eight colonies which Augustus peopled, partly with veterans, and 
partly with Roman and Italian settlers of the poorer class, were furnished 
with a suitable legal and political status. Their municipal constitution was 
modelled on that of Rome, and served in its turn as a model for the other 
rnunicipia and prefectures of the peninsula. Beside their local rights of 
citizenship they all possessed the civitas or freedom of Rome ; they all had 
the right of electing their officers and chief magistrates Qdecuriones') in the 
assembly of the people, the autonomous administration of communal prop- 
erty, freedom of worship according to their hereditary ritual and solemnities, 
and their own judicature according to Roman law i and any burgess remov- 
ing to Rome ranked in all things on the same footing as the old freemen of 
the capital. The differences of legal status which at first prevailed gradually 
disappeared under the empire; all provincial towns occupied the same 
relative position towards the capital, and approximated to each other by 
degrees in their individual organisation and administration. 

Everywhere we come upon a college of decuriones or civic magistrates, 

composed of a greater or lesser number of members elected from among the 
wealthiest citizens or supplemented from the government departments of the 
city, — 'Which gradually absorbed all authority and constituted the supreme 
governing body of the municipium, under the presidency of two or four chief 
magistrates (dwwmym or quatuorviri) , In the prefecture cities the control 
of the administration and judicature was vested in a prefect annually ap- 
pointed by Rome, under whom a number of elective municipal officers man- 
aged the current affairs of the city. The magistracies of all provincial towns 
were modelled, both as to titles and departments, upon those of the capital. 
The heads of the decuriones exercised jointly the functions of consuls and 
praetors, and were attended in public by lictors with fasces ; the public rev- 
enue and expenditure was controlled by quaestors, aediles superintended the 
markets and retail trades and were responsible for the town police ; censors 
kept the lists of burgesses and the census records. In questions of crim- 
inal law, however, the decisive sentence was usually pronounced at Rome. 
The imperial court of appeal was the court of highest instance for the 
whole empire. In upper Italy, which Caesar had been the first to trans- 
fer from the position of a province to that of an integral part of the Roman 
state and jurisdiction, the administration of justice in civil affairs — left 

in older municipalities to the municipal courts — was subject to considerable 
restriction. 

The rigid rule of the monarchy and the exact organisation and strict 
supervision of the municipal authorities obviated the danger of revolts and 
serious disturbances among the populace, and Italy (the capital and its 

excepted) was clear of garrisons. The naval forces stationed 
at Ravenna and Misenum served to protect the coast and maritime towns, 
in the hour of danger a sufficient army could always be summoned from 
Dalmatia and Pannonia. The imperial guard of praetorians (of which three 
cohorts consisting of one thousand men apiece were quartered in Rome, and 



40 


THE HISTORY OF ROME [30 ^.e.-u a.d.i 

i't«roVr; 

all conditions into conp’uity, to s uniformity upon the whole 

among its subjects and ^o. ^1 e ^ provinces and munici- 

state. This was the case '« they were all cut upon 

palities, for in spite of to defi^^ classes. The same 

thing took Pl-f 

period Rome and Italy had e ] T ‘ of^tlie dominant race. The pnn- 
trics had been exploited foi t < ‘ Up:,,™ about an equalisation of duties 

cipate, on the contrary, endeavoui 'Hip mstoms dues which formerly 

ar z 

Italy for sale, amounting to one per cent, of the price, and two or even four 
per Lnt. in the case of slaves ; the twentieth part of every inheritance which 
did not fall by right to the next of kin had to be paid into the military treas- 
ury, and a tax was imposed on the manumission of slaves. 

^ If the revenues of the state were increased by these means under the 
empire the improvement was mainly due to sounder financial administra- 
tion, to the abolition of revenue farming for the regular land tax and prop- 
ertv tax in subject countries, and to the strict control exercised over the 
tax-gatherers ; and according to Gibbon’s estimate the annual revenue se- 
cured from all of these sources must have amounted to at least titteen to 
twenty million pounds sterbng. Even if five million pounds were spent 
on the army and navy, if the distributions of corn to the poor oi the 
city swallowed a few millions more, and the salaries of the imperial otn- 
cials in Rome and the provinces and the police expenditure disposed of no 
inconsiderable sura, the surplus was none the less sufficient to provide for 
the erection of magnificent buildings, to cover the empire with a network of 
highroads, to satisfy the popular love of spectacles by gorgeous entertain- 
ments, and to rejoice the hearts of citizens and soldiers with gifts and feasts. 

The public buildings and pleasure grounds, the splendid private houses 
and villas, with which the republic had begun to adorn the capital and its 
environs, grew from year to year, and became ever vaster and more elabo- 
rate. The Forum of Augustus, with the temple of Mars the Avenger, the 
sanctuary of Jupiter Tonans on the lower slope of the Capitoline Hill, the 
white marble temple of Apollo on the Palatine, the temple of Quirinus on 
the Quirinal Hill, and others of the same character, were among the most 
splendid edifices in the city. Magnificent colonnades perpetuated the 
names of the wife, sister, and grandsons of Augustus ; the number of tem- 
ples restored by him is estimated at eighty-two. 

The imperator’s example was imitated by his wealthy and powerfyil 
friends ; Agrippa, whose services to the health and cleanliness of the city in 
the construction of the huge vaulted sewers (cloaca) have already been 
mentioned, perpetuated his name by a succession of magnificent gardens for 
the use and embellishment of Rome. He had two new aqueducts con- 



THE EMPIRE AND THE PROVINCES 


41 



[30 B.C.-14 A.D.] 

structed, and he repaired the older ones that had fallen into decay ; so that 
no town in the world had such an abundant supply of pure S2_n’ing-water as 
ancient Rome, an advantage which the city enjoys to this day. He completed 
and adorned the Septa Julia which Caesar had begun on the Field of xMars, 
for public assemblies and entertainments, and surrounded the S 2 :)ace with 
three colossal and splendid edifices — the portico of Neptune, the Baths, 
and the Pantheon, the magnificent circular building in lionour of Juj^iter 
the Avenger and of Venus and Mars, the ancestors of the Julian family 
Beams of bronze supported the domed roof with its gilded tiles, the walls 
and floor were lined and paved with marble. Even now 
the church of S. Maria Rotunda is among the most remark- 
able buildings of the city. The Diribitorium — the most 
spacious building ever constructed under 
one roof — where the jjopulace received 
their corn allowance and voting tablets and 
the soldiery their pay, was the work of 
Agrippa. 

Such was the constitution of the world- 
wide empire over which Augustus ruled as 
an absolute monarch with unlimited powers 
for forty-four years after the day of Actium. 

The frontier provinces were protected by 
standing armies, the members of which, 
collected from all countries and nationali- 
ties, had forsworn their native land and 
national spirit, and obeyed no orders but 
those of their military lord; the coasts 
were guarded by a well-manned fleet. On 
the Rhine eight legions (each consisting 
of 6100 foot and 726 horse) quartered in 
permanent camps, formed a strong bulwark 
against the Germans and kept Gaul under 
control ; Spain was garrisoned by three 
legions; two were quartered in Africa, 
and an equal number watched over the 
safety of Egypt. Four legions maintained 
the supremacy of Rome in Syria and on 
the Euphrates ; the Danubian provinces 
were guarded by six legions distributed 
through Moesia, Pannonia, and Dalmatia. 

The eastern frontier being thus sufficiently 
protected by an army of occupation of 
50,000 men, the banks of the Danube by 

a similar force of ^,000, and the Rhine district by 100,000 ; the fleets 
stationed in tlie harbours of Misenum, Ravenna, Forum Julii (Frejus) and 

elbewheie kept the islands and maritime states under control and insured 
protection and security for commerce and traffic. 

brought the public revenue into 
good condition and filled the aerarium and fiscus ; a vigilant police force and 

hre brigade, which Augustus distributed through tlm fourteen divisions of 

tranquUlity and order, protected life and property 
trom evil-disposed and malicious persons, and curbed the outbreak of Sifvaffe 

passions. Huge aqueducts, solidly constructed roads, stately buildin|s, 


Roman Emperor in the Dress of a 

General 

(Based on De Montfaucon) 



the history of BOISIE 


[30 B.C.-14 A.D.] 


On the IHeld of Mars there for ‘government purposes and for the 

pies and halls, of public "/Xd the glory of the City of the Seven 

Lusements of the ®rpfssed in LciLt or modern times, so 

that Augustus could boast th improved government and 

administration of justice Rome suffered from grave moral 

But with all these advantages iinpe sentiment, the vigour, and 


But with all these advantaps '“Penai the vigour, and 

defects. The love of hbertJ^ the common pat^ tranquillity, 

martial virtue of the repuWican pnod, feeble, and the self- 

and enervating /g^lYer days degenerated into servility and grovel- 

,i,| .,du,..i.n Tl„ C,.y 1,° Ito E.sl sent forth not 

scholars and artists ply, hut elements^ all the evils and defects of 

ness. Together with a few -d olesom 

human society flowed toge Rome became the meeting place of 

of the old Romp f f “^Jt^j’^'^'^iutfrerin p^ affairs gret 'steadily 

feebler since the offices pi.gmties had hjcome emi^^^^^ 

power. The senatps ^ 1 Rad been reduced to two principal 

sessions of the senate, f ® .sbouned as a burden until the 

meetings a ipnth ; the cost of the public entertainments ; 

candidates for the tribunate to P 

Z alms ; nay, rather tli^ 

vevors of Siatorial combats, and to hazard their lives in a brutal popular 
am^usement which gained ground steadily from that 

stimulating their licentious instincts all the more keenly 

of life or death was given by the humour of the crowd, .'^* 7 ^'°/® 

more inhuman than the old custom that the duel should end with the death 


of one of the combatants. i ^^ 4 . 

The degeneration of morals and the decay of domestic virtue kept pace 
with the passion for brutal spectacles. Strenuously as the emperp strove 
to raise the standard of family life and to cui-b immoderate expenditure on 
dress and food and the growing license of women by sumptuary and mora 
edicts, to enforce legal marriage and the procreation of legitimate onspring 
as a duty and honour by legal ordinances and curtailment of privileges, to 
render divorce difficult and to check the rampant vice of adultery, the state 
of indolent celibacy and the excesses of both sexes in connection with it 
spread more and more, in the upper classes out of liking for a licenti^s lite 
and forbidden pleasures, in the lower from poverty and laziness. T. he cor- 
ruption of morals, checked but ineffectually by Augustus, made rapid strides 
after his death ; above all, when the rulers themselves tore away the veil 
which still shrouded shameful living under the first principate. But even 
Augustus could never disclaim his origin from Venus Aphrodite, the ances- 
tress of the family of Julius.^ 



THE EMPIRE AND THE PROVINCES 43 

[30 B.C.] 

AUGUSTUS MAKES EGYPT HIS PKIVATE PROVINCE 

The day of Egyptian independence was over as a matter of course. 
Caesar needed the country, with its corn and its riches, for his scheme of 
reorganisation. 

The city of Rome capitulated to the grain fleet of the Nile and sold 
her ancient liberty for a supply of daily bread, and the price at least was 
paid her. By the Caesar Egypt had been conquered and under the rule 
of the Caesar she remained, like all countries which Caesar was the first to 
unite with the Roman Empire. 

It is obvious that a conquered, province cannot at once be placed on 
exactly the same footing as older parts of the empire ; a transition period 
is almost always necessary; but Egypt never took quite the same position 
as other subject countries. Before the partition of the empire into senatorial 
and imperial provinces was effected, Egypt had come to occupy a unique 
position with regard to the emperor; and after the partition the ties which 
bound it to him became even closer. Among the imperial provinces there 
was none more intimately related to the emperor than this, which surpassed 
all others in importance. Egypt was of much the same consequence to the 
Roman Empire as India is to the England of to-day. 

The wise yet strict government of a foreign power may be a blessing to 
any country in comparison -with the tyranny and extravagance of its native 
sultans; but the foreign rulers profit even more by it, and are therefore 
always striving to keep the rich country, with a population ignorant alike 
of war and politics, in a state of political tutelage, to perpetuate the gulf 
between the dominant and subject i^ces, and to render all interference on 
the part of rivals impossible. In a word, they keep their most important 
province as the apple of their eye. 

Nature and history assuredly conspired to give the country an excep- 
tional position. AVithout being an island it possessed the advantages of an 
insular position ; for it was bounded on two sides by the sea and on the 
other t^vo by the desert or barbarous tribes whose raids and predatory incur- 
sions might incommode the province but could never become a menace to 
the existence of the empire. Thus the Egyptians could hardly be drawn 
into the^olitical broils of the continent so long as they confined themselves 
within their natural frontiers ; and for this reason the third Ptolemy Euer- 
getes acted wisely when of his own free will he restored his conquests to 
Seleucus king of Syria. His military situation had nothing to lose by such 
a step, for Egypt proper was easy to defend and difficult to attack, and was 
accessible to a land force only by way of Pelusium. On the other hand any 
power that established itself in the country found there such an abundance 
of ^sources as was offered by hardly any other country of ancient times. 

The fecundity of Egypt has passed into a proverb ; even in a season of 
m(merate harvests great quantities of corn could be exported eveiy year, 

country had been conquered by the Romans the grain tribute 
of Egypt was absolutely necessary for the sustenance of the capital. Who- 

could procure a famine in Rome and Italy at his pleasure ; 
and for that reason pretenders of later times always secured Egypt first and 

^ The wealth of the country was increased by commerce and 

trade, and it was therefore densely populated, even more so than at the 
present day. 

The abundant resources of the fertile valley of the Nile were united 
and almost doubled by a homogeneous and strictly centralised administrative 



44 


the history of ROME 


[30 B.C.] 


.oay ; Egypt -s .uled^|^^blu;g W« 

accustoinerto ^Lns hy property^f the prince 

L it has been down to our ow ‘ of a great city like Alexandria, 

with the excitable ten'll' of tkepopiA^^^^^ government, and would have 

placed great obstacles in t military been quartered in the 

}?e.idered it absolutely .iiipossible W not a m.l^ y^^^ 

country in sufficient to give the Ciesar reason for excluding 

legions in Egypt was m itself g^^lways strove with jealous care to 

senatorial government ; and the l ^ because the consequences 

of an at tern pt at rebellion *;''® J® been confronted with the question as 

Caesar the dictator had in h «ripp of the independence of Egyp^i 

to whether he should permit the chance ofjhe indcpe^.^^ 

already forfeit in fact , ^ Cleonatra') was Uiat the most formidable 

favour (apart from his love Representative. The reasons that led 

the dictator to maintain the '^eertain In^ As a ruler 

son to maintain the old state of th ^ regard for historic continuity. 

“'nT rX-p”. “ vf™,”® ”?£ 

th^wirli’est* beginnl^i^ of human civilisation down to the Pysont day. 

Cffisar thereforf desired to make no more alteration in the peculiai and - 
c'lte'conditions of Egypt than was absolutely necessary, and to leave the res 
as it was The Ctesar merely stepped into the place of the kings of ^® 
Ptolemaic dynasty, and thus brought Egypt into connection with Koine by a 

^‘“t 1^ mosTiortmit change was that the sovereign no longer resided at 

Alexandria but at Rome, and that the great offices of the 
the chief master of the ceremonies, the grand master of the J’ousehold, and the 
chief forester, were not filled by fresh appointments ; though the schol- 
ars of the famous Museum of Alexandria enjoyed the same patronage and 
encouragement as before. At the head of this richly endowed institu- 
tion was a priest, formerly appointed by the king and in future to be 
appointed by the Ctesar. The latter regarded himself as in every respect 
the successor of the Ptolemies, and caused the Egyptian priests to do him 
honour with the very ceremonial that had grown up under his predecessois. 
It is true that the Roman emperors did not habitually reside in Alexandria, 
but their viceroys had to assist at all the religious rites in which the Ptole- 
mies had formerly taken part, for the new ruler was wise enough to 
duce no alteration whatever in matters of religion. The ancient gods ot 
Egypt, which had survived the dominion of the Greeks, continued to exist 
as before, in peaceful association with the gods of Greece.^ The Eygptian 
gods were naturally wroth at the fall of the monarchy ; their statues turned 
a gloomy gaze upon their worshippers. Apis bellowed hideously and even 
shed tears. But Caesar was not disconcerted ; he did indeed decline in his 
own person to visit the Apis of Memphis on his journey through Egypt, but 
he did not put the least hindrance in the way of his worship by the Egyp- 
tians, still less did he dream of starting a propaganda in Egypt on behalf of 
the state religion of Rome. 



THE EMPIRE AND THE PROVINCES 45 

[30 B.C.] 

The position of the various classes of the population also remained what 
it had become in the course of historic development. The native Egyptians, 
the original lords of the soil, remained in the subjection to which they liad 
been reduced by the conquests of the Persians and Macedonians ; tliey con- 
stituted the population of the country districts and country towns, and liad 
neither political organisation nor political rights. The foreign conqueror 
naturally had no inducement to give the vanquished rights that had been 
denied them by their own kings. Egypt was to be a province absolutely 
dependent upon himself, and that would have been impossible if tlie Roman 
element in Egypt had grown so strong and had so far intermingled with the 
natives that the sovereign was forced to take it into account. The Egyptian 
proper was therefore on principle precluded from acquiring the rights of 
Roman citizenship. For example, an Egyptian of ancient days could no 
more act on a Roman jury than a Bedouin could nowadays be elected to the 
English parliament. In later times this prohibition was occasionally evaded 
by first conferring the freedom of Alexandria upon the native and then 
admitting him to Roman citizenship as an Alexandrian. On the other hand 
the material condition of the Egyptian population improved under the judi- 
cious rule of the Caesars. 

The mechanism of government, administration, and taxation had been 
admirably organised through centuries of practice ; it naturally discharged 
its functions as well under the new sovereign as under the old, and conse- 
quently became the type of the technics of imperial administration. In this 
respect the republic had left the empire much to do. The Romans were the 
first to appoint officers in the level land who had more to do than collect 
the taxes. Their epistrateges of upper, lower, and middle Egypt, their nom- 
archs and ethnarchs, had of course only a circumscribed sphere of action, but 
they saw to the maintenance of law and order and probably decided simple 
lawsuits among the natives. 

Among the Egyptians, unlike the Hellenes, we find a simple division into 
nomes instead of a municipal organisation ; and like many provincial cities 
under the Roman Empire, these nomes were allowed to strike their own coins, 
though only with a Greek superscription. A collective organisation was, 
however, denied to the natives. In the latter days of Augustus the various 
provinces of the Roman Empire had diets of their own, invested with very 
modest political rights ; Eg3rpt alone never had a provincial diet, in token 
that it was not really a province at all but was regarded as a great demesne 
of the sovereign. 

Next above the Egyptians was the Grseco-Macedonian population, which 
was practically if not entirely concentrated in Alexandria, and was sepa- 
rated from the natives by a great gulf. As members of the same race as 
the Egyptian kings the Greeks of Alexandria enjoyed political rights and 
communal autonomy ; and these they retained in the main under the 
Romans. In like manner their language remained the official language of 
under the empire, Roman officials addressed Greeks and Egyptians in 
Greek ; only in the Latin garrison of Alexandria, Latin was naturally pre- 
dominant. 

The Greeks of Alexandria possessed their own municipal officers, their 
high priest, chief magistrate, town-clerk, and chief of police ; but on the 
other hand a genuine town council was denied them. The few other Greek 
cities in Egypt were similarly organised. 

The whole province, with its population of Egyptians, Greeks, and 
Romans, was committed by the Csesar to a viceroy, who, though belonging 



46 


the history of ROME [30 b.c.-u a.i>.] 

empero.'"and‘surposse^ f ' keel thrins^S o" thi's authority.''^. Cornelius 

the legions, although he lackecl the^^^^^^ ^ personal enemy of 

Callus, famous as a poet viceroy of the new province ; and on the 

iir io iu^i^s s: coi^^ ^ ^Strsrk^r 

“2;: ,z SSL of /Srss-?" 

ment remained the same h< ® gg^ed by the Romans. Among 

from this time forward the Greeks P ^ administrator of the chest 

the highc, olTke. klrik, or ot certom distrioB ta 

oL pSSor f»i Alex.nclr» ,... cerl.inl, chosen from 

iSgot” mk& L, driid „p under previous rulers, thorough!. 



cleansed and repaired by his soldiers ; he completed the canal system where 
U req^ completion ;^and the beneficial results of these necessary measures 

were\ery soon apparent. The famous statue of the Nile f 
sixteen putCi, as a symbol that the river must rise sixteen cuhits if Egypt is 
to hope^or an abundant harvest ; if it only rises half that height it means 
dearth and famine in the land. But after the restoration of the canal system 
under Augustus a rise of twelve cubits indicated a good harvest as early 
as the governorship of Petronius, and if the rise was only eight, it did not 
necessarily mean a bad one. In one of the latter years of Augustus the 
Nile must have risen to an extraordinary height, if we may trust the i^i^ti- 
lated records of the Nilometer at Elephantine — probably twenty-four cubits. 

The soldiers of Augustus were also employed in making roads and con- 
structing cisterns at various places. Coptos is the point to which mo^ of 
the roads which connect the Nile Valley with the Red Sea converge. Here 
an interesting inscription has recently been discovered, dating probably from 
the last years of the reign of Augustus, and bearing a long list of the names 
of the soldiers who had made cisterns at various points along these roads 


and laid out a fortified camp where they met. 

The Indian trade rose rapidly to prosperity under Augustus. As early 
as the time when Strabo journeyed through Egypt he saw at the most 



THE EMPIRE AND THE PROVINCES 47 

[30 B.C.-14 A.D.] 

diverse spots signs that the country was beginning to recover from tlie 
ruinous consequences of the sj^stem of government pursued by the last 
Ptolemies. In the latter years of Cleopatra’s reign barely twenty ships had 
ventured to put out from the Red Sea ; under the rule of Augustus there 
was a stately fleet of Indiamen, which engaged in the African and Indian 
trade with great success, and brought in a substantial profit to the Egyptian 
government, which not only exacted import duties but afterwards cliarged a 
considerable export duty upon Indian goods. But it is hardly possible to 
estimate, even approximately, the revenue which Augustus drew from his 
newly acquired province. « 


ADMINISTRATION OF THE PROVINCES 

An explanation should be given of the general principles which were 
followed by the Romans in the administration of subject lands. The con- 
secutive pursuit of these principles secured the result that provinces 
originally disparate in every particular, through the influence of Roman 
administration, were made into a single whole which was not only externally 
symmetrical but also internally harmonious — a whole in which the various 
nationalities with their political, civil, and social idiosyncrasies more or less 
disappear. 

The word “provincia” is much older than those conquests outside Italy 
which we have hitherto designated with the name of provinces ; it requires 
particular explanation. So long as the kingdom existed in Rome, the king 
was the sole exerciser of the imperium, that is to say, of unlimited military 
and judicial power. But with the beginning of the republic it was trans- 
ferred to two consuls, from 367 B.c. it was in the hands of one prjetor, from 
247 B.c. in the hands of a second pra2tor ; it therefore became necessary to 
define the limits of a power that was practically unbounded and was the 
appanage to each of these officials, to establish a definite sphere of action for 
each of them, the official designation of which is “provincia.” By provincia 
then we understand the area of activity specially assigned by law or by a 
seuatus cousultuTn or also by lot or accord to a consul or prsetor, the area 
within which he exercises his imperium. In this sense we say consulihus 
lAgures provincia decernitur^ and in this sense we call the office of the 
prajtor urbanus provincia urhana and that of the praetor peregrinus provincia 
peregrina. No provincia is assigned to offices which do not possess imperium, 
for where there is mention of the provinces of the quaestors the provinces of 

the consul or of the praetor are meant to whom the quaestor acts as a subor- 
dmate official. 

After the occupation of Sicily and Sardinia in the year 227 b.c. four 
praetors were appointed instead of two and the imperium was also geo- 
graphically so marked out^ that in the newly defined districts two praetors 
received military and judicial powers, that is to say the old consular im- 
peiium, simultaneously, this moreover being shared by the remaining prae- 
tors and later on by the proconsuls and propraetors. From this time 
tomard provincia becomes the designation for a governorship across seas 
and means first, in the abstract sense, command in a country outside 
■f 1 ^’ ^ concrete sense, the country subjected to the governor 

lvo6ii« 

All provincial land is however distinguished from Italic land by the 
fact that it is subject to tribute, that is pays either vectigal or tributum ; 



48 


THE HISTORY OF ROME 


[30 B.C.-14 A.D.] 


, X- ( fl,o firnrchi it is a recognised political 
for at all events from the ’ dej^emlency has passed to the Roman 

people, the original ,vhose revenues pour into the state 

province is define the province as an administered 

exchequer. According y (rpooranhically marked out, committed to the 

district of the Roman kmpire, S®®? ‘ 1 ' ^ to taxation. The obliga- 

control of a in the conception of the province 

tion to pay taxes is so '^por mA a ^ n.tually subordinated and 

that the historians, elude it with the provinces, even if 

S55 “'S'si™! ?ronK\re‘ r.u«nt j. ^ 

of .1,0 p,o™co jj;i;o;»-< “ 

upon ijistruction from tlie sun > senators appointed by the senate for 

r 

^ oTS! « 

“Siisz/r. 

’.ho iSo Gaols, f 0 ,.y.l«ur in Asia, ol.ven m the Ora Poncho 
part of Bithynia that became a province in 63 B.C., six 
moniacus, twenty-three in Lycia, seventeen in Syria, ^ 9^ 
nvio-istrates and the senate of these towns, although appointed tor the 
affairs of their commune, are at the same time of use to the government 
in taking over the gathering in of taxes in the district assigned to them. 

For the purposes of jurisdiction the territorial divisions according to towns 
are reunited to form larger parishes of jurisdiction conve7itu8, in 

the chief places of which the governor goes through the regular days _ot 
jurisdiction (assizes). Finally the religious festivals, associations in which 
the inhabitants of the provinces unite from time to time, take place in 
the favoured towns to which we allude. In provinces that were poor in 
towns instead of town dioceses we have country circuits. Here a poucy 
was observed of breaking asunder the original connections of one people 
with another, so far as was found necessary, by dissolution of the existing 
state unities and by an arbitrary division and grouping of neighbour- 
hoods ; in some cases it was even found well to abolish the comme^ium 
between the single states, which had the effect of making it more difficult 
for the provincials to alienate their real estate and caused Roman land- 
holders to emigrate into the province and concentrate in their hands 
large landed estates. Favoured towns had their area ^ widened by the 
incorporation of towns and spots which thereby lost their separate exist- 
ence ; in this way the communes entrusted to the Romans were raised 
and enlarged and the rebellions completely annihilated. Mountainous and 
desert lands which yielded nothing valuable and were difficult to administer 
were left in the midst of the province under their native despots until, often 
after a long time, it was held safe to place these parts, too, directly under 
the governor. 



THE EMPIRE AND THE PROVINCES 


40 


^30 B.C.-14 A.D.] 

The boundaries of the territories once established, the next step was 
to regulate their political and financial position. Towns conquered by force 
of arms were destroyed, their lands included in Roman domains and leased 
out to men of private enterprise by the censors at Rome in exchange for a 
proportion of the produce raised. Where royal domains were found, as in 
Syracuse, Macedonia, Pergamus, Bithynia, and Gyrene, tliey were taken 
possession of as ager puhlieus Romani in the same way, and their working 
population was united into village communities in the manner used for 
the district of Capua after 211 B.c. Such communes, on the otlier hand, 
as had submitted by surrender without offering extreme resistance certainly 
yielded to the unbounded power of the victor (as was embodied in the terms 
of surrender), town and country, men, women and children, rivers, ports, 
and their holy possessions; but as a rule the citizens and their families 
were allowed to remain in possession of their liberty and their private for- 
tunes and to the town was left its territory and its town rights. In return 
for this on all the farm lands whether of private persons or of the town was 
laid a natural impost (vectigal) or else a hard and fast tax (tributum, sti- 
pendium) and where advantageous, also a Roman toll (portoriura). 

This then is the class of civitates vectigales or stipendiarice in which the 
majority of provincial towns are to be reckoned, and which are to be con- 
trasted with a small number of particularly privileged communities, those 
for instance who had been guaranteed their freedom on the score of earlier 
alliances or well-attested fidelity, and secondly those which the Romans 
themselves had constituted as Roman colonies or municipia. Altogether 
then there are three main divisions of communities included within the 
provinces: towns with free native constitutions, towns substantially subject 
and towns with Roman constitutions.^^ 


ARMY AND NAVY UNDER AUGUSTUS 

higher career of an officer (militia equestris) was open to every 

Roman citizen possessed of the rank and fortune of a knight or senator. All 

young knights were not bound to serve, but every man who was ambitious of 

public career had to fulfil the obligations of military service for five years ; 

after which he was given the command of a cohort or served as a military 

Hitherto there had been no separation between military and civil 

office ^ far as the upper classes were concerned, and it was the emperor’s 

intentum that there should be none henceforth, otherwise the aristocracy 

would have almost given up going into the army. We cannot tell with 

certainty how these young aristocrats who entered the army as officers 

acquired the necessary technical knowledge, or whether they had to undergo 
any kind of apprenticeship. ® 

The senator was excluded from the army on principle; the knight on 
the contrary was bound to render military service if he hoped to serve the 
state in peace or war. His promotion was, of course, in the emperor’s 
han^. In the time of the republic the people did not make all the ap- 
pomtments, but they had twenty-four posts to dispose of ; in the reign of 
Augustus these trihuni militum a populo were still elected by the people, but 
this emperor, who had deprived the senate of all means of influencing the 
army, also took from the people their practically obsolete privilege of elect- 
ing officers, and about the time of his death the title of tribunus militum 
a populo ceases to appear in inscriptions. 

H. W. — VOL. VI. B 


/ 



,50 THE HISTORY OF ROME b.c.-u a.p.] 

In republican times the under empire it became 

official duties of ^ctn'c represented by his legates 

in the several divisions of t fi-om the governors of the 

imperial the senatorial and knightly classes. _ 

divided according to their social ran ^ Augustus lose much of their 

empire. u n ,i„fv of the armv is not to defend the country, 

In both nations ^1'® f ^s Uluty oMlm situation, but 

to keep the provinces ZJland a J Scotia':^ in the oWr, has only 

race, Italy in the one case, o , cohliers who hardly suffice to supple- 

'"eiiTihe‘policraTne"edy wl.ile'the bulk of the’ army is scattered all over the 
ment the police ax nee , mlinfr race appear to be iinpenlled, 

Se tromiyir^ nowLre stationed in larger numbers than is 

“SiTe'ir. rdrSoi s rLi™™? »„ p,opo«io„ t, 

Ti“ZS'"rp»„l'i.rfy »pt i» .l.e no„-ont..»me.t ol ™li- 

tary ser^^Tce and the consequent lack of a sufficient reserve. The latter 
would be too heavy a financial burden for the state, as it has to its 

mercenary troops with consideration and grant them large donations of 
money. ^The Lgland of to-day pays the bounty money on enlistment ; 
imperial Rome bestowed considerable sums of money on her soldiers on their 


Tlie^ Roman soldiers were employed on peaceful tasks which were but 
remotely connected with the military uses of an army, in the same way as 
English soldiers nowadays. It has already been mentioned that Augi^tus 
had roads, canals, cisterns, and public buildings constructed by his legions. 
The demands made upon the English army in this respect do not go quite 
so far, but in the island of Corfu any one who drives from the capital to 
Palajocastrizza may see a bronze tablet let into the face of the rock to per- 
petuate the memory of the English regiment which constructed this difficult 

bit of road. ^ 

Led by young aristocrats more or less ignorant of the service when they 

enter it, both the Roman and English armies have generally attained the ob- 
jects set before them and made up for the lack of organisation by the energy 
and capacity of their members. 

As the Romans induced subject communities and states to furnish them 
with auxiliary troops, so England has enlisted Indian regiments officered by 
Englishmen, which are recruited only from among the warlike races such as 
the brave mountaineers of the Himalayas, the effeminate inhabitants of 
Bengal being scarcely represented amongst the Sepoys. This is in exact 
accordance with the principles on which Augustus acted in the formation of 
his auxiliary troops. Of course the military resources of those princes who 
still retained a show of independence were likewise at the disposal of the 
ruling power if the imperial troops had to be spared or were not sufficient to 
quell local disturbances. c 



THE EMPIRE AND THE PROVINCES 


51 


[30 B.C.-14 A.D.] 

The permanent institution of the emperor’s proconsular authority natu- 
rally led to the perpetuation of the military establishment, or in modern 
phrase the standing army of the empire. Originally the legions liad been 
raised for special services, and disbanded at the conclusion of each campaign. 
When the wars of the republic came to be waged at a greater distance from 
the city, and against the regular armies of Greek or Asiatic potentates, the 
proconsular levies were enrolled for the whole period of the contest in hand. 
In ancient times Rome secured every petty conquest by planting in the 
centre of each conquered territory a colony of her own citizens ; but when 
her enemies became more numerous and her frontiers more extensive, it was 
necessary to maintain her communications in every quarter by military posts, 
and the establishment of permanent garrisons. The troops once enlisted for 
the war could no longer be discharged on the restoration of peace. The 
return of their imperator to the enjo}Tnent of his laurels in the city only 
brought another imperator, whose laurels were yet to be acquired, to the 
legions of the Rhone and the Euphrates. The great armies of the provinces 
were transferred, with the plate and furniture of the prsetorium, the baggage 
and materials of the camp, from each proconsul to his successor. 

The legions came to be distinguished by numbers, indicating the order of 
enlistment in the eastern or western division of the empire respectively, or 
by special designations of honour, such as the martia, or the victrix. With 
their names or numbers the particular history of each was duly recorded, 
and some of them became noted perhaps for a peculiar character and physi- 
ognomy of their own. The principle of permanence thus established to his 
hand, Augustus carried it out systematically, and extended it from tlie 
provinces to Rome itself. He instituted a special service for the protection 
of his own person, in imitation of the select battalion which kept watch 

imperator’s tent. These praetorian guards were gratified with 
double pay, amounting to two denarii daily, and the prospect of discharge 
at the end of twelve years, while the term of service for the legionaries was 
fixed at sixteen. They were recruited from Latium, Etruria, Umbria, and 
the old Roman colonies of central Italy exclusively. They were regarded 
accordingly as a force peculiarly national, nor when reminded of this dis- 
tinction were they insensible of the compliment. But the emperor did not 
entrust his security to these Italian troops only. Besides the preetorian 
cohorts he kept about his person a corps of picked veterans from the legions, 
a few hundred in number, together with a battalion of German foot soldiers 
and a squadron of Batavian horse. Csesar had employed these barbarians, 
distinguished for their personal strength and courage, on the wings of his 
own armies, and his successor may have placed this confidence in them on 
account of their tried fidelity. In addition, however, to these household 
troops, the whole number of which did not exceed five or six thousand, 
Augustus first introduced a regular garrison into the city, consisting of four 
cohorts ^ fifteen hundred men each, which were also levied exclusively in 
1 j ® established no permanent camp or fortress to overawe the capital, 
i he soldiers were biUeted on the inhabitants or lodged in the public edifices ; 
they were always at hand to repress tumults and preserve the peace of the 
city, when the stores of grain ran low and the prevalence of tempests on 
the coast menaced it with prolonged scarcity. But the ordinary police of 
the streets was maintained by an urban guard, named vigiles or the watch, 
seven hundred of whom sufficed for the service. The whole armed force of 

every description employed in the city might amount to twelve or fifteen 
thousand men. 



52 


TPIE HISTORY OF ROME 


[30 B.C.-14 A.D.] 


Augustus disbanded the unruly inultitudes who had 
service of the grpt alone they would forego 

the^^Jio^licTplunder of unoffe.^ding theTr 


r: ‘irid r^dc^f^n, ;;:e r^nHurii; of the cohort; to the Mieutena^ 
of he emperor wi h proconsular rank.” The proconsular armies were mam- 
tai md 3 paid hy the machinery of the proconsular government in the 

the letrions did in fact, through his lieutenants, hold the purse upon which 
thev depended. AVe have seen how incompetent we are to state the salary 
S die provincial governor ; nor can we estimate the pay of the various 
ro ades o^f3cers. We only know that the simple egionary roceived one dena- 
fius daily, a sum which may equal eightpence half-penny of English money. 
A part of this sum was stopped for his arms, implements, and accouti ements , 
hut he retained perhaps a larger proportion of it than the pocket money of 
the British private, and the simple luxuries of the wine shop were cheap and 
accessible. Marriage was strongly discouraged, and generally forbidden m 
the Roman ranks, and the soldier’s allowance was perhaps chiefly expended 
in averting the blows of the centurion’s vine-staff, and buying occasional 
exemption from the fatigues of drill and camp duty. If we are justified in 
drawing an inference from the proportion observed in a military largess 
in the time of Cicsar, we may conjecture that the centurion received double, 

and the tribunes four times, the pay of the legionary. £ *. 

Tlie full complement of each of the twenty-five legions was blOU toot, 
and 726 horse; and this continued with occasional variations, to be the 
strength of the legion for a period of four hundred years. The cohorts were 
ten in number; and the first, to which the defence of the eagle and the 
emperor’s image was consigned, was nearly double the strength of the 
others. These brigades became permanently attached to their distant quar- 
ters : in later times the same three legions occupied the province of Britain 
for two or more centuries. They were recruited ordinarily from the coun- 
tries beyond Italy ; in the first instance, from the Roman citizens in the 
provinces. But even while the rights of citizenship were extended, this 
restriction was gradually relaxed ; and instead of being the requisite qualifi- 
cation for admission to the ranks, the freedom of the city was often bestowed 
on the veteran upon his discharge. Numerous battalions of auxiliaries, dif- 
ferently arrayed and equipped from the legionaries themselves, continued 
to be levied throughout the most warlike dependencies of the empire, and 
attached to each legionary division. It is generally computed that this force 
equalled in number that of the legions themselves, and thus we arrive at a 
total of 340,000 men, for the entire armies of the Roman Empire, exclusive 
of the battalions maintained in Rome itself. 


Augustus may be regarded as the founder of the naval power of the great 
mihtary republic. She had exerted indeed her accustomed vigour on more 
than one occasion in equipping powerful fleets, in transporting military arma- 
ments, and sweeping marauders from the seas; but the establishment of 
a permanent maritime force, as one arm of the imperial government, was 
reserved for the same hand which was destined to fix the peace of the empire 
on a firm and lasting basis. While the influence of Rome extended over every 



THE EMPIRE AND THE PROVINCES 


53 


[30 B.C.-14 A.D.] 

creek and harbour of the Mediterranean, she liad no rival to fear on the more 
distant coasts of the Atlantic Ocean or the Indian Ocean. But experience 
had shown that the germ of a great naval power still continued to exist in 
the inveterate habits of piracy, fostered throughout the inland seas by centu- 
ries of political commotion. The Cilician corsairs had distressed the com- 
merce and insulted the officers of the republic ; the armaments of Sextus 
had taken a bolder flight and menaced even the city with famine; a con- 
juncture might not be distant when the commander of these predatory 
flotillas would dispute the empire itself with the imperator of the Roman 
armies. Augustus provided against the hazard of such an encounter by 
equipping three powerful fleets. One of these he stationed at Ravenna on 
the upper, a second at Misenum on the lower sea, a third at Forum Julii 
(Frejus) on the coast of Gaul. The two former squadrons amounted to 250 
galleys each, the third to about half that number. Besides these armaments 
he posted a smaller flotilla on the Euxine, and established naval stations on 
the great frontier rivers, the Euphrates, the Danube, and the Rhine. e 



Ro&ian Ship with Scaling Lasdbb, foe attacking a Sea Wali, 


It was only to be expected that the victor of Actium should not neglect 
the fleet, to which he owed everything, to the same extent as the republic 
had done ; and as matter of fact he made a permanent navy the counterpart 
of his standing army. Up to that time Rome had only fitted out a fleet, or 
caused her allies to fit it out, for some definite purpose, and had dismissed 
it at the conclusion of the war. Augustus realised that a change must be 
made in this respect now that the whole coast of the Mediterranean was 
Roman and the sea had become the centre of the empire. 

His first care was to construct the requisite naval ports. The Adriatic 
coast of Italy is not rich in harbours, even leaving naval ports out of the 
question. Brundusium was too much of a trading mart to come into con- 
sideration as a possible naval station for the empire ; while Ravenna, far- 
ther to the north, near the delta of the Po, appeared to answer the end 


54 the history OF ROME ^30 a...] 

tlie emperor had in view. none o° 11^^1)68^ was capable of 

improvement ; and * jfjg new naval station and the southern 

tus secured a communication be fir as the iirovisioning of the 

mouth of the Po. This was an a^age as hv^r^ as the _prov 

forces was concerned, for the pioduc probably acceler- 

thus be shipped direct to Ravenna , .m.oie scheme seems to have been 
ated tlie silting up of the ha’rbour The ®™® nieet with what 

Sieiwstte ? Sente to these\vork in the writings of Valgius Rufus in 
the first years of the empire. harbour on the west 

coast of Ital}, Tf was therefore abandoned in favour of the 

L“e$r.b“omf,?l.Xur of Mi.e..um, ,vhioh s„rp.«od ev» th.t of 

‘KS bodfe. of „‘3 

to spread the awnings at the entertainments given to the people. 

Of les^fm! 3 and probably of briefer duration was a similar work 

of Augustus T threoast o^f Gaul. Forum Julii (^ejus) was raised by 
him to the rank of a naval station soon after the battle of A^iuni, and 
mav have attained a certain degree of importance during the Cantabiian 
wIt • in the latter days of the empire we find no mention of any such naval 


^ In Spain itself Augustus thought that he could dispense with a naval 
station on the Mediterranean coast, and he never dreamed of commanding 
the ocean. A naval base in the vicinity of Lisbon ^^uld have materially con- 
tributed to the conquest of the Asturians and Cantabrians, but only on 
condition that the Roman warships had been adapted to ocean navigation. 
The oared galleys of ancient days would hardly have proved seaworthy in the 
Atlantic. In the Spanish War a Roman fleet occasionally appears in the bay 
of Biscay, but it was probably composed of transports from the neigh- 
bourinf^ harbours of Gaul. Under Drusus and Germanicus the Rhine flotilla 
occasionally ventured out into the North Sea, but its constant mishaps soon 

frightened it out of risking farther hazards. 

The emperor devoted some attention to his Mediterranean fleet, but lar 
less than he bestowed on the army. In his summary Augustus makes 
quent mention of his legions, while he rarely mentions the fleet to which he 
owed the victory of Actium. The army stood in quite a different relation to the 
princeps than was occupied by the navy. In the ]ifonu7ne7ituin A.ncyT(inu7ii 
the emperor invariably speaks of his navy : it is never styled the navy of the 
Roman people. The legions, on the contrary, belonged, in theory at least, to 
the state. The crews of the fleet and their officers were the personal servants 
of the princeps. The sailors, up to the grade of captain of a trireme were 
slaves or freedmen, and were reckoned in law as belonging to the household 
of the emperor ; and even the naval prefects, though free men, were not of 
Roman birth. Such were A. Castricius Myrio, and Sext. Aulienus, who 
worked his way up from the ranks to be a centurion and was then promoted 
to the rank of knight. An admiral of the imperial fleet (prsefectus classis) 
ranked on the same footing with the imperial tax-collectors; a fact which 



THE EMPIRE AND THE PROVINCES 


[30 B.C.-14 A.D.] 

speaks volumes for the position of the navy which had made Augustus an 
absolute monarch. 

Augustus seems to have neglected the navy, especially in the latter years 
of his reign, from motives of economy. In the war with the Dalmatian 
rebels we hear nothing of the intervention of the Ravenna fleet when Rato 
was harassing the Adriatic shores as far as to Apollonia. The fact that the 
fleet at Misenum was in an equally melancholy state is proved by the inse- 
curity of Sardinian waters, which was so great that no senator dared to land 
on the island ; and it had to be administered by the emperor’s oihcers in- 
stead of by a regular governor.c 



A LiCTOii 














CHAPTER XXX. THE GERMAN PEOPLE AND THE 

EMPIRE 

Next to the Greeks and Romans, the German people are the most impor- 
tant branch of the Indo-Germanic race ; for in medueyal and modern times 
they exercised the same influence on humanity and its civilisation as the 

Graico-Latin branch did in antiquity. , . ^ 

Tlie name ‘‘ German,’* by which they are designated in the writings of 

the Romans, cannot be satisfactorily explained with regard to its derivation 
and significance. Formerly it was thought to be derived partly from the old 
German word — that is, spear— partly from (defence) and partly 

from the word wirre (disorder), which passed into the hrench language under 
the form of 0ucTr6^ so that on the whole it had much the same signification 
as warrior ; but all these derivations are so opposed to the etymological 
laws of the language, that they are no longer admitted by any German phi- 
lologists. Some learned men have tried to connect the name “German” 
with the old German word erman, liermann^ irnxan^ ?Vmm, the true meaning of 
which can no longer be ascertained ; others were of opinion that it was not a 
native name at all, but given to the Germans by the Romans ; for in the 
Latin language there is a word germanus^ which means brother or country- 
man, which could, it has been thought, be so twisted and turned about that 
it received the sense of a Roman designation of the German people. Again 
it was thought to be derived from a Celtic word which designated the Ger- 
mans as “ criers,” on account of the terrifying war cry with which they 
entered into battle. Scholars do not agree as to the derivation of the name 
DeuUch which first appeared in the tenth century after Christ, although that 
it is of Germanic origin is beyond doubt. According to the one conjec- 
ture it is derived from the old German word diutan^ that is, to point out or 
to explain, and signifies those who speak the same language ; according to 
another, the Gothic word thiuda^ that is, people, is the true root of the word 
Deutsche and originally this had the signification of “people of the same 
nation.” 

The term Teuton which is often used in poetry instead of the word 
Deutsche was only the name of an individual tribe, and this practice has its 
origin in the fact that the ancient Romans sometimes applied the name of 
Teuton to the other German races. 

From the earliest times which are open to research, the German peoples 
already consisted of two principal races — the Scandinavian or northerners, 
and the true Germans in the strict sense of the word. From the earliest 
times the former had lived beyond the Baltic, and the latter on the mainland 
of central Europe. ^ The two races are still distinguishable from each other 
by their various dialects, those of the peoples of each branch being more 
closely allied to one another, than to those of the other branch. 

66 


THE GERMAN PEOPLE 


57 


Each race was divided iuto many different tribes, wliicli the Romans desig- 
nated by special names ; the distinction between them was not maintained, 
but in consequence of the migrations which they undertook during tlie time 
of the Roman Empire, the individual nations became separated and by new 
union formed new nations. 

In this manner arose the Alamanni, Franks, Hessians, Thuringians, Bava- 
rians, and others. One of the three races, the Goths, disappeared entirely in 
these national movements ; towards the end of the period of antiquity they 
went for the most part to Spain and upper Italy, intermingled witli tlie non- 
Germanic races there, and in consequence assumed Roman characteristics. 

Only a very few Germanic people such as the Frisians have remained in 
their original seats. Therefore it will be more to the purpose to describe 
the locality of the peoples named when they are mentioned individually in 
the course of the narrative. In the olden times the frontiers of the German 
land were the Vistula, the Danube, the North Sea, and the Baltic. Of the 

morals of the Germanic peoples, de- 
tailed accounts are given in the works of the Roman historians, of which the 
following are the most worthy of attention. With regard to their physique 
the Germans especially astonished the Romans, in that they were very tall 
and had blue eyes and reddish golden hair. They were also famed for their 
great physical strength and the endurance with which they were able to bear 

all exertions and privations, hunger and great cold, although they stood heat 
badly. 

The land was only cultivated in places, the greater part being covered 
by forests and marshes. The dwellings were isolated so that there were no 
villages or towns, but each person lived in the centre of his fields. The 
occupations of the Germans Avere agriculture, cattle raising, hunting, and 
war. The two former were carried on by slaves or serfs, who either did 
the work as menials or were apportioned certain fields which they managed 
and for which they paid their masters a fixed yearly tribute of corn, cattle, 
and linen. When he was not at Avar or hunting, the warrior passed the 
time in lounging, eating, drinking, and playing ; for like all fighting and 
at the same time uncivilised nations they loved the change from the ex- 
ertion of strife and hunting to complete inactivity. Banquets and orgies 
were their favourite entertainments, but nevertheless their food and drink 
Avas very simple. As a rule the former consisted of wild fruit, meat, and milk, 
the latter of a kind of barley beer ; only some of the nations living on the 
frontier had wine Avhich they bought from their neighbours. 

The Germans loved drinking to excess. The Roman historian Tacitus 
says : “ To drink night and day continuously is no shame for them, and if 
one Avould accede to their desires in this, they would be more easily con- 
quered by this vice than by arms.” It is said that they Avere so passionately 
devoted to dice playing that often Avhen all Avas lost the German staked his 
own personfd liberty. Their clothing was very simple and coarse — a kind 
ot mantle which simply consisted of the fur of some animal killed in hunt- 
ing Avas^ for the most part the only bodily covering, 

, Their Aveapons formed the principal adornment of the men and Avere 
therefore worn at all assemblies. Young men Avere not allowed to wear 
them until the national assembly had declared them fit to do so. A shield 
an a spear were the principal weapons for fighting at close quarters as well 
as at a distance ; on the other hand a coat of mail and a helmet AA'^ere only 
very seldom assumed by the Germans. For a man to leave his shield behind 
im in battle, Avas Avith them, as with the Spartans, a terrible disgrace, and 



the history of ROHE 

58 

resulted in the wanior to whom 'odl“ indignity by 

national assembly ‘‘'“J l’"JJ'“ome“ £ the Germans were mounted, altboug i 

?heirSSti; lay in Omir jnfanO,^ ^ uties 

The Romans praise the ancient G * . ^ ijaif-civiliscd condition, 

which are characteristic of every ra^e to have early distin- 

they had chosen as leaders. nppmiied ainonffst them as compared 

The high position which wo xp,.:(,4« The wife was not treated as a 
with other barbarians was also ef»‘»’^ete“^t considered better- 

slave ; and amongst all German . fc^jner case they considered them- 
hostages for a treaty ’“e"’ The female sex was very brghly 

S:ur:drnmn;rvomenl as, for example tlm Veleda Ihdng irr ^ 

counsels and decisions of theii 1’®°P ®‘ , rjc except among the Frisians ; 

The administration was not still took part in the 

even in the times later Tire Germans 

government, we often find traces „™oiiited for life who in peace bad 

'‘""?li°lab»SSuLswSfhV'» 

S' S" ThUT » ‘1? M« " t£" “obL” S,“ . rul, 

“le," Sen "U,e,.c. b, othe.„ X'"w 

obtalnecrthrs poS on ac^count of their birth or their personal drstnretron 

mus^ remain uu^ecidedn j^,^cng them and was not the lord, as is usual 

with the leaders of warlike semi-barbarous i-aces, but the f 

his tribe, and was therefore not only choseii for his bravery but 
tinction. The army consisted of all the freenien. Besides 
heerhann (militia), at times when no war was being earned on by the whole 
tribe, individual bodies of troops were formed, who attached themselves to a 
brave leader for some special undertakings. They constituted his folmwing, 
and fought under his leadership for fame and booty. The greater the to - 
lowing of a noble, the greater the influence which he held in the national 

^^^^Justfee was carried out by a chosen judge who was called » graf ” (count), 
from the word gvcLu — gi’oy> i.c., the eldest, and who had a number of house 
holders as assistants. Punishments were considered as compensations, and 
decided according to that principle ; even murder was atoned for by the 
judge deciding the damages to be paid to the relations of the person slain. 

The Romans only give us very superfleial information concerning the 
religion of the ancient Germans. That they acknowledged many gods is 
about all we can determine with certainty. If, as is generally done, the 



THE GERMAN PEOPLE 


59 


legends of the ancient Scandinavians written in the IMiddle Ages are added 
to the Roman reports, two detailed accounts are obtained concerning the 
gods and myths of the Germans ; but it is very doubtful if the older inhabit- 
ants of Germany proper, who alone are spoken of in the Roman histories, 
had one and the same faith and worship as the Scandinavians. 

According to the usual theory, the principal god of the Germans was 
Woden or Odin; as the god ruling over all, the “All-father”; and as the 
founder of the German race he was called Tuisko. Next to him came his 
elder sons, the god of thunder, Thonar or Thor, whose memory is still pre- 
served in the word Thursday, and the god of war, Tyr or Tir from whose 
name the word Tuesday is derived. Woden’s wife and the goddess of mar- 
riage was Freia, to whom Friday was dedicated. Another wife of Woden 
was Hertha, or the goddess of the earth. Besides these tlie Scandinavians 
honoured the god of poetry, Bragi ; Balder, the hero of the gods distin- 
guished for his beauty; the goddess of youth, Iduna ; the Norns or god- 
desses of fate and other divinities. 

The Scandinavians had just as many poetical myths concerning the life 
and fate of the gods as the ancient Greeks. Besides the gods, they believed 
in two unseen worlds of giants and dwarfs. They also believed in immor- 
tality, and depicted the life after death in their own fashion. For example, 
they thought that those who fell in battle lived in the palace of Valhalla with 
Woden, and spent their time fighting, hunting, and drinking, and at their 
banquets were attended by the Valkyries, or goddesses of battle, who spun 
the web of the battle with terrible songs. 

The Romans tell us more about the worship and the priests of the Ger- 
mans living in Germany than about their gods. The German priests were 
held in great respect, but they did not form a special class like the Druids 
or the priests of the Gauls. Their singers, like those of the Gauls, were not 
priests but poets and singers of battle songs. The Germans had no images 
of their gods, and they did not honour them in temples but in sacred 
groves in which the priests offered up sacrifices for the people. Among 
the victims there were captive foes. The will of the gods and the future 
were interpreted in different manners, preferably by the neighing of sacred 
white horses which were kept in the groves of the gods. 

If we turn back from this general observation of the Germanic nations 
to their wars with Augustus, we find the Romans in hostile contact with 
them on the Rhine and the Danube. Since the time of Csesar some German 
tribes — of which the Ubii in the region of Cologne and the Vangiones, Tri- 
bocci, and Nemetes between Schlettstadt and Oppenheim, were the most 
important — had settled on the left bank of the Rhine and had begun to 
adopt Roman customs. ^ 


THE GERMAN WAR OF INDEPENDENCE AGAINST ROME 

Augustus had no liking for war ; he was wont to say that laurels were 
beautiful but barren, and it was his glory and pride that during his reign 
the Temple of Janus at Rome was repeatedly closed, and that the Parthians 
voluntarily restored the ensigns and prisoners captured from the army of 
Crassus. His mind was not set on the augmentation and extension of the 
empire but upon the founding and consolidation of monarchical institutions, 
his wars in Spain and the Alpine regions were undertaken for the purpose 
of protecting and safeguarding the frontiers of the empire, and the war in 



CO the history of ROME 

sssiiiiiillss 

clefe'^iLd'uicir hereditary liberties the Alpine valleys, the Germans weie 
treated with consideration. The imperator Augustus even conhded the 
lafetv of his person and of the Capitol to a German troop of l^’se, as 
tiie divine Julius had done before him, and Vipsanius Agnppa settled the 
I bii w o we re pressed by the Suevi, on the left bank of the Rune 

S foui^^^^^^^^ Agrippine Colony,” tlm parent city of Cologne. Even 

M Loui who lid made an inroad into their territory because they had 

seized and crucified some Roman spies, went unpunished. 
new division of Gaul into provinces had been accomplished, and the Alpine 
districts had been reduced to submission to the sway of Rome, Diusus 
the gallant and daring step-son of Augustus conceived the project of ex- 
tending the borders of the empire beyond the Rhine and advancing furthei 

along the road which the great Caisar had trodden. ff :„«• 

After providing for the protection of the river by strongly fortifying 
the ancient confederate towns from Basel (Augusta Rauracorum) to Cologne 
(Colonia Agrippina) — to wit, Strasburg (Argentoratum), Speyer, Worms, 
Mainz, Bonn, etc., and creating fresh bulwarks and d appui both foi 

defence and attack by founding the “ Old Camp ’ (Castra Vetera) where 
Xanten now stands, and other castella, he next attempted to secure the 
northern districts. He induced the Batavians, who inhabited the marshy 
lowlands from the Rhine and Vaal to the North Sea, and their neighbours on 
the east, the Frisians, who occupied the seacoast as far as the Ems, to enter 
into friendship and alliance with the Romans ; and then, by constructing a 
navigable canal which bears the name of “ Drusus-Furt ” to this day, he 
connected the lower course of the Rhine by means of the Yssel with the 
inland lake of Flevo, which at that time communicated with the sea by a 
navigable river of the same name, but which has since been widened out by 
the floods into an open bay, the Zuyder Zee. He then sailed into the Ger- 
man ocean with the fleet built on the Rhine, and, skirting the Frisian coast, 
came to the mouth of the Ems, where the legions fought some skirmishes 
with the Bructeri and Chauci. The fleet was here exposed to a great 
danger, for the ebb of the tide drew the waters of the channel away from 
the ships and left them high and dry. They were only saved from destruc- 
tion by the aid of the Frisians who had accompanied the Romans by land 
with an army. When the incoming tide floated the ships once more Drusus 
returned to Batavia. 

The hardihood of the enterprise, unsuccessful as it was, seems to have 
alarmed the Germans. The tribes between the Rhine and Weser there- 
fore entered into an alliance for the defence of their country against the 
enemy who menaced it. The Chatti refused to join this league, and their 
neighbours the Sugambri consequently went to war with them, just as 
Drusus, who had spent the winter in Rome, reappeared on the Rhine and 
crossed the boundary stream at the “Old Standing Camp” (at Xanten). 
He^ subjugated the Usipetes, and having made a bridge over the Lupia 
(Lippe), he traversed unopposed the country of the Sigambri, which was 
denuded of its fighting men, and attacked the Cherusci on the left bank of 
the Weser, Scarcity of provisions and the approach of winter forced him, 
however, to retreat. On his return march the Germans attacked him 



THE GERMAN PEOPLE 


61 


[11-9 B.C.] 


fiercely on all sides. Pent in a narrow gorge and hard beset, he and his 
army would have been irretrievably lost had not the Germans, tliiiiking 
the enemy already vanquished, ventured upon the final massacre with 
savage eagerness and without any order or method. The victory of which 
they thought themselves certain 


passed over to Roman strategy. 
The Germans were beaten and had 
to look on while the Romans built 
the castellum of Aliso which they 
garrisoned and used as a 'point 
d'appui for later undertakings. The 
emperor refused the title of impe- 
rator, by which the army hailed 
their general, but granted his vic- 
torious son an ovation and triumphal 
honours. 

To secure a strong base for his 
campaigns of conquest Drusus, after 
a personal interview with his impe- 
rial father, had great fortifications con- 
structed the next year on the German 
river. The banks of the Rhine were 
lined with more than fifty castella, 
of which the most important, situ- 
ated opposite the standing camp of 
Mogontiacum (Mainz), grew into a 
town in course of time ; Bonn was 
connected by a bridge with the right 
bank of the royal stream, the high 
angle between the Rhine, the Main, 
and the Lahn was guarded by a series 
of lines on the Taunus which still 
proclaim their first framer in their 


}\\\ 




a 


\ \ 'i' ' \ 









1 




ji - 


9 ^ ’ b 
















Iv Drusus 

(From a bronze In tho LouTre Museum) 


name of “ Drususgraben.” They formed the basis of that great frontier 
rampart which in later days divided Roman territory from free Germania, 
After these preparations Drusus undertook his third campaign against 
middle Germany. Assisted by the warlike Nervii and other Gallic auxil- 
iaries and allied with the Frisians, who supplied him with necessaries, the 
bold leader advanced northeastwards along the right bank of the Main, 
defeated the Chatti in a sanguinary pitched battle, penetrated across the 
Werra and through the Hercynian forest (Thiiringerwald) into the country 
of the Cherusci, and reached the western bank of the Elbe, passing through 
tocts which no Roman had ever trod, to tribes which had never heard the 
Roman name. Dion repeats a legend of how, when Drusus was preparing to 
cross this distant stream, he was met by a woman of superhuman stature, 
who addressed him in Latin, saying ; “ Whither, O Drusus, thou insatiable 
one . It IS not allotted to thee by fate to see all this ; turn back, already 
thou standest at the term of thy life and of thy deeds ! ” He hastened back 
on account ()f the approach of winter, but he was never to see the Rhine 
again. He died on the way back ; of sickness according to some, according 
to others from the results of a fracture of the leg caused by the fall of his 
^rse. He died in the thirtieth year of his age, in the arms of his brother 
libenus, who had hastened to meet him. His body was borne with great 



62 


THE HISTORY OF ROME 


[0 n.c.-5 A.D.] 


1. rniil nnfl Ttalv to Rome, where it was committed 
pomp and mourning aiuUhe ashes interred in the imperial 

to a funeral pyre on the 1 ^]^g. Lippe, a statue in nulitaiy 

vault. An altar in the "^‘'7},^ , i nionument at Mainz (the remains 

attire, . Y'* 'ifto*^ be nreserved in the “ Eichelstein ” ) around which 

the legions every J , n were intended to preserve 

^er^or ortL‘ V:rant bestowed upon him, passed over 
'TbrnHce of the heroic Drusiis was taken by his brother Tiberius. The 

Ere ifeiig'ilScSr. Siiif h» 

h^was staying in^Gaul. In defiance of honour and justice they weie aiies^d 
and cai lied ii? custody to Gallic cities, where they took their own byes. By 
this perfidious deed the Romans gained their end. Tiberius took advantage 
of the consternation of the Germans to lead his legions straight over the 
Rhine. At variance among themselves and deprived of their chiefs and 
leaders, the German tribes could offer no permanent resistance to the invader. 
Victoriously the general traversed the devastated districts, and by the ' 

inhabitants bow amazed and hopeless to superior might (though not till aftei 
forty thousand of them, Sugambri for the most part, had been carried away 
and settled on the left side of the beautiful river). A Roman governorship 

was then established between Rhine and Weser. . rpi ^ 

The events of the next few j^ears are shrouded in obscurity. ^ ine 

triumph that Tiberius celebrated for liis German victory was likewise the 
beginning of the imperial displeasure which kept him for seven years at 
Rhodes. During this period rumour is silent on German affairs ; one cam- 
paign only is mentioned, that of Domitius Ahenobarbus, a haughty, arrogant, 
and overbearing man. He crossed the Elbe, the eastern bank of wh^ich he 
adorned with an altar to Augustus ; assigned dwelling-places in south Ger- 
many, between the Main and Danube, to the German tribe of the Hermun- 
duri ; and began the construction of the “long bridges,” those causeways of 
piles between the Rhine and Weser, which were to facilitate the junction 
of the legions across the bogs and marshes which abounded in that insecure 
ground. Both Domitius and his successor Vinicius won triumphal honours 
by their exploits, but we have no information concerning the particulars^ of 
their achievements. The fact that Augustus expressly forbade the crossing 
of the Elbe would seem to indicate that up to that time such enterprises had 


been unsuccessful. 

At Rome it was resolved to have recourse to the old and tried methods 
of craft, subornation, and treachery, instead of to the force of arms ; and 
that master of guile, Tiberius, accordingly betook himself to the Rhine, 
accompanied by the servile flattei'er, Velleius Paterculus, at that time leader 
of the cavalry. In pompous bombast the latter vaunts the exploits of his 
hero, that he may at the same time gather some of the beams of this glory 
about his own head. In two campaigns the tribes between Weser and 
Elbe were subjugated, the gigantic Chauci, and the Longobards “savage 



THE GERMAN PEOPLE 


03 


[5-9 A.D.] 

with more than German savagery,” and the fleet meanwhile sailed along the 
coast of the North Sea and joined hands with the land forces. 

But in spite of these vaunted achievements Roman dominion struck no 
root in those parts; their ancient freedom suffered but a temporary eclipse 
and quickly returned when once the legions were withdrawn. The adroit 
prince was all the more successful in binding the tribes between the Rhine 
and Weser to Rome. The strength of the army, — which had permanent 
bases at Xanten and Aliso, — and the arts of subornation, cunning, and 
treachery, which Tiberius employed with masterly skill, did not fail of effect 
upon the divided and contentious Germans. Roman influence established 
itself more and more strongly, especially when Sentius Saturninus, an up- 
right and able man who combined the austerity of a strict commander with 
the genial manners of a consummate statesman, occupied the post of Roman 
governor. He was able to win over the simple and primitive people to 
appreciate the manners and advantages of civilised life by displaying 
to them in an attractive form “the superiority of Roman ways and arts.” 
The Germans began to “realise their own rudeness,” and to take pleasure 
in “a world of strict order, rigid law, and manifold arts and enjoyments.” 
The standing camps of the army became markets where foreign merchants 
offered the wares of the south for sale, where the children of nature made 
the acquaintance of the charm and sweetness of a wealthy civilisation. A 
brisk traffic familiarised the natives with Roman speech and manners, 
Roman law met with increasing recognition and regard, German youths 
already fought in the Roman ranks and prided themselves on their foreign 
weapons and their rights as Roman citizens. The characteristics of German 
nationality would have been gravely com^^romised if the Romans had suc- 
ceeded in extending their dominion across the Rhine and the Danube, if 
the German princes, such as Arminius and Marboduus, whom they enticed 
into their service had remained loyal and devoted to them. But they had 
now to learn that the love of liberty and the fatherland was not yet extinct. 

Marboduus, chief of the Marcomanni, a powerful tribe belonging to the 
Suevian confederation, which was entrusted with the charge of the frontier 
southwards from the Main, was sprung of a noble race and possessed a 
strong frame and a bold spirit. As a young man he had won the favour 
of Augustus during a two years’ stay in Rome, and had so thoroughly 
assimilated foreign culture “that the Romans could scarcely recognise the 
barbarian in him.” About the time that Drusus bore the Roman eagles 
to the Elbe Marboduus returned to his native land, well versed in Roman 
strategy and politics. 

At the head of his own people he conceived the bold plan of leading the 
Marcomanni away from their settlements on the Rhine in the perilous neigh- 
bourhood of Rome, and winning a safe home for them farther east. By force 
or treaty he gained possession of the mountain-girt land of the Boii (Bojen- 
heim or Bohemia), and made this “ mighty stronghold of nature ” the centre 
of a tribal confederacy which was to be extended to the northern bank of the 
Danube, and to impose a limit on the expansion of the world-empire of Rome. 
With a valiant army practised in Roman tactics at his disposal, and sur- 
rounded, like the imperator, with a body-guard, Marboduus was able in a few 
years to make the Marcomannian league a power in the land, and to inspire 
the Romans with justifiable apprehension. For however the wary and pru- 
dent prince might at first demonstrate in his outward behaviour his friend- 
ship and devotion to Rome, whatever facilities for access to his country and 
traffic with his people he might give to the Roman merchants and traders, 



64 


THE HISTORY OF ROME 


[9. A.D.] 


j„l l,i. „lf-co,.r,<le„c. grew with "Xu'e w.f «rpoS 

-'‘•t'uo^e it w.. £.it 

power of the Maicomanniau < destruction. While Tiberius was as- 

from east and west was yntum to proceed up-stream, Sentius Saturni- 
sembling a large foice at Ca P p, ^ Hercynian 

d iS 

iHflc s “ou»- 

lie sliould increase the impending danger on the Adriatic by 
ioining the enemy. We have already spoken of the terrible 
war by which the country along the lower Danube was at 
once conquered and reduced to a desert. When Germamous 
brouo-ht to Rome the news of the victorious issue of the three 
vear? conflict, a mood of unbounded jubilation took pos- 
session of the eapital. The people vied with one another in 
celebrating these triumphant achievements with festal ban- 
quets and monuments. But the holiday was quickly trans- 
formed into a day of mourning, the thanksgivings into anxious 
prayers, when the terrible news of the disasters in Germany 
smote upon the bustle of the city like a bolt from the blue.c 



Early German 
Weapons 


THE BATTLE OF TEUTOBURG FOREST 

It has already been mentioned that, in the years 4 and 
5 A.D., Tiberius had achieved some successes in northwest 
Germany. According to Velleius these successes consisted 
in the subjugation of the Caninefates, Hattuarii, and Bruc- 
teri, and in the voluntary submission of the Chauci and, 
more especially, of the Cherusci. It has also been observed 
that, from what Velleius says we can form no clear concep- 
tion of the relations between these tribes and Rome, though 
from the different terms wliich he employs in speaking of 
the two groups it seems probable that the Cherusci and a part of the tribe 
of the Chauci occupied the position of allies, and had pledged themselves 
to act as auxiliaries. Strabo also says rpia rdyfiara Trapaa-TrovBrjddvra 
aTTwXero ef iveBpa^:, 

The warlike tastes of the Germans may have facilitated their acceptance 
of such a position, for large bodies of them often entered the service of 
belligerent nations in the train of young and martial leaders of noble birth. 
Possibly the relation was similar to that which subsisted between the Swiss 
and the French at the end of the Middle Ages. Certain it is that Arminius 
had served in the Roman armies at the head of his countrymen, and, like his 
brother, had won distinction in several campaigns. The Bructeri, on the 
other hand, must have been to a certain extent in subjection, and thus have 
had painful experiences of the Roman art of government, in its system of 
taxation as well as in judicial procedure and recruiting. Varus in particu- 
lar (as is evident from the whole description of his government given by 



THE GERMAN PEOPLE G5 

[9 A.D.] 

Velleius and Dion) was over hasty in his attempts at “ romanising ” the 
Germans during the summer he spent in their territory at the head of his 
army. If (as Dion says and we may well assume) a strong party, in wliicli 
tlie nobles formed a prominent element, had in the first instance submitted 
reluctantly to Roman domination, their exasperation now spread to a wider 
circle and the effects of Varus’ ill-judged measures extended beyond their 
borders to the Cherusci, their neighbours on the east. 

The Romans had probably come in large numbers into the territory of 
the latter tribe also, and had practically treated their allies as subjects, 
assuming a peremptory tone towards them and perhaps even indulging in 
acts of violence. It is also possible that they had established 
advanced posts there before the year 9. Their own experi- 
ence and the fate of the Bructeri must have taucrht the 

O 

Cherusci, especially those of high rank, what fate was in 
store for them, and have incited them to take the resolution 
of annihilating Roman dominion in Germany. Hence it 
appears that the nobles of the Bructeri and Cherusci arrived 
at an understanding to the effect that Varus should be in- 
tluced by the friendly reception accorded to him by the heads 
of the Cheruscian nobility when he came amongst the Bruc- 
teri to pitch his summer camp among tlie Cherusci, farther 
on in the interior of Germany than usual and nearer to the 
Weser. When he had been lulled into absolute security by 
the peaceful behaviour of the inhabitants and by amicable 
intercourse with the nobles, the revolt against Rome was to 
be set on foot and the Roman army annihilated. Whether 
they at the same time conceived the plan of allowing a re- 
mote tribe to commence the rebellion, so as to oblige Varus 
to go in one particular direction to subdue it, we cannot tell, 
but Arminius, who was minutely acquainted with the strategy 
of the Romans, must certainly have been aware — as is shown 
by the tactics he employed in the year 15 — that they could 
not be successfully attacked in camp, but only on the march 
over difficult ground. It is also possible that the original 
design was to choose the return march of the Romans to the 
Rhine, but that the conspirators found it impossible to wait 
so long after once the Roman party, with Segestes at its head, 
had received some vague information concerning their inten- 
tions ; and they were therefore constrained to have recourse to some other 
means in order to induce Varus to break up his summer camp earlier than he 
had intended. But the question is of no great consequence. 

In any case the scheme was successful, for Varus abandoned himself to 
reckless unconcern, deceived less by the peaceful submission of the people 
and by intercourse with the nobles, whom he frequently welcomed at his 
table, than by the fact that suitors positively crowded to demand justice of 
him. There is probably some connection between the endeavours of the 
princes to convince him that the Germans acquiesced voluntarily in the Roman 
order and the fact that they asked him for troops to maintain general tran- 
quillity. Thus it came about that he rudely rebuffed those who, suspecting 
treachery behind the German show of amity, advised him to be on his guard, 
and that in spite of frequent warnings on the part of Segestes, moreover, he 
detached small divisions of his troops to convoy the transport. Presently 
the news came that a remote tribe or province had risen against the Romans. 

H. W. — VOL. VI, F 



Early German 
Weapons 



66 


THE HISTORV OF ROME 


[9 A.D.] 


This l.ad been done at the instigation of the conspirators, in order tlmt Varus 

um ^ i^ ^e'^/d'^ther f ron, our author 


rnsci were subdued by Tiberius : tJie t^anineiares, nau.u.v,.., 

Chauci The first two need not be considered, as tl.ey lived too near to the 
Rhi^^^e and were thus too completely within the sifi.ere of Roman dominion. 
There then remain only the Bructeri and Chauci ; and as the Uttei tube 
‘i‘“:„L,.,e,.Uy i„ pL-^o,. o. » e.p.. belopg.ng *» one ^ ^ 



AUMlXtUS 


have taken part in the battle, 
the uTTcoOev ol/covvre; of Dion 
would seem more appropriate 
to them than to the Bructeri. 

But it does not greatly mat- 
ter in favour of which we de- 
cide. One of the two tribes 
that dwelt to the south-west of 
the Cherusci (the Marsi and 
Chatti) may certainly be left 
out of account ; for the last- 
named, as has already been 
explained, were in no way de- 
pendent upon Rome. Of the 
Marsi we may conclude that 
they took part in the struggle, 
as they too captured an eagle, 
but we do not hear that they 
had been subject to Rome, and 
if they had retired into the in- 
terior of Germany to preserve 
their liberties they would not 
have been attacked by Tibe- 
rius in the years 4 and 6 ; for 
his attention at that time was 
evidently fixed upon the north- 
west. And it is plain that Va- 
rus made no attempt at a wider 
extension of Roman dominion. 


It is just possible that it may 
have been a Cheruscan tribe in the northwest or southwest ; but it is on 
the whole more likely that the revolt was started by a people who occupied 
a dependent position towards Rome. It would therefore be in the interest 
of Arminius to display the loyalty of his own tribe. But, whatever the race 
that revolted, the day of departure from camp was fixed. 

To avoid rousing the suspicions of Varus the princes proposed to assist 
him and promised to join him with their forces along his line of march, which 
was exactly determined by the situation of the rebellious province and agreed 
upon between him and the Cheruscan princes. The conspirators had thus a 
pretext for issuing their own summons to arms without giving umbrage to 
the Romans dispersed throughout the country at military stations, and it 
IS even possible that they induced Varus to send forth the command to all 



THE GERMAN PEOPLE 


67 


[9 A.D.] 

quarters. They themselves stayed with him, not only to sustain him in liis 
unconcern, but also to watch him and to be at hand if the plot should happen 

to be betrayed to him by the Roman party. For this was no iniao-inarv 
danger. ^ ^ 

The evening before the start, while Varus was entertaining the princes 
of the Cherusci at his table, Segestes came forward and openly charged 
Arminius and his adherents with conspiracy, demanding the arrest of Ar- 
minius and the ringleaders of the plot, and offering to be put in fetters him- 
self as a proof of the truth of his accusation. Varus turned a deaf ear to 
these disclosures, probably because the notorious enmity between Segestes 
and Arminius made him doubt the good faith of the accuser, and the start 
took place next morning. 

The conspirators now took leave of Varus on the pretext of putting 
themselves at the head of their forces and bringing them to join him; 
but in reality these forces were already stationed in readiness along the 
route which Varus would have to take. In addition to this, word must 
have been sent even to the Marsi and Chauci to hasten with their levies 
to a particular point. Orders were then given for a general massacre of the 
isolated Roman garrisons. 

It has frequently been observed that the revolt cannot have been repre- 
sented to Varus as very serious ; otherwise the carelessness of his disposi- 
tions on the march is absolutely incomprehensible. The crowd of women 
and children who were in the camp and accompanied the army proves either 
that he intended to pitch his summer camp for a longer or shorter period in 
the rebellious province after he had subdued it, or that if he meant to send 

them back to the Rhine their return would not involve a very circuitous 
journey. 

Meanwhile the long array, marching in imperfect order and hampered by 
enormous quantities of baggage, had got entangled in difficult paths that led 
uphill and downliill through the tliick forest, and while they were engaged 
in todsomely improving the road by felling trees, making bridges, etc., 
very wet weather set in with a storm so violent that branches were torn 
Kom the huge trees and hurled down upon the marching men beneath. 
The ground became slippery, and the difficulty of getting along amidst the 
roots and trunks of trees was doubled ; and in this precarious plight the army 
found itself suddenly assailed on all sides by Germans. At this juncture, 
when he realised the treachery of the Germans, Varus can hardly have come 
to any other resolution than to escape from a tract of country so dangerous 

by taking the shortest road to the Rhine, where he would be able to deploy 
his forces and checkmate the enemy. 

It has been asserted that he could most easily have accomplished this 
by returmng to his summer camp, from which a properly constructed 
military road must certainly have led to his winter quarters on the Rhine. 
Eut who can tell whether Varus did not reflect that to go back by the 
way he had come would involve too great hardship and loss, while a di- 
version of his hne of march to the river might be effected with no greater 
clanger and might even offer his army a more easQy attainable condition of 

satety { Nor need we lose sight of the possibility that he arrived at a 
wrong decision. 

Thus the march was continued with heavy loss, the straggling order 
avenging iteelf by making organised resistance impossible. Nevertheless, 
the army pitched its camp as best it could in the evening ; though it must 
have been hard to find a suitable spot in the wooded hill-country. Here they 



08 


THE HISTORY OF ROME 


[9 A.D.] 


decided to burn or abandon their de"o^ 

them but wliat was absolutely necessary ; and so proceeaeu 

in better order next day. fbat thev could keep the 

They came to a clearing where it was evident that tnej co^^ 

il—SisfSFSiBS 

into which the army got so tlia* ^ co“ d though the crowd- 

other hand a charge of ining e distress the rain and 

iHiiiisiiS 

hitherto cautiously held back now flocked to secure a share of the spoils , 
and if the ISIarsi were not already included in the compact we may suppose 
“that they appeared at this juncture and captured the eagle which was after- 

""ThtcZi I” s^despe^te! and Varus had not courage to die in battle rather 
tlian by his own hand. The report of his death crippled the last remains of 

vi<roroL resistance in his army, though they did not neglect to 
at”once. Whether the cavalry under Numonius Vala now attempted to Aee 
or whether they had already fled we cannot tell ; neither do we know whether 
the legates were still alive or liad already fallen. At the last the two camp 
prefects seem to have taken command, L. Eggius first, and after\yaids, when 
he had fallen in a last desperate attempt to break through, Ceionius. It was 
the latter who presently entered into negotiations with the Germans tor t 

surrender of what Avas left of the array. 

Velleius € states that Ceionius entered into negotiations after the greater 
part of the army had perished in the fight. When he had submitted there 
ensued the scenes of vengeance reported by Floras./ These do not here con- 
cern us, but it is a matter of greater interest that there was only one ^ 
Roman castella in Germany which the Germans were unable to take, dhis 
was Aliso, whither some fugitives succeeded in escaping. Here the pnmi- 
pilar C. Cajditus assumed the chief command, and defended it in the hope 
of relief until hunger forced the garrison to an attempt at flight in winch the 
strongest at least were successful. 

Terrible was the vengeance which the Germans took for the wrong done 
to their liberties. Many distinguished Romans, colonels and captains, bled 
on the altars of the gods; attorneys and judges Avere put to death by torture ; 
the heads of many of the fallen Avere affixed as trophies to the trees round 
the battle-field ; and those Avho escaped Avith life found themselves con- 
demned to dishonourable slavery. “ Many a Roman of knightly or sena- 
torial birth grew old as a hind or shepherd to some German peasant.” 

Vengeance did not even respect the dead. The corpse of Varus, which 
his soldiers had piously buried, Avas torn from its grave and the severed head 
sent as a trophy to Marboduus, Avho subsequently delivered it up to the 
emperor at Rome. So perished miserably this splendid army of nearly fifty 
thousand men. Well might Augustus beAvail himself at the news of the 
disaster in the Teutoburg forest and cry aloud in his despair : “ Varus, give 
me back my legions 1 ” Many families of long descent had to mourn the loss 
of kinsmen or connections. The feasts and games stopped, the German body- 
guard Avas dismissed to the islands, Rome, usually so noisy, was still and 



THE GERMAN PEOPLE 


f)9 

[9-U A.D.] 

dumb. Sentinels patrolled the stx’eets at night, vows to the gods and re- 
cruiting on a great scale gave evidence of the dread that was in men’s liearts. 
They feared that the terrible days of the Cimbrians and Teutons might come 
again. 

The conquest of the Roman castella between the Rhine and tlie Visurgis 
followed close on the heels of the defeat of Varus. Aliso held out longest ; 
thither the Romans had carried their women and children and there tlie 
scattered and fugitive remnants of the army had taken refuge. When their 
provisions came to an end the besieged tried to slip through the sentries of 
the besiegers under cover of a stormy night. But only the armed men suc- 
ceeded in cutting their way through to the Rhine, the greater number of the 
helpless fell into the hands of the victors and shared the fate of other pris- 
oners, and the fortress of Aliso was destroyed. Asprenas, who was guard- 
ing the bank of the Rhine with his two legions lest the revolt should spread 
to the excitable Gauls, was powerless to lay the tempest. Thus was Roman 
supremacy broken down on the right bank of the Rhine. 

The dwellers on the north coast, the Chauci, Frisii, and some other 
tribes, alone adhered to the alliance with Rome. Tiberius, who had has- 
tened up with his freshly enlisted troops, confined his efforts to the strength- 
ening and safeguarding of the Rhine frontier and to watching over Gaul, and 
deferred to the future his revenge for the tarnished glory of the Roman 
arms. He did, indeed, cross the Rhine next year to show the Germans that 
the might of Rome was still unbroken ; but he did not go far from the river 
bank, and the strict discipline which he observed and the hard camp life 
which he imposed on the legions and enforced by his own example, bore 
witness that the Romans were alive to the danger that menaced their domin- 
ion from the Germans and had learned a lesson from bitter experience. 

However much Velleius^ may vaunt his hero, when the commander left the 
Rhine in the year 12 to celebrate at Rome his triumph over pacified Germany, 
he could boast of no achievement which obliterated the disgrace inflicted in 
the Teutoburg forest. This was left for his nephew Germanicus, the gallant 
son of Drusus, on whom the governorship of Gaul and the supreme command 
over all the military forces on the Rhine was conferred after the withdraAval 
of Tiberius. [Tiberius had, nevertheless, proved himself an able commander.] 


THE CAMPAIGNS OP GERMANICUS ^ 

About the time that Augustus departed this life at Nola, Germanicus Avas 
startled by the news that a mutiny had broken out among the soldiers at 
the “Old Camp” (Vetera). The change of monarchs and the mourning 
feasts Avhich were the consequence had interrupted military exercises, disci- 
pline had groAvn slack, and the minds of the soldiery Avere filled and inflamed 
with all sorts of hopes and desires. Hence threatening agitations and muti- 
nies took place almost simultaneously among the Pannonian and German 
legions. Germanicus hurried to the loAver Rhine from Gaul, Avhere he had 
been busy Avith the taxation, to find there a refractory army Avhich had 
cast away all bonds of obedience and discipline, Avhich complained of its 
long and arduous serAUce, demanded higher pay and presents of mone}^ 
offered the sovereignty to him Avith boisterous clamour, and maltreated at 

[1 The remaining events of the German campaigns belong to the epoch of Augustus’ succes- 
sor, 'Piberlus ; but they are presented here in the interests of an unbroken narrative, and a fin- 
ished picture.] 



70 


the history OE ROME [14-15 a.d.] 

, • • tl.P <;pnite who brought the news of the change 

,f," A;,B.«de,, .„.l ...o,. .ud.™™ .pin., had 

iL™ hideously mutdered by the en.p.rofe son. To 

The Illyrian revolt PUt don n ^ Urus^us, to be 

expiate the crimes they ha j ni ! a there was no way of appeasing the 

led against the enemy ; they bel.e^ ed tinvt thei e in 

arms hut by covering their own guilty 

■ breasts with honourable wounds. Ana 

Germanicus willingly gratified then 
lust of battle by a campaign in the re- 
gions beyond the Rhine, 

Germanicus was one of the last 
heroic figures of decadent Rome. ^ He 
was in the prime of life and combined 
all physical and mental excellencies 
with tiie virtues of a valiant warrior. 
Noble in figure and bearing, versed in 
the highest Greek cultux'e of the age, 
famed as an orator and as a poet, and 
endowed with admirable qualities of 
mind and heart, he was the darling 
of the legions and the people. They 
honoured in him the son of Drusus, 
whose noble likeness he was ; the 
husband of the admirable Agrippina, 
granddaughter of Augustus, who had 
borne him a number of blooming chil- 
dren ; the descendant of the triumvir 
Antony, whose daughter his mother 
Octavia had been. And if his achieve- 
ments in Pannonia and Dalmatia had 
gained him the confidence and devo- 
tion of his comrades at arms, the kind- 
liness of his nature and an address 
in wliich affability was mingled with 
_ dignity and majesty won him the 

Roman Emperok in the Dbkss of a General hearts of all men. When he 

(After DC M.>ntfaucon) disguisC, aS TaCltUS tclls, thrOUgh the 

lines of the camp to spy out the temper 

of the army, he heard enthusiastic praise of himself from every 
when he came to the city he was always surrounded by a tlirong of friends 
and dependents of all ranks. Tiberius had adopted him in deference to the 
wishes of Augustus, but the talents and excellencies of the youthful hero 
inspired the gloomy soul of the emperor with envy and suspicion. [So at 
least Tacitus assures us. But possibly that writer’s tendency to invent, or 
make partisan use of evil motives, may have falsified the facts. Some his- 
torians believe that Tiberius trusted Germanicus to the end.] 

The people had expected that Drusus would restore political liberty, and 
they cherished similar hopes of his son. The revolt of the Ubii had its 
deepest root in the belief of the legions that Germanicus would not tolerate 




THE GERMAN PEOPLE 71 

[14-15 A.D.] 

the rule of another, and no matter how many proofs of loyalty and devotion 
the latter might give, they were not enough to exorcise the phantoms in liis 
uncle’s distrustful soul. He seemed perpetually to hear the address of the 
legions to their beloved general: “If Germanicus desired supreme power, 
they were at his disposal”; and in his nephew’s kindly and liberal nature 
he could see nothing but an intention to smooth his path to sovereignty. 

Germanicus undertook his campaign against the country beyond the 
Rhine under favourable circumstances. After their victory over Varus the 
Germans had abandoned themselves to careless security, their tribal confed- 
eracy grew lax, their chieftains quarrelled. Segestes, full of rancour and 
envy against Arminius of old, was even more Avroth with the Cheruscan 
prince now that the latter had abducted his daughter Thusnelda and had 
taken the willing girl to wife. 


VietorieB of Germanicus 

The first campaign, which Germanicus with his legions and auxiliaries 
began in the autumn of the same year, was consequently crowned witli suc- 
cess. On a star-lit night he attacked the Marsi as they were celebrating a 
religious solemnity with joyous banquets, and having craftily surrounded 
them massacred them without pity, destroyed a sanctuary which they held 
in high reverence, and wasted their territory for ten miles with fire and 
sword. Enraged at this treacherous attack, the Bructeri, Tubantes, and 
Usipetes flew to arms and vigorously attacked the retreating Romans. But 
thanks to admirable leading and wary valour they reached their winter quar- 
ters on the Rhine without serious loss. Next year Germanicus invaded the 
land of the Chatti from Mogontiacum, burned Mattium their capital, and 
wasted the country. He then rescued Segestes, who, being besieged by Ar- 
minius, had appealed to the Romans for succour, carried Thusnelda (whom 
her perfidious father had snatched away from her husband and delivered 
over to the enemy) into captivity, and sent the son of Segestes, Segimund 
by name — who, though a priest of the Ubii had once torn the sacred fillet 
and fought for freedom at his country’s call in the Teutoburg forest — 
under a strong escort to Gaul. Thusnelda, inspired by the spirit of her 
husband rather than of her father, followed the victor, not humbled to tears, 
not with entreaties, but with a proud look, her hands folded on her breast, 
thinking of the son she bore beneath her heart and who should be born to 
servitude. 

Full of rage and fury at this domestic disgrace, Arminius flew through 
the territory of the Cherusci and summoned all the people to revenge 
upon the Romans, who were not ashamed to wage war by treachery and 
against helpless women. He succeeded in combining the Cherusci and sev- 
eral neighbouring tribes into a great armed confederacy, and induced his uncle 
Inguiomer, who ruled over the region near the Teutoburg forest, to join the 
league. Germanicus met this new danger with courage and discretion. 
While he himself with four legions went down the dyke of Drusus and 
the Flevo Lacus by ship as his father Drusus had once done, and sailed 
along the coast, liis legate Caecina marched through the country of the 
Bructeri, and Pedo, leader of the cavalry, through that of the Frisians. 
The three divisions of the army reunited on the banks of the Ems and, rein- 
forced by the conquered Chauci, marched, bearing hideous devastation with 
them, towards the Luppia, where they visited the battle-field in the Teuto- 
burg forest and paid the last honours to the bones of the fallen. 



[15 A.D.] 


72 


the history of ROME 

Gruesome Belies in Teutoburg Forest 


V — - 

• + fho virinitv of the Teutoburg forest, says 
When the army came into Hie ty the fallen 

Tacitus, a longing ^ame o%ei C. friends and 

warriors and their genei. , mankind, was seized with 

mourning, terrible alike to an ^ contracted wall of cir- 

The camps of Varus were st 11 standing^, remnant of 

cumvallation It could be ,. ‘ bleaching on the battle-field, here 

the army. The bones o ^mpt had been made at Eight 

in heaps, there scatteied, a«:o „ broLn weapons and the skele- 

or resistance ; among the huma , J the tree trunks ; and in the 
tons of horses ; hollow M the tribunes and cen- 

army filled with mingled grief and wrath, buried the bones of the 
threVTegions six years after their defeat, and no man knew whose remains 
he was covering with earth, whether those of a brother or a stranger. Casar 
himself laid tlm first sod of a tumulus, the last gift to the departed, a wit- 
ne“ Of sympathetic grief to those present. Tiberius, however, disapproved 
of the intennent of the bodies, either thinking that the soldiers would be 
cast down and discouraged by the terrible sight, or suspecting this 

act the general was courting the favour of the army and of the people. 


The Return March 

After a skirmish with Arminius, in which the Roman cavalry suffered 
ffreat loss in the swampy bottom of the wood, Germanicus set out his 
return march. While he himself with his legions sailed from the mouth of 
the Amisia along the coast the way he had come, accompanied by the crip- 
pled cavalry on land, Caecina, an experienced warrior who had seen forty 
campaigns, marched with the bulk of the army on the left of the Luppia 
towards the Rhine over the long causeway which Domitius had once laid 

across the bog land. . 

This plan of operations brought the Romans into great straits, ine 
causeway of piles was interrupted in many places, and the forty cohorts 
which Caecina led over the slippery ground, hemmed in by impassable 
ravines and morasses, surrounded by the Germans and distraught by con- 
stant attacks, were in danger of succumbing to the fate of Varus. Ex- 
hausted and covered with wounds in the unequal struggle by day, they were 
alarmed and terrified at night by the wild war songs of the enemy encamped 
on the higher ground ; imagination presented to their overwrought minds 
the hideous images of death which they had seen in the Teutoburg forest. 
In his dreams Caecina saw the bloody figure of Quintilius V arus rise from 
the marsh and beckon him. They had lost their baggage in two days of 



THE GER:\rAN PEOPLE 


73 


[15 A.D.] 

fruitless fighting, and with exliausted strength saw certain destruction 
staring them in the face. 

Then the Germans in the insolence of triumph and the wary Cieeina in 
his superior military skill wrought them an unexpected deliverance. A 
premature assault upon the hostile camp, attempted by the Germans against 
the advice of Arminius and at the instigation of Inguiomer, was driven back 
by a sudden charge of the Romans. Inguiomer left the field severely wounded 
and the Germans withdrew into 


the mountains in disorder, pur- 
sued by the enemy. Cfecina then 
led his legions rapidly to the 
Rhine. But rumours of disaster 
had outstripped them ; men be- 
lieved that the army was already 
annihilated, and in imagination 
saw the enemy rushing upon 
themselves. They were in the 
act of making preparations to 
destroy the bridges about Vetera 
when Agrippina hurried thither 
and prevented the cowardly deed. 
And when the army arrived this 
heroic woman, standing like a 
general at the head of the bridge, 
welcomed it with friendly greet- 
ings, nursed the wounded, and 
bestowed gifts on those who had 
been plundered. 

Germanicus arrived soon after 
with his troops, likewi.se preceded 
by rumours of disaster. And in 
truth they too had passed through 
great dangers. Owing to the shal- 
lowness of the water only tw'o 
legions could be put on board ; 
the legate Vitellius was to lead the 
rest along the margin of the sea. 
But this latter body was over- 
taken by the tide, which rose 
breast-high around the soldiers 
and put an end to all order ; 
waves and eddies carried men and 



/ 


. C 


A UOMAN Empkkok 
(A fU?r I)e Montfaucon) 


beasts away; draught cattle, baggage, and corpses drifted hither and thither 
in the water. They escaped destruction narrowly and with heavy loss. Ger- 
manicus and Agrippina exerted themselves to the utmost to make them forget 
their sorrows and hardships by condescension and kindly encouragement, by 
attention and rewards; and Gaul, Spain, and Italy vied with one another in 
the effort to make good their losses in arms, horses, and money. 

Moved rather by apprehension at the growing love and devotion of the 
legions for their general and his family than by annoyance at the mishaps 
of the German expedition, the emperor resolved to recall Germanicus from 
the Rhine and despatch him to the East. This circumstance made the 
general all the more anxious to bring to a glorious issue the war in Germany 













74 the history of ROME 

he . egarded hi.nself as^bo^rul '‘Ind iw!^eU 

a thousand ship.'^^^ith ‘ . - j collected in the Batavian islands, 

manned and abundantly p i^p-jons to the mouth of the Amisia and then 

rs r'vtty?r b».. ...» oe...... 

^0= w.. .......g ... .... k-™ 

an 6} e \\ ith i , } ,5ai mlv as he exhorted him in his own name and their 

inother’s Vo take the part of their beloved country and to fight for their hered- 
it.u-y freedom and native gods his words 

Srwfd hetween tlmse dissimilar brothers they wou d have come to blows. 
Thus even in the earliest times Germany exhibits the spectacle of fraternal 

strife and national disunion. . 'tu^ nofa^riar* 

Next day Germaniciis led his army across the river. The Batavian 

cavalry, which preceded the main body, was enticed by a feint of flight 

on the^ part of the Cherusci into a plain encircled by 'iwoded heights, where 

the maiority of them, including their gallant leader Cariobald, succumbed 

to the blows of the enemy. Soon afterwards battle took place in a plain 

called by Tacitus Idistavisus, that stretched from the Visurgis to the lange 

of lulls that bordered it. 

Battlbia with Arminius 


Before the fight began both leaders endeavoured to inflame the ardour 
of their warriors, Germanicus trying to rid his men of their dread of the 
unequal combat on wooded ground and of the lofty stature and savage 
looks of their adversaries, and insisting on the superiorit}’’ of their armom 
over the wretched weapons of the other side — their shields of wood and 
wickerwork, their short spears and sticks hardened in the fire ; Arminius 
reminding the Germans of former victories, and then asking whether any 
choice was left to them save to maintain their freedom or die before slavery 

overtook them. ^ 

But bravely as the Germans advanced to the fray, victory favoured the 

tactics of the legions directed by the military genius and resolute general- 
ship of Csesar Germanicus. In vain Arminius strove to rally the fight 
by bold rushes and cheers, the Cheruscan column was shattered against 
the advance of the auxiliary troops, Gauls, Raeti, and Vindelici ; wounded 
and with his face disfigured with blood to evade recognition, the German 
prince escaped to the mountains by the strength of his war horse. In- 
guiomer also saved himself by the same artifice and the fieetness of his 
steed. The rest were cut down. Many who attempted to swim across 
the Visurgis met their death from the missiles of the enemy, the violence 
of the stream, the hurrying crowd behind them or the yielding bank in 
front. Some who hid themselves in the tops and branches of lofty oaks 
were shot by the archers or killed by the felling of the trees. The slaughter 
lasted far on into the night, for two miles the ground was strewn thick 
with corpses. The Romans hailed Germanicus as imperator and erected 
on the battle-field a stately trophy with the names of the conquered tribes 
upon it. 

The Germans had succumbed before the superior might of Rome, but 
their spirit was unbroken ; the erection of the trophy on their territory and 



THE GERIMAN PEOPLE 


75 


[15 A.D.] 

soil inflamed them with wrath and vengeance. High and low, young 
and old, flew to arras and, led by Inguionier and the wounded Arminius, 
set upon the Roman army. Thus a second battle took place a few days 
later two miles to the east of the scene of the first, near a wide dam which 
the Angrivarii had thrown up as a barrier against the Cherusci. 

It was a terrible battle. The Germans, sheltered by the rampart, offered 
a desperate resistance, and when they were at length forced to give ground 
by the slingers and archers, they ranged themselves afresh in a wood, where 
they had a swamp in their rear, and the struggle was renewed witli un- 
abated vehemence until night separated the combatants. The Germans 
were at a disadvantage on account of the cramped space and their sorry 
armour ; “ their unhelmeted heads, their unprotected breasts, were exposed 
to the sword thrusts of the mailed Roman soldiers.” They nevertheless 
fought with marvellous valour. Inguionier flew to and fro in the ranks, 
exhorting them to stand fast ; Germanicus also took off his helmet that 
he might be recognised of all men and spurred on his troops with orders to 
cut down all assailants. 

The Roman victory was not decisive, although a stately trophy pro- 
claimed that the legions of the emperor Tiberius had conquered the tribes 
between the Rhine and Albis. That same summer Germanicus led his army 
back without making any provision for maintaining his mastery of the 
country. Some legions reached the Rhine by land, the general himself 
marched with the rest to the Amisia to re-erabark there. But the fleet 
had scarcely reached the open sea when a violent tempest arose, lashing 
the waves to fury. The ships, driven far out to sea, were dashed upon 
rocks and cliffs or cast away on hidden shoals. Horses, beasts of burden, 
baggage, and even weapons, were cast overboard to lighten the ships and 
keep them afloat. Many went to the bottom, others were wrecked on re- 
mote islands where the soldiers sustained life in uninhabited regions upon 
the flesh of horses washed up by the sea. Germanicus’ ship was driven 
on the coast of the Chauci. There he stood day and night upon a jutting 
crag, and watched in dismay the tumult of nature, laying the blame of 
this horrible mishap upon himself. His comrades could hardly I’estrain 
him from seeking death in the breakers. 

At length the wind went down and the sailors succeeded, by the help 
of such oars as were left and outstretched garments for sails, in getting the 
less damaged of the ships into the mouth of the Rhine. Of those who were 
driven out to sea and shipwrecked many were picked up by boats sent 
out in search of them, many more were ransomed from German and British 
tribes. [Germanicus himself looked after the destitute men and contributed 
to their wants from his purse.] Those who reached home told marvellous 
tales of eddies and whirlpools, or sea monsters and two-natured beasts, con- 
jured up by their own terror and distress. 

To neutralise the bad impression likely to be produced on the Germans 
and the neighbouring Gauls by the news of these mishaps and to show that 
the dominion of Rome on the Rhine was still unimpaired, Germanicus under- 
took the same autumn another campaign beyond the Rhine. Silius his legate 
invaded the land of the Chatti while he himself marched with a great army 
of horse and foot against the Marsi. The only spoil which the Romans 
reaped from this unworthy incursion was one of the eagles lost in the defeat 
of Varus. A banished prince of the latter tribe, who had come as a fugitive 
to the Romans, betrayed to them the spot where it had been buried in a grove. 
Germanicus is also said to have recovered one in his first campaign. 



76 


THE HISTORY OF ROME 


[lG-18 A.D.l 


GERMANICUS recalled to ROME 

This was the end of the Roman war the emperor’s 

great schemes for a fresh campaign again _ he was recalled by a letter 

Lave son regarded as the Len Sou"h of success and "disaster ; 

from Tiberius to the effect tj'ere 'ad “cn designed in 

and he was to come home for t honour of the Roman arms 

acknowledgment of his c'cploits. ^ Rome’s vengeance, the Cherusci 

had been vindicated and Plough done tor Koine s g 

and the otlier rebellious tribes of to grLt him but one 

dissensions. In vain ‘j*'' ^^o"hl bring the war to a glorious end. 

year more, promising that '^"‘Lsgunre the consulate ; if it were 

neresTa^To"^^^^^ w- brother Drusus might win laurels and the 

fame of a commander on the . ge celebrated at Rome his 

had bee p *^n-ofhpr with nictures of rivers, niouiitains, and battles 

tap^mtor iit enlUronea, surroonde.l by Ms five “ImSS 

miiiv men women, and children of high rank, captive and ni fetters. Among 

theni was Thusnelda, the wife of Arminius, and her son Thumeheus, whom 

she had borne in captivity. Both died in slavery in a foreign land, i rom 

the obscure hint o-iven by Tacitus that the son of Armiiuus grew up at 

Ravenna and was “reserved for a shameful fate, modern 

have concluded that the boy was brought up as a 

Strabo, Segimund, the brother of Thusnelda, and his cousin Sisithacus, with 
his princely consort Rhamis, were of the tram in the chains of slayeiy. But 
Segestes stood in a place of honour and looked down upon the P® 

Romans and the misery of his children. It was his reward for betraying 

his country. 


END OF MAUBODUUS AND AUMINIUS 

The spirit of internecine discord to which Tiberius had hailed the 
Romans over soon came to light. The Low German league of the Cherusci 
in the northwest engaged in a war with the league of the Marcomanni in 
the southeast. It may be that Arminius, proud of his achievements, aimed 
at the military command of the whole nation and thus come into conflict with 
Marboduus the wary and ambitious Marcomannian prince, who had Inain- 
tained a neutral attitude throughout the war of the Romans and Germans. 
The chieftains seem to have favoured Marboduus, the tribes Arminius ; at 
least we find Inguioiner, uncle of Arminius, on the side of the Marcomanni, 
while on the other hand the Langobardi and Senones settled on the banks of 
the Albis were in league with Arminius. In the third year after the with- 
drawal of Germanicus the quarrel between the two confederacies came to a 
sanguinary decision. The battle was probably fought on the Sala, and ended 
in the retreat of jMarboduus to Boihemuni (Bohemia). 

Of the later history we know nothing, though we can gather from 
subsequent events that the schism continued to exist, that German blood 
was shed to no purpose by German hands, and that the weakness bred of 
discord gave the Romans an opportunity of harassing the country of the 




THUSNELDA AT THE TRirMl’H uK CKHMANId 








S. P. 



Librar 



SRINAGAR 


In 


DATE LOANED 

A fine of oiiie anna will be charged for 
each day the book is" kept overtime. 





THE GERMAN PEOPLE 


77 


[18-19 A.D.] 

Germans again from the south. Marboduus, enfeebled by attacks from 
without and desertions within, turned to Tiberius for help, but the latter 
preferred to foster the dissensions and to let the stately political fabric Mar- 
boduus had built up perish of its own disorganisation. The German duke 
was induced to cross the Danube and appeal for the assistance of the Ctesar 
D rusus, who had a standing camp farther down the stream. Tlie latter 
delayed him so long mth promises and negotiations that the German army, 
seduced by factionaries and agitators, deserted its commander, and left him 
no choice but self-inflicted death or surrender to the Romans. He chose to 
live rather than to perish gloriously. He was carried to Ravenna, where he 
lived for eighteen years on the allowance granted him by the liereditary 
enemy of his country. Colonies of soldiers were settled in Moravia. 

Alike fate befell Catualda, prince of the Gothi, who had been the princi- 
pal agent of the fall of Marboduus, but was driven away by the Hermunduri 
when he attempted to take his place. The Romans harboured the fugitive, 
Avho fled to their protection, and assigned him a residence at Forum J ulii 
in Gaul. 

The soldiers of Marboduus who were settled in Moravia had Vannius set 
over them as king by the Romans. Popular with the people at first, he 
enriched his kingdom by plunder and tribute ; but presently, weakened by 
a hostile party in his own land, succumbed to the attacks of his enemies the 
Hermunduri and Lygii (in Silesia). Defeated after honourable fight in a 
pitched battle, he fled wounded to the Romans, who assigned dwelling-places 
to him and his following in Pannonia. His two nephews, who had been the 
prime agents of his fall, shared his abandoned kingdom and secured Roman 
protection by faithful loyalty and devotion to the ruling race. Thus by 
artifice and stratagem and by the dissensions of her enemies, Rome gained 
more than by the force of arms. 

Arniinius met his end about the same time. We have no information 
concerning the deatli of the hero beyond the brief words with which Tacitus 
concludes the second book of his Annals: “Arminius, striving after royal 
power after the withdrawal of the Romans and the banishment of Marboduus, 
had his fellow countrymen’s love of liberty against him ; and while, attacked 
in arms, he was fighting with varying fortune, he fell by the treachery of his 
kinsmen. Incontestably he was the deliverer of Germany, He did not, 
like other kings and commanders, fight the Roman nation in its weakness, 
but at the period of its greatest strength. Not invariably fortunate in 
battle, he remained unconquered in war. He had accomplished thirty-seven 
years of life and twelve of military command. He is still sung of by the 
barbarian tribes. To the annals of the Greeks he is unknown, for they 
admire nothing that is not their own ; among the Romans also he is not 
sufi&ciently honoured, for we extol the old and disregard the new.” A 
splendid tribute from an alien but noble pen, which honoured virtue and 
greatness of soul even in an enemy. c 




CHAPTER XXXI. 


THE AGE OF AUGUSTUS — ASPECTS OF 
ITS CIVILISATION 


empire is peace 

“ Then battles o’er the world shall cease, 

Harsh limes shall mellow into peace : 

Then Vesta, Faith, Quirinus, joined 

With brother Remus rule mankind: 

Grim iron bolt and massy bar 

Shall close the dreadful gates of War. 

. — Virgil. 

Peace was the price for which Rome consented to the supremacy of 
Aufnistus ; his successors, too, really followed a policy of peace. There 
was not a complete absence of conquests either in the reign of Augustus or 
of those who came after him, as for instance Trajan. But these predatory 
wars were chiefly directed to the defence and protection of the older posses- 
sions. If we compare the conquests of the republic in hve centuries with 
those of the empire in four we shall clearly see how the republic hastened 
from one conquest to another, while the object of the empire was to preserve 
and fortify itself. “Empire is peace” — this watchword, so often abused, 
was truly expressive of the work of Augustus in battles both at home and 

abroad. , _ i? . v • 

Caisar had made war of necessity. His was not the nature of the warrior 

prince ; on the contrary it was as the prince of peace that he loved to be 
celebrated. When the civil war had come to an end the army was conside^ 
ably reduced and the superfluous legions were simply discharged. Caesar had 
often suffered, and others had suffered more than he, from the insolence and 
unbridled passions of an army which felt itself master of the situation ; the 
termination of the civil wars was to put an end to all this. From hencefor- 
ward he no more addressed his troops as comrades but simply as soldiers, 
and allowed the princes of his house to use no other manner of address. 
The bodyguard of foreign mercenaries hitherto maintained by him was dis- 
charged and replaced by home troops. 

The joy at the termination of the civil wars was universal and in nearly 
every case genuine. Exceptional circumstances and wars at home as well 
as abroad had gone to make up the history of the past twenty years ; during 
this time a generation had grown up whose only knowledge of lasting peace 
was derived from hearsay, as if from the all but silent notes of some legend 

78 


THE AGE OF AUGUSTUS 


79 


[30 B.C.-14 A.D.] 

sung in a better-day now long past. Those who within the last decade had 
saved or won anything were eager to rejoice in it. All panted for peace, 
with no less sincerity than exhausted Europe after the wars between 1790 
and 1815, and all were I’eady to greet as lord of the world the victor who 
should restore this golden age. 

This general yearning for peace found expression in the shutting of the 
doors of Janus, which was decreed by the senate in order to give a visible 
proof that the period of war was at an end (JEneid VII, 607) : 

“ Two gates there stand of War — ’twas so 
Our fathers named them long ago — 

The war god’s terrors round them spread 
An atmosphere of sacred dread. 

A hundred bolts the entrance guard, 

And Janus there keeps watch and ward.” 

Any one who chanced to be in France when the Prussian War closed and 
heard the bells ringing out peace from the church towers will .not easily 
underrate the impressiveness of this symbolism. 

Caesar indeed attached all the greater importance to the decree of the 
senate ordering the doors of Janus to be shut, in that the senate had rarely 
gone to such lengths. Two centuries had passed since the last occasion in 
which the temple of Janus was closed. When the First Punic War with all 
its losses and changing fortunes had finally been concluded to the advantage 
of Rome, exhausted as she was, she had yet joyfully permitted the perform- 
ance of these ancient ceremonies which were supposed to date back to King 
Numa. To this precedent the senate had recourse when in 29 b.c. it 
ordered the closing of the temple of Janus. The proceeding would have 
been most impressive had the threefold triumph been terminated with this 
symbol of peace. This, however, was not in the power of the senate to grant, 
for its decree had probably been passed at the beginning of the year ; there 
was danger in delay, for the sudden outbreak of a border war or a rebellion 
might make its performance impossible. 

To be accurate we must admit that there was not an absolute cessation 
of warfare ; for the Romans had still to contend with the natives on the 
German border and in Spain at a time like this in which all resistance had 
to be broken. But little account was made of such trifles, so great was the 
promise expected from the impression that the closing of the temple of Janus 
would create. 

Even Cicero, so tell the later accounts at all events, seems to have recog- 
nised in the young Caius Octavius, who had been born during his consulate, 
the man who would put an end to the civil wars ; later on, when the Sicilian 
war had been concluded, a statue was reared to Caesar with an inscription to 
him as prince of peace ; now at last after the battle of Actium the dream 
was to turn into reality. What was so yearningly hoped for was pointed 
out in the premonitions of the gods ; even the trophies of victory turned 
into weapons for peace. Bees made their nests in the trophies taken at the 
battle of Actium (^Anthol. Palat, VI, 236) : 

** Here brazen beaks, the galley’s harness, lie, 

Trophies of Actium’s famed victory, 

But bees have built within the hollow arms. 

With honey filled, and blithe with buzzing swarms ; 

Emblem of Caesar’s sway, that, calm and wise. 

Culls fruits of peace from arms of enemies.” 



the history of ROME 

80 [30 B.C.-U A.D.) 

The whole world was refreshed, and breathed as if a great load had 
been lifted from its hype°^^ foshion wliich was 

of tThr'ac of m.„, who,. wi,do» 

Sfe. knd Lcl water, and the states flourish in righteousness, harmony, and 
well beine All the good waxes full ripe and turns to fruit. In a decree 
of the toivn Apamea we read that Caisar was born for the salvation of the 
^hoie world ; so his birthday may rightly be termed tbe beginning of life 

‘'"‘^\Ve‘'n!fy 'set how general and how hearty was the rejoicing over the 
lestoratioii of peace throughout the world from the fact that Pax and Irene 
now ecame names not only of slaves and freedmen of Hie imperial house, 
hul aho of members of otlmr distinguished families. From the agnomen 

Ptix was ev6n formed a sunianie 1 axsseus. xi x* u 

Trade and industry revived and prosperity increased from the time when 

the armed peace and the civil wars had come to an end. The whole earth 

in all its compass experienced once more, after long distress, the blessings of 

enduring peace, and did honour to the prince of P.f 

for this new fortune by the erection of temples and altars to the glory of the 
imperial peace. On the Greek and Latin coins of this period too we see 
the goddess of peace ; in Asia Minor for example on the coins of Cos and 
Nicomedia. Even the veterans of the emperor stamped on their colonial 
coins PA — CIS with the picture of the goddess of peace bearing the 
features of Livia or Julia. On other coins the emperor is celebrated both 
as prince of peace and of liberty ; the later ones speak even of an eternal 
peace. One of the Spanish veteran colonies introduced even the name of 
Pax Julia ; on their coins we see enthroned a fully draped female figure 
liolding a horn of plenty in her left hand and a herald’s staff in her right. 

This official worship of peace was continued throughout the whole reign 
of the emperor. One of the greatest honours devised by the senate and 
accepted by the emperor was the state-directed dedication of an altar of 
peace in the year 13 B.C. To-day we may still see on fine reliefs of the time 
of Augustus the group of peoples, in garments of ceremony and crowned with 
laurels, confronting the ruler on his return home. These provide us with the 
best picture of the national scenes in the streets of the capital when men 
were expecting the triple triumph of Ciesar. 

“ To thy blest altar, Peace, our song must tend 
This day, the second ere the montli will end; 

Come, crowned with laurels from the Actian Bay, 

And mildly deign here to prolong thy stay. 

Without a foe we for no triumphs care, 

Thou to our chiefs more glorious art than war.” 


COMPARISON BETWEEN AUGUSTUS AND NAPOLEON III 

Altogether there is a striking resemblance between these two rulers and 
their times, although Napoleon III cannot be compared with Augustus so 
far as their offices are concerned. On their first appearance on the scene 
both were underrated by their opponents and laughed at on account of their 
youth or their lack of understanding : Cicero joked about “ the boy ” ; 



THE AGE OF AUGUSTUS 


81 


[30 B.C.-14 A.D.] 

Victor Hugo mocked at Napoleon the little. Botli lived in periods when 
their nation was stirred to the innermost depths by civil war and revolu- 
tion, m the confusion of which practically all landed property had changed 
owners ; in Italy through the proscriptions of the triumvirs and the dis- 
tribution of land to the veterans, in France through the confiscation of the 
property of the clergy, through the sale of estates of the nobility, combined 
with the mismanagement of the assignats in the first revolution, while there 
was fear of fresh changes through some future social revolution. 

The man who offered present occupiers guarantees for their occupation 
and against the return of the previous confusion was honoured as the saviour 
of society ; upon him the nation poured its thanks for the economic revi- 
val of the country and for increasing well-being during a long succession of 
peaceful years. 

Upon this firm basis was reared the throne of the new rulers, neither of 

whom claimed to be a legitimate monarch. Both had with more or less right 

acquired a dictatorial power which they understood how to wield through - 

out many years, until at length a moment came when they made up their 

minds to a partial renunciation of authority. This was the critical moment 

that decided the fate of the rulers and their work, for everything depended 

on the choice of the moment and the extent of the concessions. Here the 

penetrating vision and the statesmanlike ability of Augustus are seen to 

surpassing advantage, while Napoleon, who only made up his mind after 

long hesitation, took his hand from the tiller reluctantly, only to see very 

speedily with what scant success his ship battled against the overpowering 

torrent and was driven helplessly nearer and nearer the destruction that 
threatened it. 


The rule of Augustus as well as that of Napoleon III was a tyranny in 
the good sense of the word; neither the one nor the other lacked the drop ol 
dernocratic oil with which the ruler was anointed. Both wanted to be assured 
mat tlieir high place was secure only because of its necessity to the state. 
Again and again Augustus restored his power (to all appearances at leastl 
to tlie senate, to receive it again, but only for a definite number of years ; and 
even in the case of Napoleon III, it was a polite official fiction that his power 
had been delegated to him by the nation in the first year of his reign and was 
even in his last year confirmed hy a plebiscite. 

If they challenged a crisis of this kind, both held the reins of government 
tirmly in their hands, nor did any one seriously believe that they would have 

'pv.“wi D wrested from them by a vote unfavourable to them, 

ihat the Roman senate and the French people were repeatedly confronted 
wth this crwis, shows clearly what value those rulers attached to this right. 

higher classes of society which had hitherto 
^sles of thp ‘derive their support from the broad 

in thf vIpP soldiers and to the population of his chief town prove that 
m the well-being and content of this very class he rightly recognised the real 

care’tothV”^ similar fashion Napoleon III took pre-eminent 

under his^ruTe^*^™^ welfare of France, which reached an unprecedented level 

c°“h*ied his liberality to what was absolutely necessary ; 

ir/n , f I ®“®"ce in remarkable ways. Architeeture 

Nannlenn TTT architecture was the art of Augustus and of 

too^i! ^ cf Napoleon III, and so, 

too. It was the boast of Augustus that he had taken over Rome a city of 

H. W. — VOL. VI. O 



89 the history of ROME 

oZ [30 B.C.-14 A.D.] 

Thf Sorshirof the uncle to wliose popularity they owed the crown - • 

in the one case\he worship of the dictator, in the other that of Napoleon I 

— impresses its character on the reign of both rulers. In particular, the 
impresses , military glory of these two great generals was 

exploited by their nephews in a variety of 
ways. Neither Augustus nor Napoleon III 
were really soldiers ; but they needed for their 
rule a powerful effective army, \yhich they 
would have found far greater difficulty in 
bending to their ends had they not had the 
memories of a great past to help them. Both 
succeeded in creating a lighting army, the 
pride of the nation, which they knew how to 
use when it was really necessary, but without 
taking any real pleasure in fighting and hazard, 
such as was felt by Julius Csesar and Napoleon 
I. The successes they loved best were not 
those won in war but those due to threats of 
war and to diplomacy. The war against the 
Partisans, the hereditary foes of Rome, was 
certainly a portion of the legacy left by the 
dictator; but Augustus hesitated long before 
beginning this really dangerous war, until 
good fortune played the lost standards into his 
hands. Military honour was hereby satisfied 
and the noisy rejoicing of his fellow -soldiers 
now relieved him of the duty of making war upon the redoubtable enemy. 

In the same way Napoleon III loved to increase his reputation in Europe 
and in his army by conducting wars which, even if they ended badly, could 
not shake his throne nor France itself. A war over the boundaries of the 
Rhine was as popular in France as a Parthian war under Augustus, but also 
as dangerous. For this reason Napoleon III made several attempts to attain 
the fruits of such a war by peaceable means and only proceeded to a declara- 
tion of war when he had convinced himself that there was no prospect of 
success in such attempts. 

In a word, then as now the statesman succeeded the general, the prince 
of peace the warrior prince, nor did the former despise military glory ; only 
he preferred to decorate himself with the laurels plucked from his uncle's 
wreath. Augustus, no less than Napoleon III, reckoned it as of the very 
essence of the services he did to the world that he had put an end to the 
period of warfare at home and abroad. Just as Napoleon III, in the character 
of saviour of society, pronounced the dictum, Umpire e'est la paix^^ so 
Augustus caused himself to be celebrated as the restorer of order and liberty, 
whose privilege it was thrice to shut the doors of Janus and to inaugurate a 
new era of things. 



A Roman Tripod 



THE AGE OF AUGUSTUS 83 

[30 B.C.-U A.D.] 

Neither was a man of genius, both were practical and astute to no common 
degree; they were cool political calculators who had early learned to conduct 
their own policies and to judge all circumstances from the practical point of 
view. If they sought an end they did not shrink from the means to accom- 
plish it; as a parallel to the misdeeds of the triumvirs we have every right 
to quote the measures under Napoleon III by which the president was raised 
to an emperor. Later in their career both avoided acts of violence as fai- as 
possible, and in the face of outspoken public opinion, the symptoms of wliich 
they studied zealously, both made concessions even in the teeth of their own 
better convictions, for they were astute enough to know that their supremacy 
could not depend on might alone. 

Possessed as they were of power they sought also to conciliate and fortify 
the conservative elements of the state. Those who bore old and famous 
names were treated with just such a preference in the bestowal of external 
honours by Augustus as in later times by Napoleon, whose endeavour was 
to adorn his new imperial nobility with the fairest names of old feudal France. 

As he succeeded in reconciling the old nobility to some extent with the 
new order of things, so Napoleon understood how to conclude peace with the 
church, a peace which he bought and preserved at considerable cost. In a 
similar way Augustus, who took upon himself the dignity of a high priest, 
attempted to reanimate national traditions and the religion of the past and 
to reorganise the priesthoods. 

The similarity of the two rulers is obvious and has been frequently re- 
ferred to. That it should until now have been less recognised than it ou^ht, 
is, perhaps, due to the fact that the characters of the two were after all funda- 
mentally different. One might almost say the similarity lay in the circum- 
stances of the times, the dissimilarity in the characters of the persons ; and 
the more we harp on the former the clearer appears the latter. Napoleon 
remained all his life what Augustus never was, a dreamer and a conspirator. 
According to the version of De Tocqueville, Napoleon knew no hard and fast 
boundary between dreaming and thinking; this may have been the result of 
his moping youth with its conspiracies, his imprisonment, and his fantastic 
designs which never were realised but by the most extraordinary strokes of 
luck. Augustus, on the other hand, never had time to devote to dreamy 
imaginings. When he was still almost a boy, he had thrown himself on his 
own initiative into the struggle of parties, and from the beginning he had to 
summon all the powers of his mind to aid him in the struggle against oppo- 
nents maturer than himself ; so it is that later when power was his he never 
Reamed but always thought. Moreover, Augustus was never a conspirator. 
He obtained power early and wielded it recklessly. He both loathed and 
found superfluous that covert toying with designs and intrigues which 

shunned the public eye until they suddenly burst into publicity with eclat, 
such as Napoleon loved. 

Augustus enjoyed the great advantage of still being teachable when he 
came into the actual possession of power, and of being formed into a states- 

^^i^c^^stances themselves; Napoleon, on the other hand, was 
much older when he came to the throne ; in his best years he was forging 
schemes to attain an apparently unattainable goal. He was laughed at as 
a nurser of fancies until he became emperor ; small wonder then that the 
emperor s plans remained fanciful and singular and that, as a ruler, he lacked 
the gift which distmguished Augustus in so high a degree— the gift of judg- 
ing soberly what was attainable, or what was necessary. As emperor, Napo- 
leon could never quite forget the adventurous designs of his youth. Place 



84 


the history of ROME 

**■ [30 B.C.-U A.D.] 

at the that a careful observer 

Sr ;r^>oC^'to execution, Lt the reaction is bound to 

""Tt\?tnirilt\teifwe^ reorganising France than 

Augustus ’ *°t7of ids Cfident address Napoleon felt his weak- 

ness "and uTon him lav the burden of justifying himself by success that was 

thf^S'least k ; im ^cmiihed, a\ul he was thus misled into taking 
m‘mj- a false and many a critical step which a true statesman, like Augustus, 

""" But aTnds hUemarmTsTaSs and difficulties were not enough to upset the 
second empire. The catastrophe avas brought about by Napoleon havmg an 
eXvfrom outside, an enemy far more formidable than those outside enemies 
who 'might liave declared war upon Augustus. Napoleon fully lealised the 
danger that threatened him from this quarter ; yet he w.as helplessly engulfed 
in tlie whirliiool that was destined to swallow him and his work with him. 

From the point of view of the world's history, then, Augustus appears as 
a far greater figure than Napoleon III. Antiquity spoke, we speak yet to- 
(lav of the Aee of Augustus with reason, and this is an honour that weighs 
more than the name of Great; a man gives his name to Ins time only when 
he has really stamped that time with his image, opening up new roads, not 
onlv to his own nation but to the history of his time. Such an honour then 
implies permanent achievement in the widest sense ; no impaitial liistoiian, 

then, will ever speak of the Age of Napoleon III. 

The French Empire was shattered while its founder was yet alive, and 
when it fell, its inner hollowness, its rotten foundations, lay exposed, so that 
the whole appeared no more than an adventurous episode in the history of 
France. The work of Augustus, on the other hand, was indispensable to 
the world’s history ; it outlived its founder, and lasted with some modifica- 
tion to the end of antiquity. Succeeding generations saw in Augustus the 
ideal prince, and hailed each newly chosen emperor with the invocation: 
‘‘Be thou happier than Augustus, better than Trajan.” 


THE ROMAN EMPIRE COMPARED WITH MODERN ENGLAND 

Of all the empires of later times Great Britain is the only one that can 
really be compared with the Roman Empire, for its constitution has been de- 
veloped in quite a different way from that of continental states, and has pre- 
served a much greater diversity by reason of that conservative spirit which 
the English share with the Romans. True, in our own century much has 
changed ; for the old aristocratic England has become democratised ; many 
a resemblance of England to the Roman Empire, which even to-day may 
be detected, appears in a much clearer light if we cast our glance back to the 
conditions of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. 

This is the case, for instance, with the position of parliament. As the 
ancient state recognised in theory a diarchia of the emperor and the senate, 
so, too, the English parliament at the close of the seventeenth century ranged 
itself, at least for all practical purposes, on the side of the sovereign power ; 
and it was only a jealous watchfulness lest the power of the chief ruler 
might become too great, that saved the English parliament from the fate of the 



THE AGE OF AUGUSTUS 


85 


[30 B.C.-U A.D.] 

Roman senate. The critical battle between the two constitutional powers was 
fought at the end of the seventeenth century, when William of (^raiua^ like 
Augustus in ancient Rome before him, made an attempt to dovetail a'^staiid- 
ing army into the frame of the constitution. But tlie English parliament 
resisted every attempt in this direction with stubborn obstinacy. Moreover 
the powerful nobilit}^ at home, and the energetic merchants and oiTicials sijread 
all over the world, correspond in the England of to-day to tlie aristocrats, the 
merchants and the officials of ancient Rome, just as great wealth on' the 
one side is conditional with great poverty on the other. 

Tlie latifundia of ancient Italy may in dimensions have 
been about equal to the gross landed estates of the English 
aristocracy, but with slaves to work them in antiquity they 
had a far more desolating effect, even though we must 
admit that owing to the villas and parks laid out for the 
great in England, a portion of the free peasantry are 
thrust out of their plot of ground and England has had 
to turn for the means of life, etc., to the foreigner. 

Also the difference of political rights between the full 
citizen with full rights and the slave without any rights 
at all was as marked in England a hundi’ed years ago as it 
was in Rome. The relations between the Roman cuid the 
Latin citizens might then have justly borne comparison 
with the conflicting elements furnished by Englishmen 
and Scotchmen, which to-day are ever growing less and 
less ; but even to-day the Irish on the one hand, with 
their reluctance to obey, and the English colonies on the 
other, with their successful diffusion of the English lan- 

national feeling abroad, reflect most 
laithfully the picture of ancient Rome. 

But above all, England belongs to the few modern 
states which still possess provinces in the antique sense of 
the word. The constitution of modern India, with its 
multiform variety, is the only one of our time that may 
be set side by side with the constitution of the subject 
territories of the Romans. In India, as in the latter, 
the contrasts — religious, ethnographical, and social — are 
great and very often immediate ; by the side of an old 
and highly developed civilisation we find the simplest 
conditions of mountain or fisher folk, over whose heads 
a history of a thousand years has passed without leaving 
a trace Again, the political situation of single portions of the country is 

LltTn anTitrsL^^^^^^^^ separate aSis! 

tration and its separate rights, forms a part of England, while the main 
continent is only directly or indirectly governed by^ English officials • its 

nitifn^Tn tlie ancient I^man Empire, defies juristic or political defi- 

Sn k conquerors ; in all the others has been preserved — 

Me^ndeMe.^”"'^ nation — a remnant of the earlier national 

<rrP^V« Rome, England to-day allows the existence of native princes, 

great and small, who lighten for her the burden of rule and administration ; 

tyrannise over their subjects and extort treasure 
from them if they fail in their duty to the empire, just as did the sultans 



Roman Matron 

(From a statue In the 
Capitc*) 



86 


the history of ROME 


[30 B.C.-14 A.D.] 


„f [ireviods centuries. Tlie reel *'lf the eens'^onocal rnis- 

En'gli.1, resident t.l.o .s •« *« ‘,^,7. "rcrnnnL.lion, . stroke of the 

iirrshToS?;:; t„e »i»7 S, “ 

princes had ceased to reign. „n+mn in the very midst of the ruled is, 

„ rn^oS; 

i”'‘;:;ri for,o?or“.ir 

S'wJ'doiM “ CoSering the immense disparity in number, between 

"Be 

Bif r“nir“ tisS r Snl “a r s: 

iule for the higher elass of English ofheials to return home from India with 

Whether this parallel between the Roman Empire of antiquity and the 
England of to-day is to the eredit of the latter or a subject for I'eproach 
whether it will endure, or whether the modern conditions will develop on 
similar lines, are questions into which we have not here to inquire ; it is 
cnouo-h to have indicated the parallel phenomena in the two great empires. 


THE ROMAN CONSTITUTION 

The sanguinary civil wars with their appalling catastrophes had crippled 
the might of Rome ; the staunchest and most faithful champions of repubhcan 
principles lay mouldering oil the coast of Thapsus or the plain of Philippi ; 
the free state that had erstwhile been called into being by the elder i^J*utus 
had passed away — the reality on the day of Pharsalia, the ideal through the 

desperate deed of the younger Brutus. 

The struggle between democracy and monarchy had come to an end, 
political passions were silenced, the existing generation yearned for peace 
and quiet; the aristocrats that they might take their fill of the pleasures and 
enjoyments placed at their command by ample means, by culture, art, and 
learning, the multitude that they might pass the fleeting hours in comfortable 
leisure, remote from political agitations and warlike toils, their desires limited 
to the “bread and games” (panem et circenses) which the ruling powers 
were sedulous to provide for them in liberal measure. 

Under these circumstances it was not difficult for the adroit Octavian — 
who combined great ability and capacity for rule with gentleness, modera- 
tion, and perseverance, and was able to disguise his fiery ambition and pride 
of place under the homely manners of a plain citizen and a show of submis- 
sion to law and traditional custom — to enter fully upon the heritage of the 
great Caesar and convert the republic into a monarchy. But Octavian, 
warned by the tragic end of his adoptive father, went very cautiously and 
circumspectly to work. Instead of assuming all at once the fullness of royal 
power and dignity with which Csesar had been invested at the time of his 
death, his son followed his example in the gradual absorption of a divided 



THE AGE OF AUGUSTUS 


87 


[:i0 B.C.-14 A.D.] 

authority, and thus retraced the slow and circuitous route wliich led, with 
pauses and intervals, to absolute dominion. He so far yielded to the anti- 
quated prejudices of the people as to abstain from calling himself “king,” 
he indignantly refused to be addressed b}^ the title of “ lord,” and would not 
even accept the perpetual dictatorship. Nor did he try like Cicsar to gain 
the insignia of royalty by indirect means; he retained the republican names, 
forms, and magistracies, and was himself styled “Caesar.” But he so con- 
trived that by degrees all offices and powers were conferred upon him by 
the senate and the people, and thus concealed a monarchy under the veil of the 
republic. He prized the substance, not the appearance, of power. He will- 
ingly resigned the pomp of rule so long as he might rule indeed. 


AUGUSTUS NAMED IMPERATOR FOR LIFE 

To preserve the figment of free election and voluntary delegation of power, 
and to allow weaklings and obstinate republicans to blind themselves to the true 
state of affairs, Octavian from time to time went through the farce of a 
voluntary resignation of the supreme power and a reconferment of it by the 
senate, a sham which passed on to his immediate successors. It was first 
gone through in the case of the important office of Imperator, originally a 
temporary appointment, which Caesar had charged with new meaning as the 
symbol of absolute military authority. This title, which Octavian had long 
borne in the fullness of meaning imparted to it by his imperial uncle, was 
conferred upon him for life by the senate in the year 27, after a dissembling 
speech in which he declared that he was willing to resign his high office into 
tiie hands of the senate and retire into private life. He was then appointed 
to the supreme command of all the military forces of the empire for the term 
of ffis natural life and to the office of supreme governor of the provinces 
which was associated with it. The limitation which he imposed upon him- 
self by promising that he would only undertake to hold this high office for 
ten years and exercise proconsular sway only over those provinces in which 
the presence of legionaries was required to maintain order and tranquillity, 
and would leave the others, which were accustomed to render obedience and 
were not menaced by enemies from without, to be governed by the senate, 
was a mere blind; for in ten years it was certain that his absolute rule would 
have struck such deep root that there could be no further question of dis- 
missal or resignation, and — since no province whether near or far from the 
capital could altogether dispense \vith garrisons, and all officers and subordi- 
nate commanders were under the commander-in-chief — all governorships were 
under the control of the imperial proconsul. 

Thus the entire dominion of Rome was “encompassed with the net of his 
militery authority ” ; all victories and conquests were ascribed to Csesar, and 
lie alone henceforth was entitled to Triumphs. It was therefore nothing but 
a form when some time later the senate, now completely disarmed, dele- 
pted to the imperator its proconsular power in the senatorial provinces also 
for the term of his natural life, and subjected all consuls to his authority, 
ihe complaisant senators at the same time conferred upon Octavian the title of 
Augustus or consecrated which he bore thenceforward. By virtue of 
the imperium the emperor commanded through his deputies some twenty- 
three or twenty -five legions dispersed over the whole empire; at Rome his 
p^son was guarded by nine cohorts of bodyguards (the prsetorian guards) 
whose loyalty and devotion were enhanced by double pay and liberal gifts of 



88 the history OF ROHE ^3^ 

•ir;?c,SSM;e KnlX.e-‘'.?«s »5 .U. „..n.»u 

nious deliverer of the citizens. 


the imperatou named pkinceps senates and pontifex maximds 

The senate itself had already been reduced to a position of dependence. 
C®sar had treated the fathers of the city with scant consideration ; he and 
the triumvirs after him had filled the curia with their own creatures, regard- 
iLs of dignity, rank, or merit. This body had consequently sunk low in the 
respect and confidence of the people. Augustus endeavoured to rescue it 
from degradation and contempt and to give fresh consequence to its mem 
hers. By virtue of the censorial power vested in himself as mastei of 
inorivls ” '(praifectus morum) he undertook, in concert with his colleague 
Agrippa, V purification of the senate. Nearly two hundred senators were as 
considerately as possible induced to withdraw and were replaced by worthy 
men devoted to the new order. He then had the title of prmceps senatus 
bestowed upon himself, and by that means got the direction of the debates 
and voting entirely into liis own hands or those of his representative. 

The end Augustus had in view in this process of purification, which was 
subsequently several times repeated, was to raise the senate, whose numbers 
were now limited to six hundred, into the representative body of the nation 
and, by extending its functions and reorganising its share in the legislation, 
cTovernment, and administration of justice, to rule the nation through it; 
to raise himself from being the head of the senate to being the head of the 
people, and, by sharing with them the sovereign prerogatives, to delegate to 
them a part of the responsibility. The right of electing officials was left to 
the comitia centuriata and comitia tributa, but as the magistrates had simply 
to carry out the emperor's orders their position was a subordinate one and 
their functions were limited ; and it was consequently a mere simplification 
of the political organisation, when in process of time the popular assemblies 
were degraded into a mockery [they had long been little more than that] 
and the officials were appointed directly by the emperor or the senate. 

Without any outside co-operation Augustus had already committed 
the charge of Rome and of Italy to trustworthy hands by furnishing the 
prefect of the city with extensive powers and appointing him his delegate 
and representative, and by instituting, in the prefecture of the prsetorium, 
a military command over the troops stationed in Rome and Italy. These 
two life appointments bore in themselves the germ of the future military 
despotism and most seriously infringed the outward character of the free 
state, which Augustus maintained in everything else. At the same time he 
had himself empowered to fill up the ranks of the patricians, grievously 
thinned in the civil wars, by the admission of fresh members ; a privilege 
the exercise of which made the nobility of ancient Rome entirely dependent 
upon the emperor and obscured the lustre of birth. 

He nevertheless treated tradition and ancient custom with great rever- 
ence. He endeavoured by acts of favour to win over to his side such of the 
great families as had survived the stormy days of the recent period, he 



THE AGE OF AUGUSTUS 


89 


4 

111 like manner tlie 


[30 B.C.-14 A.D.] 

revived their family cults and obsolete religious observances, and where 
there was need he enabled them to live in a manner befitting their station 
by liberal subsidies. He was anxious to glorify his new throne witli the 
lustre of the olden days that still clung about the old name. 

But it was not only the patrician class which Augustus endeavoured to . 
preserve ; the ancient class distinctions among the citizens were res[>ected 
as far as possible. The senators, raised in public esteem by the expulsion 
of unworthy members, wove even under the principate tlie broad purj)le hem 
as a mark of their rank; they had special seats reserved for them in the 
theatres, and received from Augustus the privilege that the crimes of 
senators could only be judged by the senate itself, Tliey could contract 
legal marriages with none but freeborn persons, 
knightly class was purged of unworthy elements 
and maintained as a distinct order with a fixed 
income and recognised privileges. As in repub- 
lican times, the younger members served as a 
guarda nohile^ being mounted on chargers pro- 
vided by the state in the field and in the gor- 
geous processions on civic festivals. The knights 
were eligible for all curule offices and military 
appointments, so that the order became the nur- 
sery for the military and civil service as well as 
for the senate. Augustus chose his provincial 
procurators and tax-collectors by preference from 
among them. The emperor endeavoured to pre- 
serve even the free burgesses from the admixture 
of alien elements as far as possible, and to this 
end imposed restrictions and limitations on the 
manumission of slaves. 

As commander-in-chief of all the military 
forces, and head of the senate, Augustus was 
master and ruler of the state ; but one important 
element of the power which Ciesar had wielded 
was still lacking — the tribunician authority. 

This also was conferred upon him for life by the 
senate and people in the year 23, in the general 
rejoicings at his recovery from an illness, and 
because he had appointed L. Sestius, the friend 
and comrade of M. Brutus, to a share in the con- 
sulate. 

The office of tribune bore a sacred character 
in the eyes of the Romans. The most glorious 
deeds of the nation as a whole in the palmy days of the republic were 
associated with the tribunate of the people; the plebs regarded it as the 
palladium of their liberties and legal status ; from the days of Coriolanus 
down to the civil war between Caesar and Pompey, the broils of political 
factions had raged around this magistracy of the people. Its solemn be- 
stowal upon Augustus therefore supplied him with a religious consecration ; 
by this alone a sacred and indissoluble bond was knit between the people 
and the supreme head of the state; the prince (princeps) was recognised 
as the protector of the people, and the magistracy of the popular community 
was transferred to its ruler. The rights of protection and intercession in- 
herent in the tribunate were then expanded into an imperial prerogative of 



nVI I 


W'"' 

' /II 

Ro&ian Door-knocker 



00 


THE HISTORY OF ROME 
„,p»l .nd i„,don .nd e.te.ided to 

all tribunals and all parts of the f the hands of 

thority in the whole sphere o £ ^hich he was famous caused 

Augustus. The clemency and Special courts of 

i;:d rs’f ™ j-l-e roXri'ts 

fV"^ li:Le£ 

court., but u f.r.,c.c ;. 

nower a prerogative that could pour forth its cornucopia upon free and 

urfree cidzen mid provincial. “ Every temple, every shrine of the empror 

in Italy or the provinces was a sheltering asylum, his statues and PO^^aite 

became wonder-working images of deliverance, which paralysed the arm of 

^ • 

justme oi^ emperor even slaves found protection against harsh- 

ness or inhumanity on the part of their masters. Augustus so Juglily P^zed 
the bestowal of this protective office of Tribune of the people, that he even 
had the day (27th of June, 2.3 B.c.) recorded on coins and monuments as the 
he<rinning of his reign. Three years later the imperial power received its 
consummation in the grant of the consular authority to Augustus for the 
term of his life, with the right to nominate his colleagues or representatives 
and to propose them for election, and with an extension of the right of issu- 
ing legal ordinances (edicts). From that time forward he took his seat in the 
senate upon a curule chair placed at a higher level between the two consuls. 

By these means all political power was concentrated m his person, and 
when, soon after, the office of pontifex maximus fell vacant by the death of 
Lepidus, Augustus had this dignity also conferred upon himself, and thus 
combined the authority of high priest with supreme political power. In 
virtue of this oflice the care of the state religion and public worship, the m- 
terrogation of the oracular books and the interpretation of their utterance^ 
the appointments to priestly offices and even the choice of vestals, devolved 
upon the emperor. And as through the fulness of his consular and impera- 
torial power he exercised the highest judicial authority over the army and 
in all cases affecting the safety of the state, so as supreme pontifex he had 
the right of deciding upon all violations of religion and transgressions of the 
priesthood. 


TIGHTENING THE REINS OP POWER 

This union of the hierarchic with the temporal power completed the skil- 
fully constructed edifice of the principate. By this means the whole execu- 
tive and judicial authority in matters spiritual and temporal, human and 
divine, was placed in the hands of the emperor, and if for a while the people 
retained the show of legislative power it was a mere shadow of the ancient 
sovereignty of the people, since the legal tradition which gave magisterial 
edicts the force of law during the magistrate’s tenure of office reduced every 
other kind of legislative authority to an empty form when all official power 
was centred in a person who held office for life. 



THE AGE OF AUGUSTUS 


91 


[30 B.C.-14 A.D.] 

The imperial decrees were legally valid throughout the empire. They 
formed the nucleus and basis of the “constitution” which in process of time 
ranked on an equality with the comitial laws. The wise moderation of 
Augustus — which induced him to ask the opinion or approval of the senate 
in all decrees concerning peace and war and withheld him from exercising 
the power of life and death which he possessed over senators and citizens in 
an offensive manner, and led him to treat traditional forms with reverential 
observance — conduced greatly to the establishment and preservation of tlie 
legislative authority of the emperor. 

“Thus,” says Hoeck,<l “the constitution of the young emj)ire was a mon- 
archy in which the rights of sovereignty were shared between the nation 
and its head. 

“ No law or election could be carried through in opposition to the express 
will of the emperor, because he could invalidate by his tribunician veto 
every assertion of magisterial or popular authority; on the other hand, 
according to law, his will was not sufficient to ensure the acceptance of a 
candidate or of a statute, since the emperor had no right to command either 
the senate or the people. Nevertheless this reciprocal limitation and supple- 
mentation of the supreme political authority existed in theory only, not in fact. 
For where the legal competence of the emperor came to an end its place was 
taken by a power of which the constitution took no cognisance, but which 
held all political affairs in the embrace of its mighty arm. This was the effect 
ive sovereignty of Augustus, outflanking and controlling all other authorit}', 
which broke down the bulwarks erected against absolute government and 
opened the way for the despotism of his successors. Tlie senate was com- 
posed of his creatures, the populace was won over by bread and games, the 
army attached to him by booty and presents; and thus he had in the curia 
an obedient instrument of his schemes ; the comitia were the echo of his will, 
and the legions gladly fulfilled the commands he gave. The senate and 
people might enjoy meanwhile the ancient forms of a free state ; they were 
but vain shadows when the supreme head was minded to accomplish liis 

wiU.”6 ^ ^ 


PAKEM ET CIRCENSES — FOOD AND GAMES 

The sustenance of Rome with which the emperors charged themselves 
may be regarded in the light of compensation for the political rights of 
which the imperial government robbed the Romans. The emperor was not 
the war-lord of the Roman Empire who, as such, felt this duty incumbent 
upon him ; he was rather the most powerful person in the capital, who exerted 
himself to win the favour of its populace, as the prominent personages of 
republican times had done. 

The custom of occasional distributions by Romans and aliens was a very 
old one, and had existed ever since the lower classes gained an influence in 
politics tlirough the elections ; but these distributions of corn did not become- 
the rule until the first century b.c., and they became a political danger when 
they attracted the poverty-stricken rabble of the whole of Italy to Rome, to 
be maintained there by the state. At the time of Julius Caesar, in the year 
46, there were more than three hundred thousand recipients of corn at 
Rome, though they were presently reduced to half that number by improved 
organisation and by the founding of colonies beyond sea by the dictator. 
This number was not to be exceeded ; only the gaps which occurred in the 
course of nature were to be filled up. 



09 THE HISTORY OF ROME 

92 [30 B.C.-U A.D.] 

Hnt in tlie civil wars after Cicsar’s death the old abuses had crept in 
But m the cn Clirist the number had already 

again, and about time o the “ ,, o means blind to the 

he rellh 'uSlIed to abolish the re|ular distributions of corn aRogether, 
for besides costing enormous sums every year, they denmralised the people 

emnerr“s I hifd made an attempt to abolish the public distribu- 
tions of inains in iierpetuitv, but had not dared to carry it 
kner/oi cerhiin that after’liis time it would be re-established by the ambi- 
tion of otliers. lAIoreover, he soon realised tliat he could not let this most 
effective means of ensuring popularity in the capital pass out of his hands, 
nor suffer private individuals to gain a formidable following in this fashion. 
Later he tned to strike the just mean, mid to meet both the complaints of 
the farmers and corn dealers and the wishes of the populace. Ihe question 
involved was the regular distribution of corn to the mob and the adoption 
of exceptional measures, when tlie price of grain in the capital had risen to 
an unnatural or intolerable figure. No man who wished to be the first m 
Rome could afford to shirk this costly obligation. If so strict an economist 
as Augustus was prepared to bear the enormous cost of these metropolitan 
distributions we need ask for no surer proof that he regarded them as 


necessary 


Pauperising the Masses 


In the year 44 Ciesar, as dictator, had delegated the charge of the supply 
of corn for tlie capital to two cereal tediles appointed for the purpose ; but 
even they proved unequal to the gigantic task imposed upon them. Recouise 

was therefore had to extraordinary 
commissioners, avIio bore the title of 
curatores. A later emperor, Tiberius, 
at the commencement of his official 
career had an admirable opportunity 
of making himself popular in Rome 
when he undertook the cereal queestor- 
ship at Ostia in 23. But the very next 
year a grievous famine again prevailed in Rome, and, as in the old days of 
Pompey, extraordinary measures seemed imperatively called for. All eyes 
were turned to the emperor, the only man who, by his money resources and 
the Egyptian tribute of grain, was in a position to deal with the scarcity. 
He was offered absolute dictatorial authority coupled mth the responsibility 
of provisioning the capital. He accepted the latter only, and his measures 
were so vigorous and effectual that in a few days the price of corn fell to its 
usual level. 

The emperor exercised his official functions through two senatorial rep- 
resentatives. A new magistracy was erected consisting of two curatores 
who had discharged the duties of the prsetorship and thus were already 
members of the senate. They received an accession both as to numbers and 
dignity ; after 18 we find four curatores, later six, and in the last years, 
6 and 7 ; they were required to be of consular rank. It is in the highest 
degree probable that younger officials acted with or under these curatores 
at the extraordinary distributions. 

At length, after these tentative experiments, Augustus in his last years 
took heart to attempt a definite solution of this important problem. Out 
of consideration for the senate he had up to that time employed senatorial 




THE AGE OF AUGUSTUS 


93 


[30 B.C.-14 A.D.] 

representatives in the provisioning of the capital which he had under- 
taken at his own expense. They were now superseded b}' imperial ser- 
vants. The proefecti annonce were of knightl}" rank and really regarded 
this important office as a profession. 0. Turranius, who liad previouslv 
governed Egypt, devoted himself to this task, to which he had been called 
by the confidence of Augustus, with such zeal that dismissal was to him 
equivalent to death, and Caligula reinvested him with his accustomed func- 
tions, which he continued to discharge almost up to the ninetieth year of 
his age. 

From this time forward the cereal prefects were amongst the most impor- 
tant of imperial officers, since the tranquillity of the capital depended on the 
due discharge of their functions. They commanded an army of subordinate 
officials and servants, for the imperial grain fleets which brought corn, oil, 
etc., from the provinces to Ostia and Puteoli were under their management. 
In both these places they had extensive storehouses with a great staff of 
accountants, clerks, and cashiers ; then another great army of storehouse 
managers, workmen employed in measuring the corn and carrying the sacks, 
of waggoners, and lastly, of watermen who brought the corn to Rome, where 
it was deposited for the most part in the Senipronian horrea which dated back 
to the time of the Gracchi, or in the newly erected Agrippian, Lollian, Gal- 
bian, and other horrea. The distribution took place every month in the Minu- 
cian portico on the Field of Mars. Here there were forty-five doorways 
(ostia^ for distribution, and the people had to prove their right to receive the 
corn by means of counters marked with the 
number of the particular doorway and the 
day of the month. 

An attempt which the emperor made to 
have the corn distributed every four months 
instead of every month met with scant ap- 
proval and was soon abandoned. The Roman 
populace had grown thoroughly accustomed 
to the notion that its maintenance was the 
business of the state and would have liked 
nothing better than to have the emperor give 
them drink as well as food. Whenever wine grew dear they addressed com- 
plaints to him. But Augustus calmly replied that since the aqueducts of 
Agnppa had been completed no one in Rome need suffer thirst. Augustus 
had organised the maintenance of Rome on a large and liberal scale, but 

that which had formerly been a free-will offering became in his reim an 
eleemosynary institution. ® 

Besides these regidar monthly distributions there were special distribu- 
tions m money and in kind on extraordinary occasions, which exhibit the 
emperor s magnificent liberality. He has left the record of them in the Monu~ 

W wi by man, I caused three 

hundred sesterces to be paid in accordance with the testament of my father : 

m my own name I gave four hundred sesterces out of the spoils of war in my 

th consulate ; and again m my tenth consulate I caused provisions to the 

value of four hundred sesterces per man to be distributed man by man out 

ot my own means ; and in my eleventh consulate I made twelve distribu- 

tions of gram which I had purchased with my private means ; and in my 

twelfth year of office as tribune I for the third time made a gift of four 

nuiKlred sesterces man by man. These distributions were never made to 
less than 250,000 persons. 






THE HISTORY OF ROME 

^ [3() D.C.-U A.D.] 

I pr.»nt.d .,«y den.™^ o PJ, I ai.„ibu,ed sixty 

Z'srii "iJSc. to psopl. ,vl,o .Leived the st.to corn, s»oo„..„g to some- 

‘‘“'TSrE'rrifts^o''— Snfa similo, expenses for lend, end 

'.'nd“e ZJworS “e ' ,„"it«y re^venne. tl.e eolo.sol sum of six l.uudred 

rillion denoviiZntioned in tl.o sppendix to the »..«».»<«>» «"«” 

as triven by Auf^ustus to the Roman citizens does not seem at all exag- 
ffeilted- and as these distributions were spread over a period of not quite 
fixty years, we must assign to each year a sum of not less than ten million 

Idiese sums, thougli dispensed of the imperial bounty, were taken by the 

Lvare that hunger is wont to be one of the mightiest, it not the mightiest, of 
revolutionary forces. 

fi-nmp.R : Gladiatorial ContentB 


In the matter of subsistence the southerner is more modest in his demands 
than northern nations are ; in the matter of excitement and amusement he 
makes greater claims. These Augustus also provided for liberally, ihe 
larcre scale and elaborate arrangement of the Roman games was m part the 
outcome of the simple idea of giving the people a compensation for their lack 
of influence in politics and of diverting their attention. In most ca^es wheie 
a nation is weary of politics it concentrates its attention upon private life^ 
and the great ones of the theatre thrust statesmen and party leaders into the 
background. The emperor’s shows excelled everything that had ever been 
before in frequency, variety, and splendour ; and so great was the interest 
taken in them by all classes that at great festivals and games the emperor 
was obliged to post sentinels to guard the vacant city from robbers and 
housebreakers. 

The Actian games, celebrated at Rome every four years, were particularly 
magnificent. The first time (28) Augustus and Agrippa themselves man- 
aged the festivities and offered the populace spectacles of the most varied 
character. First a race ridden by boys and men of the highest families ; 
then gymnastic contests in a wooden stadium which the emperor had caused 
to be set up on the Field of Mars ; while at the end prisoners of war were 
forced to exhibit to the people the spectacle of a mortal combat of gladiators. 
In later times the highest priestly colleges in Rome took charge of these 
games in rotation. 

In his detailed narrative Augustus assigns the first place to the combats 
of gladiators, which he exhibited sometimes in his own name and sometimes 
in the names of his sons and grandsons ; and in eight battles of this sort 
some ten thousand gladiators were engaged. Women were not absolutely ex- 
cluded from among the spectators, but they were only allowed to watch the 
bloodshed from the topmost places. Augustus also abrogated the inhuman 
custom that none but the victoi’s might leave the arena alive. 

He endeavoured to check the excessive fondness for these cruel sports by 
forbidding officials to give gladiatorial shows instead of the usual theatrical 
or circus performances when they entered upon office, as had been done, for 
example, by the tediles of the plebs in the year 42. Certain members of the 
aristocracy who were notorious for their bloodthirsty tastes, like Domitius 



THE AGE OF AUGUSTUS q-; 

[30 B.C.-14 A.D.] 

Ahenobarbus, were first privately admonished, and, wlien tliat proved of no 
avail, then ciuel gladiatorial fights were prohibited by an inij)erial edict 

Large troops of gladiators constituted a grave menace to the public i/eace 
as had been proved, not only by the Gladiators’ War, but in the case of t^e 
gladiators of Decimus Brutus and M. Antonius. Accordingly in the ye r 
22 an edict appeared to the effect that combats of gladiatoi-s were only to 
be arranged with the permission of the senate and not oftencr than twice 
a year, and at the same time the number of contestintr pairs 
was limited to sixty. Of course this did not diminish the 
popularity of these combats nor the interest 
of the populace in the combatants. It was 
an event when two veterans, each of whom 
had often conquered and slain his opponent, 
were at last pitted against each other for the 
decisive combat, or when a well-known gladi- 
ator had fought his way through and pro- 
ceeded to hang up his victorious weapons in 
the temple of Hercules. 

In later days the emperor Tiberius scorned 
^ make himself popular by these means. 

But as the passion of the people for gladia- 
torial exhibitions did not wane they became 
a matter of private speculation. A freedman 
of small means erected a wooden amphi- 
theatre for his shows at Fidenae, but it was 
so badly built that it collapsed beneath 
the crowds of spectators who had flocked ^ 
thither, most of them from Rome. After U 
this accident the senate de- ^ 

creed that no one should give 
such performances unless he 
could prove that he was pos- 
sessed of a certain fortune. 

Wrestling matches of the 
sort so popular among the 
Greeks were not altogether 
unknown, but were only ar- 
ranged three times by Augus- 
tus in the course of his long 
reign. Wooden stages were 
erected on the Field of Mars, 
and the most famous athletes 
were invited to Rome. Gly- 

wi in the hTbiV indigenous character. Augustus 

m^ure theU aUowing the champions of the two nations to 

side of the Tafi against one another, but personally he was on the 

ieeMf T?? schM When a harmless 

the mie-htv hlnwa w if Rome, the emperor used to delight in 

cne mighty blows which his countrymen dealt. 



Roman Gladiatob 



THE HISTOKY OF ROJIE 

9G [30 B.C.~14 A.D.^ 

'I'l „ «mnprnr strove tliou<rh without lasting success, to keep women 
llie emperor St ° matches If the populace wanted to see 

aloof from the j ^ 1 appointed the early morning hours 

go tiSl.o before ten o’cloot i„ 

Zre pmmlar still were the wild-beast hunts, of which Augustus arranged 
six auTtwe tv in which thirty-five hundred African ions and other wild 
mima s werZlain. Great was the difficulty of capturing and transporting 
Hirse rLrand dangerous animals ; hut greater still, it may be, the amount of 
care and money expended on the elaboration of the scenery The Spaniards 
repaid their bull-fights as a direct continuation of the wild-beast shows of 
Suity; the splendour of the en scene has survived to modern days 

hut the demands made by an ancient public in the matter of decoration and 
machinery were incomparably greater. In most cases gla,dia.tors were 
obliged to fight the dangerous animals, but occasionally ciiminals fell mc- 
tims^to them. Strabo, for example, saw the dreaded robber chieftain, Selurus, 
‘‘the son of Etna,” hurled from a lofty scaffold that suddenly collapsed 
beneath him into the arena at Rome, where he fell straight into the lions 

case that had been placed below. , j 

The bloody battles of the gladiators on land found a counterpart in a 

tremendous sea fight which Augustus, following the example of the dictator, 

arranged quite close to Rome in the year 2. He caused a lake to be dug 

in the plain between the slopes of Janiculum and the bank of the liber, 

eighteen hundred feet long by twelve hundred wide, on which thirty large 

warships and many smaller ones, manned bj' three thousand (or possibly six 

thousand) gladiators, represented a sea fight of the time of the Persian wars. 

Ovid describes the gorgeous spectacle as an eye-witness : 


“ Then wlien C?esar of late showed forth to the people 
Ships of Persia and Athens, a type of the terrible sea fight, 

Hither came youths from the two seas and hither came maidens, 

And to the capital flocked all that dwelt in the earth.” 

The lake was not supplied with water from the neighbouring Tiber, but 
Augustus built a special aqueduct (Aqua Augusta Alsietina) which brought 
water from the Alsietine and Sabatine lakes (Lago di Martignano and L. de 
Bracciano) to the Janiculum. The Romans were so spoiled by the beautiful 
spring-water of their aqueducts that Augustus never thought of carrying 
the water of these two lakes right across to the city on the other bank of 
the river, but the work was so substantial that it outlasted its original pur- 
pose. The emperor allowed the possessors of fields and gardens in the 
vicinity to make use of the water, which was not to be compared with that 
of the other aqueducts in the city. 

The lake formed the centre of a little wood which the emperor presented 
to the Roman people in the name of his grandsons Lucius and Caius. ‘ Al- 
though he never arranged another sea fight on this lake, it was not filled up 
but was used by other emperors for maritime spectacles, in accordance with 
its original purpose. 

Races and Theatricals 

The ordinary performances in the theatre and circus, such as officials 
were required to arrange when they took office, were arranged by Augustus 
four times in his own name and twenty-three times in the names of other per- 
sons. Races in the circus, in particular, had been in vogue from very old 



THE AGE OF AUGUSTUS o- 

[:30b.c.-Ua.d.] y* 

times and enjoyed a high degree of popularity. It is true tliat the enthn. 
siasm of the people did not reach the culininatinof point till tlie i 

of the empire, but the germ and rudiment was tCe even n i 
times, and the age of Augustus did its fair share towards deveShni'h 

composed on the victors, like the to^ 

,pr..ding to tride, oirtljs. Tl.. prit’ea whioh mSed u,e 

various races were valuable, and an exact record was kent of tlip . i 
and third prizes carried off by a famous charioteer in different years ’ ^ There 

Hof ’ probable from inscriptions which, though they btar^ no 

date yet form part of a large find of this period. ^ ^ 

private individuals (e.^r., a relative of the famous iurist Ateius 
Capito) were beginning to keep racing stables with a numerous staff h“s 

^ life-insurance association in which Vipsanius 

aristocratic families, including that of thi emperof 
repeatej^ exhibited under Augustus have already been mentioned. ^ ’ 

recede veirmuch ?,Tr.‘‘fr® f "\”««tioned in the emperor’s enumeration, but 
were mlinfvX f ® background as being quite commonplace ; they 

were mam y the affair of newly elected officials, but Augustus himse f had 

plays acted in all sorts of places -the Forum, Ihe AmiSeatre and eJjeJ 
guageTpoken KTome t'‘® the capital, in ’every Ian- 

P»P«l~e soaeting q„ii „a,„. The 

ea ms example until it was interdicted by a decree of the sen^ite 

and'^raf “ f purposely abstained from increasing the number of ordinary 

£ll sf a k The Secular games' of wlS we 

trict o-ama P*^®®®“tly, natu^rally do not come under this head, as do the dis- 

turn nf ^Iso belong the votive games for the re- 

vS: g?r.“rtte ’*»■'= “orali 

years bv thp oT*.Qf Augustus which were arranged every four 

The^ example Tf of priests in compliance with a decree of the senate. 

provinLsTsoSei imitators in the capitals of the 

there, sometimes mornilinT -f *^^ emperor himself who instituted games 
some post of honour TIip received or hoped to receive 

was very great esppoiallv ®f games held in honour of Augustus 

games were celebrated in^th^ cities. In Naples the imperial 

memoration of the visit of AugTtus Se ylr 14 


novum SECULUM — THE NEW BIRTH FOR ROME 

remember^ whh^OT^i^f and ^ individual there are often moments when he 

developmenrof £ childhood, so in the 

opment of nations there are periods when the best minds of the nation 

«• w. — ^VOL* VI. H 



qs THE HISTORY OF ROME 

yo [30 B.C.-14 A.D.J 

•ir..., of o p.,t gold.,, .g., in •!»'' ^“LplMw'eTuTkn 

i;,’:SXtdn” 1?;— ..ft. .. t,.lng. .0 which 

'‘”m%”„i“C,ST.Co“n « during the civil w.., h.d 

of ^....d -if 

Z.nit“vT’g°c Z the dictent past , for none feel, a greater cnthu.iaem for 
'"”,J»Zhe taM^of ictillhZ cM 'Zar? wZe toppily .1 an end, for 

annonned hi. iraol.e to retire into private life, but “'"“f 

inseparable from domestic tranquillity, and the man who 
could not but desire the other. The emperor strove to keep this single 
idea in fresh variations constantly in mind among the Romans, and t^se 
honours pleased him best which gave public expression to this feeling. 1 he 
senate, on the emperor’s return had dedicated the altar of the nnperial peace. 
The poets, each after his fashion, sang the praises of peace and order : 

“ Fealty, i>eace itself, and honour, and the ancient 
lyioral awe, the long-forgotten virtue. 

Now dares to return, it approaches, its horn 
Full of blessing.” 


There was, however, a danger that the rising generation might soon 
come to accept the benefits of peace as a matter of course, without defanitely 
realising to whom they owed these blessings, and it was therefore desirable 
to keep in remembrance among the emperor’s contemporaries the difference 
between the unquiet past and the blissful present, and to give omcial lecog- 
nition to the fact tliat the period of civil war was over and that a century 

of peace and prosperity had taken its place. , j t i 

Such turning-points imply an invitation to take a backward glance and. 
to reckon the sum of development up to this point. So bad a poet done at 
the end of the previous century : 


“ How fair, O man, with thy palm-branches 
Standest thou in the century’s decline,” etc. 

The Rome of the period was also to take a backward glance. 

As the senate had solemnly marked the end of the wars by closing the 
temple of Janus, so Augustus desired to mark the end of the period of 
reorganisation and reconstitution by an imposing symbolical act. Even 
the ordinary Roman census was not a mere counting up of the people ; it 
was a reconstitution of the ranks of Roman citizenship, and if this tedious 
and toilsome preparatory labour were to attain legal validity, it must find its 
ratification and consummation in a final act in which the whole nation should 
be purified with the most solemn religious rites and commended to the pro- 
pitious gods for the future. Similarly Augustus had been at work since the 
year 29 on a reox'ganisation of Rome, which was finally declared complete 
in the year 17 by a mighty lustrum, the Secular Festival. 



THE AGE OF AUGUSTUS 


99 


[30 B.C.-14 A.D.] 

The idea, and probably the name, of the seculum is not Roman but 
Etruscan ; at least, up to the present time no one has succeeded in discover- 
ing any plausible Roman etymology for the word. The seculum is prob- 
ably of Etruscan origin, like the other elements of chronology among the 
Romans. This devout nation, which understood as no other did how to 
inquire into and interpret the will of the gods, fancied that it had learned 
that the deity did not merely declare to men the ordinary divisions of time 
into months and years by the path and the varying appearance of moon and 
sun, but that apart from these there were longer periods in the life of nations 
which the gods had appointed, and of 
which they revealed the beginning and the 
end to the generations of men by manifest 
tokens. Such a period is that in which 
one generation dies out and a new one 
arises, and it therefore extends from the 
birth to the death of a man who may be 
taken as the representative of his genera- 
tion. When the last man died who was 
born at the beginning of the first seculum, 
then the second began ; and, as the dura- 
tion of human life seldom exceeds the hun- 
dredth year, a new seculum commonly 
commenced at the end of this period. It 
did not, however, of necessity last for ex- 
actly a hundred years ; on the contrary, 
there had been one of 123 years in length, 
another of 118, etc. ; but the Etruscans 
reckoned their seculum approximately at 
100 years. When therefore the miraculous 
signs ensued, mortals realised that in the 
counsels of the gods the end was at hand, 
and hastened to propitiate the omens by 
sacrifices and games. In misfortune, men 
learned to take special heed of the omens 
of the gods, for they longed for the op- 
portunity of concluding the unfavourable 
period and beginning a new one, free from 
ill-fortune and evil presage. 

This grand wisdom of the Etruscans, 
which looked beyond the limits of human 
life, made a profound impression on their pupils, the Romans, and was 
transferred to Rome with the rest of the augural discipline. The family of 
the Valerii is said to have been the one to introduce this cult into Rome, 
for themselves alone in the first instance, and not as yet in the name of the 
state. One of the ancestors of this family, it was said, had come to Rome 
from his home in the land of the Sabines to propitiate the evil omens which 
disturbed him there. He came down the Tiber with his sick children till 
he reached the vicinity of Rome, and there, where the Field of Mars is 
narrowest, near the bank of the Tiber, was formerly a spot noted for volcanic 
phenomena, hot springs, and subterranean fire — the so-called Tarentum. 
The sick children were cured by the water of the neighbouring spring, and 
twenty feet below the surface of the ground the father found a primitive 
altar to the infernal gods, to whom he gave thanks for the miraculous cure 



Statue or a Victorious Driver in 
THE Games of the Circus 

(In the Vatican) 



100 


THE HISTORY OF ROME 


? £f s «rr ‘irLTjr 

of later trenerations that so important an epoch as the end of the mon 
aJchy and the beginning of the republic should have been marked by public 

The®ieu"'secular games were also said to have been celebrated by another 
Valerius who was consul in the year 449, after the fall of the decemyrs; 
and about a hundred years later the third secular games had to he cele- 
hr'ited which accordiiifr to tlie records of the quindecemviri, Avas again 
df e by a con^uToT the Tiouse of the Valerii in the year 34(^, though no one 
else knows anything about such a celebration and it was not counted in the 
series of republican secular games. For according to Valerius Antias, the 
third secular games were celebrated in the year 249, at the time of the bust 
Punie War; and the fourth — whether they were held in the year 149 oi 
146 —mark the end of that memorahle period, hor a theory had taken 
shape among Roman antiquaries and historical students, of whose number 
was even a man of the erudition of Varro, that the seculum must always 
he a hundred years long, and for the sake of this theory the games, which 
on contemporary authority were held in the year 146, were put three years 
earlier. A hundred years later Varro’s authority on all such matteis was 
at its zenith, and it sufficed to fix the next celebration for the year 49. 

“ But instead of the celebration came the end ; for this was the year at the 
becrinning of which CiEsar crossed the Rubicon, and with that began the 
mortal agony of the republic. What commenced was not a new sec^um 
for the republic, but a new order of things.” (Mommsen in Die Nation, 1891.) 

The civil wars which ensued and seemed to develop one out of another 
in endless sequence, might, perhaps, have stifled the hope of peace in Italy* 
but not the longing for it. An iron age had dawned instead of the golden. 

The dictator did in truth seem to succeed in exorcising the demons of 
discord and discontent. But this hope proved illusory on the ides of 
March. Soon afterwards the star of the Julii was seen at Rome, and 
seemed, as was at first hoped, to be the long-desired divine token that was 
to inaugurate a better time. An Etruscan haruspex proclaimed to the 
assembled people that the ninth seculum (according to the Etruscans) was 
coming to an end and the tenth beginning. 

But the augur died immediately after; a sign that his words were not 
indeed false but premature, according to the will of the gods. Nowhere did 
any likelihood of permanent amelioration present itself, but the yearning 
remained and hardly ever found stronger expression than in the wretched 
years that followed the murder of CfEsar. It was strengthened by Sibylline 
oracles, which were privately circulated and kept faith in the happy future 
alive. Since the oracle could not lie, it was, perhaps, nothing but miscalcu- 
lations and vain hopes of men, in the year 49, which had anticipated too 
soon the dawn of a new age ; and perhaps the seculum should be reckoned 
at 110 years and not 100 — it takes but little to revive hope. In the 
year 43 no less a person than Varro announced to the anxious world 
of his day that this was the correct estimate ; 440 years after the first 
celebration the fourth Roman seculum was declining to its close, and then 
a new birth would usher in the new age. But Rome still hoped in vain. 
Misery increased, and with it the excitement spread into the widest circles. 
In the year 40 Asinius Pollio was consul, a man of honourable character 



THE AGE OF AUGUSTUS 


101 


and highly educated, who endeavoured to avoid the arbitrary usurpations 
of other rulers. In the circumstances of the time, not the boldest imag- 
ination ventured to dream that he might bring back the golden age. But 
Asinius was at that time expecting the birth of a son ; perhaps tliis son 
was destined by fate to do so; and a contemporary poet greets the coming 
deliverer with the most ardent longings. In later days Virgil, with better 
reasons, fixed his hopes and desires upon the emperor. 

The opportunity of holding secular games in the latter half of the last 
century before Christ had thus passed by unused, and it was a very diflicult 
matter to prove that Augustus was entitled to hold such a celebration. This 
hard and thankless task fell to the share of the famous jurist Ateius Capito, 
\yho acquitted himself skilfully enough to make the will of his master pos- 
sible in theory. The chronology of Roman history has suffered violence at 
many hands before and after the time of Ateius Capito, but hardly ever more 
than at the time of the secular games of Augustus. 

A comet, so readily connected by the popular imagination with the end 
of the world, appears to have decided the old question as to the turning-point 
of the longed-for cosmic period. It might indeed seem as though the gods 
themselves had declared their will ; for at the beginning of the year 17 
an extraordinarily bright comet was visible at Rome, with a long tail point- 
ing from south to north. This was of course the star of the Julian gens, 
which Rome had not seen since the terrible year of 44. That which 
the youthful Caesar had then undertaken with almost superhuman cour- 
age for the sake of avenging his father was now finished, and tlie age of 
strife was oyer. At that time the red glow of the comet had poi’tended 
blood and civil wars ; the second appearance of the Julian star, after the 
expiation of the crime, was a sign that the beginning of the new age was 
close at hand. 

The memoirs of the emperor show what great stress he laid upon the ap- 
pearance of the star of the year 44, and the coins of the empire struck 
soon after 17 testify to the impression made upon him and his contem- 
poraries by the supposed return of the star of the Julian gens. It was greeted 
as the long-desired and manifest divine sign of the end of the iron age and 
the commencement of the golden. 

Hence we see that the appearance of the star only gave the decision in 
the last resort. That which had long been in the air, that which was per- 
haps already beginning to evaporate, suddenly condensed into tangible shape 
under the influence of this divine manifestation ; Augustus resolved not to 
let the moment pass unused, but to celebrate the long-expected fifth secular 
games, which were associated with the hope of a new birth for Rome.& 


LITERATURE OF THE GOLDEN AGE 

With the formation of the monarchy coincides a second revival of Roman 
literature, which can only be partly attributed to the new administration, as the 
leaders were born under the republic and grew up amidst the struggles for 
the monarchy. This period does not differ so much from the literature of 
the period of free government as might seem at first sight. For that pecul- 
larly characteristic penetration by the Greek spirit which extended even to 
that manifestation of it which was least worthy of imitation, namely the 
Alexandrian, had been already in existence, and the refined elaboration of 
the language for poetical purposes, its charm and lightness, its beauty and 



102 the history of ROME ^30 „,e.-i4 a...] 

merit, are already perceptible in the time of Terence, though in a very differ- 

ent fashion. +.,lHn(r nlace before their eyes had a far 

The great revolution which was than might have been ex- 

less disastrous effect on the poe heard everywhere, it is, 

peeted, and if the lamentatmns of e cml 'ma d 

nevertheless, rather the ideas ote. It is true that if 

i<r effect on an author, as it of course decided the whole conception and 

else entered into a dangerous opposition to it. 1 artisan writing existe 

during the active political struggles of Rome ^ tlirfr^nLeS 

now sunshine and light were too unequally divided, and the frankness 

which was forbidden during the lifetime of tlie rulers indemnified itself 

after their death by bitterness and calumny. , i j- j 

The really higher styles of poetry, such as drama and epic, entirely died 
out. It was not as if this had been caused by the change in the govern- 
ment, for even in the time of the republic little originality or creative 
power had been shown in these directions. All that was now produced lyas 
borrowed entirely from the past. Rhetoric, metrics, and careful diction 
were all that could be added to it, and a beautiful, refined, and elegant form 
became the criterion according to which the age judged both literary and 
artistic productions. It was to such mattera as these that the attentmn of 
the judges who decided concerning the admission of the poets into the 

national library was mainly directed. ^ . f j.i. 

We have no adequate information regarding the dramatic poetry ot the 

Augustan period, for everything which won the applause of contemporaries 
has been lost. What has been preserved to us from this period, namely the 
tragedies handed down to us under the name of Seneca, has all the faults 
which a depraved taste brings with it ; sensational plots and scenes based on 
sensual and sentimental emotions ; figures without life, but of^ many words 
and speeches ; a treatment without knowledge of dramatic technicalities ; and 
yet withal a harmony of words and verses, highly polished versification and 
diction, and the whole magnificent apparatus belonging to the schools of 
rhetoric in periods, antitheses, similes, and plays upon words. It is decid- 
edly to the credit of the lower classes if they turned away from these 
dramas, leaving them to the lifeless declamatory exercises of the so-called 
educated classes, and in so far as the taste for the drama still existed, pre- 
ferred to amuse themselves with a simpler entertainment and the familiar 
pieces of the older poets, which had long ceased to be sufficiently refined and 
elegant for people of cultivation. 

Nor did the epic produce anything really great. Virgil (P. Vergilius 
Maro, born on the 16th of October, TO B.c., died the 22nd of September, 19 
B.c.) did indeed make an attempt to create a national epic in the .^Eneid, But 
it is no more genuine than its fundamental idea of connecting the founder of 
the new empire with the father of Italian civilisation. Virgil studied under 



THE AGE OF AUGUSTUS 


loa 

[30 B.C.-14 A.D.J 

the Alexandrians and all that was to be learned he learned. He created 
the language and the verse structure which remained the standard for 
many centuries, so long as and wherever Latin poetry was cultivated. The 
form is throughout noble, and the poet was thoroughly acquainted witli 
Homer and the Greek epic poets, nor is it without taste that he, as a man 
of learning, has drawn on this treasure ; his ideas are pure and noble and 
he had learned to know his country and the legends of his forefatliers better 
than many before or any after him, so that a certain national colouring is to 
be found in his work. But there was one tiling which he did not possess ; 
the creative genius which divines rightly in the choice of subject and 
arranges and treats its material with a light but master hand ; as the sub- 
ject was ill-chosen, so the poet never felt any hearty enthusiasm for it ; 
everything has been thought out and very coldly and soberly thought out ; 
beautiful pictures and striking comparisons are indeed presented ; but they 
are sentimental and studied, and often look strange in their setting. 

In the first place the hero is no hero, and the Roman patricians of even 
the time of the Scipios would have been revolted by this weakling who is 
feeble and sentimental like the poet himself, and not much more than a 
puppet in the hands of his divine mother. Such a weak figure gives no 
opportunity for strength in the treatment, which is accordingly languid, and 
the twelve cantos are spun out with monotonous tedium, so that to every 
one acquainted with Homer the reading of them is a mere task to be got 
through somehow. And if, from the standpoint of learning, the language 
and verses seem irreproachable, classical, and even worthy of imitation, all 
pleasure in them is lost by the fact that we are continually aware of the 
trouble and labour which they cost the poet. 

It is characteristic of the times that Virgil possessed a canonical con- 
sideration with high and low, and poets and prose writers vied with one 
another to steal from him. From this fact we may guess the rest, and the 
loss in this field which has been recorded can have been no great one. 

But how rapidly literature declined at the end of the period is clearly 
shown by the epic of M. AnnsBUs Lucanus, the Pharsalia, This poem was 
produced in the reign of Nero, and it is difficult to decide whether the choice 
of subject or his treatment of it deserves the greater censure. The hero of 
the poem is Pompey, the Pompey of the civil wars, a figure so little poetical 
that a more unfortunate selection could scarcely have been made ; with the 
utmost poetical license even without any anxiety to keep to the facts there 
was nothing to be made of the subject. That the civil wars in themselves 
might be capable of being made the subject of an epic is indisputable ; it is 
equally indisputable that this could be done only by a poetic talent of the 
first order. But even Lucan could do it in his way, though he is no poet 
but a scholar of the school of the rhetoricians and the Stoa. As in the 
school of rhetorics the energy of the scholar signalised and exhausted itself 
in individual feats of ingenuity, so the poem is divided into a number of 
scenes without much connection, but distinguished by a soaring imagination, 
sounding verses, and pompous tirades, and of course with many learned 
accessories, without which neither a great nor a small poem was conceiv- 
able in that period. Besides this haste, uneasiness, and want of discretion 
are everywhere apparent, and these, too, belong to the time. On the whole 
it may be said that this poetry is a true reflection of the society in which it 
originated, and if we had epics by Seneca they might probably resemble 
those of his nephew. Of such models there could not fail to be imitations ; 
the attempts even extended to the schools, and the editing of the Iliad may 



104 


THIC HISTORY OF ROME ^30 

well Lave been the work of industrious scholars, who knew something of 
Greek '-f the didactic poem, and the 

proached with tlie same j line between instruction and 

.... y 1°, ,?S' 1,., one. been justified 

amusement. When the e.ystence Vireil had here the great 

w? ealTy <xenuine human sympathy with the subject, 

.gri“,llu.r“ . sbepherd's lit., ,nuch like the id, s 

of the eigbteeiUh century, is delineated in the Echguen, and its unreality is 
onlv surnassed by Calpurnius, an imitator of the age of Nero. 

Whilst the didactic poem proper received no 
noting during this period, the elegy was successfully dealt with. In Albius 
Tibullus fSI— 19 n.c.) it even acquired a characteristic, one might almost 
say more national form than is the case with its other representativ^es. 

In his elegies, Tibullus is as essentially free from the Greek influence as 
is conceivable in an age which was steeped in Hellenism ; he treated the few 
tlienies, which are to be found in his poems, entirely from the human st^d- 
point, and it is only by this means that he tries to affect the reader, ilie 
sameness which is easily produced in such works-love and sentimental 
sorrows are constantly recurring — he has successfully avoided by an ex- 
traordinary elegance and charm of treatment. The reader willingly lol- 
lows the dreamy thought of the poet without blaming him for hav^g led 
him rather into a world of dreams than into one of living and strong feeling. 

The productions of S, Propertius (49-15 b.c.) are already much inferior. 
He also had true feeling, and the thoughts which it awakened in him are 
for the gi’eater part not borrowed from his models. But it is overloaded 
with the learned accessories of Alexandrian learning, and the deep feelings 
of the poet are unduly thrust into the background by blatant mythological 
embellishments. 

Far more splendid and brilliant is the talent of Ovid (P. Ovidius Naso, 
43 B.C.-17 A.D.) who cultivated a wonderful borderland between didactic 
and elegiac poetry. But all his poems have one trait in common, although 
the Metamorphoses and Fasti may differ from the amatory poems, the Tristia 
and the Ueroides; they, for the first time, display in a more and more 
decided fashion the arts of the schools of the rhetoricians. 

Ovid was a talented poet, to whom verses and thoughts came rapidly 
and without difficulty, but he was entirely wanting in depth of feeling. 
Even the poems, which came most from his heart, those laments which he 
sang in his banishment at inhospitable Tomi, scarcely arouse true sympathy, 
for the intrinsic unreality from which the poetry of Ovid suffers even here 
forces itself upon the reader. He recognised the conditions of the new 
monarchy unreservedly, and no poet is so well qualified as he to give us a 
picture of the views and manner of thought of the circle which surrounded 
the imperial house. Sensuality and pleasure are the scarlet threads which 
run through tlie Ovidian poems, and the pain which tortures him in banish- 
ment is entirely the effect of being shut out from the luxurious way of life 
which prevailed in those circles whose conversations and intrigues were the 
very life of his poetry. 



THE AGE OF AUGUSTUS 


105 


[30 B.C.-14 A.D.] 

The satire also, that most characteristic production of the national spirit 
of Rome, was now cultivated in a fashion partly original b}' Horace (Q. Ilora- 
tius Flaccus, born on the 8th of December, 65 n.c., died on the 27th of No- 
vember, 6 B.C.). Deep feeling or an effective comprehension of the times, 
its weaknesses and duties, would be sought for in vain, for the salons of the 
Augustan period no longer possessed these qualities, and it is a jncture of the 
conversations of the salons that has been bequeathed to us in the Horatian 
satires. Some gossip of a higher or lower order, for the most part in a 
seemly though piquant form which seldom becomes real malice, forms the 
subject-matter of all the poems which have come down to us. The poet 
rises to a higher level in the didactic epistles, of which those of the second 
book, with their exhortations to the study of Greek models and their tasteful 
and striking aesthetic reflections, belong to the chief productions of the time ; 
and in ripeness and clearness of judgment, careful polish and clear arrange- 
ment, they leave all others far behind them. Greatly inferior to the satires 
are the partly satirical Epodes^ in which the personal element is too promi- 
nent, and in which the poet betrays great want of self-restraint and taste. 

After Horace, the satire, such as he conceived it, found no imitator ; the 
period which followed brought with it too many conflicts to allow mildness 
and tolerance to find a place. The preaching of morals is carried into the 
domain of poetry ; A. Persius Flaccus, the only representative of this class 
of writing, gives us a very poor idea of the age if it really regarded him as a 
satirist ; but we are scarcely justified in drawing this conclusion, since at the 
most he met with approbation only from the ranks of the opposition. It is 
the same taste, which Lucan represents, transferred to the satire ; the arro- 
gance and self-sufficiency of an adept belonging to a circle of noble stoics, 
who had scarcely got beyond the scholar’s bench, hollow pathos, rhetorical 
ornamentation, versified expoundings of the stoic popular morality. Persius 
lacked practically all the attributes of a poet. A mediocre performance which 
might be reckoned as a satire was the Translation into the Society of G-ourds 
of the deified Claudius (^Divi Claud ApokoloJcyntosis), a petty, revenge- 
ful pamplilet against the unfortunate prince, prepared moreover after his 
death. The dazzling wit with which the poet strikes at gods and men might 
have elicited approval in his own day ; but the reader’s uppermost feeling 
will always be that this satire sprang from miserable cowardice and perfidious 
flattery. 

The only really intellectual work of a satirical character that this period 
produced was the satires of Petronius, written in the reign of Nero. No 
other work so clearly bears the stamp of its time. At least the poor phi- 
losophy, which most of the poets have collected from their philosophical com- 
pendiums and their rhetorical exercises, has no part in this work, although 
the laboured and superficial culture of the time clings to its author through- 
out. The source of his wisdom is life. To him, man is the crown of creation, 
and he has studied him in all phases and degrees ; what exists beside man 
has only interest for him inasmuch as it can serve to beautify human life and 
make it agreeable. Happiness and enjoyment are the watchword of the 
whole work, not in the coarsely material sense such as it is embodied in Tri- 
malchio and his fellows, but a life which, while it is seasoned witli all material 
joj^s, is also ennobled by all the contributions of art and cultivation. A rich 
and varied experience of life gives this work its great value-; the age is 
reflected even to the most minute niceties of its language. Inventive power, 
description of detail, humour, and a fine irony, as well as an uncommonly 
skilful treatment, secure for some parts of these satires the praise of a master 



lOG 


THE HISTORY OF ROME 

[30 B.c.-U A.D.l 

work ; and if the frivolous and lascivious tone did not always bring us back 
to the court of Nero and the doings of the tnn^ we might think that m 
this we had before us a model of the best age. Especially charactpistic is 
the fine understanding of Greek art and culture, and the enthusiasm for 
Latin poetry, which expresses itself partly by means of a peculiar skill m 
versification^ and brilliancy of colouring, partly in bitter mockery of the 
affectations of contemporary poets and their dull, spiritless, and senseless 
exao-gerations. The poet always preserves elegance and purity of language ; 
wlieif he goes out of his way to attain it his good taste presei ves Inm f rom 
errors, and that same taste also disclosed to him the cause and effect of the 

'^'^'^Only one^quality is wanting in Petronius ; like the Casanova literature of 
our own and the preceding century, his work has no moral purpose, .^tsop s 
fables were now also put into Latin, for Phiedrus, often without a complete 
understanding of the original, in somewhat clumsy verses and with feeble 
wit arranired the Greek fables for school and home use amongst the Romans. 
Tlie satirical point of the different pieces is now almost entirely mcompre- 
hensible to us in our ignorance of conditions in the city of Rome. 

The lyric proper was far the most popular form of poetry under the 
empire ; for every one thought himself called upon to write songs and occa- 
sional verses. We gain some notion of this style of poetry from Horace. 
In his poems he chronicles the political measures of Augustus as well as the 
love affairs and social doings of himself and his friends. But whilst in the 
accounts of the latter it is frequently impossible to decide how much is fact, 
how much poetry, and, at times, imitation of his Greek models, — since so 
little true life beats through them, — in the former there is something at least 
which is in harmony with its subject. The poet has a firm and strong feel- 
ing for the greatness and honour of Rome, if perhaps he does not always see 
it in the true light ; this gives some of his poems a colouring of truth and of 
a deep, sincere feeling. 

Dependence on the Greeks of the best age could scarcely have been 
greater ; in diction and versification he is most careful ; but that subtle 
relation between the language and the sense, which was indispensable in 
the Greek models, has been abandoned ; tricks of versification have deter- 
mined the form and expression more frequently than poetic impulse and 
spontaneous feeling. 

But that all poetic creation and feeling were not entirely wanting to 
the age is shown by the numerous small poetic productions found on tomb- 
stones. Here true human feeling still revealed itself, and found an expres- 
sion which speaks to the heart and is often deeply affecting. It is the same 
with the smaller poems in the Latin anthology ; of course the ideas are not 
great and imposing any more than were the occasions which gave rise to 
them. But this much may be gathered from them, that the language of 
poetry could still appeal to the heart, and purity and correctness were still 
adhered to. Of the spread of poetic activity we can scarcely form too vast 
an idea ; the study of poetry was now an essential part of education, and 
since Asinius PoUio had introduced the custom of public readings, there 
was an audience for every individual aspirant. And if the decline of the 
art of poetry was to be brought about, this impulse would have effected it 
more surely than the principate whose influence on the decline of the art 
may be only too easily and willingly overestimated. 

With the empire there came a change in the writing of history, inas- 
much as freedom of thought and judgment was limited by the despotic rule, 



THE AGE OF AUGUSTUS 


107 


[30 B.C.-U A.D.] 

and the door was flung open to flattery and calumny ; and in individual 
reigns it might have been dangerous to relate the history of the republic or 
of former emperors. But these circumstances alone cannot explain tlie 
insignificance of historical writing any more than the removal of the centre 
of politics to the imperial cabinet. 

The Romans have really never possessed histories in the true sense of 
the term, and consequently there was at this period no room for any con- 
siderable damage to that species of composition. T. Livius (59 b.c.-IT a.d.) 
affords distinct evidence of this. In his own time he received unqualified 
admiration and in subsequent ages his name sheltered itself behind that of 
history ; in the later days of the empire his prestige continually increased, 
and finally almost the only works in Latin dealing with the period of the 
republic and the triumvirate, and the beginnings of the Augustan era, are 
transcripts and excerpts from his writings. Augustus offered no excep- 
tion to the opinion of the day ; although he called him a Pompeian, he not 
only granted him all conceivable freedom, but on all occasions testified his 
personal esteem for him. And yet Livy is no historian. He undertook the 
formidable task of writing a complete history of the Roman state up to his 
time, but in consequence of its formidable compass the work was necessarily 
unsuccessful, as older works were often wanting, and Livy had not the 
ability to turn the existing material to account. 

Every Roman historian had great difficulties to encounter with regard 
to the period of antiquity, and this extended more or less to the time of 
Sulla. Down to a certain period, patriotism required adherence to a tradi- 
tional form which could not stand investigation ; for other epochs the Greeks, 
especially Polybius, had formed a conception which had acquired a canonical 
value. Only critical judgment and a general scheme of treatment on a 
grand scale could have been effective ; but Livy was not the man for this. 

To him history was another name for the arranging of annalistic reports 
which he put together ; the most obvious contradictions were rejected, and a 
certain system introduced into the chronology and adhered to as far as 
might be without too great scrupulousness ; where he had older authors 
of merit, such as Polybius, to draw upon, his work was benefited ; where 
this was not the case, he did not scruple to combine accounts essentially 
contradictory. He considered his principal office to be delineation, not 
arrangement, investigation, and criticism, and the rhetorical elaboration 
made up, in the eyes of the reader, for the want of exactness and a definite 
conception./ 

MERIVALE’S estimate of LIVY 

It was in the schools of rhetoric, we may believe, that Livy learned that 
indifference to historical accuracy, that sacrifice of the substance to the form 
of truth, which has cast so fatal a shade over the lustre of his immortal 
work. As a friend of the ancient oRgarchy, and an aristocrat in prejudices 
and temper, it seems improbable that he would have carried his Roman 
history down to his own times, had he not submitted to throw a veil over 
his sentiments, and made his book such as Augustus himself might sanction 
for the perusal of his subjects. The emperor, indeed, is said to have called 
him a Pompeian, and to have complained of the colours in which he por- 
trayed the men of the opposite side; but this could only have been in 
jest ; the favour in which he was held by the courtiers of the empire, 
and his being suffered to assist the studies of the young prince, Claudius 



lOQ THE HISTORY OF ROME 

[30 B.C.-U A.D.] 

Germiiiiicus, show that lie was not seriously regarded as a disaffected politi- 
cian The scorn which Livy heaps on the tribunes and demagogues, and his 
iffiiorant contempt for the plebs, evince the leaning of his mind to the side 
of the nobility. Hut these are obviously the views of the rhetorician rather 
than of the historian ; and Augustus, tribune and demagogue as he was, 
could distinguish between the hollow commonplaces of a perverted education 
and the stern judgment of a genuine conviction. The loss of all latter 
portions of this extensive work must be deplored for the nuinher of facts 
it has swept into oblivion ; but the facts would h.ye been valuable rather 
from the inferences which modern science might deduce from them, than 
from the li^-lit in wliich the author would himself have placed them. hi\y, 
taking the%en in middle life, and continuing to pour forth his volumes 
in interminable succession, perhaps to the end of his long career, for 
born in the year 59 B.C., he died in 17 A.D.,— left it still apparently un- 
finished, at the close of his hundred and fort 3 '--second book, and with the 
demise of Drusus Germanicus.^ It may be conjectured that the latter por- 
tions of the work were overtaken by the garrulity of old age, and were 
suffered to fall into oblivion from their want of political or literary value. 

It is in the earlier books, however, that the spirit of Livy found the 
sphere most congenial to it; the first and third decades, containing the early 
history of the kings and consuls, and again the grand epic of the war with 
Hannibal, have always retained their pre-eminence in general esteem as 
the noblest specimens of narration. The greatest minds of Rome at this 
period seemed to have kindled with inspiration from the genius of the 
founder of the empire ; and of these Livy at least appears to have con- 
ceived unconsciously the idea of attaching his countrymen to the early 
records of their city, by encircling it with a halo of poetical associations. 
The imagination of the Romans of that age was inflamed by the conservative 
reaction which sought to throw a bridge over the chaos of the last century, 
and revive the sense of national continuity. 

The thanks the race of Romulus owed to Livy, for making them ac- 
quainted with their ancestors and proud of their descent, were akin to those 
which Englishmen acknowledge to the historical dramas of Shakspeare. He 
took the dry chronicles, in which alone their first affairs were written, drew 
forth from them the poetic life of half-forgotten traditions, and clothed it 
again in forms of ideal beauty. His narrative, glowing in all the colours 
of imagination and fancy, is just as faithful to its authorities as the drama- 
tised histories of the English bard to theirs ; indeed, the myths of Romulus 
and Tarquin cannot lie farther from the truth of facts than the tragedies 
of Lear and Cymbeline ; and when he begins to tread the domain of sober 
history, his painted Hannibals and Scipios approach as nearly to the men 
themselves as the Richards and Henrys of our own mighty master. 

The charms of Livy’s style became the happy conjunction of circuiU' 
stances under which lie wrote, and combined with it to give him that 


^ Niebuhr’s A remarks on the dates of Livy’s history (Bom. Hist, iv.) may be compared with 
the more common view given in Smith’s Dictionary and elsewhere. I think the beginning of 
the work must be placed in 29-24 b.c.; but adopting the idea that it was originally divided into 
decades, the fact now demonstrated, that it reached to a hundred and forty-second book, seems 
to show that it was not left complete according to the author’s intentions. It is also well re- 
marked that the death of Drusus does not furnish a point of sufficient importance for the ter- 
mination of the great epic of Roman history. This view is supported by the interesting state- 
ment of Pliny, that in one of his latter books Livy had declared : Satis jam sibi glorise qusesitum ; 
et potuisse se desiiiere, nisi animus inquies pasceretur opere. (Plin. Hist. Nat. prcef.) A period 
■of more than forty years thus devoted to the elaboration of a single work is not unparalleled. 
Proissart was engaged forty years upon his Chronicles. 



THE AGE OF AUGUSTUS 


101 > 


[30B.C.-14 A.D.] 

pre-eminence among Roman historians which he never afterwards lost. 
Events and characters of deepest interest became immutably fixed in the lines 
in which he had represented them. Henceforth every Roman received from 
Livy his fix'st youthful impressions of his country's career, which thus became 
graven forever in the mind of the nation. It was in vain that the inaccuracy 
of these relations, and in many cases their direct falsehood, were pointed out 
by the votaries of truth, or by jealous and unsuccessful rivals; henceforth it 
was treason to the majesty of Rome to doubt that Porsenna was driven in 
confusion from her walls, or that the spoils of the Capitol were wrested again 
from the triumphant legions of Brennus.ff 

Such are the estimates placed upon the work of Liv}'^ by those who view 
him from the coldly analytical standpoint of the technical historian. But 
we must not leave the greatest writer of Latin prose without seeking a more 
sympathetic interpretation of his influence. Let us turn to the estimate of 
one who was himself an historian kindred in spirit to Livy — one who ap- 
proached history from the standpoint of the artist and humanitarian, — M. 
Taine. Here is his estimate of 


HVY AS THE ARTISTIC LIMNER OF THE ROMAN PEOPLE 

There are three ways of representing character [says Taine] : the author 
may stop to think and compose a portrait, in a philosophical style, as Thu- 
cydides does ; he may paint people by their actions, a method followed by 
Tacitus and the poets ; or he may portray them by exposing their opinions 
in speeches ; this is Livy’s and the orator’s talent. 

The finest of all his portraits is that of the Roman people. Each speech, 
each oratorical narrative revises and perfects it, and it is easily seen that Livy 
has not taken it from the ancient authors but that it is entirely his own. In 
the combat of Horatius Codes, what pride and what vigour I It is not likely 
that the Romans in one year had become such unruly republicans. But how 
well the fable is hidden under a noble passion I Throwing towards the 
chiefs of the Etruscans savage and threatening glances, sometimes provoking 
them one after another, sometimes insulting them collectively. “ Slaves of 
insolent kings, forgetting your own liberty, you come to attack that of 
others I ” If this passage is theatrical, it is grand, and eloquence nobly 
adorns “ the beginning of this liberty.” 

Dionysius makes Mucius an ingenious Greek, who terrifies good Por- 
senna and saves himself by a stratagem with a double result. In Livy 
Mucius is a hero. “ Seized by the guards and brought before the king’s 
court, even then, in the midst of such dangers, he was more to be feared 
than to be frightened. I am a Roman citizen,’ he said, ‘ I am called C. 
Mucius, enemy. I wished to kill an enemy, and I am as ready to die as to 
kill. A Roman can dare all and suffer all. I am but the first to bring 
against thee their courage ; behind me is a long train of men who seek the 
same honour. Prepare thyself if thou wilt, for the struggle. At each hour, 
thou wilt fight for life and thou wilt have a dagger and an enemy in the 
vestibule of thy palace. We young men declare this kind of war against 
thee. Fear neither army nor combat, this affair is between each of us and 
thee alone.’ 

“ The king, at the same time excited by anger and terrified by fear, ordered 
him to be surrounded by flames, if he did not at once explain these ambigu- 
ous threats of conspiracy. ‘Look,’ said Mucius, ‘in order to understand 



110 


THE HISTORY OF ROME 


[30 B.C.-14 A.D.] 


what a small thing the body is to those who behold a great glory.’ He put 
his hand in a brasier lighted for the sacrifice, and left it there, as if uncon- 
scious of the pain.” In Dionysius, Cloelia ^ks the guards permission to 
bathe, requests them to withdraw a little whilst she disrobes herself, and 
then quietly crosses the Tiber. In reading the inventions of clever poltroon- 

erv\ one respects Livy for having written as a Roman. . 

It is pride and not interest which makes the Roman people revolt against 
a master. See in what manner Cincinnatus judges tyranny. Livy 

forffet that he lived under Augustus? When Melius was stretched out on 
the market-place, “He has been justly killed,” says the dictator; “a man 
should not be treated as a citizen, who, born of a free people, in the cen^tre 
of privileges and laws, conceived the hope of ruling, knowing that kings had 
been driven from that city; that the same year, the king’s nephews, sons of 
the consul who liberated the country, being denounced for having plotted to 
re-establish kings, had been beheaded with an axe by their father ; and that 
the Consul Tarquinus Collatinus, in hatred of his very name, had been 
obliged to leave his magistracy to go into exile.” 

All these arguments are derived from the dignity of the Roman people, 
issue of the gods, exultant master-elect of the world, whose high self-esteem 
is its dominating passion. This people kills a tyrant, not in the cause of 
justice, but in order that it may become a tyrant itself for love of empire. This 
need of commanding is so natural to the Romans that it seems to them to be 
a divine right. When the Latins, who for over two hundred years made up 
half of the army and achieved half the victories, claimed the equal rights 
they deserved, the Roman people were as indignant as if it were sacrilege. 
The consul frankly says that if the Roman senators were mad enough to obey a 
man of Setia, he would come, sword in hand, into the senate, and that he would 
kill every Latin he saw in the curia with his own hand. Then turning towards 
Jupiter’s statue, he cries : “ Listen to these crimes, Jupiter, hear them, Right 
and Justice ! Foreign consuls, a foreign senate, inaugurated in Jupiter’s 
temple, thyself captive and oppressed, that is what thou wouldst see.” 

This sublime insolence proves that these men had souls worthy of kings. 
A government like a man has its own personality. One feels in the orations 
of Demosthenes the generous indignation and eloquent pain of an artistic 
and philosophical people, which appeals to the gods and to men against brutal 
strength, envelops itself in its own glory before falling. The decrees of the 
Roman senate are the verdicts of a judge who overwhelms the heart by his 
imperious hardness before crushing the enemy with his armies. 


When Popilius, tracing a circle around the king of Syria, ordered him 
to answer him before stepping over it, he did nothing very extraordinary. 
All the Romans treated foreigners as subjects. 

From this public and private pride, born with the foundation of Rome, 
nourished by a succession of victories and by habitual domination, there 
resulted a particular kind of courage. The Romans do not fight through an 
outburst of bravery and of imagination, as the Athenians, or for the need of 
action and activity like the barbarians, but by maxims of pride and obstinacy. 
Their defeats are admirable. At Lake Trasimenus, battalions of soldiers 
cliarge through the victorious army by which they are surrounded. At 
Cannae, ranged in a circle, fifty thousand men die to the last man, those in 
front ceaselessly falling and those behind taking their place. 

The Romans fight for honour and duty, incapable of yielding, because the 
heart of men revolts against the slightest approach and appearance of pardon, 
because humiliation is worse than ruin, because it is better to lose everything 



THE AGE OF AUGUSTUS 


111 


[30 B.C.-U A.I>-] 

than to yield an inch. That is why Rome becomes prouder in reverse and 
only consents to treat in order to pardon, why she will only suffer around her 
proteges, suppliants, and subjects, and “ carries her empire as far as the 
earth and her courage as high as the sky.” Pride renders one calm. The 
man who aims at being worthy remains serious, and the Romans without 
emotion or enthusiasm accomplished the greatest results. Pride sanctifies 
the fatherland because the citizen gets from it glory and ascendency, with- 
out which he cannot exist. Pride sacrifices the family because it considers 
as weakness the affections on which it is founded. 

Livy shows in his speeches how simple, quiet, and deliberate self-sacrifice 
is in Rome. Q. Fabius presided over the comitia ; the first hundred nomi- 
nate his nephew Otacilius consul. He stops the voting and coldly says, 
“ We have tried thee, Otacilius, in lesser posts, and thou certainly hast done 
nothing which justifies us giving thee more important ones. For three 
reasons did we equip the fleet you commanded this year ; in order to lay the 
African coast, in order to protect the shores of Italy, and above all that no 
reinforcements, food, or money be sent through from Carthage to Hannibal. 
Name Otacilius consul, if he has rendered to the state — I don’t say all 
these services, but a single one. It matters more to thee, Otacilius, than 
to any one else that a burden under which you would be crushed be not 
laid on your shoulders. Herald, recall to the vote the century of the young 
men of Anio.” As Otacilius cries out with rage that Fabius himself 
wishes to remain in the consulship and throws himself upon him, the con- 
sul orders the lictors to approach, and he informs Otacilius that, not hav- 
ing entered the city, his arms and arrows have been carried on in advance. 
Fabius is so sure of his disinterestedness that he does not fear appearing 
ambitious and tyrannical, and the people judging the same, at once elect him 
consul. 

The son of Manlius has fought against his father’s orders. He appears 
with his spoil. Without saying a word to him, the father turns away and 
orders the army to be assembled, and at once the following sentence, “ Since 
without respect for consular authority or paternal majesty, T. Manlius, thou 
hast against orders, outside the ranks, fought the enemy, and destroyed, as 
far as was in thy power, military discipline, upon which until to-day Roman 
deeds have always stood ; since thou hast forced me to forget either the 
republic or myself and mine, let us rather bear the penalty of the crime 
ourselves than that the republic pay so heavily for our fault. We shall be 
a sad but salutary example to coming generations. Without doubt, a father’s 
natural love and that proof of courage deceived by empty glory move me 
in thy favour. But since it is necessary by thy death to sanction the orders 
of the consuls or by thy pardon forever to nullify them, I do not think if there 
runs a drop of our blood in thy veins, that thou willst refuse to restore by 
thy punishment military discipline, which has been overthrown by thy error. 
Go, lictor, tie him to the stake.” 

This argument, which ends like a thunderbolt, is terrible because it is 
so sudden. J udge by this example to what an extent Roman zeal was car- 
ried. In the soul of the magistrate there seemed to exist a permanent 
tribunal which was ever ready to deliver judgment. They had no need 
to raise themselves above their own level in order to attain self-denial ; it 
came naturally to them. In the same way the savages of America tran- 
quilly offered up their limbs for torture and by education, temperament, 
habit, and nature mocked at what the martyrs with all their exaltation 
dared hardly face. 



112 


THE HISTORY OF ROME 

f30 B.C.-U A.D.J 

The soothsayer having declared that the victorious army must lose its 
D-eneral Manlius and his brother general without any signs of emotion, sum- 
^lon ttir officers on the eve of battle and agree that there where they saw 

the armv "ive way, one or the other should sacrifice himself. 

By p^ride of citizenship, Livy brings out the fine sides of this character ; 
bv nremsion of oratory, he reveals the characteristic features, for he is 
oblilecUo arrange his subject to suit his audience and to touch Roman pas- 
sffiiif by Romaii arguments. Consider in Camillus discourse, that religion 
which is really but a doctrine, so minutely and carefully following the con- 
secrated form, so attached to outward rites, observing not the spirit but the 
letter which alone prevents the people from emigrating to Veil. As it is 
political and local it attaches the government and the citizp to the soil. 
“We have a town founded according to omens and augurs in which t^re 
is not a corner where the gods and their worship are not to be found. Our 
solemn sacrifices take place on certain days. Will you forsake, 
all these private and public gods? How little your actions resemble that 
of the young M. C. Fabius whom the enemy watched with as much admi- 
ration as you, when, amongst the Gallic javelins, coming down from the 
citadel he offered up on the Quirinal the solemn sacrifice of the house of 
Fabia. Tlie vestals can only have one abode, one from which nothing can 
eject them except the surrender of the town. Jupiter s flamen cannot spend 
one night outside Rome without crime. Would you make these Roman 
priests Veientine priests, and would you abandon vestal virgins? Oh, 
Vesta ! And the flamen living in another country, shall he every night 
commit an impious act which the republic must atone for with him ? Here 
is the Capitol, where a human head was once found, when the soothsayers 
said that here would be the head of the world and the seat of the empire. 
Here are Vesta’s sacred fire, the shields fallen from heaven, and, if you stay 
here, the gods all-merciful.” 

One sees that the love of country is as much religious as it is political ; 
the gods live on the soil and are Romans ; what must be the strength of this 
sentiment which unites all others ! In our days they are separate. The 
town we live in, the religion we follow, and the country to which we belong 
make up three distinct worlds, often unfriendly to each other. Amongst 
the ancients, there was but one, the city. The family was sacrificed to it ; 
it made one with religion ; the soul and thought of man were absorbed in 
his country ; and from every point of view, the citizen alone was visible. 


THE SPIRIT OP THE TIMES 

Let US try in a few words to sum up the philosophy of the epoch as it is 
given by our contemporaries. We are not leaving Livy behind us by show- 
ing how his work has been perfected. “ Great queen,” said Bossuet, before 
Henrietta Maria’s tomb, “ I gratify your tenderest desires in praising this 
great monarch, and your heart, dust though it is, awakes to hear me.” Livy 
would not listen with indifference to the modern philosophers who explain, 
perfect, and complete the history of his country. To act with a personal 
interest in view, and consequently to organise the means of so doing is the 
dominant trait in the history and genius of Rome. Therefore its spirit is 
that of calculating reflection rather than of poetical invention and philo- 
sophical speculation, and its character consists of a reasoned will, not of feel- 
ings or affections. 



THE AGE OF AUGUSTUS 11.3 

[30 B.C.-ll A.D.] 

From this arises that never-ending struggle with the unfruitfulness of a 
naturally sterile land, that contempt for him who loses his patrimony, tlie 
fame of him who increases it, economy, frugality, greed, avarice, the spirit 
of chicanery, all the virtues and ail the vices which generate and preserve 
wealth, the tendency to regard property as a sacred trust, and the boundary 
of a field as a limitation of divine origin, the protection of lands and credit 
by severe laws, legal deeds drawn up in minute and inviolable forms — in a 
word, every institution calculated for the protection of acquired property. 

In other countries the natural family, establislied on the basis of a com- 
mon origin, is ruled by the affections; but the Roman family, absolutely 
civil, founded on a community of obedience and of rites, is only the chattel 
and the property of the father, governed according to his will, subordinate 
to the state, ever bequeathed by law in the presence of the state, a kind of 
province in the hands of the father which supplies soldiers for the public 
benefit. 

Made up of different races, united by violence, the work of force and will, 
and not of relationship and nature, the Roman state contained two organised 
bodies, struggling regularly and legally, not through passion, but through 
interest, and united under the best devised and organised constitution that 
has ever been known. By the state’s systematic and methodical mode of 
conquest for the sole object of preserving and exploiting, military art was 
carried to the highest possible point, and political skill and administrative 
talent united to bring together by force the whole of the then known world 
into an empire organised by one dominant city. 

Roman policy consisted in turning the conquered nations into Roman 
soldiers, and foreign princes and magistrates into Roman ministers, thus 
strengthening the controlling power at the least possible expense. Military 
art consisted in subjecting the bravest and strongest soldiers to the strictest 
obedience, that is to say, in obtaining the greatest amount of strength from 
the vast forces at command. All her wisdom was exerted to increase her 
power and to spare herself. An institution of will, a machine for conquest, 
a matter of organisation, the state occupied all thought, absorbed all love, 
and claimed submission in every act and institution. 

The sway of personal interest and national egoism produces a contempt 
for humanity. The human species, when unconquered, is looked upon as 
material for conquest, conquered it is a prey to be made use of and abused. 
Slaves are trampled upon with atrocious cruelty, entire nations are destroyed, 
vanquished kings are led in triumph and put to death. 

The gods are abstractions, and utterly without poetry, such as calm 
reflection discerns in the humblest agricultural or domestic operations, 
scourges adored through fear, foreign gods received into the temple through 
interested motives as vanquished foes were received into the city, and sub- 
ject to the Jupiter of the Capitol as nations were to Rome. The priests 
were laymen divided into classes, and officiated only under the authority of the 
senate, which regulated all expiatory ceremonies and alone, with the people, 
could make innovations. Worship consisted of minute ceremonies, scrupu- 
lously observed because all poetical and philosophical spirit which is the 
interpreter of symbols, was wanting ; dull, unilluminated reason attaching 
itself only to the letter. The senate used religion as a political machine, and 
like all else it was but an instrument of government. 

In the world of art we find nothing indigenous, except family memoirs, 
written in the interests of a race, dry chronicles drawn up for public use, 
rituals, account books, collections of laws, books of moral sayings, memo- 

H. W. — VOL. VI. I 



114 


the history of ROME 


[30 B.C.-14 A.D.] 


raiula of political satires — in short, government documents, maxims of con- 

^^'^Ev'erythhi'g dse*^is foreign, imported, or conquered. The theatre origi- 

natino- in Etruria and in Greece was simply mutated and then forsaken for 

hear fi<^hts which later became processions, magnificent in weapons and orna- 
bear n^nts w • , ^ ^y^r. Monuments of art were pillaged in 

SrTe^^'aml in Cicero's time were still despised; while in poetry, there 
wfs no original fiction, no invention of characters. Ihe only things in 
whLrthe national genius rivals the imitation of foreign models are ora- 
tory —the arm of the forum, — satire, — versified pleadingandinstruc- 
[toi’ininorals,-and history, the record of political facts, which however 
is at Rome only a collection of memoirs or an exercise in oratoiy , and 
all these things are concerned with the practical and with government. 
If Rome possessed poets, it was solely when her pavticular genius gave 
way befori a new movement. Tlie only entertainments she invented were 
triumphs and games in the circus, where victory was continued by the 
hiiniiliation and death of the vanquished, where the spectator was the con- 

All scientific writings were translations. There were compilers such as 
Varro and Pliny, imitators such as Cicero and Lucretius ; some smal 
advance was made in agriculture, rhetoric, medicine, and architecture all 
applied sciences. In the place of metaphysics, the clumsy physics of 
Epicurus and of the stoics were copied, ilie practical side of philosophy 
was alone studied, moral philosophy, and that with a purely practical object. 
The only strictly Roman science is jurisprudence, and tlmt is altogether 
practical and political. It is, moreover, so long as it remains Roman, but 
a collection of dry formulae, a mere manual for lawyers and not a branch ot 


science. . . , . ^ rr»i r -i 

From the character of Roman genius springs its history, ihe tamily 

and religion being subordinate to the state, art and science being null, or 
entirely practical, and the state having no other object than to conquer and 
to organise what it had conquered, Roman history is the history of con- 
quest and its effects. 

The middle class was either ruined, or perished during the progress of 
this great war. From the time of the Gracchi, besides a population of poor 
people and freed slaves, there remained only a wealthy class, wielding great 
power by reason of their immense riches, their command of great armies, 
their control of taxation, and of the destinies of the commonwealth in gen- 
eral. At first united liut afterwards divided, at the end of a century’s 
struggle one of these classes emerged victorious. Thus power, founded by 
sheer force, passed to the armies, the embodiment of force. In the mean- 
while, the universe, depopulated and ruined by conquest, by civil wars, by 
the pillage of the proconsuls, by the demands of the imperial treasury, sup- 
plied no more soldiers. With the fall of militarism, an oriental despotism, 
characterised by a cunning administration, was founded. Through war and 
its results, conquerors and conquered, nations and liberties, had all perished. 
Nothing remained in force but a system of effete institutions under the 
caprice of a ruler who was often hardly a man. 

The ancient institution of the family disappeared under the influence of 
Grecian ideas and oriental customs. The judicial dicta of lawyers and 
praetors conflicted with the authority of the husband and father ; civil 
family ties became dissolved in excess of pleasures and love of conquest. 
In spite of the laws of Augustus, marriages decreased, and were only 



THE AGE OF AUGUSTUS 


115 


[30 B.C.-U A.D.] 

excuses for adultery and divorce. Mysticism, poverty, the discouragement 
of the curials, added despair to the effects of debauchery and created a con- 
tempt for life. 

By these changes in domestic life and under the influence of foreign 
philosophers, the Roman idea of property changed. First of all in the 
hands of the father (mancipiura), possessions next became a family inherit- 
ance (dominium), and ended by belonging entirely to the individual (pro- 
prietas). Though benefited in theory, in practice property ceased to exist, 
because accoi’ding to the law the emperor was master over it, because the 
treasury took its fruits, because taxation, tyranny, ignorance, and a growing 
depopulation rendered it sterile or reduced it to nought. 

The ancient religion assimilated with the religions of Greece and the 
East, disappeared in the pantheon of the gods enlarged by dead emperors, 
and there remained of it only official pomp and an excuse for persecutions. 
The jealousy of despots, the degradation of servitude, the loss of all inter- 
ests and of all hope, the abuse of pleasures, the downfall of Greece and of 
the East, extinguished all that was yet known of art and science. The 
jurisconsults alone laid down a code of laws, the last result of the spirit of 
organisation. 

Thus, conquest, the fruit of Roman genius, destroyed both the genius 
of peoples, and the peoples themselves ; leaving behind it because it was 
a system, a system of institutions on a dead foundation. But in this de- 
basement of every force and of every earthly hope, man took refuge within 
himself. Helped by oriental mysticism, he discovered in a new religion a 
new world. 

This is what the modern philosophers have added to Livy. The criticism 
commenced by him, renewed by Beaufort, nearly perfected by Niebuhr, and 
the philosophy hidden under his eloquence, which was turned by Machiavelli 
into a practical channel and is still imperfect in Montesquieu, become each 
day more exact and more profound. The corrections thus made honour 
those by whom they are made without lowering those who suffer them. 
The first authors are the fathers of science, and Livy alone has done more 
for Roman history than all those who have desired to set him right.*’ 



Roman Compass 
(Id (he British Maseum) 



Roman Death Mask 


CHAPTER XXXII 

THE LAST YEARS OF AUGUSTUS 

OcTAViAN divorced his first two wives, the daughter of Publ. Servilius, 
to whom he had been married at eighteen, and Clodia, daughter of Antony’s 
wife Fulvia by her first husband P. Clodius the triumvir, after a short period 
of wedded life; and a year after she had borne him a daughter, Julia by 
name, he put away his third wife Scribonia, being captivated by the charms 
of Livia, the wife of Ti. Claudius Nero, who came into his house as his fourth 
wife with the consent of her former husband. Her two sons, Tiberius (born 
42 B.c.) and Drusus, wliom she brought into the world three months after 
her union with Augustus, were brought up in the house of their father Cl. 
Nero, but were received by Augustus into his own house on the death of the 
former, who had appointed him their guardian. 

The person wlio had the likeliest prospect of the succession seemed to 
be M. Marcellus, the son of the emperor’s sister Octavia by her first mar- 
riage. He was treated with the utmost distinction by Augustus, who loaded 
him with honours in quick succession and married him at an early age to his 
daughter Julia, to the great mortification of the haughty and ambitious 
Livia, who, having borne no children to her imperial spouse, desired to 
secure the first place after the monarch and the reversion of the throne for 
her sons Tiberius and Drusus. 

A second rival to the youthful Marcellus arose in the person of his own 
brother-in-law Agrippa, the famous general to whom Augustus chiefly owed 
his victories over Sext. Pompeius and Antony, and whom he himself had 
encouraged to cherish the most daring hopes by high distinctions and proofs 
of favour. When the enmity between Agrippa and Marcellus grew too 
plainly manifest, the emperor despatched the former to Asia under pretext of 
an honourable mission. But Agrippa, looking upon this as a kind of banish- 
ment, ruled the province through his legate, while he himself remained at 
Lesbos, his gaze riveted upon Rome. Fate intervened to save Augustus 
from painful experience of the affronted pride of an ambitious man. Mar- 
cellus died in the year 23, universally lamented by the Roman people, whose 
darling he was. It was shrewdly suspected that he had fallen a victim to 
the rancour and intrigues of Livia, who, by birth a member of the Claudian 
family, had inherited all the pride and jealous ambition of their old patrician 
blood. Augustus, dismayed by the disturbances at Rome in the year 22, and 

116 


THE LAST YEARS OE AUGUSTUS 


317 


[21 B.C.-2 A.D.] 

the evidences of a conspiracy against his life which then came to lifrht made 
haste to be reconciled with Agrippa, and, by marrying him to Julia, assured 
him of the first place after his own and the prospect of tlie succession. 
Octavia, the emperor’s sister, moved by envy and jealousy of Livia, gladlv 
agreed to Agrippa’s divorce from her daughter Marcella, that so she might 
thwart the ambitious schemes of the emperor’s consoit. A few years later 
Agrippa journeyed to the East, accompanied by Julia, to set in order the 
complications and struggles for the throne whicli luul arisen in various dis- 
tricts from the Bosporus to Syria. His presence was a blessing to the 
Asiatic provinces and dependent states; he reconciled the wrangling members 
of the empire by admonitions and commands, and perpetuated the name of 
his wife by founding on the site of the ancient and ruinous seaport of Berytus 
the colony of Julia Felix, wliich was provided with a garrison of two legions 
and became the centre of Roman dominion in Syria. As Agripj)a was re- 
turning to Italy after a stay of some years in the East, he succumbed to sick- 
ness in the fifty-first year of his age. He died in Campania in 12 b.c. 

Augustus rendered the highest honours to the man to whom he owed so 
much, and who had devoted himself as fully to tlie welfare of the slate as to 
the cause of his imperial friend. He had the body interred with the most 
solemn obsequies in the imperial vault, himself delivering the funeral ora- 
tion, and not only made over the baths and gardens of Agrippa to the city 
of Rome according to the wishes of the deceased, but distributed consider- 
able donations of money among the people in his name. 

Livia now conceived fresh hopes for her sons. By her intrigues she suc- 
ceeded in procuring the divorce of Tiberius, her first-born, who was at that 
time thirty years of age, from his wife, and his marriage with the em[)eror's 
widowed daughter, who had borne three sons to Agrippa — Caius, Lucius, and 

^^d. two daughters, Julia and Agrippina. Augustus with difficulty 
suppressed his dislike of his ambitious, overbearing, and sullen stepson. 

Within a very few years the circle of friends whicli Augustus had gath- 
ered about him had been sadly thinned by death. Agrippa, Octavia, Drusus, 
and Majcenas had sunk into the tomb within the space of four years (from 
12 to 8 B.C.). Thus with declining age the emperor fixed his affections all 
the more exclusively upon his two grandsons, Caius and Lucius, the children 
of his daughter Julia and his friend Agrippa, He admitted them by adop- 
tion into the Julian family, conferred the title of Cicsar upon them, and had 
them brought up under his own eye ; he even devoted part of his own leisure 
to their instruction and education. They were his usual companions at 
table, and were treated with such distinction that all men regarded them as 
the future heirs of the empire. The populace and the senate vied with each 
other in offering homage and adulation to the imperial grandsons of Auo'us- 
tus, and they were loaded with fresh honours and dignities every year. "" 

But this brilliant position was fated to be the ruin of the young princes. 

It n^ only filled their own hearts with presumption and self-conceit; Livia 

and liberius turned eyes of envy and hatred upon the favoured pair. When 
Augustus, who was not blind to their sentiments, attempted to remove his 
stepson from the capital by giving him the honourable task of conducting a 
campaign in Armenia, the latter declined the proffered honour out of morti- 
ned leave to spend some years in learned leisure in the 

^land of Rhodes. The leave was granted, and extended even beyond his 
desires, lor seven years he stayed in the Greek island ; busy with philo- 
sophicM and mathematical studies, and observing the constellations in the 
night hours under the guidance of Thrasyllus, to draw auguries for the 



118 


THE HISTORY OF ROHE [6-ibc3 

. 1 • 14 i‘; absence was at first associated with demon- 
future from tribunician office which 

strations of honoui, tnioug i ^ipnarture • but in course of time 

Augustus had conferred on 

It assumed more father's aversion for the husband she abhorred, 

tago of It to increase he ‘ j p,^,peror’s daughter had caused him 

niany ^ I--’ -he by Im 1,3, 

ment; ^nt she had alwaj s bee talent for witty and delightful conversa- 
ascendency by her amiability, no" *^^^3 He shut his eyes when 

:;re\ olat^fr’ouilm-d ;;oVl“det;m^i which he endeav^oured to 

mit in nllirsurroiinded by a swarm of aristocratic young men of lax 
morals. ^If he were annoyed at some too wanton attire of hers, she 'vould 
nresently appear in the decorous garb of a Roman matron and enliven 1 or 
fathm- by some jesting observation. The circle of blooming grandchildren 
with winch she had surrounded his throne, and by which she seemed to have 
ensured his line in the possession of the monarchy, inclined him to judge 

her leniently <ind to make allowances foi her. ■* , au* u a 

But Livfa’s intriguing temper found ways and means to 

ter’s innocence. She contrived to arouse in him the dark suspicion that 
Julia was not only disgracing the honour of the imperial house by a hcen- 
tious way of life, but that she and her lovers had actually “nceived hostile 
designs gainst his person and the security of the empire, hor by this alone 
can we explain the harsh measures adopted by Augustus, -v^io had his daugl - 
ter suddenly banished without trial to the little island of Pandataria off the 
Campanian coast, and informed the senate that through shameless wanton- 
ness she had so far erred as to make the Forum and tribune the scene of noc- 
turnal orgies and the witness of her gallantries. Her accomplices, real or 
supposed, who were for the most part opponents of Tiberius, shared the same 
fate of exile, or suffered the penalty of death, like the gifted and cultured 
son of the triumvir, Julus Antonius, eminent both as a statesman ana a 
soldier. The sympathy and compassion of the people accompanied the em- 
peror’s daughter (then thirty-eight years of age) into her place of pun- 
ishment. Her guilt and transgression were her portion in the life of a 
degenerate age and city steeped in jjleasures and vices, her penance was the 
outcome of the envy and malignity of an intriguing stepmother. 

Her life in exile, which was voluntarily shared by her mother Senboma, 
was rich in deeds of benevolence and charity. She died at Rhegium soon 
after her father, full of sorrows and weary of life. The gifted and eloquent 
Sempronius Gracchus, who had enjoyed her favour and love in happier days 
and had consequently been banished to the African island of Cercina, died 
about the same time by the hands of assassins sent by Tiberius to despatch 
him ; showing himself by his fortitude in death not unworthy of the Sem- 
pronian name which in his life he had brought to shame. 

With the banishment of Julia commenced that series of misfortunes 
which ended by leaving the house of Augustus desolate and inflicted deep 
wounds upon his paternal heart. In that same year her eldest son, the 
eighteen-year-old Gains Ciesar, undertook a campaign in Asia at the head of 
a considerable army, in order to reduce to submission the Armenians — who 
had revolted from the dominion of Rome by the help of the Parthians — 
and to chastise the refractory Arab tribes. Armed with authority of the 



THE LAST YEARS OF AUGUSTUS 


119 


[1 B.C.-9 A.D.] 

proconsular imperium over all the provinces of the east, so tliat absolute 
power in matters military and civil rested in his hands and all local gov- 
ernors were subject to his commands, the youthful cominander-in-chief 
crossed to Egypt by way of Samos, accompanied by M. Lollius and other 
experienced and learned men whom Augustus had placed about him as coun- 
sellors. Tiberius, who visited his stepson during his stay on the island, was 
able to draw from the coolness of his reception the conclusion that his owji 
star was on the decline and that Cains Cajsar was universally recognised and 
honoured as the heir to the empire. From Egypt the expedition passed 
through Palestine to Syria. All men bowed before the imperial youth who 
seemed destined to inherit the empire of the world, and vied with one another 
in proffering homage, courting favour, and bringing gifts. Access to the 
youthful imperator was purchased of Lollius at a high price. 

The enemies of Rome were struck with awe at this display of might and 
majesty. The Nabataeans of Petra voluntarily returned to their previous 
position of dependence, and in a personal interview with the Roman com- 
mander-in-chief on an island in the Euphrates, Phraates, king of Parthia, 
concluded a peace on terms dictated by this mighty ruler and evacuated 
Armenia, which was then quickly conquered by the legions after a faint 
resistance, and was again numbered among Roman de])endencies. 

Caius Ceesar then made ready to return home. Feeble of body and 
greatly distressed by a wound received at the siege of the town of Artagera 
on the Euphrates, he had no desire for more of the hardships and perils of 
war ; he longed for enjoyment and tranquillity rather than for honour and 
military reputation. Both were denied him. Death overtook him at Lycia 
on his homeward way. Before he died he received the mournful tidings 
that his younger brother Lucius Caesar had suddenly fallen a victim to sick- 
ness eighteen months earlier, at Massilia, on an expedition into Spain. 

With the death of the two Ciesars the hopes of Tiberius blossomed anew. 
Hence it is not improbable that they died of poison, administered at the 
criminal instigations of Livia. Even contemporaries nourished this sus- 
picion. The passionate nature of the empress, who shrank from no crime 
however heinous, was well known, as was also the revengeful and spiteful 
temper of her eldest son, who had returned to Rome shortly before the 
death of Caius, and now did all he could to step into the vacant place. The 
mother’s intrigues and the son’s flattering arts of dissimulation did actually 
succeed to some extent in overcoming the emperor’s aversion to his stepson. 
He received him into favour and graciously acceded to Livia’s proud hopes 
and desires by adopting him and admitting him into the Julian family. 
Julia, the granddaughter of Augustus, who resembled her mother in beauty, 
in wit, as well as in levity and voluptuousness, and the younger Agrippa 
(styled Postumus, because Julia had brought him into the world after the 
death of her husband) a turbulent youth of haughty and intractable dispo- 
sition, rude manners, and violent passions, were no formidable rivals to the 
artful Livia and her malevolent son. 

AVhen Agrippa’s outbreaks of fury were carried so far that neither the 
emperor nor the empress were spared by them, the latter contrived that the 
thoughtless and ungovernable youth, though adopted by Augustus at the same 
time as Tiberius, should be kept under military supervision in the little island 
of Planasia; where Tiberius had put him out of the way in the first year of 
his reign by assassins despatched for the purpose, alleging instruction left 
by the deceased emperor as his excuse. The younger Julia was banished 
on the pretext of an illicit amour with Decius Silanus, to a desolate island in 



120 


THK HISTORY OF ROME 


A.D.] 

the jieigliboui’hood of Apulia, and compelled to pass the rest of her days — 
twenty lon^^" years — in exile. 

Fortunes wliich l.acl stood by Augustus faithfully throughout his public 
career and had led him by many thorny paths to the sumiiiit of earthly 
irlory, deserted him in his private life and in his domestic circle. Hatred 
and envy, fanned by female passions, ranged his court in two hostile fac- 
tions. which employed against each other all the weapons of intrigue and 
all the arts of treacliery and dissinuilation, and scared peace and harmony 

away from the apartments of the imperial palace. 

Livia's ambitious and passionate temper was so notorious that she was 
actually suspected of having cut her husband s days short by poison, lest he 
should restore his grandson Agrippa, to whom he had been reconciled in 
his island exile a little while before with tears and jmssionate embraces, 
to his rights and honours. She was alone with the emperor when death over- 
took him on a journey, at Nola in Lower Italy, in the seventy-sixth year of his 
age ; and by carefully guarding the house and spreading false reports she 
concealed the fact of his decease until her son, who for several years had 
been associated with his adoptive father as coadjutor in the empire, could 
be summoned from Illyricum. Then the world was startled by the double 
announcement that Augustus was dead and that Tiberius had assumed the 

reins of power. ^ 

The gorgeous obsequies of his predecessor were the new emperor s first 
business. Escorted by the whole body of knights and senators, and accom- 
panied by Avomen, bodyguards, and an innumerable multitude, the corpse 
was borne to the Field of Mars and there committed to the flames. When 
the ashes had been collected and interred in the imperial vault the deceased 
was exalted to a place among the gods by a decree of the senate, and a 
temple and ritual were assigned to him. Livia, known as Julia Livia since 
her adoption into the Julian family, was to preside as high priestess over the 
new college of priests devoted to the deified monarch. She died in the year 
29 A.D., at the advanced age of 86. & 

It is extremely difficult to estimate the character of this celebrated 
woman. Expression has been given above to various intimations Avhich if 
justified reveal her in the worst possible light. But it must not be for- 
gotten that evil-minded gossips were very busy in the early days of the 
empire, and that intrigues and sinister motives of a doubtful character 
darken the pages of Tacitus, our chief authority. Indeed it is no exaggera- 
tion to say that Tacitus excels in the invention or the partisan use of bad mo- 
tives, and his great di’amatic and satirical powers give peculiar force to this 
unfair weapon. Tacitus can be relied on for facts which were publicly 
known or recorded at the time, but he is far from impartial. It may be, 
then, that an impartial estimate might soften somewhat the harsh judgment 
which, thanks to Tacitus, most writers have not hesitated to pass upon Livia. 
With this qualified estimate let us turn from Livia to consider the character 
of her famous husband, o 


THE PERSONAL CHARACTERISTICS OF AUGUSTUS 

We are indebted to C. Suetonius Tranquillus, who lived at Rome about 
the close of the first century a.d., for most that we know of the personal 
characteristics of Augustus, and of his immediate successors. Thanks to him, 
we are enabled to gain a personal acquaintance, as it were, with the Casars ; 



THE LAST YEARS OF AUGUSTUS 


121 


which is very unusual with the great characters of antiquity in general. The 
biographies of Plutarch and of Cornelius Nepos are about the only other ex- 
tensive repositories of information concerning the character of celebrities as 
men rather than as mere historical personalities. We turn now to Suetonius’ 
estimate of Augustus : 

Augustus ^yas slow in forming friendships, but when once they were con- 
tracted, he maintained them with great constancy ; not only rewardim*- very 
handsomely the virtues and good services of his friends, but bearing likewise 
with their faults and vices, provided that they Avere of a venial kind. ]-'or 
amongst all his friends, we scarcely find any who fell into disgrace with liini, 
except Salvidienus Rufus, whom lie raised to the consulship, and Corneliu.s 
Callus whom he made governor of Egypt, both of them men of the lowest 
extraction. One of these, being engaged in a design to excite a rebellion, he 
delivered up to the senate, that he might be condemned ; and the other, on 
account of his ungrateful and malicious temper, he dLsmissed from his family 
and the provinces under his government. But when Callus, by the threats 
of his accusers, and the votes of the senate against him, was driven to the 
desperate extremity of laying violent hands upon himself, he commended 
indeed the attachment of the senate, that had expressed so much indignation 
on his account ; but he shed tears, and lamented his unhapjiy condition, “ that 
I alone,'’ said he, “cannot be permitted to be angry with my friends to such 
a degree as I think proper.” The rest of his friends continued during their 
whole lives to make a distinguished figure in their several orders, both in 
power and estate, notwithstanding some occasional incidents of a disagree- 
able nature. For to say nothing of others, he would sometimes complain of 
impatience in Agrippa, and of loquacity in Mtecenas ; the former, from a 
suspicion of a coolness in Augustus towards him, and because IMarcellus 
received greater marks of favour, having withdrawn himself from all concern 
in the government, and retired to Mytilene ; and the latter having confiden- 
tially imparted to his wife Terentia the discovery of Murena’s conspiracy. 
He likewise expected from his friends, both living and dying, a mutual proof 
of their benevolence. For though he was far from coveting their estates (as 
he never Avould accept of any legacy left him by a stranger), yet he examined 
their last sentiments of him, expressed in their wills, Avith an anxious atten- 
tion ; not being able to conceal his chagrin, if they made but a slight, or no 
very honourable mention of him, nor his joy on the other hand, if they ex- 
pressed a grateful sense of his favours and a hearty affection for him. And 
Avhat Avas left him by such as had children, he used to restore to the lattei-, 
either immediately, or if they Avere under age, upon the day of their assuming 
the manly habit, or of their marriage, with interest. 

As a patron and master, his behaviour in general was mild and conciliat- 
ing ; but when occasion required it, he could be severe. He employed many 
of his freedmen in considerable posts about him, as Licinius, Enceladus, and 
others. And when his slave Cosmus had reflected bitterly upon him, he re- 
sented the injury no further than by putting him in fetters. When his steAv- 
ard Diomedes, as they Avere walking together, left him exposed to a wild 
boar, which came suddenly upon them, he chose rather to charge him Avith 
cowardice than any ill design, and turned an incident of no small hazard to 
his person into a jest, because it had proceeded from no treachery. Proculus, 
Avho was one of his greatest favourites amongst all his freedmen, he put to 
death, for maintaining a criminal commerce Avith other men’s Avives. He 
broke the legs of his secretary Thallus, for taking a bribe of five hundred 
denarii to discover the contents of a letter of his. And his son Cains’ tutor, 



j22 the history OF ROME 

weio-hts about their necks and threw them into a river. c™f,,o 

In his youth lie lay under the infamy of various aspersions. Sextus 

P., ; , ■Ipro.ol.e.l li .. ... .d™-.™.. 

had Lrned his adoption from his uncle by prostitution. L. Antony liicewise 
unhiakirhim tvilh the same; and that he had, for a graMcation of three 
hunS thousand sesterces, submitted to A. Hirtius in the same way m 
Spain ; adding, that he used to singe his legs with the flame of nutshells, to 

nijike the hair become softer. . . i • j i. i.* 

Tin t he was guilty of various acts of adultery is not denied even by his 

friends! but they allege in excuse for it that he engapd in those intrigues 
not from lewdness but policy, to discover more easily the designs of his 

With'' respect 't^the charge of prostitution, he very ei^ily refuted it by 
the chastity of his life, at the very time when the imputation was made, as 
well as ever after. His conduct likewise gave the lie to that of a luxu- 
rious extravagance in his furniture, when, upon the taking of Alexandria, 
he reserved for himself nothing of all the furniture of the palace but a cup 
of porcelain ; and soon after melted down all the golden vessels, even such 
as were intended for common use. But he never could discountenance the 
imputation of lewdness with women ; being, as they say, in the latter part 
of his life, much addicted to the deflowering of virgins, who were procured 
for him from all parts, even by his own wife. To the remarks concerning 
his gaming he paid not the smallest regard ; but played frankly and openly 
for his diversion, even when he was advanced in years ; and not only m the 
month of December, but at other times, and upon all days, whether festivals 
or not. This evidently appears from a letter under his own hand, in which 
he says, “ I supped, my dear Tiberius, with the same company. We had 
besides Vinicius, and Silvius the father. We gamed like old fellows at 
supper, both yesterday and to-day. And as any one threw upon the iaZi 
aces or sixes, he put down for every talus a denarius ; all which was gained 
by him who threw a Venus.” 

In another letter he says : “ W^e had, my dear liberius, a pleasant time 
of it during the festival of Minerva : for we played every day, and kept the 
gaming board warm. Your brother uttered many exclamations at a des- 
perate run of ill fortune ; but recovering by degrees, and unexpectedly, he in 
the end lost not much. I lost twenty thousand sesterces for my part ; but 
then I was profusely generous in my play, as I commonly am ; for had I 
insisted upon the stakes which I declined, or kept what I gave away, I should 
have won above fifty thousand. But this I like better ; for my generosity 
will raise me to celestial glory.” In a letter to his daughter, he writes thus : 
“ I have sent you 250 denarii, which I gave to every one of my guests ; in case 
they were inclined at supper to divert themselves with the tali^ or at the 
game of even or odd.” 

In other parts of his life, it is certain that he conducted himself with 
great discretion, and was free from all suspicion of any vice. He lived 
at first near the Roman Forum, above the Kingmaker’s Stairs, in a house 

* The Romans, at their feasts, during the intervals of drinking, often played at dice, of which 
there were two kinds, the (esserce and (ali. The former had six sides, like the modern dice ; the 
latter, four oblong sides, fortlie two ends were not regarded. In playing, they used three tessercs 
and four taZi, which were all put into a box wider below than above, and being shaken, were 
thrown out upon the gaming board or table. 



THE LAST YEARS OF AUGUSTUS 


12a 


which had once been occupied by Calvus the orator. He afterwards moved 
to the Palatine, where he resided in a small house belonging to Hortensius, 
no way remarkable either in respect of accommodation or ornament ; the 
piazzas being but small, the pillars of Alban stone, and the rooms without 
anything of marble or fine paving. He continued to use the same bed 
chamber, both winter and summer, during forty years ; for though he was 
sensible that the city did not agree well with his health, he nevertheless 
resided constantly in it through the winter. 

If at any time he wished to be perfectly retired, and secure from in- 
terruption, he shut himself up in an apartment in the top of his house, which 
he called Syracuse, or Tex^o^vov^ or he went to some seat belonging to his 
freedmen near the city. But when he was indisposed, he commonly took 
up his residence in Maecenas’ house. Of all the places of retirement from 
the city, he chiefly frequented those upon the seacoast, and the islands of 
Campania, or the towns near the city, as Lanuvium, Praeneste, and Tibur, 
where he often used to sit for the administration of justice, in the porticos 
of Hercules’ temple. He had a particular aversion to large and sumptuous 
palaces ; and some that had been raised at a vast expense by his grand- 
daughter Julia he levelled with the ground. Those of his own, which were 
far from being spacious, he adorned not so much with statues and pictures 
as with walks and groves, and things which were curious either for their 
antiquity or rarity ; such as at Caprese, the huge limbs of sea monsters 
and wild beasts, which some affect to call the bones of giants and the 
arms of old heroes. 

His frugality in the furniture of his house appears even at this day, 
from some beds and tables still extant ; most of which are scarcely fit for any 
genteel private family. It is reported that he never lay upon a bed, but such 
as was low and meanly furnished. He seldom wore any garment but what 
was made by the hands of his wife, sister, daughter, and granddaughters. 
His togas were neither scanty nor full ; nor the clavus of his tunic either 
remarkably broad or narrow. His shoes Avere a little higher than common, 
to make him appear taller than he was. He had always clothes and shoes, 
proper to go abroad in, ready by him in his bed chamber, for any sudden 
occasion. 

At his table, which was always plentiful and elegant, he constantly en- 
tertained company ; but he was very scrupulous in choosing his. Vale- 
rius Messalla informs us that he never admitted any freedman to his table, 
except Menas, after he had betrayed to him Pompey’s fleet, but not until 
he had promoted him to the state of the freeborn. He writes himself that he 
invited to his table a person in whose country house he lodged, that had for- 
merly been a spy to him. He often would come late to table, and Avithdraw 
soon, so that the company began supper before his coming in and continued at 
table after his departure. His entertainments consisted of three dishes, or 
at most only six. But if the expense was moderate, the complaisance Avith 
Avbich he treated his company was extraordinary. For such as Avere silent, 
or talked low, he excited to bear a part in the common conversation ; and 
ordered in music and stage-players and dancers from the circus, and very 

often itinerant declaimers, to enliven the company. 

Festivals and solemn days of joy he usually celebrated in a ve^ ex- 
pensive manner, but sometimes only in a jocular manner. In the S^ur- 
nalia, or at any other time when the fancy took him, he would distribute 
to his company clothes, gold, and silver ; sometimes coins of all sorts, even 
of the ancient kings of Rome and of other nations ; sometunes nothing but 



124 


THE HISTORY OF ROME 


hair-cloth, sponges, peels, and pincers, and other thnigs of that kind, with 
obscure and ambiguous inscriptions upon them. He used likewise to sell 
tickets of thino-s of very unequal value, and pietures with the back sides 
turned toward? the company at table ; and so, by the unknown quality of 
the lot, disappoint or gratify the expectation of the purchasers. This sort 
of traffic went round the whole company, everyone being obliged to buy 
something, and to run the chance of loss or gain with the rest. 

He was a man of a little stomach (for I must not omit even this artiele), 
and commonly used a plain diet. He was particularly fond of coarse bread, 
small lislies, cheese made of cow’s milk, and green figs of that kind that 

comes twice a year. He 
would eat before supper, 
at any time, and in any 
place, when he had an ap- 
petite. 

He was naturally ex- 
tremely sparing in the use 
of wine. Cornelius Nepos 
sa3^s that he used to drink 
only three times at supper 
in the camp at Mutina ; 
and when he indulged him- 
self the most, he never ex- 
ceeded a pint, or if he did, 
he threw it up again. Of 
all wines, he gave the pre- 
ference to the Rhgetic, but 
scarcely ever drank any in 
the daytime. Instead of 
drinking, he used to take a 
piece of bread dipped in 
cold water, or a slice of cu- 
cumber, or some leaves of 
lettuce, or a green sharp 
juicy apple. 

After a little food at 
noon, he used to take a 
nap with his clothes and 

shoes on, his feet covered, 
Roman Gknkral wkarinq the Paludamentum and his hand held before 



his eyes. After supper he 
commonly withdrew to a couch in his study, where he continued late, until 
he had put down in his diary all or most of the remaining transactions of 
the day, which he had not before registered. He would then go to bed, 
but never slept above seven hours at most, and that not without interrup- 
tion ; for he would wake three or four times in that space. If he could not 
again fall asleep, as sometimes happened, he would call for some person to 
read or tell stories to him, until sleep supervened, which was usually pro- 
tiacted till after daybreak. He never would lie awake in the dark without 
^mebody to sit by him. Very early rising was apt to disagree with him. 
On which account, if religious or social duty obliged him to get up early, 
that he might guard as much as possible against the inconvenience resulting 
trom It, he used to lodge in some apartment belonging to any of his domes- 



THE LAST YEARS OF AUGUSTUS 


125 


tics that was nearest the place at which he was to give his attendance. If 
at any time a fit of drowsiness seized him in passing along the streets, he 
would order the chair to be set down, until he had taken a little sleep. 

In person he was handsome and graceful, through all the stages of his 
life. But he was careless of dress ; and so little attentive to the adjustment 
of his hair, that he usually had it done in great haste, by several barbers at 
a time. He would sometimes clip, and sometimes shave his beard ; and 
during the operation would be either reading or writing. His countenance, 
either when he spoke or held his tongue, was so calm and serene, that a 
Gaul of the first rank declared amongst his friends that he was so much 
mollified by it, as to be restrained from throwing him down a precipice, in 
his passage over the Alps, upon being admitted to approach him, under the 
pretext of speaking with him. His eyes were clear and bright; and he was^ 
willing it should be thought that there was something of a divine vigour in 
them. He was likewise not a little pleased to see people, upon his looking 
steadfastly at them, lower their countenances, as if the sun shone in their 
eyes. But in his old age, he saw very imperfectly with his left eye. His 
teeth were thin set, small and rough, his hair a little curled, and inclining 
to a yellow colour. His eyebrows met ; his ears were small, and he had an 
aquiline nose. His complexion was betwixt brown and fair ; his stature 
but low; though Julius Marathus his freedman says he was five feet and 
nine inches in height. This however was so much concealed by the just 
proportion of his limbs, that it was only perceivable upon comparison with 
some taller person standing by him. 

From early youth he devoted himself with great diligence and application 
to the study of eloquence, and the other liberal arts. In the war of Mutina,. 
notwithstanding the weighty affairs in which he was engaged, he is said to 
have read, written, and declaimed every day. He never addressed the sen- 
ate, people, or soldiery but in a premeditated speech, though he was not des- 
titute of the talent of speaking extempore. And lest his memory should fail 
him, as well as to prevent the loss of time in getting his speeches by heart,, 
he resolved to read them all. In his intercourse with individuals, and even 
with his wife Livia, upon a subject of importance, he had all he would say 
down in writing, lest, if he spoke extempore, he should say more or less than 
was proper. He delivered himself in a sweet and peculiar tone, in which he 
was diligently instructed by a master. But when he had a cold, he some- 
times made use of a crier for the delivery of his speeches to the people,® 

In his literary qualifications, without at all rivalling the attainments of 
CjEsar, he was on a level with most Romans of distinction of his time ; and 
it is said that both in speaking and writing his style was eminent for its 
perfect plainness and propriety. His speeches on any public occasion were 
composed beforehand, and recited from memory ; nay, so careful was he not 
to commit himself by any inconsiderate expression, that even when discuss- 
ing any important subject with his own wife, he wrote down what he had 
to say, and read it before her. Like his uncle, he was strongly tinged 
with superstition ; he was very much afi*aid of thunder and lightning, and 
always carried about with him a sealskin, as a charm against its power ; not- 
withstanding which, in any severe storm, he was accustomed to hide himself 
in a chamber in the centre of his house, to be as much out of the way of it 
as possible ; add to which, he was a great observer of dreams, and of lucky 
and unlucky days.d 

He neither slighted his own dreams, nor those of other people relating 
to himself. At the battle of Philippi, though he had resolved not to stir out 



THE HISTORY OF ROME 


of Ills tent, on account of being indisposed, yet, upon the occasion of a dream 
whicli a friend of liis liad, lie altered his resolution ; and it was fortunate foi 
him that he did so ; for the camp was taken, and his couch, upon a supposi- 
tion of his being in it, was pierced in several parts, and cut to pieces. He 
had many frivolous silly dreams during the spring ; but in the other paits 
of the year, his .beams were less frequent and more significative. UpcDii 
his frequently visiting a temple in the Capitol, which he had decimated to 
Thundering .Jove, he dreamed that .Jupiter Capitolinus complained that his 
worshippers were taken from him, and that upon this he replied he had only 
.riven him the Thunderer for his porter. He therefore immediately hung 
the ceiling of the temple round with little bells; because such commonly 
hunsr at the gates of great houses. Upon occasion of a dream too, he always, 
on a certain day of the year, begged an alms of the people, reaching out his 

hand to receive the dole with which they presented . 

Some sif’-ns and omens he regarded as infallible. If in the morning his 
shoe was put on wrong, or the left instead of the right, that was with him a 
dismal presage. If, upon his setting out on a long journey by sea or land, 
tliere happened to fall a mizzling rain he held it to be a good sign of a speedy 
and happy return. He was much affected likewise with anything out of 
the common course of nature. A palm tree, wliich chanced to grow up 
betwixt some stones in the pavement before his house, he transplanted into 
a court where the household gods were placed, and took all possible care to 


make it thrive. i. • • 

His death and his subsequent deification were said to have been inti- 
mated by divers manifest prodigies. As he was finishing the census amidst 
a great crowd of people in the Field of Mars, an eagle flew about him several 
times, and then directed its course to a neighbouring temple, where it sat 
down upon the name of Agrippa, and at the first letter. Upon observing this, 
he ordered Tiberius to .put up the vows, which it is usual to make on such 
occasions, for the succeeding lustrum. For he declared he would not meddle 
with what it was probable he should never accomplish, though the tables 
were ready drawn for it. About that same time, the first letter of his name, 
in an inscription upon a statue of him, was struck out by lightning ; which 
was interpreted as a presage that he would live only a liundred days longer: 
whicli number the letter C stands for, and that he would be placed amongst 
the gods ; as A5sar, which is the remaining part of the word Csesar, signifies, 
in the Tuscan language, a god. Being therefore about despatching Tiberius 
to Illyricum, and designing to go with him as far as Beneventum, but being 
detained by several persons who applied to him upon account of causes they 
had depending, he cried out, which was afterwards regarded as an omen of 
his death, “Not all the business that can occur shall detain me at Rome one 
moment longer ” ; and setting out upon his journey, he went as far as Astura ; 
whence, contrary to his custom, he put to sea in the night time, upon the 
occasion of a favourable wind. 


His sickness was occasioned by diarrhoea ; notwithstanding which, he 
went round the coast of Campania and the adjacent islands, and spent four 
days in that of Caprese ; where he gave himself up entirely to his ease ; be- 
liaving, at the same time, to those about him with the utmost good nature and 
complaisance. As he happened to sail by the Bay of Puteoli, the passengers 
and mariners aboard a ship of Alexandi’ia just then arrived, clad all in white, 
with crowns upon their heads, loaded him with praises and joyful acclamations, 
crying out, “By you we live, by you we sail, by you enjoy our liberty and 
our fortunes.” At which being greatly pleased, he distributed to each of 



THE LAST YEARS OF AUGUSTUS 


127 


his friends that attended him forty gold pieces, requiring from them an as- 
surance by oath not to employ the sum given them any other way than in the 
purchase of Alexandrian goods. And during several days after, he distrib- 
uted togse and pallia, upon condition that the Romans should use the Grecian, 
and the Grecians the Roman dress and language. He likewise constantly 
attended to see the boys perform their exercises, according to an ancient 
custom still continued at Caprese. He gave them likewise an entertainment 
in his presence, and not only permitted but required from them the utmost 
freedom in jesting, and scrambling for fruit, victuals, and otlier tilings which 
he threw amongst them. In a word, he indulged himself in all the ways of 
amusement he could contrive. Soon after, passing over to Naples, though 
at that time greatly disordered by the frequent returns of his disease, he 
continued a spectator to the end of some solemn games which were performed 
every five years in honour of him, and came with Tiberius to the place in- 
tended. But on his return, his disorder increasing, he stopped at Nola, sent 
for Tiberius back again, and had a long discourse with him in private ; after 
which he gave no further attention to business of any importance. 

Upon the day of his death, he now and then inquired if there was any 
disturbance in the town about him ; and calling for a mirror, he ordered his 
hair to be combed, and his falling cheeks to be adjusted. Then asking his 
friends that were admitted into the room, “ Do ye think that I have acted 
my part in life well? ” he immediately subjoined, 

*Et nav KaA( 09 , Tw Tratyvioi 

AoT€ KpOTOV, KoX TrdvTtS V/lCtS flCTO. KTVTrq(J‘aT€. 

“ If all be right, ■with joy your voices raise 

In loud applauses to the actor’s praise.” 

After which, having dismissed them all, whilst he was inquiring of some 
that were just come from Rome, concerning Drusus’ daughter who was in a 
bad state of health, he expired amidst the kisses of Livia, and with these 
words : “ Livia, live mindful of our marriage, and farewell ! ” dying a very 
easy death, and such as he himself had always wished for. For as often as 
he heard that any person had died quickly and without pain, he wished for 
himself and his friends the like evOavao-ta (an easy death), for that was the 
word he made use of. He discovered but one S 3 anptora before his death of 
his being delirious, which was this : he was all on a sudden much frightened, 
and complained that he was carried away by forty men. But this was rather 
a presage, than any delirium ; for precisely that number of soldiers carried 
out his corpse. 

He expired [Suetonius continues] in the same room in which his father 
Octavius had died, when the two Sextuses, Pompeius and Apuleius, were con- 
suls, upon the fourteenth of the calends of September [Aug. 19 a.d., 14 ac- 
cording to the revised calendar], at the ninth hour of the day, wanting only 
five-and-thirty days of seventy-six years of age. His remains were carried 
by the magistrates of the municipia^ and colonies, from Nola to Bovill®, and 
in the night time because of the season of the year. During the intervals, the 
body lay in some court, or great temple, of each town. At Bovillse it was 
met by the equestrian order who carried it to the city, and deposited it in 
the porch of his own house. The senate proceeded with so much zeal in the 

' Municipia were foreign towns which obtained the right of Roman citizens, and were of dif- 
ferent kinds. The municipia used their own laws and customs ; nor were they obliged to 
receive the Roman laws unless they chose them. 



128 


THE HISTORY OF ROME 


arraiiffement of liis funeral, and paying honour to his memory, that, amongst 
levLfl other proposals, some were for having the funeral procession made 
through the triumphal gate, preceded by the image which is 

thrsenate house, alid tlm children of the first quality of both sexes, singing 
the funeral ditty. Others moved that on the day of the funeral they should 
lay aside their gold rings, and wear rings of iron ; and others, that his bones 
should be collected by the priests of the superior orders. One likewise pro- 
posed to transfer the name of Augustus to September because he was born in 
the latter, but died in the former. Another moved that the whole period of 
time from ids birth to his death, should be called the Augustan age, and be 
inserted in the calendar under that title. Hut at last it was jigged proper 
to be moderate in the lionours to be paid to his memory Two funeral 
orations were pronounced in his praise, one before the temple of Julius, by 
Tiberius ; and the other before the rostra, under the old shops, by Drusus, 
Tiberius’ son. The body was then carried upon the shoulders of senators 
into tlie Field of Mars, and there burned. A man of prtetorian rank affirmed 
upon oath that he saw Ids spirit ascend into heaven. The most distinguished 
persons of the equestrian order, bare-footed, and with their tunics loose, gath- 
ered up his relics, and deposited them in the mausoleum, which had been 
built in his sixth consulship, betwixt the Flaminian way and the bank of the 
Tiber, at wldch time likewise he gave the woods and walks about it for the 


use of tlie people. , , » , . j .v .i 

He had made a will a year and four months before his death, upon the 

third of the nones of April, in the consulship of Lucius Plancus and C. 
Silius. It consisted of two skins of parchment, written partly in his hand, 
and partly by his freedinen Polybius and Hilarion. It had been committed 
to the custody of the vestal virgins, by whom it was now produced, with 
three other volumes, all sealed up as well as the will, which were every one 
read in the senate. He appointed for his first heirs, Tiberius for two thirds 
of his estate, and Livia for the other third, whom he likewise desired to 
assume his name. The heirs substituted in their room, in case of death, 
were Drusus, Tiberius* son, for a third part, and Gernianicus with his three 
sons for the rest. Next to them were his relations and several of his 
friends. 

He left in legacies to the Roman people 40,000,000 sesterces ; to the 
tribes 3,500,000 ; to the guards 1000 each man ; to the city battalions 600 ; 
and to the soldiers in the legions 300 each ; which several sums he ordered 
to be paid immediately after his death. For he had taken care that the 
money should be ready in his exchequer. For the rest he ordered different 
times of payment. In some of his bequests he went as far as 20,000 ses- 
terces, for the payment of which he allowed a twelvemonth ; alleging for 
this procrastination the scantiness of his estate ; and declaring that not more 
than 150,000,000 sesterces would come to his heirs : notwithstanding that 
during the twenty preceding years, he had received in legacies from his 
friends, the sum of 1,400,000,000 ; almost the whole of which, with his two 
paternal estates, and others that had been left him, he expended upon the 
public. 

He left order that the two Julias, his daughter and grand-daughter, 
should not be buried in his sepulchre. With regard to the three volumes 
before mentioned, in one of them he gave orders about his funeral ; another 
contained a narrative of his actions, which he intended should be inscribed 
on brass plates, and placed before his mausoleum ; in the third he had drawn 
up a concise account of the state of the empire ; as to the number of soldiers 



THE LAST YEARS OF AUGUSTUS 


129 


in pay, what money there was in the treasury, exchequer, and arrears of taxes ; 
to which are added the names of the freedmen and slaves, from whom the 
several accounts might be taken.c 


A BRIEF RESUMt OF THE CHARACTER AND INFLUENCE OF AUGUSTUS 

It will be observed that Suetonius makes reference to brass plates, which 
Augustus had had inscribed with a narrative of his actions, to be placed 
before his mausoleum. It would appear that this biographical inscription, 
or a kindred one, was widely copied on tablets placed in tlie various temples 
dedicated to Augustus all over the empire. Fragments of this duplicate 
inscription from various ruins have been preserved, but by far the most com- 
plete one is that which Avas discovered in the sixteenth century, on a marble 
slab in the wall of the temple at Ancyra (the modern Angora) in Asia 
Minor; which, owing to the place of its discovery, is known as the Monumen- 
turn Ancyranum, This inscription, to which reference has already been made, 
supplies many important data as to the life of Augustus. It has a peculiar 
interest, because, as has been said, it is virtually autobiographical. In addi- 
tion to the facts that it tabulates, it therefore gives interesting glimpses into 
the character of its author.a 

In a well-known passage of this inscription Augustus reviews his political 
career. In this review he does not begin with bis adoption by Julius Ccesar, 
but he starts from the fact that in his nineteenth year he raised an army 
and saved the state on his own initiative and by his own resources. As an 
emperor upon whom old age was creeping, he looked back at the single 
landmarks of his rising career and saw the turning-point which decided his 
later destiny in this acquisition of an army of his own ; according to him 
his political significance begins with the moment in which he became the 
head of an army. 

This right of exercising authority over the army, and indeed sole, undis- 
puted authority, Caesar had wanted to be sure of preserving at any cost for 
the future ; this was the fundamental notion of his whole system, if that can 
be called a system which was indeed only a practice. The republic, too, 
could not do without its commanders, but it only left them for a year, or at 
the most a year and a half, in office. The innovation of the emperor’s time 
consisted in this, that the sole commander actually kept his power for a life- 
time, held it simultaneously with other powerful offices, and even dared to 
exercise it in the capital itself. 

In order to maintain his army, he had been permanently invested with 
control of the important boundary provinces and with the permanent gar- 
risons of the legions ; as also with the right to supervise the other provinces, 
which were of course bound to supply their quota to the imperial army. 

The new ruler then had to have a domestic power which he could exercise 
uncontrolled ; he found it in the legions and the provinces, which, from 
beginning to end, remained the sure foundation of the principatus. The 
good will of the senate and of the people, who had formerly conducted the 
government, was now but of second or third rate consideration to the prin- 
ceps; both senate and people were conquered and had to a large extent 
lost their importance in the civil wars. In spite of this, every senator who 
frankly recognised the new regime, and provided necessary assurances in 
other ways, had been raised to the highest honours and treated, at least 
externally, on an equal footing by the ruler, 

H. W. — VOL, VL K 


130 


the history of ROME 


As we have seen, Augustus preferred the modest title of Princeps, 
altbouffh it could not be reckoned amongst official titles and only iinplied 
the fi“ft iln of the senate and of the citizens. As the ruler s rank as a 
Szen ford expression in this title, so Augustus chose the title of Impera- 
S to iiXate his military standing. Both were selected with much mge- 
nuitv to promote the intentions of the new ruler. They were meant to cover 
r r thfng with an old name ; for this reason he pitched upon words in no 
foreign to former times, which had remained totally unstamped and 
were soon employed exclusively in the modern sense This it was to which 
the ruler attached quite particular weight, and this characterises the man no 

less than his administration. , 

He let himself be greeted by the senate in the year 29 B.c. as imperator, 

but not in the sense in which so many victorious generals for centuries past 
had been greeted for the period between the day of victory and the triumph, 
after which the army was disbanded. What these generals had enjoyed for 
a short period young Crnsar had wished to possess for a lifetime . that is, 
the military supremacy of the Roman Empire. That is why this title m the 
new monarchical sense comes, not at the end, but at the commencement of 
the full name in the place of the citizen forename which was set aside. 

Rightly was the conferring of this name, even by the ancients, regarded 
as the beginning of monarchy ; rightly have the Middle Ages, rightly have 
the thinkers of to-day, described the successors of the Roman ruler as 
emperors. With this title Augustus wished to mark the transition from the 
ancient to the modern spirit ; for his achieved work lies essentially in this, 
that he dovetailed into the constitution the notion of a permanent com- 
mander-in-chief and a permanent army, such as had hitherto been unknown 


to the republic. i , j* i.- 

The practical position of the princeps must always be clearly distm- 

guished from the theoretical. The new office of commander-in-chief for the 
?vhole Roman Empire was analogous to the office of a republican proconsul 
in a single province, who administered his country, commanded his troops, 
with a possible right to supervise the neighbouring districts. In the year 
23 B.C., by way of addition, Augustus, who in the course of his long reign 
was alwa 3 ’’s more and more occupied in obscuring the unconstitutional 
elements of his new position, had caused to be conferred upon him a regular 
proconsular iraperium, so as to be sure that the exercise of liis authority 
should also meet with recognition in the senatorial j)rovinces. 

Although CcEsar was then pre-eminently an imperator, we should do him 
an injustice were we to describe his achievement as a military despotism. 
He was personally far too little a soldier and too much a statesman for this 
form of government, even to suit his own taste. The army was there only 
to make it possible for him in all important questions to carry out his will ; 
as a rule he kept within those constitutional limits which he himself had 
reconstructed. 

Whereas formerly the Absolutist development of the empire was assumed 
without any further inquiry into its origin, we owe it to Mommsen to have 
fixed his gaze on the difference between the times and to have hit the note 
of the constitutional scheme in his systematic presentation, which is cer- 
tainly more important for the conception of Augustus than for his practical 
illustration of it. Mommsen talks of the “ juristic construction of the prin- 
cipatus,” very rightly dwelling on the point that “ Augustus’ principate is 
not a boundless authority, but a measured magistracy within republican 
forms.” The right of legislating remained, in theory at least, the same as 



THE LAST YEARS OF AUGUSTUS 


131 


“i, times. Co-operation was secured to the ruler throuo-h liis 

official power as a consul or later as a tribune. ^ 

Besides this, like every magistrate of former times, he could announce his 
will to the people by edicts and acts ; and that these expressions received 
great consideration in view of his position and personal authority need 
scarcely be said, especially from the time when senators and officials were 
sworn on every New Year s Day, not only to the laws themselves, but also to 
the A.cta Ccesaris. It does not follow from this in any way that the princeps 
was superior to the laws ; we must be careful not to import the views of the 
Greek of a later period into the judicial views of a regent like Augustus, 
rractically, of course, he found for the most part a means of carrying out liis 
will m a given case : but the emperor never expressed such a doctrine as a 
fundamental principle of jurisprudence. On the contrary the emperor was 
not empowered even to suspend the prevailing law ; under Augustus at any 
rate this remained the privilege of the senate. He recognised it, too, with- 
out opposition ; for instance, in not publishing a gift to the people before he 
liad requested and received permission from the senate. 

It was then a constitution full of contradictions, capable of interpretation 
only by means of compromise, this constitution substituted by the new ruler 
for the old republic, in order, beneath the garb of republican form, to make 
the exercise of monarchical power possible. Whether the student of sys- 
tems called It a republic or a monarchy troubled him little, although uiiil 
his death he himself clung to the fiction (and with a certain degree of truth) 
that he had restored the ancient and legitimate constitution of the state.^e 

A most ext^ordinary man, then, was this foremost citizen of the new 
Roman state. But nothing about him is more extraordinary than the view 
regarding him that has been entertained by posterity. He has been almost 
umformly regarded as not a man of the very first capacity, — as an oppor- 
timist rather than a creative leader. He held the world under the sway of 
his wiU for almost half a century, and was never so autocratic in his power, 
so securely fixed in his position, as at the hour of his death. He found 
Rome brick and left it marble; he found the Roman state an inchoate, wav- 
ering commonwealth, and left it a peerless empire. Yet the world has 

of g^enius™ great is disposed to deny him even the possession 

Perhaps a partial explanation lies in the fact that we demand always a 
certain theatrical quality in a man of genius. It has been suggested by an 
eminent historian (Professor Sloane) that a great man has usually a capac- 
ity for inordinate wickedness, as well as for consummate greatness. Alex- 
^der loses control of himself on occasion, and in his frenzy kills his friend 
Hannibal spends his whole Hfe under the spell of a sworn hatred Cipsar 
stop at nothing to attain Ms selfish ends. ?n modernTmes “VedSck! 
L IS not caUed great because of any moral quality. PubUc 

character in its favoured heroes: it likes 
flavour of immorality. In every direction youi hero must be 
measured by other standards than ordinary mortals. 

But the Ufe of Augustus is keyed to the tone of a passionless moderation. 

historians have much to say of the “disguised monarchy” of Aueustus But 

^ charactef^f the AugusLn consuSai^'as are 
— a r^hty a compromise between republic and monarchy 

^ Romans by their habit of investing magistrates esneciallv 

y or the provmces. This form of government Mommsen aptly terms a dyarchy.] 



132 


THE HISTORY OF ROME 


He is all judgment, no emotion. Between the courses at dinner he Ustlessly 
plays eames that he may uot be annoyed by the persiflage of the jes^rs who 
are there to amuse his guests. And he plays the game of life in the same 
fashion. One cannot imagine him excited, enthusiastic, angry even. He 
miffht, indeed, commit a crime, but it would be a carefuUy measured crime, 
dictated by policy: not a crime of passion. Even in his liaisons, it was 
said of him that his chief ambition was to learn the real sentiment of those 
about him through their wives, rather than merely to gratify a personal 

^ ^But it must not be forgotten that Augustus, had he not been such a 
man as this, could not have accomplished the work he did. Had he been 
full of enthusiasms he would have antagonised too many people ; would have 
made too many powerful enemies ; would have invited the fate that befell 
tlie man of genius wliose nephew he was, and by whose good example he 
profited. Yet, after all, the measure of capacity is success, and it seems a 
trudging estimate which withholds the title of “great” from the man who 
changed the entire complexion of the civilised world and put his stamp 
indelibly upon the centuries. 

But whether genius or not in the ordinary acceptance of that loosely 
applied and somewhat ambiguous word, there is one regard in which Augus- 
tus need fear comparison with no leader of any age : in practical statecraft, 
judged by its result, he has no superior. In a pre-eminent degree he was 
able to isolate himself from his environment ; to visualise the political situa- 
tion; to see his fellow- men through the clear medium of expediency, un^s- 
torted by any aberration of passion or of prejudice. To the theatrical 
quality of personal vanity, from which Ciesar was by no means free, Augus- 
tus was an entire stranger. Because he was master of his own ambition, he 
came to be master of the world. If because of his placid logicality, posterity 
has been disposed to speak slightingly of his genius, the same quality won 
him at least an unchallenged position as the most consummate master of 
practical politics. « 




CHAPTER XXXIII 

THE IMMEDIATE SUCCESSORS OF AUGUSTUS: TIBERIUS 

CALIGULA, AND CLAUDIUS 

Tibeeius (Tiberius Claudius Nero Cjesae), 14-37 a.d. 

Tiberius came of that ambitious Claudian family which had eniovpH 

tidumohr^^Thr®'*^*^*®®’ ^ seven censorships, and as LLv 

marriage of his mother Livia with Octavius, and his ado/ 

Lon by Csesar, liad given him entrance into the house of Ciesar All com 

missions wth which he was charged by his adoptive father were carried out 

^nth activity and intelligence, and, at the time of the war /tth Sod T 

saved the empire in a dangerous crisis. Since thT rWR a • “ ^ 

general had been able to command such brilliant service He hacf fought ^n 

Such was the man to whom the death of Augustus gave tL tliroL » 

i°^i Augustus had kept ambitions silent, but Tiberius found liim 
^^Mnr republicans and more than this by candidates for the throM 

Moreover the soldiers had already understood that on them rested the 

Sh and empire, and, as there were no more civU wL to 

ninn ’ ®'^°®®®®mns to the throne must take their place. Three Panno- 

nian legions revolted, demanding one denarius per dav dieiphAro-#! * * 

On^the" Rh° “fit**"® mutineers reton Kei/duty. 

legions divided into Wo e.,„p„ „fki„g the ’±e dir'y^/'lel'iS 

want of taot and sociabilfw MoTS J him ^ duty, whose 

are said to show great digSty and wisdom • T'- lettera and addresses to the senate 

were regular and his lifesfmpfe and f ruffal ^ ® youth up his habits 

the balance of opinion strongly supp^ the'^elSftw^i^\ *^i® early years of Tiberius, but 

different spirit. Vhaps difeLITrU^?; " 

133 



10. THE HISTORY OF ROME 

[14-10 A.D.] 

killed their centurions. Germanicus, nephew of Tiberius, hastened to them.i 
The rebels oS him the empire, but he refused. In his vexation he had 
clraVn his sword asTto kill hLself. “ Strike, then,” cried the angry men; 
his friends snatched the sword from him. To appease this dangerous sedi- 

doubled the fegacy of Augustus. Gallic tribute, all he general s money, 
and that of his friends had to be put together to pay all this. 


EXPEDITIONS OF GERMANICUS; VICTORY OF IDIST AVISOS 

It became necessary to give these restless spirits something to do, so 
their general led them against the enemy. In the country of the Marsi a 
space ^of fifty miles was put to fire and sword. In the following spring 
Germanicus passed the Rhine again, hoping to profit by the quarrels of 
Armiiiius and Segestes — the one belonging to the national, the other to 
the Roman party. He was only able to deliver Segestes, who vfKS besieged 
bv his rival. The wife of the conqueror of Varus was taken captive. 

The last Roman ravages and the complaints of Arminius exasperated the 
Cherusci and a new league was formed. Germanicus went as far as the 
Teutoburg forest to fight them. Whitening bones marked the spot where 
the three legions had perished, and the soldiers buried the mutilated remains 
which had waited six years for this last honour. However, the Germans 
were nowhere to be found. Tired of pursuing an enemy who was not to be 
caught, Germanicus stopped. He regained Ems and embarked on the fleet 
which had brought him, whilst Cfecina regained the Rhine by the route of 
the “long bridges.” Arminius had preceded him there, and the disaster 
of Varus was on the point of being renewed, had not Cmcina happilj been an 
experienced captain. He gained a strong jDOsition where the^ Romans were 
encamped and managed to reopen the Rhine route. Germanicus, surprised 
by equinoctial gales, had himself been in danger, and a number of his vessels 

had perished. j. . v 

The barbarians having become singularly bold, a new expedition became 
necessary. A thousand warships transported eight legions to the shores 
of the Weser. The Germani ventured to await the Roman army on the 
plain of Idistavisus. Discipline led them on ; but a second action was a 
second massacre. Varus was avenged. The victors returned to Gaul, half 
by land, the others by sea. A tempest destroyed or dispersed some of their 
vessels. On hearing this news, Germany trembled and rose, but Germanicus 
dealt repeated blows, and the astounded barbarians allowed the legions to 
regain their winter quarters. 

There Germanicus found letters from Tiberius recalling him for a second 
consulship and a triumph. The legions were doubtless, in the emperor’s eyes, 
rather too much devoted to their leader. Germanicus obeyed and returned. 


EARLY YEARS OP SUCCESSFUI, GOVERNMENT BY TIBERHIS 

Tiberius governed mildly and with wisdom, refusing temples offered, 
and discouraging, as a man who knew their value, base flatteries from the 
senate. His life was that of a rich private person ; his manner, if not 

[} Full details of the German campaign have been given in Chapter XXX. A brief r6sum6 is 
given here for added clearness.] 



THE IMMEDIATE SUCCESSORS OF AUGUSTUS 


135 


[14-19 A.D.] 

affable, at least polite. He rose to meet the consuls, consulted the senate in 
everything, and accepted the lessons which a dying liberty sometimes dared 
to offer.^ He never drew back from “a liberality which had an honourable 
motive.” Yet he was strictly economical with regard to finance, and if he 
took less trouble than Augustus to please the people with continual shows, 
he w^ careful to guard against famine. One year wheat was very dear. 
He did as we should do to-day, keeping the bread at low prices for the 
people at the merchants’ expense. Without yielding to his soldiers he kept 
them under austere discipline, although he had need of them. 

With regard to the provinces, he continued the policy of Augustus. 

If he dare not absent himself from Rome to visit them, having neither a 

Maecenas nor an Agrippa on whom to rely in his absence, he at least sent 

them able governors, avoided an increase of taxes, and relieved the misery 

where it was greatest. Twelve Asiatic towns, ruined by earthquake, were 

exempted from taxation for five years. Sardis, even worse off, received 

fi’om him ten million sesterces. Tiberius practised the advice he gave to his 

provincial governors : “ A good shepherd shears his sheep but does not flay 
them.” '' 

Thus the empire was wisely governed ; but under this mild discipline 
the nobles grew bolder. A plot was formed, but, being discovered in time, 
was frustrated, and Libo, its author, killed himself. At home, Tiberius 
had domestic troubles. Livia, accustomed to deference from her husband, 
insisted on being listened to. Agrippina, Germanicus’ wife and grand- 
daughter of Augustus, boldly defied the mother of Tiberius, and would not 
admit that the wife of Drusus had equal rights with herself. These feminine 

livalries divided the court and gave birth to hatreds which were embittered 
by courtiers. 

Tiberius had recalled Germanicus from the borders of the Rhine as much 

to take him away from his legions as to leave himself free to follow on that 

frontier the prudent policy of Augustus. He allowed Germanicus to enter 

Rome in triumph, and shared with him the consulship for the following year. 

Just then the Parthians became hostile. They had driven away Vonones, 

^e king imposed on them by Rome, and replaced him by the Arsacid Arta- 

banus : the two rivals seemed in danger of commencing open hostilities. 

Moreover, Commagene and Cilicia, now some time without kings, were full 

of trouble. Syria and Judea claimed a diminution of taxes ; “Germanicus 

ftlone^ sSrid Tiberius, ‘^can with his wisdom calm these eastern agitations/^ 

gave the young prince powers once held by Agrippa 

and. Caius Csesar; that is, the government of the provinces beyond the sea, 

with supreme authority over aU the governors. As for Drusus, the son of 

Tiberius, he set out for Pannonia, so as to watch over the movements of the 
Suevi. 

The task of Drusus was the most simple. He had only to promote or 
instigate internal ^ssensions in Germany. Two powerful leagues had 
been formed. In the north that of the Cherusci under Arminius and his 
uncle Ingmomer ; in the south the Marcomanni under Marbod. War 
broke out between them. The action was a bloody one ; Marbod, being con- 
quered, im^ored shelter in the empire. He was assigned a residence at 
Ravenna. The power of the Marcomanni was destroyed ; that of the Che- 
rusci did not survive Arminius, who was killed by his own family just as he 
was about, it is said, to make himself king. The silent intrigues of the 

Romans certainly had something to do with events which delivered them 
irom two redoubtable foes. 



136 


THE HISTORY OF ROME 


[17-20 A.D.] 

In the East, Germanicus had equal successes. Everywhere he had given 
iustice and peace as the watchword of the new government. In Armeina, 
he gave the crown to Zenon, son of the king of Pontus and a faithful 
vassal of the empire. This prince had long since adopted Armenian cus- 
toms Germanicus had made a wise choice and the whole nation applauded. 
Cappadocia, whose old king had just died in Rome, was, like Commagene, 
reduced to a province. In Syria, Germanicus concluded an alliance with 
Artabanus, who only asked for the removal of his rival. In Thrace, one of 
the two kings had killed the other. The assassin was sent to Alexandria 
and, later on, put to death. 

A more serious affair had begun the preceding year [17 A.D.] m Africa. 
A Numidian, Tacfarinas, a deserter from the legions, had collected and dis- 
ciplined some troops and persuaded the Musulanii and Moors to rise. ^ The 
proconsul defeated him, and for this vigorous act, which gave security to 
a fertile countr^s he received the distinction of a triumph. 


DEATH OF GERMANICUS (19 A.D.) ; EXTERNAL AFFAIRS 

At this prosperous moment Germanicus died, poisoned, it has been 
alleged, by order of Tiberius. Yet could a man such as he, thoughtful, 
serious, calculating, have committed such a senseless crime ? The death of 
his adopted son took away no rival. He knew him to be incapable of treason 
and his death deprived him of a necessary support. The mystery is still 
unsolved. The perpetrator of the crime was, it is said, Piso, a patrician 
of a violent disposition, who had obtained the governorship of Syria dur- 
ing the time that Germanicus was in the East. It was on his return from 
a journey in Egypt, undertaken without permission and in defiance of 
Tiberius, that Germanicus found that the arrangements he had adopted had 
been interfered with by Piso. 

Lively quarrels took plaee between them, and the insubordinate governor, 
rather than yield, preferred to quit the province. The news that Germani- 
cus was seriously ill stopped him at Antioch. The prince becoming better, 
Piso opposed the celebration of any fetes in honour of the event, and went 
on to Seleucia, where the report of an alarming relapse made him stop 
again. Amongst Agrippina’s attendants there Avas mention of poisoning, 
and emissaries from Piso who had come to report on the progress of the 
malady, could show, it was said, by whose hand the blow had been struck. 
Germanicus died. His body was burnt in the Forum at Antioch, and Agrip- 
pina, having piously gathered the ashes, landed at Brundusium, carrying 
the burial urn herself, and followed by an immense crowd, all plunged in 
heart-breaking sorrow. 

Piso received the news of Germanicus’ death with unseemly joy, and 
immediately set off to return to his province. The legate and the senators 
throughout Syria had conferred the gOA’^ernorship on one of themselves. 
Piso did not recoil before the prospect of civil war. Tiberius would not 
pardon him. Forced to embark, he returned to Italy, where accusers 
awaited him. These wanted the emperor alone to judge his cause. Now, 
had the emperor feared possible revelations he would have accepted, but he 
sent the accusers back to the senate. He presided at the trial, and the 
accused, says Tacitus, looked at him fearfully as he sat there pitiless, calm, 

impassive, and impenetrable. This portrait of Tiberius is the most faithful 
Tacitus has left. 



THE IMIIEDIATE SUCCESSORS OF AUGUSTUS 

[20-24 AJ).] 

Piso killed himself in his own house. The emperor rewarded the three 
tnends of Germanicus who had come as accusers, and asked for Nero the 
eldest of Germanicus’ sons, the honour of the quajstorship five years before 
the regulation age, and married him to a daughter of Drusus. Later on lie 
begged the same favour for the second son of Germanicus. 

This long drama ended, Tiberius returned to the cares of government 
Ihere were complaints of the too great severity of the Papia-Poppaean law! 
He named fifteen commissioners to mitigate its demands. Some wanted to 
extend Ins power with regard to the choice of governors ; this he refused 
1 he Imiits of sanctuary were restricted, because this had caused much dis- 

order m provincial towns. Inform- 
ers were also discouraged. One 
of them denounced the senator 
Lentulus. Tiberius rose and said 
he considered himself no longer 
worthy to live if Lentulus was his 
enemy. In the provinces, he main- 
tained good administration by skil- 
ful choice and severity towards 
prevaricating officials. In Gaul 
there was a beginning of revolt. 

Florus tried to provoke a rising of 
the Belgae, but being beaten and 
hemmed in in the wood of Ardu- 
enna, he killed himself. The pre- 
text urged for this rising was the 
burden of the tribute. The .^d- 
uan, Sacrovir, caused still more 
alarm, by raising forty thousand 
men and taking Augustodunum. 

Two of the Rhine legions fell on 
these badly armed troops and hor- 
ribly massacred them, 

Tacfarinas had also reappeared 
in Africa. Encouraged by a first 
success, he ventured to attack 
Thala, but was repulsed with loss. 

Then he changed his tactics, di- 
vided his troops into small bands 
and carried on a guerilla warfare. 

The emperor sent Blsesus, Se- 
janus’ uncle, to deal with this in- 

to activity, Tacfarinas was again forced to 
nee, leaving his brother in the enemy’s hands.fi 

Ko“e was finally rid of 
^ Tacfarinas had collected another large 

D£blli?s Sry”]*^^ Ptolemy, king of Mauretania, was 

provinces on the whole in a Roman spirit, maintaining 
the empire for the most part intact from the centre to the 
ontiers. The stability of the system, however rotten and decayed at heart, 
might still be measured by the strength and soHdity of its outworks. At no 



Tiberius 

(From a bust in the Vatican) 



138 


THE HISTORY OF ROME 


[14-19 A.D.] 

period did the bulwarks of the Roman power appear more secure and unas- 
sailable. The efforts of Drusus and his son to overpower the Germani on 
their own soil had been stupendous ; they had wielded forces equal at least 
to those with which Cijesar had added Gaul to the empire, and yet had not 
permanently advanced the eagles in any direction. But, on the other hand, 
it was soon found that the Germani were only formidable under the pressure 
of an attack. When the assault relaxed, the power they had concentrated 
in resistance crumbled readily awa}*. With the deatli of Arminius all com- 
bined hostility to Rome ceased among them and meanwhile the arts and 
manners of the south advanced incessantly among them. 

At the same time the long respite from military exactions allowed the 
pursuits of ease and luxury to fructify within the limits of the provinces. 
Gaul was no longer drained from year to year by the forced requisitions of 
men and horses, of arms and stores, which had fed the exhausting campaigns 
of Germanicus. Her ancient cities decked themselves with splendid edifices, 
with schools and theatres, aqueducts and temples. The camps on the Rhino 
and Danube were gradually transformed into commercial stations, and be- 
came emporiums of traffic with the north of Europe, where the fur and 
amber of the Ilercynian forests and the Baltic coast were exchanged for 
wine and oil or gold and silver, those instruments of luxury which nature 
was supposed, in mercy or in anger, to have denied to the German barba- 
rians. Such a state of affairs allowed the emperor to persist in his favourite 
plan of leaving the provincial governors for years unchanged at their posts. 
Each succeeding proconsul was no longer in a fever of haste to aggrandise 
himself by the plunder or renown of a foray beyond the frontiers. ^ The 
administration of the provinces became a'matter of ordinary routine ; it lost 
its principal charms in the eyes of the senators, who could at last with diffi- 
culty be induced to exchange the brilliant pleasures of the capital, with all 
its mortifications and perils, for the dull honours of a distant government. 

Nor can we discover in general the justice of accusing Tiberius of neglect- 
ing the safety of his remote possessions, which seem, on the contrary, to have 
flourished securely in the armed peace of his august empire. In Gaul the 
revolt of Sacrovir and his Belgian confederates was effectually suppressed ; 
the outbreak of the Frisians, though at some cost of blood, seems to have 
been speedily quelled. Nor have we any distinct confirmation of the asser- 
tion of Suetonius, that Tiberius suffered the province to be ravaged with 
impunity by the Germani, which, if true, can apply only to some transient 
violation of the frontiers. 

Nor does the assertion of Tiberius’ indifference seem to be better founded 
with regard to Moesia. Tacitus steps frequently aside from his domestic 
narrative to record the affairs of this region and the exploits of the emperor’s 
lieutenants ; while Appian makes special mention of the conquest of Moesia 
under Tiberius, and of the establishment of provincial government in this 
quarter by his hand. Sabinus, Pandus, and Labeo seem to have held the 
command there successively during the first half of this principate, and 
these men at least were not allowed to indulge in indolence, for their exer- 
tions and victories are a theme to which the historian repeatedly refers. 

But the emptiness of these charges can be more clearly shown in the case 
of the dependent kingdom of Armenia, which, according to the same author- 
ity, Tiberius suffered to be seized by the Parthians, and wrested from the 
patronage of the empire. It appears, on the contrary, from the particular 

Tacitus, however, speaks of the legatus M<z$i(z a.d. 14, so it would seem that Moesia 
became a Roman province in the reign of Augustus.] 



THE mSIEDIATE SUCCESSORS OF AUGUSTUS 


139 


[4 b.c.-3(5 A.D.] 

recital of Tacitus, that the bold occupation of this kingdom by Artabanus 
was immediately resented by the emperor witli the energy of a younger man. 
Not only were the wild mountaineers of the Caucasus, the Iberians and 
Albanians, invited to descend upon the intruders ; not only were the sons 
of Phraates released from their long detention at Rome, and directed to pre- 
sent themselves on their native soil, and claim the allegiance of their fatlier's 
subjects ; but a Roman general, L. Vitellius, a man of distinguished valour 
and experience, was deputed to lead the forces of Asia and Syria against the 
enemy ; and while it was hoped that a vigorous demonstration would suffice 
to hurl him back from the territory in dispute, instructions were not with- 
held, it would appear, to push on if necessary, and smite the Partisans with 
the strong hand of the empire. But these combinations proved speedily 
successful. Artabanus, already detested by many of his most powerful sub- 
jects, was compelled to descend from his throne, and take refuge in the far wilds 
of Hyrcania ; while Tiridates, the son of Phraates, was accepted in his room 
[35 A.D.]. The Roman army, which had crossed the Euplirates, returned 
victorious without striking a blow, though, by a subsequent revolution, Arta- 
banus was not long afterwards restored, and admitted, upon giving the 
required hostages, to the friendship of his lordly rivals [36 a.d.]. 

If Tiberius refrained from aggrandising his empire by fresh conquests, 
he was not the less intent on consolidating the unwieldy mass by the gradual 
incorporation of the dependent kingdoms enclosed within its limits. The 
contests between Cotys and his uncle Rhescuporis, in Thrace, gave him 
% placing the fairest part of that country under the control 

of a Roman officer, thus preparing the way for its ultimate annexation. On 
the death of Archelaus, king of Cappadocia, in the year 17, his country was 
declared a Roman province, and subjected to the rule of an imperial pro- 

period the frontier kingdom of Commagene was 
added to the dominions of the republic under the government of a praetor. 
Syria, the great stronghold of the Roman power in the East, was still skirted 
^ several tributary kingdoms or ethnarchies, such as Chalcis, Emesa, 
Dam^cus, and Abilene ; but the dependency of Judea, the wealthiest and 
proudest of all these vassal states, was wrested in the reign of Augustus 
from the dynasty to which it had been entrusted, and was still subjected by 
his successor to the control of the proconsul at Antioch. 

Herod the Great, on his death-bed, had sent his seal, together with an 
ample present, to Augustus, in token of the entire dependence upon Rome in 
which he held his dominions [4 B.C.] . This act of vassalage procured him, per- 
haps, the ratification of the disposition he had made of his territories between 
Archelaus, Herod Antipas, and Philippus. To the first was allotted the king- 
dom of Judea, including Samaria and Idumaea, but with the loss of the cities 
of Gaza, Gadara, and Hippus, which were now annexed to the government of 
Syria. To the second fell the districts of Galilee to the west, and Peraea to the 
east of the Jordan ; while the Trachonitis, Auranitis, and Gaulonitis formed 
with Ituraea the tetrarchy of Philip, extending noi-thward to the desert bor- 
ders of Damascus. But the rival kinsmen Avere not satisfied with this division. 
Archelaus and Antipas repaired to Rome to plead against one another ; but 
while they were urging their suits before the tribunal of the senate, the provis- 
ional government which the Romans had established in Judea was suddenly 
attacked on all sides by bodies of armed insurgents. Their leaders, however, 
were not men of rank or commanding influence, and the revolt was in no sense 
a national movement. It was speedily crushed by Varus, then proconsul of 
Syria, the same who ten years afterwards perished so miserably in Germany, 



140 THE HISTORY OF ROIVIE 

[1D.C.-37A.D.] 

and punished with the atrocious severity too commonly employed in such cases. 
Archelaus, confirmed in his sovereignty, continued to reign under these 
lamentable auspices in Judea. His subjects, still mindful of the sons of their 
beloved Mariamne, never regarded him with favour ; and it has been men- 
tioned how they complained to Augustus of his tyranny, and obtamed his 
removal from the tlirone. He was finally sent into exile at Vienne in Gaul. 

The fall of Archelaus left the throne of Judea and Samaria without a 
direct claimant, and the emperor took the opportunity of attaching them to 
the Roman dominions. This acquisition was placed under the general 
administration of the proconsul of Syria, but governed more directly by an 
imperial procurator, who took up his abode at Cfesarea Philippi. Of the 
character of the new government we find no complaints even in the Jewish 
writers whose accounts of this period have been preserved to us. 

Both Augustus and his successor appear to have instructed their officers 
to observe the same respect for tlie peculiar habits and prejudices of the Jews 
which had reflected such lustre in their eyes upon the magnanimous Agrippa ; 
whatever may have been the ordinary severities of Roman domination, it 
was not till the arrival of Pontius Pilate, about the middle of the reign of 
Tiberius, that any special cause of grievance was inflicted upon them. They 
complained that the new procurator commenced his career with a grave and 
wanton insult. He entered Jerusalem with standards flying, upon which, 
according to the usage of the time, the image of the emperor was displayed. 
The old religious feeling of the Jews against the representation of the 
human figure w’as roused to vehement indignation ; they remonstrated with 
the procurator, nor would they listen to his excuse that the Romans had their 
customs as well as the Jews, and that the removal of the emperor’s portrait 
from his ensigns by an officer of his own might be regarded as a crime against 
the imperial majesty. But if Tiberius was merely the creature of the dela- 
tors in his own capital, in the provinces he retained liis good sense and inde- 
pendence. Perhaps it was by a special authorisation from him that Pilate 
consented to withdraw the obnoxious images. Nevertlieless, the Jews, under 
the guidance of their priests, continued to watch every act of his administra- 
tion with inveterate jealousy, and when he ventured to apply a portion of 
the temple revenues to the construction of an aqueduct for the supply of 
their city, broke out into violence which provoked him to severe measures 
of repression. 

It is probable that mutual exasperation led to further riots, followed by 
sanguinary punishments ; the government of Pilate was charged with cruelty 
and exaction, and at last the provincials addressed themselves to Vitellius, 
the governor of Sj-^ria. Nor were their expectations disappointed. The 
proconsul required his procurator to quit the province, and submit himself 
to the pleasure of the offended emperor. Tiberius, indeed, was already dead 
before his arrival, but his successor attended without delay to the represen- 
^tions of his lieutenant, and Pilate was dismissed with ignominy to Vienna. 
Frc^ the confidence with which Tiberius was appealed to on a matter of 
such remote concern, it would seem that the vigilance of his control was not 
generally relaxed even in the last moments of his life. 

While Judea and Samaria were thus annexed to the Roman province, 
(jralilee and the outlpng regions of Persea and Itursea were still suffered to 
remain under their native rulers ; and the dominions of the great Herod be- 
canie once more united transiently under a single sceptre at no distant period. 
, however, we consider the condition of the Jewish provincials under the 
Oman fasces, we shall find reason to believe that it was far from intolerable, 



THE IMMEDIATE SUCCESSORS QF AUGUSTUS 


141 


[14-37 A.D.] 

and presented probably a change for the better from the tyranny of their 
own regal dynasties. 

Doubtless the national feeling, as far as it extended, was outraged in its 
cherished prepossessions by the substitution of a foreign for a native domina- 
tion. The nobles and the priests, who preserved and reflected this sentiment, 
and who suffered in consideration under foreign sway, fostered the preju- 
dices of the people to the utmost of their power, excited their discontent, 
fanned the flame of sedition, and then betrayed their unfortunate clients to 
the sword of relentless executioners. It may be admitted that the fiscal 
exactions of the procurator were more uniformly rigid than those of Herod 
whose remission of a large portion of his peo- ’ 

pie’s taxes had gained him favour in the 
midst of his atrocities. Yet the amount of 
freedom and security enjoyed by the Jews 
under a Quirinus and a Pilate shows the 
general leniency of the Roman government 
at this period, and may induce us to believe 
that the yoke of the conquerors was on the 
whole a happy exchange for their subjects. 

The warm descriptions of provincial felicity 
by the Jewish authority Philo, may be coloured 
to suit a purpose, and it may be impossible to 
produce any distinct facts to support this 
general conjecture. Yet indications are not 
wanting in the writings of the Evangelists, 
which contain, abstracted from their religious 
significance, the most interesting record in 
existence of the social condition of antiquity, 

— for they alone of all our ancient documents 
are the productions of men of the people, — 
to show that the mass of the population of 
Judea was contented and comparatively happy 
under the rule of the Roman procurator. 

Such is the impression received from the 
representations of common life in the scrip- 
tures of the New Testament. The instances 
they allege of cruelty and injustice are drawn 
from the conduct of the Jews towards one 

another, rather than of the foreigner towards Roman Empress 

the native. The scribe and the Pharisee are (From a statue in the capitoi) 
held up to odium or contempt, not the minister 

of police or the instrument of government. The Romans are regarded in them 
as the protectors of the people against their domestic tyrants. The duty of 
paying them tribute is urged as the proper price of the tranquillity they 
maintain ; their fiscal oflScers are spoken of with forbearance ; their soldiers 
are cited as examples of thoughtful toleration ; the vice of the provincial 
ruler is indifference and unbelief rather than wanton violence ; and the tri- 
bunal of the emperor himself is appealed to as the last resort of injured 
innocence. The freedom of movement enjoyed by the subjects of Rome, the 
permission so fully allowed them of passing, from frontier to frontier, of 
assembling together for social and religious objects, of flocking in crowds at 
the call of popular leaders, all indicate a state of personal liberty which 
might be envied throughout Europe at the present day./ 




142 


THE HISTORY OF ROME 


[li-37 A.D.] 


n^TEKKAL GOVERNMENT 

During the earlier years of Tiberius’ sway, his administration was happy 
for the state. Even Tacitus draws a brilliant picture of it: “Public mat- 
ters and the more serious of those relating to private persons were determined 
by the senate. In the distribution of honours, he took birth, milit^y service, 
and civil talent into consideration, so that it would have been mmcult to 
have made a better choice. As to laws, if one excepts that of majesty, good 
use was made of them. For his private affairs the prince chose most eminent 
men, some unknown to him except by reputation, and the greater part 
old in service. He took care that the provinces were not burdened with 
taxes. The prince’s domains in Italy Avere not much extended. ^ His slaves 
were not insolent, his freedmen not many. Had he disputes with private 

persons, the law decided the matter.” ^ • • i j. j 

His plan Avas to possess the reality of power Avithout exciting^ hatred or 

eiiA'y by the useless display of the shoAv of it. He therefore rejected the 
titles that Avere offered him, such as that of Imperator, as a preenomen, and 
that of Father of his Country ; even that of Augustus, though hereditary, 
he Avould only use in his letters to kings and dynasts ; above all he rejected 
that of Master (Dominus) ; he Avould only be called Caasar, or First of the 
Senate. This last (avIucIi avc shall henceforth term Prince) Avas his favour- 
ite title ; he used to say, “ I am the Master of my slaves, the Imperator of 
the soldiers, and the Prince of the rest.” He would not alloAV anything 
peculiar to be done in honour of his birthday, nor suffer any one to swear by 
his fortune ; neither Avould he permit the senate to swear to his acts on New 
Year’s Day, or temples, or any other divine honours, to be decreed him. He 
Avas affable and easy of approach ; he took no notice of libels and evil reports 
of Avhich he Avas the object, Avhile he repelled flattery of every kind. 

To the senate and the magistrates he preserved (at least in appearance) 
ail their pristine dignity and poAver. Every matter, great or small, public 
or private, Avas laid before the senate. The debates were apparently free, 
and the prince Avas often in the minority. He ahvays entered the senate 
house Avithout any attendants, like an ordinary senator ; he reproved consu- 
lars in the command of armies for Avriting to him instead of the senate ; he 
treated the consuls Avith the utmost respect, rising to them and making way 
for them. Ambassadors and deputies Avere directed to apply to them as in 
the time of the republic. It Avas only by his tribunician right of interceding 
that he exercised his poAver in the senate. He used also to take his seat 
Avith the magistrates as they Avere administering justice, and by his presence 
and authority gave a check to the influence of the great in protecting the 
accused ; by Avhich conduct of his, Avhile justice gained, liberty, it was 
observed, suffered. 

The public morals and the tranquillity of the city were also attended to. 
A limit Avas set to the expenses of plays and public shows, and to the salaries 
of the players, to Avhom the senators and knights were forbidden to show 
marks of respect, by visiting them or attending them in public. Profligacy 
had become so bold and shameless, that ladies were known to have entered 
themselves in the list of professed courtesans in order to escape the penalties 
of the law, and young men of family to have voluntarily submitted to the 
mark of infamy in order to appear Avith safety on the stage or the arena ; 
both these infamous classes were now subjected to the penalty of exile. 
Astrologers and fortune-tellers were expelled the city ; the rites and cere- 
monies of the Egyptian and Judaic religions were suppressed. Guards were 



THE IMMEDIATE SUCCESSORS OF AUGUSTUS 143 

[14^37 A«DtJ 

placed throughout Italy to prevent highway robbery; and those refuges of 
villainy of all kinds, the sanctuaries, were regulated in Greece and Asia. 

Yet people were not deceived by all this apparent regard for liberty and 
justice; for they saw, as they thought, from the very commencement, the 
germs of tyranny, especially in the renewal of the law of treason (majestas). 
In the time of the republic there was a law under this name, by wliich any 
one who had diminished the greatness (majestas) of the Roman people by 
betraying an army, exciting the plebs to sedition, or acting wrongly in com- 
mand, was subject to punishment. It applied to actions alone ; but Sulla 
extended it to speeches, and Augustus to writings against not merely the 
state, but private individuals, on the occasion of Cassius Severus having 
libelled several illustrious persons of both sexes. Tiberius, who was angered 
by anonymous verses made on himself, directed the praetor, when consulted 
by him on the subject, to give judgment on the law of treason. As this 
law extended to words as well as actions, it opened a wide field for mischief, 
and gave birth to the vile brood of delators or public informers answering 
to the sycophants, those pests of Athens in the days of her democratic des- 
potism. This evil commenced almost with the reign of Tiberius, in whose 
second year two knights, Falonius and Rubrius, were accused, the one of 
associating a player of infamous character with the worshippers of Augustus, 
and of having sold with his gardens a statue of that prince, the other of hav- 
ing sworn falsely by his divinity. Tiberius however would not allow these 
absurd charges to be entertained. Soon after Granius Marcellus, the praetor 
of Bithynia, was charged with treason by his quaestor, Caepio Crispinus, for 
having spoken evil of Tiberius, having placed his own statue on a higher 
site than that of the Caesars, and having cut the head of Augustus off a 
statue to make room for that of Tiberius. This last charge exasperated 
Tiberius, who declared that he would vote himself on the matter ; but a 

bold expression used by Cn. Piso brought him to reason, and Marcellus was 
acquitted. 

After the death of Germanicus, Tiberius acted with less restraint ; for 
his son Drusus did not possess the qualities suited to gain popularity, and 
thus to control him. In fact, except his affection for his noble adoptive 
brother, there was nothing in the character of Drusus to esteem. He was 
addicted to intemperance, devoted to the sports of the amphitheatre, and of 
so cruel a temper, that a peculiarly sharp kind of sword was named from 
him drusian. Tiberius made him his colleague in the consulate, and then 
obtained for him the tribunidian power (22) ; but Drusus was fated to no 
long enjoyment of the dignity and power thus conferred on him. A fatal 
change was also to take place in the conduct and government of Tiberius 
himself, of which we must now trace the origin. 

Seius Strabo, who had been made one of the prefects of the prsetorian 
cohorts by Augustus, had a sou, who, having been adopted by one of the 
.^Elian family, was named in the usual manner L. AClius Sejanus. This 
young man, who was born at Vulsinii in Tuscany, was at first attached to 
the service of Caius Caesar, after whose death he devoted himself to Tibe- 
rius ; and such was his consummate art, that this wily prince, dark and 
mysterious to all others, was open and unreserved to him. Sejanus equalled 
^ master in the power of concealing his thoughts and designs ; he was dar- 
ing and ambitious, and he possessed the requisite qualities for attaining the 
eminence to which he aspired ; for though proud he could play the flatterer ; 
he coiild and did assume a modest exterior, and he had vigilance and indus- 
try, and a body capable of enduring any fatigue. 



144 


THE HISTORY OF ROME 


[14-24 A.D.] 

Wlien Drusus was sent to quell the mutiny of the Pannonian legions, 
Sejaiius, Avhom Tiberius had made colleague with his father Strabo in the 
command of the praetorians, accompanied him as his governor and director. 
Strabo was afterwards sent out to Egypt, and Sejanus was continued in the 
sole command of the guards; he then represented to Tiberius how much 
better it would be to have them collected into one camp instead of being 
dispersed through the city and towns, as they would be less liable to be 
corrupted, would be more orderly, and of greater efficiency if any insurrection 
should occur. A fortified camp was therefore formed for them near the 
Viminal Gate, and Sejanus then began to court the men, and he appointed 
those on whom he could rely to be tribunes and centurions. While thus 
securing the guards, lie was equally assiduous to gain partisans in the senate, 
and honours and provinces only came to those who had acquired his favour 
by obsequiousness. In all these projects he was unwittingly aided by Tibe- 
rius, who used publicly to style him “ the associate of his labours,” and even 
allowed his statues to be placed and worshipped in temples .and theatres, and 
among the ensigns of the legions. 

Sejanus had in fact formed the daring project of destroying Tiberius and 
his family, and seizing the supreme power. As besides Tiberius and Drusus, 
who had two sons, there were a brother and three sons of Germanicus living, 
he resolved, as the safer course, to remove them gradually by art and treach- 
er 3 ^ He began with Drusus, against whom he had a personal spite, as th<at 
violent youth had one time publicly given him a blow in the face. In order 
to effect his purpose, he seduced his wife Livia or Livilla, the sister of Ger- 
manicus ; and then, by holding out to her the prospect of a share in the 
imperial power, he induced her to engage in the plan for the murder of her 
husband. Her physician Eudemus was also taken into the plot, but it was 
some time before the .assocmtes could finally determine what mode to adopt. 
At length a slow poison was fixed on, which was administered to Drusus by 
a eunuch named Lygdus, and he died apparently of disease (23). Tiberius, 
who while his son was lying dead, had entered the senate house and ad- 
dressed the members with his usu.al composure, pronounced the funeral ora- 
tion himself, and then turned to business for consolation. 

So far all had succeeded with Sejanus, and death carried off the younger 
son of Drusus soon after his father ; but Nero and Drusus, the two elder 
sons of Germanicus, were now growing up, and the chastity of their mother 
and the fidelity of those about them put poison out of the question. He 
therefore adopted another course ; and taking advantage of the high spirit 
of Agrippina, and working on the jealousy of her which Augusta was known 
to entertain, he managed so that both she and Livia should labour to preju- 
dice Tiberius against Agrippina by talking of the pride which she took in 
her progeny, and the ambitious designs which she entertained. At the same 
time he induced some of those about her to stimulate her haughty spirit by 
their treacherous language. He further proposed to deprive her of support 
by destroying those persons of influence who were attached to her family, 
or the memory of her husband. With this view he selected for his first 
victims C, Silius and Titius Sabinus, the friends of Germanicus, and Silius’ 
wife, Sosia Galla, to whom Agrippina was strongly attached, and who was 
therefore an object of dislike to Tiberius. Omitting however Sabinus for 
the present, he caused the consul Visellius Varro to accuse Silius of treason 
for having dissembled his knowledge of the designs of Sacrovir, having dis- 
^'aced his^ victory by his avarice, and countenanced the acts of his wife. 
Having vainly asked for a delay till his accuser should go out of office, and 



THE IMAIEDIATE SUCCESSOKS OF AUGUSTUS 

[24-25 A.D.] 

seeing that Tiberius was determinedly hostile to him, Silius avoided a con- 
demnation by a voluntary death. His wife was banished ; a portion of his 
property was confiscated, but the remainder was left to his children 

Urged by his own ambition, and by the importunity of Livia^ Sejanus 
had soon (25) the boldness to present a petition to Tiberius, praying to be 
chosen by him for her husband. Tiberius took no offence ; his reply was 

stating the difficulties of the matter with respect to Sejanus'^him- 
selt, but at the same time expressing the warmest friendship for and confi- 

however was suspicious, and he began to reflect that 

whde Tiberius remained at Rome, many occasions might present themselves 

to those who desired to undermine him in the mind of that jealous prince • 

whereas, could he induce him to quit the city, all access to him would be 

only through himself, all letters would be conveyed by soldiers who were 

under his orders, and gradually, as the prince advanced in years, all the 

affairs of the state would pass into his hands. He therefore, by contrasting 

the noise and turbulence of Rome with the solitude and tranquniity of the 

country, gradually sought to bend him to his purpose, which he effected in 
the lollowing year. 

During this time the deadly charge of treason was brought against vari- 

remarkable case was that of A. Cremutius Cordus, 

the historian. He had made a free remark on the conduct of Sejanus, and 

accordingly two of that favourite’s clients were directed to accuse him of 

Reason, for having in his history caUed Cassius the last of the Romans. 

Oremutius, when before the senate, observing the sternness of Tiberius’ 

countenance, took at once the resolution of abandoning life, and tlierefore 
spoke as follows : 

“ Fathers, my words are accused, so guiltless am I of acts ; but not 
even these are against the prince or the prince’s parent, whom the law of 
treason embraces. I am said to have praised Brutus and Cassius, whose 
deeds, while se^xral have written, no one has mentioned without honour, 
litus Bivius, who is pre-eminent for eloquence and fidelity, extolled Pompeius 
^^th such praises, that Augustus used to call him a Pompeian: nor was 
that any Inndrance of their friendship. He nowhere calls Scipio, Afranius, 
tins ve^ Cassius, this Brutus, robbers and parricides, which names are now 
^i^A^*** ^ often speaks of them as distinguished men. The writings 
of Asinius Pollio transmit an illustrious record of them ; Messala Corvinus 
used to call Cassius his general ; and both of them flourished in wealth and 
honours. To the book of Marcus Cicero, which extolled Cato to the skies, 
w^t did ^e dictator Cgesar but reply in a written speech as if before 
judges? The letters of Antonius, the speeches of Brutus, contain imputa- 
tions on Augustus which are false, and written with great bitterness. The 
verses of Bibaculus and CatuUus, which are full of abuse of the C^sars, are 
read ; nay, the diWne Julius himself, the divine Augustus himself, both 
bore with them and let them remain; I cannot well say whether more 
through moderation or wisdom ; for what are despised go out of mind : if 
you are an^y with them their truth seems to be acknowledged. I speak 
not of the Greeks, among whom not only liberty but license was unpunished ; 
or if any one did take notice, he avenged himself on words by words. But 
there was the greatest freedom, and no reproach, when speaking of those 
whom death had removed from enmity or favour. Do I, in the cause of 
civil war, inflame the people by my harangues while Brutus and Cassius are 
m and occupying the plains of Philippi? Or do they, who are now 
head these seventy years, as they are known by their images, which the 


H. W. — VOL. VI. L 



146 


THE HISTORY OF ROME 


[25-27 A.D.] 

conqueror did not destroy, retain in like manner their share of memory in 
literary works? Posterity allots his meed to every one ; nor, should a con- 
demnation fall on me, \vill there be wanting those who will remember not 

only Brutus and Cassius, but also me.’* , . • ^ i * 

Ha\dng thus spoken, Cordus left the senate house, and returning to his 

own abode starved himself to death. The senate decreed that the copies of 
his work should be collected and burned by the fediles; but some were saved 
by his daughter Marcia, and were republished in the succeeding reign. 

At length (26) Tiberius quitted Rome and went into Campania, under 
the pretext of dedicating a temple to Jupiter at Capua, and one to Augustus 
at Nola ; but with the secret intention of never returning to the city. 
Various causes, all perhaps true, are assigned for this resolution. The sug- 
gestions of Sejanus were not without effect; he was grown thin, and 
stooped ; he was quite bald, and his face was full of blotches and ulcers, 
to which he was obliged to have plasters constantly applied ; and he may 
therefore have sought, on this account, to retire from the public view. It is 
further said that he wished to escape from the authority of his mother, who 
seemed to consider herself entitled to share the power which he had obtained 


* 


Roman Lamp 



through her exertions. [But whatever the exact motive that actuated 
Tiberius, his withdrawal constituted a virtual desertion of the capital, since 
he never returned.] 

He was accompanied only by one senator, Cocceius Nerva, who was 
deeply skilled in the laws, by Sejanus and another knight, and by some per- 
sons, chiefly Greeks, who were versed in literature. A few days after he 
set out an accident occurred, which was near being fatal to him, but proved 
fortunate for Sejanus. As at one of his country-seats near Fundi, named 
the Caverns (Speluncse), he was, for the sake of the coolness, dining in one 
of the natural caverns, whence the villa derived its appellation, a great 
quantity of the stones, which formed its roof, fell down and crushed some of 
the attendants to death. Sejanus threw himself over Tiberius to protect 
him with his own body, and was found in that position by the soldiers who 
came to their relief. Tliis apparent proof of generous self-devotion raised 
him higher than ever in the estimation of the prince. 

While Tiberius was rambling from place to place in Campania (27), a 
dreadful calamity occurred at Fidenae, in consequence of the fall of a tempo- 
rary amphitheatre erected by a freedman named Atilius for giving a show 
of gladiators ; the number of the killed and maimed is said to have been 


THE IMAIEDIATE SUCCESSORS OF AUGUSTUS 147 

[27-29 A.D.] 

fifty thousand.! The conduct of the nobility at Rome on this melancholy 
occasion showed that all virtue had not departed from them ; they threw 
open their houses for the sufferers, and supplied them with medical atten- 
dance and remedies ; so that, as the great historian observes, the city wore 
the appearance of the Rome of the olden time, when after battles the 
wounded were thus humanely treated. This calamitj- was immediately fol- 
lowed by a tremendous fire on the C.nelian Hill; but Tiberius alleviated the 
evil by giving the inhabitants the amount of their losses in money. 

Having dedicated the temples, and rambled for some time throimh the 
towns of Campania, liberius finally fixed on the Islet of Capreie [the modern 
Capri] m the Bay of ISaples as Ins permanent abode. Tins isle, which lay 
at the short distance of tlu-ee miles from the promontory of Surrentum, was 
accessible only in one place ; it enjoyed a mild temperature, and commanded 
a most magnificent view of the bay of Naples and the lovely region which 
encompassed it. But the delicious retreat was speedily converted by the 
aged prince into a den of infamy, such as has never perhaps found its equal • 

Ins vicious practices, however, were covered by the veil of secrecy, for he 
still lay under some restraint. 

Whp Tiberius left Rome, Sejanus renewed his machinations against 

friends. He directed his first Ifforts 
against her eldest son Nero, whom he surrounded with spies ; and as this 

youth was married to a daughter of Livia, his wife was instructed by her 

note and report all his most secret words and actions. 

and regularly transmitted it to Tiberius. He also drew to his sid^Ne^’s 

V a youth of a fiery turbulent temper, and who 

hated him because he was his mother’s favourite. It was however Seianus” 

Snst^Nero.'^®"^'"^ purpose 

At this time also he made his final and fatal attack on Titius Sabinus 
whose crime was his attachment to the family of Germanicus. The bait of 
the consulate, o which Sejanus alone could"^ dispose, inducek four ^ of 

of them "nSed '’“if- Jhe plan proposed was that one 

Latmius Latiaris, who had some knowledge of Sabinus, 

s ould draw him into conversation, out of which a charge of treason might 

of SaWnlw plot succeeded ; Latiaris, by prfising the constafcy 
of Sabinus in friendship, led him graduaUy on to speak as he thought of 

tftthPr importance to reveal, he brought ftm into a chambe? where 
the other three were concealed between the ceding and the roof. A charge 
of treason was therefore speedily concocted and forwarded to Tiberius from 
whom a letter came on New Year’s Day (28), plainly intimating tS ;enr 

his desire of vengeance. This sufficed for that obsequious body, and Sabinus 
was dragged forth and executed without delay. ^ oaoinus 

In his letter of thanks to the senate, Tiberius talked of the danger he 
was in, ^d of the plots of his enemies, evidently alluding to A<rripDma and 
Nero. These ^fortunate persons lost their only remaining refuge^the fol- 
wing year (29) by the death of the prince’s mother, Julia Augus^a,^ whose 

“““ter as stated by Tacitus ; Suetonius says twenty thousand 1 

It to^thS^^ 

her eiS!two*^iSn7 rLVniTV ^ 

her Jn Tiberiils was nL seventy ylaraof\|r” correct, as 



148 


THE HISTORY OF ROME 


[29^1 A.D.J 

influence over her son, and regard for her own descendants, ha,d held Sejanus 
in restraint. This soon appeared by the arrival of a letter from Tiberius, 
accusing Nero of unnatural practices, and speaking of the arrogance of Agrip- 
pina ; but while the senate were in debate, the people surrounded the house, 
carrying the images of Agrippina and Nero, and crying out that the letter 
was forced, and the prince deceived. Nothing tlierefore was done on that 
day, and Sejanus took the opportunity of irritating the mind of Tiberius, 
wlio wrote again to the senate ; but as in the letter he forbade their proceed- 
ing to extremes, they passed a decree, declaring themselves prepared to 

avenge the prince, were they not hindered by hiraselL 

Most unfortunately the admirable narrative of Tacitus fails us at this 
point ; and for the space of more than two years, and those the most impor- 
tant of the reign of Tiberius, we are obliged to derive our knowledge of 
events from the far inferior notices of Dion Cassius and Suetonius. We 
are therefore unable to display the arts by which Sejanus effected the ruin 
of Agrippina and her children, and can only learn that she was relegated to 
the isle of Pandataria, where, while she gave vent to her indignation, her 
eye was struck out by a centurion; and that Nero was placed in the isle of 
Pontia, and forced to terminate his own life. The further fate of Agrippina 
and Drusus we shall have to relate. 

Sejanus now revelled in the enjoyment of power ; every one feared him, 
every one courted and flattered him. “ In a word,” says Dion.; ‘‘he seemed 
to be emperor, Tiberius merely the ruler of an island ; for wliile the latter 
dwelt in solitude and apparently unthought of, the doors of the former were 
thronged every morning with saluting crowds, and the first men of Rome 
attended him on his way to the senate. His pride and insolence, as is always 
the case with those who rise otherwise than by merit, kept pace with his 
power, and men hated while they feared and flattered him.« 

Let us cite an instance of this fulsome flattery from the pages of the con- 
temporary chronicler, Velleius Paterculus, a Roman who had served nine 
years as a soldier in Germany, and who had been military tribune and after- 
wards quaestor and praetor. Tlie panegyric with which Velleius closes his 
Epitome of Roman History eulogises Sejanus along with the emperor himself, 
and his mother. This eulogium is worth transcribing at length as it illus- 
trates the contrast between contemporary estimates — be they candid or 
hypocritical — and the judgment of posterity.® 


VELLEIUS PATERCULUS EULOGISES TIBERIUS 

“It is seldom,” says Velleius, “that men who have arrived at eminence, 
have not had powerful coadjutors in steering the course of their fortunes ; 
thus the two Scipios had the two Lselii, whom they set in every respect on a 
level with themselves ; thus the emperor Augustus had Marcus Agrippa, 
and after him Statilius Taurus. The newness of these men’s families proved 
no obstruction to their attainment of many consulships and triumphs, and 
of sacerdotal offices in great numbers. For great affairs demand great 
co-operators (in small matters, the smallness of assistance does not mar the 
proceedings), and it is for the interest of the public, that what is necessary 
for business should be eminent in dignity, and that usefulness should be 
fortified with influence. In conformity with these examples, Tiberius Caesar 
has had, and still has, jElius Sejanus, a most excellent coadjutor in all the 
toils of government, a man whose father was chief of the equestrian order, 



THE IMMEDIATE SUCCESSOKS OF AUGUSTUS 140 

[14-37 A.D] 

and who, on his mother’s side is connected with some of the most illustrious 
and ancient families, ennobled by high preferments; who has brothers 
cousins, and an uncle, of consular rank ; who is remarkable for fidelity in 
the discharge of his duties, and for ability to endure fatigue, the constitution 
of his body corresponding with the vigour of his mind; a man of pleasinsr 
gravity, and of unaffected cheerfulness ; appearing, in the despatch of busi- 
ness, like a man quite at ease; assuming nothing to himself, and hence 
receiving every honour; always deeming himself inferior to other men’s 

estimation of him ; calm in looks and conversation, but in mind indefati- 
gably vigilant. 

“ In esteem for Sejanus’ virtues, the judgment of the public has lontr 
vied with that of the prince. Nor is it at all new with the senate and 
people 01 Home, to consider the most meritorious as the most noble The 
men of old, before the First Punic War, thi-ee hundred years ago, exalted 
to tlm summit of ^gnity T. Coruncanius, a man of no family, bestowing 
on him, besides other honours, the office of chief pontiff ; they promoted 
bpurius Garvilius, a man of equestrian birth, and afterwards Marcus Cato 
another neiv man (not a native citizen, but born at Tusculum), as well as 
Mummius Achamus, to consulships, censorships, and triumphs. And they 
who considered Cams Marius, a man of the most obscure origin, as unques- 
tionably the first in the Koman nation, before his sixth consulship; who had 
so high an esteein for Marcus Tullius, that he could obtain, almost by his 
sole recommendation, the highest offices for whomsoever he chose ; andwho 
refused nothing to Asinius Pollio, which men of the noblest birth had to 
obtain with infinite labour, were certainly of opinion that he who possessed 
the greatest virtues was entitled to the greatest honours. The natural imi- 
tation of other men s examples led Caesar to make trial of Sejanus, and occa- 
sioned Sejanus to bear a share of the burdens of the prince ; and induced 
the senate and people of Rome cheerfully to call to the guardianship of their 
safety him whom they saw best qualified for the charge. 

“Havmg exliibited a general view of the administration of Tiberius 
Gffisar, let us now enumerate a few particulars respecting it. With what 
wisdom^ did he brmg to Rome Rhescuporis, the murderer of Cotys, his own 
brother s son, and partner in the kingdom, employing in that affair the ser- 

t Flaccus, a man of consular rank, naturally inclined to 

all that IS honourable, and by pure virtue always meriting fame, but never 
eagerly pui-suing it ! With what solemnity as a senator and a judge, not 
as a prmce, does he hear causes in person ! With what precepts did he 
torm the mind of Ins Germanicus, and train him in the rudiments of war in 

® J tenvards hailed him the conqueror of Germany ! 

What honours did he heap on him in his youth, the magnificence of his 
triumph corresponding to the grandeur of his exploits ! How often has he 
honoured the people wth donations ! How readily has he, when he could 

snitahirji ® senate, supplied senators with property 

suitable to their rank, neither encouraging extravagance, nor suffering hon- 

difi “hi® r stripped of dignity ! In what an honourablf style 

did he send his G^amcus to the transmarine provinces ! With wLt 

energy, employmg Drusus as a mmister and coadjutor in his plans, did he 
force Marboduus, who was clinging to the soil of the kingdmn which he 
had possessed, to come forth, like a serpent concealed in the earth (let me 
speak mthout offence to his majesty), by the salutary charms of his coun- 
sels ! How honourably, yet how far from neghgently, does he keep watch 
over Him ! How formidable a war, excited by the GaUic chief Sacrovir 



THE HISTORY OF ROjME 

loO [14-37 A.D.) 

and Julius Florus, did he suppress, and with such amazing 
energy, that the Roman people learned that they were conquerors, before t ey 
kneiPthat they were at war, and the news of victory outstripped the news 
of the danger^ ! The African war too, perilous as it was, and da,ily increas- 
intr in streifgth, was quickly terminated under his auspices and direction. 

“What structures has he erected in his own 
family ' With what dutiful munificence, even exceeding belief, is he build- 

ine a temple to his father ! With how laudable a generosity of disposition 

by fire ! WlLever has been at any time conspicuously great be regards as 

hfs own, and under his protection. With what liberality has he at all times, 

and particularly at the recent fire on the Cielian Mount, repaired the losses 
^ of peoplB of all conditions out of liis own 

property ! Witli wliat perfect ease to tbe 
public does lie manage the raising of troops, 
a business of constant and extreme appre- 
hension, without the consternation attendant 
on a levy ! If either nature allows us, or the 
humility of man may take upon itself, to make 
a modest complaint of such things to the gods, 
what has he deserved that, in the first place, 
Drusus Libo should form his execrable plots ; 
and, in the next, that Silius and Piso should 
follow his example, one of whom he raised to 
dignity, the other he promoted ? That I may 
pass to greater matters (though he accounted 
even these very great), what has he deserved, 
that he should lose his sons in their youth, or 
his grandson by Drusus ? But we have only 
spoken of causes for sorrow, we must now 
come to occasions of shame. With what 
violent griefs, Marcus Vinicius, has he felt 
his mind tortured in the last three years ! 
How long has his heart been consumed with 
affliction, and, what is most unhappy, such as 
he was obliged to conceal, while he was com- 
pelled to grieve, and to feel indignation and 
shame, at the conduct of his daughter-in-law 
and his grandson ! And the sorrows of this period have been aggravated 
by the loss of his most excellent mother, a woman who resembled the gods 
more than human beings ; and whose power no man ever felt but in the relief 
of distress or the conferring of honour. 

“ Let our book be concluded with a prayer. O Jupiter Capitolinus, O 
Jupiter Stator! O Mars Gradivus, author of the Roman home ! O Vesta, 
guardian of the eternal fire ! O all ye deities who have exalted the present 
magnitude of the Roman Empire to a position of supremacy over the world, 
guard, preserve, and protect, I entreat and conjure you, in the name of the 
commonwealth, our present state, our present peace (our present prince) I 
And when he shall have completed a long course on earth, grant him suc- 
cessors to the remotest ages, and such as shall have abilities to support the 
empire of the world as powerfully as we have seen him support it 1 ” ? 

These words of the fawning coiu’tier require no comment, unless it be to 
note that such are often the materials from which the historian is supposed 



Roman Tripod 



THE IMMEDIATE SUCCESSORS OF AUGUSTUS 151 

[31 A.D.] 

to extract truthful estimates of men and events. Fortunately, in the present 
instance, the more trustworthy accounts of Tacitus and Suetonius have also 
come down to us — the former, however, not quite intact. 


THE FALL OF SEJANUS 

Sejanus had thus ruled for more than three years at Rome with power 
nearly absolute, when (31) Tiberius made him his colleague in the consulate 
— an honour observed to be fatal to every one who had enjoyed it. In fact 
the jealous tyrant, who had been fully informed of all his actions and designs, ^ 
had secretly resolved on his death; but fear, on account of Sejanus’ influence 
with the guards, and his uncertainty of how the people might stand affected, 
prevented him from proceeding openly against him. He therefore had 
recourse to artifice, in which he so much delighted. At one time he would 
write to the senate, and describe himself as so ill that his recovery was nearly 
hopeless ; again that he was in perfect health, and was about to return to 
Rome. He wo^d now praise Sejanus to the skies, and then speak most dis- 
paragingly of him ; he would honour some and disgrace others of his friends 
solely as such. In this way both Sejanus himself and all others were kept 
in a state of the utmost uncertainty. Tiberius further bestowed priesthoods 
on Sejanus and his son, and proposed to marry his daughter to Drusus, the 
son of Claudius, the brother of Germanicus; yet at the same time, when 
Sejanus asked permission to go to Campania, he desired him to remain where 
he was, as he himself would be coming to Rome immediately. 

All this tended to keep Sejanus in a state of great perturbation ; and this 
was increased by the circumstance of Tiberius, when appointing the young 
Caius to a priesthood, having not merely praised him, but spoken of him in 
some sort as his successor in the monarchy. He would have proceeded at 
once to action, were it not that the joy manifested by the people on this 
occasion proved to him that he had only the soldiers to rely on, and he hesi- 
tated to act with them alone. Tiberius then showed favour to some of those 
to whom Sejanus was hostile. The senators easily saw whither all this 
tended, and their neglect of Sejanus was now pretty openly displayed. 

Tiberius, having thus made trial of the senate and the people, and finding 
he could rely on both, resolved to strike the long-meditated blow. In order 
to take his victim more completely unawares, he gave out that it was his 
intention to confer on him the tribunician power. Meantime he gave to 
Naevius Sertorius Macro a secret commission to take the command of the 
guards, made him the bearer of a letter to the senate, and instructed him 
fully how to act. Macro entered Rome at night, and communicated his in- 
structions ^ the consul, P. Memmius Regulus (for his colleague was a crea- 
ture of Sejanus), and to Gi'SBcinus Laco, the commander of the watchmen 
and arranged with them the plan of action. Early in the morning he went 
up to the temple of the Palatine Apollo, where the senate was to sit that 
day, and meeting Sejanus, and finding him disturbed at Tiberius having sent 
him no message, he whispered him that he had the grant of the tribunician 
power for him. Sejanus then went in highly elated ; and Macro, showing his 
commission to the guards on duty, and telling them that he had letters promis- 
ing them a largess, sent them down to their camp, and put the watchmen 
about the temple in their stead. He then entered the temple, and having 

^ According to Josephus,^ Antonia, the widow of his brother Drusus, wrote him a fuU 
account of Sejanus* proceedings, and sent it by a trusty slave named Pallas. 



152 


THE HISTORY OF ROME 


[31 A.D.] 

delivered the letter to the consids, immediately went out again, and leaving 
Laco to watch the progress of events there, hastened down to the camp lest 

there should be a mutiny of the guards. j- . • . 

The letter was long and ambiguous ; it contained notlung direct against 

Seianus, but first treated of something else, then came to a little complaint 
of him, then to some other matter, then it returned to him again, and so on ; 
it concluded by saying that two senators, who were most devoted to bejanus, 
oucfht to be punished, and himself be cast into prison ; for though Tiberius 
wished most ardently to have him executed, he did not venture to order his 
death, fearing a rebellion. He even implored them in the letter to send one 
of the consuls with a guard to conduct him, now an old man and desolate, 
into their in-esence. We are further told that such were his apprehensions, 
that he had given orders, in case of a tumult, to release his grandson Drusus, 
who was in chains at Rome, and put him at the head of those who remained 
faithful to his family ; and that he took his station on a lofty rock, watching 
for the signals that were to be made, having ships ready to carry him to some 
of the legions in case anything adverse should occur. 

His precciutions^ howevsr^ W6r6 needless# Before tlie letter was read^ the 
senators, expecting to bear notliing but the praises of Sejanus and the grant 
of the tribunicial! power, were loud in testifying their zeal towards him ; 
but as the reading proceeded their conduct sensibly altered; their looks 
were no longer the same; even some of those who were sitting near him 
rose and left their seats ; the praetors and tribunes closed round him lest he 
should rush out and try to raise the guards, as he certainly would have done 
had not the letter been composed with such consummate artifice. He was in 
fact so thunderstruck, that it was not till the consul had called liim the third 
time that he was able to reply. All then joined in reviling and i^ulting 
him ; he was conducted to the prison by the consul and the other magistrates. 
As he passed along the populace poured curses and abuse on him; they 
cast down his statues, cut the heads off of them, and dragged them about 
the streets. The senate seeing this disposition of the people, and finding 
that the guards remained quiet, met in the afternoon in the temple of Con- 
cord, close to the prison, and condemned him to death. He was executed 
without delay ; his lifeless body was flung down the Gemonian steps, and for 
three daj's it was exposed to every insult from the populace ; it was then 
cast into the Tiber. His children also were put to death ; his little daugh- 
ter, who was to have been the bride of the prince’s grand nephew, was so 
young and innocent, that as they carried her to prison she kept asking what 
she had done, and whither they were dragging her, adding that she would do 
so no more, and that she might be whipped if naughty. Nay, by one of 
those odious refinements of barbarity which trample on justice and humanity 
while adhering to the letter of the law, because it was a thing unheard of for 
a virgin to be capitally punished, the executioner was made to defloAver the 
child before he strangled her. Apicata, the divorced wife of Sejanus, on 
hearing of the death of her children, and seeing afterwards their lifeless 
bodies on the steps, went home ; and having written to Tiberius a full 
account of the true manner of the death of Drusus and of the guilt of Livilla, 
put an end to herself. In consequence of this discovery Livilla, and all who 
were concerned in that murder, were put to death. 

The rage of the populace was also vented on the friends of Sejanus, and 
many of them were slaughtered. The praetorian guards, too, enraged at 
being suspected and at the watchmen being preferred to them, began to bum 
and plunder houses. The senators were in a state of the utmost perturbation, 



THE IMMEDIATE SUCCESSORS OF AUGUSTUS 


153 


[31-33 A.D.] 

some trembling on account of their having paid court to Sejanus, others, who 
had been accusers or witnesses, from not knowing liow their conduct might 
be taken. All however conspired in heaping insult on the memory of the 
fallen favourite. 

Tiberius, now free from all apprehension, gave loose to his vengeance. 
From his island-retreat he issued his orders, and the prison was filled with 
the friends and creatures of Sejanus ; the baleful pack of informers was 
unkennelled, and their victims of both sexes were hunted to death. Some 
were executed in prison; others were flung from the Capitol; the lifeless 
remains were exposed to every kind of indignity, and then cast into the 
river, Most however chose a voluntary death ; for they thus not only 
escaped insult and pain, but preserved their property for their children. 

In the following year (32) Tiberius ventured to leave his island, and sail 
up the Tiber as far as Caesar’s gardens; but suddenly, no one knew why, he 
retreated again to his solitude, whence by letters he directed the course of 
cmelty at Rome. The commencement of one was so remarkable that histo- 
rians have thought it deserving of a place in their works ; it ran thus : “ What 
I shall ^yrite to you, P. C., or how I shall write, or what I shall not write 
at this time, may the gods and goddesses destroy me worse, than I daily feel 
myself perishing, if I know.” A knight named M. Terentius at this time, 
when accused of the new crime of Sejanus’ friendship, had the courage to 
adopt a novel course of defence. He boldly acknowledged the charge, but 
justified his conduct by saying that he had only followed tlie example of the 
prince, whom it was their duty to imitate. The senate acquitted him and 
punished his accusers ^vith exile or death, and Tiberius expressed himself 
well pleased at the decision. But in the succeeding year (33) his cruelty, 
joined with avarice (a vice new to him), broke out with redoubled violence. 
Tired of murdering in detail, he ordered a general massacre of all who lay in 
prison on account of their connection with Sejanus. Without distinction of 
age, sex, or rank, they wei'e slaughtered ; their friends dared not to approacli, 
or even be seen to shed tears ; and as their putrefying remains floated along 
the Tiber, no one might venture to touch or to burn them. 

The deaths of his grandson Drusus, apd his daughter-in-law Agrippina, 
were added to the atrocities of this year. The former perished by the famine 
to which he was destined, after he had sustained life till the ninth day by eat- 
ing the stuffing of his bed. The tyrant then had the shamelessness to cause 
to be read in the senate the diary which had been kept of everything the 
unhappy youth had said or done for a course of years, and of the indignities 
which he had endured from the slaves and guards who were set about him. 
Agrippina had cherished hopes of meeting with justice after the fall of 
Sejanus ; but finding them frustrated, she resolved to starve herself to death. 
Tiberius, when informed, ordered food to be forced down her throat, but she 
finally accomplished her purpose ; he then endeavoured to defame her mem- 
ory by charging her with unchastity. As her death occurred on the same 
day as that of Sejanus two years before, he directed it to be noted, and he 
took to himself as a merit that he had not caused her to be strangled or cast 
down the Gemonian steps. The obsequious senate returned him thanks for 
his clemency, and decreed that on the 18th of October, the day of both their 
deaths, an offering in gold should be made to Jupiter. 

The Caesarian family was now reduced to Claudius the brother and Caius 
the son of Germanicus, and his three daughters, Agrippina, Drusilla, and 
Liidlla, (whom Tiberius liad given in marriage respectively to Cn. Domitius, 
L. Cassius, and M. Vinicius,) and Tiberius and Julia the children of Drusus, 



1 -. the history of ROME 

[33-37 A.D.] 

which last had been married to her cousin Nero, and now was given in marriage 

to Kubellius Blandus. ^ i i 4. 

From his very outset in life, Tiberius had been obliged more or leM to 
conceal his natural character. Augustus, Germanicus, Drusus, ^s mother, 
had successively been a check on him ; and even Sejanus, tlio^gh the agent 
of his cruelty, had been the cause of his lusts being restrained. But now all 
barriers were removed ; for Gains was so abject a slave to him, that he 
modelled himself on his character and his words, only seeking to conceal his 
own vices. He therefore now at length gave free course to all his vicioM 
propensities, and it almost chills the blood to read the details of the horrid 
practices in which he indulged amidst the rocks of Capreae. Meantime 
there was no relaxation of his cruelty; Macro was as bad as Sejanus, oMy 
more covertly; there was no lack of delators, and men of rank perished 

daily. ^ 


TACITUS DESCRIBES THE LAST DAYS OF TIBERIUS 

At Rome, meanwhile, were sown the seeds that were destined to yield a 
harvest of blood after the decease of Tiberius. Lielius Balbus had charged 
Acutia, sometime the wife of Publius Vitellius, with high treason ; and, as 
the senate was, after her condemnation, decreeing a reward to the accuser, 
Junius Otho, tribune of the people, interposed his veto ; hence their mutual 
hate, and afterwards the exile of Otho. Then Albucilla, infamous for her 
many amours, who had been married to Satrius Secundus, the man who 
revealed the conspiracy of Sejanus, was impeached of impiety towards the 
prince. In the charge were involved, as her accomplices and her adulterers, 
Cneius Domitius, Vibius Marsus, and Lucius Arruntius. Domitius was of 
noble descent. Marsus, too, was distinguished by the ancient dignities of 
his house, and his own fame for learning. The minutes, however, trans- 
mitted to the senate, imported, “that in the examination of the witnesses, 
and torture of the slaves. Macro had presided ; ” and as no letter came from 
tlie emperor against the accused, it was suspected, that, while he was ill, and 
perhaps without his privity, the accusations were in great_ measure forged, 
in consequence of the notorious enmity of Macro to Arruntius. 

Domitius therefore by preparing for his defence, and Marsus by seeming 
determined to starve himself to death, protracted their lives. Arruntius, 
to the importunity of his friends, urging him to try delays and , evasions, 
answered that the same measures were not honourable to all men alike : 
he had lived long enough ; his only regret was, that exposed on all sides to 
derision and peril, he had submitted to bear thus far an old age loaded with 
anxieties ; long obnoxious to the malice of Sejanus, now of Macro, always 
of some minion of power ; not because he was guilty of any crime, but 
because he was intolerant of the grossest iniquities. Grant that the few 
and last days of Tiberius could be got over, yet how could he escape all that 
he would have to endure under the youth who threatened to succeed him ? 
When the mind of Tiberius, a man of consummate experience, underwent 
such a convulsion and transformation from the potent influence of imperial 
power, Avas it likely that Caligula, who had scarce outgrown his childhood, 
ignorant of everything, or nursed and trained up in the worst, would follow 
a course more righteous under the guidance of Macro ; the same Macro, who, 
as the more expert villain, having been selected for the task of crushing 
Sejanus, had brought the commonwealth to a state of wretchedness the most 
abject, by his numerous atrocities? He had now before him, he said, a 



THE IMMEDIATE SUCCESSORS OF AUGUSTUS 


155 


[37 A.D.] 

prospect of slavery still more embittered ; and therefore it was that he with- 
drew at once from the horrors which had been enacted, and those that 
impended. 

While pouring forth these warnings with the intense emotion of a 
prophet, he opened his veins. That Arruntius was wise in resorting to 
suicide the follomng events ^vill testify. Albucilla, after inflicting an inef- 
fectual wound upon herself, was by order of the senate dragged to prison. 
As to the ministers of her lusts, it was decreed, “ that Carsidius Sacerdos, of 
praetorian rank, should be banished to an island ; Pontius Fregellanus expelled 
the senate ; and that upon Lailius Balbus the same penalty be inflicted.” The 
senators gave the latter judgment with feelings of joy, as he was accounted a 
man of turbulent eloquence, and zealous in his efforts against the innocent. 

About the same time, Sextus Papinius, of a consular family, chose a sud- 
den and frightful end, by throwing himself down from an eminence. The 
cause was ascribed to his mother, who, after many repulses, had, by fondling 
and excitement, brought him into a situation from which he could escape by 
death only. She was therefore accused in the senate ; and, though she em- 
braced the knees of the fathers, and pleaded “the natural tenderness of a 
mother’s grief, and the greater weakness of a woman’s spirit under such a 
calamity,” with other motives of pity in the same doleful strain, she was ban- 
ished from Rome for ten years, till her younger son was past the slippery 
period of youth.^ 

As for Tiberius, his body was now wasted and his strength exhausted, 
but his dissimulation did not fail him. He exhibited the same inflexibility 
of mind, the same energy in his looks and discourse ; and even sometimes by 
affected vivacity tried to hide his decaying strength, though too manifest to 
be concealed. And after much shifting of places, he settled at length at the 
promontory of Misenum, in a villa which Lucullus once owned. There it 
was discovered that his end was approaching, in the following manner : In 
his train was a physician, named Charicles, noted in his profession, not in- 
deed to prescribe for the prince in cases of indisposition, but that he might 
have some one to consult if he thought proper. Charicles, as if he were depart- 
ing to attend to his own affairs, and taking hold of his hand under pretence of 
taking leave, felt his pulse. But he did not escape detection, for he instantly 
ordered the entertainment to be renewed ; whether incensed, and therefore the 
more concealing his displeasure, is uncertain ; but at table he continued be- 
yond his wont, as if to do honour to his friend on his departure. Charicles, 
however, assured Macro that life was ebbing fast, and could not outlast two 
days.^ Hence the whole court was in a bustle ^vith consultations, and ex- 
presses were despatched to the generals and armies. On the seventeenth, be- 
fore the calends of April, he was believed to have finished his mortal career, 
having ceased to breathe ; and Caligula, in the midst of a great throng of 
persons, paying their congratulations, was already going forth to make a sol- 
emn entrance on the sovereignty, when suddenly a notice came, “ that Tibe- 
rius had recovered his sight and voice, and had called for some persons to 
give him food to restore him.” The consternation was universal; the con- 
course about Caligula dispersed in all directions, every man affecting sor- 
row or feigning ignorance; he himself stood fixed in silence — fallen from 

[| In attempting clearly to comprehend the disturhances that attended the later period of 
Tiberius, we must bear in mind that the republican reaction against the empire was now at its 
height, and that severe measures were doubtless necessary in crushing the movement. The adop- 
tion of such measures does not necessarily imply that Tiberius bad changed bis public policy : it 
was but nature that he should defend the principate to the utmost of his ability. But such 
conditions reacted disastrously upon the public morals, and fostered the hatred of the emperor. ] 



156 


THE HISTORY OF ROME 


[37 A.D.] 

the highest hopes, he now expected the worst. Macro, undismayed, ordered 
the old man to be smothered with a quantity of clothes, and the doorway 
to be cleared. Thus expired Tiberius, in the seventy-eighth year of his age.d 
This story of the last moments of Tiberius is questioned by Menvale,/ 
who comments on the fact that Tacitus, writing long after the even^ gives 
no authority for his version of the affair as just quoted, and says: On the 
other hand, a contemporary of the event seems to describe the old man s 
death as simply natural. Feeling himself sinking, said beneca,* iibenus 
took off his ring, and held it for a little while, as if about to present it to 
some one as an instrument of authority ; but he soon replaced it on his fin- 
trer, and lay for a time without motion. Then suddenly he called for his 
attendants, and when no one answered, raised himself from his bed with fail- 
ing strength, and immediately fell lifeless beside it. This account was 
distorted by others into the denial of necessary sustenance, and actual death 
by exhaustion, while some did not scruple to affirm that Caius had caused 
the sick man to be poisoned.’’ 


SUETONIUS CHARACTERISES TIBERIUS 

Tiberius was in his person large and robust, of a stature somewhat above 
the common size, broad in the shoulders and chest, and in his other parts 
proportionable. He used his left hand more readily than his right ; and his 
joints were so strong that he would bore a fresh sound apple through with 
his finger, and would wound the head of a boy, or even a young man, with a 
fillip. He was of a fair complexion, and had his hair so long behind that 
it covered his neck, which was observed to be a mark of distinction affected 
by the family. He had a handsome face, but often full of pimples. His 
eyes, which were large, had a wonderful faculty of seeing in the night time, 
and in the dark, but for a short time only, and immediately after awaking 
from sleep ; for they soon grew dim again. He walked with his neck stiff 
and unmoved, commonly with a frowning countenance, being for the most 
part silent ; when he spoke to those about him it was very slowly, and gen- 
erally accompanied by an effeminate motion of his fingers. All those things 
being disagreeable, and expressive of arrogance, Augustus remarked in him, 
and often endeavoured to excuse to the senate and people, assuring them 
that “they were natural defects, which proceeded from no viciousness of 
mind.” He enjoyed a good state of health, and without any interruption, 
almost during the whole time of his government ; though, from the thirtieth 
year of his age he managed himself in respect of his health according to his 
own discretion, without any medical assistance. 

In regard to the gods, and matters of religion, he discovered much in- 
difference ; being greatly addicted to astrology, and full of a persuasion that 
all things were governed by fate. Yet he was extremely afraid of lightning, 
and in cloudy weather always wore a laurel crown on his head ; because an 
opinion prevails among many, that the leaf of that tree is never touched by 
the lightning. 

He applied himself with great diligence to the liberal arts, both Greek 
and Latin. In his Latin style, he affected to imitate Messalla Corvinus, a 
respectable old man, whose company he had much frequented in his youth. 
But he rendered his style obscure by excess of affectation and niceness ; so 
that he was thought to talk better extempore, than in a premeditated dis- 
course. He composed likewise a lyric ode, under the title of A Lamentation 



THE IMMEDIATE SUCCESSORS OF AUGUSTUS 


157 


[37 A.D*] 

u^on the Death of L. Cceear^ as also some Greek poems in imitation of 
Euphorion, Rhianus, and Parthenius. These jioets he greatly admired, and 
set up their works and statues in the public libraries, amongst the emi- 
nent authors of antiquity. On this account, most of the learned men of the 
time vied with each other in publishing observations upon them, which they 
addressed to him. What he chiefly attended to was the knowledge of the 
fabulous history; and this he prosecuted with a zeal that might justly be 
deemed ridiculous. For he used to try the grammarians, a class of people 
which I have already observed he much affected, with such questions as 
these : “ Who was Hecuba’s mother ? What had been Achilles’ name 
amongst the young women ? What song were the Sirens used to sing ? ” 
And the first day that he entered the senate house, after the death of Au- 
gustus, as if he intended to pay a respect both to the memory of his father 
and the gods, in imitation of Minos upon the death of his son, he made an 
offering of frankincense and wine, but without any music. 

Though he was ready and convers«ant with the Greek tongue, yet he did 
not use it everywhere, but chiefly declined it in the senate house ; insomuch 
that having occasion to use the word monopolium (monopoly), he first begged 
pardon for being obliged to trouble the house with a foreign word. And 
when in a decree of the senate, the word emhlema (emblem) was read, he 
advised to have it changed, and that a Latin word should be substituted in 
its room ; or if no proper one could be found, to express the thing in a cir- 
cumlocutory manner. A soldier who was examined, as a witness upon a 
trial, in Greek, he would not allow to make any answer but in Latin. 

The people rejoiced so much at his death, that, upon the first news of it, 
they ran up and down the city, some crying out, “ Away with Tiberius into 
the Tiber”; others exclaiming, “May the earth, the common mother of 
mankind, and the infernal gods, allow no place for the dead, but amongst 
the wicked.” Others threatened his body with the hook and the scalce 
gemonioe^ their indignation at his former cruelty being increased by a recent 
instance of the same kind. It had been provided by an act of the senate, 
that the punishment of persons condemned to die should always be deferred 
until the tenth day after the sentence. Now it happened that the day on 
which the news of Tiberius’ death arrived, was the time fixed by law for the 
execution of some persons that had been sentenced to die. These poor crea- 
tures implored the protection of all about them ; but because Caius was not in 
town, and there was none else to whom application could be made in their 
behalf, the men who were charged with the care of their execution, from a 
dread of offending against that law, strangled them, and threw them down 
the scalce gemonioe. This excited in the minds of the people a still greater 
abhorrence of the tyrant’s memory, since his cruelty subsisted even after his 
death. As soon as his corpse began to move from Misenxun, many cried 
out for its being carried to Atella, and broiled there in the amphitheatre. 
It was however brought to Rome, and burned with the usual ceremony, c 


MERIVALE’S estimate of TIBERIUS 

Caesar, the high-handed usurper, met an usurper’s death, by open violence 
in the light of day. Augustus, after fifty years of the mildest and most 
equitable rule the times admitted, sank at last by a slow and painless decay 
into the arms of those dearest to him, amidst the respectful sympathies of an 
admiring people. The end of Tiberius, whether consummated by treachery 



158 


THE HISTORY OF ROME 


[37 A.D.] 


or not, was shrouded in gloom and obscurity; the chamber of mortality 
agitated to the last by the intrigues and fears of the dying man and his 
siirvivors. The fellow-countrymen of the detested tyrant seem to have 
deemed it fitting that one whose life was to them an enigma should perish 
by a mysterious death. It seems preferable to represent him as a man whose 
character was sufficiently transparent, the apparent inconsistencies in whose 
conduct, often exaggerated and misrepresented, may generally be explained 


placed, an age of rapid though 

self, which invests him with an historical interest. This 

is the point to which it will be well to direct our attention, 
before letting the curtain drop upon the personage with 
whom the forms of the republic perished, and the despotism 
of the Cresars finally dropped its mask. 

The practice of delation, so rapidly developed under 
the rule of Tiberius, introduced a new principle into the 
government of his day, and marked it with features of its 

own. It is hardly possible to overrate the 
effects of this practice upon the general com- 
plexion of the Roman polity, nor is it easy to 
exaggerate the horror with which it came to 
be regarded. It was an attempt to reconcile 
the despotism of the monarch with the forms of a 
republic ; to strengthen the sovereign power by 
weakening its subjects; to govern the people by 
dividing them, by destroying their means of combi- 
nation among themselves, by generating among them 
habits of mutual distrust and fear, and finally plung- 
ing them into a state of political imbecility. It has 
been asserted that this system was in fact the product 
of peculiar circumstances rather than the creation of 
a deliberate will ; nevertheless the chief of the state 
was made, not unnaturally, to bear the whole respon- 
sibility of it, and the disgust of the nobler spirits 
of Rome at the tyranny of spies and informers was 
turned against the prince himself, in Avhose interest 
at least, if not at whose instigation, their enormities 
were for the most part perpetrated. 

If we examine the authorities for the history of 
the reign we have been reviewing, we shall find that 
those who were nearest to the times themselves 
have generally treated Tiberius with the greatest indulgence. Velleius 
Paterculus indeed, and Valerius Maximus, his contemporaries and subjects, 
must be regarded as mere courtly panegyrists; but the adulation of the one, 
though it jars on ears accustomed to the dignified self-respect of the earlier 
Romans, is not more high-flown in language and sentiment than what our own 
writers have addressed to the Georges, and even the Charleses and Jameses, 
of the English monarchy ; while that of the other is chiefly offensive from 
the connection in which it stands with the lessons of virtue and patriotism 
which his book was specially designed to illustrate. The elder Seneca, the 
master of a school of rhetoric, to which science his writings are devoted, 
makes no mention of the emperor under whom he wrote ; but his son, better 



Emperor in Military 
Tunic 

(From Trajan’s Column) 


THE IMMEDIATE SUCCESSORS OF AUGUSTUS 


159 


[25-37 A.D.] 

Imown as the statesman and philosopher, though he was under the tempta- 
tion of contrasting the austere and aged tyrant with the gay young prince to 
whom he was himself attached, speaks of him with considerable nfoderation, 
and ascribes the worst of his deeds to Sejanus and the delators rather than 
to his own evil disposition. 

In the pages of Philo^' and Josephus,^ the government of Tiberius is repre- 
sented as mild and equitable ; it is not till we come to Suetonius and Tacitus, 
in the third generation, that his enormities are blazoned in the colours so 
pamfully familiar to ixs.^ It will suffice here to remark that both these later 
writers belong to a period of strong reaction against tlie Caesarian despotism, 
when the senate was permitted to raise its venerable head and assume a show^ 
at least, of its old imperial prerogatives ; when the secret police of Rome was 
abolished, delation firmly repressed, freedom of speech proclaimed by the 
voice of the emperor himself, and the birthright of tlie Roman citizen respect- 
fully restored to him. There ensued a strong revulsion of feeling, not against 
monarchy, which had then become an accepted institution, but against the 
corruptions which had turned it into tyranny; and Tiberius, as the reputed 
founder of the system of delation, bore the odium of all the crimes of all the 
tyrants- who had succeeded him. Tacitus admits that the affairs of Tiberius 
were misrepresented during his power by fear, and after his death by spite ; 
yet we cannot doubt that Tacitus himself often yields to the bias of his 
detractors, while Suetonius is at best indifferent to the truth. After all, a 
sober discretion must suspend its belief regarding many of the circumstances 
above recorded, and acknowledge that it is only through a treacherous and 
distorting haze that we have scanned the features of this ill-omened principate. 


THE CHARACTER OF THE TIMES 

Nevertheless, the terror which prevailed in the last years of Tiberius, to 
whomsoever it is chiefly to be ascribed, exercised a baleful influence over 
society at Rome, and shows by effects which are still discoverable that it has 
been but little exaggerated. It has left permanent traces of itself in the 
manifest decline and almost total extinction of literatiire under its pressure. 
The Roman writers addressed only a small class in the capital ; to be popu- 
larly known in the provinces, to be read generally throughout the Roman 
world, was a privilege reserved for few, and anticipated perhaps rarely by 
any. Even in the capital the poet and historian composed their works for a 
circle of a few thousand knights and senators, for the friends and families of 
their own few hundreds of acquaintances, whom they invited to encourage their 
efforts by attending their recitations. The paralysis which benumbed the 
energies of the Roman nobility at this crisis of terror and despair, extended 
naturally to the organs of their sentiments and opinions. Not history and 
philosophy only suffered an eclipse, but poetry also, which under Augus- 
tus had been the true expression of the national feelings, became mute 
when the feelings themselves could no longer be trusted with utterance. 
Cremutius was subjected to persecution for pronouncing that Brutus and 
Cassius were the last of the Romans. A tragedian was accused, and if 
acciised, we may presume, perhaps, that he was condemned for speaking evil 

P It most, however, he understood that Tacitus unquestionably based his opinions upon con- 
temjwrary ac^unts that have not come down to us, or upon the verbal testimony of eye-wit- 
nesses. Tacitus was born only about twenty years after the death of Tiberius. It would appear, 
however, that the famous historian was led to adopt systematically the opinions, and even the 
indignant gossip, of the emperor*s enemies.] 



160 


THE HISTORY OF ROjME 


[37 A.D.J 

of the king of men, Agamemnon; and various authors were assailed, and 
their writings sentenced to proscription, to whose recitations the last princeps 

had himself listened with indulgence. . . , 

The poems which were tolerated were generally the most trilling, and 

perhaps licentious in character. The sly irony of the fable, a style of com- 
Msition adopted by slaves, and imitated from the servile Orientals, seems 
Lt unsuitable to these perilous times. The name of Phtedrus belongs m all 
probability to the Tiberian period, but it is curious that no later writer for 
four centuries should have cared to notice him. Similar or wope has been 
the fate of a more serious writer, Manilius, the author of an elaborate poem 
on astronomy and its spurious sister astrology, a theme of some danger 
under the circumstances of the times, but which he has treated with irre- 
proachable discretion; it is owing, perhaps, to the disgrace under which the 
forbidden science fell that this innocent work lapsed into entire oblivion, 
and has escaped the mention of any writer of antiquity. 

The deep gloom which settled upon the face of higher society at Rome dur- 
ino- the reign of Tiberius was heightened by its contrast ^vith the frivolous 
tlissipation of the populace, who, though deprived of the glitter of a brilliant 
court, and surrounded by signs of mourning and humiliation among their 
natural leaders, not the less abandoned themselves to the sensual enjoy- 
ments which alone they relished, and rejoiced in their utter indiiference to 
political principles, to parties, and to men. When Sejanus fell, they clam- 
oured with exultation over the body of the traitor ; nevertheless, had the 
goddess Nursia, says the moralist, but favoured her Etruscan votary ; had 
but the false intriguer circumvented the guileless old man, on the instant 
they would have been heard proclaiming Sejanus a Csesar and an Augustus. 
In the one class was abandonment of public life, shame, despair, and suicide; 
the intolerable evils of the time drove men not to religious consolations, but 
to a restless inquiry into the future, or a vain attempt to lull the sense of the 
present in philosophic apathy : the other rushed headlong, hour by hour, to 
the baths, shows, and largesses, or shouted at the heels of the idol of the 
moment, or sighed and perhaps murmured at his loss, and speedily resigned 
itself to oblivion of the fitful emotion of the day. 

We must be careful notwithstanding to observe that both the shame and 
tlie degradation were for the most part confined to the city and its vicinity, 
which were oppressed by the shadow of the imperial despot. / 


Caligula (caius julius c^sau caligula), 37-41 a.d. 

All Rome drew a deep breath at the great news. Macro’s adroitness and 
the devotion of the Romans to the house of Germanicus induced the senate to 
confer all the imperial prerogatives on the youthful Caligula. Thus began 
one of the strangest and most terrible episodes in the history of Rome. The 
dangerous defects and the baleful forces inherent in the system created by 
the first two emperors were fated to come to light with amazing rapidity in the 
course of this young Caesar’s reign ; a reign which it is difficult for the histo- 
rian to consider critically, because one result of the wrath and contempt most 
justly evoked by his scandalous misrule has been that of many of his sanguinary 
and foolish deeds no record except a deliberate caricature has come down to us. 
The fervid enthusiasm with which the capital hailed the son of Germanicus 
seemed at first justified by the manner in which Caligula exercised the 
authority which had now devolved upon him. 


THE IMMEDIATE SUCCESSORS OF AUGUSTUS ir.1 

[3T-41 A.D.] 

ImpeUed by nervous haste and violent passion in all things, whether 
good or evil, and relying on neither minister nor favourite, lie displav-ed a 
restless energy of the type natural to a man of but moderate ability who is 
wholly deficient in administrative training and incapable of exact thought, 
ills delight at the enthusiastic acclamations of the lionian people inspired 
this singularly organised being with the best of resolutions ; he fully in- 
tended to make the Komans happy. 

Thus he bore himself at first with modesty and good sense, especially in 
his dealings with the senate. His liberality to the populace and the soldiers 
his pious reverence towards the dead, no less than his consideration for the 
living members of his house, and the pardon of all persons accused of offences 
of majestas, together with various liberal ordinances, all conspired to produce 
a strong impression in his favour. But what most roused the enthusiasm 

that, casting aside the niggardly economy of the emperor 
Iiberius, he shared freely with them all in the festive humour of ^^eames” 
of every kind. ® 

For eight months he ruled in this fashion, and at the end of that time 
his unbridled excesses brought on a dangerous malady, from which he recov- 
ered much to the hurt of the Roman Empire and his own reputation. Pre- 
vious to this time he had lived as in a state of perpetual mental intoxication, 
brought to a climax probably by the fulsome expressions of popular concern 
during his illness. Whether the latter really had an ill effect upon his men- 
tal faculties or not, the madness of which he thenceforth gave manifest 
proofs is of a different type; a type to which critical students of the history 
of imperial Rome have given the name of megalomania or Ciesarian mad- 
ness, and we meet with it in others besides Caligula. 

A man in this condition — sane enough to realise that as long as the 
material basis of his power, the loyalty of the soldiery and the masses, is 
unshaken, he will meet with no opposition in the gratification of his maddest 
whims — may at any moment conceive the idea of testing the validity of his 
omnipotence in any direction. It is a mere chance whether this display of 
power is directed towards great or even reasonable ends, or whether it issues 
in deeds of crime and horror. This is more particularly the case when the 
monarch in question is the victim of shattered nerves, the child of caprice, 
and the toy of every passing impulse. 

The premonitory signs of the evil to come manifested themselves soon 
after the beginning of the year 38. Caligula, who chiefly delighted in the 
company of charioteers, stage-players, and buffoons, began to make a wan- 
ton exhibition of his despotic power, thus abruptly breaking with the astute 
policy of his predecessors. And it Avas a despotism which ignored the pre- 
cepts of ancient Roman decorum, which, in sexual relations, overstepped all 
bounds of law and modesty, nay, even of common decency. To the weari- 
some admonitions of Macro, who exhorted him to act with some degree of 

discretion, he replied by forcing both the general and his wife to commit 
suicide. 

Presently, however, the monarch having spent the vast riches of Tiberius 
in the space of nine or ten months, and being possessed with a mania for 
buil(Rng as well as with a passion for games, became aware of a very per- 
ceptible limit to his omnipotence. To relieve himself of his financial embar- 
rassments, he had recourse to the most sanguinary as well as to the pettiest 
and most infamous measures. Capital charges, most of which were decided 
before the emperor’s own tribunal, became more and more numerous, partly 
to satisfy Caligula’s growing lust of blood, partly to fill his coffers with the 

H, W. — VOL. VI, u 



162 


THE HISTORY OF ROME 


[37-41 A.D,] 

proceeds of confiscation. Trials for offences of majeitas were revived as a 

matter of course (39 A.D.). . , u* 4 . ..u j. 

The money thus acquired was squandered again and again on objects that 

could only be called colossal whims. Of these the most notorious was the 
construction of the ephemeral bridge of boats between Puteoli and Bai®, 
across which he caused a substantial highway to be made, with aqueducts 
and posting stations, after the model of the Appian way, for the sole purpose 
of crossinl it, surrounded by liis guards, in the character of tiiumphator, 
and celebrating this chaining of the ocean by a gorgeous banquet. 

His administration of imperial affairs was characterised by the same 
whimsical caprice. Having restored for no good purpose the kingdom of 
Commagene, he bestowed upon his friend and contemporary, M. Julius 
Agrippa (or Herod Agrippa, born 11 B.C.), grandson of Herod the Great, 
the greater part of his grandfather’s dominions, most of which had been 
annexed to Syria under Augustus and Tiberius. On the other hand, he 
summoned Ptolemy, king of Mauretania (from 23 B.C. onwards), to Rome in 
the year 40, and there put him out of the way for the sake of liis wealth. 

Tradition represents all the scenes of Caligula s visit to Gaul in a light 
absolutely grotesque. [Some details from Suetonius will be introduced 
presently.] The shout of triumph after a sortie across the Rhine in which 
some of his Germanic guards were brought back as sham prisoners, strikes 
the reader as wholly comic, but we note with indignation that at Lyons 
Caligula continued the disgraceful system of making money by capital sen- 
tences and criminal charges against persons of rank, and recruited his finances 
by putting interesting and ancient articles from the palace of the Caesars at 
Rome up to public auction. 

The collection of an army, estimated at some 250,000 men, in the porte of 
the Morini on the Channel with a view to the conquest of Britain remained 
nothing but an empty demonstration. It may have induced the British 
chiefs to avert tlie danger by a formal act of homage and valuable presents ; 
but tradition represents Caligula as concluding this bloodless expedition with 
a piece of buffoonery, and after bestowing costly gifts on the soldiers, com- 
manding them to pick up shells on the shore as “ spoils won from the ocean.” 

When he returned to Rome, late in the summer of the year 40, his humour 
assumed a more and more sinister character. He regarded his own person 
as divine, though he loved to appear with the attributes of the various gods 
and goddesses of the Graeco- Roman Pantheon ; and he now instituted a col- 
lege of priests in his own honour, and while heaping ignominy on the most 
revered of ancient images of the gods, commanded that he himself should 
be worshipped in temples set apart for the purpose throughout the provinces. 

In this attempt he met with serious resistance only from the orthodox 
Jews. When P. Petronius, legate of Syria, received orders to set up a colossal 
gilded statue of the emperor in the Holy of Holies at Jerusalem, the wrath 
of the Jews rose to such a pitch that nothing but the sudden death of Calig- 
ula prevented the outbreak of grave trouble throughout Judea. By this 
time the tyrant’s popularity was declining even among the masses at Rome, 
whom he had pampered with games and presents; for he had lately begun 
to impose on the citizens of the capital a series of burdensome taxes, which 
were exacted with the utmost rigour. Nevertheless his fate did not over- 
take him till his conduct gave deep offence to several of the officers of the 
praetorian guard. Then Cassius Chaerea, tribune of a praetorian cohort, 
headed a conspiracy, and aided by Cornelius Sabinus and others slew the 
emperor in a corridor of the palace on the 24th of January, 41 a.d.^ 



[37-41 A.D.] 


THE IMMEDIATE SUCCESSORS OF AUGUSTUS 


163 


SUETONIUS DESCRIBES CALIGULA 

Per detaUs of his brief but appalling career we cannot do better than eo 
to tbe fountain bead — Suetonius. There is no other important ancient 
source for this reign except Dion Cassius i; and modern research can only 
interpret and criticise, without adding to the original records a 

assumed a variety of titles, such as “ Dutiful, the Son of tlie Camp, 
the Father of the Armies, and the Greatest and the Best Caesar.” Upon 
hearing some kings, who came to the city to pay their respects to him, con- 
tending amongst themselves at supper, about the nobleness of their birtli, he 
exclaimed, “Let there be but one prince, one king.” He was stronely in- 
cUned to take a crown immediately, and to turn the imperial dignity into 



The Claudian Aqueduct 


(Begun by Caligula; finished by Claudius) 

the form of a kingdom ; but being told that he far exceeded the grandeur 
^ kings and princes, he began to arrogate to himself a divine majesty. 
He ordered all the images of the gods, that were famous either for their 
beauty or the veneration paid them, amongst which was that of Jupiter 
UlympiuB, to be brought from Greece, that he might take the heads off, and 
put on his own. He carried on a part of the Palatine as far as the Forum ; 
and the temple of Castor and Pollux being converted into a kind of porch to 
his house, he would often stand betwixt the two brothers, and so present 
himself to be worshipped by aU votaries, some of whom saluted him by the 
name ot Jupiter Latiaris. He ordered likewise a temple and priests, and the 
most choice victims for his own godhead. In his temple stood an image of 
gold, exactly of the same size as himself, and which was every day dressed 
up in the same sort of garment as that which he used. The most opulent per- 
sons m the city offered themselves as candidates for the honour of being his 
pnests, and purchased it successively at an immense price. The victims were 
flamingoes, peacocks, bustards, numidicae, turkey-hens, and pheasant-hens, 
each sacrificed on their respective days. In the night he used constantly to 
invite the moon, when full, to his embraces. In the daytime he talked in 
private to Jujnter Capitolinus, one while whispering to him, and another turn- 

^ ^ he would talk aloud, and in railing language. 

f unwilling to be thought or called the grapdson of Agrippa, because 

oi the obscurity of his birth ; and he was offended if any one, either in prose 
or verse, ranked him amongst the Caesars. He said his mother was the fruit 



164 T™ HISTORY OF ROME ^ 

„t „ incesluou. comniere., t.mty 

And not content \vith this vile re Sicily, to be celebrated 

forbade his victories at Actium, ^ most pernicious and fatal conse- 

.6 „6U.l , .Oiming la “.i4 A«gu,U 

quence to the Roman indecency to reRect upon her in a 

letter to the senate, ^utlq^and descended,^b> _ 

whm-eas®itts certain, from autLntic documents, that Aufidius Lingo held 
public offices at Rome. conference with him, he 

rt ‘fli 

milit'irv tribune for that purpose. He forced Silanus his fathei in law 
kill liimself by cutting his throat with a razor. The pretext he alleged for 
these murdei/was, that the latter had not followed him upon putting to sea in 
stormy weather, but stayed behind with the view of seizing the city, if he should 
have Len lost in the voyage. The other, he said, smelt of an antidote, which 
h^had Uken to prevent his being poisoned by him ; whereas Sdanus w^ 
only afraid of being seasick, and of the trouble of the voyage ; and Tiberius 
had only made use of a medicine for a habitual cough, which was constantly 
increasing upon him. As to his successor Claudius, he only saved lum to 

™*^\le Uved in the habit of incest with all his sisters ; when then^ 

Drusilla, was married to Cassius Longinus, a man of consular rank, he took 
her from him, and kept her openly as his wife. In a fit A® 

death, he ordered a public mourning for her ; during which it was capital for 
any person to laugh, use the bath, or sup with prents, wife, or cffildien. 
Being inconsolable under his affliction, he went hastily, and in the “igbi 
time, from the city, going through Campania to Syracuse ; and ^ “f 

he returned without shaving his beard, or trimming his hair all that time. 
Nor did he ever after, in matters of the greatest importance, not even in tn^ 
assemblies of the people and soldiers, swear any otherivise, than By the 

divinity of Drusilla.” . „ . , 

He never but once in his life concerned himself with military affairs, ana 

then not deliberately, but in his journey to Mevania, to see the grove ana 

river of Clitumnus. Being put in mind of recruiting lus company ot liata- 

vians, which he had about him, he resolved upon an expedition into Crermany. 

Immediately he drew together several legions and auxiliary forces from all 

quarters, and made everywhere new levies with the utmost rigour. Laying 

in provisions of all kinds, beyond what had ever been done upon the like 

occasion, he set out on his march ; and pursued it with so much haste an 

hurry sometimes, that the guards were obliged, contrary to custoni, to lay 

their standards upon the backs of horses or mules, and so follow him. At 

other times, he would march with such slowness and delicacy, that he 

would be carried in a chair by eight men ; ordering the roads to be swept 

by the people of the neighbouring towns, and sprinkled with water to lay 

the dust. 



THE IMMEDIATE SUCCESSORS OF AUGUSTUS 


165 


[37-^1 A.D.] 

Upon arriving in the camp, to show himself an active general, and severe 
disciplinarian, he cashiered the lieutenant-generals that came up late with 
the auxiliary forces from different parts. In reviewing the army, he took 
their companies from most of the centurions of the first rank, who had now 
served their legal time in the wars, and from some but a few days before 
their time would have expired ; alleging against them their great age and 
infirmity ; and railing at the covetous disposition of the rest of them, he 
reduced the premiums due to such as had served out their time to the 
sum of six thousand sesterces. Though he only received the submission of 
Adminius, the son of Cinobelinus a British prince, who being forced from 
his native country by his father, came over 
to him with a small body of troops ; yet, as 
if the whole island had been surrendered to 
him, he despatched magnificent letters to 
Rome upon the occasion, ordering the bearers 
to proceed in their chaise directly up to the 
Forum and the senate house, and not to deliver 
the letters but to the consuls in the temple of 
Mars, and in the presence of a full assembly 
of the senators. 

Soon after this, there being a general tran- 
quillity, he ordered a few Germani of his 
guard to be carried over and concealed on the 
other side of the Rhine, and word to be 
brought him after dinner, in a great hurry, 
that an enemy was advancing. This being 
accordingly done, he immediately posted away 
with his friends, and a party of the horse- 
guards, into the adjoining wood, where lopping 
the branches of some trees, and dressing them 
up in the manner of trophies, he returned by 
torchlight, upbraiding those who did not 
follow him, with timorousness and cowardice ; 
but presented the companions and sharers of 
his victory with a new kind of crown, and 
under a new name, with the representation of 
the sun, moon, and stars upon them, which he 
called exploratoriae. Again, some hostages 
were by his order taken out of a school, and 
privately sent off; upon notice of which he 
immediately rose from table, pursued them 
with the horse, as if they had run away, and coming up with them, brought 
them back in chains ; proceeding to an extravagant pitch of ostentation 
likewise in this mihtary comedy. Upon again sitting down to table, when 
some came to acquaint him that the army was all come in, he ordered them 
to sit down as they were in their coats of mail, animating them in the words 
of a well-known verse of Virgil. 

In the meantime, he reprimanded the senate and people of Rome by a very 
severe proclamation, “for revelling and frequenting the diversions of the 
circus and theatre, and enjoying themselves in their coimtry-houses, whilst 
their emperor was fighting, and exposing his person to the greatest dangers.” 

At last, as if resolved to make an end of the war at once, drawing up his 
army upon the shore of the ocean, with his balistse and other engines of war. 



Roman Soldier’s Method of ford- 
ing A River, carrying his Arms 
AND Clothing on his Shield 



166 


THE HISTORY OF ROME 


[37-41 A.D.] 

whilst nobody could imagine what he intended to do, on a sudden he com- 
manded them to gather up the sea shells, and fill their helmets, and the laps 
of their coats with them, calling them, “the spoils of the ocean due to the 
Capitol and the Palatine.” As a monument of his success, he raised a high 
tower, upon which he ordered lights to be put in the night-time, for the 
direction of ships at sea ; and then promising the soldiers a donative of a 
hundred denarii a man, as if he had surpassed the most eminent examples of 
generosity, “ Go your waj^s,” said he, “ and be merry ; go and be rmli. 

Upon his applying himself to make preparations for his triuinph besides 
prisoners and those who had deserted from the barbarians, he picked out the 
men of greatest stature in all Gaul, such as he said were fittest for a triumph, 
with some of the most considerable persons in the province, and reserved 
them to grace the solemnity ; obliging them not only to dye their hair of a 
yellowish colour, and let it grow long, but to learn the German language, 
and assuniG the names commonly used in that country* He ordered likewise 
the galley in which he had entered the ocean, to be carried a great part of 
the way to Rome by land, and wrote to the collectors of his revenue in the 
city, “ to make proper preparations for a triumph against his arrival, at as 
small expense as possible ; but Such a one, however, as had never been seen 
before, since they had full power and authority to seize the estates of all 

men whatever.” 

In person, Caligula was tall, of a pale complexion, ill shaped, lus neck and 
legs very slender, his eyes and temples hollow, his forehead broad and grim, 
his hair thin, and about the crown quite decayed. The other parts of his 
body were much covered with hair. On this account, it was reckoned a 
capital crime for any person to look down from above, as he was passing by, 
or so much as to name a goat. His countenance, which was naturally 
hideous and frightful, he purposely rendered more so, forming it by a glass 
into the most horrible contortions. He was crazy both in body and mind, 
being subject when a boy to the falling sickness. When he arrived at the 
age of manhood, he would endure fatigue tolerably well, yet so that 
occasionally he was liable to a faintness, during which he remained incapa- 
ble of any effort, even for his own preservation. He was not insensible of 
the disorder of his mind, and sometimes had thoughts of retiring to purge 
his brain. It was believed that his wife Ciesonia had administered to him a 
love-potion wliich threw him into a frenzy. What most of all disordered 
him was want of sleep, for he seldom had more than three or four hours’ 
rest in a night ; and even then he slept not soundly, but disturbed by 
strange dreams ; fancying one time that the ocean spoke to him. Being 
therefore often weary with lying awake so great a part of the night, he 
would one while sit upon the bed, and another while walk in the longest 
porticos about his house, and now and then invoke and look out for the 
approach of day. 

In his clothes, shoes, and other parts of his dress, he neither followed 
the usage of his country, his sex, nor indeed any fashion suitable to a 
human creature. He would often appear abroad dressed in an embroidered 
coat set with jewels, in a tunic with sleeves, and with bracelets upon his 
arms ; sometimes all in silks and habited like a woman ; at other times in the 
crepidoB or buskins ; sometimes in a sort of shoes used by the meaner soldiers, 
or those of women, and commonly with a golden beard fixed to his chin, 
holding in his hand a thunderbolt, a trident, or a caduceus, marks of dis- 
tinction belonging to the Gods only. Sometimes too he appeared in the 
dress of Venus. He wore very commonly the triumphal dress, even before 



THE IMMEDIATE SUCCESSORS OF AUGUSTUS 167 

[37-^1 A.D.] 

his expedition, and sometimes the breast-plate of Alexander the Great, taken 
out of the vault where his body lay. 

In respect of the liberal sciences, he was little conversant in philology 
but applied himself with assiduity to the study of eloquence, being indeed m 
point of enunciation sufficiently elegant and ready ; and these qualities 
appeared most conspicuous when he happened to be in a passion. In speak- 
ing, his action was vehement, and his voice so strong that he was heard at a 
great distance. When he was about to harangue, he threatened “ the sword 
ot his lucubration.” He so much despised a soft smooth style that he said 
beneca, who was then much admired, » wrote only boyish declamations,” and 
that “his language was nothing else but sand without lime.” When 
pleaders were successful in a cause, he often wrote answers to their speeches ; 
and would exercise himself in composing accusations or vindications of emi- 
nent persons that were impeached before the senate ; and according to his 
success he would exasperate or assuage the situation of the party by his vote 
in the house; inviting the equestrian order, by proclamation, to hear him. 

He likewise applied himself with alacrity to the practice of several other 
arts, as fencing, riding the chariot, singing, and dancing. In the first of 
these, he practised with the weapons used in fighting; and drove the chariot 
in circuses built in several places. He was so extremely fond of singing 
and dancing that he could not refrain in the theatre from singing with the 
tragedians, and imitating the gestures of the actors, either in tlie way of 
approbation or correction. A pervigilium which he had ordered the day 
upon which he was slain was thought to be intended for no other reason 
than to take the opportunity afforded by the licentiousness of such a season 
to make his first appearance upon the stage. Sometimes he danced likewise 
in the night. Sending once, in the second watch of the night, for three men 
^1 rank, who were under great apprehensions from the message, he 

placed them by the stage, and then all of a sudden came bursting outfwith 
a loud noise of flutes and Scabella, dressed in a pella and tunic reaching 
dovm to his heels. Having danced out a song, he retired. Yet he who had 
acqmred such dexterity in other exercises, could never swim. 

Ihose for whom he once conceived a regard he favoured even to mad- 
ness. He used to kiss Mnester, the pantomimic, publicly in the theatre ; 
and if any person made the least noise while he was dancing, he would 
order him to be dragged out of his seat and scourged him with his own 
hand. A Koman knight once making some bustle, he sent him, by a cen- 
ti^ion, an order to go forthwith down to Ostia, and carry a letter from 
him to King Ptolemy in Mauretania. The letter was comprised in these 
words: “Do neither good nor harm to the bearer.” He made some gladi- 

German guar^. He took from the gladiators called 
rmiUones some of their arms. One Columhus coming off with victory 
m a comhat, but being slightly wounded, he ordered some poison to be 

ceSifnW wound, which he thence caUed ColumUnum^ For tLs it 

ertainly was put down with his own hand amongst other poisons. He 

S the party of charioteers that rode in green, 

miUions of sesterces to one Cythicus a driver of a chariot. The day before 

hnLh by bis soldiers to enjoin silence in the neigh- 

repose of his horse Incitatus might not be disturbed, 
animal, besides a marble stable, an ivory manger, scarlet 
ody clothes, and a bracelet of jewels, he appointed a house, with a retinue 



i(.o THE HISTORY OF ROME 

[37--41 A.D.] 

of slaves and fine furniture, for the reception of such as were invited ui the 
horse’s name to sup with him. It is even said that he designed to have 

"^'^'sucMs the* picture of this lunatic as Suetonius vividly paints it. For 
four ^ear^the world bore his furious madness without by sedition protestmg 
against such a saturnalia of power. “ How wish said the “"^ter, that 
the Roman people had only one head, so I could strike it off at a blow. i he 
Lnaie,™ owU-er, grew ti^d of finding him victims, and finally, as already 

mentioned, a prietorian tribune, Chaerea, strangled him. 

Chierea wL a republican. He and his friends thought that, after such 
a prince, monarchical government had been sufficiently judged by experience. 
'I'he occasion now seemed favourable for the senate to resume the power. 
It did so, and for three days deemed a republic assured. But this was 

reckoning without either soldiers or p^ple. i i, -fi^ 

At the time of Caligula’s murder, Claudius, his uncle, who was with 

him had hidden in an obscure corner. A soldier found and showed him 
to his comrades. Claudius begged for life. “ Be our emperor, they an- 
swered, and as he trembled and could not walk, they carried him to their 
camp where he regained sufficient courage to harangue the troops, prom- 
ising them money (donativum). It was the price of an empire he paid, an 
unfortunate innovation which amongst the soldiers had passed into law. 

The senators, abandoned little by little, themselves hastened to greet 
the new master. Chaerea was sentenced to death. “ Do you know how to 
kill?” he asked the soldier charged to execute him. “ Your sword is not 
well ground perhaps. That which I used for Caligula would be better. 


Claudius (Tiberius Claudius Drusus C^sar"), 41-45 a.d. 

Claudius, brother to Germanicus and grandson to Livia, through his father 
Drusus the first, was then fifty years old. During his youth he had been con- 
tinually ill, and in the royal household every one had neglected the poor child, 
not daring to show him either to the people or the soldiers. At last his 
existence was almost forgotten and at forty-six he was not even a senator. 
He consoled himself by study and writing a history of the Etruscans and 
Carthaginians. Caligula, who named him consul, brought him a- little more 
into prominence ; the soldiers’ whim did the rest. They gave him the enapire, 
but could not do away with the effects of his upbringing, that timidity, 
irresolution, and want of self-dependence which resulted most disastrously, 
so that he often did evil with the very best intentions. In his reign the real 
rulers were his wife, Messallina, whose name is one with all debauchery and 
even with most repulsive coarseness, and his freedmen Polybius, Narcissus, 
and Pallas. [At least they exercised an undue influence over him.] 

Claudius began well. He revoked the acts of Caligula, had the Augus- 
tan laws sworn to, and recalled the banished. Naturally kind-hearted, he 
easily adopted the manners that had contributed to the popularity of the first 
emperor. He visited his sick friends, consulting the consuls and the senate 
as if he were quite dependent on their favour. He liked to act as judge 
and often did it very well. Unfortunately, his undignified bearing, his 
shaking head, stammering and often ridiculous speech made him of very 
little account. He re-established the censorship and often exercised it him- 
self, but rather with the tastes of an antiquarian loving old customs than 
with a sense of the real needs of the empire. 



THE IMMEDIATE SUCCESSORS OF AUGUSTUS 


169 


[41-50 A.D.] 

In spite of these oddities and weaknesses, this prince, without regarding 
the examples of infamy and crime given by his surroundings, can hardly be 
counted among the worst emperors. The freedmen whom long power had 
not yet spoiled sought to justify their influence by good service, and we find 
what we should hardly have expected — namely, several wise measures with 
regard to slaves in the interior; against too greedy advocates, usurers, and 
those banished from the provinces who flocked to Rome, etc. Moreover, 
there were useful works: an aqueduct, a port at Ostia, an attempt to drain 
Lake Fucinus, etc. In the provinces a liberal administration and a firm 
foreign policy were crowned by success. 

Augustus had wished to constitute a Roman minority in the midst of the 
submissive nations which would prove a support to the government. But 
it was to govern always in Rome’s interests. A futile effort, because he 
was aiming at nothing less than arresting the course of the world, as if 
the emperors could have continued an 
aristocracy against which they had 
contended in the battles of Pharsalia, 

Thapsus, and Philippi. In his will 
Augustus had advised a careful guard- 
ing of civic privilege, and in the short 
space of thirty-four months, the num- 
ber of citizens had nearly doubled. 

Tiberius aided much in this increase. 

Claudius also contributed largely, be- 
cause he made the law of continuous 
extension and progressive assimilation, 
which had made the fortune of the re- 
public, a rule of policy. He pei-son- 
ally asked that the nobles of Q-allia 
Comata^ who had long been citizens, 
should also assume Roman dignities 
and have a seat in the senate. 

Only one religious provincial sect 
was persecuted under Claudius — that 
of the Druids, because their priests re- The Emperor Claudius 

fused the peace offered by A.UgUStUS (From a bust in the Voticon) 

on condition of their uniting their gods 

to the Olympian deities. Claudius tried, therefore, to abolish their worship, 
and punished with death both priests anti their adherents. ^ 

In the interior parts of Britain, the natives, under the command of Carac- 
tacus, maintained an obstinate resistance, and little progress was made by 
the Roman arms, until Ostorius Scapula was sent over to prosecute the war. 
He penetrated into the country of the Silures, a warlike tribe who inhabited 
the banks of the Severn ; and having defeated Caractacus in a great battle, 
made him prisoner, and sent him to Rome (50 a.d.). The fame of the 
pritish prince had by this time spread over the provinces of Gaul and Italy ; 
and upon his arrival in the Roman capital, the people flocked from all 
quarters to behold him. The ceremonial of his entrance was conducted with 
great solemnity. On a plain adjoining to the Roman camp, the praetorian 
troops were drawn up in martial array ; the emperor and his court took their 
station in the front of the lines, and behind them was ranged the whole body 
of the people. The procession commenced with the different trophies which 
had been taken from the Britons during the progress of the war. Next 




170 


THE HISTORY OF ROME 


[41-«) A.D.] 

followed the brothers of the vanquished prince, with his wife and daughter, 
in chains, expressing by their supplicating looks and gestures the fears with 
which they were actuated. But not so Caractacus himself. With a manly 
gait and an undaunted countenance, he marched up to the tribunal, where 
the emperor was seated, and addressed him in the following terms: 

“ If to my birth, and distinguished rank, I had added the virtues of mod- 
eration, Rome had beheld me rather as a friend than a captive ; and you 
would not have rejected an alliance with a prince descended from illustrious 
ancestors, and governing many nations. The reverse of my fortune to you 
is glorious, and to me humiliating. I had arms, and men, and horses ; I 
possessed extraordinary riches ; and can it be any wonder that I was unwill- 
ing to lose them? Because Rome aspires to universal dominion, must men 
therefore implicitly resign themselves to subjection? I opposed for a long 
time tlie progress of your arms, and had I acted otherwise, would either you 
have had the glory of conquest, or I of a brave resistance? I am now in 
your power ; if you are determined to take revenge, my fate will soon be for- 
gotten, and you will derive no honour from the transaction. Preserve my 
life, and I shall remain to the latest ages a monument of your clemency.” 

Immediately upon this speech, Claudius granted him his liberty, as he 
did likewise to the other royal captives. They all returned their thanks, in 
a manner the most grateful to the emperor ; and as soon as their chains were 
taken off, walking towards Agrippina, who sat upon a bench at a little dis- 
tance, they repeated to her the same fervent declarations of gratitude and 
esteem. 

History has preserved no account of Caractacus after this period ; but it 
is probable that he returned in a short time to his own country, where his 
former valour, and the magnanimity which he had displayed at Rome, would 
continue to render him illustrious through life, even amidst the irretrievable 
ruin of his fortunes. c 

In Germany a successful expedition had restored to the Romans the last 
of the eagles of Varus. But Claudius, practising on this side Tiberian poli- 
tics, busied himself particularly in taking up a strong position on the Rhine 
and winning barbarian chiefs to the interests of Rome. He succeeded so 
well that in 47 the Cherusci cjime to him, asking for a king. Corbulo, the 
greatest general of this time, wanted to carry out the plans of the first 
Drusus against the Germans. He subdued the Frisians and attacked the 
Chauci. Claudius stayed his advance. “ Happy were the old Roman con- 
suls ! ” said the ambitious general as he obeyed. In order at least to occupy 
his soldiers he had a canal dug from the Meuse to the Rhine, another leader 
made his men open the mines. Everywhere these useful works were now 
demanded from the troops. 

On the Danube peace was undisturbed. In Thrace various troubles made 
Claudius intervene and reduce the country to a province. In the Bosporus, 
a king deposed by him took arms, was conquered, and gave himself up. In the 
East the emperor had the glory of reconquering Armenia and giving a king 
to the Parthians. Unfortunately these successes did not continue ; the Romaic 
candidate to the throne of the Arsacidae was overthrown and for some time 
V ologeses kept the Armenian crown on the head of his brother Tiridates. 

Lycia made bad use of her liberty, so Claudius took it away, and the 

Jewish king, Agrippa, dying in 44, he united Palestine to the government 

of Syria. In Africa, Suetonius Paulinus and Geta subdued the Moors, whose 

^untry formed two provinces — the Mauretania Csesariensis and Mauretania 
Tingitana. 



THE IMMEDIATE SUCCESSORS OF AUGUSTUS 171 

[41-54 A.D.] 

The emperor now lacked neither military nor political glory. Maure- 
tania and the half of Britain were conquered ; the Germans coerced, the 
Bosporus reduced to obedience; Thrace, Lycia, and Judea made provinces, 
and the Parthian troubles long since smoothed over. Within the empire there 
was growing prosperity; the army was well disciplined and its activity was 
directed to the public welfare under the direction of generals grown old in 
command. Certainly, results everywhere were sufficient to gratify the pride 
of a prince. It is with regret that we have to turn to Rome to see nobles 
whose only occupation was conspiracy or base flattery — and to that impe- 
rial palace which was disgraced by a weak prince and his immoral \vife, the 
shameless Messallina.& The misdeeds of the latter will now claim our 
attention. Let Tacitus draw her portrait; 


THE MISDEEDS OF MESSALLINA DESCRIBED BY TACITUS 

The facility of ordinary adulteries having produced satiety, Messallina 
broke forth into unheard-of excesses ; when even Silius, her paramour, whether 
impelled by some fatal infatuation, or judging that the dangers hanging over 
him were only to be averted by boldly confronting them, urged that all 
disguises should now be renounced, for matters, he said, were gone too far 
for them to wait for the death of the emperor ; blameless counsels were for 
the innocent, but in glaring guilt safety must be sought in reckless daring. 
They were backed by accomplices who dreaded the same doom. As for him- 
self, he was single, childless, ready to marry her, and to adopt Britannicus : to 
Messallina would still remain her present power; with the addition of secur- 
ity, if they anticipated Claudius ; who, as he was unguarded against the 
approaches of stratagem, so was he headstrong and impetuous when pro- 
voked to anger. These suggestions were but coldly received by Messallina ; 
from no love to her husband; but lest Silius, when he had gained the 
sovereignty, should scorn his adulteress ; and the treason, which in his present 
perilous predicament he approved, would then be estimated according to its real 
desert. ^ She, however, coveted the name of matrimony, from the greatness 
of the infamy attaching to it ; which, with those who are prodigal of fame, 
forms the crowning gratification of depraved appetite. Nor stayed she 
longer than till Claudius went to Ostia, to assist at a sacrifice ; when she 
celebrated her nuptials with Silius, with all the usual solemnities. 

I am aware [Tacitus continues] that it will appear fabulous that any 
human beings should have exhibited such recklessness of consequences ; and 
that, in a city where everything was known and talked of, any one, much 
more a consul elect, should have met the emperor’s wife, on a stated day, in 
the presence of persons called in, to seal the deeds, as for the purpose of 
procreation, and that she should have heard the words of the augurs, 
entered the house of the husband, sacrificed to the gods, sat down amoncr 
the gueste at the nuptial banquet, exchanged kisses and embraces, and in fine 
passed the night in unrestrained conjugal intercourse. But I would not 
dress up my narrative with fictions to give it an air of marvel, rather than 
relEts what has been stated to me or written by my seniors. 

The consequence was that the domestic circle of the prince was horror- 
struck ; especially those who had the chief sway, and who dreaded the 
result, if the state of things should be changed, no longer confined them- 

secret communications, but exclaimed with undisguised indignation 
that while the emperor’s bedchamber was made the theatre for a stage- 



172 


THE HISTORY OF ROME 


[48 A.D.] 


nl iver to dance upon, a reproach was indeed ineurred, but the immediate 
dissolution of the^ state was not now threatened ; a young man of noble 
rank of fascinating person, mental vigour, and just entering upon the con- 
"i; ,va, .dd,ofs£g hiiaelf to higher objects , .or »». rt ..y 

rented on the stupidity of Claudius, his bUnd attachment to his wife, and 
the many hves sacrificed to her fury, they were unable to divest themselves 

their eonfidence ; that, if they could first possess him with 
ness of her erimes, she might be despatehed without trial. But the danger 
turned upon this — tliat she might make a defence ; and that even if she con- 
fessed her guilt, the emperor might be deaf to that evidence also. 

But fir-st it was deliberated by Callistus, whom, in relating the assassina- 
tion of Caligula, I have already mentioned ; by Narcissus, who plotted the 
murder of Appius ; and by Pallas, then the reigning favourite, whether, 
fei^nine ignorance of all other circumstances, they should conipel Messallma 
to break off her amour with Silius by secret menaces ; but they afterwards 
abandoned this project from fear lest they should themselves be dragged to 
execution as culprits. Pallas was faint hearted ; and Callistus, a courtier in 
the last reign also, had learned by experience that power was secured more 
effectually by wary measures than by daring counsels. Narcissus persis^d; 
with this difference only, that he took care not to let fall a word by which 
she might know beforehand the charge against her or accuser ; and 
watching all occasions, while the emperor lingered at Ostia, he pre- 
vailed with two courtesans, who were the chief mistresses of Claudius, to 
undertake the task of laying the matter before him, by means of presei^ 
and promises^ and by representing to them in attractive colouis that by the 

fall of bis wife their own influence would be increased. 

Calpurnia therefore, for that was the name of the courtesan, upon the first 
occasion of privacy, falling at the emperor’s feet, exclaimed, that Messallina 
had married Silius ; and at the same time asked Cleopatra, who purposely 
attended to attest it, whether she had not found it to be true. Claudms, 
upon a confirmation from Cleopatra, ordered Narcissus to be called. He, 
when he came, begged pardon for his past conduct in having concealed from 
the prince her adulteries while they were limited to the Vectii and Plautii ; 
nor meant he now, he said, to charge Silius with adulteries ; nor urge that 
he should restore the house, the slaves, and the other decorations of im- 
perial fortune : the adulterer might still enjoy these ; let him only break the 
nuptial tables, and restore the emperor’s wife. “ Know you, Csesar, that you 
are in a state of divorce ? In the face of the people, and senate, and soldiery, 
Messallina has espoused Silius ; and unless you act with despatch, her hus- 
band is master of Rome.” 

He then sent for his most confidential friends, particularly for Turranius, 
superintendent of the stores ; next for Lusius Geta, captain of the praetorian 
guards ; and inquired of them. As they avouched it, the rest beset him with 
clamorous importunities, that he should forthwith proceed to the camp, se- 
cure the praetorian cohorts, and consult his preservation before his revenge. 
It is certain that Claudius was so confounded and panic-stricken that he was 
incessantly asking whether he were still emperor — whether Silius was still 
a private man. 

As to Messallina, she never wallowed in greater voluptuousness ; it was 
then the middle of autumn, and in her house she exhibited a representation 
of the vintage ; the wine-presses were plied, the wine vats flowed, and round 



THE IMMEDIATE SUCCESSORS OF AUGUSTUS 


173 


[48 A.D.] 


them danced women begirt with skins, like Bacchanalians at their sacrifices, 
or under the maddening inspiration of their deity. She herself, with her hair 
loose and flowing, waved a thyrsus ; by her side Silius, crowned with ivy, 
and wearing buskins, tossed 


liis head about ; wliile around 
them danced the wanton choir 
in obstreperous revelry. It is 
reported that Vectius Valens, 
having in a frolic climbed to 
an exceeding high tree, when 
asked what he saw, answered, 
“A terrible storm from Ostia.” 

It was now no longer 
vague rumour; but messengers 
poured in on all sides with 
tidings that Claudius, ap- 
prised of all, had approached, 
bent upon instant vengeance. 
They separated ; Messallina 
betook herself to the gardens 
of Lucullus, and Silius, to dis- 
semble his fear, resumed the 
offices of the Forum. As the 
rest were slipping off different 
ways, the centurions came up 
with them and bound them, 
some in the street, others in 
lurking-places, according as 
each was found. Messallina, 
however, though in her dis- 
tress incapable of deliberation, 
formed the bold resolution of 
meeting her husband, and pre- 
senting herself to his view — 
an expedient which had often 
proved her protection. She 
likewise ordered that Britan- 
nicus and Octavia should go 
forth and embrace their father ; 
and besought Vibidia, the old- 
est vestal, to intercede with the 
chief pontiff, and earnestly im- 
portune his clemency. She 
herself meanwhile traversed 
on foot the whole extent of the 



city, attended only by three 


Messallina 


persons (so suddenly had her (From a portrait bust) 

whole train forsaken her), and 


then, in a cart employed to carry out dirt from the gardens, took the road to 
Ostia, unpitied by anyone, as the enormity of her crimes overpowered 
every feeling of the kind. 

Claudius was in a state of no less trepidation ; for he could not implicitly 
rely on Geta, the captain of his guards — an equally fickle instrument of fraud 



174 


THE HISTORY OF ROME 


[48 A.D.] 

or honesty. Narcissus therefore, in concert with those who entertained the 
same mistrust, assured the emperor, that there was no other expedient to 
preserve liim than the transferring the command of his guards to one of his 
freedmen, for that day only ; and offered himself to undertake it. And, 
that Lucius Vitellius and Publius Largus Caecina might not on his way to 
the city prevail with Claudius to relent, he desired to have a seat in the same 
vehicle, and took it. 

It was afterwards currently reported that, while the emperor was giving 
expression to the opposite feelings which agitated his breast, at one time in- 
veighing against the atrocities of his wife, and then at length recurring to 
the recollection of conjugal intercourse and the tender age of his children, 
Vitellius uttered nothing but “ Oh ! the villainy ! Oh! the treason!” Nar- 
cissus indeed pressed him to discard all ambiguity of expression, and let them 
know his real sentiments; but he did not therefore prevail upon him to give 
any other than indecisive answers, and such as would admit of any interpre- 
tation which might be put upon them ; and his example was followed by 
Largus Ccccina. And now Messallina was in sight, and importunately called 
on the emperor “ to hear the mother of Octavia and Britannicus,” when her 
accuser drowned her cries with the story of Silius and the marriage, and 
delivered at the same time to Claudius a memorial reciting all her whore- 
doms ; to divert him from beholding her. Soon after, as the emperor was 
entering Rome, it was attempted to present to him his children by her ; but 
Narcissus ordered them to be taken away. He could not, however, prevent 
Vibidia from insisting, with earnest remonstrances, that he would not 
deliver his wife to destruction without a hearing ; so that Narcissus was 
obliged to assure her that the prince would hear Messallina, who should have 
full opportunity of clearing herself; and advised the vestal to retire and 
attend the solemnities of her goddess. 

The silence of Claudius, while all this was going on, was matter of aston- 
ishment. Vitellius seemed like one who was not in the secret : the freedman 
controlled everytliing ; by his command, the house of the adulterer was 
opened, and the emperor escorted thither, where the first thing he showed 
him was the statue of Silius, the father, in the porch, though it had been 
decreed to be demolished by the senate ; then that all the articles belonging 
to the Neros and Drusi had now become the price of dishonour. Thus in- 
censed, and breaking forth into menaces, he led him direct to the camp, where 
the soldiers being already assembled, by the direction of Narcissus, he made 
them a short speech ; for shame prevented his giving utterance to his indig- 
nation, though he had just cause for it. 

The soldiers then clamoured unremittingly and importunately that the 
culprits should be tried and punished. Silius was placed before the tribunal ; 
he made no defence, he sought no delay, but begged only to be despatched 
immediately. Illustrious Roman knights also, with similar firmness of mind, 
were eager for a speedy death. He tnerefore commanded Titius Proculus, 
assigned by Silius as a guard to Messallina; Vectius Valens, who confessed 
ms guilt, and offered to discover others, Pompeius Ubicus and Saufellus 
1 rogus, as accomplices, to be all dragged to execution. On Decius Calpurnia- 
nus too, prififect of the watch ; Sulpicius Rufus, comptroller of the games ; 

AT Vergilianus, the senator, the same punishment was inflicted. 

Miiester alone caused some hesitation. He tore off his clothes and called 
upon the emperor to behold upon his body the impressions of the lash ; to 
remember his own commands, obliging him to submit to the pleasure of 
Messallina without reserve : others had been tempted to the iniquity by great 



THE IMMEDIATE SUCCESSORS OF AUGUSTUS 175 

[48 A.D.] 

presents or aspiring hopes ; but his offence was forced upon him. Nor would 
any man have sooner perished had Silius gained the sovereignty. These 
considerations affected Claudius, and strongly inclined him to mercy ; but 
his freedmen overruled him. They urged that after so many illustrious sac- 
rifices, he should by no means think of saving a player; that in a crime of 
such enormity, it mattered not whether he had committed it from choice or 
necessity. As little effect had the defence even of Traulus Montanus, a 
youth of signal modesty and remarkably handsome, summoned by Messallina 
to her bed without any solicitation on his part, and in one night cast off; 
such was the wantonness with which her passion was alike surfeited and in- 
flamed. The lives of Suilius Caesoniiius and Plautius Lateranus were spared ; 
of the last, on account of the noble exploits of his uncle : the other was pro- 
tected by his vices, as one who, in the late abominable society, had prostituted 
himself like a woman. 

Meanwhile Messallina was in the gardens of Lucullus, still striving to 
prolong her life, and composing supplications to the prince, sometimes in the 
language of hope, at others giving vent to rage and resentment, so indomi- 
table was her insolence even under the immediate prospect of death. And 
had not Narcissus hastened her assassination, the doom which he had pre- 
pared for her would have recoiled upon himself. For Claudius, upon his 
return home, experienced a mitigation of his wrath, from the effects of a 
sumptuous repast ; and as soon as he became warm with wine, he ordered 
them “ to go and acquaint the miserable woman (for this was the appel- 
lation which he is said to have used) that to-morroAv she should attend and 
plead her cause.” These words indicated that his resentment was abat- 
ing, his wonted affection returning ; besides, if they delayed, the effect of 
the following night, and the reminiscences which the conjugal chamber 
might awaken in Claudius, were matter for alarm. Narcissus therefore 
rushed forth, and directed the tribune and centurions then attending upon 
duty to despatch the execution, for such, he said, was the emperor’s com- 
mand. With them he sent Euodus of the freedmen, as a watch upon 
them, and to see his orders strictly fulfilled. Euodus flew before them to 
the gardens, and found her lying along upon the earth ; her mother, Lepida, 
sitting by her side — who during her prosperity had not lived in harmony 
with her, but, in this her extreme necessity, was overcome by compassion 
for her, and now persuaded her not to wait for the executioner : “ the course 
of her life was run, and her only object now should be to die becomingly.” 
But a mind sunk and corrupted by debauchery retained no sense of honour; 
she was giving way to bootless tears and lamentations when from the shock 
of the approaching party the door flew open : the tribune stood in silence 
before her; but the freedman upbraided her with many and insolent re- 
proaches, characteristic of the slave. 

Then for the first time she became deeply sensible of her condition, and 
laying hold of the steel, applied it first to her throat, then to her breast, with 
trembling and irresolute hand, when the tribune ran her through. Her 
corpse was granted to her mother. Tidings were then carried to Claudius 
that Messallina was ho more, without distinguishing whether by her own 
or another’s hand ; neither did he inquire, but called for a cup of wine, and 
proceeded in the usual ceremonies of the feast. Nor did he, indeed, during 
the following days, manifest any symptom of disgust or joy, of resentment 
or sorrow, nor, in short, of any human affection ; not when he beheld the 
accusers of his wife exulting at her death, not when he looked upon her 
mourning children. The senate aided in effacing her from his memory, by 



176 the history of ROME 

[4&>49 A.D.] 

decreeing that from all public and private places her name should be rased, 
and her images removed. To Narcissus were decreed the decorations of 
the quaestorship ; a very small reward indeed, considering his towering ele- 
vation ; for he was more influential than Pallas and Callistus.® 


THE INTRIGUES OF AGRIPPINA 

The freedmen now had the task of selecting another wife for their feeble 
prince, who was not capable of leading a single life, and who was sure to be 
governed by the successful candidate. The principal women in Rome were 
ambitious for the honour of sharing the bed of the imperial idiot, but the 
claims of all were forced to yield to those of Lollia Paulina, the former wife 
of Caligula, Julia Agrippina the daughter of Germanicus, and jElia Petina, 
Claudius’ own divorced wife. The first was patronised by Callistus, the 
second by Pallas, the last by Narcissus. Agrippina, however, in conse- 
quence of her frequent access to her uncle, easily triumphed over her rivals ; 
the only difficulty that presented itself was that of a marriage between 
uncle and niece being contrary to Roman manners, and being even regarded 
as incestuous. This difficulty, however, the compliant L. Vitellius, who 
was then censor, undertook to remove. He addressed the senate, stating 
the necessity of a domestic partner to a prince who had on him such weighty 
public cares. He then launched forth in praise of Agrippina; as to the 
objection of the nearness of kindred, such unions he said were practised 
among other nations, and at one time first-cousins did not use to marry, 
while now they did so commonly. The servile assembly outran the speaker 
in zeal ; they rushed out of the house, and a promiscuous rabble collected, 
shouting that such was the wish of the Roman people. Claudius repaired 
to the senate house, and caused a decree to be made legalising marriages 
between uncles and nieces, and he then formally espoused Agrippina. Yet 
such was the light in which the incestuous union was viewed that, corrupt 
as the Roman chai’acter was become, only two persons were found to follow 
the imperial example. 

Agrippina also proposed to unite her son Domitius ■with Octavia the 
daughter of Claudius ; but here there was a difficulty also, for Octavia was 
betrothed to L. Silanus. Again, however, she found a ready tool in the base 
Vitellius, to whose son Julia Calvina, the sister of Silanus, had been mar- 
ried. As the brother and sister indulged their affection imprudently, though 
not iinproperl 3 % the worthy censor took the occasion to make a charge of 
incest against Silanus, and to strike him out of the list of senators. Claudius 
then broke off the match, and Silanus put an end to himself on the very day 
of Agrippina’s marriage. His sister was banished, and Claudius ordered 
some ancient rites expiatory of incest to be performed, unconscious of the 
application of them which would be made to himself. 

The woman, who had now obtained the government of Claudius and the 
Roman Empire, was of a very different character from the abandoned Mes- 
sallina. The latter had nothing noble about her, she was the mere bondslave 
of lust, and cruel and avaricious only for its gratification ; but Agrippina 
was a woman of superior mind, though utterly devoid of principle. In her, 
lust was subservient to ambition ; it was the desire of power or the fear of 
. death, and not wantonness, that made her submit to the incestuous embraces 
of her brutal brother Caligula, and to be prostituted to the companions of 
his vices. It was ambition and parental love that made her now form an 



THE IMMEDIATE SUCCESSORS OF AUGUSTUS 177 

[49-62 A.D.] 

incestuous union -with her uncle. To neither of her husbands, Cii. Domitius 
or Crispus Passienus, does she appear to have been voluntarily unfaithful. 
The bed of Claudius was, however, not fated to be unpolluted ; for as a 
means of advancing her views, Agrippina formed an illicit connection with 
Pallas. 

The great object of Agrippina was to exclude Britannicus, and obtain 
the succession for her own son Nero Domitius, now a boy of twelve years oi 
age. She therefore caused Octavia to be betrothed to him, and she had the 
philosopher Seneca recalled from Corsica, whither he had been exiled by the 



Ruins op the Aqueduct of Claudius 


arte of Messallina, and committed to him the education of her son, that he 
might be fitted for empire. In the following year Claudius, yielding to her 
influence, adopted him. 

In order to bring Nero forward, Agrippina caused him to assume the 
virile toga before the usual age, and the servile senate desired of Claudius 
that he might be consul at the age of twenty, and meantime be elect with 
proconsular power without the city. A donative was given to the soldiers 
and a congiary (congiarium) to the people in his name. At the Circensian 
games, given to gam the people, Nero appeared in the triumphal habit ; 
Britannicus in a simple ‘prcetexta. Every one who showed any attachment 
to this poor youth was removed on one pretence or another, and he was sur- 
rounded with the creatures of Agrippina. Finally, as the two commanders 
of the guards were supposed to be attached to the interests of the children 
of Messallina, she persuaded Claudius that their discipline would be much 
improved if they were placed under one commander. Accordingly those 
ofncers were removed, and the command was given to Burrus Afranius, a 
man of high character for probity and of great military reputation, and who 
knew to whom he was indebted for his elevation. 

H. W. — VOL. VI. N 






178 


THE HISTORY OF ROME 

[62-64 A.I).] 

The pride and haughtiness of Agrippina far transcended anything that 
Rome had as yet witnessed in a woman. When the British prince Carac- 
tacus and his family, whom P. Ostorius had sent captives to the emperoi, 
were led before him as he sat on his tribunal in the plain under the P^eto- 
rian camp, with all the troops drawn out, Agrippina appeared seated on 
another tribunal, as the partner of his power. And again, when the letting 
off of the Fiicine Lake was celebrated with a naval combat, she presided with 

him, habited in a military cloak of cloth of gold. ^ ^ „ 

Agrippina at length grew weary of delay, or fearful of discovery. Nar- 
cissus, who saw at what she was aiming, appeared resolved to exert all his 
influence in favour of Britanniciis ; and Claudius himself, one day when he 
was drunk, was heard to say that it was his fate to bear with the infamy of 
his wives and then to punish it. He had also begun to show peculiar marks 
of affection for Britannicus. She therefore resolved to act without delay.® 


TACITUS DESCRIBES THE MURDER OF CLAUDIUS 

Claudius was attacked with illness, and for the recovery of his health had 
recourse to the soft air and salubrious waters of Sinuessa. It was then that 
Affrippina, long since bent upon the impious deed, and eagerly seizmg the 
present occasion, well furnished too as she was with wicked agents, deliber- 
ated upon the nature of the poison she would use : whether, if it were sudden 
and instantaneous in its operation, the desperate achievement wo^d not be 
brought to light ; if she chose materials slow and consuming in their opera- 
tion, whether Claudius, when his end approached, and perhaps having dis- 
covered the treachery, would not resume his affection for his son. Some^ing 
of a subtle nature was resolved upon, “such as would disorder his brain 
and require time to kill.” An experienced artist in such preparations 
chosen, her nameLocusta ; lately condemned for poisoning, and long reserved 
as one of the instruments of ambition. By this woman’s skill the poison was 
prepared ; to administer it was assigned to Halotus, one of the eunuchs, whose 
office it was to serve up the emperor’s repasts, and prove the viands by tast- 
ing them. 

In fact, all the particulars of this transaction were soon afterwards so 
thoroughly known that the writers of those times are able to recount how 
the poison was poured into a dish of mushrooms, of which he was particularly 
fond ; but whether it was that his senses were stupefied, or from the wine he 
had drunk, the effect of the poison was not immediately perceived ; at the 
same time a relaxation of the intestines seemed to have been of service to 
him. Agrippina therefore became dismayed ; but as her life was at stake, 
she thought little of the odium of her present proceedings, and called in the 
aid of Xenophon the physician, whom she had already implicated in her guilty 
purposes. It is believed that he, as if he purposed to assist Claudius in his 
efforts to vomit, put down his throat a feather besmeared with deadly poison ; 
not unaware that in desperate villainies the attempt without the deed is peril- 
ous, while to ensure the reward they must be done effectually at once. 

The senate was in the meantime assembled, and the consuls and pontiffs 
were offering vows for the recovery of the emperor, when, already dead, he 
was covered with clothes and warm applications, to hide it till matters were 
arranged for securing the empire to Nero. First there was Agrippina, who, 
feigning to be overpowered with grief and anxiously seeking for consolation, 
clasped Britannicus in her arms, called him “ the very model of his father,” 



THE IMMEDIATE SUCCESSORS OF AUGUSTUS 


179 


[54 A.D.] 

and by various artifices withheld him from leaving the chamber. She likewise 
detained Antonia and Octavia, his sisters, and had closely guarded all the 
approaches to the palace : from time to time too she gave out that the prince 
was on the mend, that the soldiery might entertain hopes till the auspicious 
moment, predicted by the calculations of the astrologers, should arrive. 

At last, on the thirteenth day of October, at noon, the gates of the palace 
were suddenly thrown open, and Nero, accompanied by Burrus, went forth to 
the cohort, which, according to the custom of the army, was keeping watch. 
There, upon a signal made by the prsefect, he was received with shouts of 
joy, and instantly put into a litter. It was reported that there were some 
who hesitated, looking back anxiously, and frequently asking where Bri- 
tannicus was, but as no one came forward to oppose it, they embraced the 
choice which was offered them. Thus Nero was borne to the camp, 
where, after a speech suitable to the exigency, and the promise of a largess 
equal to that of the late emperor his father, he was saluted emperor. The 
voice of the soldiers was followed by the decrees of the senate ; nor was 
there any hesitation in the several provinces. To Claudius were decreed 
divine honours, and his funeral obsequies were solemnised with the same 
pomp as those of the deified Augustus ; Agrippina emulating the magnificence 
of her great-grandmother Livia. His will, however, was not rehearsed, lest 
the preference of the son of his wife to his own son might excite the minds 
of the people by its injustice and baseness.(2 


THE CHABACTER OF CLAUDIUS 

We meet with more than one instance in the imperial history of the 
parents suffering for the sins of their children. We have already seen how 
much reason there is to believe that the hatred of the Romans to Tiberius 
disposed them readily to accept any calumny against Livia. Tiberius him- 
self was hated the more for the crimes of his successor Caius ; and there is 
ground to surmise that much of the odium which has attached to Claudius 
is reflected from the horror with which Nero came afterwards to be regarded. 
Thus did the Romans avenge themselves on the authors of the principle of 
hereditary succession so long unknown to their polity, and known at last so 
disadvantageously. 

Of Claudius, at least, a feeling of compassion, if not of justice, may 
incline us to pronounce with more indulgence than has usually been accorded 
to him. He was an imitator, as we have seen, of Augustus, but only as the 
silver age might parody the golden ; for the manners he sought to revive, 
and the sentiments he pretended to regenerate, had not been blighted by the 
passing tempest of ci"^ war, but were naturally decaying from the over- 
ripeness of age. Nevertheless, it was honourable to admire a noble model ; 
there was some generosity even in the attempt to rival the third founder of 
the state. Nor, in fact, does any period of Roman history exhibit more out- 
ward signs of vigorous and successful administration : none was more fertile 
in victories or produced more gallant commanders or excellent soldiers ; 
domestic affairs were prosperously conducted ; the laborious industry of the 
emperor himself tired out all his ministers and assistants. The senate 

recovered some portion of its authority, and, with authority, of courage and 
energy. 

Claudius secured respect for letters, in an age of show and sensuality, by 
his personal devotion to them. From some of the worst vices of his age and 



180 


THE HISTORY OF ROME 


[M A.D.] 


class he was remarkably exempt. His gluttony, if 

stories told of it, was countenanced at least by many high examples, his 
cruelty, or rather his caUous insensibility, was the result of the P®>’verted 

training which made human suffering a sport to the master of ^ 
as well as to the emperor on the throne ; aiid it was never agpavated at 
least by wanton caprice or ungovernable passion. The contempt wjuch has 
been thrown upon his character and understanding has been generate J in a 
ffreat degree, by the systematic fabrications of which he has been made the 
Victim. Tlmiigh flattered with a Up-worship which seems to our notions 
incredible, Claudius appears to have risen personally above its intoxicating 
vapours ; we know that, in one instance at least, the fulsome adulation of a 
man, the most remarkable of bis age for eloquence and reputed wisdom, 
failed to turn the course whether of his justice or his anger. 


THE LIVING CLAUDIUS EULOGISED BY SENECA 

The circumstances of this adulation, and of its disappointment, it is due 
to the memory of Claudius to detail. We have no distinct account of the 
cause of Seneca’s banishment, which is ascribed, by little better than a guess, 
to the machinations of Messallina against the friends and adherents of Julia. 
However this may be, we have seen with what impatience the philosopher 
bore it. On the occasion of the death of a brother of Polybius, he addressed 
a treatise from his place of exile to the still powerful freedman, such as w^ 
styled a “ consolation,” in which he set forth all the arguments which wit 
and friendship could suggest to alleviate his affliction and fortify his wmdom. 
After assuring him of the solemn truth that all men are^mortal, and reminding 
him that this world itself, with all that it contains, is subject to the common 
law of dissolution; that man is born to sorrow ; that the dead can have no 
pleasure in his grief ; that his grief at the best is futile and unprofitable ; 
he diverts him with another topic which is meant to be still more effectual. 
“The emperor,” he says, “ is divine, and those who are blessed by employment 
in his service, and have him ever before their eyes, can retain no idle interest 
in human things ; their happy souls neither fear nor sorrow can enter ; the 
divinity is with them and around them. Me,” he declares, “tliis god has not 
overthrown; rather he has supported when others supplanted me; he still 
suffers me to remain for a monument of his providence and compassion. 
Whether my cause be really good or bad, his justice will at last pronounce 
it good, or his clemency will so regard it. Meanwhile, it is my comfort to 
behold his pardons travelling through the world; even from the corner 
where I am cast away his mercy has called forth many an exile before me. 
One day the eyes of his compassion will alight on me also. Truly those 
thunderbolts are just which the thunderstricken have themselves learned 
to adore. May the immortals long indulge him to the world I May he rival 
the deeds of Augustus and exceed his years ! While still resident among us, 
may death never cross his threshold I Distant be the day, and reserved 
for the tears of our grandchildren, when his divine progenitors demand 
him for the heavens which are his own.? 

Such were the phrases, sonorous and unctuously polished, which Poly- 
bius was doubtless expected to recite in the ears of the imperial pedant. 
Standing high as he still did in the favour of Claudius and Messallina, he 
had the means, and was perhaps not without the will, to recommend them 
with all his interest, and intercede in the flatterer’s behalf. Yet Claudius, 




ySr 


HADRIAN 


(AK«'r Dm* nUiIid' in th»* HriliHh Musinnii) 









S. p. 



Librar 


SRINAGAR. 


date loaned 

X ^ will be charged 

\ fine of dfie anna^ 

■ .v. ~ book is-kept overtune. 


THE IMMEDIATE SUCCESSORS OF AUGUSTUS 181 

[54 A.D.] 

It would seem, remained wholly unmoved by a worship more vehement than 
Ovms, and enhanced still more by the unquestioned reputation of its 
author. Whatever had been the motives of his sentence against Seneca, 
it was not by flattery that he could be swayed to reverse it. Surely, as 
far as we are competent to judge, we must think the better both of his 
nrmness and his sense. Shortly afterwards Polybius was himself subverted 
by the caprice of Messallina ; Messallina in her turn was overthrown by 
Agrippina ; and it was not till the sister of Julia had gained the ascendant 
that Seneca obtained at her instance the grace he had vainly solicited 
through the good ofiices of the freedman. 


THE DEAD CLAUDIUS SATIRISED BY SENECA 


, . however little Claudius may have relied on the sincerity of this 
brilliant phrase-monger, he could scarce have anticipated the revulsion of 
sentiment to which so ardent a wor- 
shipper would not blush to give utter- 
ance on his demise. It was natural of 
course that the returned exile should 
attach himself to his benefactress ; 
from her hands he had received his 
lionours, by her he was treated with 
a confidence which flattered him. No 
doubt he was among the foremost of 
the courtiers who deserted the setting 
to adore the rising luminary. Yet 
few, perhaps, could believe that no 
sooner should Claudius be dead, ere 
yet the accents of official flattery had 
died away which proclaimed him 
entered upon the divine career of his 
ancestors, than the worshipper of the 
living emperor should turn his deifi- 
cation into ridicule, and blast his name 
with a slander of unparalleled ferocity. 

There is no more curious fragment of 
antiquity than the Vision of Judgment 
which Seneca has left us on the death 
and deification of Claudius. 

The traveller who has visited mod- 
ern Rome in the autumn season has 



“Seneca” 

(From a bust in the Naples Mnscum) 


remarked the numbers of unwieldy and bloated gourds which, sun their 
speckled bellies before the doors, to form a favourite condiment to the food 
of the poorer classes. When Claudius expired in the month of October, 
his soul, according to the satirist, long lodged in the inflated emptiness of 
his oivn swifllen carcass, migrated by an easy transition into a kindred 
pumpkin. The senate declared that he had become a god ; but Seneca 
knew that he was only transformed into a gourd. The senate decreed 

Seneca translated it into pumpkinity ; and proceeded to give 
a burlesque account of what may be supposed to have happened in heaven 
on the appearance of the new aspirant to celestial honours. A tall gray- 
haired figure has arrived halting at the gates of Olympus; he mops and 



182 


THE HISTORY OF ROME 


[54 A.D.] 

mows, and shakes his palsied head, and when asked whence he comes 
and what is his business, mutters an uncouth jargon in reply which none can 
understand. Jupiter sends Hercules to interrogate the creature, for 
cules is a travelled god, and knows many languages ; but Hercules himself, 
bold and valiant as he is, shudders at the sight of a strange unearthly 
monster, with the lioarse inarticulate moanings of a seal or sea-calf. He 
fancied tliat he saw his thirteenth labour before him. Presently, on a 
nearer view, he discovers that it is a sort of man. Accordingly he takes 
courage to address him with a verse from Homer, the common interpreter 
of gods and men ; and Claudius, rejoicing at the sound of Greek, and 
auguring that his own histories will be understood in heaven, replies with 
an apt quotation. 

To pass over various incidents which are next related, and the gibes 
of the satirist on the Gaulish origin of Claudius, and his zeal in lavish- 
ing the franchise on Gauls and other barbarians, we find the gods assembled 
in conclave to deliberate on the pretensions of their unexpected visitor. 
Certain of tlie deities rise in their places, and express themselves with 
divers exquisite reasons in his favour ; and his admission is about to be 
carried with acclamation, when Augustus starts to liis feet (for the first 
time, as he calls them all to witness, since he became a god himself — for 
Augustus in heaven is reserved and silent, and keeps strictly to his own 
affairs), and recounts the crimes and horrors of his grandchild’s career. 
He mentions the murder of his father-in-law Silanus, and his two sons- 
in-law Silanus and Pompeius, and the father-in-law of his daughter, and 
the mother-in-law of the same, of his wife Messallina, and of others more 
than can be named. 

The gods are struck with amazement and indignation. Claudius is re- 
pelled from the threshold of Olympus, and led by Mercury to the shades 
below. As he passes along the Via Sacra he witnesses the pageant of his 
own obsequies, and then first apprehends the fact of his decease. He heai*s 
the funeral dirge in which his actions are celebrated in most grandiloquent 
sing-song, descending at last to the abruptest bathos. But the satirist can 
strike a higher note ; the advent of the ghost to the infernal regions is de- 
scribed with a sublime irony. “ Claudius is come ! ” shout the spirits of the 
dead, and at once a vast multitude assemble around him, exclaiming, with 
the chant of the priests of Apis, “We have found him, we have found him ; 
rejoice and be glad ! ” ^ Among them was Silius the consul and Junius the 
prtetor and Traulus and Trogus and Cotta, Vectius, and Fabius, Roman 
knights, whom Narcissus had done to death. Then came the freedmen Poly- 
bius and Myron, Harpocras, Amph®us, and Pheronactes, whom Claudius 
had despatched to hell before him, that he might have his ministers below. 
Next advanced Catonius and Rufus, the prefects, and his friends Lusius and 
Pedo, and Lupus and Celer, consulars, and finally a number of his own kin- 
dred, his wife and cousins and son-in-law. “ Friends everywhere ! ” simpered 
the fool; “pray how came you all here?” “How came we here?” thundered 

* Seneca, Apocol. 13. Claudius Csesar venit .... ivp'fiKafjuev^ tTvy\a,lpiofji€v, Great has been 
the success of this remarkable passage, which may possibly have suggested the noble lines of 
Shakespeare {Rich. III. Act i. sc. 4) : 

“ Clarence is come, false, fleeting, perjured Clarence, 

That stabbed me in the field by Tewksbury.” 

It is more probable that Voltaire had it in his mind when he pronounced on the fate of Con- 
stantine and Clovis ; and more than one stanza of Byron’s Vision of Judament is evidently sug- 
gested by it. J v J -e* 



THE IMMEDIATE SUCCESSORS OF AUGUSTUS 


183 


A.D.] 

Pompeius Pedo : “ who sent us here but thou, O murderer of all thy friends?” 
And thereupon the newcomer is hurried away before the judgment seat of 
-^Eacus. An old boon companion offers to plead for him ; ^acus, most just 
of men, forbids, and condemns the criminal, one side only heard. “ As 
he hath done,” he exclaims, “so shall he be done by.” The shades are 
astounded at the novelty of the judgment; to Claudius it seems rather unjust 
than novel. Then the nature of his punishment is considered. Some would 
relieve Tantalus or Ixion from their torments and make the imperial culprit 
take their place ; but no, that would still leave him the hope of being him- 
self in the course of ages relieved. His pains must be never ending, still 
beginning ; eternal trifler and bungler that he was, he shall play for ever and 
ever with a bottomless dice-box. 

Such was the scorn which might be flung upon the head of a national 
divinity, even though he were the adoptive father of the ruler of the state ; 
nor perhaps was the new and upstart deity much more cavalierly treated 
than might sometimes be the lot of the established denizens of Olympus. It is 
true that Nero at a later period thought fit to degrade his parent from these 
excessive honours, and even demolished the unfinished works of his temple 
on the Cselian Hill ; but there is no reason to suppose that Seneca reserved 
his spite until this catastrophe, or that the prince evinced any marks of dis- 
pleasure at the unrestrained laughter with which doubtless his satire was 
greeted. 

While the memory of the deceased emperor was thus ruthlessly torn in 
pieces, the writer had been careful to exalt in terms the most extravagant 
the anticipated glories of his successor ; and the vain, thoughtless heir per- 
ceived not that the mockery of his sire was the deepest of insults to himself. 
Of the figure, accomplishments, and character of Nero we shall speak more 
particularly hereafter ; enough that he was young, that he was not ungrace- 
ful in appearance, that he had some talents, and, above all, the talent of ex- 
hibiting them. 

With such qualifications the new occupant of a throne could never want 
for flatterers. To sing them, the sage of the rugged countenance mounts 
gaily on the wings of poetry, and sports in lines of mellifluous mellowness, 
such as might grace the erotic lyre of the most callow votary of the Muses. 
At last, he says, in mercy to his wretchedness, the life-thread of the stolid 
Claudius had been severed by the fatal shears. But Lachesis, at that 
moment, had taken in her hands another skein of dazzling whiteness, and 
^ it glided nimbly through her fingers, the common wool of life was changed 
into a precious tissue — a golden age untwined from the spindle. The 
sisters ply their work in gladness, and glory in their blessed task ; and far, 
far away stretches the glittering thread, beyond the years of Nestor and 

Tithonus. Phoebus stands by their side, and sings to them as they spin 

Phoebus the god of song and the god of prophecy. “ Stay not, oh stay not, 
gentle sisters ; he shall transcend the limits of human life ; he shall be like 
me in face, like me in beauty ; neither in song nor in eloquence behind me. 
He shall restore a blissful age to wearied men, and break again the long 
silence of^ the Laws. Yes, as when Lucifer drives the stars before him, 
and morning dissipates the clouds, the bright sun gazes on the world, and 
starts his chariot on its daily race, — so Caesar breaks upon the earth; such 
is the Nero whom Rome now beholds — beams his bright countenance with 
tempered rays, and glistens his fair neck beneath its floating curls.”/ 




CHAPTER XXXIV. NERO : LAST EMPEROR OF THE HOUSE 

OF C^SAR 

(Nero Claudius C^sar Drusus Germanicus: 54-68 a. d.) 

Brought up in a corrupt court, in the midst of his mother’s guilty 
intrigues, Nero soon saw himself surrounded by flatterers apt at eulogising 
all his follies and excusing all his crimes. He did not lack understanding 
and knew what was right, but no care was taken to check his vicious inclina- 
tions or his vanity with regard to his musical skill. Yet for a long time 
after his death the first five years of his reign were lauded (quinquennium 
Neronis) as the happiest of the empire. He did, in fact, reduce taxation in 
the provinces, contend against luxury, and assist poor senators with money, 
and bid fair to take Augustus as his model. “ Oh, that I had never learned 
to write! ” he said one day when a death-warrant was given him to sign. 
Another time when the senate was addressing thanks to him he said, 
“Wait till I deserve them.” Seneca and Burrus tried, and for some time 
with success, to restrain the stormy passions of their pupil, but Agrippina’s 
ambition made them break violently forth. 

This imperious woman thought she was going to reign in her son’s name, 
and desired to be present at senatorial deliberations. She was much cha- 
grined at having to content herself with listening behind a curtain. 

One day when Nero was giving audience to some Armenian ambassadors 
she advanced to take her place beside him and receive homage. But the 
prince went to meet her and prevented what the Romans even then would 
have regarded as an affront, the intervention of a woman in public affairs. 
Leagued with the freedman Pallas, she hoped that nothing would take place 
in the palace without her ; but Seneca and Burrus, although her creatures, 
were resolved to hinder the domination which had degraded Claudius. Un- 
fortunately, the two ministers, in spite of the austerity of their lives and 
teaching, found no other way to combat her influence than by fostering the 
prince’s passions. They allowed a number of young women and dissolute 
men to gather round the prince. Among the former Agrippina soon found 
a rival in the freedwoman Acte. She then changed her tone and manner, 
but caresses were of no more avail than anger; and the two ministers, in 
order to show her that her power was gone, disgraced the freedman Pallas. 

184 


NERO: LAST OF THE C^SARS 


185 


[54-69 A.D.] 

Then Agrippina broke out into open threats. She would reveal the 
whole truth, take Britannicus to the praetorians, and return to its rightful 
occupant the throne she had bestowed on an ungrateful son. Nero fore- 
stalled her. On the first day of his reign he had put to death a member of 
the imperial family, Silanus by name ; the death of his adopted brother 
cost him no more. Britannicus, who was only fourteen years old, was poi- 
soned at a banquet at Nero’s own table. Agrippina, alarmed by this preco- 
cious cruelty, sought defenders for herself. She sounded the soldiers, and 
paid graceful attentions to their leaders. Nero, no longer keeping within 
bounds, assigned her a dwelling beyond the palace and scarcely ever saw 
her. He even listened to an accusation against her and forced her to answer 
questions from Seneca and Burrus. She did so, but haughtily, and spoke 
harshly to her son, which did not help her to regain the authority she had lost. 

Having got rid of Agrippina, the two ministers governed for some years 
with moderation and justice. Several condemnations taught the provincial 
governors that their conduct was observed ; several taxes were abolished 
or reduced. Nero demanded that they should all be repealed. Unfortu- 
nately love of pleasure now possessed him. Dissolute friends, vulgar liaisonsy 
a fatal taste for the theatre, corrupted him from day to day. Seneca practised 
his good maxims too little for them to influence the young emperor. Rome 
learned with astonishment that her prince ran about the streets at night dis- 
guised as a slave, entering taverns and beating belated folk at the risk of 
striking one stronger than himself. A senator once returned his blows, and 
had the imprudence next day to apologise. Nero, remembering the inviola- 
bility belonging to his office of tribune, had him put to death. In the day 
he went to the theatre, giving trouble to the custodians, encouraging applause 
and hissing, exciting tumult, and taking pleasure in seeing the sovereign 
people break the benches and engage in fights in which he himself joined, 
throwing missiles at a venture from his elevated seat. 

The virtuous sister of Britannicus could not be a fit wife for this royal 
debauche. He carried off Popptea Sabina from her husband Otho. Poppsea’s 
ambition found an obstacle in Octavia, and one even stronger in Agrippina, 
who was not distressed by her son’s criminal conduct, but was much averse 
from seeing him under any influence but her own. 

Irritated by her reproaches, Nero at last went so far as to give orders for 
her death. Anicetus, commander of the fleet at Misenum, formed a plot to 
assassinate the empress. On the pretext of a reconciliation she was invited 
to go to Baiae, and was put on a vessel so built as to part asunder when out 
at sea. Agrippina saved herself by swimming and reached the neighbour- 
ing coast, where she took refuge in her villa at the Lucrine Lake. Nero 
caused her to be stabbed, and proclaimed that she had killed herself after a 
freedman sent by her had been caught in an attempt to kill him (69 a.d.). 
Such was the fate of this woman, a granddaughter of Augustus, and sister, 
wife, and mother, to three emperors. But revengeful furies pursued the 
parricide in spite of the congratulations which Burrus was base enough to 
offer him in the name of the soldiers and the thanks rendered to the gods 
in all parts of the city at Seneca’s suggestion. He sought to stifle his 
remorse by plunging into gross and insensate debauchery. His most un- 
worthy follies date from this time. The Romans blushed to see him driving 
a chariot in the arena and mounting the stage to sing and play the lyre. 
We may imagine he stifled his conscience, but not that he found rest. In 
Greece, he dared not enter the Eleusinian temple of which the herald’s voice 
bid the impious and parricides avaunt. ^ 



186 


THE HISTORY OF ROME 


[54-60 A.D.j 

During the last two proconsulates the prefecture of Syria had acquired 
its greater extension. On the death of Herod Agrippa in 44, his kingdom 
of Judea had been definitively annexed to the empire, and was subjected, 
as once before, to an imperial procurator, who, while he derived his fiscal and 
civil authority directly from the emperor, and acted in a manner as his vice- 
roy, was nevertheless placed under the military control of the proconsul. 
Under court protection some of the Judean procurators, especially the infa- 
mous Felix, the brother of Pallas, and his partner in the favour of Claudius, 
had indulged in every excess, till the spirit of revolt already roused by the 
threats of Caligula broke out in fierce but desultory acts of violence. These 
indeed had been repressed with the sternness of Rome, not unmingled with 
some features of barbarity peculiar to the East. Nevertheless the govern- 
ment had resented the tyranny of its own officers, which had caused this 
dangerous insubordination, and Quadratus, the proconsul, had himself con- 
demned from his tribunal the indiscretion of the procurator Cumanus. 
While, however, the authority of the Syrian proconsul was thus extended 
over the region of Palestine in the south, a portion of his northern dependen- 
cies was taken from him, and erected for a time into a separate prefecture. 


CORBULO AND THE EAST 

In the year 54 the brave Domitius Corbulo, recalled from his German 
command, was deputed to maintain the majesty of the empire in the face of 
the Parthians, and defend Armenia from the intrigues or violence with 
which they continued to menace it. The forces of Rome in the East were 
now divided between Quadratus and Corbulo. To the proconsul of Syria 
were left two legions with their auxiliaries, to the new commander were 
assigned the other two, while the frontier tributaries were ordered to serve 
in either camp, as the policy of the empire should require. While such was 
the distribution of the troops, the territory itself was divided by the line of 
the Taurus ; Cappadocia, together with Galatia, was entrusted to Corbulo, 
and constituted a separate province. Here he raised the levies he required 
to replace the lazy veterans who had vitiated the Syrian legions ; and here, 
having further strengthened himself from the German camps, this stern 
reviver of discipline prepared his men, amidst the rocks and snows, to pene- 
trate the fastnesses of Armenia, and dislodge the Parthians from the gorges 
of Ararat and Elburz. Tiridates, the Parthian pretender to the throne of 
Armenia, in vain opposed him with arms and treachery. 

The Romans advanced to the walls of Artaxata, which they stormed and 
burned, an exploit the glory of which was usurped by Nero himself, the 
senate voting supplications in his honour, and consecrating day after day to 
the celebration of his victory, till Cassius ventured to demand a limit to such 
ruinous profusion. The war however was still prolonged through a second 
and a third campaign : the Hyrcanians on the banks of the Caspian and Aral 
— so far-reaching was the machinery put in motion by Corbulo — were 
encouraged to divert the Parthians from assisting Tiridates ; and communi- 
cations were held with them by the route of the Red Sea and the deserts 
of Baluchistan. At last the Armenian Tigranes, long retained in custody 
at Rome, was placed by the proconsul on the throne of his ancestors. Some 
portions of his patrimony, however, were now attached to the sovereignties 
of Pontus and Cappadocia; a Roman force was left in garrison at Tigrano- 
certa, to support has precarious power ; and on the death of Quadratus, Cor- 



NERO: LAST OF THE CAESARS 


187 


[60-66 A.D.] 

bulo, Laving achieved the most brilliant successes in the East of any Roman 
since Pompey, claimed the whole province of Syria, and the entire adminis- 
tration of affairs on the Parthian frontier, as his legitimate reward. 

The union of these vast regions once more under a single ruler, so con- 
trary, as it would appear, to the emperor’s natural policy, was extorted 
perhaps from the fears of Nero, not indeed by actual threats but by the 
formidable attitude of his general. An emperor, still a youth, wlio had seen 
no service himself, and had only caught at the shadows of military renown 
cast on him by his lieutenants, may have felt misgivings at the greatness of 
the real chiefs of his legions. It was from this jealousy, perhaps, that the 
career of. conquest in Britain was so suddenly checked after the victory of 
Suetonius. The position indeed of Corbulo, the successor of Agrippa and 
Germanicus, might seem beyond the emperor’s reach. It could only be 
balanced by creating similar positions in other quarters, and the empire was, 
in fact, at this moment virtually divided among three or four great com- 
manders, any one of whom was leader of more numerous forces than could 
be mustered to oppose him at the seat of government. Nero was well aware 
of his danger ; but he had not the courage to insist, on this occasion, on the 
division of Syria into two prefectures. He took, as we shall see, a baser pre- 
caution, and already perhaps contemplated the assassination of the lieuten- 
ant whom he dared not control. 

It was from Corbulo himself that the proposal came for at least a tem- 
porary division. That gallant general, a man of antique devotion to military 
principles, had no views of personal aggrandisement. When the Parthians, 
again collecting their forces, made a simultaneous attack on both Armenia 
and Syria, Corbulo declared that the double war required the presence of two 
chiefs of equal authority. He desired that the province beyond the Taurus 
should again be made a separate government. Assuming in person the 
defence of the Syiuan frontier with three legions, he transferred Cappadocia 
and Galatia, with an equal force, to Csesennius Pgetus, who repaid his gen- 
erosity by reflecting on the presumed slowness of his operations. But PcBtus 
was as incapable as he was vain. Having advanced into Armenia, he was 
shut up in one of its cities with two legions, by a superior force, constrained 
to implore aid from Corbulo, and at last, when the distance and diffic^ty of 
the way precluded the possibility of succour, to capitulate ignonainiously. 
Vologeses, king of Parthia, refrained from proceeding to extremities, and 
treating the humbled foe as his ancestor had treated Crassus. He pretended 
to desire only a fair arrangement of the points in dispute between the rival 
empires : and Psetus, having promised that pending this settlement the 
legions should be withdrawn from Armenia, was suffered, though not with- 
out grievous indignities, to march out of his captured stronghold, and retire 
in haste within the frontiers. Arrived there, Corbulo treated him with scorn- 
ful forbearance ; but the emperor recalled him from his post, and the com- 
bined forces of the province were once more entrusted to the only man capable 
of retrieving the disaster. 

Corbulo penetrated into the heart of Armenia by the road which Lucul- 
lus had formerly opened ; but the enemy declined to encounter him. Even 
on the spot of his ally’s recent triumphs, Tiridates bowed to the demands of 
the proconsul, and consented to lay his diadem at the feet of the emperor’s 
image, and go to Rome to receive it back from his hand. The claims of the 
puppet Tigranes were eventually set aside, and while Tiridates did homage 
for his kingdom to Nero, he was suffered to place himself really under the 
protection of Vologeses. 



188 THE HISTORY OF ROME 

[61 A.D.] 

THE ROMAN PROVINCE OF BRITAIN 

The limits of the Roman occupation at the close of the reign of Claudius 
were much unsettled. The southern part of the island from the Stour to 
the Exe and Severn formed a compact and organised province, from which 
only tlie realm of Cogidubnus, retaining still the character of a dependent 
sovereignty, is to be subtracted. Beyond tlie Stour, again, the territory 
of the Iceni constituted another extraneous dependency. The government 
of the province was administered from Camulodunum, as its capital; and 
the whole country was overawed by the martial attitude of the Conquering 
Colony there established. Already, perhaps, the city of Londinium, though 
distinguished by no such honourable title, excelled it as a place of commercial 
resort. The broad estuary of the Tliames, confronting the waters of the 
Scheldt and Maas, was favourably placed for the exchange of British against 
Gaulish and German products ; and the hill on which the city stood, facing 
the southern sun and well adapted for defence, is placed precisely at the 
spot where first the river can be crossed conveniently. Swept east and west 
by the tidal stream, and traversed north and south by the continuous British 
roads, Londinium supplied the whole island with the luxuries of another 
zone, just as Massilia had supplied Gaul.” Hither led the ways which pene- 
trated Britain from the ports in the Channel, from Lymne, Richborough, 
and Dover. From hence they diverged again to Camulodunum northeast, 
and to Verulamium northwest, at the intersection of the chief national lines 
of communication. 

While the proprietor, who was governor-in-chief of the province, was 
occupied on the frontier in military operations, the finances were adminis- 
tered by a procurator ; and whatever extortions he might countenance, so 
slight was the apprehension of any formidable resistance to them that not 
only the towns, now frequented by thousands of Roman traders, were left 
unfortified, but the province itself was suffered to remain almost entirely 
denuded of soldiers. The legions now permanently quartered in Britain 
were four. Of these the Second, the same which under the command 
of Vespasian had recently commanded the southwest, was now perhaps sta- 
tioned in the forts on the Severn and Avon, or advanced to the encampment 
on the Usk, whence sprang the famous city of Caerleon, the camp of the 
Legion. The Ninth was placed in guard over the Iceni, whose fidelity was 
not beyond suspicion. We may conjecture that its headquarters were estab- 
lished as far north as the Wash, where it might dislocate any combinations 
these people should attempt to form with their unsteady neighbours the 
Brigantes. The Twentieth would be required to confront the Brigantes 
also on their western frontier, and to them we may assign the position on 
tlie Deva or Dee, from which the ancient city of Chester has derived its 
name, its site, and the foundations, at least, of its venerable fortifications. 
There still remained another legion, the Fourteenth ; but neither was this 
held in reserve in the interior of the province. The necessities of border 
warfare required its active operations among the Welsh mountains, which 
it penetrated step by step, and gradually worked its way towards the last 
asylum of the Druids in Mona, or Anglesea. 

The Gallic priesthood, proscribed in their own country, would naturally 
fly for refuge to Britain : proscribed in Britain, wherever the power of Rome 
extended, they retreated, inch by inch, and withdrew from the massive 
shinies which still attest their influence on the southern plains, to the sacred 
lecesses of the little island, surrounded by boiling tides and clothed with 



NERO: LAST OF THE C^SARS 


189 


[61 A.D.] 

impeaetrable thickets. In this gloomy lair, secure apparently, though shorn 
of might and dignity, they still persisted in the practice of their unholy 
superstition. They strove perhaps, like the trembling priests of Mexico, to 
appease the gods, who seemed to avert from them their faces, with more 
horrid sacrifices than ever. Here they retained their places of assembly, 
their schools, and their oracles ; here was the asylum of the fugitives ; here 
was the sacred grove, the abode of the awful deity, which in the stillest 
noon of night or day the priest himself scarce ventured to enter, lest he 
should rush unwitting into the presence of its lord. 

Didius had been satisfied with retaining the Roman acquisitions, and had 
made no attempt to extend them ; and his successor, Veranius, had contented 
himself with some trifling incursions into the country of the Silures. The 
death of Veranius prevented, perhaps, more important operations. But he 
had exercised rigorous discipline in the camp, and Suetonius Paulinus, who 
next took the command, found the legions well equipped and well disposed, 
and the stations connected by military roads across the whole breadth of the 
island. The rumours of the city marked out this man as a rival to the gal- 
lant Corbulo, and great successes were expected from the measures which he 
would be prompt in adopting. Leaving the Second legion on the Usk to 
keep the Silures in check, and the Twentieth on the Dee to watch the 
Brigantes, he joined the quarters of the Fourteenth, now pushed as far as 
Segontium on the Menai straits. He prepared a number of rafts or boats 
for tlm passage of the infantry ; the stream at low water was perhaps nearly 
fordable for cavalry, and the trusty Batavians on his wings were accustomed 
to swim by the side of their horses, clinging by the mane or bridle, across 
the waters, not less wide and rapid, of their native Rhine. Still the traject 
must have been perilous enough, even if unopposed. But now the farther 
bank was thronged with the Britons in dense array, while between their 
ranks the women, clad in black and with hair dishevelled, rushed about 
like furies with flaming torches, and behind them were seen the Druids 
raising their hands to heaven, imprecating curses on the daring invaders. 

were so dismayed at the sight that, as they came to land, 
they at first stood motionless to be struck down by every assailant. But this 
panic lasted only for a moment. Recalled by the cries of their chiefs to a 
sense of discipline, of duty, of danger, they closed their ranks, advanced their 
standards, struck, broke, and trampled on the foe before them, and applied 
his own torches to his machines and wagons. The rout was complete ; the 
fugitives, flung back by the sea, had no further place of retreat. The island 
was seamed with Roman entrenchments, the groves cut down or burned and 
every trace speedily aboUshed of the foul rites by which Hesus had been 
propitiated or the will of Taranis consulted. 

From this moment the Druids disappear from the page of history : they 
were extermmated, we may belieye, upon their own altars ; for Suetoniii 
took no half measures. But whateyer were his further designs for the final 
pacification of the proyinw, they were interrupted by the sudden outbreak 
of a reyolt in his rear. The leeni, as has been said, had submitted, after 
their great oyerthrow, to the yoke of the inyaders : their king, Prasutagus, 
had been allowed indeed to retain his nominal soyereignty ; hut he was 
placed under the control of Roman officials ; his people w4e required to 
contribute to the Roman treasury: their communities were incited to a 
profuse expenditure to which their resources were unequal ; while the 
exactions imposed on them were so heavy that they were compelled to borrow 
largely , and entangle themselves in the meshes of the Roman money lenders. 



190 


THE HISTORY OF ROME 


[61 A.D.] 

The ffreat capitalists of the city, wealthy courtiers, and prosperous freedmen, 
advanced the sums they called for at exorbitant interest ; from year to year 
they found tliemselves less able to meet their obligations, and mortgaged 
property and person to their unrelenting creditors. Among the immediate 
causes of the insurrection which followed, is mentioned the sudden calling in 
by Seneca, the richest of philosophers, of the large investments he had made, 

which he seemed in danger of losing altogether. 

But the oppression of the Romans was not confined to these transactions. 
Prasutagus, in the hope of propitiating the provincial government to his 
family, had bequeathed his dominions to the republic. He expected perhaps 
that his wife and liis children, who were also females, if not allowed to 
exercise even a nominal sovereignty after him, would at least be treated in 
consequence with the respect due to their rank, and secured in the enjoy- 
ment of ample means and consideration. This was the fairest lot that 
remained to the families of the dependent chieftains, and the Romans had 
not often grudged it them. But an insolent official, placed in charge of 
these new acquisitions after the death of Prasutagus, forgot in their instance 
what was due to the birth and even the sex of the wretched princesses. 
He suspected them perhaps of secreting a portion of their patrimony, and 
did not scruple to employ stripes to recover it from the mother, while he 
surrendered her tender children to even worse indignities. 


The War xoith Boadicea^ Queen of the Iceni 

Boadicea, the widowed queen of the Iceni, was a woman of masculine 
spirit. Far from succumbing under the cruelty of her tyrants and hiding 
the shame of her family, she went forth into the public places, exhibited the 
scars of her wounds and the fainting forms of her abused daughters, and 
adjured her people to take a desperate revenge. The Iceni were stung to 
frenzy at their sovereign’s wrongs, at their own humiliation. The danger, 
the madness, of the attempt was considered by none for a moment. They 
rose as one man ; there was no power at hand to control them ; the Roman 
officials fled, or, if arrested, were slaughtered ; and a vast multitude, armed 
and unarmed, rolled southward to overwhelm and extirpate the intruders. 
To the Colne, to the Thames, to the sea, the country lay entirely open. The 
legions were all removed to a distance, the towns were unenclosed, the 
Roman traders settled in them were untrained to arms. Even the Claudian 
colony was undefended. The procurator, Catus Deciauus, was at the moment 
absent, and being pressed for succour, could send no more than two hun- 
dred soldiers for its protection. Little reliance could be placed on the 
strength of a few worn-out veterans : the natives, however specious their 
assurances, were not unjustly distrusted, for they too, like the Iceni, had 
suffered their share of insolence and ill-treatment. The great temple of 
Claudius was a standing monument of their humiliation ; for its foundation 
their estates had been confiscated, for its support their tribute was required, 
and they regarded the native chiefs who had been enrolled in its service as 
victims or traitors. 

Whatever alarm they might feel at the indiscriminate^ fury of the hordes 
descending upon them, they smiled grimly at the panic which more justly 
seized the Romans. The guilty objects of national vengeance discovered 
the direst prodigies in every event around them. The wailings of their 
women, the neighing of their horses, were interpreted as evil omens. Their 
theatre was said to have resounded with uncouth noises ; the buildings of 



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191 


{61 A.D.] 

the colony had been seen inversely reflected in the waters of their estuary ; 
and on the ebbing of the tide ghastly remains of human bodies had been dis- 
covered in the ooze. Above all, the statue of Victory, erected to face the 
enemies of the republic, had turned its back to the advancing barbarians and 
fallen prostrate before them. When the colonists proposed to throw up 
hasty entrenchments they were dissuaded from the work, or impeded in it 
by the natives, who persisted in declaring that they had no cause for fear ; 
it was not till the Iceni were actually in sight, and the treachery of tlie 
Trinobantes no longer doubtful, that they retreated tumultuously within the 
precincts of the temple, and strengthened its slender defences to support a 
sudden attack till succour could arrive. But the impetuosity of the assault 
overcame all resistance. The stronghold was stormed on the second day, 
and all who had sought refuge in it, armed and unarmed, given up to 
slaughter. 

Meanwhile the report of this fearful movement had travelled far and wide 
through the country. It reached Petilius Cerealis, the commander of the 
Ninth legion, which we suppose to have been stationed near the Wash, and he 
broke up promptly from his camp to hang on the rear of the insurgents. It 
reached the Twentieth legion at Deva, which awaited the orders of Sueto- 
nius himself, as soon as he should learn on the banks of the Menai the perils 
in which the province was involved. The propraetor withdrew the Four- 
teenth legion from the smoking groves of Mona, and urged it with redoubled 
speed along the highway of Watling street, picking out the best troops 
from the Twentieth as he rushed by, and summoning the Second from Isca 
to join him in the south. But Poenius Postumus, who commanded this latter 
division, neglected to obey his orders, and crouched in terror behind his forti- 
fications. The Iceni turned boldly upon Cerialis, who was hanging close 
upon their heels, and routed his wearied battalions with great slaughter. 
The infantry of the Ninth legion was cut to pieces, and the cavalry alone 
escaped within their entrenchments. But the barbarians had not skill nor 
patience to conduct the siege of a Roman camp. They left the squadron 
of Cerialis unmolested, nor did they attempt to force the scattered posts of 
the Romans around them. After giving Camulodunum to the flames, they 
dispersed throughout the country, plundering and destroying. 

Suetonius, unappalled by the frightful accounts which thronged upon 
him, held on his course steadfastly with his single legion, broke through the 
scattered bands of the enemy, and reached Londinium without a check. 
This place was crowded with Roman residents, crowded still more at this 
moment with fugitives from the country towns and villas : but it was unde- 
fended by walls, its population of traders was untrained to arms, and Sue- 
tonius sternly determined to leave it, with all the wealth of the province 
which it harboured, to the barbarians, rather than sacrifice his soldiers in a 
vain attempt to save it. The policy of the Roman commander was to secure 
his communications with Gaul : but he was resolved not to abandon the 
country, nor surrender the detachments hemmed in at various points by the 
general rising of the Britons. 

The precise direction of his movements we can only conjecture. Had he 
retired to the southern bank of the Thames, he would probably have defended 
the passage of that river ; or had the Britons crossed it unresisted, the his- 
torians would not have failed to signalise so important a success. But the 
situation of Camulodunum, enclosed in its old British lines, and backed by 
the sea, would offer him a secure retreat where he might defy attack and 
await reinforcements ; and the insurgents, after their recent triumphs, had 



192 


THE HISTORY OF ROME 


[61 A.D.] 

abandoned their first conquests to wreak their fury upon other seats of 
Roman civilisation. While, therefore, the Iceni sacked and burned first 
Verulamium, and next Londinium, Suetonius probably made a flank march 
towards Camulodunum, and kept ahead of their pursuit, till he could choose 
his own position to await their attack. In a valley between undulating 
liills, with woods in the rear and the ramparts of the British oppidum not 
far perhaps on his right flank, he had every advantage for marshalling his 
slender forces ; and these were increased in number more than in strength 
by the fugitives capable of bearing arms, whom he had allowed to cling to 
his fortunes. Ten thousand resolute men drew their swords for the Roman 
Empire in Britain. The natives, many times their number, spread far and 
wide over the open plain before them ; but the narrow front of the Romans 
could be assailed by only few battalions at once, and the wagons, which con- 
veyed their accumulated booty and bore their wives and children, thronged 
the rear and cut off almost the possibility of retreat. 

But flushed with victory, impatient for the slaughter, animated with 
desperate resolution to die or conquer, the Britons cast no look or thought 
behind them. Boadicea herself drove from rank to rank, from nation to 
nation, with her daughters beside her, attesting the outrage she had endured, 
the vengeance she had already taken, proclaiming the gallant deeds of the 
queens before her, under whom British warriors had so often triumphed,^ 
denouncing as intolerable the yoke of Roman insolence, and declaring that 
whatever the men might determine, the women would now be free or perish. 
Tlie harangue of Suetonius, on the other hand, was blunt and sarcastic. He 
told his men not to mind the multitudes before them, nor the noise they 
made ; there were more women among them than men ; as for their own 
numbers, let them remember that in all battles a few good swordsmen really 
did the work ; the half-armed and dastard crowds before them would break 
and fly when they saw again the prowess of the Roman primipiles. 

Thus encouraged, the legionaries could with difficulty be restrained to 
await the onset ; and as soon as the assailants had exhausted their missiles, 
bore down upon them in the wedge-shaped column wliich had so often 
broken Greeks, Gauls, and Carthaginians. The auxiliaries followed with no 
less impetuosity. The horsemen, lance in hand, pierced through the ranks 
which still kept their ground. But a single charge was enough. The 
Britons were in a moment shattered and routed. In another moment, the 
Romans had reached the long circumvallation of wagons, among which 
the fugitives were scrambling in dismay, slew the cattle and the women 
without remorse, and traced with a line of corpses and carcasses the limits 
of the British position. We may believe that the massacre was enormous. 
The Romans declared that eighty thousand of their enemies perished, while 
of their own force they lost only four hundred slain, and about as many 
wounded. Boadicea put an end to her life by poison ; we could have wished 
to hear that the brave barbarian had fallen on a Roman pike, Suetonius had 
won the greatest victory of the imperial history ; to complete his triumph, 
the coward, P ostumus, who had shrunk from his assistance, threw himself, in 
shame and mortiflcation, on his own sword. 

By this utter defeat the British insurrection was paralysed. Through- 
out the remainder of the season the Romans kept the field ; they received 
reinforcements from the German camps, and their scattered cohorts were 
gradually brought together in a force which overawed all resistance. The 
revolted^ districts were chastised with fire and sword, and the systematic 
devastation inflicted upon them, suffering as they already were from the 



NERO: LAST OF THE C^SARS 


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[61 A.D.] 

neglect of tillage during the brief intoxication of their success, produced a 
famine which swept off the seeds of future insurrections. On both sides 
a fearful amount of destruction had b^en committed. Amidst tlie over- 
throw of the great cities of southern Britain, not less than seventy thou- 
sand Roman colonists had perished. The work of twenty years was in a 
moment undone. Far and wide every vestige of Roman civilisation was 
trodden into the soil. At this day the workmen who dig through the 
foundations of the Norman and the Saxon London, strike beneath them 
upon the traces of a double Roman city, between which lies a mass of charred 
and broken rubbish, attesting the conflagration of the terrible Boadicea. 


Britain again a Peaceful Province 

The temper of Suetonius, as may be supposed from what has been 
already recorded of him, was stern and unbending, even beyond the ordi- 
nary type of his nation. No other officer, perhaps, in the Roman armies 
could have so turned disaster into victory, and recovered a province at a 
blow ; but it was not in his character to soothe the conquered, to conciliate 
angry passions, to restore the charm of moral superiority. Classicianus, 
who succeeded Catus as procurator, complained of him to the emperor, as 
wishing to protract hostilities against the exasperated Britons, when every 
end might be obtained by conciliation. 

A freedman of the court, named Polycletus, was sent on the delicate 
mission, to judge between the civil and the military chief, and to take the 
measures most fitting for securing peace and obedience. Polycletus brought 
with him a large force from Italy and Gaul, and was no less surprised per- 
haps than the legions he commanded, to see himself at the head of a Roman 
army. Even the barbarians, we are told, derided the victorious warriors 
who bowed in submission to the orders of a bondman. But Pol3-cletus could 
make himself obeyed at least, if not respected. The loss of a few vessels on 
the coast furnished him with a pretext for removing Suetonius from his 
command, and transferring it to a consular, Petronius Turpilianus, whose 
temper and policy inclined equally to peace. 

From the lenity of this propraetor the happiest consequences evidently 
ensued. The southern Britons acquiesced in the dominion of Rome, while 
the northern were awed into deference to her superior influence. Her man- 
ners, her arts, her commerce, penetrated far into regions yet unconquered 
by the sword. Her establishments at Londinium, Verulamium, and Camul- 
odunum rose again from their ashes. Never was the peaceful enterprise of 
her citizens more vigorous and elastic than at this period. The luxuries of 
Italy and the provinces, rapidly increasing, required the extension to the 
utmost of all her resources. Manufactures and commerce were pushed for- 
ward with unexampled activity. 

The products of Britain, rude as they were, consisting of raw materials 
chiefly, were demanded with an insatiable appetite by the cities of Gaul and 
Germany, and exchanged for arts and letters, which at least decked her 
servitude with silken fetters. The best of the Roman commanders, — and 
there were some, we may believe, among them hoth thoughtful and humane, 

while they acknowledged they had no right to conquer, yet believed that 
their conquests were a blessing. The best of the native chiefs — and some 
too of them may have wished for the real happiness of their countrymen, — 
acknowledged, perhaps, that while freedom is the nohlest instrument of 
virtue, it only degrades the vicious to the lowest depths of barbarism. c 

H. W. — VOL. VI. o 



194 


THE HISTORY OF ROME 


C59-62 A.D.] 


BUURTJS AND SENECA 

In Rome meanwhile the public ^vils grew daily more oppressive, and the 
means of redress were decreasing. It was now that Bumis died (62 A.D.), 
whether by poison or disease is uncertain; that it was disease was inferred 
from the fact that, his throat gradually swelling internally and the passage 
being closed up, he ceased to breathe. Many asserted that, by the order of 
Nero, under colour of applying a remedy, his palate was anointed with a 
poisonous drug, and that Burrus, having discovered the treachery, when the 

iirince came to visit him, turned his face and eyes another way, and to his 

repeated inquiries about his health, made 
no other answer than this: “I am well.” 
At Rome the sense of his loss was deep 
and lasting, as well from the memory of 
his virtue as from the spiritless simplicity 
of one of his successors, and the flaming 
enormities and adulteries of the other. 
For Nero had created two captains of the 
prpetorian guards — namely, Fenius Rufus 
for his popularity, in consequence of his 
administration of the public stores without 
deriving any profit from it; and Sopho- 
nius Tigellinus, purely from partiality to 
the inveterate lewdness and infamy of the 
man ; and their influence was according 
to their known manner of life. Tigellinus 
held greater sway over the mind of Nero, 
and was admitted to share in his most 
secret debaucheries; Rufus flourished in 
the good opinion of the people and sol- 
diery, which he found a denial to him 
with the emperor. 

The death of Burrus made an inroad 
upon the influence of Seneca ; as good 
counsels had no longer the same force now 
that one of the champions of virtue was 
removed ; and Nero naturally inclined to 
follow the more depraved, who assailed 
Seneca with various imputations : that he 
had already accumulated enormous wealth, 
far surpassing the measure of a citizen, and was still increasing it; that he 
was alienating from the emperor and diverting to himself the affections of 
the citizens ; that he sought to outdo the prince in the elegance of his gar- 
dens and the splendour of his villas. They laid to his charge also that he 
claimed a monopoly in the glory of eloquence; and that after Nero con- 
ceived a passion for versifying, he had employed himself in it with unusual 
assiduity; for, to the recreations of the prince he was an open enemy — 
disparaged his vigour in the managing of horses, ridiculed his vocal powers 
whenever he sang ; with what view did he endeavour to effect that in the 
whole republic nothing should go down which was not the product of his 
ingenuity? Surely Nero was past weakness of childhood, and arrived at the 
prime of youth ; he ought now to discard his pedagogue, furnished as he 
was with instructors the most accomplished, even his own ancestors. 



Nero 

(From 0 bust in the Louvre Mtiseum) 



NERO: LAST OF THE C^SARS 


195 


[62 A.D.] 

Seneca was not unapprised of the efforts of his calumniators, as they were 
disclosed to him by such as retained some concern for tlie interests of v^irtue ; 
and as the emperor manifested daily more shyness towards him, lie besouo-ht 
an opportunity of speaking to him, and having obtained it, thus began : “ Idiis 
is the fourteenth year, Caesar, since I was summoned to train you for your high 
destiny; and the eighth since your advancement to the empire. During 
the intervening period, you have showered such honours and riches upon me, 
that nothing is wanting to complete my felicity but the capacity to use them* 
with moderation. I shall quote great examples, such as are adapted, not to 
my station and fortune, but to yours. Augustus, from whom you are the 
fourth in descent, granted to Marcus Agrippa leave to retreat to Mytilene, 
and to Caius IVfecenas he allowed, even in Rome itself, a retirement as com- 
plete as in any foreign country ; the former his companion in the wars, 
the other long harassed at Rome with manifold occupations and public cares ; 
both received rewards ample indeed, but proportioned to their services. For 
myself, what other claims upon your munificence have I been able to advance, 
except my literary attainments, nursed, so to speak, in the shades of retire- 
ment, and which have been rendered famous, because I am believed to have 
assisted your early years in the acquisition of learning ; a glorious reward 
for such a service ! But you encompassed me with boundless favours, un- 
numbered riches ; so that when I ruminate upon my situation, as I often do, I 
say to myself. Can it be that I, the son of a knight, the native of a province, 
am ranked among the chief men of Rome ? Has my upstart name acquired 
splendour among the nobles of the land, and men who glory in a long line of 
honoured ancestors ? W^here then is that philosophic spirit which professed 
to be satisfied with scanty supplies ? Is it employed in adorning such gar- 
dens as these, in pacing majestically through these suburban retreats? Does 
it abound in estates so extensive as these^ and in such immense sums put out 
at interest ? One plea only occurs to my thoughts ; that it becomes not me 
to oppose your bounties. 

“ But both of us have now filled up our measure ; you, of all that the 
bounty of a prince could confer upon his friend; I, of all that a friend could 
accept from the bounty of his prince. Every addition can only furnish fresh 
materials for envy, which, indeed, like all other earthly things, lies prostrate 
beneath your towering greatness, but weiglis heavily on me ; I require assist- 
ance. Thus, in the same manner as, were I weary and faint with the toils 
of warfare or a journey, I should implore indulgence, so in this journey of 
life, old as I am, and unequal even to the lightest cares, since I am unable 
longer to sustain the weight of my own riches, I seek protection. Order 
your own stewards to undertake the direction of my fortune, and to annex 
it to your own ; nor shall I by this plunge myself into poverty; but hav- 
ing surrendered those things by whose splendour I am exposed to the 
assaults of envy, all the time which is set apart for the care of gardens and 
villas I shall apply once more to the cultivation of my mind. To you vigour 
remains more than enough, and the possession of imperial power established 
during so many years. We, your friends, who are more advanced in years, 
may take our tuim of repose. This, too, will redound to your glory, that you 

had elevated to the highest posts those who could put up with a humble 
condition.*’ ^ 

To this speech, Nero replied much in this manner: “That I am able 
th^ on the moment to combat your studied reasonings, is the filrst benefit 
which I acknowledge to have derived from you, who have taught me not only 
to speak on subjects previously considered, but also to deliver my sentiments 



196 


THE HISTORY OF ROIME 

[62 A.D.] 


extemporaneously. It is true, my direct ancestor Augustus a, lowed 
Agrippa and M®cenas to pass their time in retirement after their toils, but 
at that period of life when his authority protected him, whatever was the 
extent or nature of the concession he made to them ; but nevertheless he 
divested neither of them of the rewards he had conferred upon them, ihey 
had earned them in war and civil perils ; for in these the earlier days of 
Augustus were occupied ; nor would your sword or your hands have been 
wanting had I been engaged in military affairs But what my existing cir- 
cuinstances required you rendered ; you nursed my childhood and directed 
mv youth by your moral lessons, your counsel, and your precepts ; and the 
favours you have bestowed on me, will never perish while life remains. 
Those you have received from me, your gardens, capital, and country seats, 
are liable to tlie accidents of fortune ; and though they may appear of great 
extent, yet many men, by no means equal to you in accomplishments, have 
enjoyed more. I am ashamed to instance freedmen, who in point of riches 
cut a greater figure than you ; and when I consider this, I see occasion to 
blush that a man who holds the highest place in my esteem, does not as yet 


transcend all others in the gifts of fortune. 

“But while you have attained maturity of 3'ears, and have yet vigour 
enough for business and the enjoyment of the fruits of your toils, I am only 
performing the early stages of the imperial career ; unless perhaps you deem 
less of j^ourself than Vitellius, who was thrice consul j and think that I 
should fall short of Claudius. But my liberality is unable to make up to 
you a fortune equal to that which Volusius amassed during years of parsi- 
mony. If in any respect I deviate from the right path, owing to the prone- 
ness to error natural to youth, you should rather recall my wandering steps, 
and guide that strength which you have adorned, by more intense efforts to 
assist me. It is not your moderation, if you give back your wealth, nor your 
retirement, if you forsake your prince, on which the tongues of all men will 
be employed ; but my rapaciousness, and the dread of my cruelty. But sup- 
pose your self-command should form the great theme of public applause ; 
still it will reflect no honour upon the character of a wise man, to reap a 
harvest of glory to himself from a proceeding by which he brings infamy 
upon his friend.” To these words he added kisses and embraces ; framed 
as he was by nature, and trained by habit, to veil his rancour under the guise 
of hollow compliments. Seneca presented his thanks ; the universal close of 
conferences with a sovereign ; he changed, however, the methods of his 
former state of power, put a stop to the conflux of visitors, avoided a train 
of attendants, and seldom appeared in the streets of the city ; pretending 
that his health was in an unfavourable state, or that he was detained at home 
by philosophical pursuits. 


OCTAVIA PUT TO DEATH 

Nero, having received the decree of the senate, and perceiving that all 
his villainies passed for acts of exemplary merit, rudely repudiated his wife, 
Octavia, alleging “ that she was barren,” and then espoused Poppsea. This 
woman, who had been long the concubine of Nero, and, as her adulterer and 
her husband, exercising absolute sway over him, suborned one of Octavia’s 
domestics to accuse her of an amour with a slave. Eucerus, a native of Alex- 
andria, a skilful flute-player, was marked out as the object of the charge ; 
her maids were examined upon the rack, and though some of them, over- 
come by the intensity of the torture, made false admissions, the major part 



NERO: LAST OF THE C.ESARS 


197 


[62 A, D.] 

persisted in vindicating the purity of their mistress. She was however put 
away in the first instance under the specious formality of a legal divorce, 
and the house of Burrus, with the estate of Plautus, ill-omened gift, were 
assigned to her ; soon after she was banished into Campania, and a guard 
of soldiers placed over her. This led to frequent and undisguised com- 
plaints among the populace, who are comparatively unrestrained by pru- 
dential motives, and from the mediocrity of their circumstances are exposed 
to fewer dangers. They had an effect upon Nero, who in consequence re- 
called Octavia from banishment, but without the slightest misgiving at his 
atrocious villainy. 

Forthwith the people went up to the Capitol in transport, and at length 
poured forth unfeigned thanks to the gods. They threw down the statues 
of Poppsea, carried those of Octavia upon their shoulders, wreathed them 
with garlands, and placed them on the Forum and the temples. They even 
went to offer the tribute of their applause to the prince ; the prince was made 
the object of their grateful adoration. And now they were filling the palace 
with their crowd and clamour, when parties of soldiers were sent out, who 
by beating them and threatening them with the sword, terrified and dispersed 
them. Whatever was overthrown during the tumult was restored, and the 
tokens of honour to Poppaea replaced. This woman, ever prone to atrocities 
from the impulse of hatred, and now stimulated by her fears also, lest either 
a more violent outbreak of popular violence should take place, or Nero should 
succumb to the inclination of the people, threw herself at his knees, and said 
therewith, “ her circumstances were not in that state that she should contend 
about her marriage with him, though that object was dearer to her than life ; 
but her very life was placed in imminent jeopardy by the dependents and 
slaves of Octavia, who calling themselves the people of Rome, had dared to 
commit acts in time of peace which were seldom produced by war. But 
those arms were taken up against the prince ; they only wanted a leader, 
and a civil commotion once excited, they would soon find one. Octavia has 
only to leave Campania and come into the city ; when at her nod, in her ab- 
sence, such tumults were raised. But if this were not the object, what crime 
had she committed ? Whom had she offended? Was it because she was about 


to give a genuine offspring to the family of the Caesars, that the Roman people 
chose that the spawn of an Egyptian flute-player should be palmed upon the 
imperial eminence ? To sum up all, if that step was essential to the public 
weal, he should call home his mistress voluntarily rather than by compulsion, 
or consult his safety by a righteous retribution. The first commotion had 
subsided under moderate applications, but if they should despair of Octa- 
via’s being the wife of Nero, they would give her another husband.” 

This artfully compound speech, adapted to excite fear and rage, at once 
produced the desired effect, and terrified wliile it inflamed the imperial 
hearer; but a suspicion resting only on the evidence of a slave, and 
neutralised by the asseverations of the tortured maids, was not strong 
enough for this purpose. It was therefore resolved that some person should 
be found who would confess the guilty commerce, and who might also be 
plausibly charged with the crime of rebellion. Anicetus was judged a 
fitting instrument for this purpose ; the same who had accomplished the 
murder of his mother, and, as I have related, commanded the fleet at Mise- 


num ; whom the emperor, after that horrid service, held in light esteem, 
but afterwards in extraordinary detestation ; for the ministers of nefarious 
deeds seem in the eyes of their employers as living reproaches of their 
iniquity. Him therefore Nero summoned ; and told him that he alone 



198 


THE HISTORY OF ROME 


[62 A.D.] 

had saved the life of the prince from the dark devices of his mother ; an 
opportunity for a service of no less magnitude now presented itself by re- 
lieviiiff him from a wife who was his mortal enemy, nor was there need 
of force or arms ; he had only to admit adultery with Octavia. He proni- 
ised rewards, which he said must indeed be kept a secret for the present, 
but of great value, and also a delightful retreat ; but threatened him with 
death, if lie declined the task. Anicetus, from an inherent perversity of 
principle, and a facility in crime produced by the horrible transactions in 
which he had been already engaged, even exceeded his orders in lying, and 
made confession of the adultery to the friends of the prince, whom he had 
summoned as a council. He was then banished to Sardinia, where he 
lived ill exile, but not in poverty, and where he died a natural death. 

Now Nero in an edict stated that Octavia, in hopes of engaging the 
fleet in her conspiracy, had corrupted Anicetus the admiral. And forget- 
ting that he had just before accused her of barrenness, he added, that in 
guilty consciousness of her lust, she had produced abortion, and that all 
these were clearly proved to him. And he confined her in the island 
Pandataria. Never was there any exile who touched the hearts of the 
beholders with deeper compassion ; some there were who still remembered 
to have seen Agrippina banished by Tiberius ; the more recent sufferings 
of Julia were likewise recalled to mind, confined there by Claudius: but 
they had experienced some happiness, and the recollection of their former 
splendour proved some alleviation of their present horrors. To Octavia, 
in the first place, the day of her nuptials was in place of a funeral day, 
being brought under a roof where she encountered nothing but memorials 
of woe ; her father cut off by poison, and soon afterwards her brother ; 
then a handmaid more influential than her mistress; Poppaea wedded to 
her husband, only to bring destruction on his lawful wife — and lastly, a 
crime laid to her charge more intolerable than death in any shape. 

And this young lady, in her twentieth year, thrown among centurions 
and common soldiers, and already bereft of life under the presage of im- 
pending woes, did not, however, as yet enjoy the repose of death. After 
an interval of a few da3’'s she was ordered to die, when she protested, “ she 
was now a widow, and only the emperor’s sister”; appealed to the Ger- 
manici, the common relatives of Nero and herself ; and lastly invoked the 
name of Agrippina, observing, “that had she lived, her marriage-state 
would have been made wretched, but she would not have been doomed to 
destruction.” She was then tied fast with bonds, and her veins opened in 
every joint ; and her death was accelerated by the vapour of a bath, heated 
to the highest point. A deed of still more atrocious brutality was added ; 
her head was cut off and conveyed to the city for Poppsea to see it. Offer- 
ings at the temples were decreed by the fathers on account of these events ; 
a circumstance which I have recorded in order that that all those who shall 
read the calamities of those times, as they are delivered by me or any other 
authors, may conclude by anticipation, that as often as a banishment or a 
murder was perpetrated by the prince’s orders, so often thanks were ren- 
dered to the gods ; and those acts which in former times were resorted to 
to distinguish prosperous occurrences, were now made the tokens of pub- 
lic disasters. Still I will not suppress the mention of any decree of the 
senate which is marked by unheard-of adulation, or the extremity of abject 
servility. 

Nero himself, to make it believed that he enjoyed himself nowhere so 
much as at Rome, caused banquets to be prepared in the public places, and 



NERO: LAST OF THE CAESARS 


199 


[G2-64 A.D.] 


used the whole city as his house. Remarkable above all others for the dis- 
play of luxury and the noise it made in the world was the feast given by 
Tigellinus, which, (says Suetonius), I will describe by way of specimen, 
that I may not have to repeat the instances of similar prodigality. For this 
purpose, he built, in the lake of Agrippa, a raft which supported the ban- 
quet, which was drawn to and fro by other vessels, the vessels were striped 
with gold and ivory, and rowed by bands of pathics, who were ranged ac- 
cording to their age, and accomplishments in the science of debauchery. 
He had procured fowl and venison from re- 
mote regions, with sea-fish even from the 
ocean; upon the margin of the lake were 
erected brothels, filled with ladies of distinc- 
tion ; over against them naked harlots were 
exposed to view ; now, were beheld obscene 
gestures and motions ; and as soon as dark- 
ness came on, all the neighbouring groves and 
circumjacent dwellings resounded with music, 
and glared with lights. Nero wallowed in all 
sorts of defilements, lawful and unlawful, and 
seemed to leave no atrocity which could add 
to his pollution, till a few days afterwards he 
married, as a woman, one of this contaminated 
herd, named Pythagoras, with all the solem- 
nities of wedlock. The Roman emperor put 
on the nuptial veil ; the augurs, the portion, 
the bridal bed, the nuptial torches, were all 
seen ; in fine, everything exposed to view 
which, even in a female, is covered by the 
night. 


THE GREAT FIRE AT ROME; PERSECU- 
TION OF THE CHIIISTIANS 

There followed a dreadful disaster ; whether 
fortuitously, or by the wicked contrivance of 
the prince, is not determined, for both are 
asserted by historians ; but of all the calami- a Centurion 

ties which ever befell this city from the rage 

of fire, this was the most terrible and severe. It broke out in that part of 
the Circus which is contiguous to mounts Palatine and Caelius ; where, by 
reason of shops in which were kept such goods as minister aliment to fire, 
the moment it commenced it acquired strength, and being accelerated by the 
wind, it spread at once through the whole extent of the Circus ; for neither 



were the houses secured by enclosures, nor the temples environed with walls, 
nor was there any other obstacle to intercept its progress ; but the flame, 
spreading every way impetuously, invaded first the lower regions of the city, 
then mounted to the higher ; then again ravaging the lower, it baffled every 
effort to extinguish it, by the rapidity of its destructive course, and from the 
liability of the city to conflagration, in consequence of the narrow and intri- 
cate alleys, and the irregularity of the streets in ancient Rome. Add to this, 
the wailings of terrified women, the infirm condition of the aged, and the 
helplessness of childhood ; such as strove to provide for themselves, and 



200 


THE HISTOKY OF KOME 


[64 A.D.] 

those who laboured to assist others; these dragging the feeble, those waiting 
for them; some hurrying, others lingering; altogether created a scene of 
universal confusion and embarrassment. And while they looked back upon 
the danger in their rear, they often found themselves beset before, and on 
their sides; or if they escaped into the quarters adjoining, these too were 
already seized by the devouring flames ; even the parts which they believed 
remote and exempt, were found to be in the same distress. At last, not know- 
ing what to shun, or where to seek sanctuary, they crowded the streets, and 
lay along in the open fields. Some, from the loss of their whole substance, 
even the means of their daily sustenance, others, from affection for their rela- 
tives, whom they had not been able to snatch from the flames, suffered them- 
selves to perish in them, though they had opportunity to escape. Neither 
dared any mau offer to check the fire ; so repeated were the menaces of many 
who forbade to extinguish it ; and because others openly threw firebrands, 
with loud declarations that “they had one who authorised them”; whether 
they did it that they might plunder with the less restraint, or in consequence 
of orders given. 

Nero, who was at that juncture sojourning at Antium, did not return to 
the city till the fire approached that quarter of his house which connected 
the palace with the gardens of Majcenas; nor could it, however, be pre- 
vented from devouring the house and palace, and everything around. But 
for the relief of the people, thus destitute, and driven from their dwellings, 
he opened the h'ield of Mars and the monumental edifices erected by Agrippa, 
and even his own gardens. He likewise reared temporary houses for the 
reception of the forlorn multitude, and from Ostia and the neighbouring 
cities, were brought up the river household necessaries ; and the price of 
grain was reduced to three sesterces the measure. All which proceedings, 
though of a popular character, were thrown away, because a rumour had 
become universally current, that “at the very time when the city was in 
flames, Nero, going on the stage of his private theatre, sang, ‘The Destruc- 
tion of Troy,’ assimilating the present disaster to that catastrophe of 
ancient times.” 

At length, on the sixth day, the conflagration was stayed at the foot of 
Esquiline, by pulling down an immense quantity of buildings, so that an open 
space, and, as it were, void air, might check the raging element by breaking 
the continuity. But ere the consternation had subsided, the fire broke out 
afresh, with no little violence, but in regions more spacious, and therefore 
with less destruction of human life ; but more extensive havoc was made of 
the temples, and the porticoes dedicated to amusement. This conflagration, 
too, was the subject of more censorious remark, as it arose in the ^milian 
possessions of Tigellinus ; and Nero seemed to aim at the glory of building 
a new city, and calling it by his own name ; for, of the fourteen sections 
into which Rome is divided, four were still standing entire, three were 
levelled with the ground, and in the seven others there remained only here 
and there a few remnants of houses, shattered and half consumed. 

Nero appropriated to his own purposes the ruins of his city, and founded 
upon them a palace [the “ Golden House ”] in which the old-fashioned, and, 
in those luxurious times, common ornaments of gold and precious stones, 
were not so much the objects of attraction as lands and lakes ; in one part, 
woods like vast preserves ; in another part, open spaces and expansive 
prospects. The projectors and superintendents of this plan were Severus 
and Celer, men of such ingenuity and daring enterprise as to attempt to 
conquer by art the obstacles of nature, and fool away the treasures of the 



NERO: LAST OF THE CAESARS 


201 


[G4 A.D.] 

prince ; they had even undertaken to sink a navigable canal from the lake 
Avernus to the mouth of the Tiber, over an arid shore, or through opposing 
mountains : nor indeed does there occur anything of a humid nature for 
supplying water, except the Pontine marshes ; the rest is either craggy 
rock or a parched soil ; and had it even been possible to break through these 
obstructions, the toil had been intolerable, and disproportioned to the 
object. Nero, however, who longed to achieve things that exceeded credi- 
bility, exerted all liis might to perforate the mountains adjoining to Avernus : 
and to this day there remain traces of his abortive project. 

But the rest of the old site not occupied by his palace was laid out, 
not as after the Gallic fire, without discrimination and regularity, but with 
the lines of streets measured out, broad spaces left for transit, the height of 
the buildings limited, open areas left, and porticoes added to protect the 
front of the clustered dwellings. These porticoes Nero engaged to rear at 
his own expense, and then to deliver to each proprietor the areas about them 
cleared. He moreover proposed rewards proportioned to every man’s rank 
and private substance, and fixed a day within which, if their houses, single 
or clustered, were finished, they should receive them. He appointed the 
marshes of Ostia for a receptacle of the rubbish, and that the vessels which 
had convej^ed grain up the Tiber should return laden with rubbish ; that the 
buildings themselves should be raised to a certain portion of their height 
without beams, and arched with stone from the quarries of Gabii or Alba, 
that stone being proof against fire ; that over the water springs, which had 
been improperly intercepted by private individuals, overseers should be placed, 
to provide for their flowing in greater abundance, and in a greater number of 
places, for the supply of the public ; that every housekeeper should have in 
his yard means for extinguishing fire ; neither should there be party walls, 
but every house should be enclosed by its own walls. These regulations, 
which were favourably received, in consideration of their utility, were also a 
source of beauty to the new city ; yet some there were who believed that the 
ancient form was more conducive to health, as from the narrowness of the 
streets, and the height of the buildings the rays of the sun were more 
excluded ; whereas now, the spacious breadth of the streets, without any 
shade to protect it, was more intensely heated in warm weather. 

Such were the provisions made by human counsels. The gods were next 
addressed with expiations ; and recourse had to the Sibyl’s books. By 
admonition from them, to Vulcan, Ceres, and Proserpine supplicatory sacri- 
fices were made, and Juno was propitiated by the matrons, first in the Capitol, 
then upon the nearest shore, where, by water drawn from the sea, the temple 
and image of the goddess were besprinkled ; and the ceremony of placing 
the goddess in her sacred chair, and her vigil, were celebrated by ladies who 
had husbands. But not all the relief that could come from man, not all 
the bounties that the prince could bestow, nor all the atonements 
which could be presented to the gods, availed to relieve Nero from the 
infamy of being believed to have ordered the conflagration. Hence, to 
suppress the rumour, he falsely charged with the guilt, and punished with 
the most exquisite tortures, the Christians, who were hated for their 
enormities. Accordingly, first those were seized who confessed they were 
Christians ; next, on their information, a vast multitude were convicted, not 
so much on the charge of burning the city, as of hating the human race. 
And in their deaths they were also made the subjects of sport, for they were 
covered with the hides of wild beasts, and worried to death by dogs, or nailed 
to crosses, or set fire to, and when day declined, burned to serve for nocturnal 



202 


THE HISTORY OF ROME 


[Gl-65 A.D.] 

lio-hts. Nero offered his own gardens for that spectacle, and exhibited a 
cTrcensian game, indiscriminately mingling with the common people m the 
habit of a charioteer, or else standing in his chariot. Whence a feeling oi 
compassion arose towards the sufferers, because they seemed not to be cut off 
for the public good, but victims to the ferocity of one nian.c 

In order to compensate for his prodigality in games and spectacles ; to 
cover the expense of his purposeless edifices, above all, of his golden house; 
of his festivals, one of which cost four million sesterces for perfume alone; 
his extravagance in furniture and in clothes, of wliich he wore new ones 
each day, his distributions of bread, meat, game, clothes, money, and even 
precious stones, among the populace in return for their applause for his 
verses and singing ; finally, I say, to compensate for all this Avild expendi- 
ture, lie multiplied proscriptions and sentences which carried with them the 
confiscation of property. Even office became a source of revenue, for he 
only bestowed it on condition that he should have a share in the profits. 
The provinces were thus again pillaged. It was not for this they had so 
loudly saluted the establishment of the empire, and they came within a 
measurable distance of its dissolution in the last years of this reign. ^ 


CONSPIRACY MET BY CRUELTY AND PERSECUTION 

Men, however, were grown Aveary of being the objects of the tyrannic 
caprice of a profligate youth ; and a Avidely extended conspiracy to remove 
him and give the supreme poAver to C. Piso, a nobleman of many popular 
qualities, Avas organised (65). Men of all ranks, civil and military, Avere 
engaged in it, — senators, knights, tribunes, and centurions, — some, as is 
usual, on public, some on private grounds. While they Avere yet undecided 
Avhere it Avere best to fall on Nero, a courtesan named Epicharis, Avho had a 
knoAvledge (it is not knoAvn how obtained) of the plot, Avearied of their in- 
decision, attempted to gain over the officers of the fleet at Misenum. She 
made the first trial of an officer named Volusius Proculus, who had been one 
of the agents in the murder of Agrippina, and who complained of the ill return 
he had met Avith, and menaced revenge. She communicated to him the fact 
of there being a conspiracy, and proposed to him to join in it ; but Proculus, 
hoping to gain a reAvard by this ncAV service, Avent and gave information to 
Nero. Epicharis was seized ; but as she had mentioned no names, and Procu- 
lus had no Avitnesses, nothing could be made of the matter. She was, hoAV- 
ever, kept in prison. 

The conspirators became alarmed ; and lest they should be betrayed, they 
resolved to delay acting no longer, but to fall on the tyrant at the Circensian 
games. The plan arranged was that Plautius Lateranus, the consul-elect, a 
man of great courage and bodily strength, should sue to the emperor for 
relief to his family affairs, and in so doing should grasp his knees and throw 
him doAvn, and that then the officers should despatch him with their swords. 
Meantime Piso should be waiting at the adjacent temple of Ceres ; and Avhen 
Nero Avas no more, the prefect Fenius Rufus and others should come and 
convey him to the camp. 

NotAvithstanding the number and variety of persons engaged in the plot, 
the secret had been kept Avith Avonderful fidelity. Accident, however, revealed 
it as it Avas on the very eve of execution. Among the conspirators was a 
senator named Flavius Scevinus, Avho, though dissolved in luxury, was one 
of the most eager. He had insisted on having the first part in the assassina- 



KERO: LAST OF THE C^SARS 


203 


1^65 A.D.] 

tion, for which purpose he had provided a dagger taken from a temple. The 
night before the attack was to be made he gave this dagger to one of his 
freedmen, named Milichus, to grind and sharpen. He at the same time sealed 
his will, giving freedom to some, gifts to others of his slaves. He supped 
more luxuriously than usual, and though he affected great cheerfulness, it 
was manifest from his air that he had something of imi^ortance on his mind. 
He also directed his freedman to prepare bandages for wounds. Tlie freed- 
man, who was either already in the secret, or had his suspicions now excited, 
consulted with his wife, and at her impulsion set off at daylight and revealed 
his suspicions to Epaphroditus, one of Nero’s freedmen, by whom he was 
conducted to the emperor. On his information Scevinus was arrested ; but 
he gave a plausible explanation of everything but the bandages, which he 
positively denied. He might have escaped were it not that Milichus’ wife 
suggested that Antonius Natalis had conversed a great deal with him in secret 
of late, and that they were both intimate with Piso. Natalis was then sent 
for ; and as he and Scevinus did not agree in their accounts of the conversa- 
tion which they had, they were menaced with torture. Natalis’ courage gave 
way ; he named Piso and Seneca. Scevinus, either through weakness or 
thinking that all was known, named several others, among whom were Annaeus 
Lucauus the poet, the nephew of Seneca, Tullius Senecio, and Afraiiius 
Quinctianus. These at first denied everything. At length, on the promise 
of pardon, they discovered some of their nearest friends, Lucan even naming 
his own mother Atilla. 

Nero now called to mind the information of Proculus, and he ordered 
Epicharis to be put to the torture. But no pain could overcome the constancy 
of the heroic woman ; and next day, as from her weak state she was carried 
in a chair to undergo the torture anew, she contrived to fasten her belt to the 
arched back of the chair, and thus to strangle herself. 

When the discovery was first made, some of the bolder spirits urged Piso 
to hasten to the camp or to ascend the rostra, and endeavour to excite the 
soldiers or the people to rise against Nero. But he had not energy for such 
a course, and he lingered at home till his house was surrounded by soldiers. 
He then opened his veins, leaving a will filled, for the sake of his wife, a 
profligate woman, with the grossest adulation of Nero. Lateranus died like 
a hero, with profound silence ; and though the tribune who presided at the 
execution was one of the conspirators, he never reproached him. 

But the object of Nero’s most deadly enmity was Seneca. All that was 
against this illustrious man was that Natalis said that Piso had one time sent 
him to Seneca, who was ill, to see how he was, and to complain of his not 
admitting him, and that Seneca replied that it was for the good of neither 
that they shoiild meet frequently, but that his health depended on Piso’s 
safety. The tribune Granius Silvanus (also one of the conspirators) was 
sent to Seneca, who was now at his villa four miles from Home, to examine 
him respecting the conversation with Natalis. He found him at table with 
his wife, Pompeia Paulina, and two of his friends. Seneca’s account agreed 
with that of Natalis; his meaning, he said, had been perfectly innocent. 
When the tribune made his report to Nero and his privy council — Poppjea 
and Tigellinus — he was asked if Seneca meditated a voluntary death. On 
his reply that he showed no signs of fear or perturbation, he was ordered to 
go back and bid him die. Silvanus, it is said, called on Fenius on his way 
and asked him if he should obey the orders; but Fenius, with that want 
of spirit which was the ruin of them all, bade him obey. Silvanus when he 
arrived sent in a centurion with the fatal mandate. 


204 


THE HISTORY OE ROI^rE 


[65 A.D.] 

Seneca calmly called for his will, but the centurion would not suffer him 
to have it. He then told his friends that as he could not express his sense 
of their merits in the way that he wished, he would leave them the image of 
his life, to which, if they attended, they would obtain the fame of virtue and 
of constancy in friendship. He checked their tears, showing that nothing 
had occurred but w'hat was to have been exjiected. Then embracing his wife, 
lie began to console and fortify her, but she declared her resolution to die 
with him. Not displeased at her generous devotion, and happy that one so 
dear to iiim should not remain exposed to injury and misfortune, he gave a 
ready consent, and the veins in the arms of both were opened. As Seneca, on 
account of his age, bled slowly, he caused those of his legs and thighs to be 
opened also ; and as he suffered very much, he persuaded his wife to go into 
another room ; and then calling for amanuenses, he dictated a discourse which 
was afterward published. Finding himself going very slowly, he asked his 
friend the physician, Statius Annaeus, for the hemlock juice which he had 
provided, and took it, but it had no effect. He finally went into a warm bath, 
sjjrinkling as he entered it the servants who were about him, and saying, “I 
pour this liquor to Jove the Liberator.” The heat caused the blood to flow 
freely, and his sufferings at length terminated. His body was burned with- 
out any ceremony, according to the directions which he had given when at 
the height of his prosperity. 

Paulina did not die at this time ; for Nero, who had no enmity against 
her and wished to avoid the imputation of gratuitous cruelty, sent orders to 
have her saved. She survived her husband a few years, her face and skin 
remaining of a deadly paleness in consequence of her great loss of blood. 

The military men did not remain undiscovered. Fenius Rufus died like 
a coward ; the tribunes and centurions, like soldiers. When one of them 
named Subrius Flavius was asked by Nero what caused him to forget his 
military oath : “ I hated you,” said he, “ and there was none of the soldiers 
more faithful while you deserved to be loved. I began to hate you when 
you became the murderer of your mother and wife, a chariot-driver, a 
player, and an incendiary.” Nothing in the whole affair cut Nero to the 
soul like this reply of the gallant soldier. 

The consul Vestinus was not implicated by any in the conspiracy ; but 
Nero hated him ; and as he was sitting at dinner with his friends, some 
soldiers entered to say that their tribune wanted him. He arose, went into 
a chamber, had his veins opened, entered a warm bath, and died. Lucan 
when ordered to die had his veins also opened ; when he felt his extremities 
growing cold, he called to mind some verses of his Pharsalia which were 
appliciuDle to his case, and died repeating them. Senecio, Quinctianus, 
Scevinus, and many others died; several were banished. Natalis, Milichus, 
and others were rewarded ; offerings, thanksgivings, and so forth were voted 
in abundance by the senate. 

This obsequious body, however, sought to avert the disgrace of the lord 
of the Roman world appearing on the stage at the approaching Quinquennial 
games, by offering him the victory of song and the crown of eloquence. But 
Nero said that there needed not the power nor the influence of the senate, 
that he feared not his rivals, and relied on the equity of the judges. He 
therefore sang on the stage, and when the people pressed him to display all 
his acquirements, he came forth in the theatre, strictly conforming to all the 
rules of his art, not sitting down when weary, wiping his face in his robe, 
neither spitting nor blowing his nose, and finally with bended knee and 
moving his hand, waited in counterfeit terror for the sentence of the judges. 



NERO: LAST OE THE C.ESARS 


205 


[G5-66 A.D.] 

At the end of the games, he in a fit of anger gave Poppsea, who was 
pregnant, a kick in the stomacli, which caused her death. Instead of burn- 
ing her body, as was now the general custom, he had it embalmed with tlie 
most costly spices and deposited in the monument of the Julian family. He 
himself pronounced the funeral oration, in which he praised lier for her 
beauty, and for being the mother of a divine infant. 

The remainder of the year was marked by the death or exile of several 
illustrious persons, and by a pestilence which carried off great numbers of 
all ranks and ages. “Of the knights and senators,” observes Tacitus, “the 
deaths were less to be lamented ; they anticipated, as it were, by the common 
fate the cruelty of the prince.” 

The first deaths of the succeeding year (66) were those of P. Anteius, 
whose crime was his wealth and the friendship of Agrippina ; Ostorius 
Scapula, who had distinguished himself in Britain; Annseus Mella, the 
father of Lucan ; Anicius Cerealis, Rufius Crispinus, and others. They all 
died in the same manner, by opening their veins. The most remarkable 
death was that of C. Petronius, a man whose elegance and taste in luxury 
had recommended him to the special favour of Nero, who regarding him as 
his “ arbiter of elegance,” valued only that of which Petronius approved. The 
envy of Tigellinus being thus excited, he bribed one of Petronius’ slaves to 
charge his master with being the friend of Scevinus. His death followed, of 
course ; the mode of it however was peculiar. He caused his veins to be 
opened, then closed, then opened again, and so on. He meantime went on 
conversing with his friends, not, like a Socrates or a Seneca, on the immor- 
tality of the soul or the opinions of the wise, but listening to light and wan- 
ton verses. He rewarded some of his slaves, he had others flogged, he dined, 
he slept ; he made, in short, his compulsive death as like a natural one as pos- 
sible. He did not, like others, pay court to Nero or Tigellinus or the men 
in power, in his will, but he wrote an account of the vices and crimes of the 
prince and court under the names of flagitious men and women, and sent it 
sealed up to the emperor. He broke his seal-ring, lest it might be used to 
the destruction of innocent persons. 

“After the slaughter of so many illustrious men,” says Tacitus, “Nero at 
length sought to destroy virtue itself by killing Thraseas Psetus and Barea 
Soranus.” The former, a man of primitive Roman virtue, was hated by him 
not merely for his worth, but because he had on various occasions given 
public proof of his disapproval of his acts. Such were his going out of the 
senate house when the decrees were made on account of the murder of Agrip- 
pina, and his absence from the deification and funeral of Poppaea. Further 
than his virtue, we know of no cause of enmity that Nero could have against 
Soranus. 

The accusers of Thraseas were Capito Cossutianus, whom he had made 
his enemy by supporting the Cilician deputies who came to accuse him of 
extortion, and Marcellus Eprius, a profligate man of eloquence. A Roman 
knight named Ostorius Sabinus appeared as the accuser of Soranus. The 
time selected for the destruction of these eminent men was that of the 


arrival of the Parthian prince Tiridates, who was coming to Rome to receive 
the diadem of Armenia, either in hopes that the domestic crime would be 
shrouded by the foreign glory, or, more probably, to give the Oriental an 
idea of the imperial power. Thraseas received an order not to appear 


among those who went to meet the king; he wrote to Nero, requiring to 
know with what he was charged, and asserting his ability to clear himself if 
he got an opportunity. Nero in reply said that he would convoke the senate. 



206 


THE HISTORY OF ROIME 


[66 A.D.y 

Thraseas then consulted with his friends, whether he would go to the senate 
house, or expect his doom at home. Opinions were as usual divided; he 
liowever did not go to the senate. 

Next morning the temple in which the senate sat was surrounded with 
soldiery. Cossutianus and Eprius appeared as the accusers of Thraseas, his 
son-in-law Helvidius Priscus, Paconius Agrippinus, and Curtius Montanus. 
The general charge against them was passive rather than active disloyalty, 
Thraseas being held forth as the seducer and encourager of the others. 
Ostorius tlien came forward and accused Soranus, who was present, of friend- 
ship with Kubellius Plautus and of mal-conduct in the government of Asia. 
He added that Servilia, the daughter of the accused, had given money to 
fortune-tellers. Servilia was summoned. She owned the truth, that she 
had sold her ornaments and given the money to the soothsayers, but for no 
impious purpose, only to learn if her father would escape. Witnesses were 
then called, and among them, to the indignation of every virtuous man, 
appeared P. Egnatius, the client and friend of Soranus, and a professor of 
the stoic philosophy, who now had sold himself to destroy his benefactor by 
false testimony. 

Tlie accused were all condemned, of course ; Thraseas, Soranus, and Ser- 
vilia to death, the others to exile. Of the circumstances of the end of 
Soranus and his daughter, we are not informed. Thraseas having pre- 
vented his wife Arria from following the example of her mother of the same 
name, by entreating her not to deprive their daughter of her only remaining 
support, caused his veins to be opened in the usual manner ; and as the blood 
spouted forth, he said to the quaestor who was present, “Let us pour out to 
Jove the Liberator. Regard this, young man. May the gods avert the 
omen ; but you have been born in times when it is expedient to fortify the 
mind by examples of constancy.” He died after suffering much pain. / 

Suetonius has left us an interesting picture of the personality of the per- 
verted being who was the cause of all this suffering. 


PERSONAL CHARACTERISTICS OF NERO, ACCORDING TO SUETONIUS 

In stature Nero was a little below the common size ; his body spotted, 
and of a disagreeable appearance ; his hair inclined to yellow ; his counte- 
nance fair, rather than handsome ; his eyes gray and dull, his neck fat, his 
belly prominent, legs very slender, but his constitution healthful. For, 
though extravagantly luxurious in his way of living, he had, in the course of 
fourteen years, only three fits of sickness, which were so slight, that he 
neither forbore the use of wine, nor made any alteration in his usual diet. 
In his dress, and the care of his person, he was so indecent, that he had his 
hair cut in rings one above another ; and when he was in Achaia, let it grow 
long behind ; and appeared abroad for the most part in the dress which he 
used at table, with a handkerchief about his neck, his coat loose upon him, 
and without shoes. 

He was entered, when a boy, in almost all the liberal sciences ; but his 
mother diverted him from the study of philosophy, as unsuitable to one who 
was to be an emperor ; and his master Seneca discouraged him from reading 
the old orators, that he might keep him the longer in admiration of himself. 
He was much addicted to poetry, and composed verses both with pleasure 
and ease : nor did he, as some think, publish those of other authors for his 
own. I have had in my hands some little pocket-books of his, with some 



KERO: LAST OF THE a-ESARS 


207 


[W— G8 A*D.] 

well-known verses, all of his own writinc:, and written in sucli a manner, that 
it was very evident from the blotting and interlining, that tliey liad not beeit 
transcribed from a copy, nor dictated by 
another, but written by the composer 
of them. 

He had likewise a great taste for 
painting, and moulding of images, but 
of all things an extravagant desire of 
popular applause, being a rival of every 
man who was upon any account admired 
by the people. It was the general be- 
lief, that, after the prizes he won by 
his performances upon the stage, he 
would the next lustrum have entered 
amongst the wrestlers at the Olympic 
games. For he was continually prac- 
tising in that way ; nor did lie attend 
in Greece that kind of solemnity any 
otherwise, than as the judges used to 
do, sitting upon the ground in the Sta- 
dium. And if a pair of wrestlers hap- 
pened to get without the limits assigned 
tliem, he would with his own liands 
bring them back into their proper place. 

Towards the end of his life, he made 
a public vow, that if he continued in 
the peaceable enjoyment of the empire, 
he would, in the games which he in- 
tended to give for his success against 
the insurgents, appear upon the stage, 
to manage the water-organ, as also to 
play upon the flutes and bagpipe, and 

A 1 IT j.1^ T A Night Watchman of Rome, showing the 

upon the day concluding those diver- bells wokn on his Jacket 

sions, would act his part in a play, and 

dance to the story of Turnus in Virgil. And there are some who say, that 
he put to death the player Paris as a dangerous rival. 

He had an invincible desire, but capriciously directed, of rendering him- 
self famous through all succeeding ages. He therefore took from several 
things and places their former appellations, and gave them new names 
derived from his own. He called the month of April, too, Neroneus, and 
had a design to change the name of Rome into that of Neropolis. 

He thought there was no other use of riches and money than to squander 
them away profusely ; regarding all those as sordid wretches who kept their 
expenses within due bounds ; and extolling those as truly noble and gener- 
ous souls, who lavished away and wasted all before them. He never wore 
the same garment twice. He would game for four hundred thousand ses- 
terces for every spot that came up upon the tali. He used to fish with a 
golden net, drawn by silken cords of the finest scarlet colour. It is said that 
he never travelled with less than a thousand carts attending him with his 

• fhe mules being all shod with silver, and their drivers dressed in 
scarlet clothes of the finest wool ; and a numerous train of footmen, and Afri- 
cans, with bracelets on their arms, and mounted upon horses in splendid 
trappings. 




208 


THE HISTORY OF ROME 


[54-68 A.D.j 

He was a despiser of all religious worship, except that of the Syrian 
goddess ; but at last he regarded her so little that he spurned^ 
now engaged in another superstition, in which he invariably persisted, Bor 
liaving received from some obscure plebeian a little image of a girl, as a 
preservative against plots, and discovering a conspiracy immediately after, 
lie constantly worshipped, and with three sacrifices a day, his imaginary pro- 
tectress, as the greatest amongst the gods. He was likewise desirous to 
Iiave it thought that he had from the information of that deity a knowledge 
of future events. A few months before he died, he offered several sacrifices, 
to consult the entrails of the victims; but could never obtain any favourable 

intimations from them.<i 


MERIVALE’S estimate of NERO AND HIS TIMES 

The youth who at the age of seventeen 3^ears had been called to govern 
the civilised world, is represented in his busts and medals as handsome in 
countenance, but, as Suetonius remarks, without grace or winningness of 
expression. His hair was not the bright auburn of Apollo, the delight of 
the Romans, to which it was so often likened, but yellowish or sandy; his 
figure, though of middle stature, was ill-proportioned, the neck was thick 
and sensual, the stomach prominent, the legs slender. His skin, it is added, 
was blotched or pimpled; but this, it may be supposed, was the effect of 
intemperance in his later years; his eyes were dark gray or greenish, and 
their sight defective, which may account perhaps for the scowl which seems 
to mark their expression. His health, notwithstanding his excesses, con- 
tinued good to the end, and it was only from anxious concern for his voice 
that lie wrapped his throat in kerchiefs, like a confirmed valetudinarian. In 
his dress there was a mixture of slovenliness and finery ; in the arrangement 
of his cherished locks he was exceedingly careful, piling them in tiers above 
the crown, and letting them fall from thence over the shoulders, a fashion 
which was reputed not less indecent, or at least effeminate, than the loose- 
ness of his cincture, the bareness of his feet, and the lightness of the chamber- 
robe in which he did not scruple to appear in public. 

We may trace perhaps to the character of his master, and to the kind of 
education he was likely to receive from him, the ardent love of admiration, 
ill-directed as it was, which distinguished the pupil of Seneca. To this con- 
stant anxiety to compete with rivals, and triumph over them, however trifling 
the objects on which it was exercised, may be ascribed the indifference Nero 
evidently felt to the title of divinity, which in his inordinate vanity he might 
have been expected to claim. He wanted to be admired as the first among 
men, not to be adored as a god. He could not be Apollo, and contend at the 
same time for the prize of tlie Pythian games ; he could not be Hercules, and 
carry off the chaplet at Nemea; he could not be Jupiter, and gain the victory 
at the great contest of Olympia — distinctions on which his soul was bent 
from an early period of his career, and which, as we shall see, he lived eventu- 
ally to achieve. His courtiers might, if they pleased, pronounce his likeness 
to these or any other divinities ; but to make him actually divine was to rob 
him of the honours he so vehemently affected. The poets might predict his 
apotheosis after death, and doubtless the verses in which Lucan, at that time 
liis friend and companion, challenged him to choose what godship he would 
assume in heaven, and where he would fix his throne, imploring him to take 
his seat in the middle of the universe, lest if he leaned ever so little from the 



NERO: LAST OF THE aESARS 200 

[r,i~68 A.n.] 

centre the world should be thrown by his august weight from its eternal l)al 
ance — such verses were doubtless accepted as a fitting tribute to the germ 
of a divine existence hereafter to blossom into flower. But tlie ardour witli 
which Nero aspired to distinctions among mortal men was itself a guarantee 
against his usurping the character of the impassive godhead, whicli can neither 
enjoy a triumph nor suffer a disgrace. 

Nor again, though described by Tacitus as lusting after the incredible, had 
Nero the same passion as Caligula for realising apparent impossibilities to prove 
his superhuman power. He was not impelled in a career of marvels by rest- 
less and aimless pride. Once removed from the spliere of theatrical sliows 
and contests, he had no higher notion of his position than as enabling him 
to accumulate, to multiply, or to enlarge the commonest objects of luxury. 
He never travelled, it is asserted, with less than a thousand carriages in his 
train. His banquets were those of the noble debauchees of the day on a still 
vaster scale of expense ; in the height of his extravagance, he would equip 
his actors with masks or wands covered with genuine pearls; he would stake 
four hundred thousand sesterces on a single cast of the dice ; he bathed in 
unguents, and stimulated his friends to expend four millions on the perfumes 
alone of a single supper. His presents to favourites were sums of money 
many times greater than had ever been given to favourites before ; his build- 
ings were colonnades longer, halls Avider, towers higher, than had been raised 
by his predecessors. His projected canal from Puteoli to Rome would only 
have been the longest of canals ; the attempt he latterly made to cut through 
the isthmus of Corinth was only a repetition of previous attempts, neither 
better planned, nor more steadfastly persevered in. 

In his schemes there was nothing neAV or original. Nero was devoid of the 
imagination which throAvs an air of wild grandeur over the character of 
Caligula. The notion that he burned Rome on purpose to have an opportunity 
of rebuilding it more magnificently would have been more applicable, as it 
seems to me, to his predecessor than to him. But within the paltry sphere 
of his degraded taste he claimed to be pre-eminent. As a mime or player he 
was not satisfied Avith any single class of parts, or any one department of 
exhibition. After rivalling Apollo in song and the Sun in charioteering, 
he aspired to display the courage and vigour of Hercules, and a lion Avas 
duly prepared, drugged or fed to stupor, to be strangled in his arms, or 
brained Avith a stroke of his club. He acted, he sang, he played, he danced. 
He insisted on representing men and heroes, gods and even goddesses. To 
affect the Avoman indeed, in dress, voice, and gesture, was a transformation 
in Avhich he took a childish pleasure, restrained by no sense of dignity or 
decency. He adopted his superstitions, as well as his garb and habits, from 
Syria, from his Parthian and Armenian guests, or from the diviners and 
necromancers of the credulous East. To the art of magic he devoted wealth, 
energy, natural abilities, in short, all his resources; but Nature, says Pliny, 
Avas too strong for him. His failure to divine the future, or raise the spirits 
of the dead, Avas noted by the wise as a signal demonstration of the futility 
of magical pretensions, hor none of the accustomed divinities of Rome did 
he evince any respect, nor for places consecrated by the national religion ; 
but he reverenced the Syrian Astarte, till in a fit of vexation he renounced 
her protection, and insulted her image. At last his sole object of veneration 
AA^s a little figure of a girl, which he always wore as a talisman about him, 
affecting to learn from it the secrets of futurity. 

Such were the miserable interests of this infatuated creature, the victim 
of licentious indulgence, a child prematurely stunted both in mind and 

H. w. — VOL. vr. p 



210 


THE HISTORY OF ROME 


[54-68 A.D.] 

body, surrounded on the throne not by generals and statesmen, but by 
troops of slaves or freedmen, by players and dancers lost to all sense of 
LceLy themselves, and seeking only their advancement at the expense of 
tlieir master and of mankind ; surrendered by loose women to stdl more 
despicable minions, and ruled by the most cruel and profligate of ministeis. 
llelius and Tigellinus, Doryphorus and Sporus, are among the inost hateM 
names of the imperial history ; into the abominations of their car^r it 
would be pollution merely to look. No wonder that, when encircled by so 
loathsome a crew he saw tlie proud citizens prostrate at his feet, he could 
exclaim that no prince before him had known the extent of his power. But 
though at their patron’s command statues and arches might rise in honour 
of tlfese infamous companions, it may be said for the credit of the people, 
that they received much less of lip-worship than their predecessors, Sejanus, 

Pallas, and Narcissus. ,.-.11*. f 4.i,- 

There seems indeed to have risen, at least in the later years of this 

principate, a marked separation between the court and the nobility; the 
senators shrank from the presence of a man who so openly degraded his 
name and lineage; they fled the contact of his dissolute associates; they 
entered into widespread conspiracies against him, to which they b^d never 
bcGfi provokGcl by the tyranny of bis prsdoccssors 5 ftiid tliGy bad tbo incrit 
of incurring bis petulant displeasure, with many a threat to extinguish their 
order altogether, and give the provinces to his knights and freedmen. “I 
hate you, C.-esar,” exclaimed the most refined of his flatterers, “ because you 
are a senator.” Accordingly this emperor, notwithstanding the pomp and 
splendour of his shows and public appearances, seems to have been left for 
the most part to the mercenary attendance of his personal favourites, pro- 
tected only by a troop of spies and informers, and the vilest portion of the 
p<iiTipGred popiilticG^ froni tbc general detestation of respectable citizens* 

The cruelties of Nero’s later yesLVS were the more fearful, perhaps, from 
their apparent caprice. He had no politic object, such as may be ascribed 
to Tiberius — of policy indeed he was incapable. Except that his murders 
were commonly prompted by need or fear, and therefore fell oftenest on the 
rich and powerful, it can hardly be said that one class suffered from them 

more terribly than another. ^ , 

Undoubtedly, however, the senate furnished the longest list of victims 
to the tyrant’s barbarity. The greatest and noblest were the most exposed 
to the prince’s evil eye, which lighted upon them equally at public cere- 
monials and private receptions, and marked them for immolation at every 
fresh burst of ill-humour. The proscriptions to which this body was sub- 
jected under the four Claudian Csesars reduced its numbers considerably, 
more, indeed, it may be imagined, than was replaced by the ordinary sources 
of replenishment, Claudius, among his other reforms, sought to restore the 
balance by a special measure, and such was probably the object of his re- 
vision of the senate, the last of the kind we read of ; but the decline must 
have been accelerated under Nero, without check or counteraction. Nero, 
reckless equally of the past and future, felt no anxiety to maintain the 
numbers of that historic assembly ; and the various causes, besides the em- 


[} Apologists are not wanting who assert that it was chiefly Nero’s contempt for Roman cus- 
toms which alienated the “respectable citizens”; that these citizens were really more brutal 
than Nero ; and that the emperor’s chief fault was criminal indulgence towards his courtiers, 
rather than cruelty. Such views illustrate the curious oscillations of historical criticism, to which 
we have so often had occasion to refer. Even the most sympathetic and flattering view of Nero 
presents him as at least redecting the conditions of a society in some respects monstrous.] 



NERO: LAST OF THE CAESARS 211 

A«D.] 

peror’s tyranny, which were always at work to extinguish tlie oldest families, 
must have acted with terrible force on the effete branches of the ancient aris- 
tocracy. But if its numbers were reduced, no less were its employments 
also diminished. 

Under the lax discipline of Nero and of Tigellinus appointments to 
office abroad would be the prize of interest and favour, guided neither by 
routine nor by discretion ; at home the boards and commissions established 
by Augustus would fall into disuse. Pensions and sinecures, tliough sucli 
corruptious are not known to us at Rome by name, would doubtless abound, 
but of real business there would be less and less. Intrigue and peculation 
would flourish in a soil protected from the air of public opinion, and the 
strong hand of central control. 

The passive endurance which marked the conduct of the senate under 
the imperial persecutions seems to bespeak a consciousness of its own guilt 
towards the state, and it compounded for its monopoly of unquestioned 
abuses by bowing to the yoke of a jealous and domineering master. We 
discover in Seneca no reliance on the senate. He never speaks of it as a 
living guardian of the virtues of Roman society. And yet, notwithstand- 
ing this abandonment of its high prerogative, it still exercised a moral 
power. Its mere title could awaken associations which thrilled from pulse 
to pulse. It was still regarded by the men of ancient name and blood as the 
true head or heart of the empire, rather than the upstart Claudius or Domi- 
tius, who might wear the purple and wield the sword. To the men of words 
and phrases the emperor was still an accident, — the senate was an eternal 
fact, — at a time when rhetoric might make revolutions, though it could not 
regenerate society. To them it was still the symbol of liberty, at a time 
when liberty and Caesar were regarded as two gladiators sword in hand, 
pitted against each other in mortal combat. This venerable image of its 
ancient majesty was preserved to it by the proscriptions themselves by 
which it suffered ; for as often as a murdered Scribonius or Pompeius was 
replaced in the chairs of office by a Rubellius, a Lollius, or a Vitellius, the 
principle of its vitality was in fact invigorated by the infusion of new 
plebeian blood. 

As fast indeed as the tyrant’s exigencies required the confiscation of the 
great estates of nobles, and the overthrow of great families, his caprice 
and favour were elevating new men from the inferior orders to succeed to 
their distinctions, and to rival them in their vast possessions. Nero never 
kept his money. All he robbed, all he extorted, was squandered as abruptly 
as it was acquired, and shrewd Roman money-makers were always waiting 
upon his necessities, and sweeping the properties of his victims into their 
stores for a small part of their value in specie. Of the vast sums amassed 
by the freedmen of Claudius and his successors some records have been 
preserved to us ; but the freedmen were a class peculiarly obnoxious to re- 
mark, and it is probable that knights and senators were at the same time, 
and by similar compliances, raising fortunes not less enormous, who have 
escaped the designating finger of history. Though the grinding processes 
to which the colossal properties of the nobles were subjected must on the 
whole have broken down the average amount of their revenues far below 
the rate at which it figured under the republic and the first Csesars, we 
must not suppose that the current set all in one direction, or that the age 
of Claudius and Nero was not also a period of great private accumulations. 
The wealth of individuals and of the upper ranks at Rome generally reached 
perhaps its greatest height at this culminating epoch. 



212 


the history of ROIVIE 


[54-68 A.D.] 

Descending, liowever, from the higli places of the Roman world, we find 
beneath them a commonalty suffering also a social revolution, undergoing a 
rapid transition, and presenting the elements of two rival classes, or even 
hostile camps, in the bosom of the city. The clients and retainers of the 
old nobility, whether freed or freeborn, still formed the pith and marrow 
of the commonwealth; still leaning their humble tenements against the 
{treat lords’ mansions, still respecting them as their patrons and advisers, 
still attending their levees, and waiting for the daily complernent of the 
sportula at their doors, they regarded them as the real chiefs of the state, 
and held them equals of Cffisar himself. The death or exile of their august 
protector might strike them with surprise and indignation ; but when they 
looked around and counted their numbers, they felt their own insignificance, 
and quailed beneath the blow in silence. They saw that tliere was growing up 
beside them a vast class of patronless proletaries, the scum of the streets and 
lanes, slaves, freedmen, foreigners, men of base trades and infamous employ- 
ments, or of ruined fortunes, who, having none but Csesar himself to depend 
on, threw the weight of their numbers in his scale, and earned his doles and 
entertainments by lavish caresses, and deeds corresponding to their prom- 
ises. These have been called the lazzaroni of ancient Rome; in idleness, 
indeed, and mendicancy they deserve the title; but they were the paupers 
of a world-wide empire, and the crumbs on which they fed fell from the 
tables of kings and princes. The wealth of millions of subjects was lavished 
on these mendicant masters. For days together, on the oft-recurring 
occasion of an imperial festival, valuables of all kinds were thrown pell- 
mell among them, rare and costly birds were lavished upon them by thou- 
sands, provisions of every kind, costly robes, gold and silver, pearls and 
jewels, pictures, slaves and horses, and even tamed wild beasts. At last, in 
the progress of this wild profusion, ships, houses, and estates were bestowed 
by lottery on these waiters upon Caesar’s providence. 

This extravagance was retained without relaxation throughout Nero s 
reign ; had he paused in it for a moment the days of his power would have 
been few. The rumour that he was about to quit Rome for the East 
caused murmurs of discontent, and forced him to consult the gods, and 
pretend to be deterred by signs of their displeasure from carrying his de- 
sign into effect. When at last, as we shall see, he actually visited Greece, 
he left behind him a confidential minister, to keep the stream of his liberality 
flowing, at whatever cost and by whatever measures of spoliation. Absent 
or present, he flung to these pampered supporters a portion of every confis- 
cated fortune ; the emperor and his people hunted together, and the division 
of the prey was made apparently to the satisfaction of both equally. Capri- 
cious as were the blows he dealt around him, this class alone he took care 
never to offend, and even the charge of firing the city fell lightly on the 
ears of the almost houseless multitude, whose losses at least had been fully 
compensated by plunder. The clients of the condemned nobles were kept 
effectually in check by tliis hungry crowd, yelling over every carcass with 
the prospect of a feast. Nero, in the height of his tyranny and alarm, had 
no need to increase the number of his preetorians ; the lazzaroni of Rome 
were a bodyguard surrounding him in every public place, and watching the 
entrances and exits at his palace gates. 

Such were the chief distinctions of class at this period among the Roman 
people, the so-called lords of mankind, and beyond them lay the great world 
of the provincials, their subjects. But if these were subjects in name, they 
were now become in fact the true Roman people; they alone retained real 



NERO: LAST OF THE C^SARS 


213 


[54-68 AJ>.] 

freedom of action within the limits of the empire; they were allowed to 
labour, and they enjoyed the bulk at least of the fruits of industry; tliey 
rarely saw the hateful presence of the emperor, and knew only by report the 
loatlisome character of his courtiers and their orgies. And if sometimes 
the thunderbolt might fall among them, it struck onl}' tlie highest eminences; 
the multitude was safe as it was innocent. The extortion of tlie proconsul 
in the province was not to be compared in wantonness or severity with the 
reckless pillage of the emperor in the capital, nearer home. The petulance 
of a proconsul’s wife was hardly tolerated abroad, while at home tlie prince's 
worst atrocities were stimulated by female cupidity. The taxation of the 
subject, if heavier in some respects than that 
of the citizen, was at least tolerably regular ; 
the extraordinary demands which Nero made 
towards the rebuilding of Rome were an ex- 
ception to the routine of fiscal imposts. But, 
above all, the provincials had changed place 
with their masters in being now the armed 
force of the empire. 

The citizen had almost ceased to wield the 
sword. Even the pra3torians were recruited 
from Italy, not from Rome herself; and among 
them thousands were doubtless foreign born, 
the offscourings of the provinces, who had 
thrown themselves on the shores of Italy to 
seek their fortunes in a sphere abandoned by 
the indolence of their masters. The praeto- 
rian, like the proletary of the city, was highly 
cherished by the emperor. He had his rights 
and privileges which raised him above every 
other military conscript. While the legion- 
ary served at ten asses a day for thirty or 
forty years, exposed to the risks of war, fa- 
tigue, and climate, nor regained his liberty 
and safety till age had blanched liis hair and 
stiffened his limbs, the praetorian lived quietly 
at Rome under the lax discipline of a stative 
camp ; he enjoyed double pay, and claimed 
dismissal after sixteen years’ service. He had 
his regular dole of corn, his occasional largess, 
his extraordinary donative whenever an op- Roman Cavalryman 

portunity had occurred to prove his fidelity. 

Tiberius, on the fall of Sejanus, had given him 1000 asses; Claudius had paid 
for the purple with a sum of 150,000,000 of sesterces; Nero had followed 
these examples, and established them as the rule of the succession; on the 
overthrow of Piso’s conspiracy he had requited his praitorians with 2000 
sesterces apiece. Thus caressed, the favoured cohorts of the guard 
became the firmest support of the prince, their creature, and under the 
sway' of military traditions, from which even they were not exempt, re- 
garded their oath of allegiance with strict fidelity. This fidelity, indeed, 
they considered due to the iinperator himself rather than to the senate and 
people, whom they equally despised; they were satisfied with the power of 
making the Caesars, and as yet were far from conceiving in their minds the 
idea of unmaking them again. 




214 


THE HISTOKY OF KOKE 

[54-68 A.D.] 

But far different was the case with the legions in 

the recruits for the frontier camps were still levied from the class which 
nossessed the nominal franchise of the city, yet these ci izens were them- 
selves for the most part, new-enfranchised provincials; they had received 
Ladn o Homan rights as a boon from the emperor, or perhaps purchased 
then for X sake of their fiscal iniinunities. Romans in blood or even 
Ita ans tl e legionaries no longer were. Tliey were supported by ample 
levlrof aLililiries, avowedly of foreign extraction, generally tmnsferred 
from their liomes to a camp at a far distant station; Silures and Biigantes 
to he Danube; Tungri and Suevi to the borders of Wales; Iberians to the 
Mrates- Nmiiidians to the Rhine. Amidst the clang of dissonant lan- 
guages that resounded through the camp the Latin was the least heard and 

understotOd. word ^^jj^j^and was still Roman, and the chief officers were 
Roman also; the affections of this soldiery, long estranged from the empe- 
ror and the senate, were attached to the tribune and the legatus ; and the 
murmurs of the nobles at home, which moved the sympathy of their kins- 
men on the frontier, met a deep response in the devotion of these sons of the 
eagles to their accustomed leaders. The vast distance of the great camps 
of the empire from one another, and the frequent change of their officers, 
together with the motives of jealousy which the emperors nourished 
between them, helped to prevent these legions from joining in a common 
cause when disaffection menaced an outbreak in any particular quarter. 
They made some partial attempts to supplant the prajtonaus by carrying 
one of their own chiefs to power; but every endeavour of the kind had been 
hitherto baffled by the want of concert among them. More success was to 

attend the efforts in the near future. ^ . 

In the year 63 A.D., Nero, we are told, was preparing to visit the East 

in person. Some indeed asserted that his object was only to behold the 
wonders of Egypt, and the interest of the citizens was just then directed 
towards that mysterious region by the discoveries of an exploring party, 
which had recently ascended the Nile nine hundred miles above Sy^e. 
Others believed that he had no intention of proceeding beyond Greece ; but 
it seems probable that his views were really more extensive, and that he con- 
templated throwing liimself into the quarters of the Syrian legions, and 
checking by his presence the ambition of the proconsul, perhaps seizing an 
opportunity to overthrow him. But, whatever Nero’s project may have 
been, it was frustrated, as we have seen, by the occurrence of the fire at 
Rome. The affairs of the next three years have been already related : the 
conspiracies which were concerted against the emperor at home, his re- 
doubled efforts to secure the favour of the populace, and his cruel precaution 
of destroying every man of eminence who might become the centre of fresh 
machinations to his prejudice. In the year 66 he at last found leisure to 
execute his scheme of travel, so far, at least, as to visit Greece ; where he 
presented himself at the public spectacles, and gratified his passion for danc- 
ing and singing before promiscuous assemblages, with still less reserve than 
at home. All the states which held musical contests had hastened, even be- 
fore his arrival, to humour him with the offer of their prizes, and Nero had 
received their envoys with the highest honours, and invited them to his 
table. When one of them begged him to give a specimen of his singing, and 
his s kill was rapturously applauded, he declared that the Greeks alone had 
ears, and alone deserved the honour of hearing him. 



NERO: LAST OF THE C^SARS 215 

[G(M>8 A D.] 

NERO IN GREECE 

Nero remained in Greece to the beginning of the year 68. He was at- 
tended by courtiers and court-followers of all descriptions, and many, it was 
affirmed, of the chief nobility were invited to accompany him, that he might 
slay them more securely at a distance from the city. However this may be, 
the ministers of his luxury and panders to his vices formed the most con- 
spicuous portion of his escort; for he seems to have prosecuted his enormi- 
ties among the despised Greeks more shamelessly than ever. The great 
ambition of the imperator, now following in the track of Mummius, Flamin- 
inus, Agrippa, and Augustus, was to gain the distinction of a Periodonicus, 
or victor in the whole circle of the games ; for in compliment to him, the 
contests wliich recurred in successive years at Olympia, Nemea, Delphi, and 
Corinth were all to be enacted during his residence in the country. Nor 
was this the only irregularity admitted. At Olympia he demanded a musi- 
cal contest, such as had never been practised there before ; at the isthmus he 
contended in tragedy and comedy, which also was contrary to the local 
usage. The exertions of Nero were not confined to playing, singing, and 
acting. He presented himself also as a charioteer, nor was he ashamed 
to receive the prize even when he had fallen with car and horses to the 
ground. Wherever he went he challenged the most famous artists to contend 
with him, and extorted every prize from every competitor. A Roman 
consular enacted the part of herald, and proclaimed in the astonished ears of 
Greece, “Nero the Emperor is Victor, and he crowns the People of Rome, 
and the World which is his own.” 

The flattery of the Greeks deserved substantial acknowledgment, and 
Nero was prepared to make a sacrifice for the purpose. He negotiated an 
exchange of provinces for the senate, resigning the imperial prison-house of 
Sardinia, and receiving in its place the prefecture of Achaia. He then pro- 
claimed, in the Forum at Corinth, the freedom and immunity of the province, 
while he awarded to his judges the honour of Roman citizenship, together 
with large presents in money. Another project ascribed to him, magnificent 
and useful in itself, may have had no other object in his mind than to render 
him famous in history ; in almost any other human being we should look for 
some worthier motive for it. This was the cutting of the isthmus of Cor- 
inth, a measure often before proposed and attempted but never achieved. 
The work was commenced, convicts were condemned to labour upon it, 
and among them the learned stoic Musonius Rufus, removed from Gyarus, 
whither he had been banished as an accomplice in Piso’s conspiracy, was 
seen by another philosopher handling the spade and pick-axe. But men of 
science from Egypt assured the emperor that, if the work were effected, the 
waters of the Corinthian Gulf, being higher than the Saronic, would submerge 
the island of Angina, and after Nero’s departure the design was promptly 
abandoned. Tlie Romans regarded its frustration as a judgment perhaps 
on his unnatural pride. In commencing the work with a sacrifice, it had 
been remarked, as an instance of the hatred he bore the senate, that he had 
prayed simply that it might turn out well for the emperor and the people 
of Rome. 

It is not impossible, however, that there may have been a politic motive 
in this visit to Greece, such as has been suggested for the expedition of 
Caius into Gaul. Fresh disturbances had broken out in Judea; the cru- 
elties of Gessius Florus had excited a sedition, which Cestius Gallus ad- 
vanced to Jerusalem from Antioch to repress. But here he had encountered 



216 


THE HISTORY OE ROjSIE 

[67-68 A.D.] 

tlie people in arms, and had been suddenly overpowered and slain. The 
Jews were elated with success and hopeless of pardon; it was soon evident 
tliat the great war which must decide the fate of their country, and -s^th it 
of the Roman Empire in the East, so often threatened, so long delayed, had 
commenced. But Corbulo was almost on the spot ; his legions were mighty, 
his name still mightier ; such forces under such a leader might be trusted to 
do the work of Rome thoroughly in any quarter. Nevertheless the jealousy 
of the wretched prince prevailed over all concern for the interests of his 
country. He trembled at the increase of influence this new war might bring 
to his formidable proconsul. This was the moment he chose for repairing 
in person to tlie threshold of his province, and summoning the man he feared 
to attend upon him in Greece. At the same time he ordered Vespasian, 
who had already distinguished himself in the British war, but had acquired 
as yet no dangerous pre-eminence, to take command of the forces destined 
for Palestine. Corbulo must have known that he was superseded; he must 
have felt his summons as a disgrace; he must have apprehended personal 
danger. Yet had he known that every step he took westward was bringing 
him straight to his doom, such was his fidelity as a soldier that he would 
have obeyed without hesitation. No sooner had he arrived at Cenchreae, the 
port of Corinth, than he was met by emissaries from Nero bearing him the 
order to despatch himself. Without murmur, he plunged a sword into his 
heart, exclaiming as he struck the blow, “ Rightly served ! ” [67 A.D.]. 

Nor was the gallant Corbulo the tyrant’s only victim. At the same time 
he summoned two brothers, Rufus and Proculus, of the great Scribonian 
house, who commanded in the two Germanies, to meet him in Greece, under 
pretence of conferring with them on state affairs. The summons was in fact 
a recall, and the pretence which accompanied it could hardly have deceived 
them ; yet they too obeyed with the same alacrity as Corbulo, and fell, per- 
haps not unwittingly, into the same snare. Some specific charges were laid 
against them ; but no opportunity was given them of meeting them, nor 
were they allowed to see the emperor. They killed themselves in despair. 

Although, during his sojourn in Greece, Nero traversed the province in 
every direction, it was observed that he refrained from visiting either Athens 
or Sparta. With respect to the city of Lycurgus it was affirmed merely that 
he kept aloof from it lest the austerity of its usages should prove irksome to 
him ; but he dared not enter the abode of the Erinyes, from dread of their 
vengeance on his crimes. Another account said that he was deterred from 
initiation into the mysteries of Eleusis, which was denied, under direst im- 
precations, to the impious and impure. Of these awful legends of Grecian 
antiquity but a faint and confused echo resounded in Italy. To the Latin 
or the Sabine it little mattered whether the murderer shrank from Athens or 
Eleusis, whether it was the avenging Furies or the pure goddess of the mys- 
teries before whom he trembled to appear. Give but freedom to the people, 
they said, to declare what they really think, and who so base as to hesi- 
tate between Seneca and Nero — Nero, who more than once deserved the 
sack, the serpent, and the ape, the instruments of death for parricide. True, 
Orestes by divine command had slain his mother ; but he at least avenged 
the death of a father — Nero had assisted at the slaughter of Claudius; 
Orestes spared at least his wife and sister — Nero had murdered both; Ores- 
tes had not poisoned a kinsman — Nero had mingled aconite for many: 
above all, Orestes had never sung upon the stage, nor chanted, like Nero, the 
fall of Ilium. This it seems was the crown and climax of his crimes, the 
last and worst of the indignities he heaped on Rome ; this was the deed for 



NERO; LAST OF THE C^SARS 217 

[66-68 A.D.] 

which the sword of the avenger was most fitly drawn. “For such,” ex- 
claims Juvenal, “forsooth, were the acts, such were the arts of our highborn 
prince, proud to degrade himself on a foreign stage, and earn tlie paltiy 
chaplets of the Grecian games. Let him lay before the image of Doinitius 
the mantle of Thyestes, the mask of Antigone or Melanippe ; let him hang 
his votive lyre on the marble statue of Augustus.” 

Beneath this veil of rhetoric lies a truth which it is the province of his- 
tory to remark. The Romans, from age to age, viewed their own times in 
a very different light from that in which they have appeared to posterity. 
The notion of Juvenal that the acting and singing 
of Nero were in fact his most fiagrant enormities 
was felt no doubt, even in his own day, as a wild 
exaggeration ; nevertheless it points to the princi- 
ple, then still in vigour, of the practical religion of 
antiquity, the principle of faith in its social tradi- 
tions. With cruelty and oppression the Romans 
were so familiar that Nero's atrocities in this re- 
spect, so harrowing to our feelings, made little im- 
pression upon them ; but his desecration of their 
national manners, his abandonment of the moa 
majorum^ the usage of his ancestors, startled them 
like impiety or sacrilege. They were not aware 
how far they had really drifted from the habits of 
antiquity, how much of foreign poison they had 
admitted into their veins. Theoretically they still 
held in sanctimonious horror the customs of the 
stranger ; foreign usages might be innocent, nay, 
laudable, in their own place, but to introduce them 
into Rome was a monstrous sin, a sin, not against 
the gods in whom they no longer believed, but 
against the nation, in which they believed more 
intensely perhaps than ever. The state or nation Rojuan Bronze Kettle 
was itself gradually assuming in their eyes the per- 
sonality of a distinct divinity, in which all other divinities were absorbed ; 
the Hellenism which Nero vaunted was apostasy from the goddess Roma. 

The Greeks on the other hand would regard, we may suppose, with more 
indulgence the caprices of their imperial visitor ; they were accustomed to 
flatter, and in this instance there was some excuse for flattering a humour so 
flattering to themselves. The miserable vices he paraded before them were 
too like their own, at least in their period of corruption, to elicit strong 
moral reprobation. Nevertheless, if we may credit our accounts, he found 
more effectual means of disgusting them. The imperial tyranny was always 
pursued, as by its shadow, by profuse and fatal expenditure. It seemed un- 
able to move without the attendance of a crowd of harpies, ever demanding 
their prey with maw insatiable. Every day required fresh plunder ; every 
day proscriptions and confiscations revealed the prince’s necessities, and if 
these for a moment slackened for want of victims, his hands were laid on the 
monxunents of art, on every object on which money could be raised through- 
out the devoted land. The temples as well as the dwellings and the forums 
of Greece were ransacked again for the costliest and most cherished trea- 
sures, to be sold by auction to the highest bidder, or redeemed at exorbitant 
prices by their unhappy owners. Greece was powerless to resist, and her 
murmurs were drowned in the acclamations of the hired applauders ; but she 



218 


THE HISTORY OF ROME 


[GC-<>8 A.D.] 

felt her wi’ongs clceplj', iiiid the pretended boon of freedom, accompanied by a 
precarious immunity, was regarded perhaps as an insult rather than a favour. 

Rome at least, it miglit be hoped, would breathe again during the absence 
of her hateful tormentor. But this, we are assured, was as far from her as 
ever. Her condition had become even more miserable. The emperor had 
given the government of Italy to a freedman named Helius, and this minion 
exercised cruelty and rapine at his own caprice, not even deigning to ask 
the prince's pleasure beforeliand on the executions and confiscations he com- 
manded. Yet Helius was not unfaithful to his master’s interests. On the 
first symptoms of danger from discontent in the city or the provinces, for such 
symptoms began at last to threaten, he urged him to hasten back to the seat 
of government, and it was Nero’s obstinacy alone that postponed his return 
for some months. “ You admonish me, you entreat me,” replied the infatuated 
wretch, “ to present myself again at Rome ; nay, but you should rather dis- 
suade me from returning, until I liave reaped my full harvest of laurels.” 
This harvest was not yet gathered in, and the cries of the keeper of the 
city, already trembling for the fate of the empire, were disregarded, while 
there yet remained a stadium to be trodden, or a chaplet to be won, in Greece. 
At the commencement, however, of the year 68 the aspect of affairs had be- 
come still more serious. Plots for the subversion of the government were 
believed to be rife in the armies of the West. The heads of administration 
at Rome knew not whom of their officers in Gaul or Spain to trust. Deep 
gloom had settled down on the upper classes in the capital ; the temper of 
the populace itself, so long the stay of Nero’s tyranny, was uncertain. Helius 
again urged him to hasten his return. He crossed over to Greece to confer 
with him in person. He repeated his instances with increasing fervour. At 
last, when there seemed no more of fame or booty to be wrung from Greece, 
Nero deigned to take ship, though the season of navigation had not yet com- 
menced, and urged his prow through stormy seas to the haven of Puteoli. 


NERO’s RETURN TO ITALY AND TRIUMPHAL ENTRY INTO ROME 

At Delphi he had consulted the oracle about his future fortunes, and had 
been warned, we are told, against the seventy-third year, a response wliich 
seemed to the youth of thirty to portend a great length of days, but was 
found in the sequel to have another and a fatal signification. Fortified, 
however, by this delusion, he had returned to Italy with little anxiety, and 
when some of the precious objects that followed in his train were lost by 
shipwreck, he vaunted in the plenitude of his self-assurance that the fishes 
themselves would restore them. After losing and again recovering both 
Britain and Armenia, his confidence in his good fortune had become, it is 
said, unbounded. It was at Naples, he remembered, that he had commenced 
his long course of artistic victories. Now arrived at the height of his glory, 
he determined to celebrate his successes by a triumphal entry into the Cam- 
panian capital, with a team of milk-white horses. The walls were broken 
down to admit the chariot of the Hieronicus, and the same extravagance 
was repeated when he entered Antium, his native place, and the Albanum, 
his favourite residence, and once more, when he presented himself before 
Rome. He drove in pomp through the city, in the chariot in which Augus- 
tus had triumphed, with the flutist Diodorus by his side, arrayed in a purple 
robe, and a mantle blazing with golden stars, wearing on his head the Olym- 
pian coronal, and waving the Pythian in his hand. He was preceded by a 



NERO: LAST OF THE CiESARS 


219 


[68 A.D.] 

long train of attendants bearing aloft his other chaplets and the titles of ah 
his victories; he was followed by his five thousand auguatani, with loud 
and measured acclamations, as the soldiers who shared his glory. The pro- 
cession passed through the Circus, some arches of which were demolished to 
admit it, and thence to the Velabrum and the Forum, skirting the base of 
the Palatine to tlie Porta Mugionis, the chief ascent to the hill and tlie tem- 
ple of Apollo on its summit. The sacrifice of victims, the flinging of odours, 
and every other accompaniment of a military triumph, were duly observed 
in this mock solemnity ; the statues of the emperor were decked with 
crowns and lyres; the citizens hailed their hero with the titles of Nero- 
Apollo and Nero-Hercules, invoking his divine voice, and pronouncing all 
who heard it blessed. The affair was concluded by the striking of medals, 
on which Nero was represented, to the shame and horror of all genuine 
patriots, in the garb of a flute-player. 


DISCONTENT IN THE PROVINCES 

But the hour of retribution was at hand. Notwithstanding the servile 
flattery of the senate, and the triumphs and supplications it had decreed, 
Nero felt uneasy at the murmurs no longer stifled, and the undissembled 
gloom which now surrounded him in his capital, and withdrew himself from 
Rome to the freer air of Campania. Meanwhile the discontent repressed in 
the city was finding vent in the provinces, and the camps, thronged as they 
were with kinsmen of the mocked and injured senators, were brooding over 
projects of revenge. Among the most distinguished of the officers who at 
this time held commands and enjoyed the confidence of their soldiers, was 
Servius Sulpicius Galba, who for several years had governed the Hither 
Spain. Connected with the first families of Rome, and descended from many 
heroes of the camp and Forum, this man stood high in public regard, and 
in the admiration of the emperors themselves, for his courage, his skill, and 
his austerity. He had deserved well of Caligula for the vigour with which, 
at a critical moment, he drew up the reins of discipline in the Rhenish camps ; 
still better of Claudius for refusing the offer of his own soldiers to raise him 
to empire on Caligula’s death. He had held command in Aquitania, and was 
for two years proconsul of Africa ; he had received the triumphal ornaments, 
and had been admitted to the priestly colleges of the Titii, the Quindecem- 
virs, and the Augustales. Full of years and honours, he had retired from 
public employment through the first half of Nero’s principate, till summoned 
to preside over the Tarraconensis. He exercised his powers with vigilance 
and a harshness which perhaps was salutary, until the emperor’s growing 
jealousy warned him to shroud his reputation under the veil of indolence el- 
even neglect, and thus he escaped the fate of Corbulo, and lived to avenge 
it. Galba was in his seventy-third year. In his childhood he had been 
brought, it was reported, with others of the young nobility, to salute the 
aged Augustus ; and the emperor, taking him playfully by the cheek, had 
said, “ And thou too, child, shalt one day taste our empire.” Tiberius, it 
was added, had learned from the diviners the splendid destiny that awaited 
his old age, but had remarked complacently that to himself it could not 
matter. Nero, it seems, whom these prognostications touched more nearly, 
either forgot, or was lulled to false security about them. 

Early in the winter of 68, while Nero was still absent in Greece, Galba 
received overtures from C. Julius Vindex, px-efect of the Farther Gaul, for 



220 


THE HISTORY OF ROiME 


[68 A.D.] 

a simultaneous rising. Vindex was himself a Gallico-Roman, scion of a royal 
house in Aquitania, adopted into the imperial gens; but Avliile he imbibed 
the pride of a Roman, he retained the impetuous spirit of his ancestors; and 
the enormities of Nero, aggravated no doubt in his esteem by his exactions 
in Gaul itself, roused his determination to overthrow him without a view to 
personal aggrandisement. The time indeed Avas yet far distant when a for- 
eigner could even conceive the idea of gaining the purple. But he fixed his 
eyes on Galba, as the ablest of the class from which fortime could make an 
emperor, and it was with vexation that he found the old chief too cautious 
to be driven headlong into a revolt, the event of Avhich might seem so doubtful. 

Galba indeed had good reason to hesitate. Nero set a price on the head 
of Vindex, whose designs were speedily revealed to him, and though the 
forces of the Gaulish province Avere disposed to folloAV their chief, the more 
powerful legions of lower Germany, under Virginius Rufus, Avere in full 
march against them. The armies met at Vesontio, and there Vindex and Vir- 
ginius, at a private intervieAV, agreed to conspire together, but their troops 
could come to no such understanding; the Virginians attacked the soldiers 
of Vindex, and almost cut them to pieces. Vindex thereupon, with the 
haste and levity of his race, thrcAV himself on his SAVord, and the rebellion 
seemed for a moment to be crushed. 


GALBA IS SALUTED IMPERATOR BY HIS SOLDIERS 

But Galba had become alarmed for his OAvn safety. He had received 
communications from a rebel, all Avhose acts Avere Avell knoAvn to the gov- 
ernment. He had been urged to proclaim himself emperor, and no re- 
fusal on his part could efface the crime of having been judged worthy of such 
a distinction. Indeed, so at least he pretended, he had already intercepted 
orders from Nero to take his life, and a plot for his assassination Avas oppor- 
tunely detected among a company of slaves presented him by a freedman of 
the emperor. Thus impelled to provide for his OAvn safety, he called his 
troops together, and setting before them the images of the tyrant’s noblest 
victims, harangued them on the state of public affairs. The soldiers saluted 
him as imperator, but he Avould only alloAV himself to be styled Legatus of the 
senate and the people. He proceeded, however, at once to prorogue all ciAol 
business, and provide for immediate Avar by raising forces, both legionary 
and auxiliary, from the youth of the province. At the same time he con- 
vened the notables of the country, to give perhaps a civil colour to his mili- 
tary enterprise. The Gallic and Germanic legions, now reunited, after the 
death of Vindex, had offered to raise Virginius to the purple ; they conjured 
him to assume the title of imperator, and inscribed on his busts the names of 
Csesar and Augustus. But he steadily refused the honours thrust upon him, 
erased the obnoxious letters, and at length persuaded his admirers to leave 
the decision of affairs to the authorities at home. He entered, however, into 
communication with Galba, Avho had now, it seems, determined on the attempt, 
and the ncAvs was bruited far and wide that Gaul and Spain had revolted, 
and that the empire had passed irrevocably from the monster Nero. 

At once it appeared how many pretenders to power might exist in the 
bosom of the provincial camps. The fatal secret of the empire, that a prince 
might be created elseAvhere than at Rome, so long undiscovered, so alien, as 
Avas supposed, from the sentiments of the age, was revealed in more than one 
quarter. Not in Gaul and Spain only, but in Africa and lower Germany, 



NEED: LAST OF THE C^SAES 


221 


[68 A.D.] 

the legions were ready to make an emperor of their own chief. Clodius 
Macer in the one, Fonteius Capito in the other, were proclaimed by tlie 
soldiers. At the same time Salvius Otho, Nero’s ancient favourite, who was 
weary of his long oblivion on the shores of the Atlantic, declared himself a 
supporter of Galba, and lent him his own slaves and plate, to swell his retinue 
and increase his resources. The civil wars had again 
begun. 

Such was the march of disaffection, the first an- 
ticipations of which had been revealed to Helius before 
the end of 66, and had induced him to urge the 
emperor, first by letter and afterwards in person, to 
hasten home. Nero, as we have seen, could not be 
persuaded to regard them seriously, or postpone to 
their consideration his paltry gratifications and amuse- 
ments. After his return to Rome he had again quit- 
ted it for Naples in March, 68, and it was on the 19tli 
of that month, the anniversary of Agrippina’s murder, 
while presiding at a gymnastic exhibition, that he 
received the news of the revolt of Vindex. Still he 
treated the announcement with contempt, and even 
expressed satisfaction at the prospect of new confis- 
cations. He witnessed the contests with unabated 
interest, and retired from them to a banquet. Inter- 
rupted by fresh and more alarming despatches, he 
resented them with petulant ill-humour ; for eight 
days he would neither issue orders nor be spoken to 
on the subject. Finally arrived a manifesto from 
Vindex himself, which moved him to send a message 
to the senate, requiring it to denounce the rebel as a 
public enemy ; but he excused himself from appear- 
ing in person, alleging a cold or sore throat, which 
he must nurse for the conservation of his voice. Noth- 
ing so much incensed him as Vindex calling him Ahen- 
obarbus instead of Nero, and disparaging his skill in 
singing. “ Had they ever heard a better performer ? ” 
he asked peevishly of all around him. He now hurried 
trembling to Rome; but he was reassured, we are 
told, on the way by noticing a sculpture which repre- 
sented a Gallic soldier dragged headlong by a Roman 
knight. Accordingly, with his usual levity, instead 
of consulting in full senate, or haranguing on the from abovb 

state of affairs in the Forum, he held a hasty con- 
versation with a few only of his nobles, and passed the day in explaining 
to them a new water-organ, on which he proposed, he said, “ with Vindex’s 
good leave,” to perform in public. He completed and dedicated a temple to 
Poppaea : once more he celebrated the games of the circus, once more he 
played and sang, and drove the chariot. But it was for the last time. Vin- 
dex had fallen, but Galba, it was now announced, had raised the standard of 
revolt. The rebel’s property in Rome was immediately confiscated, to which 
he replied by selling under the spear the emperor’s estates in Spain. The 
hour of retribution, long delayed, was now swiftly advancing ; courier after 
courier was dashing through the gates, bringing news of the defection of 
generals and legions. The revolt of Virginius was no longer doubtful. At 




222 


THE HISTORY OF RO:\rB 


[63 A.D.] 


tins intolliffcnce the puny tyrant fainted ; coming to himself he tore his robes 
and smote his head, with pusillanimous wailings. To the consolations of his 
nurse he replied, with the cries of an infant, “ never was such ill-fortune as 
his : other Cresars had fallen by the sword, he alone must lose the empire 
still liviii" ” At last he recollected himself sufficiently to summon troops from 
illyricuiufor the defence of Italy; but these, it ^^7ls found were m corre- 
spondence with the enemy. Another resource, which served only to show 
to what straits he Avas driven, was to land sailors from the fleet at Ostia, 
and form them into a legion. Then he invoked the pampered populace to 

arise in his behalf, and dressed up courtesans 



A Centurion Officer 


and dancers as Amazons to attend his march ; 
next moment he exclaimed that he would take 
ship for Alexandria, and there earn subsistence 
by singing in the streets. Again he launched 
into invectives against the magistrates abroad, 
threatening to recall and disgrace them through- 
out his dominions ; the provinces he would give 
up to pillage, he would slay every Gaul in the 
city, he would massacre the senate, he would 
let loose the lions on the populace, he would lay 
Rome in ashes. Finally, the tyrant's vein ex- 
hausted, he proposed in woman's mood to meet 
the rebels unarmed, trusting in his beauty, his 
tears, *and the persuasive tones of his voice, to 
win them to obedience. 

Meanwhile the excitementamongtheknights 
and senators at the prospect of deliverance kept 
pace with the progress of revolt abroad. Por- 
tents were occurring at their doors. Blood 
rained on the Alban Mount ; the gates of the 
Julian sepulchre burst open of their own ac- 
cord. The Hundred Days of Nero were draw- 
ing rapidly to a close. He had landed in Italy 
about the end of February, and now at the be- 
ginning of June his cause had already become 
hopeless. Galba, though steadfast in his reso- 
lution, had not yet set his troops in motion ; 
nevertheless, Nero was no longer safe in the 


city. The people, at first indifferent, were now 
clamouring against him; for there was a dearth of provisions, and a vessel, 
just arrived from Alexandria, was found, to their disgust, to bear not grain, 
but fine sand for the wrestlers in the amphitheatre. The praetorians had been 
seduced by their prefect Nymphidius, to whom the camp was abandoned by 
the flight of Tigellinus. Nero was left without advisers ; the senators stood 
aloof ; of Helius, lately so powerful and energetic, we hear nothing. Terri- 
fied by dreams, stung by ridicule or desertion, when his last hope of succour 
Avas announced to have deceived him the wretched tyrant started from his 
couch at supper, upset the tables, and dashed his choicest vessels to the 
ground ; then taking poison from Locusta and placing it in a golden casket, 
he crossed from the palace to the Servilian gardens, and sent his trustiest 
freedmen to secure a galley at Ostia. He conjured some tribunes and cen- 
turions, with a handful of guards, to join his flight ; but all refused, and 
one blunter than the rest exclaimed tauntingly, “ Is it then so hard to die ? ” 



[G8 A.D.] 


KERO: LAST OF TPIE CiESARS 


223 


THE DEATH OF NERO 


At last at midnight, finding that even the sentinels had left their posts, 
he sent or rushed himself to assemble his attendants. Every door was 
closed ; he knocked, but no answer came. Returning to his cliamber, he 
found the slaves fled, the furniture pillaged, the case of poison removed. 
Not a guard, not a gladiator, was at hand, to pierce his throat. “I have 
neither friend nor foe,” he exclaimed. He would have thrown himself into 
the Tiber, but his courage failed him. He must have time, he said, and re- 
pose to collect his spirits for suicide, and his freedman Phaon at last offered 
him his villa in the suburbs, four miles from the cit}'. In undress and bare- 
footed, throvping a rough cloak over his shoulders, and a kerchief across 
his face, he glided through the doors, mounted a liorse, and, attended by 
Sporus and three others, passed the city gates with the dawn of the sum- 
mer morning. The Nomentane road led him beneath the wall of the prae- 
torians, whom he might hear uttering curses against him, and pledging vows 
to Galba ; and the early travellers from the country asked him, as they 
met, “What news of Nero?” or remarked to one another, “These men are 
pursuing the tyrant.” Thunder and lightning, and a shock of earthquake, 
added horror to the moment, Nero’s horse started at a dead body on the 
roadside, the kerchief fell from his face, and a praetorian passing by recog- 
nised and saluted him. 


At the fourth milestone the party quitted the highway, alighted from 
their horses, and scrambled on foot through a cane-brake, laying their own 
cloaks to tread on, to the rear of the promised villa. Phaon now desired 
Nero to crouch in a sand-pit hard by, while he contrived to open the drain 
from the bathroom, and so admit him unperceived ; but he vowed he would 
not go alive, as he said, underground, and remained trembling beneath the 
wall. Taking water from a puddle in his hand, “ This,” he said, “ is the famous 
Drink of Nero.” At last a hole was made, through which he crept on all 
fours into a narrow chamber of the house, and there threw himself on a 
pallet. The coarse bread that was offered him he could not eat, but swal- 
lowed a little tepid water. Still he lingered, his companions urging him to 
seek refuge, without delay, from the insults about to be heaped on him. He 
ordered them to dig a grave, and lay down himself to give the measure ; he 
desired them to collect bits of marble to decorate his sepulchre, and prepare 
water to cleanse and wood to burn his corpse, sighing meanwhile, and mut- 
tering, “ What an artist to perish! ” 

Presently a slave of Phaon’s brought papers from Rome, which Nero 
snatched from him, and read that the senate had proclaimed him an enemy, 
and decreed his death, in the ancient fashion. He asked what that was; and 
was informed that the culprit was stripped, his head placed in a fork, 
and his body smitten with the stick till death. Terrified at this announce- 


ment, he took two daggers from his bosom, tried their edge one after the 
other, and again laid them down, alleging that the moment was not yet 
arrived. Then he called on Sporus to commence his funeral lamentations ; 
then he implored some of the party to set him the example ; once and again 
he reproached himself with his own timidity. “BTel Nero, fie!” he muttered 
in Greek, “ courage, man ! come, rouse thee I ” Suddenly was heard the tram- 
pling of horsemen, sent to seize the culprit alive. Then at last, with a 
verse of Homer hastily ejaculated, “Sound of swift-footed steeds strikes 
on my ears, ” he placed a weapon to his breast, and the slave Epaphroditus 
drove it home. 



224 


THE HISTOBY OF ROME 


[68 A.n.] 


Tlie blow was scarcely struck, when the centurion rushed in, and, thrust- 
ing his cloak against the wound, pretended he was come to help him. The 

and fxpired with a horrid stare on his countenance. He had adjured his 
attendants to burn his body, and not let the foe bear off his hea^ and this 
was now allowed him ; the corpse was consumed with haste and imperfectly, 

but at least without mutilation. t t j 

Nero perished on the 9th of June, 68 A.D., at the ap of thirty years and 

six months, in the fourteenth year of his principate. The child borne him by 

Poppiea had died in infancy, and a subsequent marriage with Statilia Messal- 

lini had proved unfruitful. The stock of the Julii, pfreshed m vam by 

grafts from the Octavii, the Clauclii, and the Domitii, had been reduced to 

his single person, and with Nero the adoptive race of the great dictator was 

extincruished. The first of the Caisars had married four times, the second 

thrice, the third twice, the fourth thrice again, the fifth six tunes, and lastly, 

the sixth thrice also. Of these repeated unions, a large number had borne 

offspring, yet no descendants of them survived. A few had lived to old age, 

many reached maturity, some were cut off by early sickness, the end of 

others was premature and mysterious ; but a large proportion were victims 

of domestic jealousy and politic assassination. t • j r 

With Nero we bid farewell to the Caesars, at the same time we bid fare- 
well to the state of things which the Caesars created and maintained. We 
turn over a page in Roman history. On the verge of a new epoch we would 
treat witli grave respect even the monster with whom the old epoch closes ; 
we may think it well that the corpse even of Nero was unmutilated ; that he 
Avas buried decently in the Domitian gardens on the Pincian ; that though 
the people evinced a thoughtless triumph at his death, as if it promised 
them a freedom Avliich they could neither use nor understand, some unknown 
hands Avere found to streAV floAvers on his sepulchre, and the rival king of 
Parthia adjured the senate to do honour to his memory. 

Undoubtedly the Romans regarded with peculiar feeling the death of 
the last of the Ciesars. Nero was cut off in early youth; he perished in 
obscurity ; he Avas entombed in a private sepulchre, with no manifestation 
of national concern, such as had thrown a gleam of interest over the least 
regretted of his predecessors. Yet these circumstances would not^ have 
sufficed to impart a deep mystery to the event, without the predisposition of 
the people to imagine that the dynasty which had ruled them for four gen- 
erations could not suddenly pass away, finally and irrevocably. The idea 
that Nero still survived, and the expectation of his return to power, con- 
tinued long to linger among them. More than one pretender arose to claim 
his empire, and twenty years later a false Nero was protected by the Par- 
thians, among whom he had taken refuge, and only surrendered to the re- 
peated and vehement demands of the Roman government. This popular 
anticipation was the foundation, perhaps, of the common persuasion of the 
Christians, that he should revisit the earth in the character of Antichrist ; 
and possibly that Jerusalem itself would be the scene.® 




CHAPTER XXXV. GALBA, OTHO, VITELLIUS, AND THE 

THREE FLAVIANS (68-96 a.d.) 

Galba (Servius Sulpicius Galba), 68-69 a.d. 

The fall of Nero and the accession of Galba form an important epoch in 
the history of tlie Roman Empire; for to the misfortune of a form of gov- 
ernment, on which everything depended on the ruler, his court, and the 
bodyguard and guard of the emperor, a fresh evil was now added, namely 
that the army became accustomed to mutiny, and obtained a decisive influ- 
ence on the choice of the emperor. Certainly Galba did not accept the title 
of emperor, until it was legally assigned to him by a deputation of the sen- 
ate ; but the example of mutiny had been given, the army had in realit}', 
and the senate, only in form, decided as to who should occupy the throne, 
and the fate of the empire was from henceforth made more and more depend- 
ent on the troops and their leaders. 

At first however it appeared fortunate, that after the weak-minded liber- 
tines, who for some time had been at the head of the states, the government 
should fall into the hands of a veteran warrior who possessed the love and 
confidence of his soldiers, and hated every kind of indulgence and ex- 
cess ; but any advantages which might have arisen from this were out- 
weighed by the great age of the emperor and the weakness consequent on 
it. Galba’s weakness was first perceived when he, who at the time of 
Nero’s death was still in Gaul, had returned to Rome ; he was awaited with 
real eagerness. 

Before the arrival of Galba, Nymphidius, who had accelerated the fall of 
Nero, acted as absolute ruler. He prevented Tigellinus from participating 
in the command of the praetorians, tried in every way to gain over the peo- 
ple, saw the entire senate in his antechamber, and mixed himself up with all 
the dealings of the latter with Galba. It then occurred to him that he 
might trace his descent from Caesar and thereby establish his claim to the 
throne. But to his terror, he heard, from a messenger whom he had sent 
to Galba, that Titus Vinius, one of Galba’s legates, held absolute sway over 
the emperor, that he had named Cornelius Laco prefect of the praetorians, 
instead of him, and that his rule would therefore be at an end as soon as 
Galba entered Rome. He therefore resolved to venture to extremes and to 
make the praetorians proclaim him emperor ; they were turned against him 
by one of his officers, and killed him as soon as he appeared in their camp. 

Aa soon as Galba arrived in Rome, he had all the friends of Nymphidius 
put to death. These and a few other executions, added to Galba’s depend- 
ence on Vinius, prepossessed no one in favour of the new ruler. It was 

H. W. — VOL. VI. Q 226 


226 


THE HISTORY OF ROIME 


[68-69 A.D.] 

still more unfortunate that he had to refuse the guard sums of money prom- 
ised in his name by Nymphidius, and that on his entry into Rome he saw 
himself obliged to have another troop of soldiers cut down, who had gone 
against him and made violent demands. Galba was determined to adopt a 
new course of government; but in this he overlooked the fact, that an 
utterly corrupt people cannot be transformed at once, or lost morality 
recalled by commands. With exaggerated severity and with a parsimony 
which would have been despicable even in a private individual, he attempted 
to reduce a town accustomed to imperial prodigality to its former simplicity, 
discipline, and order, and thereby not only embittered the feelings of all, but 
also made himself ridiculous. 

He was indolent and enfeebled by age [he was over seventy-two years 
old] and depended on three favourites, who committed all sorts of severities 
in his name and tried to make money by selling privileges and favours. 
These favourites were Vinius, Laco, and Galba’s freedman, Icelus. For this 
reason, from the beginning, everything pointed to a short duration of his 
rulership, and dissatisfaction not only seized hold of the great mass in 
Rome, who, as everywhere, loved pleasure and amusement more than virtue 
or their country, but also of the different armies of the kingdom. A few 
months after his accession the legions rose in upper Germany, and demanded 
from the senate the appointment of a younger and more vigorous emperor. 
Galba tried to stay the storm by immediately naming a young man of good 
family and irreproachable character, Piso Licinianus, as his co-regent and suc- 
cessor. Unfortunately, when presenting Piso to the troops, he omitted, out 
of economy, to give presents to the soldiers, as had been the custom on such 
occasions since the accession of Claudius ; and in his speech to the assembled 
army he publicly avowed that the troops in Germany had refused him obedi- 
ence. This made the soldiers dissatisfied, and he thereby robbed himself of 
the advantages that Piso’s nomination might otherwise have brought him. 


Otho (M. Salvius Otho), 69 a.d. 

Otho, who had gone to Rome with Galba, seized the opportunity of Gal- 
ba’s mistake to place himself on the throne. He had long solicited the 
favour of the soldiers and people, had given away entire estates to individ- 
uals, had, when Galba dined with him, given inone}'^ to the emperor’s escort, 
and Galba had overlooked all this, because one of his favourites, Vinius, 
whose daughter Otho wished to marry, had come to a secret understanding 
with the latter. Otho instituted a formal conspiracy, corrupted the soldiers 
by gifts and promises, and had himself proclaimed emperor in a camp of the 
praetorians, a few days after Piso’s appointment. He left the camp at 
the liead of the soldiers who had chosen him, entered the town, killed 
Galba and his co-regent, and was acknowledged emperor by the people and 
senate. This took place on the 15th of January of the year 69, when Galba 
had only reigned seven months and a few days. 

The new emperor only maintained his rule for three months. All the ■ 
provinces and armies swore allegiance to him after Galba’s death, only the 
legions of the Rhine and Upper Germany denied him obedience. They had 
already rebelled against Galba, and proclaimed the leader of the troops on 
the lower Rhine, Aulus Vitellius, emperor, as they had not been recom- 
pensed by Galba for the support they had given him against Nero. This 
rival, although other legions declared for him, would not in himself have 



THE TIME OF THE FLAVIANS 


227 


[69 A.D.] 

been dangerous to Otho, as he had become so enervated by self-indulgence 
that he was wanting in activity and energy as well as in decision ; but in 
Fabius Valens and Aulus Caecina, he possessed two able generals, who placed 
themselves at the head of the legions in his stead. 

With the rebellious troops they crossed the Alps into upper Italy and fell 
upon Otho, who had hastily collected as many soldiers as possible and led 
them against the enemy. At first the generals of Vitellius were the losers 
in a few small engagements, as mutual jealousy induced them to act sepa- 
rately, but as soon as they concentrated themselves they were far superior to 
their adversaries. Otho ought, therefore, to have done everything to delay 
the crisis until the reinforcements which he was expecting from the provinces 
of the Danube had arrived. He nevertheless did the reverse, and through- 
out the entire war showed himself a worthy comrade of Nero. 

He had been the husband of the notorious Poppaea Sabina ; had formerly 
participated with his imperial friend in all kinds of pleasures, and had in- 
dulged in so much dissipation that he had not only fallen deeply into debt, 
but had also become enervated and incapable of any exertion. This had 
already become apparent in the rebellion against Galba ; for he had lost all 
courage at the moment of action, and would have given the whole thing 
up had not his fellow-conspirators compelled him to persist in liis designs. 
Besides he was no general. His troops, which for the greater part consisted 
of praetorians and soldiers of Nero, clung to him with devotion, and were 
eager to fight, but they did not trust their officers and would no longer 
take orders from them. This determined him to bring the fight to a speedy 
end, as he felt that at any moment he might be deserted by his own people. 
In spite of this, as he had not been present in the earlier smaller fights, so 
now he took no personal share in the great battle which was to decide his 
own fate. 

In the vicinity of Cremona, Caecina and Valens fell on Otho’s army. It 
was beaten, suffered considerable loss, and then the greater part went over to 
the enemy. Otho’s cause was, nevertheless, by no means lost ; for the prae- 
torians adhered steadfastly to him, the legions of the provinces of the 
Danube were already on the march, and the entire East as well as Africa 
was open to him. Only he was too indolent and effeminate to be able to 
face continuous exertions and hardships, and from the example of his beaten 
army he saw how ephemeral the devotion of his soldiers had been. So he 
lost courage, and decided, in spite of the remonstrances and requests of his 
friends, to put an end to his life. He stabbed himself to the lieart with 
a firmness rarely found in a voluptuary, and by this action won for himself 
the reputation with posterity of having purchased the peace of his country 
with his own life. 

Historians have therefore praised him above his deserts, and placed words 
in his mouth which stand in opposition to his life and principles. For in- 
stance, he is reported to have said to his friends and relatives wlio wished to 
restrain him from suicide : “ Others have gained fame by governing well ; 
my fame, on the contrary, is to consist in my giving up the government of 
the empire, rather than ruin it by my ambition.” Those who recall the 
fact that Otho throughout his life lived and acted according to the maxims 
of a Nero, will know how to divest this story of all that gives his death the 
appearance of a grand and noble act ; for although it cannot be denied that 
Otho thereby put an end to the civil war, and died in peace and quietness, 
nevertheless he was not guided by courage or love of country, but by indo- 
lence and despair. 



228 


the history of ROME 


[G9 A.D.] 


How little the sacrifice of his life cost a Roman at this period, and why 
Otho’s death innst be regarded in quite anotlier light “V' 

sZe of his soldiers killed themselves at his uneral pile, not from fear of 
the fuUire. but that they might follow the glorious example of their leader. 


VlTELLIL'S (AULUS ViTELLIUS), 69 A.D. 

After Otho s death, the Roman senate not only recognised Vitellius as 

emperor, but determined publicly to thank the Germanic army for having 

anpointed him. Whilst his generals were fighting for his dominion, Vitel- 

lius remained in Gaul, and after the victory made no haste to take possession 

of the emiiire : he first enjoyed a period of repose at Lyons, and then stopped 

at Cremona and Bologna to hold 

revels and to see the gladiato- 
rial displays. It was only in 
July (69), three months after 
Otho's death, that he entered 
Rome. 

With his accession, all the 
crimes and prodigalities of the 
government of a Caligula, a 
Claudius, and a Nero were re- 
peated, although he was wanting 
neither in culture nor in better 
qualities. He had only attained 

to consideration by his 
vices, and won over 
the soldiers in Ger- 
many by his famil- 
iar bearing. A dull, 
slack, and withal cruel 
disposition, a greedi- 
ness which amounted 
to voraciousness, and 
a prodigality in which 
he even surpassed 
Nero, were the soul of 
his existence and government. Only thinking of pleasure and idle repose, 
even on the march to Rome, he allowed his array to rob and plunder at wiU, 
and permitted all kinds of excesses and insubordination. In Rome, freed- 
men, comedians, and revellers were lus most cherished companions, and he 
who knew how to prepare the most voluptuous feast, rose in his favour. 

In order to obtain money for his prodigalities, like Caligula and Nero, 
he committed all sorts of inhuman cruelties. For example : he freed himself 
from debt by having his creditors killed, and when one of them, condemned 
to death, sought to obtain favour by making the emperor a legacy, but un- 
fortunately gave him a co-heir, Vitellius had the latter as well as the former 
put out of the way, and took the wealth of both. His revelries and prodigali- 
ties surpassed all realisation. 

By the use of emetics he was enabled to take daily from three to four prin- 
cipal meals. Once, for untold gold, he had marvellous dishes prepared from 



A Roman Slinger 



THE TIME OF THE FLAVIANS 


090 


[69 A.D.] 

the tongues of the rarest birds and other costly delicacies, and at the cele- 
bration of his entry into Rome he took part in a banquet at his brother’s 
house in which no less than two thousand rare fish and seven thousand birds 
were served up. He gormandised so shamefully that, during the short time 
of his reign, he is said to have squandered no less than nine hundred million 
sesterces, and, as an historian of antiquity asserts, the Roman Empire would 
finally have become too poor to defray the expenses of the emperor’s table. 
Fortunately for the kingdom this did not come to pass ; for Vitellius was 
overthrown by his troops eight months after his accession. 

This second mutiny of the army within the course of a year started in 
the legions who had come from the Danube to help Otho against Vitellius. 
When on the way they heard of Otho’s death, they determined to choose a 
new emperor, and some of them, who shortly before had served under the 
valiant Titus Flavius Vespasian, directed the choice to their former general 
who was then commanding in Syria. Scarcely had the news reached the 
East, when first the governor of Egypt, then IMucianus [Roman governor of 
Syria and general of four legions,] and afterwards Vespasian himself, recog- 
nised this choice. One after another all the remaining armies declared for 
Vespasian. Valens and Caicina, the principal instruments in the elevation of 
Vitellius, soon detached themselves from the latter, and only the soldiers of 
the Germanic army, to whom Vitellius owed the throne, remained true to 
their emperor. It was therefore no great effort to overthrow the indolent 
libei’tine. Before Vespasian had embarked his troops, his opponent was 
dethroned and deprived of his life. 

The legions of the Danube under one of their generals, Antonins Primus, 
broke into Italy; at Cremona they beat the troops of Vitellius and then 
marched against the capital, which alone seemed resolved to defend the tyrant. 
Antonius Primus wished to spare the town. Vitellius himself was too cow- 
ardly to try to offer any powerful resistance, and as by chance a brother of 
Vespasian, Flavius Sabinus, was town prefect of Rome, it was easy to nego- 
tiate matters. The result was an agreement by which Vitellius agreed to 
abdicate in a very ignominious fashion. Only the soldiers of the emperor 
and all those who had taken part in his universal revels, would hear nothing 
of an abdication of Vitellius, and without further ceremony laid hands on 
Sabinus, to whom a great number of the senate, the knights, and the town- 
guard had already sworn allegiance, on behalf of his brother. Sabinus, with 
a small number of attendants, was obliged to take to flight, and retired to 
the Capitol. His adversaries stormed it, took Sabinus prisoner, killed his 
followers, and intentionally or by chance occasioned a fire, by which the 
temple of the Capitoline Jupiter, the most sacred building in Rome, was 
reduced to ashes, and some of the historical records preserved there were 
destroyed. 

In vain did Vitellius, by earnest entreaty, try to restrain the soldiers 
from murdering Sabinus ; he was killed in a terrible manner, whilst Do- 
mitian, one of Vespasian’s sons, who had just fled to the Capitol, to the 
misfortune of the empire escaped the wrath of the enemy. The rude 
soldiers of Vitellius conducted themselves on this occasion with the same 
savagery as the troops of Antonius Primus had shown a few weeks before, 
when after their victory they had burned down the town of Cremona and 
had ill treated its inhabitants in the most shocking manner. Vitellius was 
quite innocent of what took place in Rome, for he would gladly have sub- 
mitted to any terms by which he might have saved his life. With this 
object, immediately after the murder of Sabinus, he sent ambassadors to 



230 


THE HISTORY OF ROME 


[69 A.D.] 

Antonius Primus, and that his representations and requests might make 
the more impression, he sent the vestal virgins with them. , , 

But Antonius Primus refused any further negotiations, defeated the popu- 
lace and the soldiers of Vitellius in a bloody fight, which took place partly 
before the walls and partly in the streets of the town, and had the entire 
body of the conquered ruthlessly massacred. On this occasion the deep 
moral depravity of the Roman people showed itself in a revolting manner. 
The populace watched the fierce struggle between the two barbarian armies 
as coldly as though the usual gladiatorial displays had been taking place 
before them ; they applauded first one side and then the other, fetched those 
who fled from their victorious enemy out of their hiding places, and gave 

them up to their adversaries to be killed. , ^ i r r 

No one was disturbed in his usual pleasures by the fight for the empire ; 
the baths, the taverns, and other public resorts were filled with revellers and 
pleasure seekers, as at any other time, and, as the historian Tacitus affirms, 
Rome presented the hideous spectacle of a town whose inhabitants had 
abandoned themselves at once to all the horrors of civil war and all the 
vices of a decadent nation. Vitellius died as he had lived.d Seeing the city 
conquered, he was conveyed in a litter, by a private way at the back of the 
palace, to his wife’s house on Mount Aventine, with intent, if he could lie 
concealed during the day, to fly for refuge to his brother and the cohorts 
at Tarracina. Straightway, from his inherent fickleness, and the natural 
effects of fright, since, as he dreaded everything, whatever course he adopted 
was the least satisfactory, he returned to his palace, and found it empty and 
desolate ; even his meanest slaves having made their escape, or shunning the 
presence of their master. The solitude and silence of the scene alarmed 
him ; he opened the doors of the apartments, and was horror-struck to see 
all void and empty. Exhausted with this agonising state of doubt and per- 
plexity, and concealing himself in a wretched hiding place, he was dragged 
forth by Placidus, the tribune of a cohort. With his hands tied behind him, 
and his garment torn, he was conducted, a revolting spectacle, through crowds 
insulting his distress, without a friend to shed a tear over his misfortunes. 
The unseemliness of his end banished all sympathy. Whether one of the 
Germanic soldiers who met him intended for him the stroke he made, and if 
he did, whether from rage or to rescue liim the quicker from the mockery 
to which he was exposed ; or whether he aimed at the tribune, is uncertain ; 
he cut off the ear of the tribune, and was immediately despatched.^ 

Vitellius was pushed along, and with swords pointed at his throat, forced 
to raise his head, and expose his countenance to insults : one while they 
made him look at his statues tumbling to the ground ; frequently to the 
rostrum, or the spot where Galba perished, and lastly they drove him to 
Gemonise, where the body of Flavius Sabinus had been thrown. One ex- 
pression of his was heard, that spoke a spirit not utterly fallen, when to a 
tribune who had insulted him in his misery he observed, that nevertheless he 
had been his emperor. He died soon after [Dec. 21] under repeated wounds. 
The populace, with the same perversity of judgment that had prompted them 
to honour him while living, assailed him with indignities when dead. 

He was born at Luceria. He had completed his fifty-fourth year. He 
rose to the consulship, to pontifical dignities, and a name and rank amongst 
the most eminent citizens, without any personal merit ; but obtained all 

1 Dion relates this incident with a little variation. According to him, the German soldier 
said, “I will give you the best assistance in my power;*’ and thereupon he stabbed Vitellius, 
and despatched himself. Dio, lib. LXV. 




VITKLI.IUS 


(FluiiJ IIm* by l<oc)iej; I'fiSs**) 




S. P. 


CoU^e^ Library , > 

SRINAGAR* 


iraly 


ioT 


THE TI:ME of the FLAVIANS 


231 


[69-70 A.D.] 

from the splendid reputation of bis father. The men who conferred the 
imperial dignity upon him did not so much as know him. By impotence 
and sloth he gained the affections of the army, to a degree in which few have 
attained them by worthy means. Frankness and generosity, however, he 
possessed ; qualities which, unless duly regulated, become the occasions of 
ruin. He imagined that friendships could be cemented, not by a uniform 
course of virtue, but by profuse liberality, and therefore earned them rather 
than cultivated them. Doubtless the interest of the commonwealth required 
the fall of Vitellius ; but those who betrayed Vitellius to Vespasian can 
claim no merit for their perfidy, since they had broken faith with Galba. 

The day now verged rapidly towards sunset, and on account of the con- 
sternation of the magistrates and senators who secreted themselves by with- 
drawing from the city or in the several houses of their clients, the senate 
could not be convened. When all apprehension of hostile violence had sub- 
sided Domitian came forth to the generals of his party, was unanimously 
saluted with the title of Caesar, and escorted by a numerous body of soldiers, 
armed as they were, to his father’s house. i 

Mucianus, who arrived in Borne the day after the murder of Vitellius, 
took over the government in the name of Vespasian. Mucianus has been 
styled (by Duruy") “the Maecenas and the Agrippa of the new Augustus.” 
In subsequent years he was treated almost as an equal by the emperor. He 
at once took active measures to restore order, and he succeeded so well that 
everything was peaceful when Vespasian himself finally entered Rome.® In 
Vespasian, for the first time since the death of Augustus, the Roman Empire 
again received a worthy and able ruler. He was a man who not only, like 
Galba, hated flattery and joined integrity with experience in warfare, but 

whose understanding and force of character were equal to the circumstances 
of the houv.d 

Vespasian (T. Flavius Sabinus Vespasianus), 69-79 a.d. 

Vespasian was declared emperor, by the unanimous consent both of the 
senate and the army, and dignified with all those titles which now followed 
rather the power than the merit of those who were appointed to govern. 
Messengers were despatched to him in Egypt, desiring his return, and testi- 
fying the utmost desire for his government. But the winter being dangerous 
for sailing, he deferred his voyage to a more convenient season. Perhaps, 
also, the dissensions in other parts of the empire retarded his return to Rome ; 
for Claudius Civilis, in Lower Germany, excited his countrymen to revolt, 
and destroyed the Roman garrisons which were placed in different parts of 
that province. Yet, to give his rebellion an air of justice, he caused his army 
to swear allegiance to Vespasian, until he found himself in a condition to 
throw off the mask. When he thought himself sufficiently powerful, he dis- 
claimed all submission to the Roman government, and having overcome one 
or two of the lieutenants of the empire, and being joined by such of the 
Romans as refused obedience to the new emperor, he boldly advanced to 
give Cerealis, Vespasian’s general, battle. In the beginning of this engage- 
ment he seemed successful, breaking the Roman legions, and putting their 
cavalry to flight. But at length Cerealis, by his conduct, turned the fate of 
the day, and not only routed the enemy, but took and destroyed their camp. 
This engagement, however, was not decisive ; several others ensued with 
doubtful success. An accommodation, at length, determined what arms 
could not effect. Civilis obtained peace for his countrymen, and pardon for 



232 


THE HISTORY OF ROME 


[70 A.D.] 

himself; for the Roman Empire was, at this time, so torn by its own divi- 
sions, that tlie barbarous nations around made incursions with impunity, and 
were sure of obtaining peace, whenever they thought proper to demand it. 

During the time of these commotions in Germany, the Sarmatians, a bar- 
barous nation to the northeast of the empire, suddenly passed the river Ister, 
and marching into the Roman dominions with celerity and fury, destroyed 
several garrisons, and an army under the command of bonteius Agrippa. 
However, they were driven back with some slaughter by Rubrius Gallus, 
Vespasian’s lieutenant, into their native forests ; where severiu attempts 
were made to confine them, by garrisons and forts placed along the confines 
of their country. Rut these hardy nations, having once found their way 
into the empire, never after desisted from invading it at every opportunity, 
till at length they overran and destroyed the glory of Rome. 

Vespasian continued some months at Alexandria in Egypt. The sober- 
minded Tacitus, most accurate and most trustworthy of Roman historians, 
relates some incidents of this story of Vespasian in Egypt which are worth 
repeating, if for nothing else, to illustrate the gap between the writing of 
sober history in that day and in our own.« 


VESPASIAN PEUFOKMS MIRACLES AND SEP:S A VISION, ACCORDING TO 

TACITUS 

During the months when Vespasian was waiting at Alexandria for the 
periodical season of the summer winds, and a safe navigation [says Tacitus], 
many miracles occurred, by which the favour of heaven and a sort of bias in 
the powers above towards Vespasian were manifested. One of the common 
people of Alexandria, known to have a disease in his eyes, embraced the knees 
of the emperor, importuning with groans a remedy for his blindness. In this 
he acted in compliance with the admonition of the god Serapis, whom that 
nation, devoted to superstition, honours above all other gods ; and he prayed 
the emperor that he would deign to sprinkle his cheeks and the balls of his 
eyes with the secretion of his mouth. Another, who was diseased in the 
hand, at the instance of the same god, entreated that he might be pressed by 
the foot and sole of Caesar. Vespasian at first ridiculed the request, and 
treated it with contempt ; but when they persisted, at one time he dreaded 
the imputation of weakness, at another he was led to hope for success, by 
the supplications of the men themselves, and the encouragements of his flat- 
terers. Lastly, he ordered that the opinion of physicians should be taken, as 
to whether a blindness and lameness of these kinds could be got the better of 
by human power. The physicians stated various points — that in the one 
the power of vision was not wholly destroyed, and that it would be restored 
if the obstacle was removed ; in the other, that the joints which had become 
diseased might be renovated, if a healing power were applied ; such perad- 
venture was the pleasure of the gods, and the emperor was chosen to perform 
their will. To sura up all, that the glory of accomplishing the cure would 
be Caesar’s, the ridicule of its failure would rest upon the sufferers. Ac- 
cordingly, under an impression that everything was within the power of his 
fortune, and that after what had occurred nothing was incredible, with a 
cheerful countenance himself, and while the multitude that stood by waited 
the event in all the confidence of anticipated success, Vespasian executed 
what was required of him. Immediately the hand was restored to its func- 
tions, and the light of day shone again to the blind. Persons who were 



THE TIME OF THE FLAVIANS 


233 


[70 A.D.] 

present even now attest the truth of both these transactions, when there is 
nothing to be gained by falsehood. 

After this, Vespasian conceived a deeper desire to visit the sanctuary of 
Serapis, m order to consult the god about affairs of the empire. He ordered 
all persons to be excluded from the temple; audio, when he entered, and 
his thoughts were fixed on the deity, he perceived behind him a man of 
principal note among the Egyptians, named Basilides, whom, at that moment, 
Le kuew to be detained by illness at a distance of several days^ journey from 
Alexandria. Vespasian inquired of the priests whether Basilides that day 
had enteied the temple. He asked of others whom he met whether he was 
seen in the city. At length, from messengers whom he despatched on horse- 
back, he received certain inteUigence, that Basilides was at that instant of 
time mghty miles distant from Alexandria. He then concluded that it was 

a divine vision, and deduced the import of the resiionse from the name of 
Basilides. I 


VESPASIAN RETURNS TO ROME 


Leaving Titus to prosecute 
the Jewish War, Vespasian set 
out for Rome. His enthusiastic 
reception there is described by 
Josephus, who says : “ All men 
that were in Italy showed their 
respects to him in their minds, 
before he came thither, as if he 
Avere already come, as esteem- 
ing the very expectation they 
had of him to be his real pres- 
ence on account of the great 
desires they had to see him, 
and because the good will they 
bore him was entirely free and 
unconstrained ; for it was a de- 
sirable thing to the senate, who 
well remembered the calamities 
they had undergone in the late 
changes of their governors, to 
receive a governor who was 
adorned with the gravity of old 
age, and with the highest skill 
in the actions of war, whose 
advancement Avould be, as they 
knew, for nothing else but the 
preservation of those that were 
to be governed, 

“ Moreover, the people had 
been so harassed by their civil 
miseries that they were still more earnest for his coming immediately, as sup- 
posing they should then be firmly delivered from their calamities, and believed 
they should then recover their secure tranquillity and prosperity. And for the 
soldiery, they had the principal regard to him, for they Avere chiefly apprised 
of his great exploits in war ; and since they had experienced the Avant of skill 



Vespasian 

(From a bust In the A'atiean) 



234 


the history OE ROME 


[70 A.D.] 


and want of courage in other commanders, they were very desirous to be 
freed from that great shame they had undergone by their means and heartily 
wished to receive such a prince as might be a security and an ornament to 
them ; and as this good will to Vespasian was universal, those that ei^oyed 
any remarkable dignities could not have patience enough to stay in Rome, 
but made haste to meet him at a very great distance Nay, indeed, 

none of the rest could endure the delay of seeing him, but did all pour out of 
the city in such crowds, and were so universally possessed with the opinion 
that it was easier and better for them to go out than to stay there, that this 
was the very first time that the city joyfully perceived itself almost empty 
of its citizens ; for those that stayed within were fewer than those that 
went out. But as soon as the news was come that he was hard by, and those 
that had met him at first related with what good humour he received every 
one that came to him, then it was that the whole multitude that had 
remained in the city, with their wives and children, came into the road, and 
waited for him there ; and for those whom he passed hy, they made all sorts 
of acclamations on account of the joy they had to see him, and the pleasant- 
ness of his countenance, and styled him their benefactor and saviour, and 
the only person who was worthy to be ruler of the city of Rome. And now 
the city was like a temple, full of garlands and sweet odours ; nor was it 
easy for him to come to the royal palace for the multitude of people that 
stood about him, where yet at ‘last he performed his sacrifices of thanks- 
givings to Ins household gods, for his safe return to the city. ^ The m^ti- 
tude did also betake themselves to feasting; which feasts and drink-offerings 
they celebrated by their tribes, and their families, and their neighbourhoods, 
and still prayed the gods to grant that Vespasian, his sons, and all their 
posterity, might continue in the Roman government for a very long time, 
and that his dominion might be preserved from all opposition. And this 
was the manner in which Rome so joyfully received Vespasian, and thence 
grew immediately into a state of great prosperity.'*^ 


TITUS CONTINUES THE JEWISH WAR 

In the meantime, Titus carried on the war against the Jews with vigour.^ 
This obstinate and infatuated people had long resolved to resist the Roman 
power, vainly hoping to find protection from heaven. Their own historian 
represents them as arrived at the highest pitch of iniquity, while famines, 
earthquakes, and prodigies all conspired to forewarn their approaching ruin. 
Nor was it sufficient that heaven and earth seemed combined against them; 
they had the most bitter dissensions among themselves, and were split into 
two parties, that robbed and destroyed each other with impunity ; still 
pillaging, and, at the same time, boasting their zeal for the religion of their 
ancestors. 

At the head of one of those parties was an incendiary whose name was 
John. This fanatic affected sovereign power, and filled the whole city of 
Jerusalem, and all the towns around, with tumult and pillage. In a short 
time a new faction arose, headed by one Simon, who, gathering together 
multitudes of robbers and murderers who had fled to the mountains, attacked 
many cities and towns, and reduced all Idum®a into his power. Jerusalem, 
at length, became the theatre in which these two demagogues began to 


[1 See Volume 11, Ch. 14.] 



THE TIME OF THE FLAVIANS 


235 


[70 A.D.] 

exercise their mutual animosity : John was possessed of the temple, while 
Simon was admitted into the city, both equally enraged against eacli other ; 
while slaughter and devastation followed their pretensions. Thus did a 
city, formerly celebrated for peace and unity, become the seat of tumult 
and confusion. 

It was in this miserable situation that Titus came to sit down before it 
with his conquering army, and began his operations within about six fur- 
longs of the place. It was at the feast of the Passover, when the place was 
filled with an infinite multitude of people, who had come from all parts to 
celebrate that great solemnity, that Titus undertook to besiege it. His 
presence produced a temporary reconciliation between the contending factions 
mthin ; so that they unanimously resolved to oppose the common enemy 
first, and then decide their domestic quarrels at a more convenient season. 
Their first sally, which was made with much fury and resolution, put the 
Romans into great disorder, and obliged them to abandon their camp and 
fly to the mountains. However, rallying immediately after, the Jews were 
forced back into the city ; while Titus, in person, showed surprising instances 
of valour and conduct. 

These advantages over the Romans only renewed in the besieged their 
desires of private vengeance. A tumult ensued in the temple, in which sev- 
eral of both parties were slain ; and in this manner, upon every remission 
from without, the factions of John and Simon violently raged against each 
other within, agreeing only in their resolution to defend the city against the 
Romans. 

Jerusalem was strongly fortified by three walls on every side, except 
where it was fenced by deep valleys. Titus began by battering do\vn the 
outward wall, which, after much fatigue and danger, he effected ; all the 
time showing the greatest clemency to the Jews, and offering them repeated 
assurances of pardon. But this infatuated people refused his proffered kind- 
ness with contempt, and imputed his humanity to his feax’s. Five days after 
the commencement of the siege Titus broke thx’ough the second wall ; and 
though driven back by the besieged, he recovered his ground, and made 
preparations for battering the third wall, which was their last defence. But 
first he sent Josephus, their countryman, into the city, to exhort them to 
yield, who, using all his eloquence to persuade them, was only reviled with 
scoffs and reproaches. The siege was now, therefore, carried on with greater 
vigour than before ; several batteries for engines were raised, which w^ere 
no sooner built than destroyed by the enemy. At length it was resolved in 
council to surround the whole city with a trench, and thus prevent all relief 
and succours from abroad. This, which was quickly executed, seemed no way 
to intimidate the Jews. Though famine, and pestilence, its necessary attend- 
ant, began now to make the most horrid ravages within the walls, yet this 
desperate people still resolved to hold out. Though obliged to live upon 
the most scanty and xmwholesome food, though a bushel of corn was sold for 
six hundred crowns, and the holes and the sewers were ransacked for car- 
casses that had long since grown putrid, yet they were not to be moved. 
The famine raged at last to such an excess, that a woman of distinction in 
the city boiled her own child to eat it ; which horrid account coming to the 
ears of Titus, he declared that he would bury so abominable a crime in the , 
ruins of their state. He now, therefore, cut down all the woods within a 
considerable distance of the city, and causing more batteries to be raised, he at 
length battered down the wall, and in five days entered the citadel by force. 
Thus reduced to the very verge of ruin, the remaining Jews still deceived 



236 


THE HISTORY OF ROME 


of 


[70-71 A.D.] 

tliemsclves with absurd and false expectations, while many false prophets 
deluded the multitude, declaring they should soon have assistance fiom God. 
The lieat of the battle was now, therefore, gathered round the inner wall 
the temple, while the defendants desperately combated from the top. 

Titus was willing to save this beautiful structure, but 
a soldier casting a brand into some adjacent buildings, 
the fire communicated to the temple, and, notwith- 
standing the utmost endeavours on both sides, tlie 
whole edifice was quickly consumed. The sight of the 
temple in ruins effectually served to damp the ardour 
of the Jews. They now began to perceive that heaven 
had forsaken them, while their cries and lamentations 
echoed from the adjacent mountains. Even those who 
were almost expiring lifted up their dying eyes to be- 
wail the loss of their temple, which they valued more 
than life itself. The most resolute, however, still en- 
deavoured to defend the upper and stronger part of 
the city, named Zion ; but Titus, with his battering 
engines, soon made himself entire master of the place. 
John and Simon were taken from the vaults where 
they had concealed themselves ; the former was con- 
demned to perpetual imprisonment, and the latter 
reserved to grace the conqueror’s triumph. The great- 
est part of the populace were put to the sword, and 
tlie city was entirely rased by the plough; so that, 
according to our Saviour’s prophecy, not one stone 
remained upon another. Thus, after a siege of six 
months, this noble city was totally destroyed, having 
flourished, under the peculiar protection of heaven, 
about two thousand years. The numbers who perished 
in this siege, according to Josephus, amounted to above 
a million of souls, and the captives to almost a hun- 
dred thousand. The temporal state of the Jews ended 
with their city; while the wretched survivors were 
banished, sold, and dispersed into all parts of the world. 
Upon the taking of Jerusalem, his soldiers would have crowned Titus as 
conqueror, but he modestly refused the honour, alleging that he was only 
an instrument in the hand of heaven, that manifestly declared its wrath 
against the Jews. At Rome, however, all men’s mouths were filled with 
the praises of the conqueror, who had not only shown himself an excellent 
general, but a courageous combatant.*> 

Let Josephus describe for us the return of Titus, and the magnificent tri- 
umph that he celebrated with his father. 



A Roman Empress 
(A fUr Hope) 


JOSEPHUS DESCRIBES THE RETURN OF TITUS, AND THE TRIUMPH 

Titus took the journey he intended into Egypt, and passed over the 
desert very suddenly, and came to Alexandria, and took up a resolution to 
go to Rome by sea. And as he was accompanied by two legions, he sent 
each of them again to the places whence they had before come ; the fifth he 
sent to Mysia; and the fifteenth to Pannonia. As for the leaders of the 
captives, Simon and John, with the other seven hundred men, whom he had 



THE TIME OF THE FLAVIANS 237 

[71 A.D.] 

selected out of the rest as being eminently tall and handsome of body, Jie 
gave order that they should be soon carried to Italy, as resolving to produce 
them in his triumph. So when he had had a prosperous voyage to liis mind, 
the city of Rome behaved itself in his reception, and their meeting him at a 
distance, as it did in the case of his father. 

But what made the most splendid appearance in Titus’ opinion was 
when his father met him, and received him ; but still the multitude of the 
citizens conceived the greatest joy when they saw them all three together, ^ 
as they did at this time ; nor were many days overpast when they deter- 
mined to have but one triumph, that should be common to both of them, on 
account of the glorious exploits they had performed, although the senate had 
decreed each of them a separate triumph by himself. So when notice had 
been given beforehand of the day appointed for tliis pompous solemnity to 
be made, on account of their A-ictories, not one of the immense multitude 
was left in the city, but everybody went out so far as to gain only a station 
where they might stand, and left only such a passage as was necessary for 
those that were to be seen to go along it. 

Now all the soldiery marched out beforehand by companies, and in their 
several ranks, under their several commanders, in the niglit time, and were 
about the gates, not of the uj^per palaces, but those near the temple of Isis ; 
for there it was that the emperors had rested the foregoing night. And as 
soon as ever it was day, Vespasian and Titus came out crowned Muth laurel, 
and clothed in those ancient purple habits Avhich were proper to their 
family, and then went as far as Octavian’s Walks ; for there it was that the 
senate, and the principal rulers, and those that had been recorded as of 
the equestrian order, waited for them. 

Now a tribunal had been erected before the cloisters, and ivory chairs 
had been set upon it, when they came and sat doAvu upon them. Where- 
upon the soldiery made an acclamation of joy to them immediately, and all 
gave them attestations of their valour; while they were themselves without 
their arms, and only in their silken garments, and crowned with laurel. Then 
Vespasian accepted of tliese shouts of theirs; but while they were still dis- 
posed to go on in such acclamations, he gave them a signal of silence. And 
when everybody entirely held their peace, he stood up, and covering the 
greatest part of his head with his cloak, he put up the accustomed solemn 
prayers ; the like prayers did Titus put up also ; after which prayers Vespa- 
sian made a short speech to all the people, and then sent away the soldiers 
to a dinner prepared for them by the emperors. Then did he retire to that 
gate which was called the Gate of the Pomp, because pompous shows do always 
go through that gate ; there it was that they tasted some food, and when they 
had put on their triumphal garments, and had offered sacrifices to the gods 
that were placed at the gate, they sent the triumph forward, and marched 
through the theatres, that they might be the more easily seen by the 
multitude. 

It is impossible to describe the multitude of the shows as they deserve, 
and the magnificence of them aU ; such indeed as a man could not easily 
think of as performed either by the labour of workmen, or the variety of 
riches, or the rarities of nature. For almost all such curiosities as the most 
happy men ever get by piecemeal were here heaped one upon another, and 
those both admirable and costly in their nature ; and all brought together 
on that day demonstrated the vastness of the dominions of the Romans ; for 


1 Vespasian and bis two sons, Titus and Domitian. 



238 


THE HISTORY OF ROIIE 


[70 A.D.] 

there was here to be seen a mighty quantity of silver, and gold, and ivory, 
contrived into all sorts of things, and did not appear as carried along in 
pompous show only, but, as a man may say, running along like a river 
Some parts were composed of the rarest purple hangings, and so earned 
alon" * and others accurately represented to the life what was embroidered 
by the arts of the Babylonians. There were also precious stones that were 
transparent, some set in crowns of gold, and some in other ouches, as the 
workmen pleased; and of these such a vast number were brought, that we 
could not but thence learn how vainly we imagined any of them to be rari- 
ties. The images of the gods were also carried, being as well wonderful for 
their larrreness, as made very artificially, and with great skill of the work- 
men ; nor were any of these images of any other than very costly materials; 
and many species of animals were brought, every one in their own natural 
ornaments. The men also who brought every one of these shows were great 
multitudes, and adorned vnth purple garments, all over interwoven with 
gold ; those that were chosen for carrying these pompous shows having 
also about them such magnificent ornaments as were both extraordinary and 
surprising. Besides these, one might see that even the great number of 
captives was not unadorned, while the variety that was in their garments, 
and their fine texture, concealed from the sight the deformity of their 

bodies. 

But what afforded the greatest surprise of all was the structure of the 
pa^^eants that were borne along; for indeed he tliat met them could not but 
be*afraid tliat the bearers would not be able firmly enough to support them, 
such was their magnitude ; for many of them were so made that they were 
on three or even four stories, one above another. The magnificence also of 
their structure afforded one both pleasure and surprise; for upon many of 
them were laid carpets of gold. There was also wrought gold and ivory 
fastened about them all ; and many resemblances of the war, and those in 
several ways, and variety of contrivances, affording a most lively portr^tx^e 
of itself. For there was to be seen a happy country laid waste, and entire 
squadrons of enemies slain ; while some of them ran aw'ay, and some were 
carried into captivity ; with walls of great altitude and magnitude over- 
tlirown, and ruined by machines; with the strongest fortifications taken, 
and the walls of most populous cities upon the tops of hills seized on, and 
an army pouring itself within the walls ; as also every place full of slaughter, 
and supplications of the enemies, when they were no longer able to lift up 
their hands in way of opposition. Fire also sent upon temples was here 
represented, and houses overthrown and falling upon their owners ; rivers 
also, after they came out of a large and melancholy desert, ran down, not 
into a land cultivated, nor as drink for men or for cattle, but through a 
land still on fire upon every side ; for the Jews related that such a thing 
they had undergone during this war. 

Now the workmanship of these representations was so magnificent and 
lively in the construction of the things, that it exhibited what had been 
done to such as did not see it, as if they had been there really present. On 
the top of every one of these pageants was placed the commander of the city 
that was taken, and the manner wherein he was taken. Moreover, there fol- 
lowed those pageants a great number of ships ; and for the other spoils, they 
were carried in great plenty. But for those that were taken in the temple 
of Jerusalem, they made the greatest figure of them all; that is the golden 
table, of the weight of many talents ; the candlestick also, that was made 
of gold, though its construction were now changed from that which we 



THE TIME OF THE FLAVIANS 


239 


[71 A.D.] 

made use of: for its middle shaft was fixed upon a basis, and the small 
branches were produced out of it to a great length, having the likeness of 
a trident in their position, and had every one a socket made of brass for a 
lamp at the tops of them. These lamps were in number seven, and repre- 
sented the dignity of the number seven among the 
Jews; and, the last of all the spoils, was carried the 
Law of the Jews. 

After these spoils passed by a great many men, 
carrying the images of Victory, whose structure was 
entirely either of ivory, or of gold. After which Ves- 
pasian marched in the first place, and Titus followed 
him ; Domitian also rode along with them, and made a 
glorious appearance, and rode on a horse that was worthy 
of admiration. 

The last part of this pompous show was at the tem- 
ple of Jupiter Capitolinus, whither when they were 
come, they stood still ; for it was the Romans’ ancient 
custom to stay till somebody brought the news that 
the general of the enemy was slain. This general was 
Simon, the son of Giora, who had then been led in this 
triumph among the captives ; a rope had also been put 
upon his head, and he had been drawn into a proper 
place in the Forum, and had withal been tormented by 
those that drew him along ; and the law of the Romans 
required that malefactors condemned to die should be 
slain there. Accordingly, when it was related that 
there was an end of him, and all the people had set up 
a shout for joy, they then began to offer those sacrifices 
which they had consecrated, in the prayers used in such 
solemnities; which when they had finished, they went 
away to the palace. 

And as for some of the spectators, the emperors 
entertained them at their own feast ; and for all the 
rest there were noble preparations made for their feast- 
ing at home ; for this was a festal day to the city of 
Rome, as celebrated for the victory obtained by their 
army over their enemies, for the end that was now put 
to their civil miseries, and for the commencement of 
their hopes of future prosperity and happiness. 

After these triumphs were over, and after the affairs 
of the Romans were settled on the surest foundations, 

Vespasian resolved to build a temple to Peace, which 
he finished in so short a time, and in so glorious a 

manner, as was beyond all human expectation and opinion. For he having 
now by providence a vast quantity of wealth, besides what he had formerly 
gained in his other exploits, he had this temple adorned with pictures and 
statues; for in this temple were collected and deposited all such rarities as 
men aforetime used to wander all over the habitable world to see, when they 
had a desire to see them one after another. He also laid up therein, as en- 
s^ns of his glory, those golden vessels and instruments that were taken out 
of the Jewish temple. But still he gave order that they should lay up their 

law, and the purple veils of the holy place, in the royal palace itself, and 
keep them there. * 



Ro&ian Tripod Can- 
delabrum 



240 


THE HISTORY OF ROME 


[65^-79 A.D.] 


THE EMPIRE IN PEACE 

Vesnasian havin<^ thus given security and peace to the empire, resolired 
to coiX numbe..les"s abuse! ^vhich had grown up under the tyranny of his 
nredecessors To effect tliis with greater ease, he joined Titus with bim in 
h^ consulship and tribunitial power ; and, in some measure admit ed him 
V paitimi in aU the highest offices of the state. He began with restraining 
;VriiSntious„ess of the army, and forcing them back to 

S™ for tl» f OUT. <I pTforn. jour„.y. « V™ 1^*“ 

Strict with recrard to the senators and the knights. He turned out such as 

were a distirace to their station, and supplied their planes with the most 
wmth? men he could find. He abridged the processes that had been car- 
ried to an unreasonable length in the courts of justice. He took care to 
re-build such parts of the city as had suffered in the late commotions ; par- 
ticularly the Capitol, which had been lately burned, and which he now lestored 

to more than former magnificence. „ 

The other ruinous cities in the empire also shared his paternal care , he 

improved such as were declining, adorned others, and built many anew. In 
such acts as these he passed a long reign of clemency and moderation ; 
so that it is said no man suffered by an unjust or a severe decree during 

The care of rebuilding the Capitol [says Tacitus] he committed to Lucius 
Vestiiius, a man of equestrian rank, but in credit and dignity among ^^t 
men in Rome. The soothsayers, who were convened by hini, advised that 
the ruins of the former shrine should be removed to the marshes, and a tem- 
ple raised on the old foundation; for the gods would not permit a change of 
the ancient form. On the eleventh day before the calends of July, the sky 
beincT remarkably serene, the whole space devoted to the sacred structure was 
encompassed with chaplets and garlands. Such of the soldiers as had names 
of auspicious import entered within the enclosure, with branches from trees 
emblematical of good fortune. Then the vestal virgins m procession, with a 
band of boys and girls whose parents, male and female, were still livings 
sprinkled tlie whole place with water drawn from living fountains and nvers. 
Helvidius Priscus, the pr®tor, preceded by Plautius -^lianus, the pontilL 
after purifying the area by sacrificing a swine, a sheep, and a bull, and 
replacing the entrails upon the turf, invoked Jupiter, Juno, and Miner^, 
and the tutelar deities of the empire, praying that they would prosper the 
undertaking, and, with divine power, carry to perfection a work begun by 
the piety of man ; and then Helvidius laid his hand upon the wreaths that 
bound the foundation stone and were twined about the cords. At the same 
time, the magistrates, the priests, the senators, the knights, and a number of 
citizens, with simultaneous efforts, prompted by zeal and exultation, haled the 
ponderous stone along. Contributions of gold and silver, and pieces of omer 
metals, the first that were taken from the mines, that had never been melted in 
the furnace, but in their native state, were thrown upon the foundations on 
all hands. The soothsayers enjoined that neither stone nor gold which had 
been applied to other uses should profane the building. Additional height 
was given to the edifice ; this was the only variation conceded by religion ; 
and in point of magnificence it was considered to be inferior to the former 

temple.i ^ , 

Vespasian also began the construction of the great amphitheatre which, 
under the name of the Colosseum, became the wonder of subsequent genera- 



THE TIME OF THE FLAVIANS oa , 

[69-79 A.D.] “ 

tions, and which is still sufficiently preserved to excite the admiration of 
every tourist. But this gigantic structure — seating about eighty-five thou- 
sand^people - was not completed until the reign of Vespasiau’.s successo.-. 


BANISHMENT AND DEATH OF UELVIDIUS 


In his conduct of both private and public affairs, Vespasian apiiears to 
have acted with temperate judgment. a Tliere are, however, two transactions 
whicli, it must be acknowledged, have left a stain upon his memory. The 
first was the death of Helvidius Priscus ; the other, the heartless treiitment 
of Epponina, wife of Sabinus. Helvidius, excellent man, fell a saci ifice to his 
enemies, and, perhaps, to his own intemperate conduct. Initiated early in 
the doctrines of the stoic school, and confirmed in the pride of virtue by the 
example of Paitus Thrasea, his father-in-law, he saw the arts by whicli Ves- 



The Colosseum 


pasian, notwithstanding the rigour of his nature, courted popularity; and 
did not scruple to say that liberty was more in danger from the artifices of 
the new farnily, than from the vices of former emperors. In the senate he 
spoke his mind with unbounded freedom. 

Vespasian bore his opposition to the measures of government with 
patience and silent dignity. He knew the virtues of the man, and retained 
a due esteem for the memory of Thrasea. Willing, on that account, to live 
on tei-ms with Helvidius, he advised him to be, for the future, a silent 
senator. The pride of a stoic spurned at the advice. Passive obedience 
was so repugnant to his principles that he stood more firm in opposition. 
IHucianus and Eprius Marcellus, who were the favourite ministers of the 
emperor, were his enemies ; and it is probable that, by their advice 
Vespasian was at length induced to let the proceedings of the senate take 
their course. Helvidius was arraigned by the fathers, and ordered into 
custody. He was soon after banished, and, in consequence of an order 
despatched from Rome, put to death. It is said that Vespasian relented, 
and sent a special messenger to respite execution ; but the blow was struck. 
Helvidius was, beyond all question, a determined republican. His own 
imprudence provoked his fate ; and this, perhaps, is what Tacitus had in 
contemplation when he places the moderation of Agricola in conti’ast to the 

n. w. — VOL. VI. n 



0,9 THE HISTOKY OF ROME 

[6^79 A.D.] 

violent spirit of others, who rush on certain destruction, without being by 

their death of service to the public. iv i,. 

The case of Epponina was an instance of extreme rigour, or rather cruelty. 

She was the wife of Julius Sabinus, a leading chief among the Lingones. 

This man, T.acitus has told us, had the vanity to derive his pedigree from 

Julius Ciesar, who, he said, during his wars in Gaul, was struck with the 

beauty of his grandmother, and alleviated the toils of the campaign in her 

embraces. Ambitious, bold, and enterprising, he kind ed the flame of rebelhon 

among his countrymen, and, having resolved to shake off the Roman yoke, 

marched at the head of a numerous army into the territory of the Sequam, 

a people in alliance with Rome. This was 69 A.d. He hazarded a battle, 

and was defeated with great slaughter. His rash-levied numbers were 

either cut to pieces or put to flight. He himself escaped the general car- 

nao-e. He fled for shelter to an obscure cottage ; and, in order to propagate 

a report that he destroyed himself, set fire to his lurking-place. 


SABINUS AND EPPONINA 

By what artful stratagems he was able to conceal himself in caves and 
dens, and, by the assistance of the faithful Epponina, to prolong his life for 
nine years afterwards, cannot now be known from Tacitus. The account 
which the great historian promised has perished with the narrative of 
Vespasian’s reign. Plutarch relates the story as a proof of conjugal 
fidelity. From that writer the following particulars may be gleaned : 
Two faithful freedmen attended Sabinus to his cavern ; one of them, 
Martialis by name, returned to Epponina with a feigned account of her 
husband’s death. His body, she was made to believe, was consumed in the 
flames. In the vehemence of her grief she gave credit to the story. In a 
few days she received intelligence by the same messenger that her husband 
was safe in his lurking-place. She continued during the rest of the day to 
act all the exteriors of grief, with joy at her heart, but suppressed with 
care. In the dead of night she visited Sabinus. Before the dawn of day 
she returned to her own house, and, for the space of seven months, repeated 
her clandestine visits, supplying her husband’s wants, and softening all his 
cares. At the end of that time she conceived hopes of obtaining a free 
pardon ; and having disguised her husband in such a manner as to render a 
detection impossible, she accompanied him on a long and painful journey to 
Rome. Finding there that she had been deceived with visionary schemes, 
she marched back with Sabinus, and lived with him in his den for nine 
years longer. 

In the year 79 A.D. they were both discovered, and in chains conveyed 
to Rome. Vespasian forgot his usual clemency. Sabinus was condemned, 
and hurried to execution. Epponina was determined not to survive her 
husband. She changed her supplicating tone, and, with a spirit uncon- 
quered even in ruin, addressed Vespasian: “Death,” she said, “has no 
terror for me. I have lived happier under ground, than you upon your 
throne. Bid your assassins strike their blow ; with joy I leave a world in 
which you can play the tyrant.” 

She was ordered for execution. Plutarch concludes with saying that 
during Vespasian’s reign there was nothing to match the horror of this 
atrocious deed ; for which the vengeance of the gods fell upon Vespasian, 
and, in a short time after, wrought the extirpation of his whole family, i 



[69-79 Aj>.] 


THE TIME OF THE FLAVIA^NS 


243 


THE CHAllACTER AND END OF VESPASIAN 

These, however, would seem to have been altogether exceptional instances 
of cruelty, Anecdotes illustrating the opposite character are not wanting. 
Thus ; He caused the daughter of Vitellius, his avowed enemy, to be marrietl 
into a noble family ; and he himself provided her a suitable fortune. One 
of Nero s servants coming to entreat pardon for liaving once rudely tlirust 
him out of the palace, and insulting him when in office, Vespasian only took 
his revenge by serving him just in the same manner. When any plots or 
conspiracies were formed against him, he disdained to punish the guilty, say- 
ing that they deserved rather his contempt for their ignorance than his 
resentment, as they seemed to envy him a dignity of which he daily experi- 
enced the uneasiness. When he was seriously advised to beware of Mettius 
Pomposianus, against whom there was strong cause of suspicion, he raised 
him to the dignity of consul, adding that the time would come when he 
must be sensible of so great a benefit. 

His liberality in the encouragement of arts and learning was not less than 
his clemency. He settled a constant salary of a hundred thousand sesterces 
upon the teachers of rhetoric. He was particularly favourable to Josephus, 
the Jewish liistorian. Quintilian, the orator, and Pliny, the naturalist, flour- 
ished in his reign, and were highly esteemed by him. He was no less an 
encourager of all other excellencies in art, and invited the greatest masters 
and artificers from all parts of the world, making them considerable presents 
as he found occasion. 

Yet all his numerous acts of generosity and magnificence could not pre- 
serve his character from the imputation of rapacity and avarice. He revived 
many obsolete methods of taxation, and even bought and sold commodities 
himself, in order to increase his fortune. He is charged with advancing the 
most avaricious governors to the provinces, in order to share their plunder 
on their return to Pome. He descended to some very unusual and dishon- 
ourable imposts. But the avarice of princes is generally a virtue when their 
own expenses are but few. The exchequer, when Vespasian came to the 
throne, was so much exhausted that he informed the senate that it would re- 
quire a supply of 40,000,000,000 sesterces [about £300,000,000 sterling] 
to re-establish the commonwealth. This necessity must naturally produce 
more numerous and heavy taxations than the empire had hitherto experi- 
enced ; but while the provinces were thus obliged to contribute to the sup- 
port of his power, he took every precaution to provide for their safety, so 
that we find but two insurrections in his reign. 

In the fourth year of his reign Antiochus, king of Commagene, holding a 
private correspondence with the Parthians, the declared enemies of Rome, 
was taken prisoner in Cilicia, by Paetus the governor, and sent bound to 
Rome. But Vespasian generously prevented all ill-treatment towards him, 

him a residence at Lacedaemon and allowing him a revenue suitable 
to his dignity. 

About the same time also, the Alani, a barbarous people, who lived along 
the river Tanais, abandoned their barren wilds and invaded the kingdom of 
IMedia. b rom thence passing like a torrent into Armenia, after great rav- 
ages, they overthrew Tiridates, the king of that country, with prodigious 
slaughter. Titus was at length sent to chastise their insolence, and relieve a 
king that was in alliance with Rome. However, the barbarians retired at the 
approach of the Roman army, laden with plunder, being in some measure com- 
pelled to wait a more favourable opportunity of renewing their irruptions. 



244 


the history of ROME 


[60-79 A.D.] 

But these incursions were as a transient ®torra, the effects of which 
soon repaired by the emperor’s moderation and assiduity. We are told that 
lie new-formed and established a thousand nations, which had scarcely before 
amounted to two hundred. No provinces in the empire lay out of his view 
and protection. He had, during his whole reign, a particular regard to Bri- 
bdn ^Cgenerals, Petilius Cerealis and Julius Frontmus, brought the great- 
erp’art of the island into subjection (70 A.D.), and Agricola, who succeeded 

soon after (78 A.T).)i completed what they had begun. 

Such long and uninterrupted success no way increased this emperor s 
vanity. He^ever seemed averse to those swelling titles which the senate and 
people were constantly offering him. When the king of Parthia, in one of 
his letters, styled himself king of kings, Vespasian in his answer only caUed 
himself simply Flavius Vespasian. He was so far from attempting to hide 
the meanness of his original that he frequently mentioned it in company ; 
and when some flatterers were for deriving his pedigree from Hercules, he 
despised and derided the meanness of their adulation. In this manner hav- 
ing reigned ten years, loved by his subjects and deserving their affection, he 
was surprised with an indisposition at Campania. Removing from thence to 
the city, and afterwards to a country-seat near Rome, he was there taken 
with a flux, which brought him to the last extremity. However, perceiving 
his end approaching, and as he was just going to expire, he cried out that 
an emperor ought to die standing ; wherefore, raising himself upon his feet, 

he expired in the hands of those that sustained him. (79 a.d.) 

“ He was a man,” says Pliny, “ in whom power made no alteration, except 
in giving him the opportunity of doing good equal to his will.” He was the 
second Roman emperor that died an unquestionably natural death ; and lie 

was peaceably succeeded by Titus his son.* 


A CLASSICAL ESTIMATE OF VESPASIAN 

The only thing deservedly blaniable in Vespasian’s character [says Sue- 
tonius] was his love of money. For not satisfied with reviving the imposts 
which had been dropped under Galba, he imposed new taxes burdensirae to 
the subjects, augmented the tribute of the provinces, and doubled that ot 
some. He likewise openly practised a sort of traffic which would have 
been scandalous even in a person below the digmty of an emperor, buying 
great quantities of goods, for the purpose of retailing them again to advan- 
tage. Nay, he made no scruple of selling the great offices of state to the 
candidates, and pardons likewise to persons under prosecution, as well the 
innocent as the guilty. It is believed that he advanced all the most rapa- 
cious amongst the procurators to higher offices, with the view of squeezing 
them after they had acquired great riches. He was commonly said, “to 
have made use of them as sponges,” because he did, as one may say, wet 
them when dry and squeeze them when wet. Some say that he was naturally 
extremely covetous, and that he was upbraided with it by an old herdsman 
of his, who, upon the emperor’s refusing to enfranchise him gratis, which at 
his advancement he humbly petitioned for, cried out that the fox changed 
his hair, but not his nature. There are some, on the other hand, of opinion 
that he was urged to his rapacious proceedings by necessity, and the extreme 
poverty of the treasury and exchequer, of which he publicly took notice in 
the beginning of his reign ; declaring that nb less than forty thousand 
millions of sesterces was necessary for the support of the government. 



THE TIME OF THE FLAVIANS 


245 


[GO-79 A. D.] 

This is the more likely to be true of him, because he applied to tlie best 
2)urposes what he procured by bad means. 

His liberality to all ranks of 2)eo2)le was 2)articularly eminent. Ilci made 
up to several senators the estate required by law to (puilify them for that 
dignity, relieving likewise such men of consular rank as were j^oor, witli a 
yearly allowance of five hundred thousand sesterces; and rebuilt, in a better 
maimer than before, several cities in different j^arts of the emiure, wJiieh 
liad been much damaged by earthquakes or fires. 

He was a great encourager of learning and learned men. He first ap- 
j)ointed the Latin and Greek professors of rhetoric the yearly sti[)end of a 
hundred thousand sesterces each out of the excheciuer. He was likewise 



iNTERIOa OF THE COLOSSEUM 


extremely generous to such as excelled in jjoetry, or even the mechanic arts, 
and particularly to one that brushed up the picture of Venus at Cos, and 
another who repaired the Colossus. A mechanic offering to convey some 
huge pillars into the capital at a small expense, he rewarded him very liand- 
somely for his invention, but would not accept of his service, saying, “ You 
must allow me to take care of the poor people.” 

In the games celebrated at the revival of the stage in Alarcellus’ theatre, 
he restored the old musical entertainments. He gave Apollinaris the tra- 
gedian four hundred thousand sesterces ; Terpnus and Diodorus the harpers 
two hundred thousand ; to some a hundred thousand ; and the least he gave 
to any of the performers was forty thousand, besides many golden crowns. 
He had company constantly at his table, and entertained them in a plentiful 
manner, on purpose to help the shambles. As in the Saturnalia he made 
presents to the men at his table to carry away with them ; so did he to the 
women upon the calends of March ; notwithstanding which he could not 



246 


THE HISTORY OF ROISIE 

[69-79 A.D.] 

\vil)e off the infamy of his former eovetousness. The Alexandrians called 
him constantly Cybiosactes ; a name which had been given to one of then- 
kings who was sordidly covetous. Nay, at his funeral h avo the archmimic 
representing his person, and imitating, as usual, his behaviour both in speech 
and gesture, asked aloud of the procurators, how mucli his funeral pomp 
would cost. And being iinswered “ten millions of sesterces, he cried out, 
that give him but a hundred thousand sesterces, and they might throw 

his body into the Tiber, if they would. 


Personality of Vespasian 

He was broad set, strong limbed, and had the countenance of a person 
who was straining. On this account, one of the buffoons at court, upon 
the emperor^s desiring him “to say something merry upon him, facetiously 
answered, “I will, when you have done easing yourself.” 

His method of life was commonly this : After he came to be emperor, he 
used to rise very early, often before daybreak. Having read over his 
letters, and the breviaries of all the offices about court, he ordered his friends 
to be admitted ; and whilst they were paying him their compliments, he 
would put oil his shoes and dress himself. Then, after the despatch of such 
business as was brought before him, he rode out in his chaise or chair ; and, 
upon his return, laid himself down upon liis couch to sleep, accompanied by 
some of his concubines, of whom he had taken a great number into his 
service upon the death of Csenis. After rising from his couch, he entered the 
bath, and then went to supper. They say he never was more easy or oblig- 
ing than at tliat time ; and therefore those about him always seized that 
opportunity, when they had any favour to request of him. 

He chiefly affected wit upon his own shameful means of raising money, to 
wipe off the odium by meansof a little jocularity. One of his ministers, who was 
much in his favour, requesting of him a stewardship for some person, under 
pretence of being his brother ; he put off the affair, but sent for the person 
who was the candidate, and having squeezed out of him as much money as 
he had agreed to give his solicitor, he appointed him immediately to the place. 
The minister soon after renewing his application, “Y'ou must,” said he, 
make a brother of somebody else ; for he whom you took for yours is really 
mine.” Once upon a journey suspecting that his mule driver had alighted 
to shoe his mules, only to give time and opportunity to one that had a 
lawsuit depending to speak to him, he asked him how much he had for 
shoeing, and would have a share of the profit. Some deputies having 
come to acquaint him that a large statue, which would cost a vast sum, was 
ordered to be erected for him at the public charge, he bade them erect it 
immediately, showing them his hand hollowed, and saying there was a 
base ready for it.^ 

Even when Vespasian was under the apprehensions and danger of death, 
he would not forbear his jests. For when, amongst other prodigies, the 
mausoleum of the Caesars flew open on a sudden, and a blazing star appeared 
in the heavens, one of the prodigies, he said, concerned Julia Calvina, who 
was of the family of Augustus ; and the other, the king of the Parthians, 
\vho wore his hair long. And when his distemper first seized him, “ I sup- 
pose,” said he, “I am going to be a god.” 

[1 All the gossip about the avarice of Vespasian seems to have resulted (1) from his increased 
taxation, and (2) from his economy. Such examples of humour as those here given were distorted 
into proofs of avarice.] 



THE TIME OF THE FLAVIANS 


247 


[7^1 A.D.] 

Titus (T. Flavius Sabinus Vespasianus II) 79-81 a.d. 

Titus, who had the same cognomen with his father, was [says Suetonius] 
the darling and delight of mankind, (so much did he possess of happy en- 
dowments, to conciliate the favour of all; and what is extremely difficult 
indeed, after he came to be emperor; for before that period, even during 
the reign of his father, he lay under the displeasure and censure of the 
public). He was born upon the third of the calends of January, in the 
year remarkable for the death of Caligula, near the Septizonium, in a mean 
house, and a small dark chamber. 

He was educated at court with Britannicus, instructed in the same parts 
of literature, and under the same masters with him. During this time, they 
say, that a physiognomist, being brought by Narcissus, the freedman of 
Claudius, to inspect Britannicus, positively affirmed that he would never 
come to be emperor, but that Titus, who stood by, would. They were so 
familiar, that Titus being next him at table, is thought to have tasted of the 
fatal potion which put an end to Britannicus’ life, and to have contracted 
from it a distemper which remained with him a long time. The remem- 
brance of all these circumstances being fresh in his mind, he erected a golden 
statue of him in the palace, dedicated to him another on horseback, of ivory, 
and attended it in the Circensian procession. 

He was, when a hoy, remarkable for fine accomplishments both of body 
and mind ; and as he advanced in years, they became still more conspicuous. 
He had a graceful person, combining an equal mixture of majesty and sweet- 
ness ; was very strong, though not tall, and somewhat big-bellied. He was 
endowed with an excellent memory, and a capacity for all the arts of peace 
and war; was a perfect master in the use of arms, and in riding the great 
horse ; very ready in the Latin and Greek tongues, as well in verse as prose ; 
and such was the facility he possessed in both, that he would harangue and 
versify extempore. Nor was he unacquainted with music, but would both sing 
and play upon the harp very finely, and with judgment. I have likewise 
been informed by many, that he was remarkably quick in the writing of 
shorthand, would in merriment and jest engage with his secretaries in the 
imitation of any hands he saw, and often say, “ that he was admirably quali- 
fied for forgery.” 

Upon the expiration of his quaestorship, he was made commander of a 
legion, and took the two strong cities of Tarichea and Gamala in Judea ; 
and in a battle having his horse slain under him, he mounted another, 
whose rider he was engaged with, and killed. 

Soon after, when Galba came to be emperor, he was despatched away to 
congratulate him upon the occasion, and turned the eyes of all people upon 
him, wherever he came, it being the general opinion amongst them, that the 
emperor had sent for him with a design to adopt him for his son. But find- 
ing all things again in confusion, he turned back upon the road ; and going 
to consult the oracle of Venus at Paphos about his voyage, he received assur- 
ances of obtaining the empire for himself. In this prediction he was soon 
after confirmed; and being left to finish the reduction of Judea, in the last 
assault upon Jerusalem, he slew seven of the men that defended it, Avith just 
80 many arrows, and took it upon his daughter’s birthday. Upon this occa- 
sion, the soldiers expressed so much joy and fondness for him, that, in their 
congratulation of him, they unanimously saluted him by tlie title of em- 
peror; and, upon his quitting the province soon after, would needs have 
detained him, earnestly begging of him, and that not without.threats, “ either 



248 


THE HISTORY OF ROME 


[79-81 A.D.] 

to stay, or to take them all with him/’ This incident gave rise to a suspi- 
cion of liis being engaged in a design to rebel against Ins father, and claim 
for himself the government of the East; and the suspicion increased, when, 
on his wav to Alexandria, he wore a diadem at the consecration of the ox 
Anis at Memphis; which though he did only in compliance with an ancient 
religious usage of the country, yet there were some who put a bad construc- 
tion upon it. Making therefore what haste he could into Italy, he arrived 
first at Uliegium, and sailing thence in a merchant ship to Puteoli, went to 
Rome with all possible expedition. Presenting himself unexpectedly to his 

father, he said, by way 
of reflection upon the 
rashness of the reports 
raised against him, “I 
am come, father, I am 
come.” 

From that time he 
constantly acted as part> 
ner with his father in 
the government, and in- 
deed as guardian of it. 
He triumphed with his 
father, bore jointly with 
him the office of censor ; 
and was, besides, his 
colleague not only in 
the tribunitian author- 
ity, but seven consul- 
ships. Taking upon 
himself the care and in- 
spection of all offices, he 
dictated letters, Avrote 
proclamations in his 
father’s name, and pro- 
nounced his speeches in 
the senate, in room of 
the quaestor. He like- 
wise took upon him the 
command of the guard, 
which before that time 
had never been held by 
any but a Roman knight, and behaved with great haughtiness and violence, 
taking off without scruple or delay all those of whom he was most jealous, 
after he had secretly engaged people to disperse themselves in the theatres 
and camp, and demand them as it Avere by general consent to be delivered 
up to punishment. Amongst these he invited to supper A. Csecina, a man 
of consular rank, whom he ordered to be stabbed at his departure, imme- 
diately after he had got out of the room. To this act he was provoked by 
an imminent danger ; for he had discovered a Avriting under the hand of 
Csecina, containing an account of a plot carried on amongst the soldiery. 
By this means, though he provided indeed for the future security of his 
family, yet for the present he so much incurred the hatred of the people, 
that scarcely ever anyone came to the empire with a more odious character, 
or Avas more universally disliked. 



Titus 

(From a bust in the A^atican) 



THE TIME OF THE FLAVIANS 


249 


179-81 A.D.] 

Besides his cruelty, he lay under the suspicion of luxury, because he 
would continue his revels until midnight with the most riotous of his ac- 
quaintance. Nor was he less suspected of excessive lewdness, because of the 
s^yarms of favourites and eunuchs about him, and his well-known intrigue 
with Queen Berenice, to whom he was likewise reported to have promised 
marriage. He was supposed, besides, to be of a rapacious disposition ; for 
it is certain, that, in causes which came before liis father, he used to offer 
his interest to sale, and take bribes. In short, people openly declared an 
unfavourable opinion of him, and said he would prove another Nero. This 
prejudice however turned out in the end to his advantage, and enhanced his 
praises not a little, because he was found to possess no vicious propensities, 
but on the contrary the noblest virtues. His entertainments were pleasant 
rather than extravagant; and he chose such a set of friends, as the following 
princes acquiesced in as necessary for them and the government. He sent 
away Berenice from the city immediately, much against both their inclina- 
tions. Some of his old favourites, though such adepts in dancing that they 
bore an uncontrollable sway upon the stage, he was so far from treating with 
any extraordinary kindness, that he would not so much as see them in any 
public assembly of the people. He violated no private property ; and if ever 
man refrained from injustice, he did; nay he M^ould not accept of the allow- 
able and customary contributions. Yet he was inferior to none of the princes 
before him, in point of generosity. Having opened his amphitheatre, and 
built some warm baths close by it with great expedition, he entertained the 
people with a most magnificent public diversion. He likewise exhibited a 
naval fight in the old naumachia, besides a combat of gladiators ; and in one 
day brought into the theatre five thousand wild beasts of all kinds. 

He was by nature extremely benevolent. For whereas the emperors after 
Tiberius, according to the example he had set them, would not admit the 
grants made by former princes to be valid, unless they received their own 
sanction, he confirmed them all by one general proclamation, without waiting 
until he should be addressed upon the subject. Of all who expressed a desire 
of any favour, it was his constant practice to send none away without hopes. 
And when his ministers insinuated to him, as if he promised more than he 
could perform, he replied, “ Nobody ought to go away sad from an audience 
of his prince.” Once at supper, reflecting that he had done nothing for any 
that day, he broke out into that memorable and justly admired saying, 
“ Friends, I have lost a day.” 

He treated in particular the whole body of the people upon all occasions 
with so much complaisance, that, upon promising them an entertainment of 
gladiators, he declared, “ He should manage it, not according to his own 
fancy, but that of the spectators,” and did accordingly. He denied them 
nothing, and very frankly encouraged them to ask what they pleased. Being 
a favourer of the gladiators called Thraces, he would, as such, frequently 
indulge a freedom with the people both in his words and gestures, but 
always with the least violation either of his imperial dignity or justice. To 
omit no occasion of acquiring popularity, he would let the common people 
be admitted into his bath, even when he made use of it himself. There 
happened in his reign some dreadful accidents, as an eruption of Mount 
Vesuvius in Campania, and a fire in Rome which continued during three 
days and three nights, besides a plague, such as was scarcely ever known 
before. Amidst these dismal calamities, he not only discovered all the con- 
cern that might be expected from a prince, but a paternal affection for his 
people; one while comforting them by his proclamations, and another while 



250 


THE HISTORY OF ROME 


[70-81 A.D.J 

assisting them as much as was in his power. He chose by lot, from amongst 
the men of consular rank, commissioners for the relief of Cam^nia. 

The estates of those who had perished by the eruption of Vesuvnw, and 
who had left no heirs, he appUed to the repair of such cities m had been 
damaged by that accident. In respect of the public builcbngs destroyed in 
the fire of the city, he declared that nobody should be a loser by them but 
himself. Accordingly, he applied all the ornaments of his palaces to the 
decoration of the temples, and purposes of public utility, and appointed 
several men of the equestrian order to superintend the work, b or the relief 
of the people during the plague, he employed, in the way of sacrifice and 
medicine, all means both human and divine. Amongst the calamities of the 
times, were informers, and those who employed them ; a ^ribe of miscreants 
who had grown up under the license of former reigns. These be frequently 
ordered to be lashed or well cudgeled in the Forum, and then, after he had 
obliged them to pass through the amphitheatre as a public spectacle, com- 
manded them to be sold for slaves, or else banished them into some rocky 
islands. And to discourage the like practices for the future, amongst other 
thinc^s, he forbade anyone to be proceeded against upon several laws for the 
same fact, and that the condition of persons deceased should, after a certain 

number of years, be exempt from all inquiry. 

Having avowed that he accepted the office of high priest for the purpose 
of preserving his hands undefiled, he faithfully adhered to his promise. For 
after that time he was neither directly nor indirectly concerned in the death 
of any person, though he sometimes was sufficiently provoked. ^ He swore 
that he “would perish himself, rather than prove the destruction of any 
man.” Two men of patrician quality being convicted of aspiring to the 
empire, he only advised them to desist, saying, that sovereign power was 
disposed of by fate, and promised them, that, if they had anything else 
to desire of him, he would gratify them. Upon this incident, he immediately 
sent messengers to the mother of one of them, that was at a great distance, 
and concerned about her son, to satisfy her that he was safe. Nay he not 
only invited them to sup with him, but next day, at a show of gladiators, 
purposely placed them close by him ; and when the arras of the combatants 
were presented to him, he handed them to the two associates. It is said 
likewise, that upon being informed of their nativities, he assured them, 
that some great calamity would sometime befall them, but from^ another 
hand, not his. Though his brother was perpetually plotting against him, 
almost openly spiriting up the armies to rebellion, and contriving to leave 
the court with the view of putting himself at their head, yet he could not 
endure to put him to death. So far was he from entertaining such a senti- 
ment, that he would not so much as banish him the court, nor treat him with 
less respect than before. But from his first accession to the empire, he con- 
stantly declared him his partner in it, and that he should be his successor; 
begging of him sometimes in private with tears, to make him a return of 
the like affection.^? 


THE DESTRUCTION OF POMPBn AND HERCULANEUM 

The reign of this excellent prince was marked by a series of public 
calamities. He had reigned only two months when a tremendous volcanic 
eruption, the first on record, from Mount Vesuvius spread dismay through 
Italy. This mountain had hitherto formed the most beautiful feature in 



THE TIME OF THE FLAVIANS 


251 


[79 A.D.] 

the landscape of Campania, being clad with vines and other agreeable trees 
and plants. Earthquakes had of late years been of frequent occurrence ; 
but on the 24th of August the summit of the mountain sent forth a volume 
of flame, stones, and ashes which spread devastation far and wide. Tlie sky 
to the extent of many leagues was enveloped in the gloom of night ; the 
flne dust, it was asserted, was wafted even to Egypt and Syria; and at Rome 
it rendered the sun invisible for many days. Men and beasts, birds and 
fishes perished alike. The adjoining towns of Pompeii and Plerculaneum 
were overwhelmed by the earthquake which attended the eruption, and 
their inhabitants destroyed. Among those who lost their lives on this 
occasion was Pliny, the great naturalist. He commanded the fleet at 
Misenum, and his curiosity leading him to proceed to Stabias to view this 
convulsion of nature more closely, he was suffocated by the jjestilential air.^ 

Dion Cassius has left us a vivid picture of the memorable eruption 
of Vesuvius: “The events which occurred in Campania,” he says, “were 
calculated to arouse both fear and wonder ; there, just as autumn was 
approaching, a great fire suddenly broke out. Mount Vesuvius is near the 
sea of Naples and contains a vast reservoir of fire. In former times the 
whole mountain was of the same height and the fire came from its very 
centre; for this is the only spot which is in combustion ; the whole of the 
outside is, even to this day, exempt from fire. For this reason, since these 
portions still remain intact while those of the centre crumbled away and 
fell into dust, the surrounding peaks preserve their former elevation ; while 
on another side the whole of the part ignited, having been worn away by 
time, has fallen in, leaving a cavity which, to compare small things with 
great, gives to the mountain the general appearance of an amphitheatre. 
On the top are trees and vines in great number, whilst the crater is the 
prey of fire and exhales smoke by day and flame by night, so that it might 
be supposed perfumes of every kind were being constantly burned within. 
This phenomenon is manifested sometimes with more, sometimes with less 
intensity ; at times even cinders are thrown out when some great mass has 
fallen in and stones fly about, driven by the violence of the wind. Noises 
and rumblings proceed from the mountain, and it must be observed that 
the apertures of the crater, which are some distance apart, are narrow and 
hidden. 

“Such is Vesuvius, and these manifestations are repeated nearly every 
year. But the prodigies which occurred in earlier days, though to those 
who gave them continued attention they appeared more than ordinary, may, 
even if we take them all together, be regarded as trivial in comparison with 
the occurrences of this period. This is what actually happened. Men, 
numerous and huge, of a height exceeding that of any human being and 
such as the giants are depicted, were seen to wander day and night, now 
on the mountain, now in the surrounding district and in the towns, and 
sometimes even walking in the air. Then suddenly there came winds and 
violent tremblings of the ground, so that the whole plain shuddered and the 
crests of the mountains leaped. At the same time noises arose, some sub- 
terranean, resembling thunder, others, coming from the ground, were like 
bellowings ; the sea roared, and the sky, in echo, answered to its roarings. 
After this a fearful crash, like mountains hurtling against one another, 
suddenly made itself heard; then first stones were thrown out with such 
force that they reached the summit of the mountain ; then huge flames and 
thick smoke which darkened the air and entirely hid the sun as in an 
eclipse. 



THE HISTOEY OF EOME 


s 


‘}r,0 


[79-80 A.D.] 


“Nisht succeeded to day and darkness to light ; some fancied that the 
<. iants were reawakening to life, for many phantoms in their likeness were 
seen in the smoke and moreover a noise of trumpets was heard , others 
thoiisrht that the whole world was about to be swa,llowed up in chaos or 
in firl Therefore some fled from their houses into the streets ; others from 
tlie streets into their liouses, from the sea to the land and from the land to 
the sea, devoured by fear and feeling that anything at a distance was safer 
than their present condition. At the same time a prodigious quantity of 
cinders was thrown np and filled the earth, the sea, and the air; other 
scourges also descended indiscriminately upon mankind, on the country and 
on the lierds, destroyed the fishes and the birds, and moreover engulfed two 
whole cities, Herculaneum and Pompeii, with all the people \yho chanced to 
be seated in the theatre. Finally there was so much dust that some of it 

penetrated as far as Africa, Syria, Egypt, and 
even Rome itself ; darkening the air above that 
city and covering the sun. There it gave rise 
to a great panic which lasted several days, for 
none knew what had happened and none could 
guess what it was ; men fancied that everything 
had been reversed, that the sun was about to 
disappear into the earth and the earth to be shot 
up into the sky. 

‘‘ For the moment these ashes did no great 
harm to the Romans (it was later on that they 
engendered a terrible contagious sickness), but 
tlie year following, another fire, starting above 
ground, devoured a great part of Rome while 
Titus was absent visiting the scene of the disas- 
ters in Campania. The temples of Serapis and 
Isis, the Septa, the temple of Neptune, the baths 
of Agrippa, the Pantheon, the Diribitorium, the 
theatre of Balbus, the scena of Pompey’s theatre, 
the Porticus Octavise, with the library, the tem- 
ple of Jupiter Capitolinus, with the adjacent 
temples, were the prey of the flames. True is 
it that this misfortune was due less to men than 
to the gods; for from what I have said all may 
judge of the other losses. Titus sent two consu- 
lars into Campania to establish colonies there and 
gave the inhabitants, besides other sums, those 
which fell in from citizens dying without heirs ; 
but he received none either from individuals, 

Columns of the Temple of or towns, or kings, in spite of many gifts and 
Jupiter, Rome promises On the part of many of them ; how- 

ever this did not prevent his re-establishing 
everything from his own resources.”/ 

It will be observed that Dion writes from the standpoint of a Roman, 
and with only incidental reference to the loss of Pompeii and Herculaneum, 
which cities evidently had no very great contemporary importance. Yet, as 
has been pointed out, the burial of these cities resulted in the preservation 
of a mass of documents which, brought to light some eighteen centuries 
later, furnishes such testimony to the manners and customs of the time as 
is presented by no other evidence extant. 




[79 A.D.] 


THE TIME OF THE FLAVIANS 


253 


PLINY’S ACCOUNT OF THE ERUPTION 

Further details of the disaster at Pompeii are given by Pliny the 
Youngers' in two letters written to Tacitus, with the intention of furnish- 
ing that historian with correct materials relative to the event." He says : 

It appears that many and frequent shocks of earthquake had been felt 
for some days previously ; but as these were phenomena by no means 
uncommon in Campania, extraordinary alarm was not excited by that 
circumstance, until, about one o’clock in the afternoon of the 24 th of 
August, a vast and singular cloud was seen to elevate itself in the atmos- 
phere. From what mountain it proceeded was not readily discernible at 
Misenum, where Pliny the elder (at that time) held the command of the 
Roman fleet. This cloud continued arising in an uniform column of smoke, 
which varied in brightness, and was dark and spotted, as it was more or less 
impregnated with earth and cinders. Having attained an immense eleva- 
tion, expanding itself, it sj^read out horizontally, in form like the branches 
of the pine, and precipitated the burning materials with which it was charged 
upon the many beautiful but ill-fated towns which stood thick upon this 
delightful coast. The extraordinary phenomenon now excited the curi- 
osity of Pliny, who ordered a vessel to be prejiared for the purpose of pro- 
ceeding to a nearer inspection ; but meeting some of the fugitives, and 
learning its destructive effects, his curiosity was changed to commiseration 
for the distressed, to whose succour he immediately hastened. 

On approaching Retina, the cinders falling hotter as well as in greater 
quantity, mixed with pumice-stone, with black and broken pieces of burning 
rock ; the retreat and agitation of the sea driven backwards by the convul- 
sive motion of the earth, together with the disrupted fragments hurled from 
the mountain on the shore, threatened destruction to anything which 
attempted to advance, Pliny therefore ordered the ship to be steered towards 
Stabiae, where he found the alarm so great, that his friend Pomponianus had 
already conveyed his more portable property on board a vessel. The histo- 
rian, less apprehensive, after partaking of a meal with his friend, went to 
bed ; but was, however, soon obliged to remove, as, had he remained much 
longer, it was feared the falling cinders would have prevented the possibility 
of forcing a way out of the room. Still the town had not yet been materially 
affected, nor had the ravages of this great operation of nature reached 
Misenum ; but suddenly broad refulgent expanses of fire burst from every 
part of Vesuvius, and, shining with redoubled splendour through the gloom 
of night which had come on, glared over a scene, now accompanied by the 
increased horrors of a continued earthquake, which shaking the edifices 
from their foundations, and precipitating their roofs upon the heads of the 
affrighted beings who had thought to find shelter in them, threatened 
universal desolation. 

Driven from their homes, which no longer afforded security, the unfortu- 
nate inhabitants sought refuge in the fields and open places, covering their 
heads with pillows, to protect themselves from the increasing fall of stones 
and volcanic matter, which accumulated in such quantity, as to render it 
difficult to withdraw the feet from the mass, after remaining still some 
minutes ; but the continuance of internal convulsion still persecuted them ; 
their chariots agitated to and fro, even propped with stones, were not to 
be kept steady ; while, although now day elsewhere, yet here most intense 
darkness was rendered more appalling by the fitful gleams of torches, at 
intervals obscured by the transient blaze of lightning. 



254 


THE HISTORY OF ROME 


[79-«0 A.i).] 

Multitudes now crowded towards the beach, as the sea, it was imagined, 
would afford certain means of retreat ; but the boisterous agitation of that 
element, alternately rolling on the shore, and thrown back by the convulsive 
motion of the earth, leaving the marine animals upon the land it retreated 

from, precluded every possibility of escape. , ,, i i j j 

At length, preceded by a strong sulphurous stench, a black and dread- 
ful cloud, skirted on every side by forked lightning, burst into a train of 
fire and igneous vapour, descended over the surface of the ocean, and covered 
the whole bay of the crater, from the island of Caprete to the promontory of 
Misenum with its noxious exhalations ; while the thick smoke, accompanied 
by a slighter shower of ashes, rolled like a torrent among the miserable and 
affrif^hted fugitives, who, in the utmost consternation, increased their 
danger by pressing forward in crowds, without an object, amidst darkness 
and desolation ; now were heard the shrieks of women, screams of children, 
clamours of men, all accusing their fate, and imploring death, the <^liver- 
ance they feared, with outstretched hands to the gods, whom many thought 
about to be involved, together with themselves, in the last eternal night. 

Three days and nights were thus endured in all the anguish of suspense 
and uncertainty ; many were doubtless stifled by the mephitic vapour ; 
others spent with the toil of forcing their way through deep and almost 
impassable roads, sank down to rise no more ; while those who escaped, 
spread the alarm, with all the circumstances of aggravation and horror 
which their imaginations, under the influence of fear, suggested. At length 
a gleam of light appeared, not of day, but fire ; which, passing, was suc- 
ceeded by an intense darkness, with so heavy a shower of ashes, that it 
became necessary to keep the feet in motion to avoid being fixed and buried 
by the accumulation. On the fourth day the darkness by degrees began to 
clear away, the real day appeared, the sun shining forth sickly as in an 
eclipse ; but all nature, to the weakened eyes, seemed changed ; for towns 
and fields had disappeared under one expanse of white ashes, or were doubt- 
fully marked, like the more prominent objects, after an alpine fall of snow. 

If such be the description of this most tremendous visitation, as it affected 
Stabiye and Misenum, comparatively distant from the source of the calamity, 
what must have been the situation of the unfortunate inhabitants of Pompeii, 
so near, of Herculaneum, within its focus? Must we not conclude that, at 
the latter place at least, most of those not overwhelmed by the torrents of 
stony mud which preceded others of flaming lava, burying their city sixty 
feet under the new surface, were overtaken by the showers of volcanic matter 
in the field, or drowned in attempting to escape by sea, their last but hope- 
less resource, since it appears to have received them to scarcely less certain 
destruction ? 

The emperor Titus, whose great and good qualities here found everjr op- 
portunity for their display, immediately hastened to this scene of affliction ; 
appointed curatores, persons of consular dignity, to set up the ruined build- 
ings, and take charge of the effects of those who perished without heirs, for 
the benefit of the surviving sufferers ; to whom he remitted all taxes, and 
afforded that relief the nature of their circumstances required ; personally 
encouraging the desponding, and alleviating the miseries of the sufferers, 
until a calamity of an equally melancholy description recalled him to the 
capital, where [as we have just been told by Dion Cassius] a most destruc- 
tive fire laying waste nearly half the city, and raging three days without 
intermission, was succeeded by a pestilence, which for some time is said to 
have carried off ten thousand persons daily. ^ 



Till-: urixs OF FOMi>i:ii 

(l•■rolIl tli>- ii.-iinliii- l.y ( jrl' tcjti) 



S. P. 



ibr^^ 


SRINAGAR.-- 

.. DATE LOANED 

A fine of c^e anna;, will be charged 
each day the book is' <kept overtime. 


for 




[79 A.D.] 


THE TIME OF THE FLAVIANS 


255 


AGKICOLA IN BRITAIN 

It was in the time of Vespasian and Titus that the famous Agricola cam- 
paigned in Britain. In his first summer there (78), he led his forces into 
the country of the Ordovices, in whose mountain passes the war of indepen- 
dence still lingered, drove the Britons across the Menai straits, and pursued 
them into Anglesea, as Suetonius had done before him, by boldly crossing the 
boiling current in the face of the enemy. The summer of 79 saw him advance 
northward into the territory of the Brigantes, and complete the organisation 
of the district, lately reduced, between the Humber and Tyne. Struck per- 
haps with the natural defences of the line from the Tyne to the Solway, 
where the island seems to have been broken, as it were, in the middle and 
soldered unevenly together, he drew a chain of forts from sea to sea, to pro- 
tect the reclaimed subjects of the southern valleys from the untamed barba- 
rians who roamed the Cheviots and the Pentlands. 

To penetrate the stormy wilds of Caledonia, and track to their fastnesses 
the hordes of savages, the Ottadini, Horesti, and Maeatie, who flitted among 
them, was an enterprise which promised no plunder and little glory. The 
legions of Rome, with their expensive equipments, could not hope even to 
support themselves on the bleak mountain sides, unclaimed by men and 
abandoned by nature. His camps on the Tyne and Irthing were the maga- 
zines from which Agricola’s supplies must wholly be drawn ; the ordinary 
term of a provincial prefecture was inadequate to a long, a distant, and an 
aimless adventure. But Vespasian had yielded to the ardour of his favourite 
lieutenant ; ample means were furnished, and ample time was allowed. In the 
third year of his command (80) Agricola pushed forward along the eastern 
coast, and making good with roads and fortresses every inch of his progress, 
reached, perhaps, the Firth of Forth. He had here reached the point 
where the two seas are divided by an isthmus less than forty miles in breadth. 
Here he repeated the operations of the preceding winter, planting his camps 
and stations from hill to hill, and securing a new belt of territory, ninety 
miles across, for Roman occupation. The natives, scared at his presence and 
fleeing before him, were thus thrust, in the language of Tacitus, as it were 
into another island. For a moment the empire seemed to have found its 
northern limit. Agricola rested through the next summer, occupied in the 
organisation of his conquests, and employed Lis fifth year (82) also in 
strengthening his position between the two isthmuses, and reducing the 
furthest corners of the province, whence the existence of a new realm was 
betrayed to him. The grassy plains of teeming Hibernia offered a fairer 
prey than the gray mountains which frowned upon his fresh entrenchments, 
and all their wealth, he was assured, might be secured by the valour of a 
single legion. But other counsels prevailed ; Agricola turned from the 
MuU of Galloway, and Ireland was left to her fogs and feuds for eleven 
more centuries.* 


THE DEATH OP TITUS 

Meanwhile [says Suetonius], Titus was taken off by an untimely death, 
more to the loss of mankind than himself. At the close of the public diver- 
sions with which he entertained the people, he wept bitterly before them all, 
and then went away for the country of the Sabines, very melancholy, because 
a victim, when about to be sacrificed, had made its escape, and loud thunder 
had been heard during a serene state of the atmosphere. At the first stage 



256 


THE HISTORY OF ROME 


[79-81 A.D.] 

on the road, he was seized with a fever, and being carried thence in a sedan, 
they say tliat he put by the curtains, and looked up to heaven, complaining 
lieavily, that his life was taken from him, though he had done nothing to 
deserve it * for there was no action of his that he had occasion to repent 
of, but one. What that was, he neither intimated himself, nor is it easy 
for any to conjecture. Some imagine that he alluded to the unlawful famil- 
iarity which lie had formerly had with his brothers wife. But Domitia 
solemnly denied it witli an oath ; which she would never have done, had 

there been any truth in the report ; nay, she would certainly have boasted 

of it, as she was forward 

enough to do in regard to 
all her shameful intrigues. 

He died in the same 
villa where his father had 
done before him, upon the 
ides of September ; two 
years, two months, and 
twenty days after he had 
succeeded his father ; and 
in the one and fortieth year 
of his age. As soon as the 
news of his death was pub- 
lished, all people mourned 
for him, as for the loss of 
some near relation. The 
senate, before they could 
be summoned by proclama- 
tion, drew together, and 
Arch of Titus. Rome locking the doorS of their 

house at first, but afterwards opening them, gave him such thanks, and 
heaped upon him such praises now he was dead, as they never had done 

whilst he was alive and present amongst them.c 

The reigns of Vespasian and Titus were marked by two important cir- 
cumstances. The monarchical form of government, for the first time since 
the reign of Augustus, showed itself conducive to the culture, morals, 
outward well-being, and comforts of life. Besides this, the great unity of 
the Roman Empire, as one state, had its beginning under these emperors, 
or in other words, from that time forward, little by little, the provinces 
ceased to be subordinate parts of the body politic, in which until now, with 
the exception of a few towns and individuals, only the inhabitants of Italy 
had been citizens, and all others subjects. The latter change was not 
only maintained after the death of Titus, but spread itself later over all 
the empire. On the other hand, the benefits conferred on the empire by the 
personal character of Vespasian and Titus were only temporary ; for the 
prevalent weakness, and instability of opinion, and the lack of a definite 
and firmly established constitution, made every bad ruler exercise a great 
personal influence, and his example had a stronger effect on the life and 
morals of the people than his administration. It would have been impos- 
sible even for the best ruler to introduce a better organisation among a 
people, the great majority of whom had already sunk too low, and who 
flattered and served every tyrant and every vice, in order to enjoy them- 
selves undisturbed. This was shown immediately after the death of Titus, 
under the reign of his brother Domitian.<* 




A.D«j 


THE TIME OF THE FLAVIANS 


257 


Domitian (Titus Flavius Domitianus), 81-90 a.d. 

Ere Titus had breathed his last, Domitian caused every one to abandon 
him, and mounting his horse rode to the praetorian camp, and caused himself 
to be saluted emperor by the soldiers. Like most bad emperors, Domitian 
commenced his reign with popular actions, and a portion of his good quali- 
ties adhered to him for some time.^ Such were his liberality (for no man 
was freer from avarice) and the strictness with which he looked after the 
administration of justice, both at Rome and in the provinces. His passion 
for building was extreme; not content with restoring the Capitol, the Pan- 
theon, and other edifices injured or destroyed by the late conflagration, he 
built or repaired several others ; and on all, old and new alike, he inscribed 
his own name, without noticing the original founder. 

Domitian was of a moody, melancholy temper, and he loved to indulge in 
solitude. His chief occupation when thus alone, we are told, was to catch 
flies, and pierce them with a sharp writing-style ; hence Vibius Crispus, 
being asked one day if there Avas any one within with Caesar, replied, “No, 
not so much as a fly.” Among the better actions of the early years of this 
prince, may be noticed the following. He strictly forbade the abominable 
practice of making eunuchs, for which he deserves praise ; though it was 
said that liis motive was not so much a love of justice as a desire to depreci- 
ate the memory of his brother, who had a partiality for tliese wretched beings. 
Domitian also at this time punished three vestals Avho had broken their vows 
of chastity ; but instead of burying them alive, he allowed them to choose 
their mode of death. 

In the hope of acquiring military glory, he undertook (83) an expedition 
to Germany, under the pretence of chastising the Chatti. But he merely 
crossed the Rhine, pillaged the friendly tribes and returned to celebrate the 
triumph which the senate had decreed him. While, however, he was thus 
triumphing for imaginary conquests, real ones continued to be achieved in 
Britain by Cn. Julius Agricola, to whom, as we have seen, Vespasian and 
Titus had committed the affairs of that island (78). He had conquered the 
country as far as the firths of Clyde and Forth, and (83) defeated the Caledo- 
nians in a great battle at the foot of the Grampians. Domitian, though 
inwardly grieved, affected great joy at the success of Agricola ; he caused 
triumphal honours, a statue, and so forth to be decreed him by the senate, 
and gave out that he intended appointing him to the government of Syria ; 
but when Agricola returned to Rome, after having fully established the 
Roman power in Britain, Domitian received him with coldness, and never 
employed him again. 

The country on the left bank of the lower Danube, the modern Transyl- 
vania, Wallachia, Moldavia was at this time inhabited by a portion of the 
Sarmatian or Slavonian race named the Dacians, and remarkable for their 
valour. The extension of the Roman frontier to the Danube in the time of 
Augustus, had caused occasional collisions with this martial race ; but no 
war of any magnitude occurred till the present reign. The prince of the 
Dacians at this time, named Decebalus, was one of those energetic characters 
often to be found among barbarous tribes, to whom nature has given all the 
elements of greatness, but fortune has assigned a narrow and inglorious stage 
for their exhibition. It was probably the desire of military glory and of 
plunder, rather than fear of the avarice of Domitian, the only cause assigned, 

[1 Domitian is called “ bad partly because he opposed the senate.] 
n. w. — voi.. VI. 8 



258 Tin-: HISTOnV OF ROME 

1 TA 1 1 i ♦i.ia tirnp set at noufflit the treaties subsisting 
Ibat made Doccbalns at the Danube. The trooi« 

with the Homans, and lead '''7’' ‘;';;'Xe8 [ the garrisons and castles 

that opposed them ^^c^e roll e pntertained for the winter quarters of 

were tahen ^P-’-^rmrd^roTn^^^ tWsh was 

:l!ErforVi.e c^nimt of the war bedn, 

” l"ut irjealon.;y of that illustriou.s man was invin- 

,-il,te. .n,l ke ro»«lv«.l ""R™'™;) hc'Xrr.'t by Itai™ .leputie. 

«-r' r'”'* 

town of Mo'sia where he gave himself up to his u.sual pleasures, leaving the 
o d.mt of the war to his fenerals, who, though they met with some revels 

irzl SoSta rSuin. gr.„. H , b„t .1,.,% -f..,, having 

dictated the terms ; and in effect an annual tribute was henceforth paid to 

and Mar^mans, though he paid tribute to the former, and had been defeated 

Dur7n7uie Dacian War (88), L. Antonius, who commanded in Upper 
Germany, ^having been grossly insulted by the emperor, formed ^lanw 
with the Alamanni, and caused himself to be proclaimed emperor. But 
L Maximus marched against him, and the Alamanm, having been 
fr'om coding to his aid by the rising of the Rhine, he was defeated slam 
Maximus wisely and humanely burned all his papers, but ‘l^at did not 
prevent the tyrant from putting many persons to death as concerned m t 

‘ war against the Sarmatians, who had cut to pieces a Roman legion, is 
placed by the chronologists in the year 93. Domitian conducted it m 
after hisLual manner! but instead of triumphing, he contented himseU wth 
suspending a laurel crown in the Capitol. This is the last foreign transaction 

M V\ * * ^ 

DomiUan’s principal faults were an immoderate pride, boundless prodi- 
gality, and a childish desire to distinguish himself. His ^ppearanw, ^ 
voice, and, in short, his whole bearing betrayed a proud and despotic natme. 
By his unrestrained prodigalities he was drawn into avarice and *?P^ 3^ 
and his fear of intrigues made him cruel. Spoilt by indulgence m early 
youth, as emperor he gave way to an unbridled taste for pubbe 
ments, cruel sports, gladiatorial games, chariot races, and a foolish pa^i«“ 
for building. These extravagances entailed a contmual la^ of mo y, 
which drove him to oppression and cruelty. At the last, he hated and 
avoided mankind as Tiberius had done and became insane Ij^e C^iguia. 
He was not wanting in intellectual abiUties ; as a young man he h^ maae 
very good verses, had composed a poem on the conquest of Jerusalem, an 



THE TIME OF THE FLAVIANS 


259 


[81-96 A.D.] 

had written a better translation of the poem of Aratus on tlie stars, than 
Cicero and Germanics. As soon as he succeeded to tlie throne, lie con- 
sidered it beneath his dignity to occupy himself with intellectual things ; 
from thenceforth he only studied the records and journals of Tiberius, and 
left the composition of his letters, ordinances, and speeches almost entirely 
to others. 

The first part of his reign was better than might have been expected 
from his character. In its early years he showed no avarice, but was 
inclined to be generous and magnanimous. He issued some excellent 
ordinances, checked the malpractices of complainants and calumniators, as 
well as the publication of lampoons, punished partisan judges with great 
severity, and kept the officials in order with such energy, that none of them 
dared to neglect their duties either in Rome or the provinces; and as the 
historian Suetonius puts it, somewhat too strongly, the magistrates were 
never more just or incorruptible than in his reign. For this reason, Domi- 
tian was from the beginning hated by the senate, which was composed for 
the most part of high public officials, especially as he showed himself in 
every respect far less favourably disposed towards the aristocracy than Ves- 
pasian and Titus. 

When Domitian observed how few friends he had in the senate and upper 
classes, he tried to win the populace by rich donations, public entertainments, 
and brilliant revels, and granted the soldiers such a considerable rise in their 
pay, that he himself soon saw the impossibility of meeting the great expense 
so incurred. He increased the pay by one-fourth, and, since the finances of 
the state could not suffice for such an expenditure, he tried to have recourse 
to a diminution of the number of the troops ; but had to give up the idea, 
for fear of disturbances, mutinies in the army, and the exposure of the 
frontier to the attacks of the barbarians. Domitian had not much to fear 
from the hatred of the senate; for though Vespasian had cast out its un- 
worthy members and replaced them by men from the most distinguished 

families of the whole empire, it was no better under Domitian than it had 
been before.^ 

The great corruption of the Roman Empire of that time is manifest from 
the fact that the changes instituted in the highest government departments 
by the best among the emperors, were only of service so long as a good and 
powerful ruler was at the head of the government. The very senate, which 
Vespasian had tried to purify, submitted under Domitian to every whim of 
the tyrant. It is impossible to say which was the greater, the effrontery of 
the emperor or the baseness of the highest court of the empire. Under two 
worthy successors of Domitian, the same senators again proved themselves 
reasonable and dignified, not because the spirit of the times had changed or 
that they themselves had become better, but because the man who was at 
the head of the state powerfully influenced the senate by his character, and 
so infused a better spirit into it. 

It would be as wearisome for the historian as for the reader to enum- 
erate the prodigalities, eccentricities, and cruelties to which Domitian aban- 
doned himself more completely the longer he reigned. In his vanity he 
declared himself a god like Caligula, caused sacrifices to be offered to him, 
and introduced the custom of being styled “Our lord and god” in all pub- 
lic ordinances and documents. He squandered immense sums on build- 
ing, instituted the most magnificent public ^.imes, and, like Tiberius and 


Or rather the improvement, though actual, was not at once manifest.] 



2f,0 the histoey of eome 

Nero was slave to all sorts ot excesses. In order to obtain the money he 
lenuHrd he caused many rich people to be robbed of their goods or exe- 
culd on ^'ery kind of pretext. Not avarice alone, but suspicion and 
fear drove him to acts of despotism and cruelty.^i Little by little he 
frained it was alleged, an actual taste for tormenting his victims. It was 
® 1 iTp took deliffht in being present at the torture and execution of 

5:a i btf JetoS crueuy, he of... .ho.ved himself most 

friendly towards those persons whose death he contemplated. But allow 
ancrnuist be made in Vl this for the exaggeration of scandal-mongers. 
S he was severe in stamping out all opposition, however is not to be 
questioned.^ His hatred of the senators was inflamed by the discovery that 
many of them shared in the conspiracy of Saturninus, a rebellmus governor 
of northern Germany. From that time to the end of liis mgn he was a 
2r“or to the iiobilitj, as well as to the stoics, whose teachings glorified 

conspujicy ands defenceless, the senate without authority, the soldiers 

as partial to Domitian as they had once been to Nero, and no one except his 
confidants and servants daring to approach him, the tyrant would probably 
never liave been overthrown had he not, like Caligula, made those around 
him fearful for their lives. His own wife, Domitia, conspired with some of 
those persons who had to write down or execute his cruel 
liim. Chance once placed in the hands of Domitia a li^ condemned 

on which the suspicious tyrant had written her name. On the same I's* were 
the names of the two prefects of the guard, Norbanus and Petromus, and of 
Parthenius, Doiiiitian’s most trusted chamberlain, and it was therefore easy 
for Domitia to bring about a conspiracy against her husband. To carry it 
out was more difficult, for Domitian possessed grea,t bodily strength, and in 
his suspicion had taken all sorts of precautions against such attempts. Ihe 
tyrant was surprised in his sleeping apartment, and slam after a despemte 
resistance. The guards were so enraged at the murder of Domitian that his 
successor, Nerva, could not protect the conspirators from tiieir anger, and 
they were cut to pieces by the soldiers after their execution had been m 

vain demanded of the new emperor. . ^ ^ 

After Domitian’s death the senate gave full vent to its hatred ot tHe 

tyrant. Tiie statue of the murdered emperor was immediately destroyed 
by its orders, his triumphal arches overthrown, and his name effaced trom 
all public monuments. The government was handed over to the old sen^ 
tor Cocceius Nerva, whom the conspirators had immediately proclaimed 
emperor on Domitian’s death. It is most characteristic of those times that 
Nerva was said to be raised to the throne, not so much on account ot ms 
services to the state, but because, under Domitian, some astrologers had 
said that the horoscope of this man pointed to his becoming emperor at some 
future time.i It was universally believed that a celebrated philosopher, 
Apollonius of Tyana, to whom supernatural powers were ^cribed, wit- 
nessed the murder of Domitian in the spirit at Ephesus at the same time 

that it took place, and publicly announced it to the people. d 

Other superstitions concerning the death of Domitian, together with 
an account of the personal characteristics and habits of living of^ the em- 
peror, and of the manner of his taking off, are given by Suetonius ; this 
biography being the concluding one in the famous work we have so frequently 

quoted, a 

[1 The real reasons were probably (1) that he was a senator, and (2) that his advanced age 
gave the ambitious an opportunity to intrigue for the throne.] 



THE TIME OF THE FLAVIANS 201 

[81-96 A.D.] 

SUETONIUS ON THE DEATH AND CHAKACTER OF DOMITIAN 

With respect to the contrivance and execution of Domitian’s deatli, [he 
sa^^s] the common account is this. The conspirators being in some doubt 
when and where they should attack liim, whether while he was in tlie batli, 
or at supper, Stephanus, a steward of Domitilla’s, then under a prosecution 
for defrauding his mistress, offered them his advice and assistance ; and 
wrapping up his left arm, as if it was hurt, in wool and bandages for some 
days, to prevent suspicion, at the very hour appointed for the execution of 
the plot, he made use of this further stratagem. He pretended to make a 
discovery of a plot, and being for that reason admitted, he presented to the 
emperor a writing, which whilst the latter was reading wdth the appearance 
of one astonished, he stabbed him in the groin. But Domitian making resist- 
ance, Clodianus, one of his chamberlains, Maximus a freedman of Parthenius’, 
Saturius a superintendent of his bedchamber, with some gladiators, fell upon 
him, and stabbed him in seven places. A boy that had the charge of the 
Lares in his bedchamber, then in attendance as usual, when the transaction 
■was over, gave this further account of it; that he was ordered by Domitian, 
upon receiving his first wound, to reach him a dagger which lay under his bol- 
ster, and call in his servants ; but that he found nothing at the head of the bed, 
excepting the hilt of a poniard, and that all the doors were secured ; that the 
emperor in the meantime got hold of Stephanus, and throwing him upon the 
ground, struggled a long time with him ; one while endeavouring to wrench 
his sword from him, another while, though his fingers were miserably man- 
gled, to pull out his eyes. He was slain upon the 18th of the calends of 
September, in the forty-fifth year of his age, and the fifteenth of his reign. 
His corpse was carried out upon a common bier by the public bearers, and 
buried by his nurse Phyllis, on an estate which had belonged to him by the 
Latin way, not far from Rome. But his remains were afterwards privately 
conveyed into the temple of the Flavian family, and mixed with the ashes 
of Julia, Titus’ daughter, whom the same woman had likewise nursed. 

He was of a tall stature, a modest countenance, and very ruddy ; had large 
eyes, but dim-sighted. His person was graceful, and in his youth completely 
such, excepting only that his toes were bent somewhat inward. He was at 
last disfigured by baldness, a fat belly, and the slenderness of his legs, which 
were reduced by a long illness. He was so sensible how much the modesty 
of his countenance recommended him, that he once made this boast to the 
senate, “Thus far you have approved of my disposition and countenance 
too.” He was so much concerned at his baldness, that he took it as an 
affront upon himself, if any other person was upbraided with it, either in 
jest or earnest. 

He was so incapable of bearing fatigue, that he scarcely ever walked 
about the city. In his expeditions and on a march, he seldom made use of a 
horse, riding generally in a chair. He had no inclination for the exercise 
of arms, but was fond of the bow. Many have seen him kill a hundred wild 
beasts, of various kinds, at his seat near Alba, and strike his arrows into their 
heads with such dexterity, that he would, at two discharges of his bow, plant 
as it were a pair of horns upon them. He would sometimes direct his arrows 
against the hand of a boy standing at a distance, and expanded as a mark for 
him, with such exactness, that they all passed betwixt his fingers without 
hurting him. 

In the beginning of his reign, he laid aside the study of the liberal sciences, 
though he took care to restore, at a vast expense, the libraries whicli had been 



the history of ROME 

[81-96 A.D.] 

burned down, by collecting copies from all parts, and sending scribes to Alex- 
andria eitlier to copy or correct from the repository of books at that place. 
Ye m never applied liimself to the reading of history or poetry or to exer- 
ciL l isten for his own improvement. He read nothing but the commen- 

Se e a^drawn up for him by others, though he would talk speciously, and 
ZrnetZes express himself in sentiments worthy of notice. “ I cou d wish,^_ 
said he once, “ that I was but as handsome as Mettius fancies himself to be. 
And the head of one whose hair was part yellow and part gray, he said “was 

SHOW surinklccl witli nicixcl# ^ ^ 

Repaid condition of princes was very miserable, who were never 

credited in the discovery of a plot, until they were murdered. When he 
had no business, he diverted himself at play, even upon days that were not 
festivals, and in the morning. He entered the bath by noon and made a 
plentiful dinner, insomuch that he seldom ate more at supper than a Matian 
Lple, to which he added a small draught of wine, out of a round-bellied 3ug 
w-liich he used. He gave frequent and splendid entertainments, but com- 
monly in a hurry, for he never protracted them beyond sunset and had no 
drinking repast after. For, until bed-time, he did nothing else but walk by 

himself in private. , , . 

The people bore his death with much unconcern, but the soldiery with 

ereat indignation, and immediately endeavoured to have him ranked amongst 
the o-ods. Though ready to revenge his death, however, they wanted some 
person to head them ; but this they effected soon after, by resolutely demand- 
iiicr the punishment of all those that had been concerned in his assassination. 
On the other hand, the senate was so overjoyed, that they assembled in all 
haste, and in a full house reviled his memory in the most bitter terms ; order- 
ing ladders to be brought in, and his shields and images to be pulled down 
before their eyes, and dashed in pieces upon the spot against the ground; 
passing at the same time a decree to obliterate his titles everywhere, and 
abolish all memory of him forever. A few months before he was slam, a 
crow spoke in the Capitol these words, “ AU things will be well. Upon 
this prodigy, some person put the following construction : 


“ Nuper Tarpeio quse sedit culinine cornix,^ 

‘ Kst bene,’ non potuit dicere; dixit, ‘ Krit’ ” 

“ The crow, which late on Tarpey one might see, 

Could not say, all was well, but said, ’twill be.” 

They say likewise that Domitian dreamed he had a golden hump grow out of 
the back of his neck, which he considered as a certain sign of happy days 
for the empire after him. Such an auspicious change [concludes SuetoniusJ 
shortly after happened, by the justice and moderation of the following 

emperors. c 


A IlETROSPECTIVE GLANCE OVER THE GOVERNMENT OF THE FIRST 

CENTURY OF EMPIRE 

In more senses than one the fall of the last of the Flavians marks the 
termination of an epoch. As Suetonius intimates, the empire was about to 
enter upon a period of better days. The century and a quarter through 
which it had just passed had been one of stress and disaster. Of the eleven 



THE TIME OF THE FLAVIANS 


203 


[30 B.C.-96 A.D.] 

emperors whose lives compassed tlie period, eight met with violent deaths. 
Under these conditions there must have been a feeling of uncertainty, of the 
instability of human affairs and human life, permeating the very air. It was 
pre-eminently a time when might made right, and excex>t for the relatively 
brief periods when the good emperors Vespasian and Titus were in power, 
there was scarcely a time when any day might not logically enough be ex- 
pected to bring forth a revolution. It required but a dagger thrust or the 
administration of a poisoned morsel of food to close a reign or a dynasty. 
And whether Nemesis came a few years earlier or a few years later was largely 
a matter of chance, and in most cases a matter of no great moment; since 
the new ruler was almost certain to be as bad as the last. 


As we consider this story of despotic reigns and tragic endings, the first 
thought that comes to the mind is. Why was such a state of things tolerated ? 
Having put down such a man as Tiberius, why did the Romans submit, even 
for a moment, to the rule of a Caligula ? When such a character as Claudius 
had been removed from the scene, why should the stage be reset for a Nero ? 
The answer is not hard to find. It is inherent in the anomalous political 
condition of the empire and the still more anomalous position of its ruler. 
The real fact is that the empire was no empire at all in the modern sense ; 
from which it follows that the emperors had no such nominal position as the 
name of the title which we give them conveys to modern ears. 

True our modern word “ emperor ” is the lineal descendant of the word 
“imperator”; just as “kaiser” and “czar” are the lineal descendants of the 
word “caesar.” But modern usage has greatly modified the significance of 
these words ; and in dealing with the history of the early Roman Empire it 
must constantly be borne in mind that Caesar was originally only the family 
name of the great dictator and the first five imperators, having at first no 
greater significance than any other patronymic ; and that the word “ ira- 
perator” meant and ozdginally implied nothing more than general or com- 


mander-in-chief of the army. 

It will be recalled that Augustus — shrewd, practical politician that he 
was — ardently deprecated the use of any word implying “ lord ” or “ master ” 


in connection with his name. He was the imperator of the army, the princeps 
or leader of the senate, and the high pontiff (pontifex maximus) of church 
and state. The practical powers which were either previously associated 
with these offices or were gradually clustered about them by the genius of 
Augustus, gave that astute leader all the power in fact that any modern 
emperor possesses. But while exercising such truly imperial functions, 
Augustus remained in theory an ordinary citizen, all his offices subject to 
the mandate of the people. He lived unostentatiously ; conducted himself 
with the utmost deference towards his fellow-citizens ; kept his actions for 


the most part strictly within the letter of the law — albeit himself promul- 
gating the laws ; and went through, even for the fifth time, the form of being 
appointed to his high office for a period of ten years. 

He gained a hold on the affections of the people, as well as a dominating 
influence over their affairs. They rejoiced to do him honour, conferring on 
him not only the titles and dignities already mentioned, but the specific 
title of Augustus, in addition. Yet it must not be for a moment forgotten 
that no one of these titles conveyed to the mind of the Roman people the 
impression that would have been conveyed by the word “king.” Had 
Augustus even in his very heyday of power dared to assume that title, it 
may well be doubted whether he would not have met the fate of his illus- 


trious uncle. 



Ofi. THE HISTORY OF ROME 

[30b.c.“96a.d.J 

And if this was true of Augustus, it was equally true of Ins successors m 
the first century. To be sure, they succeeded to power much as (me king 
succeeds Tnother. Augustus chose Tiberius as his successor, and Tiberius 
assumed the reins of power quite unopposed. But it must be noted that m 
several cases, as in that of Tiberius and again when Nero succeeded Claudius, 
the artful machinations employed to keep secret the death of the imperator 
until his clmsen successor could take steps to fortify himself with army and 
senate, implied in themselves the somewhat doubtful character of the title 

to su^oessmn.^ succession whatever Until 

the form of a choice by the senate had been gone through with, the new 
imperator had no official status. There was no question of the divine right 
of Lccession. Indeed, how little the majesty that iffitli hedge a king availed 
to sanctify the persons of the early imperators, is sufficiently evidenced in the 
record of Uieir tragic endings. Regicide is not unknown, to be sure, even 
in the most stable monarchies ; but where eight rulers out of eleven succes- 
sive ones meet violent deaths, it is evident that the alleged royal power has 

hiirdlv the semblance of sanctity. « -i t» i 

Meanwhile, the nominal form of government of the Roman people re- 
mained the same as under the commonwealth. Ostensibly, the senate was 
still supreme. Consuls were elected year by year, as before ; and how widely 
the imperial office differed from its modern counterpart is well evidenced by 
the fact that the emperor was from time to time chosen consul, sharing t le 
diernity then with a fellow-citizen, who, theoretically, was his official equal. 

'’if such was the nominal position of the emperor, ivhat then was the real 
secret of his aetual power ? It rested, not on the tradition of kingship, but 
on the simple basis of military leadership. “ Imperator as has been said, 
implied “commander of the legions”; and he who controlled the legions, 
controlled the Roman Empire. That was the whole secret. There is noth- 
ing occult or mysterious in it all. Rome’s position as mistress of the worl 
depended solely upon her army ; therefore, the man who controlled that army 
was master of the world. Hence it followed that when the army chose an 
imperator,! it a youthful Otho or a senescent Galba, the senate had no 
option but to ratify that choice with its approving ballot. If, as happened 
after Nero’s death, the array chanced not to be a unit in its choice, ditterent 
legions bringing forward each a candidate, the senate must indeed make a 
decision, as for example, between Vitellius and Vespasian, but it was the 
arbitrament of arms that ratified the selection. That the senate pi^ferreil 
Vespasian to Vitellius would have signified little in the final result, had not 

the army of the Flavians proved the stronger. 

In a word then, this Roman Empire of the first century, whatever us 
nominal status, is a veritable military despotism : it is not merely the im- 
perator who is dependent upon the legions ; the very nation itself is no less 
dependent. The bounds of the empire extend from the Euphrates to the 
westernmost promontory of Spain and from Egypt to Britain. ^ About this 
territory, embracing the major part of the civilised world, is drEwn an 
impregnable cordon of soldiers. Twent)’^-five legions make up this chevaux- 
de-frise of steel in the day of Tiberius. Eight legions are stationed al^g 
the Rhine ; three legions in Pannonia and two in Mcesia along the Danube ; 

[1 Importance attached primarily to the suffrage of the prffitorian guards, who were stationed 
at or near Rome. The Roman populace itself had also to he considered. The legions stationea 
at a distance might support the praetorians, or might, on the other hand, bring forward their own 
candidates, as we have seen.] 



THE TIME OF THE FLAVIANS 


265 


[30 B.C.-96 A.D.] 

four legions are marshalled in Syria, two in Egypt, and one along the Medi- 
terranean coast of Africa. Of the remaining five, two are in Dalmatia 
and three in Spain. Almost four hundred thousand men make up these 
legions. Under the successors of Augustus, Britain is invaded, and made, 
like all the other frontiers, a camping-ground for armies. A glance at the 
map will show how this great barrier of soldiers circles the mighty empire. 
Remove that barrier and the empire of Rome would shrink in a day from its 
Avorld-wide boundaries to the little peninsula of Italy, perhaps even to the 
narrow confines of the city of Rome itself. 

And why should it not be removed? What boots it to the citizen of 
Rome that his name should be a word of terror to the uttermost nations of 
the ancient world? What matters it more than in name that Spain and 
Gaul and Pannonia and Syria and Egypt acknowledge the sway of the 
city on the Tiber? The reply is that it matters everything; for these 
outlying provinces supply the life-blood of the empire. From these wide 
dominions all roads, as the saying has it, lead to Rome; and every road is 
worn deep with the weight of tribute. The legions that we have seen dis- 
tributed all about the wide frontier were not placed there primarily to fight, 
but to exact tribute as the price of peace. Fight they did, to be sure ; in 
one region or another they were always fighting. But this warfare was kept 
up primarily by the enemies of the state ; Rome herself would seldom have 
taken the aggressive, had the people along her frontier chosen to submit to 
her exactions. She demanded only money or its equivalent; granted that, 
she was the friend and protector of all peoples within her domain. i 

And sooner or later most of these peoples found that it was better to pay 
tribute peacefully than to fight and be plundered. Here and there an 
obstinate people like the Jews held out for a time, but the almost uniform 
result was that ultimately the might of the legions prevailed ; and then there 
followed indiscriminate pillage of everything worth taking, to glorify the 
inevitable triumph of the Roman leader. The description of the treasures 
that delighted the eyes of the people of Rome when Titus and Vespasian 
triumphed after the destruction of Jerusalem, is but a sample of what 
occurred again and again in evidence of the prowess of Roman arms. 

In the end, then, the provinces came to submit to the inevitable, however 
sullenly, and they poured their wealth into the hands of Rome’s censors to 
be passed on to the imperator, who deposited such portion as he chose into 
the official coffers of the city. In the time of Augustus it is estimated that 
the yearly tribute from the provinces amounted to from fifteen to twenty 
millions of pounds (seventy-five to one hundred million dollars). This was 
tribute proper, the literal price of peace. Nor was this all. Rome was the 
centre of trade for all these provinces — the world emporium where the 
merchant of Spain might barter with the merchant of Syria, and where 
the produce of Gaul and Pannonia might be exchanged for the produce 
of Egypt. All articles from whatever quarter were subject to import 
*i^fy ; and all transactions of the market had to pay a percentage for 
excise. 

When all this is borne in mind it will appear how the imperator — at 
once the commander of the legions and the keeper of the public purse — 
was able to dictate the laws, controlling not merely the property, but the 
lives of his fellow-citizens ; for the power of gold was no less — perhaps no 

n A most efficient protector, securing peace and good government. But the submissive 
peoples lost all national and military spirit, so that they were indisposed to protect themselves 
after the protection of the empire was withdrawn.] 



the history of ROME 

[30 B.C.-96 A.D.] 

rE ^ w.C/r. 

EEs wm p.“i>eri».a i some l.ondr.ds of thoa.snds of Roman citm.ns 
“ng tea'i slillout price. Tl.= l.rsesses A»S.»tuo ™ ofd, cor. 
pr.hen.ible on. l..s^ 

ToEod their earnings lithont equivalent into the imperial treasury, so long 
the citizen of Rome miglit live in idle luxiu-y, taking no thought for a 
moriow the needs of which were sure to be supplied by a paternal govern- 
mmit J^^t Lrely sustenance but amusement is supplied. Augustus 
Tc -ifices five tLusand beasts in a single series of games ; a band of ele- 
Xnts competes with an army of gladiators. Even a naval eombat is 
Lrranged on an artificial lake near the city. And in the later day this 
phase of practical politics is developed to even larger proportions. Ves- 
pasian and Titus construct an amphitheatre — the famous Colosseum 
which seats eighty-five thousand spectators ; and on a single occ^ion 
Titus rejoices the people with a series of combats lasting through a hun- 

‘^'itlsTood to live in Imperial Rome -place of inexhaustible bounty, of 
unceasinl entertainment. There is no need to work, for s aves by tens of 
thousands conduet all menial affairs. Indeed, tlfre is no business for the 
free man but pleasure — the bath, the banquet, the theati'e, and the glad m- 
torial games. Rome is a glorious city in this day. With her renovated 
Forum, her new Capitol, her triumphal arches, her stupendous Colosse^, 
she is a city of marvels. To her contemporary citizens it seems that she 
is on a piniiLle of power and glory from which tune itself cannot sl^^e her. 
Looking back from the standpoint of later knowledge it is easy to moralise, 
easy to understand that decay was eating out the heart of the nation, easy 
to realise that all this mock civilisation rested above the crater of a volcano. 
But we may well believe that very few contemporary citizens had the pre- 

vision to match our modern thought. i . i j v « 

And, indeed, it must in fairness be admitted that the shield has another 

side. However unstable the form of government, there is something m 
material prosperity which up to a certain stage, makes for int^ectual emi- 
nence as well. And so in this first century of the Roman Empire there 
was no dearth of great men. The golden age of literature was the t™® o 
Auo-ustus ; the silver age was the time of his immediate successors, ine 
poets and philosophers have left us such names as Valerius Maximus, Asmus 
l^llio, Seneca, Lucan, Valerius Flaccus, Martial, Quintilian, and Statius. 
History and science were never more fully represented than in the day ot 
Paterculus, Mela, Quintus Curtius, Florus, Pliny, Josephus, Suetonius, and 
Tacitus. A time which produced such men as these was not whoUy bad. 
Unfortunately no future century of Roman history will be able to show us 
such another list.« 




CHAPTER XXXVI. THE FIVE GOOD EMPERORS: 

NERVA TO MARCUS AURELIUS 

[96-180 A.D.] 

Until philosophers are kings, and the princes of this world have the 
spirit and power of philosophy, and political greatness and wisdom meet 
in one, cities will never cease from ill — no, nor the human race, as I 
believe — and then only will our state have a possibility of life, and see 
the light of day. The truth is, that the state in which the rulers are 
most reluctant to govern is best and most quietly governed, and the state 
in which they are most willing is the worst. — Plato. 


Nerva (M. Cocceius Neuva), 96-98 a.d. 

The new emperor, who reigned less than two years (96-98), distinguished 
himself as much by his mild and clement spirit, as his predecessor had done 
by the opposite temper. He made it his principal task to concentrate the 
whole government in the hands of the senate. He could not accomplish 
this because it was necessary that the ruler should combine the qualities of 
a capable and dreaded general, and Nerva’s reign shows how imperative it 
was for the ruler of the empire to be a soldier and leader. Nerva himself 
was only too soon convinced of the fact. The praetorians and the Roman 
populace, dissatisfied with the government of an old and serious-minded 
man, provoked disturbances throughout the whole of the first year ; they 
were specially irritated because Nerva, in order to recoup the revenue, re- 
stricted the public games and sold the costly vessels and collections which 
Domitian’s love of splendour had induced him to make. 

Nerva soon saw that he was menaced with Galba’s fate, that he was defied 
and his office held in contempt. He therefore determined, like Galba, to 
adopt an energetic man who stood high in public esteem as co-regent, and 
was far happier in his choice than Galba had been. When anarchy had 
reached its zenith in the capital, the emperor surprised the Roman people 
by naming a successor, chosen not from the senate, but from the army, and 
one who possessed the love of the soldiers in the highest degree. Ulpius 
Trajan, on whom his choice fell, was then at the head of the legions of the 
lower Rhine, and had not only distinguished himself by glorious deeds in 
war, but in Rome had once been greeted by the people almost as a god on 
account of his kingly form and heroic appearance. With the nomination of 
Trajan the disturbances promptly ceased, and the proud praetorians submitted 
without a murmur when the new co-regent ordered them to join him in 
Germany and attached them to other legions there./ 

Dion Cassius tells the story of Trajan’s accession as follows : 

267 



Ofio the history of ROME 

2ob [97_98 A.D.] 

“ Nerva seeing that he was despised on account of his advanced ap, 
ascended to the c!pitol and said in a loud voice : ‘May the thing be fortu- 
nate and well-pleasing to the senate, and the Romp people p we 1 as 
nate ana wei pie ^ Trajan.’ After which he declared him Csesar 

i7tlm LL an^d wrote to him with his own hand (Trajan was commandmg 

- Mav" th j Danuhians expiate my tears under the stroke of thy darte.’ 
“Thus Trajan became Caesar, and afterwards empror, though Nerva 
had relaUves. But Nerva did not place his kindred be ore the good of the 
state • although Trajan was a Spaniard and not an Italian oi even the son 
of an Italian? he was nevertheless adopted in spite of this, for to that day no 
foreigner had been emperor of the Romans; Nerva thpght thapt was a 
man’s merit, and not his country which was the important qpstion. He 
died after this adoption, having reigned one year, four months, and nine 
davs • he had lived sixty-five years, ten months, pd ten days. _ 

Trajan before attaining to the empire had had the following = 

a croZ in the fashion in which the senate is repesented marked hi^ea 
on him with a ring on the left side of the neck and then on the right. When 
he had become emperor he wrote to the senate with his own hand, saying 

amongst other things that he would not put to death nor 

anv worthy man ; and these promises he confirmed with an oath both at the 

Bme and subsequently. Hav^ sent for iElianus and the pr^tonan guards 

who had risen against Nerva, as if with the 

he rid himself of them. He had no spner rephed Roine than he made 
several regulations for the reformation of the state and in favour of worthy 
men, whom he treated with so much consideration that he granted funds to 
the cities of Italy for the education of the children whpe bpefactor he 
became. The first time that his wife Plotina enpred the palace, having 
reached the top of the steps and turning towpds the temple, she pp, Sph 
as I enter, so I would depart.’ Throughout his reign she conducted herself 
in such a manner that no reproach could be made against her. ff 


Trajan (M. Ulpius Trajanus Crinitus), 98-117 a.d. 

By birth, as just noted, Trajan was a Spaniard, although his father had 
filled the office of consul in Rome. Not more than fifty years earlier it 
would have been intolerable to the Romans to obey a foreigner ; but in ira- 
jan's time a man’s birthplace was no longer taken into consideraUon. do 
greatly had opinions and circumstances altered in consequence of the grow- 
ing amalgamation of the empire into a single state. 

Nerva died in the year after the appointment of his co-regent CJan-, y»;. 
The latter, who at the time of his accession was in the prime of Me, and 
reigned from 98-117, possessed all the qualities which the spirit of the times, 
the existing state of things, and the welfare of the empire required ot a 
ruler. As a ruler he only committed a single error, he tried to extend the 
borders of the empire by conquest, and thus led the Romans once more along 
a path which they had abandoned since the time of Augustus, to the great 
benefit of the state. Trajan combined a lofty spirit with all the best quali- 
ties of a soldier. He had received a military training, and had spent the 
greater part of his previous life in camp ; he was therefore lacking 
ventional culture, the hardships of military service had given him health and 



THE FIVE GOOD EMPERORS 


269 


[98-101 A.D.] 

strength, while a simple and hardy life had preserved the firmness and up- 
rightness of his mind. By his unvarying regard for law and justice, for 
equality and civil virtue, for ancient custom, and for the reputation of 
the highest office in the state, no less than by his choice of subordinates 
and friends (amongst whom were two of the best writers of those days, 
Pliny the Younger and Tacitus) Trajan showed how little culture and learn- 
ing was necessary, where such qualities existed, to enable a man M^orthily to 
take his place at the head of the empire. 

His administration was exemplary, he scorned the arbitrary exercise of 
power, he let the law take its course, kept the dejiartments of legislation and 
administration apart, and protected the provinces with a powerful hand 
against the oppression of officials. At his court he organised all things as 
they had been under Vespasian and Titus. Inspired by a ridiculous pride, 
Domitian had re-introduced the rigid court ceremonial of the time of Clau- 
dius and Nero ; Trajan banished all ostentation and constraint from his en- 
vironment and mode of life. He treated the nobles, his daily companions, 
as friends, returned their visits, expected them to come uninvited to his 
table, and granted free access to his person to every citizen who wished to 
present a petition. 

In his interest in science and education, and in architecture, military 
roads, harbours, and other works of public utility, Trajan not only followed 
in the footsteps of Vespasian, but he did a great deal more than the latter. 
For instance, he opened a public library, which was called the Ulpian, after 
his own name, and remained the most important in the city of Rome during 
the whole of ancient times. 

THE FIRST DACIAN WAR 

Nothing in the course of Trajan’s reign was of such great and far-reach- 
ing consequence as his unfortunate and erroneous idea of defending the 
empire by fresh conquests, and purifying morals by the revival of military 
ambition. From early youth he had been trained as a soldier and general ; 
in his campaigns he had become acquainted with many lands and nations ; 
he was equal to all the hardships of military service, and as emperor liked 
to share them with his soldiers ; seldom mounting his horse on the march, 
but going on foot like his men. 

Three years after his accession he began his wars of conquest, the scene 
of the first being Dacia on the lower Danube. As emperor he never 
thought of attempts on Lower Germany, although he had acted there as 
governor and general for ten years. The countries of the lower Danube, 
and after them the East, seemed to him better suited to prove to the Avorld 
his capacity as a general. In Moldavia and Wallachia some immigrants of 
Thracian descent, amongst whom the Dacians were the most important, had 
leagued themselves together, some decades before, and with their combined 
forces had attacked Roman Thrace. At the time when Vitellius and Vespa- 
sian were disputing the throne, they had been repulsed by the troops of the 
latter, on their way into upper Italy, by Thrace and Moesia, and Fonteius 
Agrippa, Vespasian’s general and vice-gerent, had established a number of 
fortified camps on the Danube as a bulwark against them. 

Under Domitian the tribes belonging to the Dacian league, with Deceb- 
alus at their head, again invaded the Roman Empire. They destroyed 
some fortresses, repulsed the Roman troops on several occasions, and wrought 
fearful havoc. Domitian himself twice marched to the Danube, but his 



270 the history OF ROME 

troops were defeated in most engagements. Suspieious 

LuL'l^h'hnLSb- a"’ter Urn recaTl of Tgrlcola from Britam he^had^a 

ciTsthwe^mr^mronry^emlSm^^^^^^ 

? o s wl Decebalns actually offered the Roman emperor terms of peace on 

Hi; 

Imn the honours of a triumph as conqueror of the Dacians. 

Trii'in pretermitted the payment of tribute, and the Dacians again 
invaded Roman territory. He therefore betook himself to the Danube m 

lie crossed the river, avenged the havoc wrought by the Dacians by far 
lorse devastations in their own land, and defeated the troops of the enemy 
V cVever they opposed him. In the third year of the war (103) the king 
of Uie Lrbarians was compelled to submit and accept the terms of peace 

dictated by^Daj.in^ preserved for us, from the works of Dion Cas^us, 

some interesting details of this campaign, with incidental sidelights on Tra- 
i iii’s character: Trajan was led to undertake the campaign, he tells us, 
liocause he “ bore in iniiid the conduct of the Dacians, was distressed at the 
tribute which they received every year, and perceived that their pride in 
creased with their numbers. Decebalus was seized with terror at the news 
of his inarch ; and indeed he knew well enough that it was not the ^^ans 
but Domitian whom he had previously conquered and that now ^le would 
have to fight against the Romans, and against the emperor, Tiajan. For 
Trajan was distinguished in the highest degree by his justice, his emuage, 
and the simplicity of his manners. He had a strong body, (he was for y 
two years old when he succeeded to the empire ; so that he sn^orted all 
fatigues as well as anyone,) and he had a vigorous mind, so that he w^ 
exempt both from the impetuosity of youth and from the slo-^ess of age. 

raised them to^high positions ; for he neither dreaded nor hated any one of 
them. He gave no credit to calumnies and was in no way the slave of 
anger. He abstained alike from laying his hands on the property of others 

and from unjust murders. , - u + 

» He spent much on war, much also on the works of peace ; but the most 

numerous and necessary items of expenditure had for their object the repair 
of roads, harbours, and public buildings, while for none of these works did he 
ever shed blood. There was naturally such vastness in his conceptions and 
in his thoughts that having caused the Circus to be raised from its ruins an 
rendered finer and more magnificent than before, he set up an inscription 
stating that lie had rebuilt it so that it might contain the Roman people. 

“ He desired to make himself beloved by his conduct rather than to re- 
ceive honours. He brought mildness into his relations with the 
dignity into his bearing towards the senate ; he was beloved by all and 
dreaded only by enemies. He took part in the hunts of the citizens, in I'beir 
festivals, their labours and their schemes, as well as in their amusements ; 
often he would even take the fourth seat in their litters, and he did not tear 
to enter their houses without a guard. Without being perfect in the science 
of eloquence he knew its methods and put them in practice. 
nothing in which he did not excel. If he loved war he contented himselt 
with winning successes, crushing an implacable foe and increasing his own 



THE FIVE GOOD EJMPEROKS 


271 


[103 A.D.] 

states. For under him it never happened, as it so often does in similar 
circumstances, that the soldiers gave rein to pride and insolence, so great 
was his firmness in command. Thus it was without reason that Decebalus 
feared him. 

Trajan Dictates Terms to Decebalus 


“ During Trajan's expedition against the Dacians, when lie was near 
Tapes where the barbarians were encamped, a large mushroom was brought 
to him, on which it was written in Latin characters that the other allies and 
the Burii conjured Trajan 


to turn back and conclude a 
peace. Nevertheless he de- 
livered a battle, in which he 
had a great number of his 
men wounded and made 
great carnage amongst the 
enemy ; when the bandages 
gave out, he did not spare, 
it is said, his own clothing, 
but tore it in pieces ; more- 
over he caused an altar to 
be raised in honour of his 
soldiers who had been slain 
in the battle, and had fune- 
ral sacrifices offered to them 
every year. As he was en- 
deavouring to reach the 
heights, carrying one hill 
after another and in face of 
a thousand perils, he came to 
the residence of the Dacian 
kings, whilst Lucius, who 
had attacked from another 
side, made a great slaughter 
and took a great number of 
prisoners. Whereupon De- 
cebalus sent the emperor an 
embassy composed of the 
chiefs of the Dacians and 
making petition to him 
through them, showed him- 
self disposed to treat with 
them under no matter what 



Trajan 

(From a bust In the Capitol) 


conditions. 


“ He was required to deliver up the machines, and the engines, to surren- 
der the deserters, to demolish his fortifications, to evacuate the territories he 
had conquered and besides this to regard all those who were enemies or 
friends to the Romans as his own ; in spite of himself he consented to these 
conditions, after having gone himself to Trajan, falling on the ground before 
him and worshipping him. Decebalus’ ambassadors were introduced to the 
senate, where, having laid down their arms they clasped their hands in the 
fashion of captives, pronounced certain words and certain prayers and thus 
agreed to the peace and resumed their arms. Trajan celebrated his triumph 



972 THE HISTOKY OF ROME 

" [103A.D.] 

and was surnamed Dacicus ; he gave combats of gladiators in the theatre 
Cfor he took pleasure in these combats), and caused the actors to reappear 
at the theatre (for he loved one of them, Pylades), while none the less in his 
character of a soldier he continued to watch over other business and to ad- 
minister justice; sometimes in the Forum of Augustus, sometimes under 
the Porticus Livia, and often in other places as well, he gave judgment 
from his tribunal. But when he was informed that Decebalus was contra- 
venintT several articles of the treaty, that he was laying up stores of arms, 
receiving deserters and raising fortresses, that he was sending embassies to 
his neighbours, and ravaging the countries of those who had previously 
taken part against him and had seized on lands belonging to the lazyges, 
lands which Trajan afterwards refused to restore to them when they de- 
manded them of him again; then the senate for the second time declared 
Decebalus to be the enemy of Rome and Trajan; also the second time, 
undertook to make war against them in person and not through other 


“ Decebalus failed to win the victory by force, but he almost succeeded 
in killing Trajan by craft and treason ; he sent deserters to him in Mmsia, 
who were charged to assassinate him, knowing that at that time, in consider- 
ation of the necessities of the war, he received all who wished to speak to 
him without distinction. But they could not accomplish this, as one of them 
was arrested on suspicion and under the torture confessed the whole plot. 

“ Longinus, who commanded a detachment of the Roman army, and whose 
valour had been proved during the war, having suffered himself, at the invi- 
tation of Decebalus, to be drawn into an interview with him, under pretext 
that the latter would make his submission, Decebalus seized the Roman and 
publicly interrogated him on the plans of Trajan ; and when Longinus re- 
fused to reveal anything, he retained him under a guard. Decebalus then 
(sent an embassy to Trajan to demand that he should abandon the country 
as far as the Ister, and that he should be reimbursed for all the expenses of 
the war) on condition of restoring Longinus. Trajan having given an unde- 
cided answer, the terms of which were intended to show that his esteem for 
Longinus was neither small nor great, so that he might neither lose him nor 
pay too dearly for his ransom, Decebalus hesitated considering what he should 
do ; and Longinus, for whom (his freedman) had meantime procured poison, 
(promised the king to reconcile him with Trajan, for he feared that if he 
suspected his intention he would have him more closely guarded ; then he 
wrote a petition to Trajan, and charged the freedman to carry it in order to 
secure its safety. The freedman, having therefore departed, Longinus) took 
(the poison during the night) and died. (This being done), Decebalus de- 
manded the freedman of Trajan, promising to give in exchange the body of 
Longinus and ten captives, and he also sent him the centurion taken with Lon- 
ginus in the hope that he would succeed in his design ; from this centurion 
Trajan learned all that had happened to Longinus. Nevertheless he did not 
send him back nor did he restore the freedman, judging this man’s life of more 
importance to the dignity of the empire than the burial of Longinus.” 9 

It is the modern verdict that in the conclusion of peace as well as after 
it, the Roman emperor abused the right of conquest. He retained possession 
of a part of the land of Dacia, established a Roman garrison on the rapids of 
the Danube, between Orsowa and Gladowitza, which at a later day bore the 
name of the “ Iron Gates,” and threatened to seize the mountain country 
of southwestern Transylvania. This naturally enraged the Dacians and their 
king. Decebalus was by no means a mere barbarian ; he had allied himself 



THE FIVE GOOD EMPEKOKS 


273 


[103-113 A.D.] 

with the Parthian king, the principal enemy of the Romans in the far East, 
and had enlisted in his service many men who had served in the Roman 
army and who organised his troops after the Roman fasliion. He liad also 
brought a number of skilled workmen, partly by force and partly by money 
payments, from the neighbouring Roman province to liis own country, to 
use their services in making instruments of peace and war. 


THE SECOND DACIAN WAR 

According to his treaty with Trajan, he should have sent all such persons 
back ; and Trajan was all the more ready to make this circumstance the pre- 
text for another war, since Decebalus had attempted to ally himself with 
some of the neighbouring tribes. The emperor began the second Dacian 
war by building a stone bridge over the Danube, and thus manifested his 
intention of extending the dominion of Rome beyond the river. This bridge 
was erected three hours’ journey below the aforementioned gates, close to 
the town of Czernetz at the present day. It was thirty-five hundred paces 
long and provided with entrenchments at either end. The ruins of it are 
still to be seen at low water. 

The war in what is now Wallachia, the country to which Trajan gained 
access by this bridge, offered many difficulties to the Roman army on ac- 
count of its many morasses, its heavy clay soil, and the large and rapid 
rivers which traverse it. He therefore led his troops with great caution; 
he made roads, diverted the course of rivers, and hunted the Dacian king 
from forest to forest, and from swamp to swamp. At length Decebalus felt 
himself unable to hold his own against the Romans, and slew himself in 
order not to fall into the hands of the enemy. Trajan made a Roman prov- 
ince of the conquered land, and determined to establish as many colonies as 
possible in it, and to tame his barbarian subjects by culture. (106 a.d.) 

In the uncultivated but fertile plains of Wallachia, he settled a large 
number of colonists from all parts of the Roman Empire, founded many 
towns and villages, and made Roman culture so acceptable that Latin be- 
came the dominant language of the country. By these means, however, he 
provoked the barbarous tribes who then occupied Poland and Russia to con- 
tinual predatory attacks. Thrace and Moesia, now Rumelia, Bulgaria, and 
Servia, which lay to the south of the Danube, gained most ; they were 
protected from the barbarians by the new province beyond the Danube. 
A number of new towns were founded there, and from that time they 
continued to flourish. 

The conquest of the Dacians and the attention it attracted throughout 
the Roman Empire seemed to have affected the emperor’s hitherto modest 
disposition, which had led him to devote himself to affairs of law and govern- 
ment ; for the manner in which he celebrated his victory in Rome, as well 
as the oriental campaign which he subsequently undertook, were not in 
keeping with the character of wise moderation and the absence of excessive 
prodigality, which might have been expected of him, under the circumstan- 
ces. When he returned to Rome, he celebrated his victory by magnificent 
architectural works and brilliant festivities. He erected a monument com- 
memorative of his victory, which still exists, the celebrated Trajan column, 110 
feet in height [to which we shall refer more at length presently]. (113 a.d.) 

Besides several buildings in Rome, he built triumphal arches at Bene- 
ventum and other places, and made a road through the Pontine marshes 

n. W. VOL. VI. T 



THE HISTORY OF ROME 

[10&-113 A.D.] 

which comhine.l the excellence and strength of the old military roads with 
e conveniences of Ids own time. These undertakings were made in the 
old Roman spirit, and did him as much honour as the many bridges and 
cana s wldch he built in different parts of the empire or the great military 
mad which extended from the Black Sea to the west coi^t On the other 
liTd Uie feasts which he arranged in celebration of his victory recalled the 
foolish prodigality of Caligula and Domitian, and added not a little to the 
deter oration of morals. For 123 consecutive days he gave the people pub- 
ic games and other revels, in which no less than ten thousand gladiators 
took part, and eleven thousand wild animals were killed ; so that one of the 
best emperors did most to promote the unnatural and inhuman pleasures of 

the deofenerate inhabitants of Rome. , r i.i.i • • j 

The Dacian conquest was not the sole triumph of Roman arms at this period. 

In 106 Cornelius Palma, governor of Syria, attacked the troublesome tnbes 

inhabiting the ill-defined region between Damascus and the Red Sea. There 

was one short but severe campaign, and Arabia 1 etr^a was added to the Roman 

province. The great caravan routes from the Euphrates to the Red Sea were 

now safe. 


ORIENTAL CAJrPAIGNS AND DEATH OF TRAJAN 

Traian’s oriental campaign was directed against the Parthians. Since 
the time of Augustus, this people had suffered perpetually from quarrels over 
the succession to the throne, and had often come into hostile contact with the 
Romans, because both nations looked upon the kingdom of Armenia as 
a dependency of theirs. The turbulent character of the Armenians and 
the continual dissensions among the members of their ruling family made the 
intervention of the two neighbouring states to some extent necessary. In 
the frequent wars of the Romans and Parthians, no general had ever dis- 
tinguished himself as much as Domitius Corbulo, who had been sent by 
Nero to Armenia so as to protect the inliabitants of this land against the 
tyranny of their own king, no less than against the superior power of fbe 
Parthians. He banished the Parthian prince Tiridates I, who had set him- 
self up as ruler of Armenia, and occupied the whole of the country. 

Nero bestowed the government of Armenia on a descendant of the 
Herod family, who then lived in Rome and had adopted the pagan religion. 
For a whole year the latter was unable to maintain his ground against the 
turbulent Armenians and Parthians, and Corbulo himself advised the em- 
peror to restore the banished Parthian prince on condition that he should go 
to Rome, and do homage as a Roman vassal. To this Tiridates consented; 
he received the kingdom of Armenia as a Roman fief, and peace was restored 
for a time. After his death, the former scenes were repeated ; the throne 
of Armenia again became the subject of quarrels between various princes, 
and the Parthians again intervened in the affairs of the country. 

In Trajan’s time a protege of Parthia, Exedares by name, was seated on 
the throne of Armenia, and the Parthian king, Chosroes, supported him with 
an army quartered in the country. Trajan would not acknowledge this 
king of Armenia; but as a matter of fact he cared far less for the restora- 
tion of Roman ascendency in Armenia than for the chance of winning glory 
as conqueror of the Parthians. In 106 he went to Asia with a large army. 
On the way he received an embassy from the Parthian king, who had dis- 
turbances in his own country to contend with, and who, for this re^on, 
inade friendly advances to the Roman emperor. Trajan would have nothing 



THE FIVE GOOD EMPERORS 


[106-117 A.D.] 

to say to his proposals, by reason of his greed of fame, altliougli 
had removed Exedares from the throne of Armenia and placed in 
a Parthian prince, Parthamasiris, who was willing to do homage 
Romans. Trajan banished the new ruler of Armenia without 
for the Parthians, engaged in internecine quarrels, could 
The emperor therefore turned Armenia into a Roman province, 
jected the petty dynasties between the Black Sea and the C'aspian. 
loyalty lasted no longer than the time the Roman army was at hand, 
subsequent enterprises of Trajan on his 
first expedition to the East are not known 
to us ill detail ; we only know for cer- 
tain that he marched from Armenia to 


Mesopotamia, took some cities on the 
middle Euphrates and Tigris and sup- 
ported the king of Parthia against his 
rebellious subjects. 

Some time after, most probably in the 
year 114, Trajan undertook his second 
Parthian campaign, on which he spent 
about three years, till 117. He con- 
quered the famous Greek city of Seleu- 
cia, on the Tigris, and Ctesiphon, the 
Parthian capital, made Assyria into a 
Roman province, and advanced as far as 
Arabia, where some years before the 
empty desire of fame had induced him 
to make conquests, through one of his 
generals, which were as quickly lost as 
won. He then pushed on to the coasts 
of the Persian Gulf. If we may believe 
the coins and fabulous histories of that 
time, he even projected an Indian cam- 
paign, and caused a fleet to be built for 
the purpose. This statement, like other 
ridiculous exaggerations, is based on 
flattery and the circumstance that the 
Persian Gulf was confounded with the 
Indian Ocean, 

According to one of the coins, Tra- 
jan gave the Parthians a new king, but 
this bestowal of the royal office meant 


fc- 

Zi :) 

Chosrocs 
liis stead 
to tliC 
much trouble, 
not support liim. 

and sub- 
Their 
The 



A Roman Emi-ekok 


no more than that he proclaimed one of the many j^retenders in CHesiphon 
king ; a sufficient reason for the Parthians not to acknowledge the latter as 
their ruler, Trajan himself reaped the fruits of an inconsiderate desire of 
conquest, which was most prejudicial to the Roman Empire. Whilst lie was 
at Shatt-el-Arab, all the tribes and cities in his rear revolted, and he per- 
ceived too late that the oriental nations were not so easy to subdue or to hold 
in allegiance as the Dacians, 

The Jews also rebelled, both in Palestine and in the cities of Syria, Egypt, 
and other countries, because like the Christians they were incessantly harassed 
and persecuted, Trajan was forced to send troops against them, and at the 
same time renew the war against Assyria, Seleucia, Edessa and other rebel- 
lious countries and cities. He fell sick in consequence of the hardships of 



276 


THK HISTORY OF ROME 

[104-U7 A.D.] 

an unsuccessful campaign, which he had undertaken m Arabia. In order to 
abandon the fruitless undertaking without detriment to his reputation, he 
made the senate recall him to Rome under a fictitious pretext. He handed 
over the army to his general Hadrian, whom he had appointed governor of 
Syria, and went to Cilicia intending to sail thence to Italy. Before he could 

embark, death overtook him./ 

In estimating the character of Trajan, we no longer have the guidance 
of Suetonius. The only important classical writings recording the deeds of 
this emperor are the somewhat fragmentary excerpts from Diori Cassius as 
preserved by Xiphilinus, and the panegyric of the younger Pliny. The 
latter, written and delivered in the year in which Pliny was consul, has been 
pronounced, “ a piece of courtly flattery for which the only exc^e which can 
be made is the cringing and fawning manner of the times. Pliny s letters 
and despatches to Trajan on the other hand are full of interest as valuable 

material for the historian.® 


THE CORRESPONDENCE OF PLINY AND TRAJAN 

The despatch respecting the Christians, written from Bithynia, A.D. 104, 
and the emperor's answer, are well worthy of transcription ; both because 
reference is so often made to them, and because they throw light upon the 
marvellous and rapid propagation of the Gospel ; the manners of the early 
Christians; the treatment of which their constancy exposed them, even 
under favourable circumstances ; and the severe jealousy with which even a 
governor of mild and gentle temper thought it his duty to regard them. 
Pliny's j letter to Trajan ran thus : “ It is my constant practice to refer to 
you all subjects on which I entertain doubt. For who is better able 
to direct my hesitation or to instruct my ignorance? I have never been 
present at the trials of Christians, and therefore I do not know in what 
way, or to what extent, it is usual to question or to punish them. I have 
also felt no small difficulty in deciding whether age should make any differ- 
ence, or whether those of the tenderest and those of mature years should be 
treated alike ; whether pardon should be accorded to repentance, or whether, 
whei'e a man has once been a Christian, recantation should profit him ; 
whether, if the name of Christian does not imply criminality, still the crimes 
peculiarly belonging to the name should be punished. Meanwhile, in the 
case of those against whom informations have been laid before me, I have 
pursued the following line of conduct. I have put to them, personally, 
the question whether they were Christians. If they confessed, I interro- 
gated them a second and third time, and threatened them with punishment. 
If they still persevered, I ordered their commitment ; for I had no doubt 
whatever, that whatever they confessed, at any rate dogged and inflexible 
obstinacy deserved to be punished. There were others who displayed similar 
madness ; but, as they were Roman citizens, I ordered them to be sent back 
to the city. Soon persecution itself, as is generally the case, caused the 
crime to spread, and it appeared in new forms. 

“ An anonymous information was laid against a large number of persons, 
but they deny that they are, or ever have been, Christians. As they invoked 
the gods, repeating the form after me, and offered prayers, together with 
incense and wine, to your image, which I had ordered to be brought, together 
with those of the deities, and besides cursed Christ, whilst those who are true 
Christians, it is said, cannot be compelled to do any one of these things, I 



THE FIVE GOOD EMPERORS 


277 


[104-113 A.D.] 

thought it right to set them at liberty. Others, when accused by an informer, 
confessed that they were Christians, and soon after denied the fact ; they 
said they had been, but had ceased to be, some three, some more, not a few 
even twenty years previously. All these worshipped your image and those 
of the gods, and cursed Christ. But they affirmed that the sum-total of 
their fault or their error was, that they were accustomed to assemble on a 
fixed day before dawn, and sing an antiphonal hymn to Christ as God ; that 
they bound themselves by an oath, not to the commission of any wickedness, 
but to abstain from theft, robbery, and adultery; never to break a promise, 
or to deny a deposit when it was demanded back. When these ceremonies 
were concluded, it was their custom to depart, and again assemble together 
to take food harmlessly and in common. That after my proclamation, in 
which, in obedience to your command, I had forbidden associations, they had 
desisted from this practice. For these reasons, I the more thought it neces- 
sary to investigate the real truth, by putting to the torture two maidens, 
who were called deaconesses ; but I discovered nothing but a perverse and 
excessive superstition. 

“ I have therefore deferred taking cognizance of the matter until I had 
consulted you. For it seemed to me a case requiring advice, especially on 
account of the number of those in peril. For many of every age, sex,"and 
rank, are and will continue to be called in question. The infection in fact 
has spread not only through the cities, but also through the villages and 
open country; but it seems that its progress can be arrested. At any rate, 
it is clear that the temples which were almost deserted begin to be fre- 
quented ; and solemn sacrifices, which had been long intermitted, are again 
performed, and victims are being sold everywhere, for which up to this time 
a purchaser could rarely be found. It is therefore easy to conceive that 
crowds might be reclaimed if an opportunity for repentance were given.” 

To this letter Trajan replied: 

“ In sifting the cases of those who have been indicted on the charge of 
Christianity, you have adopted, m